To Hope to be Sick

Have you ever had a hope so ridiculous, so unreasonable that you feel a twinge of shame at the thought of admitting it. Sure, you do, because “connecting” with people on a vulnerable level is the thing to do, and people like you more when you do.

So you concede, and let whoever—friend, relative, dog, your diary…Facebook—know your weird desire.

This weird desire that I have hasn’t been to disclosed to anyone, until right now, of course. And that’s because I don’t even know how true it is.

But jumping the gun and saying what’s on my mind immediately, without any sort of reflection, is kind of my shtick. It’s what I do. My thoughts slide out into the universe like jello—weird simile but jello is the first thing that came to my mind. My clever pants are a tad bit tight at the moment, people! But, nonetheless, rarely do I mean what I say because I just CAN’T prevent myself from saying it. I’m a whirlwind, and my persona’s change faster than… jello before it comes jello.

Me to guy who is mean to me:

Compassionate me: It will be okay. I know you are hurt and I want to understand.

Sad me: What you did really hurt me.

Vindictive me: Good luck finding someone like me. I’m the best there is and the best there will be. Have fun on your own!

Wild me: I don’t give a fuck. Let’s run and just be weird. Nothing in the world matters and we’re going to die so we might as well just FUCK.

Helpless me: I just miss you, and I miss talking normal with you. Let’s start over.

And it’s so messed up (I know) because I cycle through these personas before I even get a response from the guy. And then, guess what, he doesn’t react well and I feel so depressed. And alone, of course. Sure, sad because of him but more sad because of ME, because I can’t control ME. And, until I can control me, what the heck can I control?

Okay, where was I? Yes, sometimes I wish I was sick. That is the desire, that’s what I want. And no not the stomach flu again—promise, guys! Friday I wasn’t vomit trashed, I was legitimately down with the bug!—but MIND sick. Yes, let me be sick because if I am sick, then I can get better.


People of the Women’s March PGH

Two days ago marked the day when millions of women and men of all distinctions took to the streets in a mission to showcase to the world that our rights, as humans, aren’t “up for grabs”, a sign I saw quite a few times. Anyway, the march demonstrated a sentiment far past hate, far past anger. The feeling in the air could be described as hope, perhaps support. Everyone attended for their own specific reasons, but often times these reasons were to support the people that they loved, but more importantly, the people that they’ve never met. Here are some of the great people that I was fortunate enough to meet last Saturday at the Pittsburgh Women’s March:


“I marched today to set an example of civic engagement for my daughters, Megan and Emily. I marched today for my mother, Chris, born in and witness to the injustices of  the Jim Crow south. I marched today for my father, Reed, who believed in and fought for civil rights. I marched today for my sisters Karen, Loren, and Kristen so we can continue to work towards a better tomorrow for all women of the world.  I marched today for my nieces Laura, Sarah, Anna, Claire, Krystyna, Hannah, Christina,  Melissa,  and Ann as they continue their journey into an  engaged and responsible adulthood. I marched today for my great-niece Lydia and my boyfriend’s daughter, Emily, that through their lives they might witness a great change in the world. I marched today for hope.”
saliforthgmail“This was not me protesting against our President – I did that verbally and with my vote and money prior to the election.  This was a MARCH of unity to show my respect, love and willingness to stand up for everything that I believe in that made America already a great Nation.  Someone else posted this quote today and I’m sharing it with you –  “Love is the
only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend” and “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” -Martin Luther King Jr. #WomensMarch #LoveTrumpsHate.   And by the way I didn’t March out of fear I marched because of hope, empathy, compassion, love and to show my community that I am willing to show my face and be heard for those values.This was not me protesting against our President – I did that verbally and with my vote and money prior to the election.  This was a MARCH of unity to show my respect, love and willingness to stand up for everything that I believe in that made America already a great Nation.  Someone else posted this quote today and I’m sharing it with you –  “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend” and “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” -Martin Luther King Jr. #WomensMarch #LoveTrumpsHate.   And by the way I didn’t March out of fear I marched because of hope, empathy, compassion, love and to show my community that I am willing to show my face and be heard for those values.”

“Our little group originally signed up for the bus to DC, but our chosen bus was cancelled.  We then decided to do the sister march in Pittsburgh and ended up being so impressed with the attendance! We had heard that it was only going to be 400 of us or so. Our friend had told us how many folks were on the trolley on the way in, but still we were thinking small scale. Imagine our surprise as more and more folks came! They weren’t going to close the streets, but then they had to. What a great feeling and a then a feel good sensation as we discovered that we were being united with women all across the globe! I never felt more in a sisterhood. We were able to protest peacefully and still get our point across. How annoying is it that Don asked why didn’t we vote.

We can Overcome!!! Women will not let themselves go backwards in time.”


“I marched because I’m saddened, angry, scared, and disappointed in the path that the Presidency and Congress are trying to take.  I look at all the decades of work that women and minority or disenfranchised groups have done to make the country a better place for *all* of us — and I see these assholes wanting to dismantle it all in the name of nationalism and personal wealth.  I know the majority of Americans didn’t want this — our “democracy” isn’t terribly democratic — and I wanted to stand with others who shared my beliefs and concerns and hopes.”

“I decided to march for many reasons, but I’ll try to limit myself. As as someone who is both handicapped and disabled (three major back surgeries and myriad chronic pain conditions), I cannot imagine what my life would be like if I did not have health care – a reality that is now being faced by millions and is evidenced by one of our new president’s first official actions.

As a librarian, I am frightened by the way facts and information are being blatantly disregarded despite being easily verifiable. If we stop holding our officials accountable when they are clearly misrepresenting the truth – as is made clear by new press secretary Sean Spicer’s first official press conference- then we invite greater degrees of deception to take root.

As a lifelong LBGT+ ally, I cannot fathom treating anyone differently based on who they love, nor do I think someone who at the very least turns a blind eye to conversion therapy should be the second most powerful person in our country.

And as a woman, I will not stand for my own choices about my body being more regulated than the sale and use of firearms.

My heart was filled at the Women’s March on Pittsburgh, and I hope it has given us the strength and resolve we need to keep working towards change!”


“As one of my favorite signs at today’s march boldly stated, “I don’t even know where to start.”

I came out today to feel the unity, acceptance, tolerance, and to be another body out there showing that these things truly matter.

Pittsburgh has focused on sports for way too long, and it was unbelievably uniting today, to come together for something that actually matters.

(Like not accepting an openly racist bigot as our president)

I cried, you cried, so many other ladies were crying, but all in joy!  We were all so moved by the warm and loving energy!

I finally feel like a part of this town, and I’ve lived here for almost my entire life of 30+ years.

But more importantly, I hope and believe that everyone else that marched today does too.

Let’s keep this fire burning, Pittsburgh!  Bring it out into your community.  Share it every chance you get.

Mobilize, organize, and above all, keep loving one another!”


“I was violently raped when I was 16. The only people who supported me through the trauma were the women I worked with at Planned Parenthood. I march so rape survivors know they matter, so Planned Parenthood can survive,  so marginalized people know I support them. I believe being silent in the mouth of trauma is an act of violence.”


“I believe in the equality of men and women. My marriage of 57 years has been an equal partnership. That’s why it’s a joy. I believe that women are the key to world peace and should be the majority of every government. Men have had power for centuries and, as I see it, have screwed up most of the time.

The sign I made for the Women’s March is a statement of my belief that racism is a cancer that must be eradicated before world harmony will be achieved.

What happened worldwide on this historic day is a rejection of the abhorrent agenda of Donald Trump. I’m glad I was a part of it.”

I am her

A little late- but a brief explanation of my feelings after the election

A thirteen year old girl walked down the hallway of her middle school, stopping every so often to fasten a piece of paper to the wall with scotch-tape. “Vote Julia for class president”, the paper read, the slogan printed in a classic Microsoft Word style word-art. She proudly wore a sticker on her polo-shirt with a similar slogan that she spent hours constructing; formatting a word document to print on a sheet of eight labels isn’t easy for an eighth-grader. She campaigned for healthier lunches, the right for students to bring water bottles to class and freedom to use the restroom without asking for permission. In a few days, she will deliver a self-written speech to the entire student body, one in which she has been reciting and editing for weeks.

Her opponent was one of the most popular and well liked boys in the school. During the race, he continuously used tactics that made her feel uncomfortable. He and his friends would chant “salad bar, salad bar!” mockingly as she walked by. He’d make contemptuous comments on how her signs and stickers were “try hard”. But perhaps his and his friend’s most hurtful and egregious dialogue was that of body and sexuality shaming. She was made fun of for being prude, shamed for not giving them hugs, and taunted for her bra size. Yet she still persisted in her school election.

Yesterday afternoon, I voted for her. I voted for the girl who was not only experienced and an advocate for goodness, but the one who was steadfast. I voted for Hillary Clinton because in the eighth grade, I was her.

Women as a collection are placed under a type of scrutiny unbeknownst to men. When we’re competitive, we’re called bossy. When we’re angry, we’re asked if we’re on our periods. When we’re athletic, we’re called masculine. When we’re sexually assaulted or raped, we’re either asking for it or asking for fame. And the list is even more extensive for women who aren’t white and cisgendered.

