#AnnaReadsThis, books, essays, feminism, read it love it, the future is female

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s ‘Feminist Manifesto’

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Last weekend I found myself wandering around the bookstore, as so often is the case. I was absolutely excited when I saw they had Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s latest book of essays, Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions

In it, Adichie writes to a friend who asks her how to raise a baby girl as a feminist. This book is Adichie’s response. It’s gentle yet sharp; succinct yet poignant; and reads as though it’s a letter from your best friend.

The main proposition of “Dear Ijeawele” is that feminism is a project that necessarily binds mothers and daughters, and that raising a daughter feminist has as much to do with what you tell yourself as what you tell her. Ms. Adichie’s first of 15 suggestions places a mother’s freedom and growth at the center of a daughter’s feminist education.

“Be a full person,” Ms. Adichie writes. “Motherhood is a glorious gift, but do not define yourself solely by motherhood.” (The New York Times)

15.2

As an aunt, a once particularly conservative girl from the American Midwest, I found this book incredibly powerful. It made me face a few aspects of my own missteps and helped me reevaluate a few of my former philosophies and internalized patriarchal beliefs. And, more than anything, it helped me understand how to change my behavior in hopes of not instilling the same misbeliefs on my nieces & nephews.

Below are some of the lessons which most affected me.

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On feminism: 

“Your feminist premise should be: I matter. I matter equally. Not “if only.” Not “as long as.” I matter equally. Full stop.”

“Beware the danger of what I call Feminism Lite. It is the idea of conditional fenable equality. Please reject this entirely. It is a hollow, appeasing, and bankrupt idea. Being a feminist is like being pregnant. You either are or you are not. You either believe in the full equality of men and women or you do not.”

15.1

On marriage:

“Never speak of marriage as an achievement. Find ways to make clear to her that I marriage is not an achievement, nor is it what she should aspire to. A marriage can be happy or unhappy, but it is not an achievement. We condition girls to aspire to marriage and we do not condition boys to aspire to marriage, and so there is already a terrible imbalance at the start. The girls will grow up to be women preoccupied with marriage. The boys will grow up to be men who are not preoccupied with marriage. The women marry those men. The relationship is automatically uneven because the institution matters more to one than the other.”

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On being “liked”: 

“We teach girls to be likeable, to be nice, to be false. And we do not teach boys the same. This is dangerous. Many sexual predators have capitalized on this. Many girls remain silent when abused because they want to be nice. Many girls spend too much time trying to be “nice” to people who do them harm. Many girls think of the “feelings” of those who are hurting them. This is the catastrophic consequence of likeability. We have a world full of women who are unable to exhale fully because they have for so long been conditioned to fold themselves into shapes to make themselves likeable. So”

15.3

On “doing it all”:

Our culture celebrates the idea of women who are able to ‘do it all’ but does not question the premise of that praise. I have no interest in the debate about women doing it all because it is a debate that assumes that caregiving and domestic work are singularly female domains, and idea that I strongly reject. Domestic work and caregiving should be gender-neutral, and we should be asking not whether a woman can ‘do it all’ but how best to support parents in their dual duties at work and at home.”

On standards and differences:

“Teach her never to universalize her own standards or experiences. Teach her that her standards are for her alone, and not for other people. This is the only necessary form of humility: the realization that difference is normal.”

Teach her about difference. Make difference ordinary. Make difference normal. Teach her not to attach value to difference. And the reason for this is not to be fair or to be nice but merely to be human and practical. Because difference is the reality of our world. And by teaching her about difference, you are equipping her to survive in a diverse world.”

On love:

“Teach her that to love is not only to give but also to take. This is important because we give girls subtle cues about their lives – we teach girls that a large component of their ability to love is their ability to self-sacrifice. We do not teach this to boys. Teach her that to love she must give of herself emotionally but she must also expect to be given.”

