Re: Life After Dreads

My most popular blog entry by far is the one called Life After Dreads: the First 24 Hours. I thought this was because there were quite a few people who were interested in what the result is when you chop off your dreadlocks. The entry is just about that.

However, a couple of weeks ago, a reader commented that I should make it known that I’m white and what my hair type is. I suddenly was struck by the implications of the blog post title. This could very well be seen as a potential social commentary, especially regarding the way society responds to black people with dreadlocks.

With this in mind, I wanted to make a much-delayed response. Since I had dreads I have completed two years at a community college which has opened my eyes to more issues regarding the social injustices of the world, as well as appropriation. The latter is something I’m still coming to terms with because part of me is having the hurt girl voice of “why can’t I play?” when it comes to dreadlocks and wearing bhindis. However, that’s exactly the point. The groups who have these cool styles and the like haven’t been able to play, and now I want to play with the toy they’re playing with and I have to be told that I can’t.

And it’s damn frustrating! Again, that’s (in part) the point. It is frustrating. It’s frustrating that people of other groups have been oppressed and told they can’t wear their hair a certain way, speak their inherited language, practice their faith for hundreds of years. Members of the oppressing culture are in turn taking certain elements of the oppressed and using them how they’d like to use them, while still reprimanding the oppressed for doing the same thing.

So whereas I do generally fall under the rule of treat others how you’d like to be treated, this has been necessary—for me at least. My want for being inoffensive keeps me from doing what I want to do, which is dread my hair again or wear a bhindi when I’m going for a night out. But being told that I can’t, and me struggling between “screw it, I’m going to any way” and not wanting to be disruptive of hurt other people is aggressive. I suddenly realized that it wasn’t about me. It’s not about me at all. And this wanting to play but not being able to is what the oppressed have been experiencing for far too long. It was shocking how long it got me to come around to this realization, in all honesty.

(Note the irony where I just wrote a whole blog post about myself so that I could tell the world it’s not about me)

I could see how my initial post could be click-bait, seen as something that one might look for as an analysis of the experience a person of color might have after they cut off their dreads, and I could see it turned into a metaphor, or as deep and powerful social commentary (of course if coming from the right narrator, which would not be me). But nay, it is my naïve self from three years past. So, my apologies to anyone who clicked on the entry looking for something less superficial and privileged.

Writing News

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Happy Monday!

Since I’ve been out of it for a while, I thought I would start by giving a couple of updates regarding my writing.

I have a website!
I’m pretty thrilled about this. I’ve been thinking I should get one for a while, but after I entered a writing competition and I was told I wasn’t selected for the next round due to my lack of online presence (despite having a Facebook page and Twitter account, both of which I use regularly), I decided it was time. You can now visit and SUBSCRIBE (hint, hint, nudge, nudge) to my website:

www.AuthorNJThompson.com

On this website you will find book reviews as well as pieces of flash fiction. I also update with other writing news and blog posts (like this one), and you can find out how to contact me should you feel the need to hire me for your literary needs. So, be sure to bookmark and SUBSCRIBE to my website 😉

I have a writing gig!
I am now a staff writer at Carpe Nocturne, an online and print subculture magazine. I will have three pieces coming out in the summer issue, which should be coming into print come July 15th. One piece is the premier of a horror series I am writing, another piece is on the Denbigh Mental Hospital, and the third piece is the astrology/tarot section.

Again, you can subscribe to this magazine as well on the website, or buy a physical copy at Barns & Noble, Waterstone, Amazon, etc.

I have another blog!
I decided that while I was taking a hiatus from Dreaded Scribe, that I would do a bit of traveling, and thus I created my travel blog, Hopscotch and Woolgathering. So far in it I have traveled around Wales, to places in England and to France. That won’t be the end of it either. Tomorrow, for example, I’ll be driving down to Southham, so you can expect an entry soon after!

An a little bit of a followup to that, I have Instagram now, so I try and make sure I only post interesting pictures. They’re mostly related to whatever travels or cool things I’m doing. I try not to bombard or spam. So you can give that a look-see as well. My username on that is–surprise surprise!–DreadedScribe.

 

I think that’s about it. For now. I have a few other things in the works. But, as I mentioned in my last post, things should be getting fairly interesting soon.

