Small-Town Elitist

May 20, 2009

Getting serious about this blog and stuff…

Filed under: Uncategorized — by smalltownelitist @ 1:31 am

Hi there all, it’s been another dry spot of no posts from me, huh?

Well, I decided it was time to resolve for once and for all to do more blogging, and make more of the opportunity of my soapbox here.

As you may have noticed, the primary url of the blog has changed to http://www.smalltownelitist.com (woohoo). I finally filled the “About” page of the blog with a bio (and if you would like to see what your Friendly Elitist looks like, my photo is there too). I’ll be adding new links to the blogroll, especially now that I’ve discovered the people with disabilities blogosphere. I made it easier for you to comment – your comments will appear immediately now w/o my approval (so that the discussion here will be less dead), and I’ve made sure that in the event I do need to approve or respond to something, I will know about it much much sooner.

Here’s some of the post topics that should be coming up soon:

* A post about the Psycho Donuts contraversy among the mental health community
* Book review of David Neiwert’s The Eliminationists
* Book review of Nigel Suckling’s Vampires
* Essay about how young jewelry designers are changing what it means to wear pearls
* A post about a charm bracelet creation I’m especially proud of.

Well, hopefully we can all enjoy this blog some more! ๐Ÿ˜‰

May 1, 2009

An Open Letter: Earth to Carrie Prejean!

Miss California USA, Carrie Prejean, as many people know quite well by now, has taken heat for her response to Perez Hilton’s question about whether she supports gay marriage.

It’s this following part of her response that has left me, as a bisexual woman, with a nasty taste in my mouth. Prejean said:

We live in a land that you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage and, you know what, in my country and my family I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman.

I hate to break it to you, Carrie, but while GLBT Americans may not be a part of your family, we *are* a part of this country. The USA does not revolve around you, and your prejudices. I imagine you may be among those who pride themselves for “loving the troops.” How then, do you feel when I tell you that an estimated 650,000 gay veterans of World War II have lived in a country where their brave and valuable service to this country in its time of crisis counted for nothing, and they did not have many of the same rights other WWII military men had upon their return, including marriage equality?

I’m guessing you may not have a reaction, simply because you probably had no idea that the GLBT community served its country bravely and honorably, and despite Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, still continues to till this very day.

As someone who was close to wearing the crown of Miss USA, you must realize that you are representing a vast group of Americans, including the GLBT community. No one has the right to dictate to you what your views on marriage equality are, no matter how bigotted and wrong-headed they may be, but you certainly could have answered the question a thousand times more graciously and gracefully than the alienating manner in which you did.

I hope that you realize these things before you step on the toes of your fellow Americans, who were defending their beliefs and principles long before you and I were even in diapers. Please rethink your shameful wording of your opinions.

Till then, I must say that as a lifelong Californian, and ex-evangelical, I won’t have a Miss California USA who I can be proud represents me until at least 2010.

Annaleigh W., the Small-Town Elitist, who will not give her full identity, simply because I don’t have the same rights as Carrie, including basic safety if my bisexuality were known by my neighbors.

P.S. – I recommend you check out a couple of these links.

April 19, 2009

I really ought to write up a comment policy (why I appreciate the Survivor Blogosphere).

**Please note, this post may trigger!**

I had wanted to lighten things up a bit after my last post, with a fun crafting post where I would show one of my favorite personal pieces that I have made.

But as soon as I log in, I see an ugly reminder in the spam filter of why it can be hard to be a blogger in the Survivor Blogosphere while you are actively healing from sexual violence.

The comment was a spam comment filled with links to pornography, and it was a reply to my survivor story of what I went through, no less.

I used to blog at Blessed Fearscapes mostly about the subject of sexual violence while I was actively working on my healing, and I can tell you that there are spammers with absolutely no shame. When I wrote about incest issues, someone would try to post a comment filled with incest videos. The spam filter’s collection would pile up with spam comments for medications, and vile pornographic videos with many different kinds of sexual violence and mistreatment.

Vulnerable survivor bloggers can be emotionally affected by such posts. I know that when I posted at Blessed Fearscapes, that sort of crap could ruin my day. I hate to break to this idiot commenter, but this survivor blogger is in such an advanced state of healing that she simply deleted his detestable comment.

