Self Care / Self Love: YOGETREE Workshop

Since my No Good Very Bad Day, I’ve made a commitment to focusing on myself. “Focusing on myself” encompasses a bunch of actions and ideals, including goals to understand my patterns, accept my flaws and shortcomings, admit and seek help and mentorship, and to push myself out of my comfort zone (within some limits). These goals came into fruition today when I participated in an amazing yoga and poetry workshop series entitled Yogetree. Continue reading

The No Good Very Bad Day

I shared a bit about the end of my last relationship and my own mental health struggles in one of my previous posts and I did so with the intention of opening the door to some more personal blog posts. Despite my efforts to find a way to flesh out my personal struggles (pages and pages of notes and ideas that never made it to this blog), I’ve fallen flat. At its birth, this blog was intended to be a place where I could finally delve into my heart and soul and express parts of my identity that I felt I never could before. For that reason,  I purposefully created the categories “personal identity”and “sex & relationships” (later changed to self care & relationships) on the blog as encouragement. They remained empty through these past months of me blogging– I prefer to distance myself from my blog by uploading academic papers, photos and anecdotes about Philadelphia and updates on my music tastes. It’s a defense mechanism that I employ in my everyday life: me shielding my innermost thoughts and emotions from public scruitiny. I chose, time and again, to ignore the pulling sensation in my gut telling me that something was bothering me and that I needed an outlet to express it. Today, I decided that it was time to stop.  Continue reading

It’s Worth It

This is just a friendly reminder that sometimes all those hours spent arguing with sexist, racist, ableist, homophobic, classist, Islamophobic, transphobic, etc. friends, partners, and family members CAN make an impact.

A few weeks ago my former partner from my early college years sent me this text (shown below). I can’t even recount how many times we’ve challenged each other’s ideas and experiences on the topics of feminism and misogynoir, but him reaching out to me randomly to thank me made it all worth it.

12270272_10207747180134703_294184932_nI’ve been burnt out lately and as a result have taken a break from engaging my peers in confrontational discussions about social inequality and have instead chosen to surround myself around like-minded people. However, dismantling imperialist, white supremacist, capitasitc, heterpatriarchical societal norms (sorry for using so much jargon) is no easy or simple task and I understand that preaching to the choir is unsustainable. So, I consider this text a wake-up call for me to step my game up, and to keep pushing to confront oppressive language, actions, and systems in my every day life. Because it matters. And it does make a difference.

Inside Scoop: NRPA Innovation Lab

One of my favorite parts of my job with Philadelphia Parks and Recreation is the fact that I occasionally get to assist my bosses at their high-level meetings and events. A few weeks ago, on December 3rd-4th, I assisted my department as they hosted the National Recreation and Parks Association Innovation Lab. Philadelphia is a national leader in civic innovation, and the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA) invited several Parks and Recreation departments from several cities including Baltimore, Atlanta, Miami, Pittsburgh, and Detroit to discuss opportunities and barriers to civic innovation, and to demonstrate examples using Philadelphia’s amenities as a living laboratory.

The two-day event featured collaborative workshops, panel discussions, and presentations that can be viewed online, here. My favorite parts of the Innovation Lab were the tours and site visits highlighting examples of Philadelphia’s cross agency partnerships. We visited several sites that I haven’t paid much attention to as a native Philadelphian, but the tours and discussions made me look at these staple places through a new lens. At each stop of our tour bus (I was so excited to get on a tour bus around Philly) we were met at the site by a staple figure who could speak to the partnerships involved and the details of the completed or ongoing project. The sites I’ve highlighted below include:

Viaduct Park

Race Street Pier

Schulkyll River Trail

Bartram’s Garden Continue reading

Hello…It’s Me

It feels like I blinked and it was suddenly December. I’ve been gone for a minute and neglected to post on the places I visited through the end of the summer. The change in seasons (summer to fall to winter) brought so many changes in my personal life and I’ve been spending a lot of time nurturing myself and adjusting to my new life. This fall I broke up with my partner of almost a year after a difficult transition to long distance love and both of us needing self care to recover from episodes of depression. I threw myself into my new job, a temporary position as an Outdoor Experience instructor with the Parks and Recreation department. Since the day I accepted the position I had to defend my decision to my parents and peers and it definitely caused me to question myself and my career path.

However, interacting with kids and with my colleagues and role models in the Parks and Recreation department has been so rewarding that I know I should never doubt my intuition again. I’ve also dedicated myself to expanding my almost non-existent social circle by joining a womanist collective (like our page on Facebook for info on our events) and joining a friends effort to build a black literature centered college preparation organization for Philadelphia high school girls. I put a lot on my plate and I’m excited to continue documenting my life on this blog. The purpose of this blog isn’t to gain readers or popularity but to actively reflect on my life and challenge myself to be more outspoken and engage with the world a little bit more. Anyway, thank you for sticking with me through this blogging dry spell. Here’s some pictures from these past months, which include visits to:

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Benjamin Franklin Bridge

Springhouse Farm

Mixto Restaurant

Graffiti Bar

Wissahickon Park

Philly Trans March

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens

Mount Moriah Cemetery

Logan Circle

Canoemobile on the Schuylkill River

Rooftop beekeeping in South Philly Continue reading

Urban Exploration Through the Abandoned Reading Viaduct

Several weeks ago I took my second trip to the abandoned Reading Viaduct. The Viaduct begins at Vine Street, between 11th and 12th, where it then moves north from Chinatown to Callowhill Street and then branches to the west and northeast. The Reading Viaduct was formerly used to carry trains into Center City for almost 100 years, and has since become a haven for urban explorers, graffiti artists, photographers, and the like.My first trip here was during the fall of last year for a night hike and the walls of neighboring buildings, steel structures and bridges were covered in graffiti. There were two swings fashioned out of discarded rubber and a tire swing hanging off of the bridges. SH and I climbed one of the bridges and had a fantastic view of the city skyline. When I returned, two of the swings were gone (the tire swing appeared to have been burned, probably for warmth during the colder months) and the graffiti was all new. In the summer daytime, the Viaduct looked brand new and even more beautiful. I’d recommend anyone interested in some light urban exploration to come visit the Viaduct and experience its rapid changes before its too late. Continue reading

Brain Obsession at the Franklin Institute

Did you know there was a brain exhibit at The Franklin Institute?! As many times as I’ve visited The Franklin Institute (it has to be close to 20 times) I’ve missed out on visiting its newest permanent exhibit on the human brain. The Franklin Institute is an awesome science museum that was founded in honor of Benjamin Franklin. The museum has a dozen permanent child-friendly exhibits, Live Science programs, visiting exhibits, an IMAX theater and a gorgeous planetarium. SH and I literally popped into the Franklin Institute at the last moment when I heard that admission to the museum was free yesterday! Target Community Nights (which is what we participated in) are from 5:00-8:00 pm, on the third Wednesday of the month. Check the museum out for free next month, or drop by for regular admission which is $20 for adults and $16 for children (you can also reduce the cost by becoming a member and visiting often!).

Anyway, check out some photos I took at the Brain exhibit before I started running around playing with the interactive exhibits with the kids. After the Franklin Institute, SH and I dropped by one of my favorite spots, he fountain at Logan Circle. I’ve missed this fountain so much! As a kid I used to splash in the water, picnic and have lunch in the grass and on the benches, and it’s so close to the Franklin Insitute, and some of my other favorite spots including the main branch of the Philadelphia Free Library, Moore College of Art and Design and the Academy of Natural Sciences. Continue reading