20 Nov

From the podcast On Being.

MS. SANDBERG: I mean, Adam looked at me and said, “You should think about how things could be worse.” And I thought to myself, “Dave just died suddenly. How can things be worse?” And he said, “He could’ve had that cardiac arrhythmia driving your children.” I mean, in that instant, to this day, when I say that, I feel better. I’m like, OK my kids are alive. I’m fine. Literally. Because think about the devastation I felt with Dave, and the devastation of losing all three of them in one instant, which happens. And all of a sudden, you’re better.

Since listening to that episode in April I’ve employed that tactic whenever vexed.

You’re dumping me? Breaking my heart? At least I’m not throwing up, that would make this day worse.

What good fortune that on this horrible day my family is in good health.

And on and on until you actually do feel better.

Perspective and gratitude can fix whatever ails you.

My Friend Harvey

23 Oct

Lets talk about my friend Harvey.

Harvey is in his early 30s. He’s working, seemingly never on anything in particular. It’s not like he has the power to hire and fire. He owns nothing and owes no one.

But one day he might. He wants to be someone in our industry one day.

And you and your friends have seen the way he touches women in bars. The way he hugs women at work. And no one knows quite what to say. They always seem to be making eye contact with you when he does, their eyes asking if this is ok.

So what do you say to him now, when it isn’t exactly a problem… yet. How and who do you approach or warn? You don’t like his behavior but do you take it upon yourself to point it out to him? And how do you sell it to him?

“I don’t want you to get into trouble when someone misunderstands you.”

“Why are you being that way with her?”

“Did you notice how she was pulling away from you?”

What can you do and when?

People Vary, Variously

9 Oct

I heard the best thing ever on This American Life. Chana was interviewing a young college student about the consent class he was taking and his previous experience dating girls.

Nagib Gonzalez

This is an example. I remember my cousin telling me, yo, you got to kiss your girl’s neck. I do it all the time. Oh, my girl loves it, and stuff like that. So then that’s kind of where you learn.

Chana Joffe-Walt

Nagib, ever the careful student, kissed necks, every one of them. Another friend told him, women like it when you’re funny. He tries to be that. But then Nagib had a girlfriend who told everybody he was a bad kisser. And someone told him, please stop kissing my neck. She thought it was gross. And he felt like, wait, do I know things, or do I not know things?

Nagib Gonzalez

Definitely when you’re younger, like you think of it more as like rules and steps to get laid. When you’re younger, you think, like, oh, I have to do this step. I have to follow this step. So I have to kiss her in this certain place. Then I have to make out with her.

And I have to, I don’t know, touch her, like, I don’t know, grab her butt or something. And then finally we get here.

But it’s not like that. It’s not like that at all. It’s less– it’s very– it varies. It’s different from person to person.

It could be anything. I don’t know. Girls vary. Not every girl will like something that you do. Every girl is different.

Chana Joffe-Walt

Everyone is different. Girls vary. People vary. What if that was the first thing you learned about sex?

What if, instead of starting at 18 years old with rape and moving backwards to teach consent, what if you just started with “people vary”? Because if you understand that, consent follows. You have to ask questions and talk about what you like and don’t like. Otherwise, you’ll never know. You may be with one of those neck people, and you may not. [x]

People vary. What a novel thought.

The Nearness Of You

5 Oct

One of my best friends got married recently.

She warned a group of us before the wedding.

I’m really worried I’m going to get really overwhelmed by missing my mom at the wedding. I know I’m gonna cry…

And at the wedding she did. We all did. All of New York City wept.

And she kept apologizing for it.

I searched for the words for days after. What I would have wanted to hear.

Enjoy this feeling. This is the closest you can be to her anymore. This is the moment her memory is fieriest within you. This is the moment her spirit is embracing you. This feeling of missing her is the strongest rope between you now. Seeing her in your day today is a blessing. Even if the only way you see her is through words or tears. Feel it and see it and remember it as long and as hard as you can.

All The Media

10 Aug

On a recent episode of pop culture happy hour a host was talking about how she could tell which episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale were directed by men and which ones were by women by their rape scenes. Most episodes in the series have them and if they made you feel ill then they were directed by women.

And when she said that I realized why Get Out was such an effective movie.

I struggle with how to keep this blog relevant for an intersectional audience. With all the privilege I carry around.

How do I make sure I’m being the change I wish to see? For everyone.

I guess step one is consuming and creating media in which people tell stories that make me feel that feeling. That even though I may never be at risk for an experience, I can see, smell and taste it, that it can turn my stomach too. And I can acknowledge simultaneously that I’m not at risk for it and that no one else should be either.

Please Do A Little Of The Work

8 Aug

I know I seem like I don’t want to hang out with you. But its because I feel like you always want me to do all the emotional labor for our time together.

You want me to find a time that works with both of our schedules.

You want me to pick where we go.

You need me to remind you that morning.

And give you directions because you didn’t think to look up the address in advance.

And I hate this because on the one hand those are sort of my favorite things. I love playing tetris with schedules and suggesting we go to this cool thing I heard about. It feels like a love language that I can serenade you with.

And when I feel like you’re abusing that, then this isn’t a friendship anymore. When I feel like you can’t speak back to me in it, cant appreciate my labor or cant be bothered to do the same for me in return, then it hurts so deeply.

So I dare you to do it. I tell you

“I would love to hang out with you.

I place on your shoulders the task of finding a where and when.”

And you fail. And it breaks my heart-You must not love me at all.


I Play A Game

3 Aug

Can I tell you a secret? There’s a little game I’ve been playing with myself.

I give myself points every time I do a good thing, a mitzvah, a thing I’m proud of.

And those points are redeemable in acts of self-love.

I treated myself to a healthy homemade lunch and also a fancy dinner with lots of sauces.

I ate 3 mini brownies on Thursday.

I told a guy I liked that I liked him.

I painted my nails.

I took myself to yoga.

When I do things I respect I think I’m worthy of love. And then I give that love to myself.

When other people do things I respect I think they’re worthy of my love. And similarly deliver. Easy simple rules.