And she wrote this popular thing that people used to make posters of and share around the internet. Many years after she stopped making zines, Kristy taught me how to talk about abuse and helped me through one of the most intense times in my life. She is special and I miss her and I think this list/article is cute. We were all so fucking cute in the 90s, remember?
This is a link to a reprint of “Girl Love Is.” Cuz I love Kristy lots.
Tonight I read a short fiction piece that I wrote in front of a crowd for the first time ever. I’ve not read at a literary event since the Without a Net tour, which happened during a time in my life that I don’t like to think about much. It felt really good, especially since I was able to finish the piece in such a short amount of time and actually find myself satisfied with it after only one revision.
Today I was talking to a sweetheart and I said, “I’m so glad I figured out that I’m a fiction writer because it was really exhausting to think that one day I’d have to add schizophrenia to my list of diagnoses.” Nothing against schizophrenia, I swear.
The stories in me are not real and they are not fake. They aren’t there to drive me crazy. They are there to be told.
- it is not enough to theorize anti-racism
- it is not enough to post anti-racist articles on facebook
- it is not enough to donate to anti-racist organizations
- you must evaluate your friendships, relationships, and casual interactions with PoC from an explicitly anti-racist lens
- you must challenge yourself when you feel entitled to their time, energy, bodies, or insight
- you must uproot your own inner white supremacist
This is the album art from Purple Rhinestone Eagle’s The Great Return. Awesome album, awesome artwork by Annie Murphy.
Back in May I posted an essay list with some of my essays specifically on womanism, Black feminism and race in feminist discourse, though just about anything I write is shaped by a womanist lens and an intersectional world view/experiences. I’ve since written more essays within this theme, so…
Katherine and I just had an emotional conversation about what we’re going to wear to the Nine Inch Nails show. If you’re one of those people who outgrew them in high school because you got into hardcore or punk, join the club. But you’re not too old to haul your ass to the stadium to watch Trent Reznor beat up a keyboard attached to springs. You’ll never be to old, piggy.
Pretty Hate Machine is one of my favorite albums ever, I can’t even lie. I never could. Even though I didn’t want to be associated with Manson-loving freshmen once I nailed myself to the X, I couldn’t deny the Nails.
I loved Nine Inch Nails before I even heard them. This Hot Guy who worked at the Manasquan Arcade in 1993 had NIN tattooed on his calf. He was really old, like 18 or 19 and unlike the other guys who worked there NIN-guy never spoke or smiled. It was so sexy. He even wore long-sleeved KMFDM shirts with bad words on them (I’ve always been into danger).
I hit on him. I was 13.
"I like your tattoo," I said. His hair was so shiny like he used motor oil as hair product. I looked deep into his dark eyes, eyes like caves covered in metal and lichen. Caves full of bats.
I really did like his tattoo but I was a poser. I only knew who Nine Inch Nails was because my friend told me about them when she had a crush on this kid Chris who burned a circle into his face with a cigarette as a nod to Head Like a Hole. It was the only song I’d heard.
Hot Guy was didn’t get my pickup line. He didn’t even thank me (which only deepened my crush). He raised a single bushy rivethead eyebrow and at me and returned to scrubbing the Roadblasters game booth with a dirty rag. He quit the arcade not long after that.
Nine Inch Nails was pretty consistent in my life. It was always the same - listen to Nine Inch Nails on your headphones, don’t tell anyone your secrets.
And then I hit Peak NIN in spring of 2005.
I’d just moved to New Orleans from a year-long stint in Oakland. I moved into an apartment uptown with a date and we were a bit… rowdy. New Orleans, I decided, would be the place I’d clean up. But when Tropical Storm Cindy hit, the storm right before Hurricane Katrina, I was nowhere near anything that resembled cleanliness. My date and I got wasted along with arcs of the screaming wind and branches swirling in the air. During a pause in the both the storm and drugs, I asked if we could “go looting.” Tropical Storm Cindy was minor for New Orleans and I wanted to find a fancy streetlamp cover in the CBD for my new bedroom.
