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Earning Our Ovals

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By The Apostate

This week both The Inlander and the Spokesman were kind enough to remind us about Washington’s disengaged youth. In “Geriatrics vote. The youth don’t care.” Nick Deshais cited some data released by Secretary of State Sam Reed. In the last primary about 4,000 people below the age of 25 cast their ballot, making up about 3.5% of the vote. The second group, ages 25-34 made up another 5.9%. You ready for some math? That adds up to a not-so-grand total of 9.5% of ballots cast by people under the age of 35.

This is appalling because while young people make up about 23.9% of the electorate, they only made up about 10% of the electors. In 2008, the Obama campaign turned young voters out and transformed many in to young activists. And as you know, these young activists weren’t just poli-sci majors. They were bloggers, artists and apathetics alike. So what gives, young people? How did civic engagement seem to go from “hot to not” in one election cycle?

 

Here’s my thought: politics aren’t marketed to young voters because as the numbers suggest, old folks vote. It’s a nasty catch-22, young people aren’t involved because political ideas aren’t presented to them in a way that motivates because people cashing in their social security are more likely to vote. The best way to approach this problem is to vote. When numbers suggest that young people give a shit, politicians will return the favor by being concerned with the young vote.

Moreover, young people can champion their own causes and change the way we elect people in Spokane and in Washington State. Few young people operate in a way that shows concern for suits and marble walls, what’s wrong with politics in jeans and a hoodie? Oh yeah, and why can’t we vote online? Good laws require good people in elected office. We must support young, forward focused candidates and make sure our generation has champions in Olympia.

The first line of action in Spokane comes from The Washington Bus, an organization devoted to politics by young people for all, and NextUp Spokane, a new group that seeks to motivate more participation from other young people through fun local projects. This fall the two groups have come together to get upwards of 1,000 young voters to pledge to vote by addressing a post card that is mailed back to remind them to follow through on their pledge. In addition, NextUp and the Bus are hosting a massive get-out-the-vote canvass on Halloween called Trick-Or-Vote (stay tuned for details later this month) that involves a friendly costumed reminder to vote and a killer after party. Awesome, right?

 

If you aren’t sure if you’re registered or you need to change your address you can visit MyVote, a cool online program from the Secretary of State. Young people are not a lost cause, we just need to make our voices heard so we can remember why voting matters. If you’re interested in getting involved with these efforts in Spokane please email: alayna[at]washingtonbus[dot]org.

Why I can’t work from home.

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There is this hair comb somewhere in a landfill. It’s pastel pink at looks pretty much like a comb. Some of the teeth might be a little bent from working knots out of Barbie’s hair. It moved from South Africa with me and I didn’t really realize I treasured it until one day in sixth grade, when I stuck it in my lunch bag for recess, then threw my lunch bag away.

I didn’t notice I’d lost it until later that day. I was jarred by the sudden loss, terrified that I would forget things that were already beginning to fade from memory along with my first language, which I was now struggling to speak.

Somewhere, possibly in Spain, there is a teddy bear with a little gap in the stitching of his black nose where the tan fur sticks through. His eyeballs are scratched up. At nineteen, I gave him to a boy who lived far away for when we saw each other again — a promise — and we did not. I went to college, he married someone, and shortly after his wife gave birth, he died.

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I remember both the sadness of riding home without my comb in sixth grade, and being tiny in South Africa with a best friend who was a bear. I still remember the birds of paradise in our garden and how perplexed my preschooler brain, new to English, was by the lyrics of “There’s a Hole in My Bucket.” I don’t need any object to remind me.

But some nights, when I forget all about the ground under my feet, tears roll down my cheeks because I am missing a bear.

Maybe because I feel like I learned to be young too late and then immediately began to grow old, or maybe because I am simply tired of loss, it’s become harder and harder to let go.

I bought this one dress when I was going to be skinny forever, but I was only skinny for like one summer. The dress still hangs in my closet and I occasionally try it on, decide it looks terrible, and return it to the closet for another few months of hanging. And it’s really not just one dress, it’s half my wardrobe. There are piles and piles of photographs in the spare room — doubles even. There’s a physical copy of every article I’ve ever published. There are magazine clippings and supplies for crafts I never finished. There’s the wood block carving of “Erika” that my high school boyfriend made for me in wood shop.

