Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Super Fun Leap Day!

I happen to think that a Leap Day is a gift that the universe gives us every four years. It's an extra day. I also happen to think that what you do with your extra day matters. Also, I like that leap year happens to coincide very nicely with my education. Last February 29, I was almost done with middle school. Next February 29 I will be a senior in college.
Kat and I decided to have Super Fun Leap Day! this year because I don't have a final so there's no school! That's right, the universe gave me a school-free extra day this year. That is not the kind of gift one just passes up.
Super Fun Leap Day!
Sleeping in, of course. Then a visit to the new Harmon's at City Creek, because I hear it's magnificent. I'm a sucker for a really good grocery store. Then to the new Natural History Museum. It's such a beautiful building, and they've got some of Lorin's minerals in there, which will be worth seeing I think, not because they're particularly special minerals, but because they're Lorin's. Then shopping, of course, because shopping is a must. Book shopping to be exact. At trolley square, so we can go to the new Sam Weller's and Tabula Rasa. Dinner at the Melting Pot, because melted dark chocolate is kinda our thing. And then in the evening I want to go down to the Salt Lake Library to hear Ghandi's grandson talk about his grandfather.
Yay for Super Fun Leap Day!


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dizzy

Last Friday, Dizzy died. Dizzy is a horse. He was 23. This is a kind of family tragedy, because he's been in the family longer than I have. Maybe I cried when I got the text.
Dizzy was black when Lorin first bought him. At that time Lorin's hair was dark. They went white together. I love this.
Lorin rode Dizzy in all sorts of reining competitions. Dizzy was a good horse. Well-trained and always tried really hard to do what he was told. Tried to please. This is a good trait in a horse.
Dizzy got his name because he was quick at spinning in circles. He would spin so quickly that Lorin would get dizzy. Things like this are why he was good in reining competitions.
For some reason, kids always preferred to ride Dizzy. I get a little bit defensive of Tinker, the other horse who is mine and I don't want his feelings to get hurt, but kids would always want to ride Dizzy instead of Tinker. I like to say they picked Dizzy because he's white, but really it's because Dizzy is much gentler. Kids can sense stuff like that. They understood that Dizzy was the kinder of the two horses.
When I was little, Dizzy bucked me off. That was the first time I ever got bucked off a horse. I was six or seven. I later forgave him for that.
On President's day, Lorin and I took a drive up to the cabin on a whim. At my insistence, we also stopped by the farm where the horses are being boarded. I'm glad we saw Dizzy before he died. I love that horse.
Dizzy and me circa my 2nd birthday
We still have Tinker, or rather I still have Tinker, but it's not quite the same. One horse is not the same as two. This means Lorin and I can't take rides together anymore, which is really the greater tragedy. We've ridden horses together my whole life. It's one of those cornerstones in our relationship. More than anything, it breaks my heart that I won't get to go on rides up at the cabin with Lorin this summer.


Ps. College starts six months from today. I hope this does not mean I have than six months to become an adult. I won't make it.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Wife

You know how every once in a while you read something and it's like yes! That's how I feel but hadn't been able to articulate! This article about the word wife on Huffington Post was one of those for me.
I really don't like the word wife, but I couldn't say exactly why until I read this:
"It's time to recorrect. To pay attention. To define ourselves not as someone's wife, or someone's mother, but as women who have embraced these relationships, and others, as parts of our larger whole."

I think I have such a visceral reaction to the idea of being a wife because it seems to take away my individual identity. Like once I'm someone's wife I stop being Hannah. I don't like that. I'm not trying to say that's necessarily how marriage is, it just seems to me that the word wife carries that baggage. I like the way this article talks about how wife is part of an identity, not a whole identity. 
The church especially tries to make wife a whole identity. I can say this because right now in young women's we're on the "Fulfilling Women’s Divine Roles" section of the manual, which although it sounds like a cool opportunity about feminism, is really three Sunday's worth of how to be a wife. The past three lessons? Preparing To Become an Eternal CompanionCreating a Spiritual Environment in the Home, and  A Woman's Responsibility to Teach. The highlight of the past few Sundays was the quote from the prophet "Young women should plan and prepare for marriage and the bearing and rearing of children. It is your divine right and the avenue to the greatest and most supreme happiness."
This puts me on my feminist soap box. I'm like hey prophet, guess what? I'll decide for myself when and if I want a husband and babies. I'm entitled to choose my life's direction. Don't you dare tell me what is the very best thing I can do with my life or what will lead me to happiness. I know plenty of unhappy mormon housewifes and plenty of happy unmarried adult women.  Also I'm 17, so maybe you can get off my case about this whole wife thing until I'm grown up enough to actually be a wife.
In reality, I sit there holding my tongue and feeling bitter. We've got to move on to another section of the manual.
(okay, so I do not know very many single adult women, but nevertheless the ones I know are happy).
PS. I love italics. I have a crush on italics.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Quote Sunday