We found the streetlamp covers and then I needed to find Trent Reznor’s house. My date found my obsession with Trent Reznor adorable so it was a smooth transition. I was so tired of sitting on the ground outside the Whirling Dervish wasted in broken heels screaming the lyrics to Something I Can Never Have after a long night of dancing to EBM. I knew Trent lived in the Garden District near Anne Rice’s house close to 3nd and Coliseum, so I drove us there in a state of inebriation and recognized it by going into some alternate reality to “feel his presence” while blasting Ringfinger. And it worked.
We found the house - the mansion, really - he had just sold it. Nobody was living there yet and it still had very distinctive Reznor touches.
Like a mote. An actual mote that was also a dirty swimming pool with two large marble stone gargoyles that spat water.
This was what looting was all about. We hopped the fence and lugged the gargoyles from Nine Inch Nails’ backyard to the car, bloodying ourselves in the process. One of them weighed at least 100 pounds. After we were done looting we climbed the fence and fucked on Trent Reznor’s porch.
Now I’m 33 and I live on another planet. A planet where Nine Inch Nails plays at a sports stadium. A sports stadium with a heavy metal pizza joint that one of my friends works at. “I’ll hook you up,” she says. And about “hooking up,” I’d like to somehow arrange a date for Katherine and Trent Reznor because I’m one of those gay girls who tries to hook my straight friends up with men I’d fuck if it I were straight.
I started writing this an hour ago and I’m no closer to picking out my teenage industrial rock outfit. Katherine is building a desk in her bedroom at 3 AM (industrial!) and I’m listening to the new Nine Inch Nails album Hesitation Marks, which has some pretty amazing songs on it (and a couple that I’d like to erase from my mind). I also have Manic Panic on my head so there’s that. Never change, Nikki.
'Tis the season to make kishke!
Make sure to check the label of your matzo meal before you buy so you don’t accidentally give your money to Israel.
Anonymous asked: maybe other people won't talk about it with you bc you don't engage in anything political. oppression isn't academic & i'm sick of the big word defense, "derr i don't get it". don't you go to college too nikki? when you criticize those of us who are ACTUALLY ACTIVISTS talking about race you just show how comfy you are in white supremacy. you don't talk about race and need to not be all bragbook about how you're a better white person. maybe YOU should try hanging out with a poc sometime. peace
Alright, I’m just going to post it. I got this “ask” last night from somebody who must be a Facebook friend but for some reason wanted to follow the link to my blog and contact me here anonymously.
I will begin by sharing a Facebook note that a person very close to my heart addressed to white people specifically (I am a white person):
Dear White friends,
I want to put something in your radar. if you live in a collective house that is majority White people located in a historically Black/Latino neighborhood, I want to ask you tell you about the importance of being transparent about the racial make up of your home when you are posting ads seeking potential housemates. I know that White people don’t often have to think about race especially in terms of safety, but POC folks often do. When you take the time to describe people in your house in terms of all types of identity politics (queer, teacher, single mom, bicycle enthusiast, working class, late 20’s, artist, etc etc.) but yet you dont mention that they are White, its because:
a.) Whiteness is assumed, b.) Race is clearly not something you have to think about, and therefore assume that it doesn’t make a difference c.) You are not taking into account your position in a neighborhood who’s historical residents have been affected by your presence. Just off the top of my head. And you might say, no, thats not the reason, it just slipped my mind… actually yes, it slipped your mind because of one of those three reasons!
