“Of course it feels horrible and makes you defensive to open up about something that you probably have your own lifetime of culturally-received stigmas and fears about, and the other person derails the whole thing and erases you and your experience in favor of their perception of you or their need to be an expert. A conversation that starts as “Hey friend, here’s what’s going on with me, I’d like you to know and possibly give me support and encouragement while I deal with this new and confusing thing” turns into an argument where you feel like you’re on trial for your very existence. Not only are your friends not supporting you in dealing with a hard thing, they are making medical facts that affect your daily existence debatable and forcing you to “prove” that this is happening at all. And if you, heaven forbid, “become emotional,” or have less than a perfect grasp of every single part of the science at your fingertips to be presented on demand, in their mind you both a) lose the argument b) start to display some of the negative qualities they associate with your diagnosis. It’s a fucking perfect and insidious double-bind, where, which is it, am I not really (diagnosis), or not logical enough for you because of my (non-existent) diagnosis?” #662 and #663: “My Friend the Skeptic.” – Captain Awkward
“What we don’t talk about when it comes to manliness is simply “learn how to handle your shit”. The problem that many men face is that we’re bad at taking care of ourselves. It’s very rare that men are allowed to give their emotional health priority in their lives. More often than not, we rely on others – primarily women – to attend to our emotional needs. It’s hard enough to even admit we have emotional needs, never mind act on them. We aren’t supposed to complain or acknowledge when shit is going badly for us except via quiet stoic resolve. Admitting to having a problem is tantamount to admitting weakness and invites the traditional game of “You think you have it bad? Stop whining!”
No matter who you are or where you are in your life, sometimes the world goes out of its way to stomp on your metaphorical nuts with giant shitty boots. Maybe you’ve just gotten dumped. Maybe you’ve lost your job. Or perhaps you’ve been slamming your head against the unyielding wall that is your lousy dating life for too long and you can’t take any more. Or sometimes life just fucking sucks and nothing seems like it would go right if you held a gun to its head. But the key to getting through these tough moments isn’t to keep telling yourself “stone don’t cry”. It’s not to keep telling yourself that this isn’t so bad and you’re just a pussy for not being able to take more. It’s to learn how to take care of yourself.” 5 Must-Follow Man Rules – Dr NerdLove
“It took me by surprise when I realized that no matter what my practice has actually looked like over the years, whether I’d been totally diligent or utterly neglectful, there had been one constant the entire time: I’ve always felt like I needed to be the best at meditation. Yep, that’s the phrase that actually popped into my mind, word for word, when I tried to unpack what was going on: the best at meditation.
I know what you’re thinking: What does that even mean? How can you be “the best” at something like meditation?” The Power of Starting Small and Not Needing to be Perfect – Tiny Buddha
“The fight-pickers are not genuinely trying to understand why my morals remain intact without belief in supernatural beings, an afterlife, or Heaven and Hell. They are asking a question that’s not really a question. They are making an assertion that people cannot have morals without believing in a deity of some kind (preferably their own). The facts don’t support this prejudice, but I’ll get to that in a second. First I must point out how insulting this non-question really is to a person like me. When you do this, you are accusing me of being an immoral person. Perhaps you have never stopped to consider that this is what you are doing. Privilege blindness can be a nasty thing, and it’s far too easy to think less of people who don’t deserve it simply because they see things differently from you. If you have observed my behavior and have seen worse behavior from me than you see from people with your own belief system, then please point that out to me. If not, then perhaps you should rethink your assumptions about what makes people “moral.”” How Can Atheists Have Morals? (part one) – Godless in Dixie
1. this is my story
2. this isn’t the story of all Muslims
3. this isn’t the story of all hijabis
4. there can be more than one story
Once upon a time (about 14 years ago), in a land far away (South East England), I wore the hijab. It’s surreal looking back. I’ve spent a long time actively detaching myself from that part of my identity, so I feel almost fraudulent claiming it as my own. Even now, after 14 years of fixing myself up and reclaiming all the bits of me, I struggle to talk face to face with people about the hijab. My experience was bad, and the word and the memories still stick in my throat. This post is about how more than 5 years of forced veiling affected me, and why the recent furore over page 3 reminded me of my stint as a hijabi.” The hijab (and page 3) – Reimagining My Reality
“Using “female” in this way is contrary to how we generally communicate. As noted above, “female” as a noun erases the subject—making “female” the subject of the sentence. In the most technical sense, it’s correct, but by employing this word that is usually an adjective as a noun, you’re reducing her whole personhood to the confines of that adjective. It’s calling someone “a white” instead of a white person, “a black” instead of a black person, and so on.
