- Middle schooler: Oh! You're wearing normal clothes today! It looks nice!
- Me: Oh -- I didn't do my laundry yet, I'll make up for it tomorrow.
My kids love peanut butter. It’s one of their only affordable sources of protein and at the program they can have it for free. So whoever chooses the snack inevitably involves peanut butter somehow.
I’m allergic to peanuts. Not in a severe, even-the-smallest-hint-of-peanut-in-the-air-will-kill-me way, but generally, if I ingest it, bad things happen. I don’t even merit an epipen. But this week, after being in the same small space as a gigantic bowl of peanut butter for several hours, I started getting a severe headache. By the time I was done with the hour-long ride home the problem had progressed to a nearly migraine-level headache, tingling and numbness in one side of my face, mild dizziness, and a swelling throat (though not nearly to the point of suffocation).
For at least part of the day, I can stay on a different floor entirely and it won’t be a problem. But the snack is left out all day, and the room it stays in is a hub for many activities and the most convenient place for anything requiring a table on the ground floor.
If you work with kids and have an allergy like this, how do you handle it? Is there any kind of medication you can take that can stave off these effects, or at least prevent them from getting this bad? I’m kind of at a loss here. I will not tell them they can’t have peanut butter. I should note that this is at a youth center, not a school.
Some of the tributes looked like my kids.
Needless to say, there was bawling.
My own additions before the reblog, for those who may not be aware of what’s been going on: this user has been collecting personal contact information and home addresses of LGBTQ users under the guise of friendship, then using this information to out them to their parents. This was one of their latest messages:
Titled: I have been collecting thousands…
…of names, addresses, photos and other personal information about LGBTQ people around the world to establish a LGBTQ database in order to out these LGBTQ people against their will to their friends, families and employers.
In Spring 2012, I had planned to start a website where people could have informed themselves about LGBTQ people (where they live, what they do, who their partners are etc.).
Unfortunately, due to certain laws, I am not able to show this information on a public website.
Instead, I have sent all the information I had collected about LGBTQ people to anti-LGBTQ organisations, mostly from the USA, but also Canada, the UK, New Zealand and Australia.
All these LGBTQ people will be contacted by these (Christian) anti-LGBTQ organisations, sooner or later.
I was just doing my duty and being honest.
I only regret that I will probably never find out what happened to all these LGBTQ people.
Sophie M. Herold
The following is the piece I am reblogging from TransgenderStudentLife, because if you care about the safety of other tumblr users, especially young users or LGBTQ users, you’re going to want to know that this is going on, and raise your voice on this.
Various responses to this post.
We realize this content may be very upsetting, but we also highly value freedom of expression and freedom of speech.
Sometimes content posted by a blogger may be mean-spirited or upsetting but does not violate the law. In order to maintain freedom of expression, we cannot remove that material.
You can and should stop viewing content from an offending blogger. If you use Tumblr, you can also Block a blogger at http://tumblr.com/block. This prevents you from seeing content from that blogger on your Dashboard and prevents that blogger from sending you messages via Tumblr.
Thank you for taking the time to share your concern with us.
It’s not that its just offensive, it also poses a risk to the safety of these people. I’m pretty sure stalking people online and posting their pictures, names, and addresses online with the intent of outing them and possibly inciting violence against them violates your terms of service if not the law.
ARE YOU JOKING?!
So… have they read their own Community Guidelines or…
Malicious Bigotry. Don’t actively promote violence or extreme hatred against individuals or groups, on the basis of race, ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, or sexual orientation. While we firmly believe that the best response to hateful speech is not censorship but more speech, we will take down malicious bigotry, as defined here.
This blog actively seeks out information about LGBTQ+ individuals and sends out that information to hate groups so that they have targets. How does that not count as promoting violence or extreme hatred??
Let’s see, what else… Harm to Minors. Pretty sure some of the people posted were under 18. Oh, and this is a form of cyberbullying, so…
HEY HOW ABOUT THIS ONE, TUMBLR - Stalking or Harassment, and Privacy Violations
And I’m willing to bet there’s probably some sort of phishing and IP logging going on as well. Pretty sure that’s covered under Unlawful Uses and Content or Disruptions, Exploits, and Resource Abuse.
