Adventures in the Mess of Michelle’s Life

My life is a complete and utter mess right now. I don’t know as though I’ve ever been so stressed in my life for this length of time. The minute I think it’s about to end and I’m going to finally get a break, it just keeps going. I’m sick of feeling tired and totally burned out and having a constant stress headache. I’m sick of not caring about a single thing in my life except cuddling with Nick, talking to my fellow SAPAs, and watching the X Files. I miss working out, I miss my passion for my major, I miss being able to laugh and relax with my roommates, I miss having time to actually make healthy and delicious meals. Most of all I’m sick of lying on my bed, staring at my ceiling, my piles of homework sitting untouched in my backpack, doing nothing for hours. I have no motivation. I am completely apathetic.

But I realized today, when we had a guest speaker in my personal training class that competes in strength competitions, that maybe what I need to do is set some personal goals for myself. Small, realistic goals. Something to get me back on track. So, here they are.

  • Breathe. Seriously, I don’t do this enough. One time I rushed myself so bad to get to work on time (even though my boss knows I’ll always be late because of my class right before the shift) that I actually made myself physically ill. Like, what?! No. Not healthy. Plus then I miss smiling at strangers, looking at the clouds, the smell of autumn, etc.
  • Do at least 15 minutes of homework for each class that day immediately when I get home. Chances are, by doing this I’ll end up doing more than 15 minutes, and I’ll also have at least 15 minutes done when I decide to pick it up again at midnight the night before it’s due.
  • Stop spending money. Seriously, I have coffee I can make at home, I have food I can make into snacks or meals to take with me to campus, I have plenty of clothes, I just need to be more creative. Stopstopstop I will regret it when I need to pay off my loans and buy a dog and buy a house and travel the world.
  • Read a book for fun for at least 20 minutes twice a week. I miss reading so much and it will re-energize me. Plus, I already spent three times that amount of time on tumblr in one sitting.
  • Go workout at night. That way I have those preliminary homework duties out of the way, I’ve already eaten dinner, and there’s less people at the gym right before it closes.
  • Continue to celebrate the many wonderful people I am surrounded by, especially women. I can be the change I wish to see in the world. I can end this competition. I can start a new, fun, and uplifting competition. Who can celebrate others the loudest? People rock. You just have to get to know them.

I think that’s enough. They’re manageable. Maybe in a few weeks I can check back in and add more. We’ll see. I need to stop stressing myself out. Everything will work out.

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?