I like looking androgynous 27w

I like looking androgynous 27w

“Are you a boy a girl?” the boy sneered. I was in the cafeteria line at Rose Hill Junior High in Redmond, Washington, a 7th grader with short hair my mom had cut off. I felt humiliated, mortified. It was the last haircut I allowed her to give me. 

Looking back, my slight figure and short hair probably made me safer during those years. It was a hell of a lot safer than when I grew boobs and ass later.

And treated like a toy that men thought they could grab and poke.

There are a bunch of reasons I like having super short hair now - it’s low maintenance. I get why soldiers have short hair. One less thing to distract me from survival. 

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I've helped raise good men 23w

I've helped raise good men 23w

"Bitch!" the guy laughed as he said it to me. My guy friends froze. We were standing behind a bar, in the late nineties. This man was a friend of my friends.

One of my guy friends looked at me and then very slowly said "um...you don't say that to Julie Negrin." The mouthy guy muttered sorry. I gave my friend a thank you and a smile. 

I never had to say a word. My friend did it for me. 

I KNOW I've irritated all the men in my life. I'm well aware that I'm annoying people now with some of my posts. 

But silence doesn't result in change.

"Awww Jules, let it rest!" my cousins and brothers and brothers friends would say when I called them out on a sexist remark when we were young.

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I became a bitch 26w

I became a bitch 26w

I was nearly raped by someone I’d known since I was 13 around the time I moved to New York City at age 29. 

Since my friend and I knew him, it felt safe to go back to a mutual friend’s house late at night with him and a couple of our guy friends.

I said what I often say to a new date to protect myself: no sex but we can mess around. 

I set very clear boundaries before going back to a house with a good girlfriend and three guys I'd know for 17 years? It felt like the safest possible scenario. 

And ended up being the worst.

He took off my clothes fast which I was NOT okay with.

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I didn't want to marry 25w

I didn't want to marry 25w

I thought there was something wrong for me for many, many years. 

This photo was taken at my going away party in 2001 before I moved to New York City. I was 29 years old and many of my friends were settling down in Seattle.

After years of intense adulting - the kids, autoimmune disease at age 17, serious relationships, all I wanted to do was have FUN and WORK. 

Looking back, I feel shame that I ran away from commitment so many times. On the other hand, I knew I wasn’t mature or ready for anything serious so at least I didn’t drag anyone into my mess. 

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I was scared to negotiate 24w

I was scared to negotiate 24w

"I want to discuss increasing my fee," I said over the phone to the client I'd just landed. When I left my secure, high-profile job as a Director of Culinary Arts in 2008 in New York City, I was nervous to start my business. But this was my lifelong dream.

When I was a kid, I wanted an office like J.R. on Dallas.

It wasn't an easy dream to achieve! I was in NYC in the highly competitive food field that had recently "gone Hollywood."

The recession didn't help. Wealthy people with more resources were entering the trendy food field, bumping us hippies out. New bloggers were mastering social media a lot faster than my old ass. iPads came out the same year I published my hardcopy cookbook.

The world was changing and quickly. 

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I never had a childhood 22w

I never had a childhood 22w

I was put to work before my first memories even started. I changed diapers - cloth ones with pins, bathed kids, spoon fed them, gave them bottles, burped them, cleaned up baby vomit AND kid vomit (so much fun!), stopped tantrums - I could go on and on. By the age of 8 years old, I was allowed to care for newborns. I was the oldest girl of eight kids - four in my family and four cousins across the street that were all younger. My cousin Alex was born when I was eight. I had so much child-care experience by then, my mom and aunt felt comfortable with me taking care of Alex.

Most people now won’t even let their 8 year old pack a bag for a trip! I was ALLOWED TO TAKE CARE OF A NEWBORN.

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I've always been loud 21w

I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN LOUD story 22w
*APOLOGY and EDITED: to add the VERY important note about AMAZING ABLE-BODIED ADULTS WHO ARE WORKING THEIR ASS OFF FOR THE CAUSE. I'm SO SORRY. I didn't mean to be dismissive of this VERY crucial group of people!! I get caught up in my writing....

