Posted in Shalyse Speaks

A is for Activism

I just want to invite everyone to take a moment, really think about what your definition of activism is. I really mean it. Take a moment. What does activism mean to you?

Activism is disruptive. It’s not supposed to make you comfortable. It makes you think, even in ways you don’t assume, it should make you do so. It’s supposed to make you feel. It supposed to drive change. It does, even when we hate it.

But there are also different ways in which this disruption occurs, which is why many people have a tendency to be upset with movements and find flaws with the fundamentals of them because of the type of activism that is engaged. It doesn’t fit their perspective or their personal preferences of how to disseminate that idea. There’s nothing wrong with being uncomfortable with the way, things are done.

 Let’s take a moment to think about some of the emotional movements that have happened and are still happening. These are not the only ones that have happened; these are ones that I am comfortable with an emotional fallout over discussing these.

The Civil Right Movement
Gaining voters rights/addressing voters’ suppression.
Veganism
Labor
Black Lives Matter

Each of these movements actively engages different types of activism and some that make people uncomfortable. Some of these just honestly hurt people’s feelings as they make them addressed beliefs they have about the world that they live in that they did not want to consider or think about.

Y’all the reality of the situation is that activism sucks. For everyone. It’s emotional. It’s making you address things that are not fun. Everybody wants just to enjoy life and live. The individuals organizing activism and the people who experience it. It’s an abundance of emotional labor. The problem is that without action, there are groups of individuals that can’t enjoy the life that they have and they only have that one. No matter what spiritual belief system you have, we can all agree that there is only a guarantee for what we have now, but that can get sucked away on the whim of political choices by people who are removed from the situation. Activism addresses that our current existence should not be less because of how other people believe we should exist.

So for just a quick down and dirty, let’s review some of the ways that activism exists.

  • It exists in the Arts and things that move us.
  • It exists in acts of defiance and Civil Disobedience that disturb the people around us and point out the inequity and injustice of the system we live in.
  • It exists in community support and cooperatives, community building and radically engaging a world that seeks to separate minorities from their community.
  • It exists in small silent changes in our everyday lives that make people want to change. It exists in our use of new technologies.
  • It exists when you actively engage the system that gives us information, providing new, decolonize, and reformed information.
  • It exists in protest and nonviolent demonstrations. It exists in personal accountability.
  • It exists in radically defining what spirituality means to you and identify what your personal philosophies are.

Many of you will be surprised if you take a moment of introspection to note that you often engage in forms of activism that on a large scale you dislike because it’s so visible and disruptive, but you do it in small ways every day. I invite everyone to sit with yourself. Think about why activism as a whole or activism in part makes you uncomfortable; why when it’s related to different movements, it makes you uncomfortable.

Activism Is disruptive and uncomfortable. That’s an unfortunate fact.

Sometimes it’s explosive. Sometimes it’s a slow burn.

Posted in Shalyse Speaks

Asexuality is not a lack of desire.

When I say desire is not apart of the definition of asexuality I mean, asexual organizations have researched and noted that attraction and desire are not the same. ( You can view so much sexuality education and research to verify this).

We have been taking active steps to acknowledge this especially because it is erasive to a good portion of asexuals.

I know it doesn’t seem big to most allosexuals, but let me remind y’all that most of your sexual orientation is an afterthought because you directly experience attraction for your interest.

Asexuals lack that feature or lack that feature to an extent ( our lovely Grays and demis). We have to construct what this is through a lot of introspection that most of us don’t know to do, which is why the assumption that asexuality equals no interest in sex comes in.

Please adjust this thinking and do some updated reading.

Asexuality is not new, we are doing the work know to give it visibility. It’s been conflated with celibacy, abstinence, and hyposexuality for generations. It’s harmful.

It’s part of why asexuals experience oppressive actions in our relationships and even religious interactions that we face.

Please respect us enough to do this work.

Posted in Shalyse Speaks

Skin products I use for my sensitive oily skin.

So I have sensitive, oily skin, and a skin condition that is not always monitored by medication. I’m going to share with y’all some products that I have found that work for me and don’t irritate my skin because I have been meeting a lot of folks that have the similar issues.