White Supremacy is present even in ways that might not seem that important or obvious to you, or in ways that you might not even identify as White Supremacy, and if you are someone that is interested in joining the fight to dismantle it, you should know that creating safe spaces for People of Color (esp in their own neighborhoods) is a huge part of that struggle. Ive been in conversations where well-meaning White people have told me that they are concerned that their house is all white, but don’t know how to acquire POC housemates. First off nobody wants to be the token brown person in the house, so I’m not advocating for White people to exclusively look for POC to join their all white households, but treating race as a non-issue, especially if you are one of the few White household in your neighborhood, is one sure way of supporting White Supremacy. Ill speak from experience and say that I’ve been to a lot of housing interviews in places like West Oakland, or the Mission, or Fruitvale (neighborhoods where lots of POC live, therefore I assume there’s POC in the house) only to find that I would be the only Latino in a house of 7 people in a Latino neighborhood. Wtf? How was this fact not mentioned in the ad? I’ve definitely left these situations feeling sad and frustrated, and there have been times when I have actually even brought it up at the interview and have been met with guilt and apologies, but then I continue to see it over and over again. If you are going to mention social justice in your ad, how about participating in some social justice?
Please think about this and talk about it at your house meeting or next time youre looking for people, you have a lot of resources and its time to get pro-active about shit. Also, when I feel moved to write about something, its because I’ve seen it enough times to make me feel compelled to say something. So no need to pm me askin if Im talking about you specifically.
Con mucho amor,
This heartfelt letter was a plea from a person of color who has been in this situation, a kind request for us to think about something that comes up a lot in cities that have (majority) white queer collective houses in gentrified/gentrifying neighborhoods.
M. also asked that white people take on more of the labor of writing such things. He asked for more than just a re-post; he asked white people to actually say things themselves. I would type his addendum verbatim, but it’s posted on his personal Facebook page and I don’t wanna do that without asking (and it’s 4 am).
So I re-posted his really important letter on my own page with additional thoughts from me, which I will now share below:
OR you could be afraid to say white (or black or brown) and make it really hard to actually have the conversations about race that we (white people) should be having. Seriously if anyone knows how to navigate that with other white people (esp. here in portland) please tell me, cuz I’m afraid to participate in conversations about race with people who wince when they hear a word like “black.” But I don’t wanna be all passive. I can follow academic theories and concepts most of the time but sometimes things get so theoretical that I don’t understand what it means in real life. Meeej followed up that piece above asking white people to take on some shit and write things so here I am. I wanna figure out how to not be afraid of being dismissed by other white people in discussions about race. How bout you? What’s holding you back, other white people? If you can say out loud what it is maybe it can be talked out. And then eventually maybe people can talk to the people of color in their neighborhoods? Learn peoples’ names and build relationships like people in neighborhoods do? Help your neighbors that are getting thrown out of their houses instead of ignoring their eviction notices and uhauls? It’s good to think about making an effort to actually live in your neighborhood in an intentional way than just live in your house. There should be a new rule that says that if you don’t put Millan’s ideas into practice you shouldn’t be allowed to say “i want to live in north or ne portland between 42nd and interstate, fremont and lombard” in your housing ad :)
It’s long-winded and the result of the frustrated conversations I’ve been having with other white people about how difficult it is to get through to or be taken seriously by white anti-racist activists in Portland who are busy competing with one another and shutting others out of conversations.
The person who posted that was clearly a white person, because they said “when you criticize those of us who are actually activists talking about race" in response to my repeated indications that this letter was directed toward other white people. Oh, AND because they mysteriously left out mentioning their race despite the original note from M that clearly states why that is A Thing.
I had a conversation with another white person about my difficulties figuring out how to talk about race with white activists here. I told her how strange it was that in Portland (or maybe it’s just queer communities everywhere, I don’t know) it seems impossible for white people to get past the “We need to be talking about racism” thing and actually talk, and then turn words into action points. I mentioned that I’ve had the experience of a white friend asking me to describe what someone I brought up looks like (for the purpose of figuring out who a person was) and them thinking it’s weird that “black” was part of my description. Is it that they don’t think that “white” would be a part of my description or are they stuck right there with all of the “colorblind” people without realizing it?
