Author Archives: marchpenn

About marchpenn

poet, tarot reader

An MFA-like syllabus for the self-educating poet

Education is a human right. Education should be free. I remember chanting that at Occupy Boston as I participated in Free School University (FSU), and those memories come back to me now. Fortunately, as many of my friends in poetry … Continue reading

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Top 10 Favorite Healers (on my interstitial cystitis journey)

The internet has transformed the experience of a chronically ill patient. We are no longer bound only to doctor-patient experiences, and, for someone with a chronic illness that carries with it a history of doctor abuse, that’s a very important … Continue reading

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Beyond Bourgeois Healing Tropes

Almost everyone has a shocking food story. My roommate said she once didn’t know that Ramen noodles were supposed to be a soup, so she would mix in the flavor packet, scrapping the noodles raw like sand. When I went … Continue reading

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Food & Friendship: Learning to Live with Dietary Restrictions due to Chronic Illness

In this photograph, I have successfully brought together two very good friends from different walks of life. I met Kelly in Hammond, Louisiana where we both attended elementary school, and I met Heather at Hood College in Frederick, Maryland. After … Continue reading

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My Response to The Politics of Privilege-Checking, and how to move toward collective action

In the article, The Politics of Privilege-Checking by Sharon Smith, the author argues that we need to build a mass struggle rather than offer our individual identities to no end. Most activists have sat in a circle of others and … Continue reading

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Dealing with Diet Culture and Gluten Intolerance, one feminist’s struggle

Diet Culture makes millions of dollars off of convincing Americans that the key to a good life is losing weight and being thin. One of the tactics of its profit-making scheme has been to propagate gluten-free diets, turning gluten-free foods … Continue reading

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How Being Chronically ill and Queer Intersect, or Why do I have to defend my existence?

I recently started a Facebook Group called, Gluten Free Queers, as a way to honor the intersection of a gluten-free lifestyle with one’s sexuality and gender identity. To me, this is a branch of the myriad ways in which chronic … Continue reading

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14 Dos and Don’ts of Healthy, Meaningful Relationships

1. Don’t expect yourself to have the same experiences as others in order to relate to them. Do learn to hear other people’s painful experiences even if they don’t match your own. 2. Don’t go on and on about your … Continue reading

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The Failure of Western and Alternative Medicine: An Anti-Capitalist Perspective

In my experience as a patient with mysterious chronic illness, I have witnessed the astounding failure of both western and alternative medicine. By western medicine, I mean the established medical community, primary care doctors, specialists, hospitals, institutionalized “care”, etc… By alternative … Continue reading

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Interstitial Cystitis: One Patient’s Journey (ongoing)

In June 2012, I had flown to Chicago to meet up with a poetry friend and attend a socialist conference. After having a great time with my poetry friend, I went to the conference, which soon led to an excruciating … Continue reading

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