There are two sentences I keep using to sort through my moments recently. Two questions I apply to situations I’m in, feelings I have, things people say to me.
Is this a fact or a feeling?
Is this normal because it happens so often or is it normal because it is natural?
Lots of things are feelings, not facts.
I’m not good at this.
Everyone is looking at me.
Everyone will notice that I’m secretly not qualified to be here.
Lots of things are facts, not feelings.
This subway train is not moving.
The person I’m talking to is yelling.
There are lots of things that are normalized because they are frequently occurring.
When I was in college, a teacher once said that all women live by a ‘rape schedule.’ I was baffled by the term, but as she went on to explain, I got really freaked out. Because I realized that I knew exactly what she was talking about. And you do too. Because of their constant fear of rape (conscious or not), women do things throughout the day to protect themselves. Whether it’s carrying our keys in our hands as we walk home, locking our car doors as soon as we get in, or not walking down certain streets, we take precautions. While taking precautions is certainly not a bad idea, the fact that certain things women do are so ingrained into our daily routines is truly disturbing. It’s essentially like living in a prison – all the time. We can’t assume that we’re safe anywhere: not on the streets, not in our homes. And we’re so used to feeling unsafe that we don’t even see that there’s something seriously fucked up about it.
– Jessica Valenti, Full Frontal Feminism [x]
And things that are normal because they’re average, natural.
I’m incredibly proud of my relationship with my body, especially my breasts. And why wouldn’t I be? They’re perfect. The left is called “Per” and the right is called “Fect”.
And nothing makes me feel more grateful, not for them so much as for my comfort with them, as this series from The Cut.
The slideshow is amazing.
In a long life breasts are many things to many people. Sexualized, ignored, too much, too little.
It rings so true that even though some of the notes disagree with each other, you can agree with all of them. One may be complaining about them weighing too much, and another can be about them feeling too small, and it’s possible to agree with both.
It gives you permission to feel whatever you do feel about them.
There are so many images of breasts in the world. If you have breasts it can feel like they’re always on display, for comment. Subject to someone else’s lens, typified by their own preferences.
There’s something so different about the only important qualifier being your personal feelings about your own personal body.
I was hanging out with a guy yesterday and he was telling me a story about when his ex challenged him to think about sex in a way he never had before. He said he was interested in a threesome and so did she. It wasn’t until later that he realized that the mental image she was constructing was different than his.
But he readily admits that through that first eye-opening relationship with a beautiful bohemian european he realized a not so noble truth.
Not slut-shaming women results in better sex.
Across the board.
This isn’t exactly the best reason to root out slut-shaming in our culture but it might be the one that makes the best bumper sticker. Is anyone good at photoshop?
Last night I got on the subway and there was a woman sitting down and taking up two seats. She had her shopping bags on the seat next to her so I said “excuse me” and she took the bags down. I looked across the way and there was a couple there grinning, like they had been annoyed she hadn’t taken her bags down ages ago. I sat and was happy.
A few stops later I looked up because there was another young woman leaning over us who nearly fell. She had been looking at the paper that my seat mate was writing on.
This stranger was trying to help the woman next to me work out her math homework.
I offered her my seat and when I looked back at them a few stops later this manicured blonde was giving this woman private math tutoring.
It was such a beautiful sight, this young beautiful woman explain the finer points of fractions to this older stranger.
In a world full of bad, there is still good. Come to New York and see.
I haven’t been writing much lately.
To be fair, I haven’t been talking much lately.
And I’ve been trying to feel (and think about feels) less lately too.
No sorry’s. No apology at all.
I apologize to myself. I apologize to me for the lies I’ve been telling me. I’ve put myself in a new position lately where I keep being shamed into silence on way or another.
Sometimes I get asked what tool I’m going to use to accomplish a task and when I answer the question I’m met with an incredulous and judgement-filled exclamation and expression “That way?! That’ll take a million years!” Well thanks for shouting about my idiocy in the middle of the office.
I come into the room in a good mood with a smile on my face and when I’m asked what’s up and then start responding about 5 words in I’m waved off.
And even more exhausting, I’m noticing it seep into the rest of my life.
My best friend is telling me that I’ve been doing less talking and more listening with her (she complained about it. Can you even imagine?)
So what do I do about this?
When you feel like you’re being shut down, how do you climb your way back out?
As we all know, I started this scary new job.
I’m not entirely sure how I’m doing yet.
Hey, my roommate wants to know how I’m doing so far. What should I tell her?
Crushing it. It’s unrecognizable, that’s how hard it’s been crushed.
I’m pretty grateful for this encouragement.
And to show my appreciation from now on I promise to stop suggesting all the people who I think would be doing this job infinitely better than me and just go forth with your support and a (sometimes false) air of confidence.
I’m trying something new.
I’m trying on a new hat and it’s scary.
All the reassurances (and don’t worry, they’re dosed daily) don’t dissuade me that I’m going to be unceremoniously cut at any moment.
My grandmother asked me how it was going.
Are you doing well? Are you happy?
I couldn’t really answer here. That’s not really a valid question at the moment. Right now I’m just Not Overwhelmingly Disappointing. And more than Happy that’s what I care about right now. Happy can be folded in next like the chocolate chips in a cookie, it’s just not their time yet.
All things in due time.