Aaand we're back!

So it's been awhile. A long while. The last time I wrote, I was still unemployed. Now I am gainfully employed at a wonderful organization helping folks who are HIV+ and knowing that I am putting my MSW degree to good use. Things are finally settling down. Ben is preparing for a second round of boards. We just celebrated our 2 year anniversary! TWO YEARS? Can you believe it? Two years ago, we got married and now, we're halfway through 2013 (when did that happen?) and time just keeps on marching forward.

I keep thinking about this blog (I really do!) and I wonder how I want it to reflect what is going on in my life. You see, I haven't been blogging because I think sometimes, for months even, you just need to let life happen without the compulsion of wondering how to narrate events. Writing about becoming employed seemed really cumbersome at the time because I was feeling SO MANY emotions but the thing was, I wanted to feel them. I often tell people that when I got that phone call with the job offer, it was like 11 months of stress that had just been piling on was suddenly lifted and I remembered what it was like to breathe again. AND BREATHE I DID!

But now, for some reason, seems like as good a time as any to start blogging again. In just a month, I'll be celebrating my ability to have survived 25 years of life and trekking into my 26th year of life which is going to be full of changes. There is no doubt about that. In my 26th year of life, Ben will be graduating, becoming a dentist, we'll be moving (again), I'll be settling comfortably into a job, and I'll be continuing to straddle that line between adult and kid-at-heart. I'm looking forward to embracing this time of my life where I am still young and active by continuing to play sand volleyball (I do that now) and continuing to have great fun with our best friends and family.

It's gonna be a big year and I'm going to attempt to use this space to remember where I was and how I was in the time and place. I am looking forward to moving past the place that I was in before all of this - that terribly low place that was no good.

Here's to new adventures (in blogging!)


Student Activism at its finest.

This is an open letter that I helped with that was largely spearheaded by Suey Park, an awesome social justice activist who I have had the pleasure of getting to know over the past year. Even if you are in no way affiliated with the U of I, you should read this and pass this along because while this sort of racism is happening at U of I, it is also happening elsewhere...every day. This is about major acts of aggression towards people of color as well as microaggressions, like a racist icon or the ignorance of hostility. So again, please, pass this along. Also, if you are an alum and you would like your name added to this letter, please comment and I'll add it here as well as pass it along to the other places this is posted!

Dear University of Illinois,

In 6 years, much can be accomplished. Lincoln Hall and the ARC have been renovated, the SDRP has been built, the basketball team has finally beat Indiana, and many of us have walked across stage with a bachelor’s degree.  Apparently, though, 6 years has not been enough time to remedy the school’s history of exclusion and cultural appropriation.

Having graduated from the University of Illinois, we are shocked to hear The News-Gazette report that students get to the vote to uphold racism on March 5-6, 2013.  Are we really allowing this in the year 2013?  This so-called “democratic” system the Student Senate and University uses is incredibly flawed if we point out this whole argument is about protecting underrepresented students, underrepresented meaning “not an adequate amount,” according to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary. The annual School Report shows there are currently only 25 undergraduate students, 14 graduate students, and 2 staff members identifying as Native American on campus. Do we really think this is a fair vote? The results of this ballot will only give Chief supporters a tangible way to prove how massive and in the majority they really are.  Allowing students to vote “yes” or “no” on an issue as complex as the Chief does not simply allow each student to have his or her own opinion but rather gives majority students the choice to have power over underrepresented students. Or, should we say, continues to allow students to have power over underrepresented students.

The Student Senate and this campus’s administration usually do not take a side when it comes to the Chief; it is out of privilege that neither is forced to take a side. Many students who fight against the Chief do so for survival. We do it because we hope to make the university a more inclusive space for those who come after us. Silence or neutrality chooses the side of the oppressor.  More than the expected jeers and sneers from the pro-Chief fans, we will remember your silence. This silence is something commonplace in many atrocious events in this nation’s history.  In a space where Chief-fanaticism exists, the silence of the administration not only allows for the growth of this fanaticism, but legitimizes it. The university has had 6 years to educate students on this issues instead of hoping it would die out. Instead, their silence has left students to fight for themselves and amongst themselves.
Less than 100 years ago–in 1916–the Ku Klux Klan was an honorary student organization at the University of Illinois.  Since then, the university has continually been a site of racist incidents. To ignore our school’s racist history is not to understand fully the Chief debate. Although we have since then “welcomed” students of color to attend our university, recruitment and retention of students of color is still less than ideal.

