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Brown Girl Lifted

because life @ the intersection is personal & political

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Self-Care

Anupama Bhattacharya is a student and a researcher. Her research analyzes bias in evaluation of leaders in STEM fields in order to fight against health disparities in Medicine due to lack of diverse leadership. She studies Biomedical Engineering and Computer Science with hopes ofworking towards a reality where healthcare is more broadly accessible and applicable for all. Anupama is an artist and creator. She is a talented indian classical dancer, painter, sculptor, jewelry maker and sewist. Anupama is working to analyze herself and her reality based in ancient Indian literature to decolonialize her perspective.

Molly Tobin is a student of English and Media Studies at Scripps College in Claremont, CA. While being on Youtube for upward of three years now with a book review blog, they have started dabbling in Video Art as a way to tell stories. They are interested in exploring documentary media and short films in their future endeavors. However, their ultimate goal is to go into the book publishing industry and work towards diversifying the works that are published, especially in young adult and children’s literature.
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2017 is about breaking cycles of oppression in our own communities

How to create a system of oppression: 
-Create a set of standards members of a targeted group can never meet.

-Institutionalize them.

-Discredit/discard anyone who seeks out change. Call them over-emotional, ugly or stupid. Use their “flaws” to undermine their point. This serves the dual purpose of gas lighting the individual and deflecting attention away from their potentially convincing or revolutionary testimony.

-Pit members of marginalized groups against each other, so they are competing for the same opportunities, or believe that they are. Create structural barriers to participation in groups, so they feel isolated. If you’re lucky, they will police themselves, and each other.

-Be nice, but not kind. Insist this is how things are, and oh, well. Fail to notice institutional errors or believe they are biologically predetermined or in keeping with romanticized tradition.

This happens on all sides, in every political system. It’s exclusionary and cyclical. No one is immune. We are all responsible.

Breaking the cycle of oppression, one at a time

If 2016 was about realizing how far we are from one another, then 2017 is about accountability and empathy. It’s about integrity. There is so much to be done, and it is on all of us to slay these demons even as they seem to grow ever-more heads.

Let us not be demotivated by our past “failures,” for the kind actions of our past are investments for which we haven’t yet seen dividends. The tides of change are slow but strong, as we all know; they have turned so many times, even within a short lifetime–such is the joy of exponential growth.

In many ways, I am powerless. But today I am privileged with purpose. I have made a pledge to check in with myself often, and I invite anyone else who feels comfortable to check in, too.

Ask yourself these difficult questions, “How I am I empowering the people I know? WHO am I empowering, and who am I disempowering?” and “Am I comfortable with that?”

It is so hard to fight an oppressive system from within, but so many problems could be evaded or solved by better awareness of the self and others. Sometimes we feel paralyzed to change our lives because of our idealism and search for perfection, but real happiness springs from doing good work more consistently. Be kinder to others–and in so doing, add value to your own self-concept.

Loving yourself more fully enables you to love others more easily. And in amassing powerful, radical love for each other and our selves, we become stronger in our fight to dismantle systems of oppression and make the world better for people who live here.

I paint a lovely picture here, but love can be back-breaking and soul-crushing work, too. That’s why it’s so, so important to be kind to one another. That’s what I think, anyway. Thanks for reading.

 -Aarushi

You Can’t Double Tap The Pain Away (Or How To Move On From Heartbreak in the 21st Century)

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So you broke your heart.

Maybe your whole world just fell apart when bae walked out the door. Or maybe it was a long time coming– and you had to pull the plug on a relationship that was good but not great. (And what even is life if you’re not letting it be great?)

Maybe it never even really started, but you already allocated so many crush resources to it that it still hurts like a bitch.

Beware, Oxytocin

Your hormones made you dumb and it takes forever for it to wear off.

Worse, technology + hormones = bad news.

It’s easier to feel shitty. It’s all fun and games when you’re instagramming the shit out of  your boo, but the pain of untagging is excruciating — and no one deserves that Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind shit.

Now more than ever we face endless opportunities in love and jobs. We are also better than ever at turning people into symbols and ghosts, because they never really do go away… They’re always sliding into your DMs or watching your Snapchats, or saying they’re “Interested” in your events.

Here’s how to move on– without getting under someone else.

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1. Talk about it if you need to. Get it all out and into some kind of safe screaming chamber.

Armor yourself with people who wholly accept you, who will sing your praises and make you feel good about yourself, while doing your best to 100% avoid any and all people who may have hurt you, no matter how good-looking or necessary they seem.

We’ve all got that person who makes us feel like a million bucks — maybe that person who always had a crush on you but will never act on it because they know you’re out of their league- or maybe just you two haven’t been hanging out so much since they got really into choir

 NOW IS THAT PERSON’S TIME TO SHINE. Laugh with old friends, and remember this can be enough. Remember that you are enough. You are everything you need in this world. 

2. Keep moving. Immerse yourself in activities that bring you joy and fulfillment.

Research shows that many people are happiest when experiencing Flow,” the feeling of being completely and totally focused on an activity.

Find your flow and you won’t want to stop. If you don’t know what those activities are, it’s time to start something new.

Some ideas…

  • Listen to an album that YOU love that doesn’t remind you of anyone. Maybe something that’s been there with you since middle school
  • Write a song, or a story or a poem
  • Text someone you have been feeling bad that you haven’t texted in a while
  • Go to a drum circle or finally try out your talent at an open mic
  • Go on a walk, or a long drive, or an impromptu vacation and take a ton of pictures of yourself, with your hair rippling in the breeze
  • Help someone in need — like that friend we were talking about earlier

3. It’s not like you’re not going to get a tomorrow.

The human capacity for change is infinite. We are adaptable beings. This person or thing that broke your heart does not decide anything about your worth.

Accept the fact that even the most intelligent, good-natured, talented and sexy people experience pain and heartache.

Giphy.

Celebrate that you are free and open for the next opportunity — it’s yours for the taking.

*sends article to past self*


Aarushi (@aarushifire) does stand-up, sings in the Madison-based band, Tin Can Diamonds, and produces for public radio. She founded Brown Girl Lifted in 2015.

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