I spent my Thursday night researching Madeleine Albright. She's amazing. I love her so much because she will not be silenced. When she was appointed Secretary of State, she was the highest ranking woman to date in the US government. In that position, she made women’s issues a priority and instructed US embassies worldwide to make the furtherance of women’s rights an integral part of US foreign policy. She brought women’s issues to the front, and she spoke up. Later in life, she said “It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent.” I think this attitude of women using their voices is what will move women forward, because when people speak up, when people pay attention, it makes a difference.
 An example of this is the recent Virginia State bill that would require women to have a transvaginal ultrasound before undergoing an abortion: a medically unnecessary procedure intended to bully women out of having abortions with emotional blackmail. The media has reacted viscerally to this, and as a result Virginia governor Bob MacDonnell changed his politics. Though he initially stated he would sign the bill, facing national backlash, he proposed amendments to the bill and released a statement saying he thought the bill had gone too far. It makes a difference when people pay attention.
 Many women believe the women’s movement has come and gone. They are wrong. These issues are important in America today; this battle is still being fought. It is important to me that I can be part of the process of women forging our path and creating our own definitions of what it means to be a woman. After all, there is a special place in hell for women who don't help other women. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Friday, February 24, 2012

Happy 200th

Guess what today is?!
Today is my 200th blog post. This is something I am incredibly proud of.
I started blogging because, well, because writing is an outlet, and having people read what I write keeps me writing frequently. I get to write every day and feel like what I have to say matters to someone. After all, the only thing I really want in life is for people to listen to what I have to say, (and of course, you know, all the other stuff I want, but among all the other stuff, I want to be heard). The other really good thing blogging does for me is a certain amount of daily vulnerability. Putting myself out there can be horrifically scary at times (though I think it's scary for everyone), but taking that risk every day - the risk that someone will read my blog and make fun of me for what I posted or judge me or what not - has been a really good exercise in vulnerability.
Plus I just really love blogging. So thank you, dear reader, whomever you happen to be, for listening to what I have to say day in and day out.
I couldn't decide what I could post for today, since it's all monuments and what not. In the end I decided to post this poem I wrote almost two months ago, but I haven't posted yet, because, guess what, it's one of those poems written with real vulnerability. Here we go anyway.


Game Over

My first memory is a question I asked you
a question you did not answer
Mommy, what’s happening?
You left the scene without looking back
leaving me in the weeds
Didn’t you
know or care?                           
I couldn’t follow
three is not a die-able age
twenty-six is also too young
not that it stopped you           
nothing stopped you

The story was later told.
As I watched you go
I promised you I would take care of him
but he was my brother and that was your job and
I couldn’t do it
I can’t be you
I failed.                And,                       
who takes care of me?
Strangers – whose
names I learned and forgot –
pulled me out from the wreckage
ruins of  the life we didn’t have
took me to their home
wrapped me in their pink and white checkered blanket
put flowers in my hair     
In the morning I asked
to call you
so I could tell you I missed you
the nameless strangers said No                        
I cried.             After all, phones are used
to talk to people that can’t be seen
and you had vanished

Eventually I was claimed collected
a real life built for me
now
I fit your wedding gown
and still feel like a child
now
the Decembers and Junes
skinned knees and storybooks
have added up
now
this life of mine
wheezes, desolate and hollow                                                           
                                                            the tear, sewn-up, still shows
now
I’ll tell you a secret:
the antithesis of love is not hate
but abandonment

Thursday, February 23, 2012

I'm planning myself a road trip

The need to go on an adventure has consumed me again.
This time, I'm thinking road trip to California, hopefully during second spring break (thank god they give us two). I've got time off near the end of April and I'm pretty sure California is calling my name. Maybe I'll have to put it off until summer. I would like it very much if I did not. Why, you ask, is California calling my name. There are two reasons:

1) Bart's Books  the largest outdoor bookstore in the world. Yes. Yes, please.

2) National Steinbeck Center. THEY HAVE ROCINANTE.

So that's what my adventure-seeking brain is planning. I think we're looking for a chaperone (seeing as I'm still a minor and my parents have some control with that whole paying for college thing). Anyone wanna come? We'll be well behaved. And really it's a literary exchange, not a road trip with teenage girls. Pleassssse.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sciences

Several Fridays ago, a psychologist (or some thing brain-science-y) came to talk to the seniors. (The administration decided to do this instead of sending us to class, because class on Friday doesn't count). We all took a survey online, and one of the questions on that survey was about what we'd maybe want to major in once we get to college. By nearly triple everything else, sciences came in on top. Humanities came in very bottom, after arts, yes, after arts, with one history and one English. This totally shocked me. In my head, everyone wants to be an English major. Four years of English classes discussing and reading great literature and learning how to write - what more could anyone ask for?
That being said, I'm really proud of the women in my grade. I'm proud of the boys too, but way more the women. Is that sexist? Maybe. I can still live with myself. After watching this video, I was really proud of us:



I'm proud of the girls in my life for wanting careers in science. And honestly, I'm actually really proud that I'm good at math (or used to be before I got stupid). I've kinda grown to hate math and give up on it entirely, but I'm proud that I got a 5 on AP Calc, and that if I want to, I'm totally capable of going into math  (assuming my brain decides to come back). But I'm more proud of my best friend Alex who wants to be psychologist or a neuroscientist and Elisabeth who's going to do cognitive neuroscience, and Emma who wants to double major in English and Physics, and all the others who want to do math and science fields. I love that I get to spend my time around powerhouse women who want to take on the science world. And you know what? They will kick the science world's ass. Then they'll write poems about it that will probably win lots of awards.
Maybe they'll let me, their poor starving eccentric writer friend, come summer with them on Cape Cod.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Beautiful

Beautiful is a lovely word. It really is.
When I use the word beautiful, I think of what it means throughout A River Runs Through It, and that passage where, after Norman's brother dies, Norman says, "If you push me far enough all I really know is that he was a fine fisherman," and his father responds "You know more than that. He was beautiful."
I think that's the way the word was meant to be used. There is just so much more feeling and substance in using it that way. It's about being a beautiful person.
I know plenty of beautiful people. For this I am lucky, but I don't think unique. Beautiful people are not all that uncommon.
One of the beautiful people I know was diagnosed with lung cancer a few weeks ago. She was deliberating between chemo and an experimental treatment. Eventually, she chose chemo, because even though the experimental treatment would potentially extend her life by a larger margin, it would make her sick and weak for years and "I can't do that because I have to be able to help people."
Beautiful.
In an interview with Marianne Schnall, Margaret Cho made a kinda stunning statement about the word beautiful, "I always thought that people told you that you’re beautiful—that this was a title that was bestowed upon you, that it was other people’s responsibility to give you this title... I think that it’s time to take this power into our own hands and to say, “You know what? I’m beautiful. I just am. I’m just a beautiful woman."
Isn't that excellent? Beautiful is not something bestowed upon some by the masses. It's just not. It's something to become. And I love that. I love beautiful.

PS. I went up to the cabin yesterday with Lorin. It was beautiful, except that we had to hike in. The snow was up to my knees.


Monday, February 20, 2012

That whole contraceptive controversy

So this whole contraception controversy thing.
I've been following it fairly closely (courtesy mostly of Rachel Maddow). The thing that grosses me out  most of all is that the GOP candidates have taken such an obscenely conservative position. They're all running on what appear to be anti-contraception platforms, which I find rather mind blowing. Contraception has been legal for 50 years and of all the very important things that should be the key issue of this race, they are fighting about the morality of contraception. It's 2012 and we're still fighting about contraception. Really? That's the most important issue? Why are the men in the government so obsessed with controlling American women's uteruses? And indeed, where are the women voices in this fight?
It has not been a good week to be a woman in America.
There have been lots of really interesting and lovely and horrible (Foster Freiss) responses to this whole contraceptive thing. Here are my very favorite responses:

1) Kristof, who I want to be when I grow up.

"The debates about pelvic politics over the last week sometimes had a patronizing tone, as if birth control amounted to a chivalrous handout to women of dubious morals. On the contrary, few areas have more impact on more people than birth control — and few are more central to efforts to chip away at poverty... birth control is not a frill that can be lightly dropped to avoid offending bishops. Coverage for contraception should be a pillar of our public health policy — and, it seems to me, of any faith-based effort to be our brother’s keeper, or our sister’s ... If we have to choose between bishops’ sensibilities and women’s health, our national priority must be the female half of our population."


2) Jon Stewart, who I can always depend on to provide A+ satire.


3) Feminist Ryan Gosling, who makes me smile every time.


4) Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler, what more could I ask for?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Quote Sunday

This is going to be the mother of all quote Sundays, so bear with me. Alright.

As I've been trying to figure out my summer, I realized that the thing I want to do more than anything in the world is spend it at the one and only Birch Creek Ranch. The first time I went to Birch Creek I had just turned 12. Look how darling little Jeannie and I were:

And honestly, it was the best thing I did that summer (which included my first trip to Europe). I'd never been around such excellent people for an extended amount of time. So I went back the next summer, took a summer off, and then went back for my last summer as a camper. There are so many incredibly valuable things I learned at Birch Creek, and so many stunning people that I got to spend time around. 
The "theme" or camp creed or whatever you will call it is a quote from Lowell Bennion. It's also the quote for today's quote Sunday:

“Learn to like what doesn’t cost much.
Learn to like reading, conversation, music.
Learn to like plain food, plain service, plain cooking.
Learn to like fields, trees, brooks, hiking, rowing, climbing hills.
Learn to like people, even though some of them may be different…different from you.
Learn to like work and enjoy the satisfaction of doing your job as well as it can be done.
Learn to like the songs of birds, the companionship of dogs.
Learn to like gardening, puttering around the house, and fixing things.
Learn to like the sunrise and sunset, the beating of rain on the roof and windows, and the gentle fall of snow on a winter day.
Learn to keep your wants simple and refuse to be controlled by the likes and dislikes of others.”

