not the only one…


Where is the rape charge?

A recent “Seattle Times” article reports that Edmonds, WA police officer David Lavely, “forced [a] woman into sex” on a night in May 2012 in the Burlington Coat Factory parking lot in Edmonds whiles she was in his arrest custody.  No where, in any of the articles, is the word, “rape.” “Forced sex” is the definition of “rape.” When someone is not consenting to sex and it happens anyway, a rape has occurred. Lavely is still on “administrative leave” at the Edmonds Police Department. This means he is still being paid with tax payer dollars.

Here is an article from June 7, 2012 describing what happened, stating innocuously that the two “had sexual intercourse.” Making it “seem” consensual.

Since then, an investigation by the Everett Police Department occurred and Lavely has been charged with “Custodial Sexual Misconduct.” The Seattle Times, on November 1, 2012 (and modified online November 2, 2012) uses stronger language to describe what happened and reports that the police officer “forced the woman into sex.” But, the Edmonds Beacon article still claims that the officer “had sex with a 28-year-old woman who was in his temporary custody.” While neither article mentions the woman’s side of the story. Both articles are linked here:

(And, if you can’t read the full Edmonds Beacon article in a couple days from this post, its because they require you to have a paid subscription to the paper to see archived articles.)

But back to my main point, why is this officer not being charged with rape?  And what the heck is “custodial sexual misconduct?” That sounds like a slap on the wrist. And, both the recent articles report that the Edmonds police department is reviewing the criminal investigation of David Lavely to “determine what, if any, disciplinary actions the City of Edmonds may take.” (Emphasis added.)  Are you kidding me?  There is a chance this guy might get to keep his badge?

Where is the voice of the woman?  She is only mentioned indirectly:  “The woman reported the incident to law enforcement a few days later.”  It’s fine if the victim does not want her name in the paper, but if this is case, the reporter usually mentions that “the victim does not want to speak to the press,” or that “the victim would not respond to calls,” or the lawyer representing the plaintiff makes a statement on her behalf. But, no. There has been no mention of any attempt to talk to this unknown woman, or to contact her, or to get a statement from the lawyer that was likely issued to her by the county of Snohomish.

I have reached out to a council member in Edmonds to learn more and find out where we are in the process of this case and when Edmonds PD will make their decision as to the future employment of Officer David Lavely.

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Pot’s legal!

Initiative 502 “New Approach Washington” passed on election night in Washington State, November 6, 2012!  A historic night to celebrate and I ended up in a large full-color photo in the print & online editions of the Seattle Times on November 7th, with the title “Pot’s legal!” in large letters above my pic.


Natalia Fior of Edmonds waves an I-502 sign as supporters cheer the measure’s victory at a campaign party Tuesday in Seattle.

And, I must say, I don’t mind one bit being the poster child for ending the drug war, legalization and revenue for Washington State. A friend said they spotted me on King 5 too but I haven’t been able to find it…


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Spartacus Books & Rhizome Cafe

I’m going to Vancouver BC this weekend and I’m going to check out Spartacus Books and the Rhizome Cafe. They are both social justice minded establishments and I can’t wait to browse at Spartacus and enjoy what looks like delicious food at Rhizome.

The homepage of Spartacus is awesome with a listing of, what they call, “explosive titles.” Gramsci’s Prison Notes and Helene Cixous’s Portrait of Jacques Derrida as a Young Jewish Saint… I wish I could just sit around and read all day… every day…



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Look closer

“Look closer.” This was a theme in the movie, “American Beauty,” one of my favorite movies because the story chooses to see all the beauty in our world, even amidst the greed, self-loathing and ego pervading our society. The movie takes on harsh realities; a teenage girl rebelling against her parents, a woman who chooses to find her identity in money and who forgets why she ever loved her husband until she loses him, a middle aged man hitting on his teenaged daughter’s friend, loveless marriages (mirages?), a closeted, retired military man who collects nazi stuff and his wife who is dead inside from years of abuse from this self-loathing gay man, and their son, teenage boy so intelligent he doesn’t fit in at school so he makes lots of money selling drugs so he can be his own person and someday get away from his dysfunctional family in the suburbs.

