Monthly Archives: January 2012

¡Gracias!

I have been thinking so much about all that I am thankful for in my life, and the many ways I intentionally express that gratitude (or perhaps don’t because I am too preoccupied taking certain elements of life for granted). Gratitude– deep, resounding, present authentic– really is a way of life, comme la nonviolence or la lucha para la paz y justicia. With so many joys and such abundance here, right now, where I am, in my life, I try to let each moment remind me to be thankful for whatever I am doing or feeling or anticipating or wishing.

Though, as I’m sure everyone else knows, this is so much easier said (and hoped for) than actually put into practice. I am so easily distracted, discouraged, frustrated, or entitled at times that I don’t fully live this personal mission. Thankfully, my line of work, my community of people, and my ripe old age (HA!) have allowed me to get better at inhabiting a space of thanksgiving as I go about my daily life. Another thing that has helped: having tools (like poems, faith-sharing friends, and daily “the world is still wonderful!” email subscriptions) has exponentially increased my journey of recognizing the beautiful in the ordinary.

Which leads me to SUGAR. I stumbled into this thinking that, because it was on The Rumpus, it would be a funny, silly little release from an advice columnist that perhaps didn’t even deal with “real” written-in letters and requests. I am so glad– dare I say grateful?– to have been proven wrong.

It turns out that post #90 is the best Sunday night reading one could hope for. I am happy to once again be provided an opportunity to begin my week with an air of appreciation. I suggest that you read a few at a time and come back to it throughout your week(s) to remind yourself that this is why we’re here. I’ll leave you with my favorite sentiment thus far in my reading:

I am grateful for that empty place at the table. I am thankful that sometimes people need not know each other to care for them. We are contributing to the stockpile of love in the universe – whether that’s through writing advice columns or finding gratitude in the hardest moments. What we manifest is who we ultimately become.

—–

See also: My favorite thought EVER on the power of gratitude.

 

 

Lady Bullies

Two posts in one night?!

Unheard of in DGCW precedent, I know…but the last one was essentially a Tumblr/tweet and this one is all about a Conquering the World While Wearing Stilettos blog entry that sparked my thoughts. In particular, the focus of my thoughts (and of the WWS post) is this WaPo article on “Mean Girls at Work”— the women who play just as big a role as the hegemonic masculinity that seems to pervade organizations and the business world alike.

I won’t rant too much, because, as the article says, so many YP women have horror stories of unfavorable (and sometimes downright cruel) treatment in both social and work settings, but the concept of the article really touched a nerve for me and took me back to a horrible experience I had during the inaugural meeting of  a planning committee I’d been asked to sit on by one of my mentors (side note: Thank a Mentor day is Thursday, so don’t forget to shout out to those who have guided you in your life journey!).

As the youngest woman (by at least 15 years) sitting around the table, I was already trying to be conscious about contributing in ways that expanded the conversation and brought a new perspective without weighing in on areas I was unable to speak to due to lack of experience. Most of the women around me were extremely encouraging, receptive, and willing to see me as an equal contributor to the process, but during a casual side discussion before the meeting one woman– a key player at a (progressive) higher ed institution– seemed to think it was acceptable to belittle my stance on women’s contribution to society and the prevalence of gender inequality in even the most liberal-seeming settings.

Again, I will spare you many of the details of and feelings from that experience, but let me just say that I held my ground while asking genuine and inquisitive questions that eventually revealed that her standards for education on gender equality are different (read: far less ambitious or advocacy-minded) than her standards are for other forms of social justice, and not because she is dedicating herself to other causes but because she SIMPLY DOESN’T SEE THE NEED FOR DIALOGUE SURROUNDING SEXISM TO EXIST. This experience scared me because this powerful, tenured & titled, fiercly educated, civically-engaged woman’s beliefs parallel the colorblind ideas of “post-racial” society– one of the most effective present-day ways to oppress a people while evading responsibility for said oppression.