“When you refer to a woman as a female, you’re ignoring the fact that she is a female human,” write Nigatu and Clayton, pointing out the connotation that follows: “It reduces a woman to her reproductive parts and abilities.” The focus shifts away from the personal and onto onto her qualities as an object—qualities that have, historically, not been used in the best interest of women.” The Problem With Calling Women ‘Females’ – Jezebel
“Jessica Valenti is one of the most successful and visible feminists of her generation. As a columnist for the Guardian, her face regularly appears on the site’s front page. She has written five books, one of which was adapted into a documentary, since founding the blog Feministing.com. She gives speeches all over the country. And she tells me that, because of the nonstop harassment that feminist writers face online, if she could start over, she might prefer to be completely anonymous. “I don’t know that I would do it under my real name,” she says she tells young women who are interested in writing about feminism. It’s “not just the physical safety concerns but the emotional ramifications” of constant, round-the-clock abuse.” Feminist writers are so besieged by online abuse that some have begun to retire – The Washington Post
“The group we refer to as “women,” Arquette seemed to fail to notice, includes gay people and people of color, who tend to be worse off economically than white women. Women as a whole make 78 cents to a man’s dollar. But when you break it down by race, a Latina woman makes just 54 cents to every dollar a white man makes. A black woman makes 59 cents. And despite Arquette’s phrasing, women (and many men) of color have been on the front lines of feminist, womanist, and other movements for women’s rights for centuries. The people Arquette asks “to fight for us now” are already here, fighting for themselves — and all women.” Patricia Arquette Gives Rousing Speech for Gender Equality, Quickly Goes Off the Rails – Cosmopolitan
“I had reached the point where I had simply had enough of working in an industry that pretends to support women while it bombards them with impossible images of perfection day after day, undermining their self-confidence, their health and hard-earned cash.
My decision to quit was partly precipitated by the failure of a campaign I started a year ago to encourage magazines, designers and advertisers to use models with more realistic, representative body images. Then I could not have anticipated the extraordinarily hostile reaction to my fairly innocuous suggestions from fellow editors and designers. A year later I have come to realise the sheer terrorism of the fashion industry and accept that, alone, I cannot change things.
But in spring last year I was full of optimism that we could change. I believed wholeheartedly that we could stop magazines and advertisers using underweight girls as fashion icons. I had already banned diets and slimming advice from our pages but after meeting Gisele, the Brazilian supermodel credited with bringing ‘curves to the catwalk’, and discovering that she is a tiny size 8, I decided to challenge the status quo.” What I think about the fashion world – Daily Mail
“Like our thighs, hips, and stomachs, skin conditions are stigmatized by a culture that demands perfection. The bumps and redness caused by skin conditions like acne, psoriasis, and eczema become imperfections, and are therefore deemed “undesirable.” People who have these conditions often seen as ugly are made to feel ashamed of what occurs naturally to tens of thousands of Americans a year.” Authentically loving my skin… marks and all – Adios Barbie
I realized that I’m reading much less fiction than I used to. 5-6 years ago about 75% of my books were fiction – these days it’s rather the other way around. I think it might partly be because I don’t have as much time to just get lost in a book, as I used to – might have to work on bringing in a bit more fiction.
Chocolat by Joanne Harriss (currently $4.30 on Kindle): I’d watched the movie years ago, but the book was even better than expected. I love the break with expectations, and the focus on doing what’s right for you – setting people free to live the lives of their choosing.
Are You Somebody?: The Accidental Memoir of a Dublin Woman by Nuala O’Faolain (currently $5.38 on Kindle): I came across this, and it turned out to be a wonderfully, fascinating, thought-provoking and brutally honest view into the life of a Dublin woman. O’Faolain grew up in virtual poverty, but ended up becoming one of the more famous columnists in Ireland – I heartily recommend it, for an unusual view into an unusual woman, as well as an insight into Irish history and mentality.
“In my opinion, we do an enormous “let them eat cake” disservice to our community when we obfuscate the circumstances that help us write, publish and in some way succeed. I can’t claim the wealth of the first author (not even close); nor do I have the connections of the second. I don’t have their fame either. But I do have a huge advantage over the writer who is living paycheck to paycheck, or lonely and isolated, or dealing with a medical condition, or working a full-time job.” “Sponsored” by my husband: Why it’s a problem that writers never talk about where their money comes from – Salon
“Over time, ideally, we learn empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand that other people are just as real as we are, to understand that other people have needs and desires, and to be able to imagine what it is like to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes and see things from their perspective. As we grow up, it becomes natural to most of us, but only to a certain point. Most people never become really good at it. We empathize with people we like, or people who are part of our group. We don’t empathize with people we don’t like.