I must admit that I find myself worrying too much about money. After grad school, I have a lot of debt and I’m realizing I don’t have a narrative to frame this student debt in a positive way. Everything and almost everyone seems to say debt is bad, it will keep you down. But my wonderful partner reminds me that it is my choice. I can decide to view my debt as a shackle that will paralyze me and keep me frozen in fear. Or I can decide to live my life and make myself happy.

I want to be a professor. I have wanted that since I graduated college. I want to make positive impact on the world. More specifically, I want to make an impact in America, which can change the world since we are such an influential nation. I want to end the prison system. It’s a blight upon our world. Putting people in cages only makes our society more unjust and does nothing to truly heal people who have suffered as a result of American capitalism and institutionalism which lack compassion and deference for difference.

Growing up, I never wished for a lot of money. I knew I didn’t want to work only for a paycheck. After grad school at a private university, with so much debt, I got scared. But I can’t live my life scared. I’m a bold person with bold ideas. I enjoy challenging myself and I want to take risks. I’m working through a lot of this now because I have lost my center. I need to regain my focus on the things that matter to me: love, peace, justice, community and joy. These are my values. I will do my best to live them everyday.

To my readers, what are your values? How do you center yourself?


a day in the life

no matter how much we dream big, and vision, and strive to rise above civilization; it’s rules, it’s money, it’s gender roles, it’s racism, it’s classism… we still have to come home at the end of the day and do banal things like wash dishes, take out the trash, laundry, argue with people you love over said chores, etc. It is tiresome. It is petty and we know it. And yet, it happens. Human All Too Human, right, Nietzsche?

At least I can write, I assure myself. It makes me feel better. This simple task of forming thoughts into sentences in a language I know well gives me great satisfaction. Even if the subject matter is relatively light, like tonight. It’s comforting to write. It’s a creative act. I get to watch letters and spaces fill up the space on my screen and know that it’s only happening because of my keystrokes. Writing is powerful. Writers can play a role and take on new characteristics. We can push ourselves to write about topics that scare us. We can wax philosophical. We can whine and we can make people laugh. Writing is also cathartic because I can be my open, honest self. While writing I dont have to watch people make strange expressions at me when they disagree with my opinion or when they think i’m weird for singing in public. I’m cool with people disagreeing with me, but sometimes I just want to be surrounded by friends who enjoy my opinions and quirks. When I’m feeling alone, I can always write, because in this world I am my only critic.

Life is full of banality and inspiration. It can often run the spectrum of beautiful to terrifying in less than a second. Life can change on us quickly for better or for worse. To struggle with this constant change is a human experience. To seek to rise above this daily struggle is a spiritual experience. To completely rise above and find eternal peace within our naturally chaotic, entropic world is divine, or as the Buddhist’s say, nirvana.

Keep practicing at being present. Stay focused on accepting change and embracing it. The universe is vast and we must give up our urge to struggle against change and chaos. We will all be happier if we give a bit more. Especially in the midst of hardship, I will be happier if I let go…

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what women want

Listening to NPR last week, I was upset by a story about a book called, “The End of Men: And the Rise of Women” by Hanna Rosin of The Atlantic magazine. “Stop dividing women and men!” This is what I want to shout at Hanna Rosin. The title is problematic and so is the content — or at least what the author was telling the reporter on the radio. I do not intend to read the book.

Starting with a provocative title might help sell books but this one won’t do any good to advance our culture or the place of women in it. I don’t want men to “go away” or “come to an end.” I love many men in my life. My father is a good, kind-hearted man who treats all people with equity and respect. My partner, whom I plan to marry, is the most amazing person I know, and is genuinely respectful of all people. He is understanding of the second-class treatment all women experience at times, especially that of women of color or queer women or poor women. The women Rosin talks about are women who are breadwinners and making more than their male counterparts in traditionally male-dominated sectors like business and technology. But she overlooks the fact that men still dominate the highest paying sectors of our economy and that women still make 77 cents on the dollar compared to men.