I think it takes a lot of courage for survivors to blog, and to tell their stories, knowing that there are people like this out there. My kudos and thanks to all of you out there! ๐Ÿ™‚

April 17, 2009

In Solidarity With the Shakers: A response to the Survivor Thread.

***Please note that this post may trigger!***

I too have survived multiple sexual assaults, abuse, and disrespect over the years.

I recently discovered the Shakesville blog for myself. Recently a very powerful post and thread was started, the Survivor Thread. Melissa of Shakesville asked the thread’s readers to tell their personal stories of sexual violence, with a gentle attention given to getting survivors of multiple hurts opening up and feeling free to share the magnitiude of what has happened to them.

Here’s some of what Melissa had to say:

And many of us who are survivors of repeat assaults will not speak of it; many of us will pick the “worst” one and talk about that in threads on assault, as if it’s the only one. We do this for many reasons: We might feel embarrassed by being repeatedly victimized, as if it’s indicative of a character flaw within ourselves; we might have trouble discussing multiple assaults without undermining what tenuous feeling of safety we have; we might have faced reactions of incredulity from people with whom we shared this information and thought we could trust; we might have been called liars or hystericsโ€”accusations born of the silence about sexual assault.

I may post there soon to tell my story there personally, but for now, I will try and tell a shorter version (snapshots of my life, if you will) of my story. I tend to be long-winded, but I will try not to write a novel!

My first hurt was as a toddler. For a few months a “friend of the family” had access to me as a 2 and 3 year old. I am reluctant to call that experience rape with certainty. But my mother at that time took to examining me for signs of abuse, and at one point after one such visit she discovered me bleeding in my diaper. So while I was extremely young and can’t completely know what happened to me, the evidence is strong in support of rape. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ On my 4th birthday, we moved to another part of the state, and I never saw him again.

My second hurt, while not sexual abuse, was a violent physical assault at the hands of my father when I was 8 years old. He was drunk, and suffocated me to unconsiousness one horrible summer afternoon.

My third hurts lasted a long five years, and began when I was 9. We visited my great-aunt and great-uncle and their side of the family regularly. It was then my great-uncle began forcibly kissing me and touching me when he could get away with it. It stopped when I was 14 and refused to continue going to their home.

My fourth hurt happened when I was 11. I was in my backyard, playing with a black kitten named Leo, when a man in the house across the street whistled for my attention from his window. When I looked up, he was masturbating.

My fifth hurt happened was I was 15. I was in one of those teenage “sort of” relationships that was abusive. It consisted of unwanted touching, and physical cruelties, like being strangled from behing with a rope, or having the point of a safety pin pushed into the soft skin of my hand.

My sixth hurt happened on May 28, 1999, when I was 17 years old, and 2 weeks before my high school graduation. I was walking to a bus stop with a friend after school when I was chased, caught, and sexually abused on a busy street (with useless onlookers) by five or six guys. My eyes were closed for much of the assault. I didn’t want to face what was happening, and I was just screaming for help and trying to get away, so I don’t know the exact number of assailants I had that day. The exact number of attackers is irrelevant, however. One attempted rapist is one attempted rapist too many already.

My seventh hurt occurred when I was 20 years old, and I can’t speak of it.

My eight hurt began when I was 23. I have been stalked off and on since that point in time, by a man I thought I could trust. He sent sexually abusive messages to me, and eventually I learned he’d been accused of sexually abusive acts before, and also during the stalking.

My ninth hurt happened when I was 25. I was in a relationship with a man who I thought was kind and gentle. He had even protected me from previous abusers. But when I could not make love with him, he became coercive and intimidating. What little sense of safety I had was lost. And my inability to trust or feel safe with men began to rear its head again.

Those are the major things that happened to me. There were a lot of other little things, like getting my butt grabbed at junior high when I didn’t want to be touched, or getting my butt grabbed at a flea market at age 12 by a middle aged man who smirked the most disgusting smirk when I looked up to see who in the crowd was molesting me…

But I wanted to end this post in the following way: Yes, a lot of horrible things happened to me, yes I’ve lived a broken and desolate life, yes I have been legally disabled for a while partly due to PTSD. But my life is a happy one now. I’ve been a strong survivor for a long time now, but I am transitioning into the life of a thriver. So anyone at Shakesville, or anyone reading this who has been through these things, if life seems impossible to deal with, I understand. But it can and does get better. That’s my hope for all of you.