Compassion is the ability to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, imagine things from their perspective, and then to feel kindness for them and seek understanding of them even if what they do is harmful to us, goes against our needs and desires, is at odds with our own experience, or hurts other people. Compassion is empathy on steroids. It’s the ability to understand the view and perspective of someone we don’t like, or someone who is doing something we think is bad.” Compassion – More Than Two
“Second of all, if you really want to insist on establishing a connection between the crime rate of an area and its religiousness, I don’t think you’re going to like what you find out. Those states which consistently score the highest on religious devotion also suffer the highest crime rates in the country. If prayer stopped crime then that wouldn’t be the case. But people around me have somehow gotten drilled into their heads that there is a direct correlation to school shootings and “taking God out of school.” My response to that is: If your God can be “taken out” of a place, he’s not very powerful. Maybe you should find a bigger God. Besides, shootings happen in churches, too. Were they praying incorrectly? Did God disapprove of their particular preacher and therefore remove his protection from them? It seems to me you have to eventually decide that this facile connection between public prayer and crime isn’t what you think it is. It’s mentally lazy and it lacks any statistical verification or causal connection whatsoever.” Say It Ain’t Poe: When Fake Letters Say Exactly What Too Many Christians Think – Ex-Communications
“1) You’re telling her you don’t value her perspective, or at least that yours is more important than hers. You do realize she thinks you’re talking to yourself when you pray, right? Or have you even stopped to think about it long enough to realize that’s how an atheist would see prayer? People who don’t believe in invisible spirits generally don’t think prayer does anything except make people feel better. They see it like a security blanket or a stuffed animal that you sleep with. It doesn’t actually protect you from anything, but it makes you feel secure anyway. And yes, I know that’s not what you believe, but does it matter to you that the other person doesn’t see it that way? Have you ever considered that announcing to her that you’re praying for her is essentially dismissing her perspective as unworthy of acknowledgment?” What’s Wroong with Telling an Atheist You’ll Pray for Her? – Godless in Dixie
“You see, men are incapable of addressing the “root of the problem” until women take a drastic “illegitimate counter-reactions”—like creating a mosque for themselves in which men are neither expected, nor made explicitly welcome. And then, suddenly confronted with the possibility of a complementary space in which they do not control women (just wait, that’s coming up next in his little speech) and in which women in fact govern themselves from positions of leadership in their religious practices, without giving a toss about what men think or have to say, well—come on now, girls—maybe we can work something out after all.” Snake in the Grass – the fatal feminist
“Revenge porn terrorism compels women to fear those they love. It isolates men and women and places them in opposition of one another. It infuses every interaction between a man and a woman with an imbalanced power dynamic by robbing a woman of control over her own fate and placing it in the hands of another. It doesn’t matter that not every man would exploit this weapon. It matters that any man can. The number of women I know who have been threatened by a partner, a husband, a boyfriend with the images they produced together in an environment of love and respect are innumerable.
We have become accustomed to the use of revenge porn terrorism. As a matter of course, revenge porn is now the go-to threat for any man seeking to destroy a woman. For any man seeking to extort a woman for sex. To destroy the reputation of his ex-wife. To wield power in divorce proceedings or business negotiations. To ensure that an abused partner won’t leave. And the terrorist doesn’t even have to go through with it. The threat is sufficient to silence her and force her into submission because the consequences are so grave. The perfect weapon.
And it’s working. Women are being hard-wired to associate fear with intimacy. Terrorism has led us to scan the room for hidden cameras rather than look into our lover’s eyes. Terrorism has made us afraid to take pictures of our bodies and to explore our own sexuality in safety. But wherein lies the power of this threat? A bomb and a bullet threaten one’s physical safety and sense of security, but what power, what truth, lies behind my naked body? Judges, doctors, politicians, movie stars, the popular girl in school; no matter her success or contribution, show us her breasts and it is all for naught. It places an enormous amount of power in the hands of weak men. The power not only to destroy everything she has built, but to do so with legal impunity.” Revenge Porn Terrorism – Reut Amit – Huffington Post
“This is the sad reality in workplaces around the world: Women help more but benefit less from it. In keeping with deeply heldgender stereotypes, we expect men to be ambitious and results-oriented, and women to be nurturing and communal. When a man offers to help, we shower him with praise and rewards. But when a woman helps, we feel less indebted. She’s communal, right? She wants to be a team player. The reverse is also true. When a woman declines to help a colleague, people like her less and her career suffers. But when a man says no, he faces no backlash. A man who doesn’t help is “busy”; a woman is “selfish.”” Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant on Women Doing ‘Office Housework’ – NY Times
“Let’s talk for a minute about embodied cognition. I love embodied cognition, and I think you should too because it’s utterly different from the typical ways that we think and speak about minds and bodies, but also appears to have a fair amount of evidence supporting it. Embodied cognition is the idea that our brains and thoughts aren’t simply housed in our bodies, in many ways they are completely dependent on bodies. Our bodies not only influence the way we think, but sometimes changes in the body can completely change how we think. Andrew Wilson and Sabrina Golonka define it as follows: “Embodiment is the surprisingly radical hypothesis that the brain is not the sole cognitive resource we have available to us to solve problems. Our bodies and their perceptually guided motions through the world do much of the work required to achieve our goals, replacing the need for complex internal mental representations.” One great example is this study that found people who needed to pee, who were hungry, or were tired were less likely to believe in free will.” Yes We Should Talk About Bodies – Skepchick
“In this brief example, I think my bro-ness largely contributed to my ability to reach my male privileged residents. The ideologies that my corporeality signified gave me a presumed rapport with them, allowing me to infiltrate their spaces, thus granting me the perfect opportunity to subvert those ideologies from the inside. To broaden the implications because of what my body signifies, I can go back home to Philly and be on the block spittin’ some bell hooks or Sara Ahmed to other Black dudes and be listened to because of the capital that I carry through my embodiment. Thus my bro-ness, while inimical in, say, a space containing older, white, second wave feminist women, is subversive and anti-patriarchal in a space containing Black Nationalists and hip-hop heads in North Philly precisely because I am granted access to that space.” COLLEGE FEMINISMS: Buff, Black, Tattooed, and Feminist: On the Utility of a Bro-Feminist – The Feminist Wire
“It goes like something this: we are taught as a society that IF we achieve the ideal body that we see in traditional media (and not before) we will then obtain love, worthiness, success and ultimately- happiness. Which is what we all want, right?