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I really look forward to devouring Adichie’s other books in the coming months. I highly recommend this article from TIME,  if you’re new to Adichie, as well as this TED talk. And, I am especially pleased to now know what to gift everyone in my life for all upcoming occasions. 😉

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essays, my truths, tv, write it out, writing from the heart

On ‘Girls’ American Bitch & having your shoulders rubbed

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Last night, as I do most Monday nights, I crawled into bed, gummy bears in hand, and watched the latest episode of GIRLS. Usually it makes me laugh; sometimes it makes me rage-y (MARNIE IS THE WORST). So I  wasn’t expecting anything too extraordinary. (I mostly watch because I love the recaps and commentary on the Man Repeller.)

But this episode was p h e n o m e n a l. Phenomenal in its timing. Phenomenal in its social commentary. Phenomenal in its telling of millions of women’s stories. Phenomenal in its response to so much of today’s public discourse and victim blaming.

To sum the episode up: A prominent author asks Hannah to come over to talk after she publishes an article about his predatory ways. He plays the victim card over and over again until winning Hannah’s forgiveness. Then he abuses it.

Emily Nussbaum of the New Yorker of course, puts it a thousand times better than I ever could.

The key to “American Bitch,” Sunday’s scathing and timely episode of “Girls,” is the compliments. “Hannah, you’re clearly very bright,” Chuck Palmer, a novelist celebrated for his confessional work, says. “I could tell that from the first sentence you wrote.” He reads the sentence, as Hannah struggles to hide her pleasure: “ ‘If one more male writer I love reveals himself to be a heinous sleazebag, I’m going to do a bunch of murders, create a new Isle of Lesbos, and never look back.’ ” “You’re funny!,” Palmer says. “That’s a funny sentence.”

This initial intro scene was enough to make me put the gummy bears down and pay closer attention. As the episode progressed, the more I wanted to crawl inside myself and cry, while simultaneously wanting to run outside and scream THIS THIS THIS.

Nussbaum continues:

In certain ways, it’s a classic exchange between an older artist (rich, decadent, in print) and a younger artist (poor, moralistic, online). Chuck scores some points: it’s the women who throw themselves at him, he argues, because they are seeking stories to tell. Who really has the power, he asks: the zitty older virgin—him—or a beautiful young model? Hannah resists those arguments; she scores her points, too. “I’m tired of gray areas,” she tells him in disgust, when he waves off any sense that he’s even powerful. She shares a story about having being groomed by a grade-school teacher, another older man who selected her, making her feel chosen and special (a story that’s one of Lena Dunham’s own real-life stories, which she wrote about in her memoir). Chuck sympathizes. Eventually, he asks Hannah about herself—as, he suggests, a form of ethical payback for the exploitative relationships with his fans: he never really listened to the other young women, but now he’ll listen to her, see her as a person, in order to make up for it.

This scene made me cry.

Because I can count not one, but two teachers (one a professor), and a boss from a restaurant I worked at in high school, who would all rub my shoulders or touch my waist without my consent.

The first time it happened I was in elementary school and didn’t realize how inappropriate this behavior was. I’m lucky in that it never went further, and I was ignorant to know what this meant.

The second time was when I worked at a restaurant and the regional manager came over as I was working on the cash register and placed his hands around my waist. I immediately turned to him and told him to “please don’t touch me,” and I was fired a week later for a random reason. When I was fired I told my manager about what had transpired, and what was no doubt the reason for my being fired, and asked if I could have the contact information to file a sexual harassment suit, he told me “no such thing exists.” Though my parents encouraged me to take it to the corporate offices, I decided to just let it go.

A few years later, in college, a professor came over to my desk while I was working on a story and put his hands on my shoulders and rubbed them. I spun my chair around and told him to not touch me. He laughed it off. I reported it to the Dean. I have no idea if he was ever disciplined. But I’m glad I said something. Both to him and the higher ups.

These weren’t the only occasions this occurred, and I’m sure they won’t be the last (what a tragic reality to admit).