A really large amount of white people completely ignore the people of color in their neighborhood. By ignore I mean literally ignore, like never say hi to anyone or make eye contact or bother learning anyone’s name. This includes the vast number of white anti-racist activists that I know who are actively gentrifying black neighborhoods in Northeast. Like, I have seen this, and it doesn’t compute in my brain because that is not at all what it’s like to live in an actual neighborhood. Isn’t that what it’s like to live on some cul-de-sac in suburbia with crazy fences?
I want to make it clear that I don’t think I’m some enlightened white person who has “already dealt with it.” My point is that I don’t understand a lot of the ways that white people in Portland are talking about race and how it applies to real life. How are we trying to dismantle white supremacy when we tell people they shouldn’t be talking, when it’s precisely what we need to be doing? This whole “let’s have conversations about conversations about conversations” is getting way too fucking theoretical for me, I’m sorry.
It shouldn’t be assumed that white is some default we’re all secretly aware of. It shouldn’t be a novel concept for white people in POC neighborhoods to actually form relationships with the people around them. To get involved with our neighborhoods, to live intentionally in them rather than simply occupying a house. People who know their neighbors help them when the eviction notice pops up, when cops show up, when someone slips on ice, when it’s someone’s birthday, when you’re gonna have a party and you wanna do it respectfully, when someone needs a sitter real quick, whatever. They don’t just talk about how sad it is that gentrification happens on Facebook. We live in THE WORLD. And in THE WORLD exists the neighborhoods we chose and paid money to move into.
Pushback I’ve heard from other white people about that is “I don’t want to bother the POC in this neighborhood, it’s rude.” I’ve also heard people indicate that this would be tokenizing or fetishization or something, I don’t remember. But you know what? It’s actually really gross to actively cut yourself off from people of color in your neighborhood. It’s fucked up to decide for a person in your neighborhood that you guys shouldn’t be friends because you’re white and that person isn’t. How is that not totally creepy?
Please, if you live in Portland and are a white person and you care about anything, listen to this entire program. Listen to the truth about what is really happening to this city. Please. Please please.
So that’s what my diatribe was about. And I received the ask above in response to my friends-only Facebook post, meaning that whoever wrote it (hello!) is a person who I “know” (though I can’t imagine that anyone who knows me would say half of those things) but didn’t want to respond to my Facebook post publicly. Instead, they decided to follow a link to my blog and use these words on me here.
Anonymous person - I invite you to talk to me about these things. I invite your criticisms and conversation. I’m forever open to that because we should be talking to each other, remember? It interests me that you dismissed me the way I mentioned in my post. "I wanna figure out how to not be afraid of being dismissed by other white people in discussions about race. How bout you? What’s holding you back, other white people? If you can say out loud what it is maybe it can be talked out." And I was afraid when I read it, I even made my words on FB private because I felt attacked for speaking up.
And for for “try hanging out with a POC sometime,” I don’t even know what to do with that statement.
Despite being exhausted by this person and by the situations I’ve mentioned, It is my responsibility to talk about it. I should be exhausted, because like M said, this work is exhausting, and it’s far less exhausting for me as a white person than it is for him to deal with the hideous backlash he received, which included misgendering and a bunch of other nasty shit.
I wasn’t going to post this but it felt important to be up front with the feedback I got for what I wrote. The sort of feedback that intends to silence people who are critical about other white people. The Anonymous poster made me feel like I should shut up and not give my opinions. But for the sake of accountability and owning the words that I used, I’ve shared this entire thing with you.
I’ll ask again for other white people to please stop shutting each other out of discussions before having them. Learning to communicate is healthy, too. So is being challenged - I clearly challenged you, and you challenged me back. But I’m sorry to be the one to tell you that it doesn’t make you an More Advanced White Person to insult and push other white people out of the conversation without having the first clue about what I and other less publicly prolific people could possibly add to your conversation. You aren’t going for a medal here, dude.
Also you’re fucking ableist. Cool “derr I don’t get it.”
I never doubted her because when she’d open those lips it was an aria that drowned out the background noise of disbelief.