Because the vast majority of our culture buys into this, we have millions upon millions of people investing everything they have into achieving this ultimate goal. The goal being- thinness which obviously equals happiness, remember? (Note: other body “goals” also apply here, like able bodied/lighter skin color/cisgender appearance etc.) SO, they spend their lives in a perpetual state of self-loathing (its called inspiration!) while working their asses off to become that ideal. We, as Americans, sink billions of dollars into beauty products every year. Between the millions of us on diets, we gift the weight loss industry and other weight loss products over $60 billion dollars as well. 14 million of us had cosmetic procedures in 2012 and yes, that number keeps growing. Perhaps we starve ourselves or maybe we just fixate on our calorie count like it determines our salvation. Maybe we make the gym our god. Whatever we choose individually, we as a country have made ‘fixing our bodies’ our main obsession and we let it consume our life. This happens for most of us whether we choose to acknowledge it or not. We live to give the quest towards impossible perfection (marketed as happiness) our all.
So THEN after all of this, when a fat chick- who hasn’t done the work, who hasn’t tried to fix her body, who doesn’t have any interest in the gospel we so zealously believe in, stands up and says: I’M HAPPY! …we freak the fuck out.
Because: that bitch just broke the rules. She just cut in front of us in line. She just unwittingly ripped us off. And she essentially made our lifetime of work totally meaningless.
It’s kind of like investing everything you own in some sort of stock and instead of it’s worth increasing, you’re notified that it’s value is now the same as Monopoly money. All of a sudden, your investments (aka “Body Currency”) have the devastating value of: zero.” WHY PEOPLE HATE TESS MUNSTER (AND OTHER HAPPY FAT PEOPLE) – The Militant Baker
“Expected Value, or EV, is the fundamental building block of decision-making. If you don’t understand it, whether by name or not, you are not making optimal decisions. If you do understand it, at least you stand a chance.” EV (How to Make All Decisions) – Tynan
“In fact, rather than all this spending helping our kids, we could be causing problems. Dan Kindlon, a research psychologist at Harvard University, says that if we give our kids too much too early in life, they’ll never be satisfied with anything. We’re not teaching them the value of earnings things, waiting for them, or trying to prioritise what they want most: we’re teaching them that they’ll always get what they want.
By never refusing on the grounds of expense, we are also showing children that when they are older they can buy whatever they like, whenever they want, and so we’re teaching them to overspend.” Why you must stop spoiling your kids – AOL Money
“I’m done being the asshole who’s bitching about the messes. It matters. Yes, it matters, to clean up after one’s self, to treat your belongings with respect, to contribute to the house in a way that teaches you to be a decent human and member of the home, and community, and earth. WORK, matters.
But I’m done using every fucking spare moment to straighten, clean, pay, arrange, organize, text, email, accomplish necessary tasks. I’m done using every spare moment “engaged in a productive activity.” I’m done looking around this house and seeing only and all that’s wrong. When did I make that “my role?”
I’m fucking done.” There’s a deer hide in my garage, and I’m done caring – renegade mothering
“A Loving Deed Is An Equation With Three Components.
The person initiating has some intention in mind to be loving. The act is conceived in that person’s mind and the idea of how to do it is formulated. The person thinks, “Roses!” and heads into a florist’s shop.
The act is actually performed. The roses are given to the person who is supposed to get them.
The person getting the roses responds to the action somehow–hopefully with approval and a big smile.
The problem is that a huge number of Christians have cut off the last part of the equation.” Reconnecting the Disconnect – Ex-Communications
“Mother Teresa wasn’t so very saintly, a new study reports.
Canadian academics trawled through 96 per cent of all originally researched literature on the Catholic icon and concluded that her reputation as one of the holiest women of the twentieth century was the product of hype.
Researchers allege missing funds for humanitarian work and homes for the poor that did not offer the medical care they required, leaving many to die.
Serge Larivée, a researcher from the University of Montreal, said: “Given the parsimonious management of Mother Theresa’s works, one may ask where the millions of dollars for the poorest of the poor have gone?”” Academics suggest Hitch called it right on Mother Teresa – Independent
“What irks me is this tendency to waffle and wiggle every time someone holds the Christian faith accountable for the claims that it makes. We’re not making this stuff up, and we’re not misrepresenting the religion’s claims. We’re going straight to the sources (ad fontes, h/t Erasmus) and we’re judging the religion based on what we find there. For this we are repeatedly told, “You’re doing it wrong” even though we’re just evaluating the faith on its own terms. Over time this religion is becoming increasingly preoccupied with making excuses for why the things it has claimed never seem to turn out the way it said they would.” The No True Prayer Fallacy – Godless in Dixie
“Clearly, the most important thing about any woman is how she looks and how she traps those men. And clearly it’s surprising that a fat lady might be smart and nice. (That “nevertheless”!)