April 12, 2009

Happy Easter to you all!

Filed under: About Annaleigh,About the Blog — by smalltownelitist @ 10:22 pm

Hi and happy Easter to everyone (and I wish a great day to all those who don’t celebrate it).

I’m taking it easy today: caring for my garden, playing with my animals, working on my library fundraiser, and reading a book on European customs and manners (just for the heck of it and personal curiosity).

I missed the opportunity to take part in the Blog Against Theocracy blogswarm, but I may still choose to write about my deconversion from Evangelical Christianity. This is my first Easter since my personal divorce from Evangelicism.

There’s other dark and heavy subject matter I could choose to write about, and I might, but this is Easter, so I don’t necesarily want to make this a depressing day of blogging.

Anyway, have a great day, all of you! I know I will! ๐Ÿ™‚

Normally, I would be posting a “WTF” weird news story, but not today!

Filed under: Animals,Disabled Pets — by smalltownelitist @ 2:46 am

I found this news story while looking for weird news. But as I don’t think it belongs under weird news, it will get a normal post.

Allison, a little sea turtle who only has one fin, was fitted with a special suit so that she can swim around much better.

That is such wonderful news. The more we help disabled animals get around, the better. Having two dogs with disabilities has really made me more sensitive to this issue.

April 11, 2009

What it really means when a lady’s priorities don’t match with the ones a Talk Radio dittohead’s chosen for her.

Early this morning, while out and about in town buying supplies for the bathroom and garden, I had one of those little experiences of sexism that arise in the life of a woman from time to time.

The city bus driver, though seemingly a nice man, is a Rush Limbaugh dittohead. And for whatever reason, he has decided to scrutinize and comment on my purchases when I am taking the route he is driving that day.

I had a garden planter among other items, and he asked, “You went into town just to get a bucket? You women and your shopping. No wonder nothing gets done at the house, no dinner, no lunch…”

Blech. How screwed up is it when someone talks to you in such an arrogant manner with some ridiculous preconcieved notion about what you ought to be doing, and what your priorities are supposed to be? Why should I have to stay home to please a bitter old man?

Unfortunately for Rush Limbaugh dittoheads of the male persuasion, my priorities right now and quite rich and full, and do not consist of being barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen.

My most recent relationship was with a man who insisted that we were both young, and that we ought to just enjoy ourselves. For him, that meant partying for the most part. I am not really a party person. Not in the sense that most people my age think of as parties. I quite like the idea of private entertaining for a few friends, having a nice meal and connecting and reconnecting with friends at a time when the bustle of life can make that difficult. It’s because of our diverging priorities that the relationship didn’t last. So I went back to being happily single and working the things that do command my time and concern.

Hmm, let’s see, what are my priorities, in no specific order?

I’m an artist, craftsperson, and business owner. That means I’m in the middle of preparing for a debut with an out of state boutique soon, and am hoping to arrange more consignment deals in other locales, while creating my works and filling orders placed directly with me. I’m also in the process of setting up a tent studio in my backyard.

I’m a college student, which means that I have been hustling for financial aid and preparing for an upcoming full load of courses covering many different areas, such as Spanish, and Shakespeare.

I’m someone’s adult daughter, which means that I am caregiving for my mother right now, and will probably be so for the foreseeable future as she is having health difficulties and has no one else to keep an eye on her and make sure she’s getting to a doctor except for moi.

I’m a member of an extended family, which means loving and supporting dozens of uncles, aunts, cousins, you name it. It means babysitting occasionally. It means going to Sunday dinners, to birthdays, to weddings, to funerals, or sometimes just cuz. It means caring for babies, and reassuring a sleepless child that she’ll be just fine.

I’m a pet parent of four little animals, including two dogs with special needs who also require attentive care and lots of TLC, having come from abusive situations prior to living with me.

I’m an activist, which means that I have been working hard on a library fundraiser for an endangered library, am hoping to resume volunteering at my local library, and am long overdue to resume updating my website for fellow rape and sexual abuse survivors, which has been helping survivors and their loved ones for over 9 years now.

I’m a friend, which means listening to long venting sessions and emphathizing, the need to get away and enjoy myself with others, and trying to crochet summer baby blankets for a pregnant friend.