I told my mom recently, "there a lot of women who tell me that they struggle to speak out against injustice because they were taught to be quiet, and..." I paused and said "nice?" We both just stared at each other trying to comprehend that.

ALWAYS being nice even if someone is doing something wrong?

I was never taught that. Never modeled that.

None of us buy a car without my mom - even my brother - because she is so good at negotiating, doesn't tolerate any bullshit.

THAT'S what I grew up with.

I don't mean any disrespect against teaching kids kindness and compassion - that's so important! But I do hope that we are now educating our daughters to be feisty and speak out against injustice. We've spent too many generations teaching young girls to be silent out of fear of being disliked.

And of course, we need to teach our boys to speak out for others, AND be considerate, compassionate, and sensitive - not just to their own emotions which is where I think a lot of dudes get confused - but to *other* people's feelings.

As all of you know - especially my family - I can't shut up.

Literally minutes after leaving the Patty Murray award event, I saw some white dude around my age yelling at the protestors in the street saying they were wasting taxpayers money - they were protesting a youth jail, a fairly non-controversial cause!! - and I couldn't help it, I was like "dude, are you serious? You're hollering at kids in the street who are trying to protect other kids?? Seriously?"

And he started backing away from me.

Of course. That's why I said something. Because a guy like him is going to have a harder time yelling at ME than kids with piercings.

That's called "using my privilege."

I'm jealous of people that can stay quiet. I really am.

I've tried so many times.

I remember trying in school. Whenever we broke down into groups, I'd instruct myself "let someone else be in charge. Be quiet. JUST. SIT. BACK."

And nothing would happen. People sat around spinning their pens over their notebooks.

Blarg! Dammit! "Fine! This is how we can organize the group..." and everyone would perk up and start taking notes because they knew it would get done.

I don't want to be the obnoxious, loud person hollering "fascists, fascists, corruption, unscrupulous adults taking advantage of children!" in the street day after day.

Who the fuck would?

This work is EXHAUSTING.

For the disabled and the parents of disabled people and children and a handful of able-bodied adults who work for the Cause because they can't stay quiet either.*

I don't know what's harder for me.

People who do nothing.

Or, people who try to hold people like me back.

Which I don't like. But I'm used it.

People - mostly women, dudes usually respect my work - have been trying to hold me back for as long as I can remember.

I get it. I've also tried to hold MYSELF back so many times! Toss myself off this strange path of mine.

But it's like Groundhog Day. No matter what I do. No matter what anyone else tries to do, I'm back on this path.

And I get that I have other options. I'm a survivor. I'll do what I have to do.

But I've come this far now, for so long, on my own. And bad things seem to happen whenever I try to GET off this path.

So I've resigned myself to this strange road I'm wandering down.

I might as well lean into it now.

I will keep using this voice of mine. No matter how weak I get. Or if a cancer comes back. Or, if I'm forced onto tube feeding for the rest of my life.

I won't shut up.

I'm going to be the obnoxious leader who grabs the microphone and starts organizing everybody.

And speaking out against injustice and protecting the children, and the voiceless.

I'm heartened now by how many people are stepping up for the kids now. How they are mobilizing so many people, all ages, so many backgrounds.

These kids are restoring my faith. My hope. My belief in humanity.

They are reminding me why I speak up in the first place.

Always. For them.

[[I have no idea why I chose this photo or this story tonight. Didn't come out as easily as the others. I think I'm struggling with how to wrap up this series. I have only 8 stories left after this and I want the last one to be a tattoo again. This photo was taken in Brazil, I think around 2004??]]

Calling women crazy is lazy 20w

Calling women crazy is lazy 20w

I showed up to a NYC bar in my purple pimped out coat. It was around 2000.

My guy friend checked out my outfit- lord only knows what I had on underneath - and looked horrified. We’d known each other a long time. And I’d gone through a lot of fashion phases. But apparently this was too much for him. 

I like expressing myself through my clothing and hair. The only thing I’ve always been certain of is that I don’t want to be the same next year as I was last year. 

My friend was too polite to call me crazy but I could see it flash across his face. 

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He assumed I'd be his girlfriend 18w

He assumed I'd be his girlfriend 18w

He patted my ass and said “we’re going to have a great summer!”