On Twitter, ABC journalist Joanna McCarthy named the introduction “the worst opening lines of an obituary,” and others compared the paper’s coverage of McCullough’s life to its laudatory treatment of Bryce Courtenay — who, like McCullough, was an Australian author but, unlike McCullough, was a man.” Australian paper: Rest in peace and sexism, Colleen McCullough – Feministing
“According to one study cited in an eye-opening piece by the New York Times’ Claire Cain Miller last year, a mother’s future earnings increased an average of 7% for every month of leave the father took.
Yet the article also reported that paternity leave at U.S. companies is on the decline, with the share of companies offering it dropping by 5 percentage points from 2010 to 2014. And while 89% of all fathers took some time off after their children’s births, most of them took a week or less.
What gives? Some of the decline can be blamed on a powerful stigma that persists surrounding fathers who take time off. Cain Miller wrote about a San Francisco lawyer whose firm offered four weeks of paid leave to fathers—but when he took it, his partners questioned his commitment.” Want to create more women leaders? Offer paternity leave – Fortune
Beauty & Body Image
“African Americans who dressed in fine wears were accused of not “knowing their place,” thinking they were equal to middle-class whites and better than working-class whites. The punishment for such an “offense” was often a beating, or even murder. The vigilantes who brutally murdered 14-year-old Emmett Till in 1955 for allegedly whistling at a white woman also stripped him of his stylish suit, and they tied his naked body to a cotton gin fan with barbed wire. With all of the contestations over the dressed black body, it makes sense that protesters would use dress as a central element of their activism.” ‘Selma’ Costumes Reveal Class and Consciousness of the Movement – The Root
“According to a growing number of scientists, this is exactly how we should be thinking about the condition. George Slavich, a clinical psychologist at the University of California in Los Angeles, has spent years studying depression, and has come to the conclusion that it has as much to do with the body as the mind. “I don’t even talk about it as a psychiatric condition any more,” he says. “It does involve psychology, but it also involves equal parts of biology and physical health.”
The basis of this new view is blindingly obvious once it is pointed out: everyone feels miserable when they are ill. That feeling of being too tired, bored and fed up to move off the sofa and get on with life is known among psychologists as sickness behaviour. It happens for a good reason, helping us avoid doing more damage or spreading an infection any further.
It also looks a lot like depression. So if people with depression show classic sickness behaviour and sick people feel a lot like people with depression – might there be a common cause that accounts for both?
The answer to that seems to be yes, and the best candidate so far is inflammation – a part of the immune system that acts as a burglar alarm to close wounds and call other parts of the immune system into action. A family of proteins called cytokines sets off inflammation in the body, and switches the brain into sickness mode.” Is depression a kind of allergic reaction? – The Guardian
Detoxify your body before, during, and after pregnancy.
These things are done based on science showing us that our genes aren’t destiny, but rather an interplay of the environment and genes.
Countless factors can cause any of a baby’s genes to turn on or off during the time in the womb. Even a mother’s thoughts and feelings during pregnancy can play a significant role in determining what personality traits, characteristics, and behaviors her child may inherit. The three most common things that affect gene expression are the mother’s diet and nutrition, her environment, and her emotions. Having a healthy father also has a big effect on a baby’s genes, much more than many people realize.
While I didn’t necessarily agree with everything in The Better Baby Book, it did give me a lot of food for thought (and for the record, no, I am not currently pregnant nor planning on getting pregnant in the near future).
In addition, I would’ve liked to have seen references in the book itself, but they can be found here.
What have you been reading lately? As always I invite you to find me and connect with me on Goodreads
“Hygge is the idea that helps Denmark regularly rate as one of the happiest countries in the world — Danes have regularly been some of the most joyful in the world for over 40 years that the U.S. has been studying them — despite long, dark winters. Loosely translated at “togetherness,” and “coziness,” though it’s not a physical state, it’s a mental one. According to VisitDenmark (the country’s official tourism site): “The warm glow of candlelight is hygge. Friends and family — that’s hygge too. And let’s not forget the eating and drinking — preferably sitting around the table for hours on end discussing the big and small things in life.” Hygge’s high season is winter, and Christmas lights, candles galore, and other manifestations of warmth and light, including warm alcoholic beverages, are key to the concept.