So really, what’s the deal, Tumblr?
Reblogging so that LGBTQ* people are aware of the fact that their personal information may have been given out without their consent.
The response above sums up my “WTF HAVE YOU READ YOUR OWN POLICY” objections.
A response from the user befreeorbefearless:
Ok, tumblr here is the thing with homophobia and transphobia, since you don’t seem to get it. There are people who will happily murder you if they find out you’re queer. They will beat you to death. They will set you on fire. They will tie you to a goddamn fencepost and leave you to die.
There are people who will lose their families, homes, jobs, and friends if they are outed. In a large majority of the world it is both legal and the status quo to actively discriminate against someone because they are queer or trans*.
Freedom of speech is blood on your hands. If you aren’t ashamed yet, you should be.
This response sums up my “SOCIAL JUSTICE OUTRAGE AT TUMBLR” objections.
- Second grader: (reading from a question book for kids) Who do you think has it harder, boys or girls?
- Middle schooler: Girls.
- Me: ...well, everyone has high points and low points and situations where it can be difficult for them, but I do think it's pretty tough for girls --
- Second grader: Yeah, because girls get their period.
- Me: ...uh...
- Middle schooler: Not ALL girls get a period.
- (This back and forth continues faster than I can catch up with.)
- Me: ...I was...going to say something about...power structure. But...you know what, you're having a really...good...discussion about it what's the next question?
We started doing character profiles. For every half an hour that they work on the week’s challenge — this one being creating characters — during homework time, they get a piece of currency that lets them into a prize closet.
So far nearly all the kids who started have gone far beyond homework time and currency, and have started forming stories with other kids, and it’s all tying into one great big universe, and that’s what we hoped would happen. Bwahahaha. Subversive education.
I poked my head downstairs to ask an older student, who’d been all for the activity until we actually started it and decided it was “too much work,” what kind of character I should make. She said snidely, “One that explains you.” She thought she was insulting me. But I am becoming fairly immune to her insults in particular.
Instead I went upstairs and designed a character that “explain[ed] me.” She’s an alien from a planet where good words create a good atmosphere — literally, things like sunshine and fresh air and flowers — and negative words make nasty little clouds that block out the sun. She comes to earth and assumes the name Rainbow Jones. She is, of course, a superhero: some kind of ridiculous combination of Sailor Moon, Wonder Woman, Rainbow Brite, and Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl.
Apparently she caught on. Now three different students — and the other staff member, thanks boss! — have fashioned characters who are villains, including, to date, an evil cheerleader and her two sidekick prankster siblings. The collaboration came completely organically, after other attempts at producing a collaborative work failed. Everyone just wants to beat all the sunshine out of Rainbow Jones, though with affection.
Now they’re talking about how cool it would be to play it out like a LARP, though they don’t realize it’s a LARP that they’re talking about. So I’ve made the costume as dress-up-able as possible. On top of that, I’m putting together a little comic for them to add on to, whether that be in the form of writing, drawing, or inking (I am so excited, they’re learning about art pen widths, pencil sharpness, and building figures out of shapes) that we hope to sell at the few cons I’m hitting this season, specifically to raise money for the program.
It’s ridiculous. And I promise you all that the Adventures of Rainbow Jones will at some point be posted, whether here or on an offshoot blog, depending on how much we churn out.
Somehow “Watercolor Madness” turned into “watercolor on the lawn because it’s the first day of spring” turned into “everyone paint on each other.”
It was awesome until someone drew some inappropriate anatomy on someone else’s leg and we had to bar them from the paints for the rest of the afternoon. But everyone else had fun, and my supervisor walked away covered with color on just about every inch of available skin. (I got away with a tattoo on my upper arm and a few blotches of paint on my leg, which I know I’m going to forget about tonight and will not be able to wash off entirely in the morning.)
I don’t think I picked up anything from the kids this time, they’ve all been pretty healthy. Well, except for my spunky little anti-bullying grade-schooler, but that was last week and it was mostly coughing.
