The Pursuit of Happiness…really?? I don’t think so.

I wrote this for Facebook but I decided to put it here with no editing.  It makes a point, and that point needs to be heard fully.  We are not helping things when we cut programs to our most disadvantaged.  Such government actions come back to our citizens and worlds with an equal and opposite set of forces.  Does it help balance the budget. I doubt it. It is a small amount, “a drop in the bucket” as my step-grandmother used to say.  Even cutting all political salaries by an equal amount, which would be a lot higher than $36, would not balance the budget. It would have no effect on them either.

I think I remember this. In 2009, this act was passed in order to help those most affected by the economic recession. Special funding was provided from The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). The ARRA funds raised SNAP benefits marginally (food stamps) to help people most affected by the recession. Now that things are great for those hit hardest by the economic recession, this funding is gone and benefits are being lowered across the board for single people and families having “zero income.”

While I am very tolerant of open discussion, I don’t want a discussion here of how this is a good action. I will delete any post that even hints at this. Freedom of speech can be exercise on your timeline or on other social media and blogs regarding this.  However. I would never squash that freedom but not here please. Not tonight. Many people might want to consider that there is a respect for veterans that have served and are serving our country. This removed funding will affect them as well as the rest of the “masses.” I think we need to care about the plight of those suffering. And clearly, churches and private organizations don’t have it covered. Myself, when I have used churches to get access to food in the past, I can’t even use their food due to dietary restrictions and dangerous BPA-filled cans.

I remember standing in line (barely) and having a woman tell me that she was grateful for what the Lord provided. The implication was that I was did not. I don’t think “God” provided the crap that is in most of these places, including our stores. I’d like to see foods that are filled with junk banned personally…gmos, high fructose corn syrup, man and woman made junk. Caring about our bodies should be a common sense thing, but many that are spiritual and religious have shared with me about the body being a “temple.” Part of protecting that “temple” means not filling it with dangerous toxins, alcohol. And over-consumption of food in general should be avoided. I used to go to church also. Yes, I am pushing an agenda:

My agenda is one that embraces love, compassion, concern for the disadvantaged and marginalized. That is not a bad agenda, in my opinion. It is one that is part of any good ethics system, from atheist to agnostic to all major religions and philosophies. I think I will stop now. This was my way of easing my tired, overwhelmed mind. I write to sooth myself. “Good night and good luck,” to use Edward R. Murrow’s words.

I Understand You Don’t Understand

This is a candid writing on chronic illness. I wish I didn’t relate so much to be honest. I agree with the author. People understand illness that ends, they understand death after illness, but not illnesses that persist. In addition, more empathy is felt for certain illnesses than others. People come around near death or after death to help. The time to help is while a person is alive, because while dead, they can’t really benefit. Be proactive in your community. Don’t walk away like many family and friends do. Be different!

Kerry C. Mitchell's Adventures


I’ve pretty much given up on people understanding chronic pain and fatigue and exactly what a chronic illness is.  I’ve come to understand most people just can’t fathom what my life is really like.  I have learned to accept that.

When I got sick, I became severely neurologically compromised from Lyme and FM.  I could not get out of bed due to extreme fatigue.  I couldn’t think clearly, I couldn’t find the words I wanted to say.  I was extremely sensitive to any kind of input of sound.  It overwhelmed me.  It made me feel like my brain was going to explode.  My reaction to prolonged talking, a noise or any kind of input was to sometimes start screaming.  I couldn’t  help it.  It was how I reacted.  My brain was on some kind of overdrive.  I had no control over what it did.

I also cried a lot.  I would be…

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Discrimination…a view from my family

Internal and External Perspectives

Perhaps nothing other than severe illness has affected my life more than discrimination. Even before I was born, the wheels of prejudice began turning in my own family in response to my parents’ involvement. The relationship and eventual marriage between my father and mom was inter-ethnic, with him being born in India and her being an American of European descent. One of my uncles asked my parents what their children would look like. Sarcastically, my father replied, “Like zebras.” This interaction set the stage for me losing most of my mom’s family before I had even been conceived . My father would not permit my mom or us to have familial contact except for a few more visits. This included his own family as well.

