Monday, February 18, 2013

It's a....

Well Marcial and I found out on Vday what we are having!  We also found out that the baby is within the 63rd percentile for weight and does not have a cleft palate/lip.  However, the technologist could not see the baby's spine because of the way it was lying so we have to go back to look at the spine and the kidneys.

Finding out the sex was much more emotional that I had considered it being.  I think I had myself pretty well convinced that I was ok with either gender, however, when the time came I was very nervous. When we found out the tears came (happy or sad, yet to come...).  The whole experience has been very emotional.

I have been surprised to see how many women come and go to the appointments without anyone else.  I wonder if they have just done it all before and don't feel they need a support person, or if they don't have someone they can rely on.  I am sure there are both of those aspects at every clinic.

I am thankful that my husband has the time to come with me, and so thankful that I am in a strong healthy relationship so that I can feel supported as well as share in the joy/angst/anticipation of this whole process with someone.

Marcial and I in Houston last year.

I am also so lucky to have other support people, especially my mom, my sister, and my friend Annie.

Marcial and my wedding 2011

We are announcing the sex at the baby shower so until then it's a SURPRISE!  In the meantime enjoy some ultrasound pictures: 


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The road to revolution...

Below is one of my favorite pictures from the Peace Corps. I can't believe it has been 2.5 years since I have come back to the states. That time was such a challenging time, but reflecting on it makes me feel stronger and definitely nostalgic.

 I was 22 years old when I went into the Peace Corps; that is younger than my sister! I can't believe all that has transpired since I have been back. I have been in and out of relationships, changed careers, moved three times, lost my beautiful grandmother, met a wonderful man from across the ocean who just happened to be taking a chemistry class right next to mine. Married that man within six months of knowing him :) and here I am pregnant expecting in June! This baby will be the first biracial/bicultural baby in either of our families, more to come on that later I am sure.

 Of course this blog is all about making what you want a tangible reality and what I want is a healthy family that is inspired every day to contribute to the happiness of each other and the well being of the world around them. I want a career that I enjoy and in which I can make a real contribution to society. More to come on all of these... until then, please enjoy the pictures below :)

  My kids from Mason Hall, St. Mary, Jamaica (this is 4 years ago!!)

My husband and I with my sister's dog, Savannah.

My grandmother in between her brothers.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Thoughts on Tourism

*This post is a cross-post from a response I posted in the Zimbabwe Cafe (in the groups section of PulseWire, an aspect of World Pulse). I thought I would post my thoughts here in my blog so I could open the conversation up to others that I am connected with. Please share your thoughts!! As always, Much Peace- Sharese

After living in a country whose main source of income was from tourism (Jamaica) I can tell you that tourism brings a lot of evil along with money. There is much issue with the commoditization of people on multiple levels, the least of which is that very little money generated by tourism is seen by the country the resorts are in (as most resorts are not owned by country nationals) and even less is seen by the people who actually do the work in said resorts. The worst of which is human trafficking and forced sex work. (I say least and worst on my personal scale- others may differ. Regardless, both are terrible and there are many more problems that tourism brings than just these two).

I think that learning about other cultures and promoting your own culture is a beautiful thing- if done right. Unfortunately the learning and living is consistently overshadowed by the almighty dollar. And the true nature of the country is destroyed (literally) in order to build some version of a white person's dream of what "exotic" Southern Africa should look like (you can see this all over the Caribbean).

I am not trying to be a debbie-downer, but I think when we talk about building tourism it is a tricky subject and should not be looked at lightly. With the beautiful beaches people will also shift their gaze to the people and often tourists do not see the people as humans like themselves but instead see them as an attraction- like the beach itself (check out "I live in a Place" posted further down on this blog for a personal feeling of this example) and this, in my opinion is unacceptable.

All of these issues need to be in the discussion of tourism development. Unfortunately up until now they are not. I hope that if Mozambique does decide to go the tourist route it does not turn into a neo-colonial settlement as so many other areas whose main income generation is tourism.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

In the news...

The Peace Corps was recently featured in the Jamaican Observer for their work with HIV/AIDS. My artwork even got featured :) Woo who! I am pretty pumped. A lot of volunteers are doing good work and I am happy it is being recognized. Check it out here.

In other news I am working on some pretty great projects myself. I am working on a Teen Sexuality Conference for May as well as working on an art project by the girls in the girls' home to be featured at Kingston on the Edge Urban Art Festival. You can check out that here.

Keep sending good vibes and changing the world where you are!

Peace and Love,

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Feminists Will Never Be Satisfied...

I originally wrote this for a Women’s History class a few years ago. It is written to be a spoken word piece. In light of the recent blow to women's health care and choice with the Stupak Amendment I decided to go find it and post it as a sort of rally cry.

The Feminists Will Never Be Satisfied.

The other day someone said “those feminists will never be satisfied”. And I thought …“you’re right”.

As much as I would like to nod my head and say "thank you" for all the rights that I have, and as much as I would like to smile, just be pretty and clap my hands,

I know that the freedoms I enjoy today were taken- radically- by the foremothers before me.

Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Sarah Winnemucca, Frances Harper, Ida B. Wells, Mary Kenney, Carey Thomas, Lucy Stone, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony.

Each of these women fought with their minds, words, and bodies for people's sovereignty.