Being in a house full of these things that have no place or purpose feels like having a bunch of people talk to me all at once. They all demand to be kept in mind — and my mind brims with memories, hurts, unfulfilled intentions, projects pending for years, all stuck in boxes to be dealt with later, but later never happens. I raid the boxes on occasion in search of a lost item, sprawling the things unceremoniously on the guest room floor. Their chatter can be heard through the crack under the door from the farthest corner of the apartment.

Some things, I keep because somebody I love gave them to me. A weird golden lion from my grandmother in Alaska. A sweater. A really awful book. Like maybe getting rid of them would disappoint the giver or make their memory fade further.

Other things, I keep because I am afraid to miss them like I do my bear, even though they have never been my best friend like he was.

Authors bio:  Patricia from Stephaniereinhardt.com. Bornand raised in the Saginaw Bay Region of Michigan, I have always been the generally curious sort (sometimes too curious – sorry Mom and Dad!). When applying for jobs in high school, I begged my parents not to make me turn in any more applications until I’d heard back from the public library about a page position. Fortunately they called me back, and it set me upon the path toward librarianship…

For Som: Grief.

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I am taking a walk with someone today whom I have only begun to know. He’s saying something about “my twin brother and I…”

“–Wait. You have a twin brother?”

“Did. He died, oh, about three years ago.”

“…”

I fumble through the awkward what-do-you-say’s in my head and settle on, “How is that for you?” Only because my time was up and I had to say something.

“Honestly, it hasn’t been awful. I reached acceptance really early.”

“Oh.” I don’t have a response for that because nobody has ever answered with anything other than: “Awful. Devastating. Catastrophic.”

I do the panic thing and start rambling on about my own experiences with grief because what the fuck else is there to do. He says he felt guilt about not doing grief right until a friend told him however he’s doing it is doing it right.

SomWe get back, he takes off and I open my laptop to Facebook.

“We’ve lost Som Jordan,” posts someone.

“What do you mean, lost?” says someone else.

Nobody is talking about cause of death, which means it’s suicide. I know that already but I pretend I don’t know and ask around just hoping it’s something else.

The paper later reports that Isamu “Som” Jordan, a huge influence in Spokane’s music and journalism scene, was found in his home this morning. Cause of death: apparent suicide.

There is this prevailing struggle with how did he possibly not see the glow around him that everybody else saw. Everybody’s posting this music video he made with Flying Spiders. The only text they include is the song’s title: “Spokane’s Finest.”

I know nothing about anything about this situation. I do know it’s not coincidence that those people we think are invincible, brilliant, miles above us — our icons — also often suffer very deeply. Searching for truth does not turn up unicorns and rainbows.

Now that that’s said, I want to talk about grief, and that you should do it however you want.

You don’t have to cry to care. You can go to a vigil or not go to a vigil. Nobody gets to tell you you didn’t know him well enough to grieve or that you’re not grieving sufficiently or right.

Today, as I grieve the loss of a friend, a lot of grief from past losses tumbles onto me as well. It all feels very messy and maybe someone would tell me I was missing the point.

When people pry about the details, some may say they’re missing the point. Maybe they are. Or maybe they have questions because they care. Because suicide is not a thing we talk about much, and it’s confusing and it hurts and maybe they feel like answers will make it hurt less. (Spoiler: It will very likely make it hurt more.)

When people spit out platitudes on the internet, some may say they’re missing the point. When they do, or they don’t, organize a benefit concert. When they speculate. When they try to talk about suicide in general or death in general or grief in general. When they do or don’t cry.

This is the messy that we’re challenged to navigate with grace: simultaneously grieving and giving others the space to do their own version of that. There are a lot of us because Som had a generous spirit. Let that be a good thing.

Why Fagan Cares About Bikini Baristas

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City Councilman Mike Fagan is up in arms over bikini baristas. Bikini baristas are up in arms over Fagan’s newest proposal. The Councilman representing the 1st City Council District (U-District all the way up to Hillyard) wants to require a minimum clothing regulation or move to zoned “adult business” areas. There’s really no right way to feel about this. So many things about lingerie and bikini espresso stands repulse me — they defame the good name of espresso everywhere, objectify and over sexualize often very young women.

Most people understand that the word “Objectification” is a bad thing, but it’s deeper than that, it’s more than just a word. Our culture has made the female form a source of fascination, a white whale of sexual desire, which creates businesses like strip clubs, bikini barista stands and a whole lot of trouble. “Objectification”, is true to the definition of the word, it takes human beings and reframes worth from intellectual contributions, kindness, humor, love and transforms it in to sexual worth. Objects can’t be hurt, because they are inanimate, but when you turn women into objects, it makes things like cat calls, sexual harassment and even sexual violence more justified in the mind of aggressors and general d-bags.