International Women’s Day is March 8, and while it is one of my favorite holidays of the year, I do believe there is far too much work in the name of gender equality (and too many causes for celebration of women) to be recognized solely on one singular day per year. I hope my fellow women out there will join me in taking a scrutinizing look at ourselves and recognize ways we, too, are barriers to achieving a more just and equitable world for our daughters (and sons!) to experience.

– – – – –

Epilogue: the woman with whom I’d had the ‘pleasant,’ erm, debate with pre-meeting did not return to the committee meetings for the remainder of the year. I don’t celebrate my missing out on the opportunity to have more conversation or build mutual understanding with her, but I do remain grateful that I was willing to express myself maturely and intelligently enough to stand my ground during our interaction. I only hope that my attempted thoughtfulness in the situation caused her to think twice about the role model and activist she hopes to be for women around here and women who will come after her.

I know I keep posting about music, but…

Does the fact that I got tears in my eyes from watching a COLDPLAY video tell you something about the role that disillusionment and finding one’s place of belonging are currently playing in my life?

New songs are the bomb diggity.

Passenger,” Lisa Hannigan (I LOVE that it refers to all my favorite places: mpls, Ohio, slc, Chi!)

Where We Gonna Go From Here,” Mat Kearney

Maybe I Missed the Point,” Jeff Bridges

Advice,” Jesse Ruben (this is a live version which I don’t prefer, but I couldn’t find a studio version on YouTube.  At least his pre-song banter is charming…?)

When a Heart Breaks,” Ben Rector

“Call Your Girlfriend,” All versions, from Robyn’s original to SNL’s remake to Erato’s a cappella version to Christopher in Denmark’s charming and heart-melting rendition

The Guy That Says Goodbye to You is Out of His Mind,” Griffin House

Anyone out there got good suggestions for what to fill my ears with next? 🙂

PS– I just love the meaning behind the lyrics of song #2, so I’m going to leave them here for you:

I know somebody whose life is tough.
I help a little, but it isn’t enough
Cuz I go an’ spend money on stupid stuff
When I know he’s strugglin’ to stay above.

An’ I have so many chances to be
The hero I believe’s inside of me
But I get busy and I get distracted
And I do nothin’ when I could’ve acted

I laid low when I could’ve stood high.
I said nothin’ when I should’ve asked why.
I saw somethin’ that I might’ve done and I didn’t,
A chance to speak my truth and I hid it.

Inside, I’d like to believe I’m cool,
Easy to love and hard to fool,
But I know there’s more I could’ve enjoyed.
Sometimes I find myself thinkin’
Maybe I missed the point.

So many times I turned down love,
Stayed in the dark when I could’ve lit it up,
But every time I did take a chance
Makes me happy when I’m lookin’ back

I’m not sayin’ my whole life feels like a joke
But I’ve been a master of mirrors and smoke
And I don’t wanna live
No mo’ without you.

Hupp-daytz

Listening: Robert Segel’s voice (my new staple now that I’m not up early enough to commute with Steve Inskeep every day), “Yes Man,” old and often not very good mix CDs since I still haven’t recovered my marvelous black case full of them, my own sensibility about certain things

Reading: Bel Canto for my Chicago friends’ book club, mail I’ve received and been neglecting over the past month, Grow Toward the Light in all its goodnessy awesomeness, lots and lots of emails to get rid of my inbox overflow

Watching: my fiber intake, my spirits directly correlate with the temperature of Chicago days, for any news on when HIMYM is new, myself, the insides of a car wash, my students soak info up like a sponge

Wearing: the COOLEST new Ohio-shaped earrings with a star where my beloved CLE is, my “I ❤ NPR” and “CLE” shirts that my cool big sis got me for christmas, more reddish-maroon than ever before thanks to my new gloves & hat + dropping temperatures

Wanting: more hours in the day (or less need for sleep) because I’m having too much fun doing other things to waste time sleeping, for easier ways to ask hard questions, to owe less rent every month, bilingual skillz, to reach my yoga prime yet again