Stephanie Fryburg and her colleagues at the University of Arizona, Stanford University, and the University of Michigan have done multiple psychological studies on the effects of mainstream characterizations of Native imagery on Native students’ self-efficacy and academic well-being. In an article published in the journal Basic and Applied Social Psychology, Fryburg and her colleagues found that exposure to Native imagery, including images like Chief Illiniwek and Disney’s Pocahontas, had a pronounced negative impact on Native students’ well-being, while the same imagery actually boosted White students’ self-efficacy. Not only does imagery like Chief Illiniwek not properly “honor” Native peoples, it is actively discriminatory in this way when propagated on a college campus. We have seen countless incidents of cultural misappropriation protected as humor or tradition.  From the infamous “Tacos and Tequilas” party to commonplace games of “cowboys and Indians,” it becomes evident that not enough has changed. Perhaps we can argue that modern day racism is all in good “humor,” but only one year ago Prof. Dharmapala was stabbed 6-inches into the throat as a result of racist ideology on the anniversary of Pearl Harbor. Such shocking incidents make us reasonably question the neutrality of such “humor.”

Other times, racism is upheld not as “humor” but as “tradition”.  Is it of any surprise that 2nd and 3rd generation Illini feel entitled to this mascot, along with other societal advantages? It shouldn’t be, since it is conceivable that these student’s ancestors contributed to pushing Native Americans onto reservations and stripping them of their rights, land, and dignity to begin with. Even those Chief supporters who do not have such connections benefit from a tradition of excavating, destroying, and abusing Native land and culture; nor have they faced the very real and potent difficulties that shape the lives of Native peoples living in this country today. Now our generation fights over the symbol that still remains a reminder of “tradition” to some and of death to others.

Let’s start calling it as it is.  The real, choice students will be making on March 5-6th is not simply choosing the Chief or a new mascot.  It is choosing whether or not to go backwards and reinstall a racist mascot or choosing to move forward toward new traditions.  We can find a mascot that can represent all of us. We can find other things to fight for.

The Undersigned Embarrassed Alumni

Kaytlin Reedy-Rogier, class of 2010
Thaddeus Andracki
Suey Park
Katie O’Brien
Maja Seitz
Andrea Herrera Orrala
Kate Higgs
Melorie Masacupan


The Weigh Things Go

Remember when I used to write on this thing? Dang.

Well, it's 2013. I haven't written since a lot of my friends left LAST YEAR. What the what? Fortunately since that time, a friend or two has moved back. Huzzah! We've had a pretty rough go of things here in the Reedy-Rogier household, mostly because the economy/job market sucks and folks don't recognize the need for diversity education. But that's a different topic. Today I'm writing about something else that's been weighing on me for a little bit...pun intended.


For as long as I remember I've been chubby, overweight, fat, "big-boned," and any other number of euphemisms that you can come up with around being overweight. When I was younger, I was pretty active and then a life altering event happened that changed my relationship with food and, in turn, rocked my self-esteem. My mom, though always supportive of me and despite always making me know that I am loved, also has a terrible (though improving) relationship with food and a low self-esteem. And despite being the strongest, most vibrant woman I know, those things were conveyed to me, both implicitly and explicitly...and now we struggle together.

You see, the thing about being overweight is that I KNOW I'm overweight. I see it everyday. AND I grew up in the same society as you  so I'm also aware of what the common perceptions of me are: I'm lazy, I lack self-control, that I'm unintelligent, etc., etc. And while I can't deny all of those things - I mean, I know only a few people who aren't ever lazy and I just don't understand them - I can say that those play only a small role in my body size. Largely, I was never taught an appropriate relationship with food (I know I say that a lot but it's HUGE, I tell you) - when I was young, my dad used food as a reward/never told me no/gave me everything I wanted and I've already told you my mom's relationship to food. When I was growing up, my brother, who was 8 years older than me, cared for me a lot of the time while my mom was on shift work. I don't know if you know, but teenage boys can eat A LOT. And he was making my meals - which were usually the same as his. Granted, in 15 years, I probably could should have learned how to take care of myself and I could  should be proactive on taking charge of my health and food decisions and excuses are pointless but I will say that for someone for whom those things don't come naturally, it takes prioritizing and money.