This is something that is very important to me, and I don't know if that's because I have a tendancy to drift in the exact opposite direction or in spite of it.
When I was little, my family would always go up to the Bennion Teton Ranch (which, heartbreakingly, is now closed). The ranch was like a kind of family buisness. All my uncles, including my dad, spent almost all their summers there, as campers and then as counselors, Lorin was the horse wrangler for a few summers, my parents spent the summer after they got married up there my dad as a counselor and my mom as the cook.
I remember visiting and loving hanging out with the boys, and making mud pots, and milking the cows, getting the huckleberry milkshakes. But I think the things that were most important were the people I met. People I still know today, who are just so down to earth, and kind, and they are the type of people that I really want for role models. People like Kathy and Steve Peterson, who I will always have a special place in my heart for. Look how amazing they are:



 So I'm hoping I get to spend my summer at Birch Creek, being around extraordinary people, playing with teenage boys, working hard and spending some time getting grounded before I head off to college to be a (yipes!) adult.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

I'm a Mac

Well, remember that whole sad broken phone fiasco? Here's a hint:

So it's a sad phone. I've been using Lorin's old phone, but it's not so good.
Luckily for me, we had an upgrade today. So I am proud to say I'm now a mac. Which means I'm an iPhone. Mostly because I could get one for a hundred bucks with the upgrade, which is pretty good. Also, it didn't hurt that my parents bought it for me for Valentine's day.
This is my eleventh phone since I got my first phone 5 years ago. Which is kinda pathetic. That's every six months, almost like clock work. (maybe I got this phone in August...)
Don't worry, I got a really good sturdy case for the iPhone. It's purple.
I'm just really bad a phones.

Ps. If anyone wants to buy me a happy-new-phone present, I've got my eye on this.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Feminist Fairy Godmother


You know what I love about this? Giving Cinderella means to be financially independent and a fulfilling career is totally better than a pretty dress in hopes of catching a prince’s attention.

I think that cartoons are a fitting coping mechanism to colleges deciding to reject some of my favorite people in the universe.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A letter to NYU

Dear NYU,

I'm sorry to inform you that you made a very poor decision in not accepting my best friend. Why?

Because I'm coming for you.

Not really. Actually, it was a bad decision because she's phenomenal.

Here are 20 reasons I love Kat and 20 reasons you made the wrong decision:

1. When we were freshman we put temporary purple streaks in our hair. Which was cool, even though they faded to this ugly gray color.
2. "Kat is so ugly the basilisk died when it looked at her."
3. She introduced me to real coffee.
4. All of Sophomore year she drove to my house to pick me up because I was stranded without a license.
5. She sucks at ceramics.
6. Also, she sucks at physical activity.
7. When we spent a summer on different continents, we kept a facebook message chain. When copied into word, it was over 200 pages long.
8. People too often assume we're a lesbian couple. We're not, though, thank you very much.
9. She too has a crush on Steinbeck. We pretend it's alright to love a man who has been dead for 43 years.
10. On the weekend, we get dinner and discuss politics and literature.
11. At the end of Matewan, she wept. She weeps all the time. It's sweet.
12. She watches Cougar Town, commonly known as the funniest show on television.
13. Sometimes she combs her hair!
14. She's a vegetarian, which means she's better than most people.
15. The girl can sword fight. SWORD FIGHT!
16. She came up with the idea of keeping dark chocolate in a secret locker at school. The chocolate locker has gotten us through lots of bad days.
17. Mostly, she listens to Queen.
18. She's an amazing actress, you dumbshits.
19. She works harder and is more dedicated to doing her best than anyone I've ever met.
20. When we both end up waitressing and starving in New York looking for work as an actress and a writer, we'll split tips.


So NYU, go fuck yourselves,


Hannah

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Incidentally, I don't hate all Republicans

Here is one Republican I love.
This has been called time and time again the speech of the year. And guess what? It 100% is. Maureen Walsh deserves every good word that's been said about her. If you haven't already seen it, it's worth every second of the four minutes that it takes to watch it. One of the most moving speeches I've ever heard. It totally restores my faith in politics. People like Maureen Walsh are the reason the world changes.

 

"How could I deny anyone the right to have that incredible bond with another individual in life? To me it seems almost cruel."