It was March. We were at the end of our 3rd date. We’d gone to sushi and my friend next door was eager for my leftovers.

i was debating whether I wanted to hook up with him that night or move on. He wasn’t very smart. Which isn’t a problem for me if we laugh and have fun. But we weren’t doing either.

This was early on in my NYC days. I was young. Sex in the City was the hottest show on television. I wasn’t exactly eager to find a boyfriend.

I was immediately annoyed that he assumed he could have me without asking if I was into it. Or wooing me further.

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I called myself a leader 18w

I called myself a leader 18w

“How DARE you call yourself a leader?” a woman wrote on a FB thread in October as others piled on attacking me, screaming at me about things that weren’t even relevant to the original post. I had suggested we break down into committees and work on different issues. But it didn’t matter what I wrote. They wanted to attack!

They saw a woman who was confidently trying to lead and they didn’t like it. They hadn’t liked it for months. It didn’t matter to them how intersectional I am - or how much I share my mental health status publicly - or that I’m disabled and could be dead within a few years. 

These people would definitely yell at a dying woman. 

I was first initiated into the lovely world of online bullying when I joined nutrition list-serves in 2008/2009. I could not have been in a better industry to prepare myself for cruel behavior on the Internet. 

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I felt like a loser 17w

I felt like a loser 17w

I didn’t plan on being childless. I knew I didn’t want a traditional life. But the details were fuzzy, I had conflicted visions in my head. 

Though, I have no idea who I’d be without kids *somewhere* in my life. 

I’ve been taking care of them since I was 6 years old. I grew up with essentially 7 siblings (3 siblings, 4 cousins across the street). 

I was a kids and teen cooking teacher for 20 years. I have 8 nieces and nephews, 16 if you count my cousins’ kids. 

And yet none of that is enough in our culture!!

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I taught teens how to cook #14w

I taught teens how to cook #14w

"And now we're going to EMULSIFY. Can everyone here say E-MUL-SI-FY?" The children dutifully repeated me.
It was a 'Parent and Me' cooking class at PCC here in Seattle for 4-5 year olds, roughly 10 years ago.

"We're going to squeeze a little lemon juice and dijon mustard." One of the parents gave me a look like "no, no mustard for my kid!" I ignored her pleading glances and squirted some into her kids container and gave her a look back that said "zip it." Her kid kept stirring and didn't complain but the parent remained tense.

"As we pour the oil into the mixture of lemon, garlic, mustard, and honey

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I met Marianne Williamson #13w

I met Marianne Williamson #13w

I couldn't afford to attend the conference so I volunteered for it instead. It was 1997, Ram Dass had just suffered his stroke and could not speak anymore which had the staff abuzz. It was a gathering of the biggest authors in the spiritual/metaphysical field. I had read many of them but I was really excited about one.

When I was still in a college, I discovered a book, A Women's Worth by Marianne Williamson on the bargain table at the University bookstore. I loved that book. I still love that book. It's one of the few I've carried from city to city, apartment to apartment and kept by my bedside. She spoke about women finding their voices, speaking up. 

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I'm treated like an idiot #12w

I'm treated like an idiot #12w

For years I’ve wondered: Why am I treated like an idiot because I have a vagina? If you removed everything else and put my brain in a tank that gave out information, would it be taken more seriously than if it was housed in this body? (Answer: DEFINITELY.)

When can I live in a world where some schmuck at a store doesn’t look me up and down, linger on my breasts, and patronize me when I ask a question?

How do I get treated like I’m as smart as any man?

I launched two different websites, posted over a dozen videos that got thousands of views, been on the news, spoke with senators, helped mobilize activists, raised 14K, launched ACA Sign Up Events, hired staff

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I drank to forget story #11w

I drank to forget story #11w

I like to party. The first I got drunk I was with a friend from high school in my parents basement. I loved it. 

My head was always too full of questions, ideas, stories, confusion, irritations. And the booze helped it disappear.

I was starting to notice how men looked at me. Not boys my age. But MEN, eyeing me up and down, ogling my red hair, my breasts. 

We live in a world where a DOCTOR is allowed to FINGER little girls

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He slithered his arm around me #10w

He slithered his arm around me #10w

And said, “See, I can touch you whenever I want” as he groped my breasts while spooning me from behind in bed.

