There's a lot of small things going on in my life, and I've been thinking of ways to share them with my friends and community, both near and far. I've decide to put out a monthly digest at the beginning of each month with some topics on my mind. If there are other categories you'd like to see in future months, leave me a comment!
What I'm Learning
I've been learning so much from Dr. Adrienne Keene, who is a Native American professor at Brown University. Adrienne uses her twitter account to draw attention to Native issues, erasure, and appropriation. It's embarrassing to admit how little I knew or understood about Native American culture beyond #NoDAPL. Most people, if they refer to Natives at all, talk about them in the past-tense, as if they don't exist anymore. Natives are left off of almost every poll and population study, effective erasing them from our collective consciousness. I've just scratched the surface of how much I have to learn about the history and present life of Native Americans.
One of the most basic, but powerful, things I've learned from Adrienne and others is how the term "spirit animal" is appropriating Native culture. Spirit animals are a sacred part of many Native cultures, and it isn't appropriate for non-Natives to use the term flippantly. I've referred to my spirit animal since I was in middle school, never once considering what I was saying. But I know now, so there's no excuse. Plus, there are plenty of great alternative terms. Personally, I like to tell people that my patronus is a parrot. Other good options:
Coat of arms/blazon
What I'm Reading
Over spring break, I read the absolutely adorable Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon. It's coming out as a movie on May 19th starring the fabulous Amandla Stenberg and I can't wait. I love a good YA novel, particularly by a woman of color.
What I'm Eating
Okay, this is technically a drink, but I'm putting it in this category because it's homemade. I recently made a Rosemary Gin Fizz and it's legitimately life changing. I love a good cocktail and this might be my favorite one yet. Don't overthink the measurements. Just shake it up and enjoy.
-2 oz Gin
-1/2 oz Rosemary Syrup
-1/2 oz Lemon Juice
-3 oz Club Soda
-Lemon slide or rosemary sprig for garnish
1. Rosemary syrup is made by boiling 1:1 ratio of water and sugar with several rosemary sprigs. Let cool and strain
2. Shake gin, lemon juice, and rosemary shaker.
3. Strain into glass with fresh ice. Fill to top with club soda and add garnishes.
What I'm Watching
I just started watching Hulu's new series, "The Handmaid's Tale" based on Margaret Atwood's 1985 novel. It's haunting relevant and so well done. I read the book earlier this year and the adaptation is better than I could have hoped for. It's pretty graphic, but well worth it.
What I'm Listening to
I am obsessed with the podcast Pod Save America, and pretty much everything Crooked Media does. I love politics, but staying current with the current administration makes me want to cry and/or punch a wall. Listen to the pod makes me a little more sane and a lot more informed. Crooked Media is led by 3 former Obama staffers- head speechwriter Jon Faverau, speechwriting Jon Lovett, and National Security spokesman Tommy Vitor. They know what they're talking about and their objectives of the podcast are to 1) inform about political issue 2) entertain 3) inspire activism. It's fabulous. Crooked Media also has: Pod Save the World, Pod Save the People, With Friends Like These, and Lovett or Leave It.
What I'm Enjoying
Surprisingly, I've really enjoyed going to the YMCA. I've had a gym membership since I moved here and it's become an important part of my life here. I go to exercise classes about 5 days a week and I kind of love it. I mean, in the middle of a long set of chest presses I'm cursing my choices, but I love the feeling of getting stronger, of the good kind of sore muscles. If I ever run for office, the thing I'd be most worried about is a video of me doing Zumba, but boy am I having fun doing it!
Where I'm Going
After finals, I'm going backpacking on Cumberland Island, down off the coast of southern Georgia. It's a partially developed island that still has wild horses. I haven't gone backpacking in a long time, so I'm excited to both go to the beach and do some hiking! After that, I head to Orlando for a brief work trip and then to Seattle for two weeks!