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

V-Day

V-Day is bigger than Valentine's day. I'm not a huge fan of Valentine's day. I mean, I don't hate it, but I like to think that I don't need a commercialized holiday to express love. V-Day, on the other hand, is "a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls. V-Day is a catalyst that promotes creative events to increase awareness, raise money, and revitalize the spirit of existing anti-violence organizations. V-Day generates broader attention for the fight to stop violence against women and girls, including rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation (FGM), and sex slavery."
How does one celebrate V-Day? Well there are lots of ways, but for lots of people (and me!), it means the Vagina Monologues. I've wanted to go to the Vagina Monologues for almost two years. And, as it turns out, they are really fucking awesome. Are they a little explicit? Yes. But in an entirely okay way, because they left me with a I-love-being-a-woman high that lasted for days (notice the increased frequency of feminist posts). They're both funny and tragic, but really, it was a celebration of vaginas, which is something that should happen more often.
There are lots of really great pieces. Some are heart-breaking, some are pee-your-pants funny, and some are just lovely. My very very very favorite part came out of "I was there in the room" which Eve Ensler wrote after the birth of her granddaughter. She writes, "I stood, and as I stared, her vagina suddenly became a wide red pulsing heart. The heart is capable of sacrifice. So is the vagina. The heart is able to forgive and repair. It can change its shape to let us in. It can expand to let us out. So can the vagina. It can ache for us and stretch for us, die for us and bleed and bleed us in to this difficult, wondrous world. So can the vagina."
So that's my two-cents for the day. I'm hoping to go to the showing at UVU, if it is indeed on March 22 and 23 as the facebook page claims it is and not March 9 as the other website claims it is. Come with me. Please. I will love you forever and I promise good conversation on the way back. 
Here's a clip. Watch and Laugh (and don't get offended)





PS. This came in an email from the ladies over at Miss Representation. It made me happy.
"Write yourself a Valentine. List the things you like about yourself in your personal valentine. And, when you write others cards, remember to avoid complimenting physical appearance and instead focus on their talents, generosity, unique personality, and/or intelligence."

Monday, February 13, 2012

Bruises

As of late, I've gotten stupid. I don't know what happened, if I had a mini stroke or that whole stupid-while-ovulating myth is true or something entirely different, but the past week or so I've been so stupid. It's like my brain decided that it wanted a break so it ran away to sip margaritas on the beach leaving me in Utah in February. Gross. I expect it to come back, refreshed and relaxed, sometime soon, but for now I'm feeling incredibly stupid and I'm compensating with dark chocolate covered espresso beans, which is not all that bad a system.
Anyway, last Friday, I was in English and I was talking to Kat and Alex, who sit on the other side of the rectangle we make out of desks. So I was on the inside of the desk-rectangle. Eventually, we decided to start class, even though it was Friday, because we were discussing The Sound and The Fury, which is one of the few things worth discussing as a senior on a Friday in February. So I went back to my side of the rectangle preparing for a rousing discussion and sat down to spin over the table, classy and what not, because the only other alternative to get to my seat was to go under, and that's just awkward. Anyway, I started to spin, but I was wearing leggings instead of my normal pants (because it's Friday, which is not a real school day so uniform is optional) and misjudged the friction I'd get. So I went spinning out of control, kinda fell on the chair/ knocked it over and ended up on my back with my feet up in the air.
[Side note: I didn't cry or swear, which gives me an A+ in appropriate reaction]
Later that day, I was telling the story and showing my bruise off (which did involve pulling the left side of my pants down in public a few too many times), because I was bragging about how I'm such a badass/ whining that it hurt a lot and this girl who was in the class room across the wall from us says "oh is that what the loud sound was? We heard it, and we had no idea what it was, so we just figured the bowling ball had fallen off the bookshelf. Our teacher said that was probably true, since no one was screaming. That's soooooo funny."
The next day, for god knows what reason, I decided to go snowboarding. I was doing alright, not falling too much or anything when, all of a sudden, a tree came in front of me. And I hit it head on. As in with my whole body, starting with my head. Luckily I was wearing a helmet (not that brain damage would make much of a difference at this point), but it knocked the wind out of me and I nearly threw up and I had a headache for the rest of the day. I hate snowboarding. Hate it. I just want to sit in the lodge and drink coffee and read.
Then, yesterday, I was walking out of church. It was snowy and slushy and I was wearing pumps. So, naturally, I slipped and fell on my ass. This would not have been a big deal except that my phone slid out of my pocket on the way down, hit the pavement face first, and shattered the screen and something on the inside too. It is very much broken leaving me very much phone-less.
So, that's my weekend. It was not ideal. My neck and shoulders are sore from the tree, there is a huge bruise on my hip from English (it's one of those bruises with like 3 different colors that will last for a good week) and I feel really naked without my phone. I hope my brain comes back soon, I really need to do math and understand Faulkner and not fall down so damn much.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Quote Sunday

Since it's black history month and all, here's some of Sojourner Truth's "Ain't I A Woman" (which is one of my favorite pieces of writing any month of the year). This happens to be one of the most beautiful speeches ever delivered.

"That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain't I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain't I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man - when I could get it - and bear the lash as well! And ain't I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain't I a woman?
Then that little man in black there, he says women can't have as much rights as men, 'cause Christ wasn't a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.
If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them."

Here's a video of Alfre Woodard reading the speech. It's so moving. She nailed it.



