Wednesday, January 25, 2006

It has been awhile since I updated a blog/journal…of course I have excuses and travel is one of my usual ones, it’s true in this case. Ahh, I’m a liar, I said I would update every week and I just saw that my last post was on January 3rd, much more than a week ago. So I’ll start with my commitment to myself. Tuesdays with me, yes like Tuesdays with Morrie, cuz I’m a Tuesday person. Or as my little brother calls it “Poohsday” and he calls me with a smile and hope that I’ll have time to chat with him, maybe we’ll add or maybe we’ll talk about how he wonders what his biological father is like. Anyway…

The past few weeks have been a rollar coaster, tons of work and hours of beauty. Much growth, frustration, confusion and contemplation. Two big work weekends, the National Youth and Student Peace Coalition planning meetings where I had wonderful friends come and stay at my Bed-Stuy apartment, sleepovers are fun! One of the Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) members stayed with me for the week, we didn’t do much but it was an interesting experience. Then we went to Philly for the 3 day organizer training. Over 30 IVAW members got together, some met for the first time, some old friends, it was so much fun, really exhausting and incredibly inspiring. (This is why I’ll vow to write more often because there is all this other stuff I want to get out so I don’t want to go into more detail now about this.) It is incredibly emotional to spend so much time with veterans, to learn more about them, to discover their pain and beauty, to listen to them, to support them, to train them, to love them. More about this later…

So a couple things went down and there were some people that were concerned with my work and making uninformed and stupid assumptions and talking shit. Furthermore, none of the people were mature enough (though they had the age down) to come to me about it. I was frustrated but I didn’t get really sad about it, I just recognized that they were the ones in the wrong and I was right. Arif said that he saw how much I had grown because I would have handled it differently before, I would have gotten down on myself for it. I couldn’t agree more and I must admit, I am proud of myself. But then, I did get to a point where I was wondering…
(journal excerpt)
Toughen up Lovella Rose Calica. Who are you? Who do you want to be? What will you do? How are you gonna defeat the bullshit that will try to get in the way? Draw on your past experiences. What did you have those for? To give you strength in these low moments.
And then I listed some of the things that I gather strength from, things I love about my friends (the vets), Mother Earth and my belief in myself and love.
I realized, I love these people, and I’m the one that they text at 4am or call at 5am crying or whatever and I will not walk away from them, and I will do everything in my power to love and support them.

Now onto the logistics of my life…
I’m moving back to Philly for the next couple months to work in the IVAW office!!! I’m sorry NYers, I always leave you. I’m struggling with this. More transition, more instability, more packing, leaving friends, poetry, Filipinas, NYC, all those things, but like I said, I just cannot walk away from IVAW right now and I am needed in that closet of an office! Plus, my friends (other staff of IVAW) are my community, they understand the pain and joy of this work and I need to be with them to do this work and to survive, cuz this shit is not easy. I will write more about the pain of the vets and my attempts to learn more and understand and love better. I’ll be leaving my apartment by the first week of February I think. I need to get out of the place anyway, there is no hot water and they haven’t paid the electric bill and it’s just bullshit. Then, I’ll find my way back here in April or May. I think. One more thing for now… I want to do writing workshops with the vets and compile an anthology. Of course, I need some funds for that undertaking, so if you want to help or have any ideas on where to get some cash for it, lemme know.

I’ll be back by Tuesday. Till then, thank the sun for shining, your neighbor for smiling and yourself for loving the world. I love you!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Dear friend,

This is a strange thing for me to be doing, but I figure, I have to try. We must try, we must fight for what we believe in, otherwise, what are we doing?

I have been organizing/working for social justice since I went to college in 1999, wow, that was seven years ago. I joined pretty much every social justice organization there was on campus from the environment to labor to children’s rights. And I really haven’t stopped since then.