Most obviously, she is not considering how poor women or women of color are left out of the higher wage jobs in our economy. Even if more women are becoming the bread-winners in their households, its still mostly white, middle & upper class women who are doing this with financial success. Depending on your zip code in America, women of color have been single-mothers and heads of households for a very long time because the men in their communities have been held down by lack of economic opportunity, prison or both. We cannot talk about the “place” of women in our society in blanket terms. The experiences of American women differ dramatically based on race, class, place of birth, religion and/or politics. The people of America and our Native brothers and sisters are not homogeneous.

And lastly, women do not want to dominate men. This is not what feminism teaches. Women want to be treated with equality, equity, trust, love and respect. Women want to be listened to just like men have been for eons. When feminism talks about equality for all that is exactly what they mean. And yes, its true, to achieve equality between men and women, men are going to have to let go of some of the power they have held for as long as we have been recording history. Equity requires the balance of power be distributed evenly.

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how do I fly?

At 32 years old, I am trying to step up and lead. I yearn for opportunities to make an impact in my community. If I could be known for anything when I leave this world, it would be that I worked to make the world a better place; that I simply tried to do good. In my current work, I feel resistance and discordance. Its jarring and disempowering. I noticed recently that I sigh more than I ever have before. Im grasping for a community that accepts me for who I am, but even more than this I’m searching for work that is much bigger than I am and for leadership that is big, bold and wiling to take risks.

Some say I should start my own venture, non-profit, business, what-have-you. I’m not opposed but I’m not sure exactly what I would start. Not sure I want to start a non-profit. They are really difficult to run — with all that reliance on fundraising! Fundraising isn’t difficult work (I do it everyday), but it takes lots and lots of sustained effort everyday. But I would like to work more independently, or at least have more say in the scope of my work, and being the founder or director would certainly give me the ability to take the big risks I’m striving for. America is in an uncomfortable place. The 2012 election is the most important election of my lifetime. Our country is facing two very different paths in November and Justin and I want to be a part of changing it for the better. We want affordable healthcare for all that includes access to birth control, abortion and comprehensive sex ed. We want free, quality education for all that starts with preschool and ends with all kids graduating high school. We want affordable housing options for all, we want good paying jobs, we want to end the war on drugs and empty the prisons, we want a more progressive tax system, we want money out of politics, we want marriage equality and we want compassionate immigration reform. We want gun control and an end to the war in Afghanistan. So, there is much to do and I’m not sure where to start. I could start my own pac to help solve one of these problems. But which one do I pick?

I want to dream big and then come up with realistic plans to make those dreams a reality. This harks back to an earlier post called Livin The Dream where I talked about my difficulty dreaming for myself. I’m really good at planning in my professional life and thinking big, but when it comes to personal goals, I am less practiced. So, it seems, I should work more at dreaming for myself, dreaming about what I will become, what my partner and I will become. We both have so much energy and curiosity about our world and we both care deeply about equity and justice. I am constantly interested in my partner, Justin, and what he will accomplish and who he will become as we grow together.

It might be good if I try and have some of that same curiosity about myself and then push myself to be my best. I have so much energy to give to the world, I just feel like I need to find my niche and then I will be able to fly, unencumbered. (I can’t help wondering if this is a gendered thing?  Is this feeling of unpreparedness a symptom of being raised female in America? …this sounds like a whole new post…) It’s a horrible feeling to feel trapped by student loan debt, or by your work. I can’t do anything about the loan debt, but I can control my work and how I spend my days. Life is too short to feel uninspired. I think I would like to teach and I know that writing is good for me. Consulting is an option I am considering lately; consulting for the non-profit world. I have done some of this work for free with organizations I care about and its rewarding to watch them learn and reach their goals. It would also allow me to be more independent and possibly set my own schedule or work from home more often (which is amazing).

I was at a fundraising workshop today and one of the speakers asked us, “What beauty do we find in our work?”  He said if we can’t find beauty in what we are doing, we should go do something else. And I agree. Life is too short to sigh often. I want my work to take my breath away. I’m going to keep searching. Keep learning. Keep seeking beauty and truth and inspiration.