Edgar Allen Woe

Been feeling pretty melancholy recently. The senioritis is real. Already sensing my Vitamin D deficiency. I’d blame it on the birth control if it hadn’t been like this the last two winters. Not to mention Nick won’t be around next semester. I’ll be so lost.

I’m tired. And my head hurts. And my room never stops being a disaster. And I never have the food I actually want to eat. I haven’t “had time” to work out in ages. Too much work to do every week for classes. My clients are flaky. My house is too far away. I haven’t seen my big brother in 10 months. I haven’t seen my sister-in-law in 5. I miss my family. I miss my childhood.

Nick is leaving, gosh, why is he leaving before we can leave together. No more spontaneous Netflix binges or date nights. No more “please come cuddle me, it was a long day”. No more accidental run-ins on campus to immediately brighten my day. Motherfucker. Sucky sucky sucky.

Can winter break be now and it can last for three months.

/rant

but not /feelings

End Football As We Know It

I created a list of reasons why I hate football and why I think it either needs to be eliminated completely or radically changed.

  1. It’s male-dominated. Football is male-dominated in every aspect: the players, the coaches, the announcers, the referees, and the fans. It allows no room for females to feel comfortable, safe, and respected. There are no professional football teams for women, any woman announcer on ESPN is immediately disregarded and degraded, I’ve never seen a female referee in my life. If a woman dares to be a football fan, her true knowledge is questioned and, upon acceptance into the boys’ club, is expected to put up with endless sick and demeaning jokes, usually about women. This is reason enough for me to completely avoid the sport and the culture, but let’s continue.
  2. It promotes masculinity and demotes femininity. “There’s no crying in football! You have to be tough to make it out here! Take it like a man! Man up! Quit being such a pussy/sissy/bitch/girl! Grow a pair! Stop being gay!” Need I say more?
  3. It places players on a pedestal. This occurs at all levels, from high school up through the NFL. Football players are given unlimited “get out of jail free” cards by fellow students, coaches, teachers, school administrators, local public safety officials, broadcasters, etc. Commit a crime? Don’t worry, you’ll be welcomed back onto your team with open arms. Miss class? No big deal, here’s an A so you can focus on doing well in tomorrow’s game. Think you deserve a raise? Sure, have another $1 million a year.
  4. It creates opportunities for physical violence. The promotion and approval of masculinity mentioned in item 2 encourages men to prove and maintain their man-ness, which can sometimes be shown in the form of physical violence. The recent events with Ray Rice is just one example. Domestic violence is inexcusable, but the NFL and its culture seem to excuse it often.
  5. It creates opportunities for bullying. At all levels. High school through the NFL. “Weaker” players are singled out by stronger players, or even coaches. If they’re not performing up to the standard, or if they show feminine qualities. They’re something to be “taken care of”. And once again, these acts are excused by all.
  6. It creates opportunities for sexual assault. Just as with 4 and 5. Not only are players assaulted, by fellow players and even coaches, but players assault others. Remember the two boys in Florida? Not only were their actions excused by the general public, they had the world’s sympathy because their “lives are ruined”. Fuck. That.
  7. It’s dangerous. Seriously. The number of concussions players receive is severely damaging to their brains and their general wellness. Not to mention heatstroke and even death.
  8. It plain old takes too damn long. What is it, like 16 minutes of actual play time per game? I don’t feel like sitting through a four hour game to watch three and a half hours of penalties and time-outs.

“Not all players/coaches/fans/etc” arguments need not entertain me.

Emma Watson did what?!

Emma Watson’s beautiful speech on feminism to the UN the other day has had some mixed responses. On the one hand, we have a bunch of average-day feminists celebrating what a feat this is for many women across the globe. On the other hand, we have less-average-day feminists criticizing different aspects of her speech, such as setting men as the baseline (“I think it is right I am paid the same as my male counterparts…” etc.) and perpetuating the focus on economic equality. On the third hand, we have 4chan and various others presenting extreme backlash  to Watson’s speech and admittance of being a feminist (oh, the horror!).

All of this came up in my Feminist Theory class today, and here’s what I have to say about it.

What Emma Watson did is so big, so important. This is a well-known, well-respected, well-liked woman standing up in front of the world and declaring she is a feminist. That, in and of itself, is huge. For little girls to see this, shit, for men and women my age to see this happening, will do so much for the movement. Along with Beyonce’s display of feminism at the VMAs, and Taylor Swift’s recent coming out as a feminist, these three strong, successful women have showed the world that they’re not afraid to be a feminist. And for the world to see this, it opens so many doors for all those that deny feminism, or wish to call it something else that doesn’t have a negative connotation, or were just too plain scared to stand up for something so important. By Watson standing up in front of the UN, all these men, the world, she just opened a door and gave countless number of humans the chance to walk through it and see what’s on the other side.