Bikini barista stands may seem fun or even funny, but are fundamentally damaging to our community. Places like bikini barista stands are not really to blame; they’re merely capitalizing on the built culture surrounding women and women’s bodies. Read: it’s all our fault.

The toxicity of bikini barista stands aside, Councilman Fagan’s proposal is still plain wrong.

First, allowing middle-aged white dudes to tell women what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior, is exactly what we talk about when we talk about gender inequality. Mike Fagan is, perhaps unwittingly, attempting to institute policies that are directly interfering with the independence and free will of women. And sir, we have enough of that patriarchal bullshit with out the help of our city government. Even more concerning is that Councilman Fagan is a self-proclaimed libertarian, meaning with every other concern, he is supportive of free market ideals and supports little governmental intervention. Except when it has to do with dictating the values of other people. Unequivocally proving he is attempting to institute a policy that is inherently sexist– on purpose.

Second, it is not the place of city government to decide the value system of it’s constituency. But to support the vital services the city provides. In the Spokesman-Review article on the bikini barista cover-up proposal, City Council President was quoted with the perspective of a strong leader, “Who decides what Spokane values are? I didn’t get elected to legislate values. …We should be talking about economic development, the creation of the budget and police accountability…”

The thing about sexism is that we have a choice. Our culture isn’t hardwired to be oppressive. We have the option to reframe the way we talk about sex, the way we talk about our bodies and the way we evaluate the inherit value of humans. We have the power.

We also have the power to buy good coffee from people that wear clothes.4

Garland Block Party is BACK

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  • “The creative act is a letting down of the net of human imagination into the ocean of chaos on which we are suspended, and the attempt to bring out of it ideas.”― Terrence McKenna

Music is like food. A dedicated artist can nourish you. In that frame, Patrick Kendrick is a gourmet chef–a gourmet chef that has been treating our fair city with his culinary delights almost on daily basis (Plus he’s so dreamy). From the intimate, sweaty and raucous shitshows put on at Mootsy’s to offering his broad vision to organize the wildly popular Terrain and Volume festivals, Kendrick and his mothership, Platform Booking, have curated, yet again, another gem. I give you:

 

Poster design by Nick Tibbetts
Poster design by Nick Tibbetts
You down with GBP, oh you know me!

Runway Renegades

My first thought was, “Shit. A Runaways cover band!” But was pleasantly surprised to see I was wrong! The Runaway Renegades is a collection of local clothing designers and models (for the GBP they’ll be featuring work from 6 local designers from Eco Chic, Mechanical Mannequin, Blackwood Art, Chevalier, Assassin Apparel & Glamartia.) In my opinion, it’s a cool and classy way to end a superb day.

Violent Vickie

This lady, hailing from San Francisco, California, doesn’t f***k around, I mean, shouldn’t her name tell you that? Throwing together a pot of boiling hot & bombastic beats, mixed with her haunting vocals and layered and intricate synth work , Violent Vickie is light years ahead of the electronic game, and is producing some of the most prolific music I’ve heard to date.

For fans of: Bruxa, Crystal Castles , & Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Nude Pop

Is incredible, and yet I still don’t really know anything about them. I caught their impressive opening set for El Ten Eleven, at the Red Room and have been in love with those boys ever since. NP creates dreamy garage rock and cerebral pop with delicious sprinklings of shoegaze, psychedelia and post punk framing themes of feelings of isolation and living against relationships. Don’t miss these guys, because soon they’ll be off to Seattle and the next time (most likely) that we’ll see them will be on a TV somewhere.

For fans of: For fans of: Battles, El Ten Eleven, The Antlers

Cathedral Pearls

I have said this many, many times. I love the Cathedral Pearls. Listed last year as one of “12 Washington bands you should listen to now” by Paste magazine, local power couples Caleb & Karli Ingersoll (of the Bartlett) and Max & Carrie Harnishfeger make wonderfully infectious and danceable tunes that has been taking the PNW by full force. If their performance is anything like the last I’d seen, the whole family will be up and dancing within the first few songs.