I’m someone with responsibilies to the environment, which means gardening, making jewelry with recycled materials, and trying to figure out how to reduce my carbon footprint.

I’m a person with a physical body, which means getting up at 6 am to head to the community center to work out, studying the food pyramid, and yes, preparing meals that are good for me and for my loved ones who will be eating my food.

I’m an intellectual seeker, which means I have to have my nose in several books at one time, that I have to have debate and discussion with others, and that I have to have, gasp, a thought life!

I’m a spiritual seeker, which means learning about the earth and the spirit realm through a variety of ways, be it books, prayer, meditation, or just feeling the wind outside.

I managed to accomplish all of these things at different stages of my life despite having debilitating depression and post-traumatic stress disorder for many years, and you can bet I am doing all these things now and more, as I have reached a state of wellness.

And now the Rush Limbaugh dittoheads of the world want to tell me I get nothing done around my house?

April 10, 2009

California’s Religious Wrong is on the warpath again; plus more links.

Filed under: "Sexting",Ableism,Abortion,Abstinence-Only,Activism,African-American Issues,Anti-Feminism,Anti-Violence Activism,Asian-American Issues,Asian-American Women,Bai Ling,Barack Obama,Betty Brown,Black Femininity,Black Women,Blog Carnivals,Body Image,Books & Reading,California Politics,Camille Paglia,Charities,Child Pornography,Child Sexual Abuse,Christian Fundamentalism,Classism,Coal Mining,Contraception,Crafting/DIY,Diversity,Domestic Violence,Emergency Contraception,Environmental Issues,Evangelical Christians,Exploitation of Poverty,Family Issues,Family Planning,Femininity,Feminism,Film & Film Reviews,First Ladies,Gardening,GLBT Issues,Goth,Healing from Rape,Homophobia,Human Rights,Immigration,Immigration Reform,Intersectionality,Kal Penn,Languages,Linkage,Marriage,Marriage Equality,Maternal Health Care,Media Criticism,Michelle Obama,Misogyny,Mountain Top Removal,Nativism,Non-Profit Organizations,North Carolina,North Carolina Women,Obama Administration,Objectification,Pat Buchanan,Performing Arts,Photography,Poverty,Prenatal Health Care,Proposition 8,Protests & Demonstrations,Racial Stereotypes,Racism,Raising Awareness,Rape and Sexual Violence,Reality TV Trash,Religious Right,Reproductive Health,Rihanna,Seth Rogen,Sex Education,Sex Offender Legislation,Sexism,Sexual Exploitation,Sexual Violence Myths,Sexuality,Take Action,Take Back the Night,Teen Pregnancy,Teen Violence,Teenagers,Tennessee Women,Texas,Texas Politics,Triggering Media,Tyra Banks,U.S. Economic Crisis,U.S. Economy,Vermont,Vermont Politics,Victim Blame,Victory Gardens,Violence Against WOC,Violence Against Women,Voting & Voting Rights,West Virginia,Women of Color,Women's Advocacy,Women's Health,WTF,Xenophobia — by smalltownelitist @ 12:56 am

Hi there, time for a long overdue compilation of some great links. I hope you enjoy them! ๐Ÿ™‚

First off, Crooks and Liars writes about a disgusting ad in California from the religious right in an attempt to fight the granting of marriage equality to the GLBT community. Momocrats have a post about Vermont’s legalizing gay marriage, and challenges California to do the same.

At The Curvature, Cara writes about what the MSM should be reporting on the “sexting” scares… Marcella of abyss2hope posted the latest edition of the Carnival Against Sexual Violence. Feministe let us know about an upcoming Take Back the Night march. Cara also warned everyone about how triggering and awful Seth Rogen’s new movie is. Marcella also reported about a serial rapist who is dragging his victims’ reputations through the mud…

Flip Flopping Joy has an important post about mountain top removal, a form of coal mining.

RH Reality Check has a great roundup of family planning news. They also have a great essay from a young lady about emergency contraception for teenage girls. MOMocrats write about international family planning issues, and have a list of charities that help with this issue.

Natalia Antonova shares some thoughts about Camille Paglia.

