Why Feminism…

….because as idealistic and naive as I used to be, I see the world as it really is – and it breaks my heart.

….because now I worry that my daughters will face obscene abuses that have been shushed and quieted for too long.

…because I have had to deal with systemic sexism for my whole life.

…because I was raised by a woman who doesn’t understand feminism, who pushed finding a boyfriend over finding myself.

…because I don’t want my son repeating that he is so glad he isn’t a girl, because girls have babies.

…because I genuinely believe that all three of my children are capable of achieving their wildest dreams – but I know my son will have less to prove and easier time accomplishing his goals.

…because I love people and I want us to love each other.

The In-Between

Rarely do I start a post knowing what the title is going to be, but today is different. I know you don’t know that I chose my title before beginning the meat of what I want to say, but I knew the essence anyway. And this rambling here, this is only because I’m not sure how to begin at all. Do I start with a cute anecdote or dive right in? No, this intro will do.

My mornings are very routine. After driving an hour to work, I sit at my desk and I open both my work email and my personal. Whatever I didn’t get to yesterday afternoon at work is perused and relegated to a checklist, which I’ll tackle throughout the day. In my browser, CNN, MSN, Yahoo!, Facebook…typical, I think. I look around to my cohorts – their screens are similar. All is as it should be.

In my personal email, I read the Daily Skimm and when I have the pleasure, a Lenny Letter. Skimm keeps me briefly updated the most current and relevant news on an international and national level. The Lenny Letters – so named for the co-creator Lena Dunham (fantastic, fantastic, fantastic) – are gorgeously written essays by women of different background with similar political and personal agendas. It is an authentic feminist forum with a markedly positive message.

It was today’s Lenny Letter that got me thinking about how in-between everything I am. Jami Attenberg wrote an essay about being a writer in New York, her view of the skyline and how, over three years, it had all changed. She casually noted how varying the income of a writer is and how she had thought she would never own a home (until she did). It started me thinking about how I have seemingly accomplished all the trappings of a very nice life for a very nice family. It’s all very nice.

As nice and quaint and cute as it all may be, as Americana and traditional and predictable as it appears, I am becoming evermore cognizant that it lacks authenticity. It is the voice that never quiets – the ghost of my childhood self who would never compromise her truth for a paycheck. She is relentless.

The call to write is growing louder. I read my books, I take in bits and pieces of knowledge, I write this blog, I bend to the beckons of my poems and stories when they call. But I admit I am distracted. I am distracted by providing for my children, by increasing my workplace value, by continuing to create a life that does not reflect my artistic nature to benefit three lives that never asked to be, yet are.

Practicality is the only reason I continue to be an in-between. It is impractical to abandon my career and force my children to raise themselves. I won’t damn them to figure out the world alone.  I am building the skills and the tools to eventually crossover from this gray area and into my golden animation – but for now, and for the sakes of my children, this is the way it must be.

The Countdown Begins

D-Day is fast approaching. An email from my new place of employment confirms a clean background check and they’re beckoning. They preferred I arrive on the 16th – I nearly choked. Less than two weeks to get my life in order when I was counting on being around until at least the end of June? No, no, I say, that just won’t do. My children need to finish the year, have plane tickets from here on the 25th. No, I can’t arrive until after June 1. But the employer is kind, understanding. It’s hard to drop everything at an instant. Just a little more time, please?  Continue reading

Summer Reading Goals

Hi friends! Feliz Cinco de Mayo! Taco Thursday! One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, FLOOR.

And of course, Revenge of the Fifth.

Leisurely reading has been on my wonderful list of things to do and, like most of my other goals, I set it aside and abruptly forgot (I think I was distracted by cooking shows or something). I have done well to read some personal development books (these are kind of essential, I think) and I’m ready for something meatier.

The two at the top of my list are Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie and The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo – followed abruptly by my anthology of Kurt Vonnegut and then Edgar Allen Poe.  My eldest kid has her own reading assignments (she requested them!) of To Kill a Mockingbird and Harry Potter 4 and Harry Potter 5.

Midnight’s Children was a Christmas gift and though I have made some honest attempts to lose myself within its delightful imagery, life has been chaotic. I’ve decided to slow down some and make room for the things I’ve said are important to me. If reading and books are life, then a certain amount of dedication must be paid.

Just as yoga requires attention, as does my love of words.

One of the greatest mistakes I think most anyone makes is failing to develop his or her inner self, apart from the rest of society. We fail to distinguish ourselves from our families, our friends, and our intimate relationships. Having made that mistake and learnt from it, I know how freeing it can feel to be rooted in yourself.

