B and I went out for a walk in SF today and we magically ended up near a bookstore. Being the bibliophile that I am we had to take a “quick look around”. My quick look turned into a $30 purchase of two books – one of which I promptly went home and read cover to cover today. The book I chose to spend my Sunday with is Sex Object by Jessica Valenti.
Funnily enough, I have put Sex Object in my Amazon shopping cart upwards of 12 times only to then decide to purchase another work of fiction or a collection of essays instead (I apologize to my past self- I don’t know what I was thinking). I have failed myself by delaying the delivery of this book into my hands – it is amazing.
Valenti doesn’t reclaim the title of sex object, but instead provides anecdotes on how she has come to accept this as part of her identity; not because of anything she has done but because society, specifically through the male gaze, has told her this about herself. Valenti provides powerful truths about being a woman in a world that hates women and she doesn’t leave room for the fluff. Sex Object is neither a fight call or a pity party, it is the truth and that is what makes it so powerful.
Valenti and I share many differences but I could relate to her in every story she told. She explained the guilt we feel as women for telling men no. How, even as a published author and feminist, she can still be made to feel small by comments by men. She explains how easy and common it is for us to not react to someone treating us poorly because we like them or their nice or we don’t want to blow up our friendships. She puts into words the emotions we are forced to carry from all the misogyny and blatantly shitty things men (or women – anyone can be a sexist) do to women.
Thank you, Jessica Valenti for creating something that felt cathartic to read. Thank you for not forcing a silver lining into every story. It was beautiful and painful and still managed to be humorous.
If you want to buy the book I’ve included a link here.
It’s been awhile since I’ve updated everyone on my goal of cultivating love and creativity this year. 2017 definitely threw some wrenches in my plan but I managed to meet so many of my goals this year.
I did not adhere to my monthly goals perfectly through 2017 but I learned what worked and what didn’t for me. I was able to sit back and watch how I react to a crazy workload, how I act when I am stressed to the gills and how I react to being underwhelmed.
I’ve learned that a once a week posting schedule may sound simple but it is still a lot of writing. With all that happened this year I had to learn to go easier on myself. I let myself fail, take a couple weeks or even a month off and the best part is that I was okay. Not conquering everything the way I intended to did not kill me (crazy, right?)
A lot of growing feels like failing. It is learning what works for you and what does not.
My mantra for this year has been “just because it does not work for you does not make it wrong”. By removing the emotion from what works for me and what doesn’t I was able to look at things in a more loving way.
I realized that the most important part of cultivating love was having it to give.
I’m spending the last month of 2017 healing from a surgery and getting ready for a big change. I figured out that my current position was no longer serving me and it is time for a change of scenery. Letting go of what does not serve me and moving on to something better is the biggest act of self-love. Because of this B and I are relocating to the bay!
With all of this change rapidly approaching my only goal for December is to continue getting comfortable with my self-love and the channel my creativity into something fun, decorating my new living space. After the rapid changes of 2017 I’m ready to slow down.
I have opinions about EVERYTHING and I love making them known. Due to this chatty Cathy lifestyle of mine, I can be a pretty shitty listener. With my intentions to cultivate love and creativity this year, I’ve decided that February will be about listening.
By listening to the world around us, the people around me and my body I will continue to build the foundation for the loving, confident, creative woman I want to be.
I was inspired to begin listening externally by the 2016 election results and the stories shared at the historic fan-fucking-tastic Women’s March on DC event that took place on January 21st. I was inspired to begin listening to my body through my yoga practice.
It is obvious to me that a large portion of this country has felt ignored by current politics. These are people that I originally wrote off as morons. I assumed that if you were able to vote for someone who believes in taking away the rights of my friends and myself that you were an idiot. While I do still believe that it takes someone with an inflated ego to think that their money is more important than the rights of others, I’ve decided that I have to listen to what the other side is thinking. To protect and defend my friends it is time to listen to what the opposition has to say, take in their concerns and see what a polite conversation can do for us.
On the other side of that coin it is time for me, as a white feminist, to listen to the stories of all the women of color, members of the LGBTQ community and other oppressed minorities. My story, or one similar to it has been shared thousands of times. It is time to check my white privilege, get off of my soapbox and learn about the struggles of minority women in our society. It is important for me to listen without asking those who are oppressed to educate me. I’m very excited about this journey and already have a couple ideas in mind for reaching this goal. I’m starting small by listening to feminist podcasts like “2 Dope Queens” and “Call Your Girlfriend”
I am also going to listen to my body. I am known for pushing myself to unhealthy limits from time to time. Instead of taking a rest day I will work in a quick set of squats. Instead of clocking out at 5, I am known to stay an extra half hour just to make things perfect. This results in my body hitting its breaking point and I pass out for 12 hours during the weekend. My Yoga with Adriene journey in January taught me a lot about listening to my body and breath as a team. I want to learn to listen to my body when it is tired and let it tell me when I’m overworking it without letting my brain take over and turn me into a lazy couch potato. While I’m still working towards a healthier mind and body with fervor, I intend to listen to my body and take that extra rest day when I need it. These are my intentions for February. A short but important month.
I will report back what I learn by listening. Stay tuned, my friends.