Being a female in today’s world, though we’ve come incredibly far, continues to be a incredibly difficult thing to be. Often I’m asked why I so strongly believe in the women’s movement and why I march. My response could be summarized into one simple sentence:

I march because I never want my nieces or nephews to have their shoulders rubbed predatorily.

Because this one sentence says so much more than the words used. Because this one sentence says everything.

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essays, february 2017, read it love it, Short Story Love, Uncategorized, words from wise women

Short Story Love: “Challenger Deep” by Marina Keegan

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I just finished Marina Keegan‘s book, The Opposite of Loneliness. It was bold and beautiful and haunting.

Marina is most known for her Yale commencement speech of the same title, which went viral immediately. She was killed in a car accident only five days later. She was only 22. A former professor helped her parents publish various works she wrote during her time at Yale, and published it with Scribner.

I loved every piece I read, but I especially loved on of her non-fiction stories, “Challenger Deep.” I wasn’t sure I would like it as it began, as it was out of the realm of the typical stories I go for, but by the end I was riveted and left wanting more. Below, you can read it in its entirety. I’d love to hear your take on it…

“Challenger Deep”

When the jellyfish came, we woke everyone up. They floated down on the ship like snow and even Lev came into the sail to press his face on the periscope. The glow was dim but we could see our arms and outlines and after a minute we stepped away from the glass to look at each other’s eyes. No one said anything, not even the Captain, and I could hear Ellen breathing hard against the glass. My eyes hurt from seeing but there was a strange hope in the blue light, and the weeks of darkness drew us toward it like moths. The five of us sat on the steel for what must have been an hour before the fluorescent specks drifted out and the submarine returned to its blackness. Eventually, I heard the Captain stand up – but it was a while before he finally cleared his throat and felt his way back to the controls.

We couldn’t see anything. Not even our fingers flexing in front of our faces or the steel walls we ran our hands along as we passed through chambers. We were thirty-six thousand feet under when the ballast tanks broke and the pressure gauge short-circuited the electrics. The power was on but the lights couldn’t be fixed from inside. I wasn’t angry like the others. Lev would pace around and scream things in Russian or slam his fist against a door, but he was young and louder than the rest of us. I preferred the days when no one spoke, or at least not about the surface. There wasn’t a point, I told them once while we were eating dehydrateds, there’s really no point.

I waited by the periscope for the rest of C shift because it was my sleep break anyway and I wanted to see if the currents changed and the jellyfish came back. I sat there for a while but they never came so I pulled out the ripped piece of shirt to tie back around my eyes. It’s easier when you pretend to be blindfolded. I heard this on a cave tour in Arizona but Ellen was the only other crew member who listened. It was a small ship, only an Alvin II, so I could pass whomever I wanted to if I took the right turns. I heard Lev talking to the Captain by the desalination tank, which was easy to find because of its dull hum.

“We’d know if we were rising.” The Captain must have been sitting down.

“Maybe not, sir. Maybe the pressure streams are different in the trench.”

“We’d know,” he repeated. “We’d feel it.”

“Then how do you explain the goddamn fluorescence? You know damn well cnidarians can’t survive in near freezing!” He was pacing now.

“The geysers are heated—”

“The geysers are heated. Poshol na khui, suka!” He kicked the metal and I inhaled.

“Ellen?” The Captain had heard me. I was always accidentally listening in because I couldn’t think of anything to say.

“No, sir. It’s Patrick,” I said. “I was just coming back from the sail. Wanted to make sure we didn’t miss them if they came back.”

“They’re not coming back.” It was Lev’s voice and I heard him lean against the wall. I waited for the Captain to reply but he didn’t.

“I just wanted to make sure.” There was silence and I could hear Hyun clicking the switchboard down the passage. He was Korean and couldn’t really speak English but he was the best technician at Woods Hole lab. We listened to his taps for a while until we fell back into ourselves. The Captain walked over to the air vent so it blew on his face and hair. I knew everyone was zooming out, imagining once again what we looked like from far away.

“It was nice,” Lev finally said from the wall. “I forgot what it was like.”