For fans of: Neko Case, Ivan & Alyosha, and Sallie Ford & The Outside Sound

Summer in Siberia

I don’t think I’d be the best person to describe how much ass Summer in Siberia kicks. You should probably ask anyone who managed to make it into their jam-packed, dance filled & romping show at Volume this last month. I couldn’t even make it into the bar, but could still tell that people in there were getting down, and shaking what their mothers gave them! I’m ecstatic to get to see them live finally! I’ve really enjoyed everything I’ve heard of theirs (on their bandcamp) so far!

For fans of: Foals, White Lies, Editors

Daethstar
I love loud in your face electronic music, the closer my ears are to bleeding and the faster I want to dance, the better! You can imagine my excitement when I saw that local heavy hitter Daethstar was on the lineup, let’s just say I’m having a hard sitting still at this point!

For fans of: Living, Breathing, Dancing, Eating and Sleeping

Why the hell isn’t it the 17th yet?! I want to dance, man!

I never thought I would say what I’m about to say, in my entire life, up until now. Take heed, Northwesterners! Work out. I mean, really workout and practice your dance moves. This year’s lineup is legendary, and is sure to get your ass shaking, and keep it moving until the wee hou-(whoops! 10pm. Stupid noise ordinance) I’m fairly positive their won’t be an EMT on site to assist you with your dance related injuries, so do yourself a favor don’t be foolish, wear appropriate party loafers, strap on your party hats and get to the

Garland Theatre Aug 17th 3-10pm! It’s free! AND ALL AGES!

Authors: Kristin J. Lavigne from RideLugged.com

Nora Goes to Bars The Satellite

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The day after graduating from Lewis and Clark, I left Spokane and embarked on a series of mild of adventures that would take me down the West coast and last me about five years. Upon my return this past February, I have had the interesting chance to discover Spokane’s bar scene for the first time. A dark, gritty underworld of which I had no prior knowledge.

Born from my beer-fueled trials and errors comes my gift to you, dear reader. A user’s manual to Spokane’s bars; The good, the bad, and the just plain sketchy. May this guide serve you well, and save you some of the expensive bar tabs that I racked up while conducting… ahem… research.

 PART I: The Satellite Diner (425 West Sprague Avenue, Spokane)

In high school, the Satellite Diner was the perfect late-night spot to hang out. Dingy and grimy, the cigarette smoke that hung in yellow clouds provided us with the perfect cover for our parents. “Ugh, I know, I totally smell like cigarettes!” We would moan, when confronted by our mothers. “We just went in for some fries, but all the weird old people in the bar portion just have no consideration for other people’s health!”

Some of the best nights were spent at that diner. Ten of us crammed into one booth, all nibbling off of one plate of cheesy fries, chain-smoking, and getting refill after refill  of watery coffee. At some point, the smoking ban went into effect, and not long after, our beloved dive began to make some changes. Gone were the ripped vinyl booth seats. The layers of smoke were scraped from the walls, and replaced with a cheerier color. The bathroom door finally closed all the way.

By the time I left, the place where I had spent such a large part of my high school years had been given quite the facelift. I was sure it was still the same, deep down, but it was not quite recognizable to me. Despite the changes, I was itching to pay a visit to the Satellite when I got back to Spokane this year. My birthday is in March, and I could think of no better way to get the festivities started than by downing some mimosas at the ‘lite. Although it was about 11 A.M. on a Tuesday, it didn’t take me long to round up a friend to join me for a little day drinking.

We walked in and settled down into a cozy booth near the back. Our waitress came over soon and took our order, to my dismay, they did not offer bottomless mimosas, or even pitchers of them. But our waitress was kind, and, knowing that it was my birthday, said she’d see if the lady in the bar could hook it up and at least make them strong. Moments later she returned with large glasses full to the brim with what I assume was Cook’s champagne and Sunny D, accompanied with a platter of cheesy fries. Overjoyed, my cohort and I sipped greedily from our steins, and we each ordered a couple more as we chatted and snacked. I slouched back into the booth, happy to know that, despite the cosmetic changes, the Satellite was still the comfortable hangout spot I had loved so much when I was younger. After we had whetted our whistles sufficiently, and my friend realized she had to get back to work (that’s right, we keep it classy), we asked for the check. Our waitress, who had been kind and chatty all morning, dropped the check on the table and scurried away without making eye contact. I reached and flipped the check over and, as my eyes saw the number in front of me, they bulged out of my head.

 Eighty dollars.

 Eighty. Dollars.

