11 November, 2013  |   13 Comments


I’m not doing too well at Nablopomo.
Mostly, it’s because I’ve been grumpy.
It doesn’t feel good to spread grumpy around.

Every day my work has me all up in blogs from people who create useful content, I know objectively I should keep my grumpy mouth shut.

First parent teacher conference. I can't tell I I'm having feelings or if I'm ambivalent.

Embarrassed at the thought
that I’d ever have anything to complain about,
I have nothing but privileged, boring, white girl complaints.

No moving essays.
No useful tips.
This week, a waste of your time.

Asked 2 questions by a Facebook friend,
1.) What is your privilege?
2.) How do you leverage that privilege to dismantle structural oppression?

I knew explicitly about number one.
But number two. Ugh.

As I prepared for my big city commute today, I didn’t pay attention as I walked off my front step, rolling my ankle and spraining it with a loud sweary 4:00 am yelling that woke up the husband and demanded he bring me ice.

(The dog angry-farted at me all day for not taking her for a walk.)

All morning, the girls cried because of reasons ridiculous to me as an adult but utterly sympathetic to the me as a child who still lives in my chest. Wrong breakfast, wrong clothing, wrong-wrong-WRONG and there’s nothing you/I can do about it.
Other than cry.
They cry a lot.
They cry as much as I remember crying.

Which was at everything.

Rain day.

How do you leverage that privilege to dismantle structural oppression?
(I, um, leave supportive comments on, uh, sort of feminist websites?)
Helen Jane, that doesn’t count.

An after dinner event that left a bathroom covered in poop.
A power outage.
Removal of privileges due to bad behavior and
a new crockpot.

How do I leverage my privilege to dismantle structural oppression?
I don’t, but I need to.

So, I’m looking outward. I know exactly my privilege.
My whiteness, my work, my education, location, my comfort.
Now I need to get to work.

These days, I'm rather Pelicanish.

Can you answer those two questions?
Do you want to?


13 thoughts on “Rolling.

  1. 1
    Karen says:

    “…utterly sympathetic to the me as a child who still lives in my chest.” This, Helen Jane, is why I’ve been reading and loving your blog in its many forms over the years. Plus, you inspire me to keep going through my own grumpiness. So thank you.

  2. 2
    Mich T says:

    I admire you for being able to share your personal feelings online. Hang in there! Did you draw that picture of the pelican at the end of your post? It’s beautiful!

  3. 3
    Elle says:

    Helen just here to tell you that you are tough and doing amazing work!

    I also sent you an e-mail, I hope you can follow up with me about it sometime today.

    Thank you kindly,


  4. 4

    1. White middle class only child college educated raised in a first world country near a city known to be one of the country’s best for women.

    2. Publishing content that encourages other (…privileged) women to question traditions they’ve been spoon fed? I don’t know if this counts any more than “I, um, leave supportive comments on, uh, sort of feminist websites?”

    • 4.1
      Helen Jane says:

      Ariel, you do a TON — by validating the love and commitment of folks who have been previously marginalized.

      It’s funny, the FB friend who asked those questions is running for public office in Seattle — much love to you and your family!

  5. 5

    Be grumpy if you want to.

  6. 6
    Paula says:

    So glad Karen Walrond directed me here! Your writing is smart, honest, not afraid to express tough stuff. I’m in the right place!

    P.S. You’re leveraging your privilege right now by writing about this. The dismantling part comes later, though I might prefer transformation…

    P.P.S. My dog angry-farts too.


  7. 7
    Dina N says:

    I was born a poor black child and now I’m a poor black woman. However… to some, especially those whom I am an advocate for (the most underserved, distressed neighborhood in my city) I am privileged. And it is because of this, I work so hard to do what I can to say a kind word, share a meal, and realize that privilege does exist and it’s something we must be willing to discuss openly. Whew! Now, that’s enough. I really enjoy your blog, even if you are white and privileged. 🙂

Hooray for replies!