As a young child growing up in Joliet, Illinois in the 1970s. I was in the middle of a war zone. My siblings and I were tormented by the other kids in the neighborhood and had rocks thrown at us. We could not play in the front yard and access was limited in the wooded backyard. What otherwise would have been a paradise of a home was an uninviting environment filled with rejection. My brother, sister, and I were often bullied or felt afraid, and it wasn’t just of those in the dominant group. Falling in between, we took assault from different groups. I recall walking to the park with a friend. I was under the age of ten. Kids yelled out “Spic.” I was so humiliated. Later, when visiting the private university my father worked at in my late teens, I felt like I was in a flashback of segregation in the 1950s.

To add to this, my father came equipped with his own views, placing everyone into racial and ethnic categories, an educational category, a category for income, and one for gender. Sexual orientation and cohabitation are heavily scrutinized even if platonic. Even people from India were and still are not excluded from this “caste system”. One day, he was walking with my mom and he saw a couple. The woman was “Caucasian” and the man was from India. He told my mom that she was with the man, because she couldn’t get anyone here (as in an American of her own race). It is safe to say that my father’s system was discriminatory against everyone in the family, and he expressed that he was superior to everyone in the household and outside of it.

This system added to the struggles I was already enduring and made functioning in the larger society even more difficult. Also, I believe my father’s attitudes about other Indian people came shining through directly to me, and I developed a strong inferiority complex with regard to my east Indian heritage, even when I acted proud of it. Despite that, I continued to try to find a way to appreciate my heritage.

My mom remarried when I was 9 after moving to Seattle, WA. My stepdad was African American. This added a new dimension. We lived in Federal Way, Washington, an area that had a small percentage of minorities. In the neighborhood, I once again fell into a category. This time, it was biracial. I had discussions at school where I vehemently defended children of interracial families to the point where one friend finally figured out I was a product of an “interracial couple.” I am not sure if people thought I was African American or some mixture. I didn’t discuss that a lot. I felt invisible at school and for the most part, excluded. I eventually found myself completing high school in a college environment. It was at this point that I actively started identifying as Asian American. I used this designation on forms I filled out.

Both in Joliet and in Federal Way, friends that did come around or into my house made comments or passed on comments made by their parents. In Joliet, two friends discussed how their parents didn’t think my house was clean enough. One of them was instructed not to drink from our cups, because she was told they were dirty. Our family was viewed as a being part of a lower socioeconomic status when I lived with my father in Illinois. In Federal Way, two sets of parents did not want me around their child or family. I believe it was due to being from a mixed family. My friends told me behind closed doors in their own way.

While having a multitude of conversations over the years, there has been a general and backhanded compliment expressed to me by many people, in every arena including education. The sentiment can be summed up with this quote: “You aren’t a minority. You are like one of us.” Members of my family have made these comments. One day, my aunt told me that people should marry their own kind. When I questioned her as to what my kind was, I was told that I was just like her and everyone else, and different than “them.” I wondered if I was supposed to say thank you for including me or for not persecuting me directly along with the others.

I developed an interest in Sociology, talking a great deal with some professors about their experiences with discrimination and often asked for input about why I was enduring so much hatred. On campus, I remember kids yelling racial slurs at me completely unprovoked later when I went to school in Bakersfield, California. I took a few main things from my classes that have helped me to understand things better than I used to. I learned about some of the socioeconomic factors that have led to prejudice and hatred between different racial groups, even those people that are minorities. Through one teacher, I found out that the Asian American family appeared to have a basic structure. My teacher’s experiences were unique but were quite similar to mine in many respects even though she had grown up in a Chinese American family. I took many classes about minorities and felt more connected to my minority status, largely feeling that I would accept that I was not part of the dominant group. I felt I didn’t need to be, and I was essentially in a category of “other.” This, I came to find out, was the reason I had it particularly rough. I simply didn’t have a community to connect with directly, being part of a complex, inter-ethnic and interracial family with discrimination internally present as well.

I had two experiences in Bakersfield and one in Seattle which profoundly shaped me as a person. I was refused seating on the basis of sexual orientation once. I went to get some food late one night with someone I was dating, and we waited 45 minutes to be seated when there were plenty of tables and no others waiting to be seated. I absolutely refused to leave as I was totally in shock. The second time I was not seated was close by where I attended school. I was with a close friend that was Native American. After 30 minutes of waiting, a busboy finally came to seat us. I really can’t remember. He might have served us also. Both times, I was filled with anger and that was a change for me. I felt they did the wrong thing, and although it was hurtful, I put the blame where it belonged. Prior to that, I was denied housing even in Seattle and caught the person when I called to check if the basement was still available. It was and I knew that once again, my skin color had caused a problem for me.