I try to shop based on cruelty-free(x, x, x, x), vegan/vegetarian, and natural product brands which for me generally means plant-based in my search (x, x, x, x,x. It’s my preference and what I’ll promote, but before you shop make sure you research what you are buying and why. I am trying to transition this into all aspects of my shopping as well, but there is an intersection of cost and accessibility to consider as well. Not all companies represent what they present so be mindful and don’t believe the hype.

Daily

Face

  • Alba Botanica Acnedote Deep Pore Wash I’ve been using this since the Fall of 2018 and it’s my new face wash. It really works for me whether I use my hands, a facial brush, or a facial sponge. My skin does not feel overly dry nor do I have the burning sensation around by lips or in my T-Zone.
  • Alba Botanica Acnedote Oil Control Lotion  – I’ve only been using this since February, but its improved my oily skin. I used to just use my regular face lotion as I have lots of issue with lotions. Its best around my lips, in my T-zone, and around my eyes. The biggest issue I have with lotions is drying around my lips that make small whiteheads pop up and minor allergic reactions that happen on my face. It was better for me to have oily skin than to have dry skin, but with this product, I can do both.
  • Yes to Coconut Ultra Hydrating Micellar Cleansing Water –  I’m not really sure if I need this product but so far I like it. I definitely will keep it around for when my mental health takes a downturn because my skin care routine takes a negative turn and this will help. It also may be a great asset as a Black woman with natural hair. It just ensures that I’ve gotten all the extra product from my hair off after its dried. I don’t care how much I wash my neck and shoulders, I always feel like there is extra product.
  • Witch Hazel– Witch Hazel is my go-to toner as it doesn’t burn and generally soothes my skin in a way that most other toners do not.  I don’t think a brand is super important for witch hazel. I really like the rose petal toner that I have though because it smells great.

Body

  • Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Daily Skin Therapy Body Lotion
  • Good Bar Soap – Black Soap – Found at Whole Foods – I support the use of black soap in general as it helps. But beware because black soap can act in some ways as a skin lightener. That is the love-hate issue I have with it. I have 5 different tones on my skin. The darkest is around my lips and I feel like black soap strips my color. However, there are benefits and I implore you to research black soap and find a brand that works for you. I like this bar I find at Whole Food bc unlike most brands I’ve tried over the last 15 years, this bar doesn’t dry my skin out. Here is one perspective of the benefits of black soap.

Face and Body 

Weekly

Face and Body

  • Alba Botanica Acnedote Acnedote Face and Body Scrub – I body and face scrubs have always been something I preferred to make, but I have had to come into some real realities with my mental health and my limitation for fun and crafting. I’ve had to put the money out. This scrub was a whim after a few months of not using a body or face scrub. It’s perfect for me. The scent is very neutral. It feels greet every of bad sensory day and can actually help reset my touch issues if I massage it correctly. I love body scrubs but this will be my go to. Alba better not stop making this product.

Face

  • SheaMoisture African Black Soap Clarifying Mud Mask – I may switch this out because I am not a fan of the texture. It’s too smooth if that makes sense. It feels like I am rubbing my hair cream on my face which is a sensory issue for me. This product, however, does work. If i do switch it out I will still use it for my lips unless I find a new lip mask, because the moisture in it really helps my lips. I have anxiety and one of the ways it manifests is that when I am trying to not have a meltdown I like and chew my lips. This helps a lot.

As needed

Face

  • Yes To Tomatoes Detoxifying Charcoal Facial Cleanser – This is a really good summer cleanser for me. I wash and go most of the summer with my hair and I’m in Texas so sweat is real. This helps to ensure my face is clean because I know people can’t tell anymore but I am very acne prone. It’s my skin regimen that makes it look like I don’t have acne issues.
  • Yes To Tomatoes Detoxifying Charcoal Peel Off Mask – This works great for my noes. Blackheads are the bane of my existence and my ethics won’t let me use the product I know will bust them and I don’t have the funds to consistently go get professional black treatments. This helps to reduce blackheads when used in conjunction with my normal skincare routine.
  • Yes To, Zit Zapping Dots Charcoal – I just bought these so I still have questions, but my cheeks are a problem area. I get a pimple in the same place at least twice a month. It’s frustrating. I happened to have one when I spotted these at target the other weekend. I washed my face and plopped on a dot and went to bed. The pimple was greatly reduced, but I don’t think I will be sleeping in the dot again. Maybe I just did it wrong are sleep way to crazy for the,.