They weren’t satisfied with the prescription of what it meant to be a woman. Black women on their back, in the house- not their own house- and domesticated. Brown women invisible, killed off, bred out and assimilated. White women, quiet with no voice or opinion, their words negated.

No. They were not satisfied.

This country was built on the backs of women and born from between their thighs. Yet they had to wait for over 150 before they even had basic citizen’s rights.

And they weren’t given it. They took it.

As nice as it would be for me to nod my head and say “thank you” for all of the rights that I have, and as much as I would like to smile, just be pretty and clap my hands,
I know that rights I enjoy today were not taken easily.

Rosa Parks, Margaret Mead, Gloria Anzaldua, Angela Davis Audre Lourde, Fannie Lou Hamer, bell hooks, Dolores Huerta, Aice Walker, Mary Daly.

These women have changed world dramatically.

The un-satisfaction of these women is why we are all free to sit in this room together, and it is out of respect for these women and the sacrifices they made, the voices they projected, the bodies they exhausted, the tears they shed, the hands they held, the breathes they took and gave that I call myself a feminist.

See, it’s a respect thing.

Because I realize that it is not something god given that I walk down these streets freely.

I do not believe in grace or chance or luck or wishing. I believe in talking and shouting, in standing up by your sister, in voting, in being seen and heard, in not being a passive by-stander, in letting people have choices, in writing, and protesting, in projecting and in being… un-satisfied.

Because it is not complacency that will give my daughter freedom, and it is not apathy that will give me rule over my own body, and it is not melancholy that will make my mother proud.

And no, we will not be satisfied.

So complacent, apathetic and melancholy is not what I will be, because I am afraid of the continuity.

Women still make less than men for the same job, gender roles still exist, rape is still one of the hardest crimes to prosecute, girls are still getting their clitorises cut off, sexual harassment is still rampant and our government is at war with women’s bodies.

So as much as I would like to nod and say “thank you” for all of the rights I have, as much as I would like to smile, just be pretty and clap my hands-

Instead I stand beside the women of today: Adrienne Rich, Jee Yeun Lee, Jennifer Baumgardner, Amy Richards, Kathleen Hanna, Rebecca Walker, Catherine Orenstein, Naomi Klein and all the others that say “I will not be satisfied”.

Because satisfaction did not get us here, and we are not turning back.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I live in a place...

I live in a place where the people struggle to find their own identity between what the past and present dominant cultures tell them they should be. I live in a place where people are commodities, and it has been that way for centuries. Here, there is a new-age slavery "bend over, touch your toes, show your teeth, lift her titties, exam his balls- damn near sounds like a (dancehall) song, but it's slavery at it's peak"*.

I live in a place where women are the hardest working and least respected. Where sexual harrassment is so ingrained in the culture that most people don't even understand the reason for or the consequences of their words and actions. I live in a place where sexuality, for girls, often is not discovered but rather forced on them.

I live in a place that is not safe for women.

I live in a beautiful place, palm trees and sea. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful people- bodies, mind and soul. Vibrancy and pulse trying to break through the sound of the pre-recorded "caribbean" music playing for tourists coming off ships and planes to discover this exotic land where they have "no problems". I liven a place that those tourists will not see, because they don't hear my girls singing so loud and on a key all their own,because they don't see the tears streaming from Aunt P's eyes as she laughs at every situation because "so it go".

I live in place where the people are commodities, take a picture of them, talk to them like they are a facinating part of this "exotic" culture, try to convert them to your religion, let them play with your "good" hair, but don't listen to their journey and absolutely don't try to see yourself in them because that would be too real. Then you might have to feel something, do something...

I live in this place. Where do you live?

*Song Lyrics taken from Sunni Pattersons "We Made It"

Thursday, September 24, 2009

When did YOU become a feminist?

Recently a friend and I had the "when did you become a feminist?" discussion. For many feminists I have spoken with, if they were not raised with the idea of feminism in their family there usually was an "aha" moment of putting together the pieces of all the injustices and inequalities around them and that eventually (or sometimes immediately) evolved into feminism.

Here's my story: Like every high schooler all over the United States of America I had body image issues of not being pretty enough/ thin enough/ cool enough, etc. I thought I was alone in these thoughts, that I was the only person in my high school who was struggling with these insecurities. Then, my senior year my college credit English teacher introduced me to Jean Kilbourne and her book Can't Buy My Love. Suddenly I realized that not only was I not alone in thinking I was not a good enough person because I didn't fit the beauty standards shown in my Seventeen magazine, but in fact advertisers were actually trying to make me have lower self-esteem so that I would buy their products to make myself more "adequate" to society. This was a revolution in my mind. During this time I also discovered The Vagina Monologues and the V-day campaign. I knew that as soon as I got to college I had to find a safe place to express my views and help me grow in my feminism.

Enter: the Women's Center. This was a place where I truly grew in my college career. I had the opportunity to be in and co-direct the Vagina Monologues, hear internationally renowned advocates speak on women's rights, march with Take Back the Night, have conversations with other people interested in human rights in all capacities, etc etc etc. It was truly a growing experience for me.

I now dedicate my life to working toward human rights for all people, especially women and girls. Feminism has made something positive and wonderful out of the negativity that society throws at us because of greed- and this is why I am a feminist.