Author: slickiris

Rethinking Suicide

Today is my dad’s birthday. He would be 73 years old, except that he took his own life in 1982 after a lifelong struggle with depression and loneliness. Suicide is a complex and painful issue confronting our society in higher and higher numbers. The World Health Organization estimates that almost 800,000 people die by suicide globally each year. While suicide is often seen as a mental health issue, it is, in fact, a very complex problem with multiple variants and causes, including genetics, mental health, socio-economic status, physical health, and cultural identity. I want to take a moment to talk about suicide from the perspective of a survivor of someone who has lived through the loss of a suicide and as a person who has lived with the demons of depression and self-harm since adolescence. My own story. I’m committed to ending the stigma around suicide, mental illness and to raising awareness about the loneliness epidemic and the need for true human connection.  So, in the spirit of transparency, I’m gonna spill the beans here. …

I’m voting for her.

As I sat on Election night of 2016, with my mom and sister on the phone, looking at a bleak future, all I could think of was the 40 years of Work that Mom and the rest of the environmental community had done, all of the sacrifices the families of those doing The Work had made and the gains we had received as a society, were in jeopardy. My Mom’s legacy was in jeopardy.

Stone by Stone: Burying an activist, community builder, wife and mother.

We buried mom on Thursday Thor’s Day, God of Thunder Ruled by Jupiter and Sagittarius Fitting for the Warrior she was Dragon Lady Defender of Earth Her body, dressed in the splendid purple silk Autumn bought her years ago and Unpolluted by fluids meant to preserve her flesh Laid to rest in a simple pine casket Handcrafted by a Colville man Lined with a Pendleton blanket A cedar filled pillow for her beautiful brain to rest on Tucked into her time capsule were special stones Her feather and staff and The dragon box she cherished, filled with farewell notes of love and gratitude   Her community gathered Friends, allies and Hearts filled with gratitude for her tireless optimism in the fight for Justice They spoke of her journalism Her quest for Truth Her penchant for framing conversations in a way that can be heard by those in power Her commitment to Community, also Barter Fair committees, the Tonasket Co-op, the Tonasket Community Cultural Center, Annual International Mother’s Day March for Peace The list goes on: …

photo credit chad madden

Me too

Ok [deep breath], the first time I was 5. My parents had family friends over, their 12-year-old boy managed to get me away from everyone else. I haven’t been able to think about that family without hot shame flushing my face or disgust making me shake, ever since. The second time I was 11, I was swimming when an adult family friend signaled me out of the water, I ran up to him all smiles before he grabbed me, right where our president likes to grab. It took years before I could look at that side of Osoyoos lake again. The third time I was 13 and sleeping over at a friend’s house. She shared a room with her older brother. In the middle of the night, I felt his hand creeping into my sleeping bag. I never went back for another sleepover at that house. The 4th time I was 12, in my orthodontist chair, he liked to cop a feel as he adjusted train tracks. I later learned he was banned, or whatever …

When a workout makes you cry, and it’s not because it’s a tough one.

Crossfit has a long standing tradition of creating workouts of the day, or WODs, in honor of service people who have fallen in the line of duty. Generally very tough, these workouts are referred to as Hero WODs. Typically the Hero WODs are performed on the day commemorating the event and include either weight or reps that correspond to a significant number to the fallen heroes. One of my favorite Hero WODs is the HotShots 19, dedicated to the 19 firefighters who lost their lives while defending homes in Yarnell, Arizona on June 30, 2014.

Happy Halloween, Blessed Samhain!

Today is one of the oldest and holiest holidays in the Celtic tradition. Halloween or Samhain (sah-ween) is the time when we honor the harvest, the end of summer. It is this time when the veils between the spirit world and the physical world are thinnest. We decorate our homes with symbols of the harvest, carve faces into pumpkins, inviting in their lively spirits; and don costumes of ghoulish beasts to remind ourselves of death and to make it seem just a little less scary. We remember our dead and give thanks to be alive.                   Some seek communion with loved ones, others guidance from the ancient ones, and many quietly memorialize their dead with small remembrances and prayers. We are our great grandmothers and great grandfathers, they are in our bones, our eyes, our DNA. To honour them is to honour our bodies and our lives, to remember that from which we came and to give thanks for the bounty we are blessed with. This is the night when the gateway between  our world and the spirit world is thinnest.  Tonight is a night to call out those who came before. Tonight I honor my ancestors. Spirits of my fathers and mothers, I call to you, and welcome you to join me for this night. You watch over me always, protecting and guiding me, and tonight …

When Work is Play and Play is Work

Tonight my son found his little toy laptop in a basket of toys. He pulled it out and started typing “letters” to his daddy. After a few minutes, he prompted me to ask him to play with him.   Me: Will you play with me? Son: I have to work. Me: (stifles a giggle and a sob at the same time) Ok, will you play with me when you’re done? Son: (types furiously for a minute and then closes laptop) Ok, now I am done with my work, I can play with you Mommy. I had such a reaction to this. Being a single, working parent means that sometimes I have to say no to playing because I am (insert activity required for daily existence) and then I have to make myself stop and just play with him, which feels hard, like I’m working at it. So of course the guilt starts in strong when he’s showing what I am modeling as not being available to him… But then I thought that maybe modeling working and then …