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Nyahaha, thought you'd never see my stupid rants again, did you??? I'm so pleased to disappoint! >8)

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Chocolate and Slavery

Originally posted by _samalander at Chocolate and Slavery
On a serious note: It's October and in a few days kids will be begging for candy at your door. Lets talk about chocolate.

Did you know that cocoa farmers engage in human trafficking and slave labor to make your chocolate bar? They do.

Did you know that TEN YEARS ago there was an international protocol passed requiring chocolate makers to work to end child slavery? There was, and people were too busy patting themselves on the back to enforce it, so nothing has changed.

Think a boycott will just hurt the people who make those 15 cents a day? You're missing the big picture.

Addicted to chocolate? Fine, here are the Fair-Trade companies that don't use slave labor.

Want to give money to supporting international labor rights? You can do that, too.

Want to learn about better candies to give out at Halloween? I have an app for that.

Mississippi Personhood Amendment

Originally posted by gabrielleabelle at Mississippi Personhood Amendment
Follow up post to address common questions/concerns is here.

Okay, so I don't usually do this, but this is an issue near and dear to me and this is getting very little no attention in the mainstream media.

Mississippi is voting on November 8th on whether to pass Amendment 26, the "Personhood Amendment". This amendment would grant fertilized eggs and fetuses personhood status.

Putting aside the contentious issue of abortion, this would effectively outlaw birth control and criminalize women who have miscarriages. This is not a good thing.

Jackson Women's Health Organization is the only place women can get abortions in the entire state, and they are trying to launch a grassroots movement against this amendment. This doesn't just apply to Mississippi, though, as Personhood USA, the group that introduced this amendment, is trying to introduce identical amendments in all 50 states.

What's more, in Mississippi, this amendment is expected to pass. It even has Mississippi Democrats, including the Attorney General, Jim Hood, backing it.

The reason I'm posting this here is because I made a meager donation to the Jackson Women's Health Organization this morning, and I received a personal email back hours later - on a Sunday - thanking me and noting that I'm one of the first "outside" people to contribute.

So if you sometimes pass on political action because you figure that enough other people will do something to make a difference, make an exception on this one. My RSS reader is near silent on this amendment. I only found out about it through a feminist blog. The mainstream media is not reporting on it.

If there is ever a time to donate or send a letter in protest, this would be it.

What to do?

- Read up on it. Wake Up, Mississippi is the home of the grassroots effort to fight this amendment. Daily Kos also has a thorough story on it.

- If you can afford it, you can donate at the site's link.

- You can contact the Democratic National Committee to see why more of our representatives aren't speaking out against this.

- Like this Facebook page to help spread awareness.

Follow up post to address common questions/concerns is here.



The dude from Clark's Pest Control is here and has begun working on the house. My folks decided to put down the money to get this house rat proofed good and proper, including sealing the holes in the vents that were found by the Clark guys, as well as sealing the holes in the kitchen walls to keep the rats from coming inside. Hopefully there'll be no place for them to go except under the house where we'll have traps waiting for them. The pest control guys are also supposed to put down 3 poison bait stations around the house, according to Ronni. I'll be periodically going out to the dude working outside to check on his progress and see what he's done. I was told by Jerry, the first guy that inspected the house a couple weeks ago, that they'd go under the house to seal the holes in the vents. I know there's not much room down there, and this guy told me he'd do what he could and would have to do some of them from the outside since there wouldn't be enough room to do it from underneath. We'll see, anyway. He told me Jerry would be sealing up the holes in the kitchen, so whenever he does that, I'll ask him more questions. These guys keep saying it's best to get it done right, so they at least sound serious about their work.

I've been setting up fanfics on my kindle that Santino got me for my bday this year. I hadn't really used it till recently. I bought The Hobbit and started reading that, since we've been seeing stuff online that's gotten us excited for the movie, and I had never actually read the book before. I also got a compilation of H.P. Lovecraft stories on the kindle, which I haven't yet read. I just figured out how to set up my own documents on the thing, so I've been looking for good fanfics, and I'd love any recommendations. If you know a good TF fic, link me up in the comments! 8)

Writer's Block: Globetrotting

If you were given the opportunity to spend two weeks in any country in the world free of charge, which country would you choose, and why?

At first thought, I'd say Japan. After giving it a bit more thought, I'd say I'd stay right here in America- IF i could use that "free of charge" rule to pay off my outstanding bills in one fell swoop. Lollll 8P


So I wanted to make a little duct tape shoulder bag to display the quilted fabric postcard that rageai sent me some time ago and also hold some of my enamel pendants while I mosey about Botcon, but I have no experience in making anything with duct tape. Nevertheless, I got myself a roll of black tape last night from Michael's and started the project. I got it mostly done by the time I went to bed, and today I finished making the flap with a magnetic closure and the shoulder strap. It looks goofy and so amateur... I love it XDD And the postcard looks really nice in it, too! 8)))))



My mind works too fast for me to think straight long enough to get my thoughts down. I used to be better at it before, but I'm out of practice with writing so much that it's become a lot more difficult. I should write more often to get back into the swing of it, writing here helps me cope more than just keeping it all to myself.

The minds of individuals work differently from person to person. In terms of coping, it's probably most typical that people distract themselves from unpleasant thoughts or memories with enjoyable activities or other outside stimuli to take their mind off of it. Some people turn inward and use their imagination in an attempt to stimulate the mind differently for an alternate emotional reaction, though sometimes that is more difficult for some people who are addicted to the cycle of negative thinking. In searching for low self-esteem treatment, I've found that the outside distraction method is typically encouraged. It's a good method, provided it doesn't lead to substance abuse; everyone needs a healthy amount of fun time to balance out the stress in their lives.

Personally, I've found I dwell on negative memories more than I like. I can't help it, they're things I can't let go of no matter how much I want to. I've always been a bit of a crybaby, and it doesn't take much time of brooding over certain things for me to get all upset and weepy. In the past 5 years or so, I've become much more emotional from PMS than I'd noticed before. Amy mentioned a medical condition that described extreme negative emotion during PMS, which I cannot remember, but it made me wonder about my general wellbeing in terms of my emotions. I try to vent them regularly, in private. I don't like keeping them bottled up for too long, so I go for a while and have a good cry every now and then. That's been happening more and more often since I started dating. I always thought it was because people were insensitive and I just felt hurtful because of it, but then I imagine that I'm just being too serious all the time. I've ALWAYS been this way, though.

I used to always cope with memories by turning inward first and trying to distract myself using imagination. It usually worked. It helps a lot when I'm on a good roll playing video games, too. Recently, though, I've come to face the negative thoughts & memories head first, and it's tremendously exhausting. I guess I've just grown tired of avoiding them, I've always thought I shouldn't have to avoid them, and that I shouldn't have them in the first place. I always feel like I have more emotionally negative memories than positive ones, and that makes me so damn mad. I've been focusing on them more, analyzing them as much as I can, in an attempt to figure out the best method to cope with them and move past it all. So far, all I've managed to do is create more grief than it's worth, but I haven't given up. It frustrates me because I hate being so emotional when I know it effects other people around me, and I don't want to do that. So I keep at it, hoping I can figure it out, so I can stop hurting inside, so I can stop hurting others.

Sometimes, when I'm having a good cry and remembering those particularly painful things, I end up having a one-sided verbal conversation because I reflexively feel like talking about it, even if it's to myself. If I'm particularly out of control, which doesn't happen too often, thank god, I have a 2 sided verbal conversation. I wondered in the past if it was a serious problem, but considering how rarely it occurs, I don't think it is. I'd rather do that than physically hurt myself, so I just consider it as another coping method. Today's the first day of pain and bleeding this month, and I'm lacking a bit of sleep as I got to bed late and woke up early this morning to let the dogs outside and feed them breakfast since my folks are away on a trip. Sleep deprivation, PMS & brooding over memories guided me into my regular bout of crying. I got to talking to myself about some people that I remembered who hurt me from elementary school, and the conversation jumped around as I remembered different classmates and teachers, and the different memories I had of them.