When Hillary Clinton was called a “nasty woman” by Donald Trump during a debate, I can guarantee that almost every woman in America has experienced some similar sort of sexist comment directed at them. But instead of shying away, instead of stepping down, Hillary Clinton remained poised. Her ability to continue not only emulated the amount of both professionalism and preparedness that she possessed, but the fact that she, like most women, was accustomed to comments such as these.

About a month ago, I read Hillary Clinton’s interview with Humans of New York regarding her reputation of seeming “walled off”. When she took the law school admissions exam in a room filled with men, she had to remain calm and undistracted as several people made sexist and derogatory remarks like ‘you don’t need to be here.’ and ‘if you take my spot, I’ll get drafted, and I’ll go to Vietnam, and I’ll die’ After discussing this experience, she claimed “I had to learn as a young woman to control my emotions. And that’s a hard path to walk.”

Hillary Clinton stood in a position that threatened the norm, a position that allowed her to be constantly scrutinized at a level that men don’t normally experience. And she remained calm. If she were to complain or lash out in the exact way that Donald Trump often did, she would be referred to as catty- an adjective that has been too often ascribed to women. Yet, when Donald Trump makes emotionally charged or attacking comments, he’s praised as “someone who speaks the truth”

Millions of women, including myself, watched this once ambitious and strong law school applicant transform into an ambitious and strong presidential nominee. We observed her calm and collected demeanor as she rallied supporters throughout the election. We cheered for her as she dominated each debate, we showed anger as she was berated by Donald Trump throughout the election, we expressed pride as she gracefully ignored the countless sexist comments that are so familiar to us.

But this morning, we cried for her as the fate of women, minorities, the LGBTQ+ community and immigrants was put in the hands on a man who fueled his campaign by debasing and threatening these groups. I cried because Hillary Clinton, despite experience, a well planned campaign and immense strength and poise, was taken down by those who thought she was bossy, that she was cold, that she was too emotional, that she was “taking the spot” of a position historically held by men.

In the eighth grade, I won the school election, but felt too embarrassed to attempt to enact any change. I didn’t want to be mocked. I felt that through her, I could find redemption. I knew that Hillary Clinton would stay strong to her promises, and that the rights of millions wouldn’t be compromised. But for the upcoming days that our country will be represented by Donald Trump, I will remain standing with her, because I am her.

How to Be a Writer (when everyone thinks they’re a fucking writer)

It’s 2:10 in the morning, my assignment was due at midnight. Too tired and stressed to peel away from my computer to pee again from my overly sweet Starbucks drink from the vending machine, I type “keep writing keep writingkeepwriting keeeeeep writing k e e p wRiTInGgG in the space where my conclusion should be. I question my abilities.

Trying to distract myself from the growing uncomfortableness of my bladder begging to be emptied and the inevitability of finishing this already shitty essay with a shitty conclusion (it was a good idea with failed followthrough), I open Facebook. Immediately I see some shared post regarding something like “merr why I’m a woman and I hate feminism because merr I’m a privileged white girl who’s never even googled the definition of feminism on my sorority stickered Macbook merr”. Firstly, the article was published on Odyssey who would probably let a skinhead publish something on why Hitler was actually an okay guy (no hate towards those who got published on this site… but was it reaaaalllly that hard?). Secondly, just the nature of the article’s title proved how misinformed this author is, which just made me disappointed in our education system. Where did we go wrong?! So naturally, because I’m bored, I give this girl’s article just another view.

Just hours later, as I’m walking out of my creative nonfiction course at my university that was  taught by an amazingly established and beyond helpful professor, I remembered this article. I sadly realized that even though I was hopefully a naturally better and more informed writer, taking a thousands of dollars worth of writing classes, she was still published more than me. My pride disallowed me from taking the chances that she took by submitting to the most despo sight online.

That was about a year and a half ago. Since then I’ve started a my own blog amongst millions of blogs, landed a small internship that allows me to be pretty creative, was hired by my school’s newspaper, and have been published on sites that I’d like to believe are a few steps up from Odyssey (again, no hate). Yet, I still feel dreadfully unestablished as a writer and with only a year left of school, I’m dreading what comes after graduation. In a world where anything is accessible, it’s extremely hard to stand out as a writer. For every thought-out piece I write, a thousand crappy pieces are published.

It’s easy for this to leave someone (me) feeling uninspired and restricted while writing when I’m constantly trying to learn SEO and have a certain number of words and style my writing to be appealing to anyone. I’ve noticed myself losing my voice because I’m so desperate for views. My pieces feel unrecognizable. A year-and-a-half ago me would have rolled her eyes at some of the garbage I was producing. And yet, weirdly enough, this garbage is the only reason I made it to where I am.

So how do I still remain creative in a world where structure is sneakily taking over your soul? Don’t ever take anything too seriously. Be a weirdo. It’s your best shot.