Still a little confused and wondering how you could cultivate hygge in your life? This Danish NPR commenter sums up some specifics: “Hygge is a deep sense of cosy that can originate from many different sources. Here is a good example from my life : a cloudy winter Sunday morning at the country house, fire in the stove and 20 candles lit to dispel the gloom. My husband, puppy and I curled up on our sheepskins wearing felt slippers, warm snuggly clothes and hands clasped around hot mugs of tea. A full day ahead with long walks on the cold beach, back for pancake lunch, reading, more snuggling, etc. This is a very hyggligt day.” Now that sounds do-able, doesn’t it?” 7 cultural concepts we don’t have in the US – Mother Nature Network
“You have probably heard, by this point, the news that Harper Lee is finally releasing a companion novel for To Kill A Mockingbird after over 50 years. Pretty exciting news, right? Her publisher has probably had a lot of time to figure out their publicity rollout and has also definitely made sure that she wants them to publish said companion novel, yes? Especially since Harper Lee has always made it very clear that she would not release another book, and since Harper Lee is currently in a nursing home, and since her sister and lawyer died last year, and several third parties have begun suing one another for the right to use Harper Lee’s name…you would definitely think they would be sure to have all their ducks appropriately rowed before making such a significant announcement, right?
At the very least, they would have talked to Harper Lee about it, right? To get her, you know, permission?” Questions I Have About The Harper Lee Editor Interview – The Toast
“There’s a reason domestic violence prevention websites have lists of your rights in relationships. It’s because the places you tend to see rights violations tend to be abusive relationships. It’s because rights violations tend to lead to abuse. Do abuse victims “consent” to be in their relationships? On the surface, perhaps it looks that way, but that is rooted in a victim-blaming, “why doesn’t she (he) just leave?” mentality and a serious oversimplification of the psychological dynamics of abuse. Abuse relies on tearing down your partner’s sense of self and personal agency to the point where consent is really no longer valid. And it doesn’t take physical violence to make a relationship abusive.*
I believe that if you’ve come to a place in your relationship where someone has negotiated any one of their rights away, that relationship includes coercion, and that invalidates consent. Staying doesn’t mean your partner’s not hurting you. The fact that your partner submits to you doesn’t mean you’re not being an abusive asshole.” Relationship rights: Can you negotiate them away? – More Than Two
“What are we left with, after all of these excuses filter through the failed prayer?
One must pray in exactly the right way, for exactly the right things, at exactly the right time. One must not be selfish even a little, or ask out of pride. One must not doubt even the smallest bit that it will work–in fact, nobody around at all can have even a smidgen of doubt. And one must be ready to somehow count dead silence as an answered prayer.” I Kind of Knew, Long Before I Realized I Knew – Ex-Communications
“2) Supression of Women. Still others will answer that the church’s obsession over sex stems from their need to control women in particular. I think they bring up an important point, and the inherent misogyny of the biblical writers needs to be addressed. I think that the shape of Christian sexual prohibitions and the ways in which churches often approach the matter (e.g. speaking to young women as if it’s always their responsibility) point to the residual effects of ancient sexism. But when you compare the Christian religion to its predecessor, Judaism, you find that the early Christians took a step or two forward in their treatment of women, giving them a more important role in the propagation of that faith than most other religions of their day. Christianity’s treatment of the subject of sex, on the other hand, seemed to almost lurch backwards into a more prohibitive stance than of any which had come before. Before Jesus, adultery was already bad. After Jesus, however, you can’t even look very long before you’ve “sinned in your heart.” For Jesus, even thinking too much about sex has become a crime. No wonder the poor woman lost sleep over whether or not to wear form-fitting pants. So what gives?” Sex and Christianity Make Strange Bedfellows – Godless in Dixie
“Stefani was never a part of that sex. Afterward, I just laid there and sort of looked at him. I knew I should have had some fiery feminist thing to say, but I still couldn’t believe that that was it, he wasn’t going to invest in my pleasure at all, I thought surely there must be more coming. But there wasn’t. That was it.
When I say we live in a misogynistic culture that denies female pleasure, this is what I’m talking about. Of course this was a singular situation, but there are so many similar situations that happen on a day to day basis, I don’t even know where to start.
Misogyny — that is, this culture we live in that prioritizes men’s needs over women’s, and which tends to dehumanize and objectify women — makes us (both women and men) think a lot of bad things.
Misogyny makes us think the male orgasm is more important than the female.
It makes us think guys are lusty fellows, and that women are lusty objects.
It makes us think guys enjoy sex but women enjoy the mushy emotional things like cuddling.
It makes us think women are dirty and immoral if they act on sexual desire.” The real reason women orgasm less often than men – Paleo for Women
“The cruel irony, of course, is that men are now feeling the same pressures that women have been feeling for generations – to conform to an incredibly specific form of beauty. And of course, those who don’t measure up are taught that they’re failures – that they are inherently less desirable, even less manly, than the shiny-chested, leaned out Dolce and Gabana model. At a time when men already feel sexually invisible and desperate for validation (or even acknowledgement), being told that being sexy means being lean and jacked at all costs.
Welcome to the Beauty Myth boys. Hope you survive the experience.” The New (And Impossible) Standards of Male Beauty – Dr NerdLove
“Yet, despite the preponderance of evidence showing that violent and harassing environments cause emotional distress and can lead to mental illness, we still have no name for what happens to women living in a culture that devalues and allows men to abuse them without consequence.
What does living with the fear of rape do to your mental well-being over time? What diagnosis do you give to the shaking hands you can’t stop after a stranger whispers “pussy” in your ear on your way to work?