As a student at Oregon State University, and one that has experienced discrimination on multiple levels, I would openly share with others what I had experienced in my family and society with regard to discrimination. I would make myself available to people that felt marginalized in any way. Along the way, I know for sure that without my social science teachers all through my schooling, it would have been even harder. I know I could pass that on and make a positive difference in society and the lives of other people. I strive to do that in my everyday interactions, and it is my desire to help those that need help and protection the most in society.


New Etsy listing–a piece that says Portland and more…

With full legalization recently passed in Washington and Colorado allowing the use of cannabis, this seems a perfect time for the piece I designed and created.  I was thinking about the voters approving marijuana fully and not just for medical, and I thought of the show Portlandia. Then, I thought this is Potlandia.  It cracked me up.

Oregon may not allow for legal use but it truly is Potandia.  While out in public gathering, the scent of cannabis travels with the winds and sometimes without.  People act as though legalization took place here already and long ago.

This piece is a great piece for those that want legalization, better rights for patients in areas like Oregon that have just medical marijuana, or who just like the look of a clever piece.

To order, use the link.  Any special requests to personalize that piece can likely be done.  Please comment  or feel free to contact me at LaidBackPottery on Etsy if you have any requests.  Thank you! *

* Please note the copyright and initials TM, indicating trademark.

Charity vs. Justice–A Humanitarian Issue

Above are my equality pieces.  For suggested pricing, please go to the facebook link at the end of this writing.  Pieces range from $20 to $45.  I can also make custom pieces for your state, wedding, domestic partnership ceremony.  And now for my discussion about human rights and ethics.
I am normally not into watching stars or rock stars speak on religion, politics, etc. I find it is usually a poorly thought out analysis with self-interests guiding. Sure that will always be the case with humans. Religious or not, this is good to watch. I feel most people will relate and many should watch to learn. I would quote Bono, but there are so many quotes. I think it is close that he said he learned from his parents that religion often gets in the way of God. He addresses not just charity but justice.I have devoted a lot of time to my equality pieces. While it is true that it is for the LGBT community, in my description of a piece on Etsy, I specifically point out that it is a human rights issue as well. Inequality and injustice are big problems beyond the scope of any one community. We are part of a world community, and that needs to be reflected in our actions. It must be “Us” and not “Us and Them.”My mission will not stop due to a Supreme Court decision as I know the law and justice are often not in the same “court.” Ethics transcends law. If you wish to help me and bring solidarity to the world with one of my pieces, please pm me. It is my goal to eventually pay it forward with donations to places I know help people, not just administrate. Thank you for listening.
Here is a link to my work on Facebook. I can be found at CK Thiruvathukal or LaidBackPottery on Facebook.  That is also the name of my Etsy shop.

“Equal Right Now!” marital equality project/human rights campaign

These “Equal Rights Now!” hearts are a great way to show solidarity in the quest for human rights, especially in the LGBT community. I can replicate the color scheme shown in the pictures or take special requests.  There are many available right now though.

I created this piece as a dedication to the struggle for human rights. Despite decades of trying to gain equal rights, many members of society continue to being mistreated. This is very personal for me, as I have experienced discrimination on multiple levels. The time is now to bring our citizens full marital rights, rights as employees, and a host of rights being denied. Made to support the LGBT community, I feel it also has a broader message as I look at this beautiful piece. Looking around, there are many people that are being denied human rights and dignity. Basic needs like medical care, food, and housing are necessary for those suffering. Even with the continuous fight since the beginning of the Civil Rights movement, discrimination and hatred is still strong. As we all watch our nation change and anxiously look to the U.S. Supreme Court awaiting justice, I wanted to share this piece for solidarity.
EqualRights01 EqualRights03 EqualRights05 EqualRights06 EqualRights07 EqualRights04

Suggested donation amount is $25 to $35.  Please contact me for details.  I am raising money to pay for treatment for severe autoimmune diseases. However, if I get a donation amount closer to $35, I plan to donate to a charity that helps the LGBT community’s homeless population.  I will make an announcement about which charity or charities would be used and what amount will be donated.

Another option is to pick a suggested donated and add $1 to $5 to be donated to charity. I will make donation information available as requests are processed.

To donate directly to help with my treatment, please use this link.  Thank you!  If you would like this piece, please use the contact form to ask for details prior to or with your donation.