“I know,” the Captain said. “My hands.”

I pictured the tiny dots floating out like stars. The way it looked like outer space from the periscope windows. For the first time in a long time I thought about my sister and the house I lived in as a child. Lev stood up and walked out to his berth. He didn’t leave at B shift but there wasn’t much we could do about allocations anymore.

* * *

We had no concept of time and soon the darkness made it hard to remember what was real. I’d imagine tables that weren’t there and reach for railings that had never existed. After a while I stopped having visual dreams, shifting in my sheets as my mind recounted sounds and sensations that were all cold or steel or underwater. We talked less about trees and more about nothing, playing endless games to name the elements or species of fish until one of us would hit something or start crying or simply not respond.

Once when we were all together, Lev wondered aloud whether China had a deep-capacity submarine that no one knew about. It was stupid, but we spent the next three days hypothesizing about why and how the international community might be able to procure it and send it down to get us out. Ellen believed it most of all because she was in love with a man named Daniel who lived in London. She told me when we were cleaning the interhull vents and the other three were sleeping. I’m not sure why she decided to tell me – probably because I don’t say much. She was skinny for thirty and wore a blindfold like me. I remembered then that she’d told us this was her first real dive.

“He’s a teacher,” she said softly. “We met online through this website.” I’d heard that this could happen but I didn’t really understand how. I took the solution and ran it on a cloth pipe through the holes. When she sat up, her braid flew up and fell again on her back with a small thud. “We haven’t made real plans but I think we’re going to get married.” Ellen was the only one who still spoke about home in the present tense.

“What does he teach?” I wasn’t sure what to ask.

“Social studies.” She paused. “I did my marine PhD at Cambridge so that’s why we met.” I was trying to get the dust from the vent sheets but I couldn’t see whether or not it was working. Ellen was working too and I liked that about her. She wasn’t a very pretty girl if my memory was right, but she had really long hair and her eyes were a sort of green. “I don’t—” But she broke off.

We worked for a while until it was mostly done and then I asked if she wanted to eat now or later and she said now. We traced our way to the dry box that held our rations and added water to the powdery protein mix. Regulations required six months of meals on all H-certified vessels, and the Alvin II was about eight weeks into what should have been a two-week Experimental. We sat at the small half-counter and ate until Ellen fell quiet and started to shake. For the first time in my life I think I was happy to be alone. I wouldn’t want anyone up there to be shaking for me.

* * *

It wasn’t long before people started whispering. The darkness and circles were getting unbearable and most of us were beginning to crack in our own ways. Lev started advocating for “alternatives” to waiting it out. There wasn’t enough food.

No sub could go deep enough. It was now or six months from now. But the ship required five people to operate it, so everyone had to agree before anything was going to happen. I disagreed at first but the idea had fallen like a seed. I felt it when I lay in my berth, when I tried to sleep, when I had dark dreams, and when I half-woke to eat protein and walk around the same five rooms in the same five patterns until I slept and had the same dark dreams.

Ellen didn’t want to. No one needed to ask anyone else because it was just obvious. Hyun and the Captain were too rational not to agree, and Lev was the first one to really lose it. He started groaning and hitting his head from inside his door. The Captain admitted that he could still see in his dreams. He rushed through his maintenance so he could close and open his eyes. If the lights hadn’t gone when the pressure snapped the ballast tanks I think things might have been different. I think we might have been able to wait until the powder ran out.

“Here!” Lev screamed from the center control. “Here, here, now!” He was shrieking and we could hear banging so we all ran to the control. The Captain sat Lev down until he stopped thrashing. Hyun seemed scared and Ellen was hanging back to the side.

“I can’t do it,” said Lev. We couldn’t see him but we could hear the violent quiver in his voice. “I’m sorry. Look, I can’t do it. I see things in my head. Faces and all the water, it’s… My zdes’ umryom. Vy vse ponimaete, chto my budem zhdat’ i zhdat’, i potom mu vse umryom. There are voices and – the darkness and—” He erupted into a sob and the Captain went over and must have put his hands on his shoulders because he quieted down. Hyun never said much but we heard his quiet voice speak up from Lev’s other side.