I'm not talking about money in the sense that I need to pay for some diet plan that will do the work for me but, as we all know..or should know, the cheapest food is also notoriously the WORST for you. So when I was growing up and into college and now in my unemployment, cheaper wins out. I can't afford organic foods. I buy fresh veggies and fruit when they are on sale but if they aren't...well...none for that week. And prioritizing weight loss, which is no quick endeavor, with a billion other things happening is, to put it mildly, a daunting task.

SO why am I telling you all this? Well, I'm talking about this because I'm a feminist and an advocate for social justice and body size and weight are inherently feminist and social justice issues. And because I've joined Weight Watchers to help rectify or control or improve who I am. whoa Those are competing ideals and I'm struggling to deal with the two of them together. You see, I would love to be someone who is part of the body-loving, fat acceptance, self-love movement but years of the exact opposite seem to be a bit insurmountable. Because I have grandparents who have the best possible intentions and yet send the worst possible message when they literally bribed me to lose weight, when I can't find clothes that reflect my style, etc., I certainly don't feel like loving myself. BUT I DO LOVE MYSELF. Because I have a wonderful partner who has accepted me for who I am and has NEVER pressured me to change who I am. Because I have wonderful friends who find me to be funny, caring, charming. Because I have a family that loves me, despite misplaced suggestions. And so...here I sit in this place of internal struggle and I think it's important to realize that this isn't merely a product of my weight because despite popular belief, I don't have health issues related to my weight. I don't have diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc. This is a product of the society we live in and the ways that cycles of poor self-esteem continue.

To be clear, I'm not wallowing in self-hatred nor am I asking for pity or sympathy or any of that. I am asking we take a critical look at the ways we talk about body size and the ways that we support folks who are at potentially unhealthy body weights (both over and under). Don't make assumptions about folks or pretend that you know what's going on in there lives. Realize that weight is a fluctuating thing and that while a healthy lifestyle may be real easy for you, condescension and patronizing tones are unhelpful and unwelcome. On a day to day basis, I'm just trying to be me, as happily as can be. This is just my struggles but there are many more like me and when we continue to allow misogynistic ideals of what it means to be a woman, we perpetuate generations of self-loathing women who struggle to be their whole, beautiful selves in the world.

Just a thought.

Happy 2013 everyone!


See You Laters

I had started to write a post that was a bit reflective, a bit sad, a bit thankful, and perhaps a bit whiny. And it felt wrong. I've been thinking about how I want to reflect on my last two years, the wonderful people I've met, and what I think I've accomplished. 

I have a lot to be thankful for and the last couple of days have reiterated that. I've had two best friends leave me for New York in a 3 day period, not to mention the other friends that have left/moved on to do awesome things which I have been sad about but I'm realizing now that I am one lucky person to know these people.

I feel like I've hit the jackpot of best friends - I have a best friend from each stage of my life that I still consider my best friend, plus I married one of them. How awesome is that?

My elementary school best friend is hanging out in Spain, being a cultural ambassador! My middle school bff has twin girls that I get to watch grow up. I married my first hs bff and he's going to be an amazing dentist. My second high school bff is going to be an AWESOME teacher. My undergrad bff is getting her doctorate. And now my grad school bff has just moved to NYC to be an awesome social worker. I could not have planned to surround myself with better people.

I question the decisions that I've made in life, sometimes, but when I've had the opportunities to meet the people I have met and to form the relationships and mentorships that I have, I know that I made all of the best decisions for me.

When I talk about how I am simply a social construction, I mean that my gender, my race, my sexual orientation are all determined by what society had created. But I also hope that I am constructed by those I surround myself. I only surround myself with people who encourage me, who make me a better person, and who challenge me in constructive and helpful ways.

So to my best friends, thank you. and I love you all with every fiber of my being.

and to those who have been there with me along the way these past two years, thank you. it's been a ride.



Welp. I've completed my master's program. In two weeks, I'll walk across a stage, again, receive a diploma {cover}, get hooded, shake hands, and probably cry. I'll put three letters at the end of my signature (all the time) and I'll feel successful. Well, almost. I've got a little birdie in my ear that keeps saying "Kayt, what you really want is a PhD." And I just keep flicking it away...because I need a break. I'm pretty mentally and emotionally exhausted. Especially after the past few months. So I'm looking forward to May 18th.

