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Monday
Jul112016

How to heal our country

Timely paragraph in "Black Look- Race and Representation" by bell hooks. It's going to take White America to admit there's a problem, that they've partaken in, benefitted from, and ignored the colonization and destruction of an entire group of people in history and today for real change to happen. Liberation is not just for the oppressed. It frees the destructive mind of the oppressor and opens their hearts to the joy of loving humanity.

-Shanelle Gabriel

Sunday
Jul102016

Blog: Neglecting Lupus

There are times when I neglect my lupus so much that someone could call ACS on me. Lupus is a part of, and like a baby, I should nurture my health. But I go through these seasons where I pretend lupus isn't a part of me. I mean, I never asked for this cranky child that changes lives, expects me to plan around it, makes me go to bed early, stay up late, cancel dates, stop drinking, sit still, and pacify it with meds. I'm expected to keep my lupus close to my chest because at any point in time, it can wake and it will scream into my joints and bones.

I think anyone with a chronic illness has seasons where they want to pretend it doesn't exist. We watch our friends giggle and chat during a day at the mall, not wanting to be the one to say that your body is ready to go. We let the adrenaline take over as we ignore the late hour, keep dancing, and pretend that, coupled with the dehydration from your friend's birthday shots, we won't feel it the next day...and probably for the next two days. We forget pill boxes on the counter, reschedule doctor appointments when they conflict with work, and miss infusions. We wish our Lupus fog would help us forget we have Lupus instead of forgetting where we put our keys. This brat of a disease sometimes quiets down. But as with real children, quiet can feel like it's getting into something and trouble is a'coming.

Lupus is so unpredictable. But honestly, sometimes it isn't. We know our triggers and what we should do to keep it from acting up and showing out. But it seems easier to try to live life like the young parent whose mom is always down to babysit. Drop lupus off and keep the party (or just the regular life) going. Sadly, it doesn't work that way.

Our stints of disconnecting our lives from our illness, as if the two can't work hand in hand, can put us at risk for severe flares and hospitalizations. Sure, we can have a couple long nights and fun days. But pretending Lupus doesn't exist can cause it to bawl at your joints, keep you up at night, leave you drained during the day, and throw a tantrum so terrible, you'll only desire to be in fetal position for weeks.

I understand wanting to hold on to the life you had when you were single and not paired with a chronic illness. But learning how to have it, grow with it, hate it but still live with it will only benefit me in the long run. Neglecting lupus meant I was neglecting myself. It took a lot to be able to remember that Lupus is something that forces me to listen to my body's cries and nurture my body (something we all need to do with or without an illness). I don't feel guilty for needing to take breaks, power naps, and saying no. I realized the parties I missed were the same as the last ones, and being sober made everyone seem even more hilarious. Even though this brat called Lupus continuously tries to mess up my good time, I still truly believe I can still have a life filled with joy if I just paid it a little attention.
-Shanelle Gabriel

Friday
Apr292016

NaPoMo Day 29: Lifting

She's been stressed lately
Can't always run from her problems
So she barbell presses
the weight of the world off her shoulders
Deadlifts what's holding her down
Getting her life in full Kettlebell swing
Doesn't give a Squat who is in her way
Not looking for kick backs
She earned what's hers
Only lunging forward
Raises her hands to the sky
Her existence has never been a skip and a jump
Left to workout life solo
Support came and then dipped
Roped into dark places
Where most people would curl into a
Medicine ball
But with every fall she pushes up
Remembering that targeting weaknesses
Leads to greater gains
Rather to raise the bar
Than live as a dumb belle
Delicate
Worried over 5 pounds
Potential gathering dust on a shelf
She would rather lift the
Iron that sharpens iron
Never cared about
Being TOO strong for a man
This gym is life
Where who she is gets defined


Wednesday
Apr272016

NaPoMo Day 27: How to kill a student

Tell them they're worthless
Then tell them they're perfect.
Tell them their flaws are their strengths
And their strengths are their flaws
Tell them the world is there's
But leave out the part about
It being hard and unfair
Let them feel like everything they want
Is on the bottom shelf
No need to climb
To fall would be too risky
Make these poor black and brown lives easy
Tell them about their rights
Sing songs about equality
Label their disrespect as freedom of speech
Let their tongues run free
Completely
Don't expect thought or self-control
Teach them to ignore authority
Skills they'll need when
Approached by police
Called out by bosses
Bend rules frequently
Consequences are too hard a concept
Let them believe someone will always
Be there to protect
To save
You,
Keep on trying to save them
Hug them
Cushion them
They are the teddy bears you cuddle
Destined to sit on a prison barred shelf
Let them learn to expect the coddling
So many years of cotton picking
Only to have this generation
Filled with cotton stuffing
Forgetting the strength of steel backs
That silenced a whip's crack
Teach them slavery is a thing of the past
That there's nothing they lack
Tell them the world is colorblind
Tell yourself you see no skin
Only skeleton
Give the kids only bones
Barely scratch their surface
Make graduating their only purpose
If they're not complacent
Tell them they're worthless
Separate them based
How well they fit the status quo
Create futures for those who's tongues
You can hold
If they question you
Or suggest that you don't know what you think you know
About them
Hold them in contempt
Silence their recognition
That somethings wrong with their education
Blame their struggle on themselves
It's their fault if they don't do well
Regardless of hunger pains,
Misdiagnoses, and family strains
They should be able to excel
Suspend and expel
Anyone not compelled by your rhetoric
Including
those that challenge your thinking
Suppress anyone who knows they don't need
Another pillow to catch them
But
That Brillo pad type of scrubbing
To be made to shine
To be able succeed
Through the subconscious destruction
Within every human interaction
And an inherently racist system
Smother them
Watch them bleed their potential
Choke on the White guilt
You shove down their throats
Give them your smiles
Give them your soft touch
Your praise and hi-5s
And pray that it will be enough
To keep them alive
To keep them free
To keep them employed
To keep them warm as an adult
Wandering through life

Tuesday
Apr262016

NaPoMo Day 26: Intimacy

Life is about
Caressing days
Squeezing hours
Massaging minutes
Shaking hands with seconds
Tongue-kissing moments
Marrying memories
Nothing lasts forever