An open letter to my parents

An open letter to my parents

Thank you

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where can I find words that will tell you that

daffodils in the yard are wet hair and clean outfits

pictures before services

picture that

maybe the words are in between

our fingers as we braid the strings on our tallit

or on the tip of the tongues of the couple

that whisper with megaphones

you will find some of the words tucked into

small folded notes the size of my nine

year old hand

the size of my thirteen year old hand

the size of my nineteen

twenty year old hand

as I unwrap them to find your love written against

a white background waiting for me to find it

to absorb it

into my chest and through my eyes

find the words in my eyes

and your eyes

and your eyes

in our eyes

they are the same

in the black and white photo that hangs on the stairs

we are still those people

those people made us

who we are today

where can I find the words to tell you

what will always smell like home

was made so long ago

I didn't know scents would make me cry

until the art building at school

smelled like sawdust

and the pavement in the morning

smelled like rain

when Challah filled the Eliot House

if I could pick the smells

that were home to me

I would pick those three

again and again and again

pick me again and again and again

when you look up into the stars

I'll chose you

silhouetted against the constellations

paper lanterns in hand

as we watch moments we can't hold

slip away from us up towards the moon

I want to find the words to say

I hold you in everything that I do

the way I speak to people

comes from mornings in between you snuggled in bed

it comes from jump rope times tables and pencils practicing perfect print

and it comes from hands pressed against earmuffs

leaving round imprints on the sides of my face

for the moments when I could not hear you at all

were the ones when I learned the most

silences in folding chairs in the Fil-Am Hall

the floorboards smiled at me and told me

no matter where I go

or who I choose to be

I will forever and always have people

who will hold me and treat me as their own

people who will know what kugel is and how the Debbie Friedman version goes

silences in the downstairs of the Kitsap Regional Library

pressed between couch cushions and characters

the pages winked at me and reminded me

books are the best cure for loneliness

and it's okay to get lost

if you smell the pages

it will be easier to find your way out

when you're in a bookstore you don't recognize

books are a good place to find the words to say

the way I walk through the world

comes from sticky seatbelts in the back of a white Volkswagen

and the popped top

it comes from New Brooklyn hills on bike and the grass at BPA

was always a little bit wet

early morning on Saturdays

when the concrete pad came alive

with people who greeted us as if we were something special

because you held our hands

I want to find the words to tell you

because of game night

and late night

cookies

I know it's okay to read the directions or the recipe

nobody is born already knowing them

let other players pick what color they want to be first

except every once in awhile you should pick first

it's okay to go first

and it's okay to go to bed

first

and not feel bad because it's important

sometimes to get what you want

and need

thank you for needing us

into your bread and

your palms as you held us

a few inches from the freshly turned dirt

teaching us

different seeds have different depths to plant them at

it's okay if they don't come up right away

water them and wait

read to them if you'd like

because we've tried it and we know

sometimes that helps

and please

when august comes

remind me

no two summer squash are the same

the stems are spikey

so you should bring a kitchen towel with you to wrap them in or

just be careful

because sometimes things hurt you on accident

it's important that you try to forgive them

in order to forget

don't forget

to turn the burner off when you're done

and always make a little extra

because leftovers are almost as good as fresh ingredients

I want to find the words to say

thank you

to say thank you endlessly

for your never ending warmth and wisdom

your unwavering confidence in us

your unparalleled and immense love

and most importantly

through imperfections and impulses

impatience, improv, and improvements,

thank you for making sure that we are part of the few

who know how to

sew a button.

Cover Image Credit:

Mira Rosenkotz

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My Freckles Are Not A Beauty Trend For You To Appropriate And Immitate

Those with faces full of freckles can't wipe them off like you can after a photo shoot.

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While it is fun to use makeup to express yourself, one can argue unless you are in costume, it should be used to enhance your features, not create new ones. The trend of artificial freckles puts a nasty taste in my mouth reminiscent to the feeling I get when I see a Caucasian woman apply such dark foundation to her face that she appears to be donning blackface.