I go to a huge school with thousands and thousands of other students. Among them are thousands of writers like me. Although I can’t say I’m super unique and intriguing 100% of the time, I can say that I take chances. The last thing you should ever be as a writer/artist/musician/whatever is comfortable. On top of that- never try to hard to be something you’re not. Nobody likes the dude trying to make something out of everything,

So yes, because I’m a human who wants to have a decent job, I can’t avoid conformity 24/7. But at the end of the day I’m still a creator. And for everyone out there trying to find their voice in a sea of chaos, try-hards and posers, I see you. 

In Texas, You’re More Likely to be Put on Death Row than You are to Get an Abortion

You know what they say: don’t mess with Texas. In 2013, Governor Rick Perry of the state of Texas passed a bill that required a) that a woman cannot terminate her pregnancy after 20 weeks and b) that abortion clinics need to have surgical type facilities and the doctors must have admitting privileges at the local hospital. Being that having an abortion from a doctor is just about as safe as watching Fox News, it’s quite obvious that these laws were passed just to further the republican party’s stance against abortion.

Of course, barely any of these abortion clinics met these clearly ridiculous standards and many were forced to shut down. By mid June of 2015, about 10 were left. Most of which were clustered around Texas’s more populous areas like Dallas. Many areas, especially those that were rural and or isolated, in Texas were hours from the nearest abortion clinic. Fortunately, just recently, these laws were ruled unconstitutional by the supreme court. Prior to the ruling, for many women, it was seemingly easier, in Texas, to be put on death row and executed than it was to receive a safe and legal abortion.

Texas isn’t just a state with impossible abortion laws, but it’s also, ironically, the state known for its use of capital punishment. As of the beginning of 2016, there have been the highest number of executions performed this year- 6. Since 1977- 537. In Texas, a very conservative, pro life state, it isn’t okay to terminate a pregnancy, however, it does seem to be acceptable to employ legal injection for inmates, some of whom may not have even been guilty. In turn, instead of constructing laws to limit the number of executions in Texas, scrutiny is placed on innocent women who aren’t ready or simply don’t want to have a child yet.

In any state in the U.S., there are an indefinite number of adversities that women face while attempting to seek an abortion including costs of the actual abortion, laws that seem to be meant to guilt women out of abortions, and protesters harassing and intimidating women entering/exiting a clinic. Usually, and thankfully, most of these obstacles can be overcome. However, in Texas, due to the closing of most clinics, many women in areas hours away from the nearest clinic are unable to seek an abortion at all. This sometimes forces women to travel out of state to try and seek an abortion, which has implications in and of itself.

Take a city like Laredo, Texas which is primarily Hispanic and also has a poverty rate of almost 40%. For a woman in Laredo who wants to seek an abortion in the state of Texas, she would have to travel almost 3 hours to McAllister, Texas, where one of the remaining abortion clinics stood. Considering the high poverty rate, the traveling to McAllister or elsewhere for most of these women is unrealistic. In addition to the uncertainty of even being approved for an abortion, she would have to pay for multiple trips/overnight accommodations, food, and gasoline as well as the abortion itself, which can be costly.

Laredo, Texas, is also one of the most dangerous cities in Texas. With a very high violent crime rate per capita, there are about 3.93 violent crimes per 1,000 citizens. Speaking hypothetically, with the numbers of violent crime, combined with low average income, it may be more likely for a citizen of Laredo to be put on death row than it would be for them to receive an abortion. Of course there are issues with this statement. Firstly, only women are able to become pregnant/seek an abortion. Secondly, most inmates put on death row are men. However, if we were to erase gender as a factor, it could be significantly harder to receive an abortion as a low income Laredo citizen than it could be to be put on death row.

In Texas, a public defender system is nonexistent, therefore it is very difficult for a defendant charged with a violent crime severe enough for them to be given capital punishment. In addition, appellate judges in Texas are elected by the public. And, according to polls, a majority of Texans support the death penalty and believe it is applied fairly. Therefore, if a person, for example someone Hispanic of low income in Laredo, Texas convicted of a violent crime, he or she would be at a higher risk of being placed on death row compared to a higher income white person.

Let’s say this same person, instead of committing a violent crime in Laredo, Texas got pregnant and did not want to have a baby. Given their circumstances, they would need access to a vehicle as well as a good chunk of money, time, and resources in order to travel the distance to receive the abortion. Given the 20 week time frame before the abortion becomes illegal, they wouldn’t have much time at all to save up the money, which could be nearing over $2,000.