I showed the bill to my companion in disbelief. Surely, this was a mistake. Friends and I had eaten whole meals here in the past, and combined, our totals never amounted to more than $30. Quickly and drunkenly, we did some arithmetic. Let’s see: 3 mimosas each, and some cheesy fries. That means, with the fries being about $7, the mimosas we had been greedily sipping had been about $12 each. Now, I understand that $12 is not an incredibly high amount, but I am the type of person who goes to dollar beer nights when I drink in order to save money. I put saran wrap over my 40s so I don’t waste any, and then drink them later. In other words, I’m cheap as fuck. I also, however, am not the kind of person who will argue over a bar tab. Especially when it’s before noon on a weekday. I paid the bill and slunk out into the harsh light of day in shame.

I felt betrayed. I had opened up to this familiar spot, hoping to find the love I had once had, but instead got a slap in the face. But in the words of Gertrude Stein, “There is no there, there”. You can never truly go home.

 RATING: C+ Dive feel, not dive prices.

ADVICE: Don’t order Mimosas.

What our classmates didn’t know.

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I’m reposting this story today in celebration of a guilty verdict. It was originally published on May 29, 2012 at community-building.org. 

Jolie sat on a blue picnic table outside our school cafeteria, soaking in the sun in her pleather pants and snug purple top. She wore tall, black platform boots, I think.

Whatever she wore, it was proof of everything they said about her.

We — my friend group du jour (friends have never been my strong suit) — ate lunch on the bridge nearby. I stood next to Mark*, my new best friend, who had dated Jolie from middle school until earlier that year. She used to stand where I now stood, her “in” status in the social circle as tenuous as mine. And now that I stood there, I needed to fit in.

When Jolie and Mark split, everybody sided with him. When her name came up during lunch, everybody had something to say about her, and given the pleather and all, I figured it was all probably true.

She was definitely weird.

Proof: The year before, somebody had posted anonymous letters on our AP English class online forum, signed “OuTsIdEr LoOkInG iN.” In her poems, OuTsIdEr damned us all. She describing her lonely world — not fitting in, being judged for being different.

Jolie sat in the row ahead of me, right at the front of the class. We burned twenty holes in the back of her crimped hair. We were indignant. I wasn’t a super cruel person in high school, nor was I popular or rich or even happy — I had my own share of too-intense-for-high-school things to deal with — so I didn’t feel like she was talking to me. What had I ever done to her?

We all pretended we had no idea who OuTsIdEr could be. She was just crying out for attention, we concluded, and we moved on to Lord of the Flies.

Senior year, Jolie and I both made the alto section of our school’s A Cappella choir. Let’s put it this way: She projected. As such, she was moved to the back row, where I stood (I also, um, projected), and we made uncomfortable conversation between run-throughs.

In the Spring, I invited her to go to church with me (which is different from being friends, because it means  you’re trying to save someone’s soul), and she came, probably because people didn’t ask her to do stuff very often.

Somewhere in between learning the Second Alto part for the Spring concert and riding together in her purple sedan to youth group, I learned a few things about her that nobody had bothered to mention on the bridge at lunch.

Her house, at the gateway to our neatly-groomed suburban town, didn’t look like mine. It was dirty and small on the inside, with ratty carpets and dishes piled up in the kitchen. Her mother had leathery skin and cursed with a raspy voice. Her twin siblings ran around with hair poking out in every direction. Spaghetti dinner was served on plastic Mickey Mouse plates. Her stepfather was nowhere to be found.

Listening to Oasis in her bedroom, which was plastered with every Oasis poster ever printed, she told me about her biological father, who had become a vegetable after a motorcycle accident and was kind of an asshole anyway.

My dad was kind of an asshole, too, I said, so I understood. Since my parents had split, he’d kind of gone MIA and only ever bought pasta, yogurt and Cheez-Its when he went grocery shopping. I didn’t even like yogurt.

What did your dad do? I asked.

After my parents split, when I was a baby, he stole me and hid me out of state, she said.

Oh.

I asked about Mark.

We got pregnant, she said, and I had an abortion. He didn’t want me to, but he didn’t really want a kid at seventeen, either. Now he won’t talk to me.

Oh.

I think I stopped asking about stuff after that, but I eventually learned that her stepfather gambled, her mother didn’t work and her grandparents owned the disheveled house. When she’d come home after work at Jack in the Box, sometimes the electricity was shut off. She payed for her own choir trips and school fees with Jack in the Box money.

Just before the end of Senior year, Jolie came over with smudged mascara glistening through her glasses. She had told the school counselor something and she couldn’t stay at home anymore. It had taken four years for her to speak up; she hadn’t thought anyone would believe her. There was a warrant out for her stepfather’s arrest and her mother was so mad. Not at him, for what he’d done, but at her, for telling.