You know what I love about this speech? I love that she nailed down the really good rich parts woman-ness (a word I've lately become a big fan of). The strength and endurance, the toughness and independence, the durability and the spirituality, the mothering and the love that comes with it, and, best of all, the capacity women have to change things, to make things better. One stunning piece of writing.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Poems are good for you

Here's something I didn't know:
Poems are good for you.
Poems are good for you because they open up new places inside and break your heart in entirely new ways. Don't get me wrong, I'm a sucker for beautiful prose, but sometimes poems make things beautiful where prose falls flat on its face. Discovering this has been really exciting. I love reading poetry collections. I love that moment when I read something and I just want to hold it inside me forever. Or that moment when I stand in pure awe at how wonderfully scraps of words can be strung together. I love staying up late writing poetry. I love that my thoughts can mold themselves into a poem. If I take nothing else away from my creative writing class, this new love of poetry made the class a worthwhile pursuit. In no other class can I walk in an say "I want something to break my heart" and have my teacher hand me something that will! That's pretty incredible. This is why I assume everyone wants to be an English major. I'm sorry, biology will never break your heart quite like a poem will. Never.
I've started a poetry journal. I already have section of my journal that's for quotes, but it was starting to fill too quickly with poems. So poetry now has a journal all its own. Good thing I always have an extra moleskine on hand.
So here's a poem I wrote:

Aura

salt            
            bitter    graceless   soothing
   tastes of people
   she
          the earth
    us
            our breath
                        uniquely
                        alive
where light
    is between
                in my heart
                         and
                 on my skin
hibiscus blooms orange
                                    pink yellow
            tucked behind ears
            take a picture
            trace
                           palm’s lifelines
     familiar
                                     comfortable
roots - counterpoint
            to anchors -
  vanish like spring
                                 like secrets
                                        dreams
                                        smoke -

            No one come in.


Friday, February 10, 2012

Thank you, Universe

Sometimes, the universe does really nice things for me.
Yesterday it did six, specifically.
Thursdays are great for me because I don't have an actual class until 10:20. So I got up at quarter to eight, got ready casually, stopped by the bagel store for breakfast, and then spend the next two hours sitting on a couch at school reading. It was the best way ever to start a morning. I'm on this reading kick right now where all I want to do is read, in an almost addictive way. I find myself thinking about how much I'd rather be reading though all my classes. But, anyway, the morning reading on a couch was good thing number 1.
My debate coach wrote my case for me. Which sounds small, but is actually really generous and wonderful. Alex and I are going to go as a team together, which will be so much fun. I love that I get to have smart, articulate, opinionated friends. That was good thing number 2.
I needed to get gas so I could go downtown to hear Pam Houston read from her book Contents May Have Shifted (which I'll get to later). The problem is that I have almost no money for gas this month, because I went into allowance-debt last month to buy this pair of shoes. That  decision was, by the way, totally worth it. Look how incredible they are. LOOK:

So, anyway, I get to the pump figuring I can afford nine gallons or so, which is enough to get me downtown and probably through the weekend (thank you parents, for making me drive the car that gets 12 mpg). Anyway, I put in my debit card and what not and up pops the message "you have a $1 per gallon fuel reward. Would you like to use now?" YES. Yes I would. So I filled up my whole tank for thirty-six dollars. That was good thing number 3.

Now I've got gas for at least another week and enough allowance money left to probably make it through the month.
The reading was really fun too. Pam Houston has a voice. A funny entertaining voice. I only know/ have met a handful of writers, but they're all wonderfully eccentric. Pam Houston would fit in that category. I love that writers are crazy. I hope I get to be crazy and eccentric (in that good way) when I grow up. I was a little bit disappointed to find that she's crazy in a different way in person than in writing, but by the end I was warmed up to in-person crazy. Meeting Pam Houston was good thing number 4.
Naturally, I asked Pam Houston about meeting Toni Morrison who is, apparently, as good as she's supposed to be and "deserves every good thing that's ever happened to her". Pam Houston told me that Toni Morrison has a new book coming out May 8 OF THIS YEAR. Screw graduation and college and all the things I'm looking forward to in 2012, Home will be the highlight of this year for me. So finding out about that was good thing number 5.
I changed my earrings tonight and nothing exploded. Lorin bought me this pair of really pretty turquoise earrings when he was in Tuscon for the annual gigantic mineral fair, and I put them in and my ears didn't get angry or anything. So that was good thing number 6.
So thank you universe. I promise to put out good Karma this week and to say thank you for all the green lights I hit and the good books I read.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Why being a senior is the best/ things that make me smile

1) Getting into college

2) Stalking the place I'm going to college

Best gelato in the country, bitches


3) Dress up days
I am proud to have Courtney Love for a best friend.
Halloween

Ugly Christmas Sweater

Spirit Day
4) Priorities


Yes, this is written on the board of our senior lounge



5) Using the time I used to spend doing homework watching MSNBC and Colbert, reading cool hip feminist websites, and watching mindless videos online



"I find that if I whack the lump in my breasts with my pink spatula, I can do a fair job at determining if it's breast cancer, thank you very much."  Courtney Love (formerly known as Kat)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Madame

One of the things that irritates me most is the fact that we define women by their marital status. A man is always mister. Not so for women. There's Miss and Mrs (and the underused Ms). Because, obviously, the most important thing about a woman is her marital status. That's certainly the first thing I want someone to know about me. Along those lines, I deliberately always have a ring on my left hand's ring finger, because I hate the idea of someone knowing my marital status because of that finger. I don't like that that's the finger that's "saved" for marriage, like some sort of crazy outward representation of a hymen. I digress.
Here's my feminist article of the day. This town in France decided that defining women by their marital status is stupid. " "It's about eliminating all terms that could be discriminatory or indiscreet," the town hall at Cesson-Sevigne, a suburb of the western town of Rennes, in Brittany, said in a statement explaining that the title "mademoiselle" had been banished from all official forms since the beginning of the year. "The existence of two different terms to indicate women who are married and those who aren't is a discrimination for women because there is no differentiation that exists for men." "
I think I'd fit in there. Also, I love the organization Osez la Feminisme. Dare Feminism. What a beautiful name for an organization.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

We built a house

Sunday, when I finally got my computer to accept a wire connection to the internet (it still hates wi-fi), I was in the computer room catching up on my internet time. Lizzy was in there too, playing with blocks. I love the way she will play, making sound effects and throwing in little pieces of dialogue, just because that makes playtime so much more exciting. Oh, to be four. I'm going to miss those kids so much when I go to college.
At a certain point, she decided that as long as I was in the room I should be playing with her, so she asked me to build a house with her. So we built a house. We went with a post-modern architecture vision. We were quite proud of it. After taking pictures, we wrecked it and built a tower. The best part of playing with blocks is tearing down whatever you've built.






Monday, February 6, 2012

It's Not Funny

In Eve Ensler's beautiful essay Over It, she writes, "I am over people not understanding that rape is not a joke and I am over being told I don't have a sense of humor, and women don't have a sense of humor, when most women I know (and I know a lot) are really fucking funny. We just don't think that uninvited penises up our anus, or our vagina is a laugh riot."
You know what I'm over?
I'm over teenage boys (and sometimes girls) making sexist jokes and thinking they're funny and clever.
It's not funny to tell a woman to make you a sandwich. It really isn't funny to tell a woman to go back to the kitchen, to vacuum or to do the dishes. It's not funny to tell a woman to go throw up or to go put on makeup or to go get a boob job. It's definitely not funny to tell a woman to give you a blow job. It's not funny to call women's lacrosse or women's rights a joke. It's not even close to funny to call a woman "all that useless extra skin around a vagina". It's not funny to make jokes that a woman's only purpose is to have sex with you and it's not funny to tell a woman to stop talking because she's a girl. It's not funny to make dumb blonde jokes or women can't drive jokes. It's not funny to make period or menopause or emotionally unstable jokes. It's still isn't funny when that teenage boy is grown up (Sebastian Pinera). It's not at all funny to call a woman a bitch or a whore or a slut. It's really not funny to call me a "feminist fucker" because I won't sit there while you say obscene things about my gender.
It's not funny.
Someday those teen boys will make a sexist joke and some powerhouse woman is just going to walk away because she knows they're not worth shit. Or she'll punch them.
And that will be funny.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Quote Sunday

This is a letter written by Steinbeck to his son Thomas on November 10, 1958. It's beautiful. Like Steinbeck. Who I'm now convinced was the best father of the last century.

Dear Thom:
We had your letter this morning. I will answer it from my point of view and of course Elaine will from hers.
First — if you are in love — that’s a good thing — that’s about the best thing that can happen to anyone. Don’t let anyone make it small or light to you.
Second — There are several kinds of love. One is a selfish, mean, grasping, egotistical thing which uses love for self-importance. This is the ugly and crippling kind. The other is an outpouring of everything good in you — of kindness and consideration and respect — not only the social respect of manners but the greater respect which is recognition of another person as unique and valuable. The first kind can make you sick and small and weak but the second can release in you strength, and courage and goodness and even wisdom you didn’t know you had.
You say this is not puppy love. If you feel so deeply — of course it isn’t puppy love.
But I don’t think you were asking me what you feel. You know better than anyone. What you wanted me to help you with is what to do about it — and that I can tell you.
Glory in it for one thing and be very glad and grateful for it.
The object of love is the best and most beautiful. Try to live up to it.
If you love someone — there is no possible harm in saying so — only you must remember that some people are very shy and sometimes the saying must take that shyness into consideration.
Girls have a way of knowing or feeling what you feel, but they usually like to hear it also.
It sometimes happens that what you feel is not returned for one reason or another — but that does not make your feeling less valuable and good.
Lastly, I know your feeling because I have it and I’m glad you have it.
We will be glad to meet Susan. She will be very welcome. But Elaine will make all such arrangements because that is her province and she will be very glad to. She knows about love too and maybe she can give you more help than I can.
And don’t worry about losing. If it is right, it happens — The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.
Love,
Fa

Saturday, February 4, 2012

I spy

Kat and I got trio pizza the other night. They put balsamic vinegar on the pizza. Which makes it amazing. Once the pizza was gone, there was vinegar all over the plate. We played I spy. Here is a list of things we (Kat) found in the vinegar:
-Venus symbol
-Turkey head
-Lady with one eye, a mole and pouty lips
-Duck 
-Tree with no leaves
-Another lady, this one in a dress
-Horse, possibly unicorn
-Man
-Cupcake with a horse head
-Bug wings or shoulder blades
-Freaky rat thing, possibly a lizard, probably from tale of Desperaux
-Crown
-Ghost face
-A slew of phallic symbols


Did we miss any?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Experience the Feelings

A couple weeks ago, after I had written my Toni Morrison letter, which is mostly about feeling (Beloved is a beautiful commentary on what it means to feel), I was talking to one of the wonderful former therapists I happen to have floating around my life about what I was thinking and writing. She told me, "I think the thing that one has to learn to do is EXPERIENCE one's feelings. It's very possible to "let feelings out" without ever acknowledging or understanding them. When you DO understand them -- when you "feel the feelings", as they tell addicts to do -- then letting them out is one possibility. And if it's a conscious decision, it's probably healthy. Sometimes (and this seems weird, but it is powerfully true) just bringing them into the light of consciousness is enough to deal with them; they don't have to be vented, shared, massaged over, whatever. Sometimes, just looking in the light and saying "there it is" is enough to take the power out of it and feel changed."
I love this, and I've taken a few weeks thinking it through.
The potential English major in me just likes the diction. Like emotions are something to actively participate in, rather than something that just happens on the sideline while real life continues on center stage. I think it also makes feelings more personal; they belong to me because I experienced them, they're not just things that exist. I like the idea of letting feelings stomp around and be feelings.
I've experienced this process and I totally agree. I'll carry around feelings for great lengths of time - being irritable or short-tempered or fragile in the meantime - before I'll sit down and write a five or so pages in my journal. And somewhere in those pages, I get from a irritable, short-tempered rant to a vulnerable this-is-what's-actually-going-on. When I can do that, when I can acknowledge what's bothering me - I'm feeling like a bad daughter or friend or sister, I'm worried about growing up, I'm stressed about expectations, I'm resenting being on a short leash, I'm feeling alone - once it's out, I feel released. Even though it's usually hard to deal with what's actually there, dealing with it is easier than burying it deep down. Because the thing about burying emotions deep down is that they fight to be acknowledged. They show up in the moments when I have grossly exaggerated emotional reactions -- like the time over Christmas break that I started crying when the ice cream place didn't have chocolate. I know that it's easier to say "I'm missing my friends and I'm tired of family vacation" than to burst into tears in the ice cream shop.
I guess, the thing is, I'm still learning how to not avoid feelings. How to not stuff them down in the first place. How to experience them. I think I'll get there eventually.
After all, I do not want a rusted tobacco tin where my heart belongs.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Things Are Good

Things are working out good. Its February and I don't want to do school work anymore, but things still seem good. Yesterday, Lorin got the oil changed in my car, filled up on gas and got it detailed. My car hasn't been this clean since I started driving. I sing along to trashy pop songs on the radio. I watch hours of liberal news and yell at the TV when Gingrich or Romney speaks. I love Romney for one thing: making himself so damn easy to hate. I read young hip feminist essays and Faulkner late at night. My hair is soft and makeup is optional. I articulate my feelings better and better all the time. Gratitude lists are long. Leggings are pants. I'm comfortable with who I am. I do well with people because I am finally learning not to get so worked up about drama and relationships, all of a sudden it no longer matters. I wrote a poem that I'm incredibly proud of. I can drive to school. I getting to be okay with starting to feel nurturing and maternal. I feel valuable again.Yep, things are good.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Dentist

Yesterday was a bad day. I woke up late, had to get gas to even make it to school, Sue - the stupid barista that I hate - messed up my order, I started getting sick, it was the Florida primary (which means no Rachel Maddow show and watching Republicans talk too much) AND, I went to the dentist.
Going to the dentist is a special kind of torture. First, the angle of the chair. It inevitably gives me a headache, and upon standing up, I get so dizzy I have to grasp the chair to not fall. And the dentist always makes me bleed. Gentleness, evidently, is not something taught in dental school. Surely there is a more productive way to clan my teeth than prodding, jabbing and scraping my teeth with a pointy hook. Perhaps the most offensive is the movie thing, where they play trashy movies on a screen built into the ceiling, but the sound is set way too low to be able to hear it over the drills. Dentist's office are apparently too good for captions. I end up watching the movie anyway, but whenever a good part comes the dentist or the assistant inevitably sticks their head in front of the screen. But the most flagrant offense is the fact that the dentist never gives good news "you have cavities, come back again. I won't stop until I have your entire soul."
So I have 3 cavities, which the insurance company won't pay to have fixed until May 16, since it's a new policy and they won't pay to fix cavities until six months from when we filed the policy. But the cavities are deep enough that the dentist is all "if you leave them that long they'll turn into root canals." So we're paying out of pocket to fix those 3 cavities. Between the cavities and the $1700 for the rental car I banged up in Hawaii, my parents are really happy with me.
The whole dentist thing is bullshit.