Today, on National Coming Out Day…

I feel it’s important to share something I’ve been keeping to myself for a while now. I’m grateful for a day that encourages acceptance and support. For me, this day is about being who you truly are and accepting yourself and announcing to yourself and others that you’re going to be that true self regardless of how anybody else may judge you for it. So, with that being said, I think I’m finally ready to take the next step and admit out loud who I truly am.

I. AM. A SLYTHERIN.

I’ve known for a long time, maybe forever. I’m ashamed to admit now that I ever wanted to be anything else. I spent so much time pretending I could be a Gryffindor–a Ravenclaw at least–I avoided the sorting for so long because I was afraid it would tell me what I already knew. But now I know that loving myself as I am is much more important than fitting in or winning a house cup. So I am ready to embrace and celebrate my house with pride! I’m a Slytherin. A totally queer Slytherin. And I support everyone needing courage today and every day to take a brave step forward to express their own perfect, wonderful, true selves. Even Hufflepuffs. 😊😘

Day Three. Welcome to Me.

Anyone else every feel like you have some type of undiagnosed multiple personality disorder?  Yeah, us too.

Some of my best and worst arguments have been with myself.  One of me (the sane one?) is pretty constantly telling the other ones to be responsible, get out of bed, start your homework before the last minute, stop eating the cookie dough, stop binge-watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer while you’re trying to “work”!  The one eating the cookie dough and watching Netflix is all like, “I know, I know, just one more bite slash episode.”  The one who won’t get out of bed — don’t even get me started on her.  She’s a very specific persona I like to call Sleepy.  Sleepy never remembers that the sane, logical one had a very important reason for setting six alarms the night before.  Sleepy hits the snooze over and over and truly believes that showering, feeding a houseful of animals, eating breakfast, and everything else can all realistically be done in ten minutes.  I’d say it’s Sleepy’s fault that I’m never on time for anything, but I’m also late for things for reasons having nothing to do with oversleeping. I guess Tardy and Sleepy work together some days.

I never have figured out who is the “real” me and who are the alternates, and that’s okay.  I just wish sometimes we’d all actually work together as a team.

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Copyright © 2015 by Angie Tonucci

Day One. More to Come.

If I want to call myself a writer (and I really, really do!), I must write every day.  Ray Bradbury said so.

“Just write every day of your life. Read intensely. Then see what happens. Most of my friends who are put on that diet have very pleasant careers.”

Oh, I go through phases of being very diligent for a week or so here, a month there. Then I get blocked or busy or sidetracked and, before I know it, it’s been three months with no new material. My problem is that if I’m working on a novel, for example, and I get stuck, I just take a break from writing altogether. But Bradbury (can you tell he’s my favorite author?) didn’t say “work on your novel” every day… he just said to write every day. Anything. Everything. The sky’s not even the limit. Just write something to get those creative juices flowing. Push through the blocks. When things get busy, remember that writing is a top priority. In the moments when I truly need a break, when I can’t sweat any more words to paper, then I must read. I can’t count the number of times that I’ve stopped reading mid-sentence just to write an idea, or some notes, or a whole new chapter. Reading good writing is inspirational.

I recently finished reading The Martian Chronicles to my son. (His first time hearing it; my fourth time reading it.) So the late, great Mr. Bradbury has been fresh on my mind. The master of poetic prose, Bradbury inspires me to craft worthy sentences and build beautiful stories like no other author. I fell in love with him after reading the M.C. story “There Will Come Soft Rains” from my tenth grade English textbook. I vowed that day to read everything else Bradbury ever wrote. (And I would probably be finished with all of his work by now if I didn’t spend so much time reading some things over and over again.) I wrote Bradbury a letter once, a few years before he died, to tell him how his stories (and his advice) inspired me to become a writer. I don’t know if he ever read it, but I hope he knew how important he was to readers and writers like me.

I’m going to write every day. Here. In this blog. Even if it’s just a thought or a sentence or a poem or some nonsensical rambling, I will post something here every single day. Then I’ll see what happens.