Theoretically, given the circumstances of Texas’s laws surrounding both the death penalty and abortion, it’s fairly more likely to be put on death row than it is to receive a safe and legal  abortion. Perhaps some Texan’s need to reevaluate the meaning of ‘pro life’. Thankfully, due to the supreme court’s common sense, the restrictions on abortion in Texas are deemed unconstitutional. Once again, Texas could become a place where you aren’t more likely to be put on death row than you are to receive a legal abortion. All we can hope for now is that Texas clinics don’t hire any Kim Davises of abortions.

Photo credit: mikerastiello via Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-ND

A Letter to the People Using the Orlando Shooting to Promote Bigotry: You Will Never Win

Yesterday I started working on an essay dedicated to mine and the rest of the world’s obsession with celebrity couples, but then this morning I heard what happened in Orlando, so fuck Taylor and Calvin’s breakup. How could I possibly concentrate on anything else when there are 50 people dead at the hand of one twisted man, perhaps one twisted system to be quite honest.

Last night, the largest mass shooting in U.S. history occurred in Orlando, Florida which left 50 innocent people dead, and 53 more of these people wounded. And this wasn’t just a mass shooting, which is already devastating in and of itself, but it was a hate crime. The victims at this shooting were out at a famous gay club in Orlando, who, like many of us on Saturday nights were just out to have fun. These people were killed and injured because some guy had a strong hatred against the gay community.

Right now, I could go on about how our gun laws have failed these victims, but I won’t. I could also go on about the significance of ISIS and what not, but I’m not going to. Why? Because I’m sad.

I’m sad because the LGBTQ community has just one more thing to be afraid of. I’m sad that one of the candidates running to represent our country is using this event to propagate his campaign, and that there are actual people in this country who could support that. And I’m sad that the mass death of LGBTQ people is a valid reason to boast bigotry.

The online publication You’re the group that is going to lose the battle in the end. I can guarantee that there are more people in this country, in this planet that will fight for love than there will ever be of you. Thought Catalog compiled a list of tweets posted after the shooting.

“Florida pulse gay club attacked I’m so happy someone decided to start shooting perverts instead of innocent people” wrote @Jhowell1214.  “The only good thing about the Orlando shooting was that it was a gay club, so less gays in the world today”- @peterkaweesi. And @jesushatesfig (I’m assuming Twitter won’t let him use ‘@jesushatesfag’) tweeted “Man I don’t know what’s better that fact that the gays were killed or the fact that the killer was Muslim and a Democrat”. These were only 3 of the many of posts just like these. And though I’m a pretty non-confrontational person, I’m sure I’d approve of almost anything any of you feel like tweeting back to these losers.

But from me, these are the words I have for anyone praising the killer for his act of hate and ignorance: fuck you. Fuck you on the behalf of anyone who has a large enough brain to understand that being gay, or lesbian, or trans, or anything else is not disgusting, but those, like yourself, who feel the need to threaten or harm or even openly condemn these people for being themselves, ARE disgusting. Fuck you for believing violence and murder is okay when it’s done to a group that you’re prejudice towards and who have done absolutely nothing to disrupt your life, safety or happiness, like you’ve done to theirs. And fuck you for trying to perpetuate your ignorance upon the rest of us, like we’d ever condone your cringe worthy comments. Because guess what? You’re the group that is going to lose the battle in the end. I can guarantee that there are more people in this country, in this planet that will fight for love than there will ever be of you. So please, keep on with your tweets and Facebook posts. Keep on trying to spread hate because your efforts are trifling, and you will never succeed, not even last night did you.


To the victims, their friends, their families, and their supporters- stay strong. We need each other as much as ever. You’re in my heart and in my prayers.

The Truth About Body Image That Hopefully You Haven’t Heard

It came to me last night as I was googling the measurements of Gigi Hadid: 34-25-35. I took the measuring tape sitting next to me and as tightly as I could, wrapped it around my bust, waist, and hips. I squeezed as hard as I could around my waist, but the tape wouldn’t budge past 29. I was 4 inches too wide and 4 inches of too fat.

I then googled the average model weight: 115-120. As I exhaled as much air from my lungs as I could, unrealistically hoping that it would make a difference, I stepped on the scale: 145.9. My heart sunk. 30 pounds overweight.

Holding the image in my head of what it will feel like to be ‘thin’, I began the planning process of scouring the internet for weight loss tricks and fitspo. More than just an obsession, my body image shaped me. It constructed my daily thoughts, the guilt I felt after eating ice cream, the anxiety of waking up every morning and looking in the mirror to see if I’d gotten bigger overnight. How I felt about my body defined me, it still does.

Of course I’m not completely delusional. I’m actually completely aware of my disposition. But I nonetheless cannot align what I know with what I feel, and what I feel is contempt.