I always came back to the same person and the same instance when they tricked me. I hadn't realized the deception at the time it happened, and it took several years before I looked back and realized the scope of their plot against me and how daft I was when I unwittingly took the bait. That's how it always happened, and it hurts when I think back on those instances knowing that I was so fucking stupid because I was so honestly trusting- because I just wanted to be friends. But being as daft as I was, I was the prime target of stupid pranks, so it was decided that I wasn't going to have many friends. Of course the people I did consider friends would sometimes take advantage of my stupidity sometimes, since they couldn't help themselves. I once read that school children are the cruelest people you'll ever meet, and I know this to be a universal truth.

My mind briefly wandered away from the unpleasant school memories and I instead remembered a couple nights ago when I was itching to draw but I recognized that it's been a long time since I've felt a real inspiration to make art. I remember when I started losing the inspiration, when I was going to school in LA and when I lost faith in my religion. The religion itself had no direct correlation with my artistic inspiration, but losing faith made me generally depressed, and I usually don't feel like doing much when I'm depressed. I had mostly done fanart up till then, and I guess I just got bored with fanart during the time I was studying animation. I lost motivation and self-confidence, and I struggled with just showing up to class regularly. Grades dropped, graduation was delayed, and I found increasingly less reasons to feel good about myself. At that point, I had no more good feelings associated with drawing.

I remember whenever I did draw in the past, it was always with optimism and the express intent of improving on a specific element, whether it was overall body posture, hands or facial expression. I focused on the latter more than anything else, as I typically drew what I subconsciously considered ideal: most of my drawings had characters with some sort of positive expression. When I was very young, I drew the typical & classic smiling stick figure family on a flat horizon, a little square house with a little square window and a triangle roof, poorly drawn smiling flowers, smiling fluffy clouds, and a smiling sun radiating lines of sunshine. If it could have character, if I could draw a smiling face on it, I did. Because that's what I thought was ideal, and it's what I wanted and what I expected in life. Years later, I find it as more reason to feel bitter. I was so honestly trusting of life, the world, fate... of course I'll someday be married and live in a house with a loving, happy family. Who wouldn't end up that way?

Some years ago, I remember I was thinking about how I always drew characters with positive expressions, and wondered about drawing the opposite. An illustration of a character feeling the worst extreme of negative emotions, something with a face contorted with strain, screaming from sorrow, pain, rage or madness. It's a striking visual idea to me, something I never considered drawing before, but the impact of the shock value drew me in. I then imagined trying to draw something similar, but instead of a general expression of screaming that could be interpreted as any one of the four, I focused on one of undeniable emotional pain, the worst expression of uncontrollable sobbing, complete with reddened skin, puffy eyes and disgusting wetness. The most woeful expression goes hand in hand with the most disgusting mess. From the first time I thought of it, I've wanted to draw it. And then I've wanted to draw a whole series of it, several illustrations of the same thing in varying intensities and compositions. It's something I hadn't really seen before, so it held my interest, but I never attempted it because I lacked confidence in my artistic abilities at that point.

Thinking back to that one instance in school years ago when that one classmate who took advantage of my honesty, I wondered how I might interpret the negative emotions I associated with the memory in a drawing; what would the composition be, the different visual elements involved, etc. I thought about the different important aspects of the trick that was played on me, how I could use them to make an interesting visual. As I thought about trying to create an art piece from the memory, I realized that I didn't hurt from thinking about it. I considered other painful memories, how I might make an illustration based on them, and I still felt no negative emotional response. I was surprised at this, and I remembered my interest in drawing emotionally distraught characters, and then I came to a thought. I no longer find interest in drawing what I used to draw so regularly, but strangely, I do find artistic inspiration from emotional pain, and in doing so, I found a way to move past painful memories that I was previously unable to cope with.

I finally ended my one-sided conversation. "I figured it out," I said. "Oh my god. I figured it out." Then I cried some more. It was a good cry.

To anyone who has read this far, and to those who are willing to spill their soul out to me, I ask this question: What is the worst emotional pain you've experienced, and from what circumstance did it occur? The most personal pains can hold the most important lessons, and I've decided I'd rather learn from them rather than avoid them by way of distraction. Besides, if it can help inspire me to draw again, then it must be something good.



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