So sure, there are some things that may need to be changed about the common definitions, appeals, and arguments we feminists use in our campaign to rid the world of oppression and privilege, but let’s allow everyone to walk through the door first. Let’s give everyone a basic understanding of why this issue is so important to our world today, let’s allow them to take that first step, and then we can begin to slowly educate them.

Hats off to you, Ms. Watson. Thank you for taking a stand for all women. Thank you for not being afraid to proudly say, “I am a feminist.”

If you have not yet heard her moving speech, you can check it out here.

You Are Unlimited

Today was a truly spectacular day and I’d like to tell you about it. Keep in mind, however, that I am doing this for me, not you. If it helps you along the way, though, that’s an added bonus.

My morning began with a new alarm tone, which is always refreshing. After relieving myself (hey, every body’s gotta) I sat on my bed and took five deep breaths to get some oxygen to my brain to wake me up faster, and also to bring myself awareness of this new day that Universe had given me. Next, I read the letter Nick had written me last weekend, in order to begin my day knowing that I am loved. I then read the “That Girl Manifesto” out of my new favorite book, I Am That Girl by Alexis Jones, in order to begin my day feeling empowered. When I finished boosting myself up, I dropped to the floor and pumped out (with the pace of an 80 year old turtle) ten push-ups, in order to get my blood flowing through my body. Somehow making it through that small amount of exercise, I trekked down to my kitchen and made myself some tea because what better way is there to start the day? Better yet, my Yogi Wisdom of the day was “You are unlimited.” Wow! Thank you. How did you know? Yes, I am. And truly, those three words set the tone for my entire day. I was going to live like I was unlimited. Because I am.

So I made myself a delicious, healthy, and nutritious breakfast. I made it to class early enough to print off the assignment due without hassle. My quiz and presentation both went smoothly. I had enough time before my next class to walk to my favorite coffeehouse and purchase my favorite drink. On my walk from the shop to my next class, the sun kissed my cheeks (probably giving me three thousand more freckles), the bright blue sky held endless possibilities, and the green green grass energized me. How lucky am I to live in such a beautiful state and attend a university with such a beautiful campus?

While my next two classes were unusually dry, I reminded myself of not only how lucky I am to be attending a great university but also of how much I love learning. These reminders made the classes much more bearable and actually helped me to pay attention better. In fact, I volunteered an opinion for the first time in my Feminist Theory class, and I followed an entire documentary without zoning out in my Civil Rights Movement class.

When class finished for the day, I had enough time to get ready before heading off to work for the night. I tried a new workout with my client and she did a stellar job. She even asked to work with me more often in a week than she does right now! I feel very lucky to already be doing what I love and to be reassured that I am good at doing what I love.

The rest of my shift was a cake walk. The gym members were friendly and talkative, I didn’t have to clean any of the machines, and the hours didn’t drag by. I am so grateful to myself for taking the initiative to apply for this job and quit my old job, because it has been a very rewarding switch. I am also grateful for the wonderful boss I now have, who fought to get me a raise, which will help me to pay the many bills that will be piling up soon and also allow me to continue to support my favorite non-profits.

I arrived home after work and had the wonderful opportunity to sit and talk with my roommate and friend in our living room. This is her first year living in this apartment with me, and it’s been a blast. I am lucky to have such an amazing friend and woman in my life (hi Kate). A little later, my second roommate and friend arrived home, and we shared a good laugh together, which is always filling.

TODAY WAS SO MAGNIFICENT. When you live every moment glad that you’re alive and grateful for what you have, the entire day is changed. Even small inconveniences, like having to run up the stairs three times because you kept forgetting stuff in your bedroom, add to the wonderfulness of the day because you have strong legs that can carry you up and down those stairs countless times. Today I lived my life like I was unlimited, because I am. What a feeling. 

Anam Cara

This evening I began reading Alexis Jones’ I Am That Girl. All I managed to read through, before I had to stop and think about my entire life up to this point and how I want it to be from here on out, was the beautiful Foreword by my woman crush and role model, Sophia Bush. She discusses what we all know; that basically from birth, girls are expected to partake in an invisible and unspoken competition that pits girl against girl. She also discusses the solution; To celebrate one another for all achievements, whether they be more traditional or more radical. To love one another like our own sister. And most importantly, I think, to love ourselves like we are our own best friend. Side note: Sophia Bush is everything I want to be and I wish her and I could be best friends and activists together, she’s so beautiful and kind and inspiring and awesome. Buying the book was worth it just for the Foreword.

Anyway. End SB rant.