“Yes,” he said. “Yes. No more do.” I didn’t say anything and neither did the Captain but everyone understood that we couldn’t. We needed to wait. We heard Ellen inhale like she might say something but her lips closed and she shifted her feet. There was a silence and I almost said something about the time or temperature gauges but then Ellen finally spoke.

“I just…” She paused. “I just… there’s no point in not waiting. They might… it’s not impossible.”

“It’s impossible.” Lev spoke the words quietly, straightforwardly. She was hurt. “It’s impossible,” Lev repeated, louder. But Ellen had shifted to move and walked out of the room. I heard the Captain run his hands through his hair.

“She has someone,” I said. “We have to wait for her. We have to wait for her because he’s in England and Ellen…” No one said anything and we waited in that room for a long time until Lev began rocking in his seat again. I started thinking about trees even though I knew it would only make the aching worse.

* * *

Things were different after that. We became suspicious of each other, of all two-person conversations. Ellen didn’t talk to anyone much, but we knew she was listening. I passed her one night standing by the dry box. I wasn’t sure what she was doing with it open but I wondered if maybe she was trying to calculate portions or time. There were five shift jobs and five people so we couldn’t run the ship without all of us. Lev might have been crazy, but he knew this too and he knew we all had to agree. So we waited. We waited two weeks until one day after circuit repairs when I couldn’t hear Ellen in her station.

I thought she might be upset in her berth so I walked by her door. I wanted to tell her that it was okay and that we were going to wait, that there was no rush. We could make it half a year if we wanted to. We could wait. But she wasn’t in there. She wasn’t by the dry box or desalinator and when I screamed her name it rang through the steel of the ship but there was no response. Then I heard Hyun’s tiny voice call back from a passage that we hadn’t used since before it got dark.

The Captain came running and we fumbled for the switch that pushed the door to the launching suits. When it was open, we couldn’t see but I started brushing my arms as fast as I could along the floor where the wires were stored, feeling one, two, three, and then it was missing. There were only four deep-water suits and I think we all realized at once what had happened. We opened the screen vent to the anteroom that opened out to the water and pulled in the cord with the autosimulator. The ocean was black just like the walls so when we heard her body thump into the chamber we couldn’t tell. I ran in and felt the cold on her face and the wet on the suit, but the veins in her neck were still throbbing. She’d cracked the helmet, and her face had ice shards on the sides.

“Ellen!” I screamed, but she didn’t respond. “Ellen! Ellen!” Then I realized what had happened. What the depth had done. I shook her quickly, and she stirred, coughed, choked over to the side. I moved immediately to her ears and felt the warm blood trickling out and into her long black hair. Her eardrums had burst and she was trapped in darkness and silence and a giant iron suit. We moved it off her and her hand reached up to touch my face. It felt strange and I wanted to move away but I let her feel my nose and mouth and eyes until she knew it was me. She’d done it on purpose but she didn’t know we’d find her in time.

“She’s deaf,” the Captain said. Lev was groaning again from the other room. We didn’t know what to do so we carried her into the counter room, heated water, and poured it on her over her clothes. It felt darker than it used to, and I wondered for a minute if that was possible. If we had drifted into a trench of the trench where we would soon hear tectonics crunch into lava and draw us down.

Ellen moaned. I ripped my blindfold cloth in two and balled it up into her ears to stop the bleeding. She lay there like that for a long time until she was quiet. We gave her food and she seemed like she was okay so we moved her into her berth and went back to our stations. I could hear Lev pacing and Hyun clicking and the comfort of the desalinator hum and ventilator air and imagined Ellen alone in the silence of her world – confined entirely to the universe of her thoughts and half-drawn memories of days somewhere in England.

She emerged much later with her arms outstretched, feeling around corners she already knew by heart. We’d squeeze her shoulder when we passed, but that was all we knew how to do. She was lost. And the reality of her attempt had silenced our philosophizing. We were waiting now. We ate and moved and ate and moved.