Granted I have made major progress over the years regarding my self esteem. Throughout my adolescence, I’ve struggled with bulimia, though I never saw it as much as an issue. My own secret weapon, I could eat whatever I wanted without limit. I was in denial of the consequences, and luckily for me, I was able to stop myself before I experienced them. But one way or another, whether it be months since the last time I purged, I’d do it again. In fact I’m struggling not to right now (and it’s been about a year since the last time I’ve forced myself to vomit).

Surface level, I try to perpetuate the image of confidence, the image of self love. I cover my disparaging view of myself with a bold smile, but the feeling of contempt is ever present. I’m a slave to my own self worth, and deep down, I truly don’t believe that I’ll ever escape. However, there lies somewhat of an irony in my thought processes: my unconditional love for others’ bodies.

It may seem somewhat ridiculous, but I love celebrating other people’s’ bodies. I dwell within stories of self celebration while simultaneously loathing my own. I love giving compliments, and encouraging self love, and rejoicing in the name of “love your body!”. The feeling of exploring another person’s journey to find peace with their body in our ‘size six need not apply’ world is almost irreconcilable given my own self worth.

And maybe it’s just that: maybe I use the joy of seeing others love their bodies as a means to cope with my own self hatred- a sort of penance. Perhaps it’s the feeling of hope. If they can, then anyone can, including me. But I’m also quite convinced that there is not one human on this earth with access to sight and at least some exposure to pop culture that does not obsess over their bodies. How can one human get a glimpse of the bizarre and scrutinizing world we inhabit and not scrutinize their own self. One would have to be completely oblivious.

Unfortunately, there stands the very real chance that the intense perusal of bodies is irrevocable. My constant obsessing over both my own body is quite possibly the product of the overall obsession with bodies. There is no escaping the chaotic madness of discussing bodies! Even the campaigns for self love are provoking intense self scrutiny. Take for example all of attempts to photograph or videotape women of all different sizes next to each other- no doubt we all still want to be the thinnest one there. The hole keeps getting deeper and deeper and without severe reconstruction we may never be able to rise out. I, for one, have accepted the sentence that I’ll never truly love my body, but I’d like to provide an easier world for my future children.

The question of “is there even a solution?” still exists. Let’s start with cutting out talking about our bodies altogether. No more mentioning sizes, dishing out compliments/insults, celebrating different bodies for image alone. The possibility of this tactic’s effectiveness is severely overshadowed by its complete impracticality. Plus, this would have to be grandfathered in and start with ages 3 and younger- because we can’t just all of a sudden stop complimenting people. The world would simply implode.

Maybe a better solution would be to cut out body descriptive words altogether. Fat would only refer to the macromolecule, curvy is for a dangerous road you might want to buckle up for, and thin is the second word in the name of a certain type of cracker. Yet this too wouldn’t work because these words could easily be replaced. Civilization thrives on categorization.

And my third solution relies on restructuring the way we even view our bodies. Let’s do an exercise: describe your body… Okay. For those who described your bodies physical appearance, raise your hand. For those who described your bodies for what it’s able to do, raise your hand. I’m assuming many people would think to do the first option naturally because we’re conditioned to view our bodies as objects and not as vessels to live. Just think about all of the amazing things that your body has done for you and can do for you. When you take a step back and view yourself through this lense, you might feel like a complete jerk for putting so much pressure on your appearance. However, our attention spans aren’t always the best and considering most of us have grown up viewing our bodies as objects and we’re going to revert back to our normal ways.

So to this I say: I’m sorry to everyone who hates and or is obsessed with their bodies, but you’re very clearly not alone. The best you can do is maybe try to distract yourself because it will never get any better.

Why North Carolina’s Bill is More Problematic Than You Think

It’s been over a month since House Bill 2 was passed in North Carolina, and if you haven’t already figured it out, it’s outrageously discriminatory. But other than its blunt discrimination towards the LGBTQ+ community, especially trans people, the talk that surrounds it is what is truly emblematic of the United State’s distorted view of transgender people.

The passing of the bill by North Carolina republican senators and governor Pat McCrory was in direct response to a bill that was supposed to be passed by the Charlotte City Council meant to ban LGBTQ+ discrimination. HB2 was then rushed to be signed and passed, taking less than 10 hours to do so.

McCory stated to the public that the bill was meant to protect the “privacy and safety of all men, women and children of all ages in North Carolina” (Via Buzzfeed News).

In another statement, McCrory said “The right and expectation of privacy in one of the most private areas of our personal lives is now in jeopardy. We will be reviewing to determine the next steps.” (via New York Times)

Thus… HB2 was passed, requiring that people use restrooms and locker rooms strictly based on the sex listed on their birth certificate.

House Bill 2 is inarguably directed at transgender people, but for what? The argument that is seemingly being made by governor Pat McCrory is that it is supposedly unsafe to allow people to use their preferred bathroom, non-determinate of their birth certificate. However, there are multiple issues with this logic that all seem to stem from stereotypes placed on transgender people and LGBTQ+ people alike.