Reading about something we all live through as girls and womyn, and thinking about how it has affected my life and how I live it, has inspired me to work harder on my relationships with the womyn already in my life. Sophia talks of her friendship with Alexis, the author. She celebrates the amazing woman that Alexis is and calls “Lex” her “soul sister”. It’s a friendship that’s survived years and distances and it’s still strong and beautiful. And I want that. I want numerous soul sisters to go through life with, to celebrate, to love, to be inspired by, and to inspire. And the thing is, is that so many of these womyn are already in my life. I just have to take the steps to strengthen our relationships with each other. I want more coffee dates, longer conversations, deeper laughs, and all around more love with my ladies. It’s my senior year of college and I want Wine Wednesdays and drunken Saturday nights at the bars/clubs (although maybe not so much clubs in Mount Peazy…). I want to be surrounded by unique, strong, beautiful womyn. I want to be surrounded by my friends, and carry them through life with me.

So I began immediately. I contacted two lady friends (hey Sarah and Tori) and made an amazing friend date for this coming Thursday. I plan to set up more roommate hangouts with the three lovely ladies I am lucky enough to live with this year. I will delve deeper into my coffee dates with Andrea every week. I am excited to meet all the amazing new womyn I’ll be working with in SAPA this year. It will be great. It will be extraordinary. It will be legendary and unforgettable.

“In Celtic tradition, an Anam Cara is a teacher, companion, or spiritual guide. With the Anam Cara, you can share your innermost self to reveal the hidden intimacies of your life, your mind, and your heart,” writes Sophia Bush. When you translate Anam Cara, it means “soul friend”. 

Will you be my soul friend? Will you be my sister from another mister? Will you conquer the world with me?

Kindergarten to Degree

Today was my last first day of class forever (probably). That means this is my sixteenth year of waking up early on a weekday morning in August, packing my backpack, and heading off to school. It’s bizarre and totally surreal. Sixteen years of bagged lunches, standardized tests, new friends, cold desks, notebooks filled with notes, and not really having to take full responsibility for any of my actions. Sixteen years of long, hot, lazy summers. Sixteen years of sometimes working, sometimes not, and it not really mattering either way. Sixteen years of learning some very incredible things. And now it’s my last year.

Growing up is so weird. Many people have written on this. At first you’re young, and you love every minute of it, and growing old is something that happens to other people because there’s no way you won’t spend eternity playing in the sprinkler in your backyard on a hot summer with your siblings and your parents. And then you get excited to get older because suddenly you’re to double digits and you’re a big fifth grader, and then you get to start *middle school*, that dreamed about location you’ve only heard about from your older sibling. And then middle school is rough, because the girls are mean and the boys are stupid, and you dream of getting to high school, so things will get better. Your parents start to annoy you and all of a sudden you just can’t get any privacy around here! You start hearing about “pot” and alcohol, but you’ll never touch that stuff. And then you’re fifteen and sixteen and you’re learning to drive and get your license and that’s when you feel free, because you can go anywhere. And then smoking weed and drinking start to seem kinda fun and dangerous and you want to try them and you have even more secrets to hide from your parents. This furthers the divide between you and them and you sometimes get sad at night that you’re growing up so fast, but in the daylight, you’re having so much fun you don’t care. And then you’re moving away to college and it’s the first time you’ve ever lived away from home. You put on a good face but it’s hard to meet good people, and boys are still stupid, and you realize how much your parents did for you all those years. You cry yourself to sleep for a couple weeks. But then you begin meeting people, and you get involved, and you discover what you’re really passionate about. You go home less and less. You meet the love of your life. And then you get your own apartment, and you have to cook for yourself and clean up after yourself and take near full responsibility for your own life. You have to learn how to budget, you fight with your roommates, you get scared the love of your life will break your heart one day. And suddenly you wish you were eight years old again, back in your childhood home with your parents (who still loved each other then) and your big brother (who was still around then) and your little sister, eating macaroni and cheese and making a mess of coloring books or the Lego blocks in your basement. You realize you took advantage of the ease and safety of childhood. You realize you can never go back. Nostalgia infiltrates everything – the scent of your clothes when you take them out of the dryer, a summer sunset, the taste of ice cream, a particular tree, catching a random whiff of scent that smells just like your mom. 

And what can you do? Unfortunately, crying isn’t a time machine. And each day that goes by, you continue to get older. So you just make the most of it. You go out and laugh with friends, you get further in your studies and discover what you want to do for the rest of your life, you find safety in your soulmate. You talk about this pain and this nostalgia with friends and realize they’ve all been feeling the same way. You start to feel better. You realize that your childhood was incredible and has helped you get to where you are, but now you’re in your 20s and you get to make yourself exactly who you want to be, surrounded by other people that love you and are doing the same thing. 

And it’s okay. It’s all okay. The second part of your life will be even better than the first. You won’t settle for anything less.

So here’s to my last year. Here’s to eating up all the information I possibly can about everything. Here’s to making memories I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life. Here’s to making friendships I’ll still have in five, ten, twenty years. Here’s to making myself exactly how I’d like to be, surrounded by people I love that love me too. I’m excited. It’s going to be a great year.