* * *

I was on Sonar Detect when we picked up the signal from the rover. It had no metal detection and looked like it’d been traveling blind straight through the trench. It was small, robotic, and probably the only thing they could construct to withhold the pressure in limited time. Lev went running and screamed and I guess Ellen could feel the vibrations he made on the floor because I heard her door shut behind her.

“It’s audio,” said the Captain. “There’s an antenna. No one’s coming.” We turned up the sonar controls and heard a short five-minute clip play twice through the wave detectors before it slipped past in its motion and out of sight. They knew our range and they knew we’d have five minutes to hear it on either side. It was expensive, I could tell by the frequency. A million-dollar message.

It was my sister and the Captain’s old lieutenant and Lev’s best friend and Hyun’s mom. The last voice was Daniel’s and it spoke in a shaky whisper: “Ellen, I love you. Ellen, I can’t look at the ocean anymore.” He went on but I was too dazed to remember more. Ellen moaned and walked around, confused. Daniel, I traced on her arm. Slowly, so she could comprehend each letter. A message. She didn’t understand. My hand was shaking, so I did it slower. A message. The ocean. He loves you. But we couldn’t remember any more – our own thoughts scratched with our own words. She jerked away and went wandering back through the ship until we found her later, collapsed and sleeping by the vent.

* * *

The hours blurred as our food box emptied, but I never stopped dreaming black dreams. Sometimes, when the Captain was at the controls or Lev was asleep, I’d climb into the sail and stare through the periscope at the thousands of leagues. I closed my eyes and saw stars but the jellyfish never came.

From the collection The Opposite of Loneliness, via Bookanista.

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essays, growing up, read it love it, relationships, wise words

Stay gone.

GO. AND STAY GONE. 
writers vineyard:

Go. Stay gone. There’s nothing for you here, but the sack of bones in your closet that you’re starting to feel like you miss. Go before it recollects itself and sits placidly as dead weight on your shoulders.  
This is not like that one time he got home too late and you made him sleep on the pull-out couch, only to crawl in next to him because teaching him a lesson wasn’t worth sleeping alone. This is not like the one time your best friend blew you off, only to call you up drunk for a ride home hours later, and despite it all, you go to pick her up, because you reasoned anger was better than grief. You’d prefer not to see her on the news, dead the next morning from drunk driving. 
This is for all the times he’s been home late, and you were too tired to stay up for him. This is for the moment you realized sleeping alone made no difference. This is for all the times she waited until she needed something to call you. For all the times she didn’t call. 
It’s been a cycle. You’ve been driving around the rotary, too afraid you’ll take the wrong exit, but while you’re second guessing yourself, your tank is down to its last drop of gas, and soon you’ll be stranded, waiting for a tow truck to get you where you could’ve gotten yourself if you hadn’t been so chicken. 
Just go with the flow [of traffic], and it will all work out, if only you’d let it. Don’t hold yourself up. 
You left, so finish it up and stay gone.

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Ain’t that the truth? Mhmm…
(…and exactly what I need to do.)

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a list of sorts, anxiety, articles, essays, hope, life lesson, little reminders of life, mental illness, ocd, recommended reading, you are Loved

On hope and the topic of mental illness.

 

Mental illness is just one of those topics that remains a bit taboo though it’s 2013 and it affects more people than we could possibly realize.

From depression to hypochondria, there is so much we, as society, don’t understand. Of course not. It’s not as simple as a diagnosing a broken arm, nor is it as commonly curable as strep throat. We aren’t even sure if mental health is curable.

That’s the thing: there’s just so much we don’t know.

But just because we don’t know doesn’t mean we can’t try to understand, and even more so, sympathize. And for those of us who can, empathize.

So when I see insightful articles and essays being shared and passed around among the masses it makes me feel as though there is hope. Hope that the more it’s talked about, the more awareness that is brought to the issues, the sooner we will be able to more openly discuss these hardships, the sooner more therapies and cures will be found.