Over the coming months, there are things I will gleefully subtract from my life in order to make room for new things and experiences. I’m anxious to get started, happy to see positive changes and excited to move my life in a new direction.

A Quick Note….

When I was a kid, I had plans of becoming some famous rock star and then using all of the money I’d earned to help starving kids, or kids without homes, or kids with abusive families. I used to think my life’s purpose was to make a difference, to change the world single-handedly (hello, Ego). I started this Wordpress because I wanted to a place to express myself and to promote doing good in the world. It’s not generating much attention and I could say that it’s because I’m not focused on stories, poems, or even anything relevant.

Did you see my mention of the bombing of the only pediatric hospital in Aleppo? No? There wasn’t one.  I’ve been hiding from the pain. I said as much, I told you I couldn’t handle the pain of the world anymore. Does that solve the problem? No. It ignores it, like an ostrich with its head in the sand. The pain doesn’t go away because you don’t acknowledge it. It becomes louder and louder  until it’s screaming in your ear while you sleep at night. There is no rest.

The other day I wrote a piece about my coming into feminism. I stand by what I wrote, it came from a place of honesty, but I also feel like it promoted misandry (which, incidentally, I almost misspelled as misangry). I was angry when I wrote it and though I am allowed to feel angry, to feel indignant, and to wonder why people are the way they are or think they way they think, it’s hypocritical to rage in such a hateful way. I don’t want my life or my work to be about hate or anger. Those are important emotions, but I gave them too much of a spotlight.  I owe this world much more than selfish musings and angry commentary.

 

 

How to Evolve….

I’ve not ever been a dedicated yogi. When I first became interested fifteen years ago, it was because it was easier and more charming than lifting weights in a gym or doing a zillion crunches on the threadbare carpet of my bedroom. I was entranced with backbends and splits for oh-so-obvious (read: stupid) reasons. I’ve dipped my toe into the water to see how I like the feel of things, but generally stayed out of the pool because I was afraid I’d be found out as a fraud. Until three years or so ago my practice was much more for the beauty of the poses and for how limber it kept me. It had nothing to do with spirituality, nothing to do with reaching for the higher self, or personal evolution. It was superficial then. Continue reading

The Best Ways to Get Out of Your Feelings

Yesterday was not the worst day, even after I spent a few hours wallowing in my feelings (truthfully, I’d been in my feelings for over 24 hours). I needed to process, and if the process is sometimes lengthy, there are a few things I like to do to hurry it up:

 

  1. Journal/Blog – see yesterday’s post. Though it didn’t quickly solve what was going on, being able to put a name to how I was feeling and why I was feeling it helped. Often you naming the thing which is bothering you can give you some power over it (probably why Harry Potter always used Voldemort’s name).
  2. Read Uplifting ArticlesElephant Journal has an extensive, incredible library of articles for anyone who lives life mindfully or is curious about what that means. I read maybe 8 or 10 pieces, varying from the link between vegetarianism and yoga to astral energies to raising mindful children.
  3. Take a Walk – When blogging yesterday didn’t quite cut it for me, I took an hour long stroll. A few things happened:
    • I accepted where and who I am in this life
    • I began to envision the type of life I’d want to live and how that life could serve my kids
    • I began to formulate a loose plan
  4. Breathe – if a yogi knows anything, it’s that we control nothing – except our breath. We breathe without thinking, but if we can turn our attention to our breath, directing it to our diaphragm and then to the lungs and then slowly releasing – it gives us the ability to refocus on this moment. We regain control of our out-of-control feelings (I’m having to teach my son this – his older sister is good at stirring up his wasps nest of emotions).
  5. Stretch – Spread your fingers and reach up through your shoulder blades, drawing your shoulders down, away from your ears. Breathe in deeply and as you exhale, fold over the tops of your thighs slowly. Or yoga. Whatevs. Getting out of your head (or heart) and into your physical body gives you the space you need to be able to readdress what’s bugging you later. Nothing needs to be handled now.

 

Really, being able to take my walk and assess where I want to be and how I want to get there was the most helpful. I was able to accept that though I’ve lost some people in my life, I was meant to lose them. I’ve evolved quite a bit over the past two years. Evolution and growth absolutely means that some things and people can’t come with you. It’s not their fault, nor is it yours (mine). It’s just how things are. I knew when I started this path that my whole life would change and it was scary. My life is changing still and I’m still scared of who will or won’t remain. But I want to let them go with peace and love, rather than holding on to bitter memories and righteous indignation. We know this – but now I am living it.