A little over a year ago, I became involved with an amazing organization: Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW). The story is pretty funny really. They were using a desk right next to mine at the American Friends Service Committee, where I was working as the Peace Education Fellow. They joked about getting me fired so they could hire me. After the term of my position ended they finally did hire me for a short term. IVAW is composed of people that have been in the military since September 11, 2001. Some went to Iraq, some are there now, some are conscientious objectors, some are Afghanistan vets, and some fed the war machine from other places. Over the weekend of January 13-15th in 2006, about 35 of the over 200 members gathered together to train to be organizers. These people are the most inspiring and amazing people in this country. They are survivors of war, with post traumatic stress disorder that comes in the forms of: nightmares, incredible guilt, anger, inability to focus, bipolar disorder, anxiety, severe depression, jumping at loud noises, just to name a few. They are also some of the funniest, strongest, most committed, passionate, artistic, beautiful and powerful people I know. We have formed bonds and friendships that I never imagined and that are so wonderful I feel like I’m on fire when I am with them and think about them. I am in love with them, I want to do nothing else but work to support them.

This brings me to you, to ask you to support them, to support me, to support peace in the world and peace in these soldiers’ hearts. Despite all of the “support the troops” ribbons & bumper stickers out there, they are facing budget difficulties. While they would like to continue employing me, they currently don’t have the ability to pay me. We are coming up on the third year of the war, March 19th (2 days before my 25th birthday coincidentally) and these veterans have BIG plans. Iraq Veterans Against the War, Veterans for Peace and Military Families Speak Out will join with the survivors of the Gulf Coast hurricanes in a march from Mobile, Alabama to New Orleans, Louisiana to show the connections between the war on the poor at home and the wars abroad. This kind of march is unprecedented, it will be led and organized by the people in this country who are most affected by the racist, classist government which terrorizes it’s own people and the rest of the world. The march will end in New Orleans where the whole world is invited and to see & to hear what survivors’ lives and hearts are like. There will be a show/concert/exhibit by veteran artists through poetry, music, visual art, cinematography, photography, etc.

I want to dedicate my life to helping make all this happen, and I am asking you for your support. Please consider donating $20-100 so that I can pay my rent, cell phone and groceries and commit all of my time to supporting these vets, my friends, and stopping this disgusting war.

I appreciate your time and love always,
Lovella Calica
IVAW website:

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Ahhh, NYC, I did miss you, though I do NOT take a moment back. Watching my nieces hug eachother, hugging and kissing them, watching them write in my journal, fighting with my parents, being out of touch with the rest of the world, all these things…simply reality and beautiful in their own ways. I accept and appreciate them. Lugging my four bags from La Guardia airport all the way to Bed-Stuy was NOT easy, it was also raining, but, I did fall in love with NYC again. All the people, their eyes, languages, NYC attitude, the subway, I LOVE the subway! SO many beautiful people in NYC, hmm!
But, I think it is time for me to be single right now, it has been a very long time since I’ve been really single, like 4 years! I just have so much stuff to do, partners take time! What I miss most about being in relationships is that “everyday love.” Yeah, I just made that up. I mean, someone you talk to every day, who knows pretty much everything about your day to day life (and cares), someone you can complain and dream with, someone to challenge you, someone to compliment you, someone to crawl in bed with at night, ahhh. This was not where I saw this entry going! Really, I miss having a best friend, one that is close geographically. But, I must acknowledge all the amazing friends I have who are not physically close to me. They continue to give to me and be wonderful friends, I hope that I can do a better job. Even friends that I have made and do not continue to keep in touch with, those people are always with me. People who have touched me become a part of who I am, who I want to be.
I have been working on my room for about an hour and a half now, before I took a break to do some work, then ended up writing waiting for a call. I feel good about organizing my room, it is good for my head I think. It will be easier to do the things I want to do. I don’t want to say that anymore though, “the things I want to do” I just want to start doing them. And I will!!! I’m so excited to be better, to be closer to who I want to be!!! Aight, gonna go sweep my floor! Wow, yeah, I’m serious!