“Not So Bad”

There is a difference between hesitating and saying, firmly, no. What is the name for that place? I imagine it to be vast, to be full of women who said okay, who whispered it, or didn’t. I imagine it to be full of shadows, and a difficult place to leave.

I started writing this essay in Freiburg, in Roxane Gay’s non-fiction writing class, Beyond the Self. Now, it’s up at The Toast. It was shared on Scarleteen’s Facebook page. And  Jess Zimmerman tweeted it and said, “Men are terrified of writing like this.”

It’s been a pretty wild day.

 

Firsts

My Teen Diary asked me to read my teen diary & write about it, so of course I did. It was super angsty but also really fun! And, excitingly, it scored me my first TOP HIGHLIGHT, which I present for you here:

The body is not a temple, it is a body, and it is yours to do with as you will. The disrespect and callousness a person shows you does not mean that you are creature undeserving of love, of tenderness. It doesn’t even mean, really, that those who treat you callously are bad people—they’re just young, just careless, just taught different, though similarly toxic, things about sex than you are taught.

I also discovered this photo of me & my one true love, cardboard Legolas Greenleaf:

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Baring it all, etc

Naked for Cosmo

When I was in high school, I started a feminist club called F.A.T.E. The acronym makes me cringe now (“Female Advancement and Teen Empowerment” — I meant well, at least?) but anyway — one of the things we did each year was create posters for Love Your Body Day (which, if I remember correctly, was October 19th.) Still, even with the best of intentions, it took me much longer than that to really internalize the Love Your Body message. Sometimes I still struggle with it.

I’m doing better, though, and today Cosmo ran a piece I wrote called Why I Love Being Naked.

I started to look in the mirror, every single day, with deliberate and positive thoughts…These are my thighs, I thought, strong and brown, firmer in the summer months when I spend hours walking and running and dancing. These are my hips, wide like my grandmother gave me. “Childbearin’ hips,” as if that were not a choice but a given. This is the little pouch of my belly where my love of cupcakes and French fries resides; my skin is softest here. Here are my breasts, with stretch marks creeping across the tops of them like ivy; I’m told I have a lovely décolletage.

Gettin’ there.

UnleashedNY


I wrote about Dr. Stacey Radin’s incredible puppy-rescue-turned-feminist-generating organization, Unleashed, for This Dog’s Life! I’ve been writing for TDL for a while now, but this is definitely my favorite article to date.

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Unleashed’s initiative is about more than puppy rescue. As part of her research, Radin uncovered an unsettling link between animal abuse and violence against women and children…Unleashed addresses this head on by putting girls in touch with their ability to affect social change at the exact moment in their development when they need it the most. The discussion around animal rights is the invitation the girls need to talk about feminism and women’s rights.

10168173_782298218447411_1829252255_nDr. Radin was so passionate on the phone during our interview, and her mission to empower young girls really took my breath away and got me all choked up. I’ll be visiting Biscuits & Bath this Sunday at 1pm to see the girls in action for their Leads Day, and will be back with a follow up.

Definitely take a read and revel in all the girl power and puppies, y’all.