We were already broken up. But he clearly wanted to prove something. Tears streamed down my face.

I couldn’t believe this was happening to me. Julie Negrin! Tough girl! Badass!

I wish I could share the next part of the story by saying I hopped up and screamed at him to get out!

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I love to travel alone story #9w

I love to travel alone story #9w

I tried not to trip on the cobblestone streets as I walked through Poland. It was late at night and I had my huge backpack on, making me a vulnerable target. It marked me as a tourist plus I couldn’t run with it dragging my ass down. 

I couldn’t find the front door of the youth hostel. This was in the 1990s before smartphones made everything easy. I’d been traveling through Europe on my own for weeks and had discovered that most hostels had strange entrances off the beaten path. You can think it’s either nuts or brave, but I didn’t even carry a travel book back then. I would just trust that I’d run into someone cool who would advise me on where to stay next. I can’t believe I did that!

I started to get nervous. I couldn’t find the entrance and it was getting later and later, so I broke down and asked someone for directions.  

They looked at me quizzically and pointed right behind me at a huge well-lit building that looked like a hotel.

Ahhhh, THAT is my hostel! It was

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I can not shut up story #8w

I can not shut up story #8w

I lied about something. You know by now how important it is that I’m honest with you. I may be off by a year or so in my stories, but everything I share is how I remember it and can be verified by friends.

But I did omit the truth during a story I shared last summer. I mentioned how a (male) friend asked me “How did you know kids and cooking and food would become a thing?” And I wrote “I said I didn’t know, I did what interested me.”

It’s taken me months to be honest WITH MYSELF about how that is a lie.

The truth? I HELPED MAKE KIDS AND COOKING AND NUTRITION A *THING* - yes, that’s right I’m giving myself credit, which as you have figured out by now, I struggle with. So much easier to put myself down! It’s so innate to downplay things. Plus, people love to hate women who tout their accompaniments. 

If a man does it, he is confident, not cocky. I hate this double standard.

I’m not saying I helped make it a *thing* by MYSELF. Pam Koch (Columbia Univ), Lynn Fredericks (Family Cook Productions), Alice Waters (Edible Schoolyard) and a woman in Texas (whose name is escaping me) and I are a handful of pioneers that started doing the kids and cooking work in the 90s. 

How do we make it into a *thing?* We

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I couldn't enjoy my body

I couldn't enjoy my body

I woke up to my friend asking me what I what kind of cocktail I’d like to drink. Still half asleep, I muttered “I don’t day-drink.” She just laughed and went back downstairs. I was visiting her in Charleston with another friend from Seattle. I could the clinking of glasses downstairs. It’s around 2003.

We’d bought tickets to an all-day concert with Jack Johnson as the headliner. The plan was for us to go on the boat with some of her friends, come back and get dressed for the concert. I was secretly glad about getting off the boat after only a couple of hours. I knew my pale skin wouldn’t be able to handle all day in the sun.

We had a blast on the boat, it was a GORGEOUS day. I’d never seen this area of the country before, so it was cool to explore. 

At around 3pm, I casually said “doesn’t the concert start now?” In response, “Yes, Julie, chill out…we’ll get there.”

6pm rolls around and we FINALLY

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I closed down my heart

I closed down my heart

“I want a girlfriend,” he said, “but not you as my girlfriend.” oooooohhhh, stake through the heart. “In fact, I’m thinking about asking [mutual friend] out.”

We hung up the phone and whatever was left of my broken heart shattered into a million more pieces.

I don’t think men understand how easily they can crush our souls. 

He was a close friend in my twenties. We’d talked on the phone every day for months after my other relationship ended. 

I really let him in, to see the *real* me, during a really, really vulnerable point in my life. We talked for hours. We shared everything. 

When he made a move, I thought we’d be boyfriend/girlfriend. That’s all I’d experienced. I knew I wasn’t every guy’s cup of tea. But the ones that dug me, didn’t let go.

I didn’t realize how scared he was. All I thought at that time, which seemed to fossilize in my heart was: If he didn’t want me, then who would?

I kept dating but with every relationship

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