To someone who has a face full of freckles, it is offensive to see you paint on freckles as if they were not permanent features of other people's skin that they cannot remove with a makeup wipe. I remember asking my cousin at 5 years old if I could surgically remove my freckles and crying when she broke to me that I'd be stuck with what she called giraffe spots my whole life.

I'm not alone in feeling self-conscious about my freckles. The face is the fulcrum of the identity, and it can feel like my facial identity is like a haphazard splash of orange/brown debris. Another against the fake freckles movement retorts: "you'll soon regret them when people begin to describe you as a polka-dot-skinned troll or a cinnamon-toast-faced goblin. Also, when your eyebags start to sag in middle-age, that 'cute' skin art will probably deteriorate into something more closely resembling oblong blackheads. Sincerely, A Freckled Person"

One woman recalls her struggle with accepting the patterns of her skin from a very young age:

“When I was a young girl, I remember staring at myself in my bathroom mirror and imagining my face without the scattered brown dots that littered my face and body. I dreamed of having the small imperfections removed from my face and obtaining the smooth porcelain skin that I envied. I looked at my bare-faced friends in awe because they had what I wanted and would never know. For some odd reason, I had made myself believe that my freckles made me ugly."

I've come to appreciate the beauty of these sun kisses, and many nowadays have too. However, freckles haven't always been considered cute. There is a history of contempt toward red reader freckled people, just ask Anne Shirley! The dramatic young heroine laments: "Yes, it's red," she said resignedly. "Now you see why I can't be perfectly happy. Nobody could who had red hair. I don't mind the other things so much — the freckles and the green eyes and my skinniness. I can imagine them away. I can imagine that I have a beautiful rose-leaf complexion and lovely starry violet eyes. But I cannot imagine that red hair away. I do my best. I think to myself, "Now my hair is a glorious black, black as the raven's wing." But all the time I know it is just plain red, and it breaks my heart. It will be my lifelong sorrow." (Montgomery).

Historically, freckles on ones face have been seen as dirty or imperfect. It's easy to forget that Irish features such as red hair and freckles have been subject to hateful discrimination for centuries. In some places, the word ginger is even used as a slur.

I am not a red-headed stepchild for you to beat — or for you to appropriate.

My facial texture is not a toy for you to play with.

It is rude and inconsiderate to pock your face for a selfie while those with randomly splashed spots get someone once a week trying to rub off the "dirt speck" on their face.

Greg Stevens has a theory to why there is anti-red prejudice

“Skin tone is another one of those well-studied features that has been shown to consistently have an impact on people's assessment of physical beauty: Those with clear, evenly-colored skin are widely regarded as being more attractive than people with patchy, blotchy, or freckled skin.
Nowhere is this more obvious than when looking at professional photos of redheaded models and celebrities. Even those "hot redheads" that flaunt the redness of their hair usually are made-up on magazine covers to have almost unnaturally even skin tones. Moreover, there is a reasonable theory to explain why the bias against freckles might be more than just a cultural prejudice. Not to be too blunt about it, but freckles are cancer factories."

By that, the author means freckles can be early indicators of sun damage or skin cancer. This illusion that freckles indicate deficiency may also play in negative connotations toward a person with freckles

While I acknowledge the intention of people with clear skin who paint freckles on their face isn't to offend — rather it is to appreciate freckles as a beauty statement — the effect is still offensive. If you are thinking about trying this freckle fad, you should put down your fine tipped brush and consider what it would be like if you couldn't wipe away the spots.

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No, Plants Do Not Feel The Same Pain As Animals

Vegans will not be eating air.
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There is a present argument regarding the idea that “plants feel pain” and therefore vegans are invalid in specifically dodging animal products. This, among many other myths and accusations, will be briefly debunked in this article.

Plants respond to stimuli, but plants don’t have the emotional sentience or feel pain and terror like animals (as developing it had no purpose evolutionarily because fear and pain are meant to trigger fight or fight response & plants can’t do either).