The schedule I’m on is a little strange — I’m moving from just before 1pm until just after 7pm, which includes an hour drive to and from work each way. Every morning I make a list of things I’m excited that I can get done before noon, but the caveat is always “if I wake up on time,” and on some level my body is well aware that technically, for work purposes, I do not HAVE to wake up earlier than absolutely necessary. It might be the sudden, fairly drastic change in schedule.
And, in addition to this job, I’m also still doing unpaid (“volunteer,” though it’s more a matter of guilting and self-preservation than anything) work for some of the partners (read: all) from my last position. I’m…not sure how to get myself out of it. Nor do I seem to be able to balance it. And I’m just coming into my third week at this job, at which point I’m only now getting into the swing of the schedule. Add to that personal professional projects that have a deadline and the fact that if this next venture of the studio’s doesn’t turn into a profit I’m going to need to pursue another job…ok, so maybe I know where this headache is coming from.
On the bright and sunny side and all that, the kids have really warmed up to me. The character-making activity has attracted more students, in part because if they work on it for half an hour during homework time (since, miraculously, none of them have homework ever, or they’ve done it in school, or insist on doing it at home) and in part because they’re starting to realize that fiction can be whatever they want it to be — collaborative or solo, escapism or therapy. That, and my example was a superhero so of course everyone wants to write a villain now, which is hilarious.
And today is comic arts day, and everyone wants to get to use the really expensive art pens. Which should be interesting if I go with their interests from yesterday and Friday, which was primarily how to draw people. Because all they wanted to do yesterday was argue with me over what did and did not look like a person. Well, with the pens as a final layer maybe it will be easier to see it. In fact I might just go with a giant pad and a sharpie for demonstration. Sorry to talk this out out loud to you all.
Advil and coffee. And coffee. And some more coffee. And hopefully no more nasty dirt-graffiti today, although I can’t help but wonder if it’s going to be a regular thing until that particular student is allowed back.
Brain scans are revealing what happens in our heads when we read a detailed description, an evocative metaphor or an emotional exchange between characters. Stories, this research is showing, stimulate the brain and even change how we act in life.
Researchers have long known that the “classical” language regions, like Broca’s area and Wernicke’s area, are involved in how the brain interprets written words. What scientists have come to realize in the last few years is that narratives activate many other parts of our brains as well, suggesting why the experience of reading can feel so alive.
The brain, it seems, does not make much of a distinction between reading about an experience and encountering it in real life; in each case, the same neurological regions are stimulated.
The novel, of course, is an unequaled medium for the exploration of human social and emotional life. And there is evidence that just as the brain responds to depictions of smells and textures and movements as if they were the real thing, so it treats the interactions among fictional characters as something like real-life social encounters.
We no longer have to just take iconic writers’ words on the power of fiction. The New York Times’ Annie Murphy Paul explores the neuroscience of your brain on fiction and how narratives offer a way to engage the brain’s capacity to map other people’s intentions, known in psychology as “theory of mind.”
You Brain, On Fiction.
How cool is this? HOW COOL IS THIS?
When one student in particular — the source of the issue that had me walking another student home at the end of the night — is angry with someone, he hits them wherever it will hurt the most, specifically and especially in regard to identity, whether it be race, gender, sexuality, whatever. And last week, because of some severe and persistent issues, he was told he could not come back this week until Friday.
My supervisor, the only other youth worker at the site (it’s a small site), is genderqueer. It isn’t something that’s felt important to mention, because so far it hasn’t been. But today written in the dirt on the side of someone’s car facing the building was “f*ck you queer” (sans the censorship) and on the other, “big deak woman” (deak being a misspelling of a similar-sounding anatomy).
We took a glass of water to it, then a spray bottle, and finally hazarded a paper towel (we’d been reluctant, in case it was alarmed). And I have to hand it to her…though it obviously bothered her, her first verbal response was “And it’s not even my car. Like what, they seriously think I drive a giant blue Subaru?”
If you’re used to an environment that puts emphasis on the importance of language and word-choice, it can be hard to realize how drastic the difference can be between respectful language and some of the ways that individuals can be framed in a conversation as objects. The latter is just something that seems like common sense not to do.
Today’s offenders hail from a combination of the internet and a pick-up shift in retail (all today, no joke):
“the autistic kid”
Sometimes I just don’t know. It’s always seemed like common sense to me.