Because I have been there; I will possibly be there my whole life.

So here are just a handful of aforementioned articles/essays I’d love to share with you. (These are the ones I had bookmarked here and there, so I know I am missing many that I had meant to save. Please share any that you have saved, or happen to come across, and I will happily include them in the list!)

On depression:
Adventures in Depression Part 1. and 2. by Hyperbole and a Half
At first, I’d try to explain that it’s not really negativity or sadness anymore, it’s more just this detached, meaningless fog where you can’t feel anything about anything — even the things you love, even fun things — and you’re horribly bored and lonely, but since you’ve lost your ability to connect with any of the things that would normally make you feel less bored and lonely, you’re stuck in the boring, lonely, meaningless void without anything to distract you from how boring, lonely, and meaningless it is. 

On Insomnia:
In Which We’re Up All Night by Elizabeth Gumpert
A cure that leaves you groggy or hungover is no cure at all. The point of sleep, after all, is that it is supposed to restore energy, and hope. It makes you alert enough to do things, and optimistic enough to believe they are worth doing. If you wake up feeling otherwise, what’s the use?

On Depression after weaning:
The Two Hardest Months Of My Life by Joanna Goddard
One afternoon, while taking a walk along the Hudson River, I told my mom, who was visiting us, that I wished that Toby had a different mother. He deserved more, I thought. I felt like such a failure: I had always wanted to be a mother. I always had baby fever. I always looked forward to having children. But now that I had a sweet, curious, beautiful baby, I suddenly couldn’t handle motherhood. I felt exhausted and inept. 

On Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD):
OCD: ‘Clearly My Doctors Were Off Their Rockers’ an essay by me about my OCD
This chapter had my name written all over it. At first I was relieved, and then I was mad. Mad that Barbara Walters had never even addressed the fact that this kind of OCD was real. And then I was even more pissed that I didn’t have the hand washing compulsions, because then, at least, people could see what was going on in my mind, instead of seeing me act normal, while my mind was full of intrusive, terrifying thoughts.

And, please, if you feel hopeless, remember these things:

How To Take Care Of Yourself When You Feel Suicidal
Just because your life feels unbearable now doesn’t mean that it will feel this way forever. Try to remind yourself of all the times in the past when you felt miserable and hopeless and lost and how each time, the pain eventually passed and life worked itself out — maybe not in the way you imagined, but things got better nonetheless. Now is no exception. This pain you feel can and will pass. If you give up now though, you’ll never discover that better place — so keep holding on.

Hope Is Real, Hope Is Near.

You are so loved.

“When tough times come, it is particularly important to offset them with much gentle softness. Be a pillow.”– Vera Nazarian

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april 2013, essays, growing up, heartache, life changes, munich 2013, my life, read it love it, words from my heart

And I guess this was merely a chapter, not a novel.

[Munich, March 2013.]

Oh, Munich. You’ve been swell, really. I wish I could gather my life up back home and bring all of it (and them) here to this magical city … but for now, we will soon part. But I’ve scattered so many pieces of my heart around this city, you’ll always have some of my love.  

And sweet Kansas, see you in May.

———————————————————————————————————-

It’s sometimes funny the things I stumble across at just the right moment, that I find myself nodding along to while reading and saying, “YES. THIS. SO MUCH THIS.”

This is one of those moments::

“I believe one of the reasons people don’t leave the comforts of home is this insidious belief that you must change everything in order to make it valuable.
Simply not true. You can set out to live in a country you’ve always dreamed of. You can learn things and test yourself and have a hell of a good time. You can drink cava in the middle of a Tuesday afternoon, hop on a train and get off on an unplanned stop, dance drunk, dance sober, kiss strangers. And you can hold onto what makes you love your city at home. You can prefer waking to an alarm and riding your bike to work, eating vegan food, and having co-workers. Being surrounded by friends and having a backyard. And you can go back.
You can go back!”

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