Meanwhile, animals (cows, piggies, deer, bears, chickens, and even fish —- just like dogs, cats, horses, and dolphins) suffer tremendously in being wounded, killed, having babies taken away, seeing others killed, anticipation of death, etc.

No one wants to think about it but look into the investigative journalism into modern animal ag practices and it’ll pretty much ruin your life knowing we all grew up on that. It’s horrible and cloaked by corruption-ruled lobbying, just like we see with gun laws and the NRA. Hence the dozens of Netflix documentaries, and mysterious deaths and assassinations of journalists looking into meat industry (especially its impact on climate change) worldwide (and, as you might know, meat in America is largely run by international companies.)

Looking at exploitation of the farmers they’re so quick to use in “happy lil milk cow!!!” marketing, and researching the testimonies of everyone from doctors to lawyers to small bought-out chicken producers, and it doesn’t take long after that. It’s bad for the farmers, it’s bad for the animals, it’s bad for the slaughterhouse and processing workers, it’s bad for the planet, it’s bad for the human body. I happen to think it’s bad morally, but many things we stay ignorant to for convenience in this society are.

There’s also a ton of research and writing on the intersection of racism, sexism, and xenophobia in speciesism, and how the current state of animal life and human laborer exploitation for the massive one percenter food industry execs (who, by the way, run American distribution and production but also run small US “yeoman” farmers into destitution and have US investigators killed in Brazil over their muckraking) is another gross abuse of a capitalist system. That’s another conversation.

The number one contributer to deforestation (esp. in Indonesian rainforests, relying on lumbar poachers) is cattle production. A massive contributor to carbon emissions is cattle production and its waste. And before I hear another person say “stop caring so much about animals when there are actual human kids in deep poverty out there”… there is enough plants and especially grain to feed the world’s starving population twice over that is fed to animals raised for their bodily products - more than twice over! At crop prices far lower than what people pay to eat the same. Because “capitalism.”

And the same systems that create abuse and exploitation of animals also exploit, profit, and institutionalize the abuse of people. It’s the same enemy.

Plus… all evils are evils. We don’t have to stand for one cause only. We can see wrong and stand up every time. It’s about injustice and those that can’t fight for themselves.

This is a really upsetting thing to wake up to when you agree to consider it seriously instead of leaning on “peta stereotypes” and laughing off a seeming fringe lifestyle as kids who never grew up, accepted the desensitization, and picture the children’s world of Charlotte’s Web behind their dinner.

The reality is horrifying and easily erased with willful ignorance. It’s so much bigger than “cows die and pigs die and chickens are cramped”. Be an adult and do your homework. There’s a reason Anonymous for the Voiceless just shut up and show you. You can’t even imagine. You think it’s a slaughterhouse from a hippie PETA ad. It’s not.

The animals humans eat have complex, self-aware, emotional and cognizant lives.

Pigs have the intelligence of a human 3 year old and can be emotionally attached, or play with, their owners just like puppies.

Cows bond with people and their calves just like horses do.

Not to mention… animal products are straight up bad for your body. And no, consuming them is not how we evolved and not biologically necessary.

(…not to mention unethical and harvested with violent cruelty and full of malpractice, and marketed by big food industry giants the same way big tabbaco got the US addicted to cigarettes.)

No I’m not angry at people who love bacon. I’m concerned about the Society we live in, the exploitation inherent to this capitalist nightmare, and the powerful figures behind it digging Scrooge graves with money.

No it is not immoral to eat meat. It is probably immoral to knowingly support the meat, egg, and dairy industry.

I do believe once you learn about this rabbit hole, really, you can’t ethically keep perpetuating it. (Conscious consumerism is the only Big Move.) In the same way I believe anyone educated beyond ignorance can’t vote for Trump and still be “innocent”. Once you know and still do it anyway, you become immoral and complicit.

Please learn. Be bigger than your assumptions. We should know by now… what we are raised to think isn’t always true.

Cover Image Credit: Anonymous for the Voiceless

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