Reappropriate has info on a racist Texas State Representative who thinks Asian-Americans should change their names to make things easier on election workers. Racialicious has an interesting quote from Bai Ling about Asians and Hollywood’s stereotypes.

Reappropriate also has an article about actor Kal Penn joining the Obama administration.

Racialicious has an important article about Black women and domestic violence.

Renee of Womanist Musings calls Tyra Banks out on her encouragement of objectifying women.

Feministe wrote about FOX exploiting victims of the recession.

David Neiwert at Crooks and Liars wrote about how immigration is going to be a big issue with Republicans again.

From the Crafty Corner:

Etsy’s Dark Side has a gallery of Madhouse Mauly’s dark photography.

WhipUp has a book review of Switch Craft, a book that incorporates batteries into surprising projects.

And Flip Flopping Joy has a post about Michelle Obama planting her first seedlings in the White House’s victory garden. I was psyched to read this one; I just sowed my cilantro/coriander seeds yesterday! ๐Ÿ™‚

April 9, 2009

Ok, so I’m a disorganized jumble of thoughts at the moment…

And that’s perfectly fine I suppose; I don’t have a lengthy original expository post planned just yet.

I’ve been away from blogging for about two months, as you can see. Life has gotten busier, and though I am settling into a routine, I’m not sure where blogging fits in just yet (and I really ought to find it a place).

Mostly I’ve been caught up with four pets, two of which are special needs pooches; planning a backyard tent “studio” to have a peaceful and private place to get through my jewelry making workload, planning a garden to add to the atmosphere of my “studio,” and preparing for my jewelry’s big boutique debut, coming in the summer. ๐Ÿ™‚

The other thing I wanted to write about is to let you all know (if you don’t read Crooks and Liars) to check out the chat that C & L did with Congressman Barney Frank.

Unfortunately there wasn’t time for Congressman Frank to answer my question about predatory payday loans and a potential interest rate hike, but that’s understandable; Congressman Frank was very gracious and answered as many questions as he could, and I believe everyone could benefit from reading the answers he was able to get to.

And kudos to C & L for hosting the chat! ๐Ÿ™‚

The other th

February 7, 2009

Why I choose to DIY!

Filed under: Crafting/DIY — by smalltownelitist @ 6:26 am

I promised myself that this first DIY post on my motivations for craftiness would’ve come a lot sooner, but, I’ve been busy with my hand-crafted jewelry and accessories business, so go figure! ๐Ÿ™‚

There are tons of good reasons and motivations for hand-crafting. Some are quite personal, others are political. I come from a crafty family, so it’s not surprising that I am obsessed with crafting. My Mom did copious amounts of embroidery while she was pregnant with me, my Grandma dabbled in crochet when she could, that same grandmother and my great-grandmother both quilted out of family necessity, and I am proud to tell anyone that one of my great-great-great grandmothers on my Dad’s side was a single mother who supported herself and her little boy by having her own weaving business. I am so proud to be carrying on these traditions. My Mom taught me to sew when I was seven years old, right around the time I had a wonderful knit-wit (knitting) babysitter who encouraged me to be creative. The rest is history.

Another great reason is that it is a great creative outlet for me. I needed an outlet that didn’t focus on my negative emotions. I do write poetry, but it got to where words were not a fun medium, more like a form of exorcism for me.

DIY has been empowering for me. The last year or so of improving my skills and adding to them in preparation to start my business has been a great experience. I imagine that I must be able to relate my ancestress the weaver now, with both the pitfalls and the joys of seeing the fruits of our labors and talents.

And one last area I’ll mention, is that DIY is a way for me to act on my political convictions. Portions of the sales I make are tithed to worthy charities and non-profits and I donate my crafts to charity events for them to use for fundraising purposes. I pride myself on improving my awareness of how to lessen my carbon footprint a bit by using vintage and recycled materials (including literal trash the blows into my yard!) in my jewelry projects, for instance.

This past Christmas all of my gifts were either handmade by me, or I gave the gift of supplies to my crafty pals. I’d like to think that if more people made the presents they give, or if they bought handmade from small crafty businesses, we could avoid feeding the commercialized beast that caused the death of that poor Wal-Mart employee this past Black Friday.

So that’s why I choose to DIY.

For those of you who craft, what sorts of crafts are you into? And why do you choose to DIY? ๐Ÿ™‚

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