Back in the Swing of Things

I struggle with how to start this post, because the firs thing I want to point out is that yes, I do know it’s been a while. That being said, I start out most of my posts this way. However, I think, perhaps, I should start with an apology. I have atually been avoiding writing because of this weird link between this blog and my Twitter account, where Twitter is posting my Tweets as a blog post, which then in turn posts as a Tweet and onward it goes. I DO NOT KNOW HOW TO STOP THIS. I know it has something to do with IFTTT, or whatever it is, but I have no idea how to disconnect it from my blog. If you do know, please help a lady out!

The other reason I haven’t posted in a long while is because this is my blog that has to do with my higher education. I started it so that I could write about my time navigating through community college and university as a “mature” student. I haven’t been doing anything involving that for over a year, and it didn’t seem right to be writing in here if I wasn’t working toward that goal.

The truth is that after my grandmother passed in November, I felt lost. I really didn’t know what to do, what I should be doing, and I was completely deflated. I didn’t know if I should pack everything up and move back to the States, if I should try for Durham, or if I should do something completely different like move into a camper van and go live in Greece (that was literally a serious thought of mine). However, I have finally come to terms with my next move, and I will be going to Durham this fall.

I didn’t know if I should keep this blog going, actually. I thought about deleting it. I felt like there was too much attached to this blog that I needed to let go, as silly as that sounds. But, in truth, recently it’s been on my mind a lot. What brought it to the foreground of my attention was a woman who commented on an ancient post of mine about cutting off my dreads. I wrote it during my second quarter back in school, almost exactly three years ago. She pointed out something that really made me realize the difference in my thinking now, and m y current understanding of the world we live in compared to my 2014 self. I plan on writing a whole other post responding to that comment, but that’s for a later date.

I recently read an amazing book called The Existentialist Cafe by Sarah Bakewell, which follows the evolution of existentialism and key players like Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Heidegger, Camus, and others. It reminded me how in love I am with philosophy, and why it is that I decided to aim for top-notch universities to begin with.

Hopefully I’ll be better about keeping up on here, and blogging what happens in my world of education. It’s definitely going to be more interesting from now on. Currently, I’m living above a pub, managing the ice cream shack, also part of the pub. It’s alright, and my boss is very willing to let me work on my personal projects as well. But living in this tiny tourist village in North Wales is definitely spurring me onward to get out of customer service.  So that’s what I’m doing.

Twitter still posting to my blog

So my apologies again. It would seem that despite my efforts to disassociate my Twitter account with my blog, twitter is STILL posting to it. So my apologies–I have no idea what to do. 

If you are savvy in these matters, I would love your input!

Multiple repeat entries

Because of a mess regarding Facebook, I’ve been works with Twitter. However, having no idea how I’ve done t, somehow Twitter is creating blog posts on here from my tweets, and Multiple blog entries at that! So my apologies, I’m trying to correct what’s going on.

If anyone has any suggestions, I really would love to hear them! 

Another Blog

I know, I know, I’m terrible at keeping up with this one. But I’ve had a few requests to start a blog that is just about my travels, and so I thought I would finally take people up on that request.

So here it is, called Hopscotch and Woolgathering, a blog about a gap-year student trying to see all there is to see in Britain between work and on the cheap. If there are any suggestions of anywhere that I should go, touristy or much lesser known (which would be far more preferred), please feel free to supply me with your suggestions!

Veganuary struggles

I am really having a hard time with this. I’m on day 11 with a couple accidental slip-ups (I was making deserts in the restaurant and got a drop of custard on my finger and stuck it in my mouth without thinking) of being vegan. It’s really hard. 

This isn’t my first attempt at going vegan. I did it for three months before when I was living in Washington with no problems. However, I worked in a vegan friendly coffee shop, had access to three different co-ops and more than enough farmers markets. 

Now I’m having to research health food stores and travel over an hour if I want to get to any. I’m finding it very difficult to find things like almond butter, veganaise, quality milk alternatives, or even acorn squash–or any form of quality vegetables at all. The other day I made myself a veggie filled breakfast with rice and I couldn’t eat it because everything tasted like it had gone moldy. 

I live in back country Wales where everything is a trek to get to. If I’m doing this for environmental reasons, then aren’t I counteracting it by driving to all these places to get nutritional yeast at the shop in Bangor and kumbucha in Chester? 

Day 11 and I am really struggling. I miss Bellingham. It would be so much easier and pleasant if I were in Bellingham.