New products I’ll update you on.

 

  • Pacifica Beauty Dream Big Lash Extending 7 in 1 Mascara Black Magic – I was super skeptical when I bought this and almost passed up on $15 for mascara because they don’t last long and you have to switch them out every three months max. It’s a whole thing. However, I am glad my nesting partner persuaded me to make the purchase and treat myself. I’m working on reminding myself that I can indulge in things without feeling bad about it. I’ve only been using it for two weeks but I see the improvement. I was looking for a lash serum and this is a 7 in 1 which I am generally skeptical of. I’ll keep y’all posted on this.
  • ToLB Vitamin C Serum for Face with Hyaluronic Acid – I’m vain. I know it. I saw the starts of minor wrinkles around my eyes and decided to try skins serums. I bought this but have not tried it yet. It just arrived.

Products on my list to purchase and try.

I’ll do a post later with make and hair products as well.

xox,

Shalyse

Posted in Shalyse Speaks

Pansexuality is not biphobia; bisexuality is not transphobia.

The idea that pansexuality is intrinsically biphobic is ridiculous.

One of the things that pansexuality has done is emphasize that gender is not binary.

It has never said that a bisexual person is relegated to Binary interest.

Any it has simply bolstered the acceptance of trans and non-binary individuals.

Over time people have become more accepting and identify as bisexual or pansexual, but the idea that a sexual orientation developed to revolutionize the acceptance of non-binary and trans people must meet biphobic it’s just ignorant.

It took me a long time myself to be willing to identify as pansexual because I already valued the idea trans and non-binary people whoever they were. I’m an asexual who behaves pansexually. I identified as bisexual until my partner introduced asexuality to me and I realized I was ace. I only claim sexuality as a specific political statement. A lot of people that are bi still stick to the idea that gender is binary because they focus on genitalia. For me identifying with pansexual what’s the political and activist move challenging transphobia.

There is a super harmful article by bisexuality.org that is reinforcing myths about sexuality furthering the misunderstood of it political nature. A quick Google search shows more articles of the same.

That’s one of the reasons why it is important that the is invisible sexualities have visibility and education surrounding them. Because we keep propagating harmful misinformation about the creation of these ideas and labels pitting ourselves against each other in fear of being erased or misunderstood by cishet folks or GRSM people who don’t take time to learn something outside of their own identity.

Posted in Shalyse Speaks

Cultural Appreciation vs Appropriation

I was sitting in the car listening to one of my guilty pleasure artists on Spotify.

You know one of the artists that have a lot of cultural appropriation backlash against them. It reminded me of a conversation I had with a white peer that boiled down to the fact that POC are not held to the same standards when ot comes to appropriation.

But as a person of color who interacts within POC spaces, specifically a Black woman with Caribbean and African orgins who happens to be a Celtic Pagan witch. I am super on this cultural Appropriation versus Appreciation shit. I call really big bull shit that we are not held to similar standards. The impact is just different.

There are real differences between Appreciating a cultural pillar and Approriating it. When you appropriate you taking it and manipulating it because you thought it was cool or because you just felt entitled to it.

Appropriation isn’t about sharing cultures or learning. Its taking something, physical or an idealogy, because you want to own it and control it.

Everyone is capable of appropriatiating another culture, however, European colonization was widespread and demolished or tainted many cutures under the banner of improvement (*cough, cough; whispers* Murder and Slavery).

Imperialistic Cultural Appropriation is often the discussion that is being referenced because it is the most predominant form of appropriation with political power rooted in that history.

Quite a few of the arguments that I see in political based discussions are due to a of lack of understanding of what discipline(s) the discussion is being held in. People actually rarely point these out outside of academia which leads to a lot of confusion in everyday political conversation. In conversations of Cultural Appropriation you need to know what disciplines you are referring to. Are you having a discussion of a sociological or anthropoligical nature? Or a discussion that is political in nature? Both are comparision based discourses, but only one has a major focus specifically referring to power imbalances in the subject at hand. Both are very related however and there are major overlaps, hence the confusion.

When you actually do research on a topic versus just relying on social media and others to teach you, you are able to truly see all the diaciplinary intersects instead of being stuck in just one view.