A Note on the 2012 Presidential Election

Does everyone know there are more than two presidential candidates? I know it’s hard to believe, but there are in fact over a dozen third party and independent candidates for the presidency. Granted some of them are a little weird, and hardly any of them are listed on the ballots of more than a couple states… but that’s the problem, isn’t it? I literally am NOT ALLOWED TO VOTE for Rocky Anderson because he isn’t even listed on my Illinois ballot. We are only allowed to vote for the few who had enough money to buy a spot on the ballot, and since the majority of people don’t seek out information on candidates other than the two we’re forced to see and hear about through a constant stream of saturated media and advertisements, any candidate other than the two with the wealthiest campaign budgets does not have chance. We are blind and deaf if we think we live in a democracy, and for good reason. We have been blinded and deafened by our gargantuan militarized government and our money-driven society and our illusions of freedom. But I refuse to be mute too.

To vote for someone who gets elected by a broken system will only perpetuate the use of the broken system. For what candidate who ever gets elected BECAUSE of the system will ever push to change it? But a vote for ANYONE other than Romney or Obama is a vote for true change because that vote says that we want fair and equal debates, caps on campaign spending, and the eradication of the Electoral College. One of the other candidates listed on your ballot likely has some things in common with whichever of the big two you were considering voting for in the first place. The difference is, a vote for someone else may actually affect change.

If you haven’t voted already, you still have a few days to think about WHAT you’re voting for. Check to see who is on your state’s ballot and take some time to research the ones you’ve likely never heard of. Jill Stein, Rocky Anderson, Gary Johnson — these are potentially great leaders who without true change of our electoral process will never have the chance to lead us out of this hole that grows deeper and deeper by the second.

As for me, I voted this morning for Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala who, if they weren’t already awesome enough (www.jillstein.org/issues), were arrested a couple weeks ago for trying to enter the Hofstra debate. They staged a sit-in and were led away by police and detained for eight hours for exercising first amendment rights.

If you believe that money is not speech, vote accordingly. I voted today against the status quo, knowing that it probably made no difference. But a girl can dream….

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Take 90 minutes to watch this debate:
www.freeandequal.org/updates/did-you-miss-the-debate-watch-it-here/

Then check out these websites:
www.jillstein.org
www.ontheissues.org/Rocky_Anderson.htm
www.garyjohnson2012.com

THEN VOTE!
See someone you like, but he or she is not on your ballot? WRITE THEM IN!!! :)

In Defense of Animals asks, “What animal connection made you think about becoming vegan?”

In case you didn’t know my story, here it is:

After a few months of working at an animal shelter, I started making some associations. I realized it was hypocritical of me to advocate so wholeheartedly for cats and dogs and other companion animals, while contributing to the mass abuse of other animals by eating them. Not long after I’d been thinking about trying vegetarianism, someone forwarded me an email with a story and photos from an Asian country that uses cats for food. The graphic photos showed hundreds of cats crammed into filthy crates on the back of trucks. Most of them were badly injured, and some dead. I was completely appalled. Then it clicked. Those truck-loads of cats looked no different than a truck-load of chickens I might pass on the road here in America. I had no right to be so appalled and judgmental of people who do to cats the same thing we do to chickens, pigs, cows, and others in my own country, especially while I knowingly contribute to their suffering. ESPECIALLY when I’ve chosen a path to speak for animals and to protect them. It took about 6 months after that, and I was meat-free. Vegan has been a longer, harder road, and I’m still not a hundred percent there, but I’ve been vegetarian for about 4 years and working on vegan for about a year. All I had to do was open my eyes to see the obvious pain and suffering animals face every day, as well as the debilitating damage that’s inflicted on the planet and our health. Once I learned how my choices affect everything around me, I really had no choice but to do the right thing. I’m sure there are plenty of people out there with no real connection to non-humans. Many who will openly admit that they don’t care about the suffering of others. But my appeal is to those of you who care deeply about the animals who live as part of your families in your homes, and especially those of you who work or volunteer with animal welfare organizations and advocate for animal rights. I encourage those of you who would not hesitate to intervene if you saw a dog or cat mistreated in front of you to think about why a few species of animals deserve your help and your companionship, while many others deserve to be terrorized and tortured and mutilated and brutally murdered every second of every day without a second thought. Gary Yourofsky asks in his amazing lecture about veganism, “If it’s not good enough for your eyes, why is it good enough for your stomach?” I forced my blinders off and opened my eyes to the horror we humans create for helpless creatures who have done us no harm, and I could no longer allow myself to be a part of it!

Now you know. :)

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Check out Gary Yourofsky’s lecture here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=es6U00LMmC4