We pushed two twin beds together in my room and stayed up late talking. My father and my new stepmom said of course she could stay.

We cut class together on Senior Ditch Day, except we didn’t go to the pool with everyone else; we went to Lake Tahoe instead. We went to prom in the neighboring city with her new boyfriend — whom she had met at church — and his friends.

We giggled in choir, and I ignored everyone who was now looking very nervous when I talked to them. We were late to our own graduation, our hair still wet from an afternoon at the lake.

At the restaurant before the ceremony, her mother announced she had superglued in her fake tooth for the occasion. My mother sent back her Bloody Mary because it was too salty.

We caught air in the purple sedan going 55 over bumps on the way to the school, arriving the gymnasium just in time to thrown on our gowns and walk. We laughed the whole night.

Jolie’s stepfather made national news this month when the U.S. Marshalls finally tracked him down in New Jersey, where he’d stayed under the radar for ten years.

I hadn’t kept in touch after college. She became more involved in church and I stopped going at all. She got married and I didn’t. She got a “real job” and bought a house — things I never got around to doing.

When I saw the news — Jolie telling her story on TV in our hometown — I sat in my bedroom crying. Out of relief for her, mostly, regret that I had let small things interfere with our ability to support one another, and a rush of the pain knew she’d endured each day that she waited for justice.

Ten years ago, I filled an entire page with a pink glitter gel pen in Jolie’s senior year book. To close, I wrote, “Ten years from now, we’ll probably see each other and pick up right where we left off.”

Jolie and I saw each other for the first time in two years last month, and it was like we hadn’t missed a day (except that we had tons to catch up on, so we stayed up into the wee hours of the morning drinking wine and talking).

I had come home with a mission — to visit the places where we had grown up — and I asked her to come with me.

First thing Saturday morning, we went by the elementary school. Nothing, not even the crusty old pale yellow tether balls, had changed since we left. We recalled being in next-door classes in fourth and fifth grade and posed for a picture on the United States map still painted on the blacktop. I remember the drinking fountain being a lot taller.

We grabbed coffee at what used to be the town’s one grocery store, where we used to walk to after school.

When we arrived at the high school, Jolie tensed. We took a photo outside the choir room, making exaggerated singing gestures for the the camera, then walked toward the cafeteria, across the bridge.

Jolie stopped on the bridge and I lifted my camera to snap a photo. Through the lens, I saw that she was crying. I brushed back her bangs to wipe the black streak emerging from the corner of her eye.

Committed to the potential cathartic value of the experience, we trudged on to complete our tour — but it wasn’t one of reminiscing about first kisses and that time when the quarterback got in a fight with that dorky kid in the quad. (This is what I imagine other kids remember about high school, but maybe we were all quietly trying to make sense of bigger things.) We peered through the window of the library where she would hide for lunch, making friends with the librarian instead of the other kids; the classroom where OuTsIdEr sat staring straight ahead with her hair in flames.

We finally mustered smiles for a picture when we both raised a middle finger in front of the school mascot, a yellow and blue Trojan sprawled across the Administrative Office wall.

Then we ate really big cheeseburgers.

Our ten-year high school reunion was this last weekend. Jolie posted this on wall for the reunion’s Facebook event:

Over the past few months I have pondered how I can convey my anxiety for the event upon us tomorrow. I want so much to see many people and reconnect and get past the bad memories I have from my childhood but I also don’t want to be superficial and just pretend that everything is ok.

…I have described to many people that for me growing up in El Dorado Hills was extremely difficult. I was the poor kid in a rich neighborhood. When I came to Brooks in 4th grade I wore Salvation Army prairie dresses and spandex shorts while my peers were wearing Abercrombie & Fitch. I would come home to lights and water turned off because the bills weren’t paid. In high school my mom drove me to school in a car with an A-Trak while many of my peers were being driven to school in BMWs. On top of that my home life was difficult consisting of physical and emotional abuse and parents with gambling, alcohol, and drug addictions.

Some of you may remember the “OuTsIdEr LoOkInG iN”: a series of poems and writings I placed “anonymously” on the Carr webpage we had for our English classes sophmore year. In them I wrote of my feelings of being ostracized by my peers and the world. I remember sitting in class saddened that no one had empathy for that poor girl and instead called her names… and most didn’t even know who she was. I was broken and hurting and wanted so much to be accepted and loved… by someone… anyone… my family… my peers.