Lene Lovich - Its You, Only You (Mein Schmerz)
isn’t it strange how sure you can be when you find the one you want
isn’t it strange how crazy you go when you finally won the one that you want
a moment like this, oh oh oh
baby baby we can make it
its you, its you, only you
i know what i want and i’m sure i can get it.
There was a man writing and now he is a man at a microphone. Hot bulbs cast light upon his knees and his large head bows in the dark. He reads us a story, one about a woman. Fistfulls of hairy words & five-o-clock shadow prose punch through his lips in hopscotch cadence. The woman, his wife, wished for death and he wondered why he never felt anything. Her legs, he says, are grotesque. Purples and blues. He left her, or she left him. And then he is quiet and a new man takes his place to tell the same story.
There is a woman who wakes up at the darkest hour to eat sweet, salty turkey parts pressed into pancakes, spheres as the earth should be. She’s got a paper plate covered in mustard and a perfect circle of wet meat tube-rolled. Some pepper. Maybe a slice of cheese after. Maybe the light of the refrigerator illuminates the kitchen and maybe it also makes the hallway glow. It’s so late and she’s eating lunch-meat in front of the refrigerator alone, the way she wants. Her legs, she thinks, are grotesque. Purples and blues. Her insides smile gap-toothed, a peep-hole. Look through it. She never wished for death at all.
I am sick and have no voice anymore, but I dressed up as a Smells Like Teen Spirit cheerleader for Halloween to play in a Nirvana cover band. Now I make fun of people who do covers of songs on bass guitars only! Here is your greeting card where I weakly and try to sing you Halloween by The Misfits like a fevered creep in a scratchy lady voice.
thoreauknitsshit asked: Hi. I was poking around your blog and you seem really great. I found it through the clairsentient tag. I was talking to my roommate who knows my experiences with this sort of thing really well, and he suggested that I read about clairsentience because it sounded like me. My life has also recently been consumed with dealing with PTSD and it makes me worried that maybe I'm getting symptoms and characteristics confused. Do you have any advice or recommended reading for me?
Hey, thank you for writing, and for the super-sweet compliment!
It’s all too often that those of us with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder devise different ways we “should have reacted” to our past traumatic experiences. This is usually accompanied by (sometimes unconsciously) embarrassment or self-blame, and often spurred by the dismissal of our trauma by other people. And not only the other people we encounter on a daily basis, but an entire culture of artificial trauma-avoidance based on celebrating a very specific, visual type of perseverance. I actually feel like this tendency that we have is due to us learning that we are clairsentient, or that we are empaths, or that we are both; and as a result, realizing that our intuition is powerful.
I believe the link between clairsentience and PTSD is strong because we’re hyper-vigilant, traumatized creatures who are tuned into energies that fly by unnoticed to most. It’s a subconscious method of self-preservation - we must look out for ourselves every moment of every day because who else is looking out for us in those specific ways that we can’t put into words? We become aware of messages about a great number of things through feeling, and feeling is something that we know very, very well. This is good because it means that on some level we are trusting our intuition! We may have our “gut feelings” about people or places and trust the feelings enough to enforce our psychic boundaries. Or we may choose not to out of fear (or because we don’t yet understand the meanings) and later beat ourselves up over it because “we should have known better.”
That shame is a direct result of living in a world that frowns upon anything considered “weakness” and instead celebrates ability - physical ability, mental ability, the ability to transcend, the ability to overcome, the ability to achieve.
I am hungry for what is in front of me that I can’t reach and everything else is fire, explosive, lit sky, bruised morning, moths in your hair, backs toward each other & a cement wall with the indentation of our bodies pounded in as if we’ve been leaning against it for 30 years without it moving an inch. Behind your tongue where your words hide you’re hoping everything stays put
but behind my tongue, words slide out wildly & I hope you gloss over the important parts.
I hope you don’t read with a highlighter.
I hope you hate magic &
I hope you have no intuition whatsoever.