First off, governor Pat McCrory and those who passed this bill did so to protect “privacy”. But the question is whose privacy? This ideology is directly non inclusive of the privacy of transgender people and only serves the heteronormative population. It negates any privacy concerns faced by trans people by forcing them to use a bathroom or locker room that they may not feel comfortable using in order to satisfy fears based on false pretenses. Therefore, basic rights are ‘jeopardized’ for the sake of giving into stereotypes.

In addition to the privacy concern, Governor Pat McCrory is using ‘women’s’ safety as justification for passing the bill. However, Governor McCrory in the past has supported legislation that is not supportive of women’s safety at all. Just this January, he signed a bill that increased the waiting period of an abortion from 24 hours to 72 hours. He also voted for allowing rapists to sue their victims for getting an abortion, a law that forces women to view their ultrasound and adoption options before getting an abortion, and banning schools and doctors from providing young women with birth control information. Therefore, if Pat McCrory really supported the privacy rights of women then he would support laws that ensure that and not just using women’s rights as a scapegoat for discrimination.

The supposed reasons for passing House Bill 2 stated by both Governor McCrory and supporters directly allude to the assumption that allowing people to use their preferred restroom inevitably leads to rape, sexual assault, and even pedophilia. This alleged reason is no more than a fear mongering tactic that pushes people to accept this bill as reasonable. Passing HB2 protects nobody and can actually pose a very real threat for transgender people. According to NCAVP, trans women are 1.8 times more likely to experience sexual violence and an alarming majority of hate driven homicides, approximately 78%, were of transgender people, especially black transgender women.

By using fear mongering as a tactic to gain support for House Bill 2, two very dangerous situations can ensue. The first is that the fear generated can cause even more violence towards the transgender community in general. Extensive media coverage on how HB2 is supposedly ‘protecting’ the safety and privacy of women and children in restrooms enforces the stigma that trans people are sexual predators. Given the significantly high amount of violence already faced by trans people, this false and dangerous stereotype can put an even larger target on them. The second is that HB2 forces trans people to use the bathroom that they are not comfortable in. Trans women are already at a high risk of sexual violence, general violence, and overall harassment. By forcing them into private restrooms and locker rooms based on their birth certificate, they can be put at an even higher risk.

House Bill 2 is discriminatory and does not solve any issues, but instead satisfies prejudices held against people in the LGBTQ+ community, specifically transgender people. The law is much more than just trifling and poses significant threats against transgender people by perpetuating false stereotypes. Although  there have been a lot of measures to protest the bill, including threats from the U.S. Department of Justice, the very real danger of transphobia still exists and there is a lot of work to be done.

The Voice Rarely Heard: Women in Sports

(photo: Jaime Viens)

“This is why we don’t hire any females unless we need our cock sucked or our food cooked”. If you were to guess, what do you think the context would be for this ‘tweet’? Given it’s misogynistic and outright degrading demeanor, one would probably assume that there is no imaginably appropriate context at all for this tweet. Let me give you a hint, it involves men and it involves sports.

This tweet was directed at sports reporter and journalist, Julie DiCaro. Why? Because she’s a woman. In a Youtube video titled #MoreThanMean by Just Not Sports, random men read off a list of mean and threatening tweets to both Julie DiCaro and Sarah Spain, another sports journalist. The tweet mentioned is one of many awful others including “Hope this skank Julie DiCaro is Bill Cosby’s next victim” (what the fuck), and “I hope your boyfriend beats you”.

All of the tweets read out had one common theme (other than vile): sexist. Many of the tweets included gender specific words like “cunt”, “bitch”, and “skank” that are used to degrade these women who are only doing their job. Of course, it’s not to say that men sports journalists aren’t harasses either, sports fans can get really nasty, but they’re likely not being threatened with rape and have their own body criticized. Sports journalism is just another example of the underlying theme of sexism seen throughout the sports world.

Women’s sports teams are almost always seen as inferior to their male counterparts.  How many jokes are made about the WNBA every day? And how many school women’s sports teams have the word “lady” in front of the team name? At my college, men’s basketball games are always packed, yet women’s games hardly ever. But why? What is the logic behind why a men’s sports team is always more popular than a women’s even when the women’s team is far better?

Take the example of the USA soccer teams. It just came out that the USA women’s team is paid less than the men’s team and because so, have filed a ‘federal equal pay complaint’ according to NPR. A logical first question to ask might be “well is the women’s team ranked less?”, and the answer to that is a hard no. According to the FIFA/Coca-Cola world soccer rankings, the USA men’s team is currently ranked at 29th in the world while the women’s team is ranked number 1. If a team that is literally number 1 in the whole world, who may I add wins championship games, is getting paid less than a number 29 team, then there is clearly something off. In this case, it’s inarguably gender discrimination which, in sports, is much too common.

