Sensational Sensation

My throat feels weird–what if I can’t swallow? What’s going on with my stomach? Am I hungry? Not hungry? What if I throw up? Ow, my back hurts–what is that from? Ugh, I feel super warm, is it warm in here or just me? Do I have a fever? I’m so tired… how am I gonna make it through this day? What if I pass out? My eyes feel so heavy. Is what I’m feeling “normal”?

Welcome to my normal. The above is just a small example of what I deal with on a daily basis. At 17, I was diagnosed with a General Anxiety Disorder, put on Zoloft, and started seeing a therapist. Eleven years later, and I’m better, I’ve made progress, but it’s a daily struggle.

A poem.

I wonder what it feels like
to not think you're constantly dying; 1 million tiny deaths a day.

I wonder what it feels like
to not fear your bodily sensations--
like each feeling is an intruder.

I wonder what it feels like
to not be afraid of your own heartbeat, 
(and if it might explode).

I wonder what it feels like
-to free the mind
-to unlock the gate
-to release the animal.

Do you wonder what it feels like
when you're afraid of yourself?

Playlist: "Everything's Fine"

Welcome to another "playlist" here on my beautiful blog. This particular one is something I put together for when I'm having major anxiety and need to remember that everything is fine

Here is my list; as always, share your favorite songs that help you feel like "everything's fine" in the comments!

Playlist for Radical Self-Love

Valentine's Day has come and gone, and though I am currently in a relationship, I think of Valentine's Day as any other day to show my loved ones I care (and this includes myself--self-love is important, ya'll!).

My good friend Kelly led a Radical Self-Love yoga workshop yesterday (sadly, I couldn't attend), and it inspired me to create my own "Radical Self-Love" playlist. So, without further ado, please enjoy these 10 songs that I listen to when I need a boost of self-love :)

Get off the internet (I'll meet you in the streets)

I've been thinking a lot about this, and it makes me angry. 

Within the realm of feminist activism (and feminist community), there is this cloud of judgment that hangs over those of us who activate our activism online. Even if we are demonstrating, flyering, etc on street level, our online activism is brushed aside--as if it doesn't even matter. It's not "good" enough.

Happy New Year!

Happy 2014, dear readers (if anyone's out there...)!

via: http://valorouz.tumblr.com/

via: http://valorouz.tumblr.com/

I'm hoping to update this blog more frequently in the New Year. I'm also planning to get started on my second book, Guerrilla Feminism: Navigating Digital Activism

I vow to worry less and to live more fully. 

I will practice yoga wayyyyy more frequently because it feeds my mind, body, and spirit.

I will drink more herbal tea.

I will continue to love unabashedly even if it means getting my heart broken.

I will treat my body and mind with kindness, respect, and gratitude. 

I will love life even in the midst of temporary storms.

I will remain hopeful for good things.

Hope you all have a beautiful New Year's. Pull your life close up to your face, and kiss it hard <3

Joan of Arc

Today I got my fourth tattoo. It's an Angelique Houtkamp-inspired Joan of Arc.

Joan of Arc (pre-color)

Joan of Arc (pre-color)

This was the best experience by far that I've had getting a tattoo. My first tattoo was done by a pretentious asshole who made me like a total idiot. Ok, so I fainted... so what?!

My second tattoo was done by a woman--after I had searched thoroughly for a woman tattoo artist (since I felt so uncomfortable with the man who did my first one). This tattoo went fine--I didn't pass out :)

For my third tattoo, I was living in Chicago and again sought out a woman tattoo artist (easier to find one in Chicago than Madison, of course). She was super nice, but I hate the shop--it gave me anxiety. Shitty thrasher music playing loudly in the background. I couldn't relax, but it went well at least.

This most recent tattoo was done at my boyfriend's studio. It's a perfect setting (doesn't feel like your typical tattoo parlor), and he's not your typical tattoo artist. Granted, I'm his girlfriend, so I knew I would feel extra comfortable, but even if I wasn't dating him, I still would feel at ease. He's so kind and comforting and respectful. If you're in the Madison area and are annoyed/uncomfortable with the local tattoo scene, please check out Andrew's place (Six Roses Tattoo).

 

Top 5 Feminist Moments of Beyoncé's New Album

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The Queen B came out with a surprise new album on Friday, December 13th. I spent all Saturday night listening and watching the music videos to her new "visual" album, and I ain't ashamed. This album is feminist, guerrilla-style.

Here are my top 5 feminist moments of Beyonce's new album:

1. Right off the bat, with the song "Pretty Hurts", Bey is singing about beauty consumerism, double standards, and the difficulties all women face in our society with regard to appearances. I mean, shit, check out the chorus: 

Pretty hurts, shine the light on whatever's worse
Perfection is a disease of a nation, pretty hurts, pretty hurts
Pretty hurts, shine the light on whatever's worse
Trying to fix something but you can't fix what you can't see
It's the soul that needs the surgery

What other major pop stars are openly slamming society, and its ridiculous standards?

2. In the song, "Haunted", she sings: 

All the shit I do is boring
All these record labels boring
I don't trust these record labels I'm touring
All these people on the planet
Working 9 to 5 just to stay alive

The song is gorgeous (as is the video). I really love how she's subtlety dissing capitalism, and speaking to the experience of working-class folks.

3. "No Angel" is a slow jam against dichotomies. Virgin/Whore. Angel/Devil. In it, Bey sings: 

Know I'm not the girl you thought you knew and that you wanted
Underneath the pretty face is something complicated
I come with a side of trouble
But I know that's why you're staying

Women are often taught to be 1-dimensional and uncomplicated. Bey sheds light on this. 

4. Much of Bey's album is overtly erotic (both visual and auditory). She expresses her sexuality in a beautiful, authentic way. In the song, "Blow", she sings: 

Can you lick my skittles
That's the sweetest in the middle
Pink that's the flavor
Solve the riddle

As women, we're often taught to hide our sexuality--especially any desire we might have for sex. In this song, Bey is open and saying it unabashedly: "I can't wait 'til I get home so you can turn that cherry out." Fuck yes, sex positivity! (for more rad sex positivity, listen to the songs, "Partition" and "Rocket.")

5. Of course I have to have the song, "Flawless" on here, and awesome sampling of a speech given by Nigerian writer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. This song is a feminist anthem (I know many will disagree with me, but whatever). In the first verse, Bey sings, "I took some time to live my life/But don't think I'm just his little wife." I think the addition of the Adichie speech cements this song to be even more feminist than when it was previously released under the name, "Bow Down." This song is saying fuck the haters; love yourself; you're flawless. Here is the sample from Adichie's speech:

We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, "You can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful, otherwise you will threaten the man." Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. Now, marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support, but why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage, and we don't teach boys the same? We raise girls to see each other as competitors--not for jobs or for accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing--but for the attention of men. We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are. "Feminist": the person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.

 

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments!