Wednesday, March 16, 2011

"it's only the ocean and you."

by the end of last week, the combination of hearing about the devastation on japan and some personal junk i was going through had me wiped out. i felt overwhelmed and confused, just in some kind of funk. i knew what i needed - the ocean. throughout my adolescence, i spent every summer living at the beach. my summer job was at a shop three blocks from the ocean with a super chill boss who was fine with me hitting the beach in the morning, brushing the sand off my feet and rolling straight into work. early mornings on the beach are the best, not many people are out yet, mostly people walking their dogs. i'd grab a coffee and walk along the waves, or have a seat and read for a while, and it was so incredibly peaceful. beach days with my brother and sister and cousins always included hours spent out in the waves. i love the rhythm of the ocean, and how i can lean back into the waves and just ride up and over them.
until sunday, i hadn't checked out any of the nyc beaches since moving here. so i took my emotionally-funked self and a book, bundled up, rode the a train out to rockaway beach and instantly fell in love. the only people on the beach in winter are surfers and a handful of people walking. the quiet, in contrast with the city so closeby, is beautiful. i walked for a bit, then just sat right in the sand, shoes off, and felt instantly calmer. i watched the waves, and thought about how the ocean, capable of that terrible damage on the other side of the world, here was providing me with the serenity i craved.
i don't know what it is, really, about the ocean, but it's one of the things i can rely on as a reset button for me, emotionally. it can calm me down and remind me who i am, and assure me that everything is going to be alright. just as the tide will keep rising and falling, so will life. the same waves that can be turbulent and destructive one moment are followed by those that are beautiful, rhythmic, and steady.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

she-woman-lady-power day!

it's international women's day! also called feminist coming out day! newsflash: i'm a feminist. also, my name is lindsay. i think i'm pretty "out" as a feminist, so here is a list of ways i've come up with to celebrate international women's day.

- contact your senators and ask them to vote no on legislation that would cut funding to planned parenthood, which provides millions of women with necessary and life-saving reproductive health.

- call out sexism. look for it, listen for it. it's pervasive and it continues if we all keep quiet about it. it wears a lot of different costumes, sometimes known as victim blaming, catcalling, or "just joking."

- listen to some of your favorite she-woman-lady-power anthems. maybe a little missy higgins' "steer", sara bareilles' "fairytale", or if you feel like shaking your ass (um, always?) of course, christina aguilera's "can't hold us down". or there's always any ani difranco song, ever. (feminist confession: i don't listen to ani difranco. i know, i know.)

- unapologetically rock a short skirt.

- unapologetically rock an androgynous suit.

- tell your favorite women how awesome they are.

- buy or borrow a feminist book. "yes means yes: visions of female sexual empowerment and a world without rape", essays compiled by jaclyn friedman and jessica valenti, changed my life for real. you can totally borrow it.

- stop making charlie sheen jokes. stop talking about charlie sheen. stop listening to, watching, reading coverage of charlie sheen. don't even say his name unless you're pointing out his horrendous history of perpetrating violence against women. and for the love of all things good, don't watch 2 and a half men, ever.

- read feministing. just do it.

- join women for women international at one of their "meet me on the bridge" events.

happy she-woman-lady-power day! how are you celebrating?

you and me and james franco.

i’ve said to several friends over the course of my being in graduate school - “if there’s one thing i’ve learned from social work school, it’s that everyone is fucked up.” it’s true! we learned to categorize people’s fuckedupedness and we call these categories diagnoses because they make us feel like we understand them and make them somehow separate from us, but really? we’re all damaged, crazy, messy, and none of us make sense.
some people i love are going through some shitty times right now. i’m going through some shitty times right now. it’s tempting, when a loved one tells me that they’re feeling fucked up or when i’m feeling it, to be all “no! don’t feel that way! let’s cheer up!” but i’m not gonna do that. hey, people out there, that i love dearly and think the absolute world of - you are totally fucked up. we all are! isn’t that wild? telling you “oh no, you’re not fucked up!” will only make you feel more so because now you feel like something i’m telling you you’re not. i totally validate your feelings of fuckedupedness. there’s comfort possible in knowing we all feel that way, though, right? this is being human. i think a lot about what it means to be human and i think feeling completely fucked up is a big part of it.
another big thing i’ve learned over the last couple of years, through a combination of social work school and my addiction to self-improvement books and blogs, it’s the importance of being whatever you are whenever you are it. if you’re sad? be sad. feel it out. see what it feels like to be sad. listen to damien rice and cry like a baby. angry? be angry! stomp around or yell or do whatever angry makes you feel like doing. i’m not very good at letting myself be angry, but listening to a lot of eminem is helping me get better at it. if you’re happy, hell yeah! shake your ass and WORK that happy. whatever it is that you are, right in the moment wherever you are - be it, honor it, and know that it is temporary.
so, right now you feel messy, complicated, out of sorts, disorganized, fucked up. (am i saying fuck too much? is my blog gonna get an “adult content” warning? that’d be kinda legit. i’m learning a lot from eminem.) you are feeling that way because you are. so am i. so is that person you think has got it all together. even james franco. he’s got like a dozen master’s degrees and oscar nominations and is attending 5 schools at once or something but come on, you saw the oscars - totally fucked up! like you and me and everyone. so to you, to me, and to james franco - i acknowledge your fuckedupedness and i love you anyway. i’ll love you until you’re feeling alright again, because you will feel alright again. you’ll even feel happy again! and then we will work that happy like a tyra banks smize, girlfriend.