But I'm not looking forward to the inevitable good-byes which seem to be starting all too soon. I don't deal well  with separation. At all. Partly because I think that I love a bit too fiercely for my own good. And partly because, well, my life has been filled with all sorts of untimely separations. And my feelings get hurt a bit too easily, probably. Which is why I keep saying that I'm just going to collect all of my people and keep them with me. All of the time.

It probably doesn't help that there is just the large UNKNOWN looming in front of me. The type of unknown that begs the question: was it worth it? and did you make the right decision two years ago? I feel REALLY GOOD about where I am right now. But sometimes I don't feel so good. Like when I think about how maybe I should've gotten a masters in higher education. or something like that. But I am where I need to be. I trust in that.

So for now, I'm going to read some books that I borrowed from the library/books I've been waiting to read for awhile.* And I'm going to be okay with where I am. Because one day, things that need to happen, will happen. and I'll be okay then...

*Books are:
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
Jazz - Toni Morrison
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close - Jonathan Safran Foer
Atypical: Life with Asperger's in 20 1/3 Chapters - Jesse Saperstein
The Whipping Girl: Julia Serano


Remember that one time I said I was going to blog more?

Oops. Welp. Life happened and I didn't. And perhaps it's life that should make me want to blog more...but often times life leaves me at a loss for words (yes, it really can happen). 

Things that have happened since January in no particular order:
1. Ben and I celebrated our 7 year anniversary of being "Ben and Kaytlin." (March 20)
2. I got new glasses:
3. Grandpa has been in and out of the hospital.
4. My really good friends are getting married next year and I'm their unofficial official wedding planner/mistress of ceremonies
5. I've applied to 8 jobs seeing as I graduate in less than 7 weeks. Eep.
6. I wrote a wedding graduate post for A Practical Wedding about how feminism made our wedding awesome. And it was a really awesome experience for me, regardless of whether or not it actually makes it on the website. Maybe I'll post it here sometime. 
7. I had spring break wherein I read the entire Hunger Games series and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. If you are Facebook friends with me, you know that because I could NOT shut up about it.
8. I've begun to entertain the idea of getting my PhD in Gender studies so I could teach and maybe actually get a job. 
9. I bought myself Margaret Cho tickets for a graduation present for June. And I'm pumped.
10. We celebrated Ben's 24th birthday! (March 23)

Plus some other stuff. Needless to say, I could have written a lot on any of those things. but I didn't. So here I am saying that I'll keep trying. Hopefully the next blog will be something about how I've gotten a kick ass job. or something along those lines. but until then...I'll just keep tryin'.


Oh Hey There 2012...

It's a new year and as much as I loved this...

I was really ready for the year to be over.
The last few months were a bear and really challenged me both intellectually and emotionally. I like a challenge just as much as the next person but I was pretty close to a limit.

Christmas was rough because sometimes family is just unrelenting but overall this break has been wonderful.
Plus I got a really great sweatshirt which I've been pretty much living in:

Ben was off for awhile - he's back at school now which is sad but it was great while it lasted...
Josh is home - well, not right now...but in general...
Court is having babies - yes. 2. two. TWO. wow.

2011 was when Ben and I got married. I'm in my dream practicum right now, doing what I love doing, working with people that I love, I've found my perfect group of friends 
(many of whom will be leaving me in 2012...lesigh)
I'm prepared to move forward and become a real adult in the next few months 

I don't believe in resolutions because I don't want to limit myself to bettering myself once a year.
 I believe in goals. 
and my goals are:
*Finish my sketchbook (which I have to send in SOON. eep.)
*Be healthier
*Work harder in school. I mean, really.
*Be a better partner
*Be a better friend
*Be a better daughter
*Be a good pen pal (that means you, Audrey)
*Do some stuff in the 'Lou that I haven't yet (Arch, I'm comin' atcha)
*Find a job
*Blog more
*Be introspective (and write about it)
*read more books that aren't assigned for class
*read more stuff that is assigned for class

...and you know, morestufflikethat

happy new year, everyone. be well. be happy. be nice.