Bad Feminists unite!

I am in love with Roxane Gay. 

I have been reading her book Bad Feminist and it is fan-freaking-tastic. She is one of the handful of writers I want to be like/write like when I grow up. 

And her TEDWomen 2015 talk just made me cry and then clap like I was in that audience listening to her (while I am in fact, alone in my office, with my kids watching more "Almost Naked Animals" in the other room.) 

Watch it. Roxane's talk, not the weird naked animals cartoon.

And then watch it again, because it is that good and you are going to want to absorb all of her words into your brains! (You can also read the transcript on the TED site if that's more your style.)

I love you Roxane.

Thank you.


P.S. Oh, and speaking of style, this bad feminist just got herself a bad-ass haircut this week! And I am learning to embrace those well-earned laugh lines around my eyes and the fact that my freckles are melting together. 

The baby deer made me do it.

I realized this past weekend that I am falling back into a familiar pattern.

One that threatens to remove me from life outside of my own mind. From people, from friends and family, and from engaging in anything more than a quick status update or Instagram photo. 

Lately, I've been cocooning. 

And not in a good caterpillar-turning-into-a-butterfly way, more like a "this seems like a nice warm place to stay and not have to deal with anything" kind of way. 

The problem with this, is that we as a family kind of have a lot to deal with at the moment, and me being in a state of trying to hide away from it all is not that helpful.  

So, to combat the forces in my brain that tell me to hide away from it all, I am forcing myself to do certain things that bring me joy, even if the effort of doing them right now seems particularly joyless and a hell of a lot of work. 

I am currently in a Starbucks, drinking a fancy coffee, and writing this post. I just bought new frames at the attached Chapter's to make a gallery of inspirational artwork on the wall in front of my desk. This morning, I cleared the clutter filled surface that was in fact my desk, in order to make way for my creativity and my desire to write (which has been completely GONE) to find it's way back to me.

It has taken me nearly 45 minutes to write these few paragraphs, but you know what? Here they are. They may not be pretty, they may seem disjointed and all over the place with some weird ass metaphors, and they may not be good writing at all. I mean, it is taking all I have in me not to just trash this whole damn thing and say FUCK IT! (Like I have for the last three posts that are sitting half started in my drafts folder).

But I won't. I am not going to succumb to this self-inflicted Giant Scary Spider scene from Lord of the Rings, and let myself become paralyzed by fear and wrapped up in layers of sticky web. I may not have Sam and his shiny elf-light thingy, but I do have all of you, and I have three people at home who light up my life and June is almost over and I AM going to get out of this funk.

It is now almost 10 pm. I got through today and my kids still love me, even though C came home with a story he had written at school about me being mad at him. I made a menu plan for this week, and managed to whip up a pretty decent paella for dinner. I know it sounds silly, but doing that one thing - making a meal plan for the week - makes a huge difference to my mental health and general having most of it together-ness. Want to know how I know this? Because I didn't make one last week, and I was a shouty, angry, miserable person all week with no desire to actually feed the beasties that I live with (don't worry, I did and no one starved).

I just finished putting up the aforementioned gallery wall in my office and now I am feeling OK. And today, OK is better than not-OK. Plus, it's kind of hard to not feel at least a tiny bit of wonder and delight when this little baby deer is staring at me while I write. I've surrounded myself with images, words, and my kid's artwork to remind me of why I do what I do and why I love it. 


My soul is happy right now, my mind is calm and my body is not in too much pain (more on that later). 

Tonight, I'll take that. 


Can you see what I see?

You see a bunch of silly girls making a stink about crop tops, and fighting school dress codes, and getting on the news for their 15 minutes of fame

I see teenage girls taking a stand for themselves, their bodies and fighting back against a society that tries to police and shame them for having bodies at all. 

You see a blatant disregard for the rules of proper conduct and disrespect for the hidden curriculum of our educational institutions that teaches our kids about the expectations of society and how they should behave as a civilized member of said society.

I see students pushing back because they understand that dress codes are often disproportionately enforced for female versus male students and perpetuate the thoughts that women's bodies as inherently sexual and objectified distractions to male students. I see a system that seems to have one set of rules for boys and another for girls and I worry about what kind of "hidden curriculum" of casual and systemic sexism this kind of culture creates and how this seeps into the minds of our children over the years.

You see this fight as an insult to the many people who are fighting for gender equality and "real" women's issues across the globe.  

I see young girls taking up the mantle of feminism at this very moment in their lives. I see them looking at the world with different eyes now and perhaps becoming the future leaders in our continued fight for equality in all things. 

You see an image of a mother breastfeeding her six-year old and think that there is something so very, very wrong with it and that this practice is scarring the child forever and doesn't actually have any health "benefits".

I see a mother-child dyad that is incredibly bonded and that will come to the natural end of their nursing partnership when both are ready.

You see a kid who can go to the fridge and get her own cup of milk and wonder what is the point of the continued breastfeeding. 

I see that breastfeeding a child is about far more than being a food source. It is about warmth, and love, and closeness, and comfort, and help to fall asleep, and is not about any so called "benefits", it is simply the way mammals feed and nurture their young.

You see a mother flaunting her "extreme" parenting style all over the internet and on magazine covers, and say that she is making THIS not just about her and her choices, but inviting everyone to comment about it. 

I see a breastfeeding advocate who knows that "one can not be what one does not see" and is showing the world the simple, normal, healthy, and loving way that she has nursed her child.

I see that western cultures have very disheartening breastfeeding rates and by sharing photos of mothers nursing their children (at any age) and showing these practices more in the mainstream, more women will witness it and know that there is no shame in nursing (in public or not).

NURSING, because she fell off her bike

NURSING, because she fell off her bike

You see a new government in our province that has a cabinet of ministers with parity of gender and a specific portfolio for one who is now the Minister Responsible for the Status of Women and ask where the ministry for the status of men is? 

I see a government who is embracing the fact that women make up 50% of the population in this province, who is taking a serious look as to why the two largest cities in Alberta ranked lowest on a study of 20 cities in Canada as the worst for women, and is committed to making it a priority to see changes to these issues that can only benefit our whole province and our economy. 

You spout off reasons that the gender pay gap is a myth, that women are CHOOSING lower paying jobs and CHOOSING to stay home to care for children, and that you want equality for men too.

I see someone who doesn't want to step into my (or any woman's) shoes for a moment and actually see things from the perspective and the reality of these choices (hint: they are not actually choices for many). I see someone who is hurting and likely needed support at some point in his life, but didn't feel he could ask for it, because he lives in a culture that has taught him that vulnerability is weakness and that his only choice is to "man up". 

You see feminists as your enemies.

I see a person who doesn't understand that there are no enemies here and that deep down, we ALL truly want the same things. To be treated with kindness, compassion and respect as human beings.