And what about those of us who endure the same daily gauntlet of discriminations and threats of gendered violence without really feeling anything because it’s so routine? What hoops did our brains have to jump through to get to ambivalence? Is it really more “normal” not to be anxious?” Sexism is making women sick – Jessica Valenti – The Guardian
Have you ever wanted to just escape the city, suburbs or even a small village in the country side? Just leave it all behind and go out into the wilderness. Well Claire Dunn did just that, she spend a year in the Australian outback building her own shelter and learning how to light a fire without matches. She wrote about her experiences in My Year Without Matches: Escaping the City in Search of the Wild and it is a fascinating and inspirational view into what a year in the wilderness can look like – and how it can help you figure out who you really and what you really need.
Our mission is to build our own shelters, and gradually to acquire skills such as making fire without matches, hunting and trapping, tanning hides, gathering bush food, weaving baskets, making rope and string, moulding pottery, tracking, increasing sensory awareness, learning bird language and navigating in the bush. Visiting instructors will join Kate and Sam to teach a series of workshops over the first half of the year. Then we will be left to fend for ourselves.
The rules are few. Apart from no booze, we are limited to thirty days out of camp, and thirty days of visitors in. It is essentially to be a Choose Your Own Adventure story, with equal emphasis on experiencing the changing face of the bush and ourselves, over four full seasons. A cross between the reality-TV show Survivor and the solo wilderness reverie that American poet and naturalist Henry David Thoreau elucidated in his book Walden. “Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!” Thoreau had exclaimed in exaltation of his self-styled life as a forest hermit, words I had inscribed on the inside cover of my journal. To qualify for the program, all we had need to do was study the basics over two week-long courses, and prove that our motivations weren’t madness or law evasion.
Even though she’d been working to protect the environment and the Australian forests and thought she knew what the forest was like, actually living there turned out to be quite a different experience…
I thought I knew the forest until we moved in together. And then, as is often the case with flatmates, I realised I barely knew it all. It had been an easy assumption to make. I was a forest campaigner; the forest was my life. All day every day it was what I spoke of, what I thought about, what I loved.
More importantly, I imagine, was learning how to truly listen to yourself. To stop being a human doing, rather than a human being (something I can personally relate to).
“Claire, the messages we receive from our culture run deep. It trains us to be human doings, rather than human beings. Your upbringing was particularly strong in this.
“For a woman, in particular, this comes at a great cost – separation from her true self. The most important task for you this year is to return to the feminine.”
“The feminine is guided by feeling and intuition. She learns to listen to the impulses arising within her, and acts according to her own sense of rightness. Her heart, not what the outside world deems to be success, is her map and compass. This is the seat of her power.”
“What I want you to do is simple: I just want you to feel. Feel everything. Unmoor your emotions from the judgments that will arise and come back to your heart. Ask yourself, ‘What do I feel like doing now?’ And then do that.”
I think this is such an important lesson for all of us. Learning to truly listen to ourselves, figure out what is the right next step for us and realizing that we don’t need to check of all of the things on our to-do list, before we are “enough”, before we can do the things we truly desire.
I pick up the pace, my face red with the knowledge that I am being seduced again by the false promise that there is a magic point in the future when enough will be enough, when I will tick the right number of boxes to give me permission to slow down.
In conclusion she touches upon how most of us could do this, if we really wanted to, but so few of us do in part because we don’t truly believe it’s possible. In my experience this doesn’t just go for spending a year in the wild – it is just as true for our other dreams.
“You could do it, too,” I say lightly, as the young guy looks wistfully at my shelter, knowing as soon as I say it that there’s plenty of reasons why he can’t, or won’t. While the few thousand dollars and the luxury of unattached time mightn’t seem like much, it’s more than most people have. And that’s the easy part. Hardest is the belief that it’s possible, that you can do the thing you’ve always wanted to do, the one thing that calls to you more than anything. The thing you’ll only regret in its absence.
My Year Without Matches (currently $5.07 on Kindle) is beautiful, inspirational and thought-provoking – I highly recommend it.
Would you be interested in spending a year in the wild? Do you have dreams that you think are impossible? Are they really?
What have you been reading lately? As always I invite you to find me and connect with me on Goodreads.
“This crowd eagerly post some of Charlie Hedbo’s cartoons with the aim of accusing the magazine of racism and sexism, without caring to dig into the context.
The context of Charlie Hebdo’s Parodies/cartoons is easily understood by the French but not easily understood by outsiders, unless they are conversant with French politics. Some of these cartoons can be viewed and understood under the piece What are some of Charlie Hebdo’s most famous cartoons?
At first glance, these cartoons might appear racist, sexist, and ill-thought-out, but after reading the contexts, this is usually not the case.” The Charlie Hebdo tragedy: The five crowds that are getting it wrong – YEMMYnisting
“Reading and experience train your model of the world. And even if you forget the experience or what you read, its effect on your model of the world persists. Your mind is like a compiled program you’ve lost the source of. It works, but you don’t know why.” How You Know – Paul Graham
“Birds will not readily abandon their young because they “smell humans.” For one thing, birds don’t have a great sense of smell. Their olfactory bulbs are small and simple compared to other animals (although this wasn’t always the case, and there are exceptions to the rule, like the turkey vulture, albatross and kiwi), and they’re not going to be able to pick out your scent from all the other smells hitting their beaks at any given moment.