…I know now that none of us were equipped with the skills it took to truly be supportive of a person going through what I went through as a kid. I’m not mad at anyone and quite honestly I am ready to see people again. I am in a good place in my life now and look forward to the opportunity to face my childhood fears and connect with the many genuinely nice people we have in our class.

A number of our former classmates responded, most of them generously. One comment stands out: “I remember doing laundry with you at the laundromat because I didn’t have a washer and dryer and you were nice enough to keep me company,” wrote a girl whose friendship we found in the Alto section during spring of Senior year.

Through her compassion, and the story she bravely shares, Jolie has given a voice to other women suffering privately — we both know women who only spoke out about their own abuse after hearing her story. She has challenged the people around her, including me, to think twice before dismissing someone who does not fit the mold.

The trial begins in the fall. When Jolie stands to testify against her stepfather, I will be there. Even if she wears pleather pants, I won’t believe anything he says about her — and neither will anyone else.

Authors: Rachel from Rentbestcars.com

Bucking up.

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This is what I looked like before I was sad.

OH MY GOD JANUARY. It is so awful. There is science proving how awful it is — or “pseudoscience,” at least. According to Science, the most depressing day of the year hasn’t even happened yet — it’s on January 21st.

Factors include things like weather, holiday debt, motivation and days since falling off the New Years resolution wagon. There should also be something about “likelihood that you are hacking up a lung.” And “number of fights you’ve had with friends and/or strangers on the internet in the past week.”

Having moved through the preliminary stages of utter despair, including

pretending to just be having a bad week
getting drunk on bad beer several days in a row
coming to terms with the semi-permanent nature of the situation
and
unfettered self-pity,
I have now moved into a considerably more pleasurable stage: self-comfort. This is the part where you stop just feeling sorry for yourself and do something about it. Like eat scones every day, regard attending one yoga class in a week as a Feat of Strength, and read long-form articles about Lindsey Lohan making a low-budg film.

I’m even using my favorite mug — which (neurosis alert) I use as little as possible to prevent it from ever breaking or getting lost — on the daily.

It’s wonderful. I am pretending/recognizing that I have a disease, and treating that disease by treating myself awesomely. Which leads me to wonder why I don’t do this all the time.

Being inexplicably sad has led me to living more wholly. For now, as a survival technique. But later, maybe just for fun.

Ladies We Love: Kate Burke

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  • There are some women in Spokane doing some super awesome things. In fact, there are a lot of women doing awesome things, so we’re starting a new series to let you know what the women of this city are up to. To nominate someone, email us at TheSpovangelist@Spovangelist.com

Kate Burke loves Spokane. She tried out a few other places like Bellingham, WA and Chicago, IL and made the intentional decision to move back to Spokane and grow her roots deep. Kate is the Plant-a-Row coordinator at 2nd Harvest Food Bank, a localist, a cyclist and a slow food champion. Plus, she’s one of the hardest working, most dedicated people I’ve ever met. Spokane is lucky to have her.

How would you describe your activism?

My activism: The cheesy, overused quote: “Be the change that you want to see in the world” is what I try to base my activism off of. If people can see that I am doing it and that I can make it happen, then there are absolutely no excuses not to do it. I fight for a lot of things but and I find that there is so much wrong with America and the world that I have to narrow down my fight. So I picked to fight for community health and food access. Everything I do in my everyday life adds to my community one way or another. And same goes for my health. I feel that if our communities were stronger than most of our problems would just find a way to go elsewhere. I want to build up our local areas and make them full and rich!

What inspires you daily?

My lifestyle inspires me. Everyday I get up and find it so hard to get on my bike. Rain, snow or shine i ride. But everyday I dont have to get gas or deal with parking or deal with driving in a car. my life simplifies immediately. My boyfriend also inspires me. Our future goals are the same and we work everyday towards them. When I see him living his life the way he does, it makes me feel that I can do it too. My work is another inspiration for me. Going to work with like minded people is helpful and keeps me motivated. When people share an experience or a lifestyle, it makes it easier to proceed together.

What did you want to be when you were a child?

When i was really little i think i wanted to be a teacher, like my mom. But as I got a little older, around 13, I wanted to be a farmer. I think it’s interesting that I held on to that dream. I want to grow my own food and teach others how to do it and how to preserve the food too (canning and fermentation). So my two career goals melded together to be one super job!

What’s next for you?