Even if they could detect your scent, and make a negative association with it, they’re not just going to up and leave. You wouldn’t abandon your kids and home at the first sign of danger, would you? Even if you didn’t love either all that much, you already went through the trouble of painting the living room and changing all those dirty diapers, right? Birds will make that same simple economic decision. They’ve invested a lot of time and energy in those babies and they’re not going to give them up for nothing. Mess around with a nest before the eggs are laid or before they hatch, and a bird might re-nest elsewhere, but once the kids are in the picture, they’re no push-overs.” If You Touch a Baby Bird, Will It’s Mother Really Abandon It? – Mental Floss
“8) If it teaches you to fundamentally distrust yourself and to view yourself as essentially broken, weak, or unable to think for yourself. Not too long ago I caught a sermon in which the preacher compared everyone to sheep. As many preachers often do, he took great pains to stress the stupidity of sheep, and their great need to be led by someone else. This, he argued, is a good way to think about ourselves. If reading that does not make something boil inside you then you have become as desensitized to that kind of talk as I was when I was still “in church.” But messages like that should make you angry. This compulsion to give such a low self-image to people is despicable, and it should be seen for what it is. It teaches people to see themselves as unable to determine their own steps, unable to think and to dream and to pursue goals of their own choosing. It cuts at the heart of what it means to be an intelligent being, and as with the other points I have made, this holds us back as a species from becoming what we could be.” Your Religion May Be Harmful If… – Godless in Dixie
“* I’ll get disqualified for not being a Christian. Only Christians are allowed to have legitimate opinions or a right to speak about Christianity. Of course, this doesn’t disqualify straight or white Christians from pontificating and trying to control the conversation about LGBTQ people or people of color (POC)–or their very lives. Sometimes this disqualification will take the form of a Just Asking Questions question: “Why do you care so much about this if you don’t believe in it?” or “Why can’t you just leave Christians alone?” Sometimes a Bible verse will get trotted out to try to clobber me, insinuating that only Christians can possibly “rightly divide the word” and know what it really means. That one’s especially funny because when I was Christian, I knew exactly what the verses meant–and nobody ever once said otherwise. I do not receive in turn, either, the right to demand that Christians quit talking about atheism or deconversion–topics they manifestly do not understand–or say that if they’re not either of those things then they’re not allowed to talk about them. That only works if you’re a Christian.” Disqualified – Ex-Communications
“None of the pain Scott talks about came from things that happened to him. They came from things that happened inside his head. He speaks in generalities about “sexual assault prevention workshops,” or of feeling targeted by feminist literature — himself saying that he was perversely drawn to the most radical and aggressive rhetoric he could find, eschewing more moderate writers for the firebreathing of Dworkin and MacKinnon.
He doesn’t talk about anyone targeting or harassing him personally — indeed, how could he be targeted by books written by second-wave feminists when he was a toddler? — but of feeling targeted, of having an accusatory voice inside his mind tormenting him with a pervasive sense of inadequacy, uncleanness, wrongness. It doesn’t seem like anyone in his life was particularly giving him a hard time, but that he was giving himself a hard time and picking up on any critical or negative messages directed at men in general as a way to amplify his negative thoughts.” The plight of the bitter nerd: Why so many awkward, shy guys end up hating feminism – Salon
“About five years ago, I sort of “woke up” and saw my home clearly for the first time. I had always had an organizing streak and even remember organizing the Tupperware cabinet in my parents home when I was only 18. But, somehow, this natural knack for organizing and creating order from chaos got covered up by years of stuff.
Stuff that I thought that I might need one day.
Stuff I thought might have some sort of financial value.
Stuff that I thought was essential to my memories.
Stuff that other people had given me (and that I hung onto out of guilt).” Do you want your home to feel like a sanctuary instead of a mess? Read this. – Christie Inge
Self-care has become increasingly important to me over the past several months, as I’ve been dealing with (and continue to deal with) a lot of health challenges. I’ve had to truly learn what it means to put myself and my health first – something that’s very difficult, when you veer towards a Type A personality and want to be able to do all of the things perfectly all of the time.
I struggled with permission. Feeling worthy and deserving of having my needs looked after.
One of the more difficult things to come to terms with was realizing that self-care isn’t something you can check off your list and be done with – you have to start over every day. But that’s also the beauty of it, that you get to start over every day and work on becoming truly proficient at looking after yourself – which in the end will enable you to be the “best” you.
At its essence, it’s very core, self-care is about identifying and meeting your needs.
Braime guides you gently and with compassion through why self-care is so important – and why we might resist it. Teaches about the difference between coping strategies, short-term self-care and long-term self-care. She covers the essentials of self-care such as sleep, exercise and food and shares an abundance of suggestions to try out.