I hope that I can get some land soon, but for now I will be trying to make my house into a small (very small) farm house on the south hill. If I do get the land I want to start about 1 or 2 acres as a vegetable garden and also some animals (rabbit, duck and pig for meat. chickens for eggs. goats for milk and of course a border collie for my pet!) then I want to set up CSA (Communtiy Supported Agriculture) boxes for pick up once a week. We would have an event on pick up days. Live music, cooking classes and food would be a few things present. This is peaceful. This is freedom.

Authors Bio: My name’s Parris from Lillslist.com, I’m a researcher by trade. For almost four years now, I’ve made my living by finding information for other people to sell. When I experienced a health crisis, I began to research for myself, trying to find ways to lose weight and solve my health problems.A little over six months later and almost 30 pounds lighter, I realized that I didn’t want to work for other people any more, but I still wanted to share my knowledge with those who could benefit from it….

Things to do about sadness that aren’t drugs.

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Sometimes I get stuck. Like bigger-than-life sad/hopeless/can’t move stuck. That kind of stuck loops around in a bigger stuck, in which I know I’m not living life to its fullest but can’t quite sort out how to fix that. I know, I know, there are drugs for this, but I don’t have any and mostly don’t want them. Today has been the worst day in a while.

I read a funny (I am pretty sure it was funny?) blog post about depression and chuckled half-heartedly. I had been saving that blog because I love the artist/writer so much, and it didn’t even feel like anything to read it. Nothing.

Maybe I am depressed, but I don’t think that’s it. Most days I feel the amount of nihilism appropriate for the situation (life being meaningless and all) and enjoy things the amount that seems appropriate. I remember being depressed and it was nothing like that. It was more like today, but for all the days I could remember at the time.

Here’s the thing: I think if you feel like you’re missing out on some of what you could be making of your life, the answer is not to get a pill for that. If you feel bigger-than-life pain sometimes, it might be because you’re ignoring nagging dissatisfaction with your choices and circumstances, and that pain is hell-bent on being felt at some point so it can move the fuck on with its life.

I ate a lot of pastries and chocolate today and went to a yoga class. Otherwise, I mostly stared at the screen that I was supposed to be fixing a problem on and couldn’t make my brain do the fixing. I tried sleeping, which helped, except now there are bits of chocolate melted into the sheets. I read about juggalos on the internet. So when I realized the video I was about to watch was 20 minutes long, I didn’t even care that I would be losing 20 minutes of my day. It was about a guy who got kind of famous for writing a really cool song you might have heard on the radio, and the guy was like 17 at the time and now he is dead from cancer.

The video was about how he decided to live life while he was dying instead of trying so hard not to die that he would be sick from drugs and horrible surgery for the whole rest of his life.

I cried for a good 30 minutes, which helped. I also really want to do that even though I am not dying. My plan is the following:

Stop doing things that seem like a good move even though they will make me too busy to do things like learn stuff on the guitar and go for runs.
Stop saving exercise for the last day of the week when I panic about not having exercised all week.
Do some of the things I want to do but don’t because _(insert boring excuse here)_, like eat real food instead of whatever is easiest, do fun things after work, visit my family, hang out with people I like a lot, watch good movies, learn new stuff, go outside when it’s nice, etc.
Let go of anger that is pointless.
Write all the things.
Clean my house all the time so I like being there, instead of once every few weeks when I am angry about my house being gross.
You know, all the things people say you should do to be happy. (The last one is probably not on everyone’s list, but it is important to me.)

My grandmother did what this kid did when she found out she was terminal, and a lot of the things she had on her list, except I think she was doing most of those things already. She didn’t stop being annoyed about annoying things or otherwise a normal human being, but in perspective. As far as I could tell, the only regret she had was not having time to do all the things she wanted to — and that’s after seventy-something years of being pretty bad-ass. If there’s that much awesomeness to live, I’d better get on it.

I think living like you’re dying when you’re not dying in any immediate sense is subtly different from living like you’re dying when you know you have weeks or months to live, because you can’t just stop doing things required of humans, like going to work and thinking about the long-term implications of your life choices. But only subtly different. I love my job and obsessively think about the long-term implications of my life choices as it is, so maybe my shift should be to think less hard about the long-term implications and do more small things just because they are the things I’d want to have done with my life if I didn’t have years ahead of me to put them off.

For now, I’ll count it a success that I emerged deeply fulfilled from a day I would normally promise myself to get on meds and write off as a waste.

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