So if the actual athletes in the United States who are competing (and winning) are receiving discrimination due to gender, then it doesn’t come as a surprise that women who report on sports are discriminated against. Is it because women aren’t normally seen as ‘involved’ in sports? Well, no, because even though women’s sports teams are often overshadowed, they do exist. But yet many Americans won’t hesitate to say that men just like sports more than women. Some people even believe it’s science, like expert Josh answering the internet’s hardest questions on “ Why do men like sports more than women like sports?”

Josh (not a scientist but social media manager) believes that our hormones affect each ‘gender’ differently which makes sports and competition more ‘attractive’ to men which is I guess why women used to be caregivers instead of hunters back in the day. Though you can’t blame Josh for believing that interest in sports is based on biology since we’re still living in a time when people do believe that gender is biological. So under this mindset, if it seems that more men are involved in sports careers, then of course people are going to believe it has something to do with our own bodies. However, I can’t excuse every female athlete and sports fan who would probably want to slap Josh in the face for that answer.

Of course this doesn’t take away that sports related careers are still very male dominated. In fact, just this year, the Buffalo Bills hired the first full time female coach, Kathryn Smith, in NFL history. Perhaps maybe it’s because American football teams are mostly comprised of male athletes. But then explain why there only two assistant female coaches in the NBA and there still has not been a head female coach? And there is no excuse considering the thousands of women who have played basketball in college or the WNBA or the multitude of other leagues. In sports journalism, as we’ve seen, it’s just as bad. The Women’s Media Center (WMC) published a report in 2015 that 89.7% of sports news was produced by men and only two women were listed in Talker Magazine’s “Heavy Hundred” of sports news commentators.

Maybe it’s because women aren’t being hired, or simply aren’t being encouraged to take up fields in the sports industry. Maybe it’s due to fear of discrimination or because they feel they aren’t going to be seen as qualified based on their gender. But one thing is for sure, the lack of women in sports leaves room for discrimination and harassment. Would more women in these fields end this? It’s always going to be more complicated than that, but it would go a long way to show that women are more than qualified to be seen as experts on sports.

The Lazy and Broke Person’s Guide to Saving the Environment:

       photo: Jaime Viens   

          Happy Earth Week! Given you’re like me, really…reaaaallly lazy (so lazy that Earth day was actually two days ago), and also pretty broke, protecting Mother Earth sometimes seems partly unmanageable and kind of unrealistic. However, neither of these things have to be true and with a few changes in your daily routine, you can take part in saving the beautiful Earth we live on, protect precious (and cute) wildlife, and best of all, save some cash.

Reusable shopping bags

          Unless you live in a city like San Francisco where it actually costs money to use those plastic grocery bags, you might not pay much attention to the amount of them you use during every trip to the grocery store, Target, out shopping, etc. Let’s do some math: say you go to the grocery store every week and get about six bags of groceries…double bagged. That’s 312 bags a year, and multiply that by the number of people in the world, which comes out to HUNDREDS of BILLIONS of grocery bags, especially if you factor in bags from the mall and from supplies shopping. Yeesh. Worst of all, plastic is far from biodegradable and goes straight to the landfill, or ocean, and stays there. So here’s a tip: maybe save some of these plastic bags and bring them to the grocery store to reuse every time. Some grocery stores and supplies stores even offer fancy reusable bags there to buy, if you’re willing to spend some extra ca$h. When you go clothes shopping, bring your own bags! And unless you’re shopping at Hermes, which if you’re reading a blog post geared towards broke people then you probably aren’t, the shopping bag really isn’t relative. Also, this could also save you money in the long term because if stores don’t need to buy as many plastic bags to distribute for free, then they’ll probably be able to cut down on prices. No excuses!

No more plastic water bottles!

          This one is pretty easy. How many plastic water bottles do you buy a week/month/year? Probably a fairly good amount. Are plastic water bottles sustainable? F*$k no! Are they harmful even to us? Studies suggest that they probably are! Do they cost money every time you use them? Yes! So is there any good reason that we’re still using disposable water bottles? Probably not. Anyway, go to Target, invest in a BPA free water bottle, and start drinking out of that. If you’re weary of tap water, Brita offers water bottles with a built in filter! Woo!

 Coffee Cups: Bye!

          This goes for two different people: Those who bring their coffee on the go, and those who buy it on the way. For those who bring their own coffee, make sure to use your own reusable coffee mug instead of the disposable ones. It will save you money when you don’t have to restock on those cups every week and less trash is going into the landfill. For those who buy their coffee- also try using reusable mugs. Assuming you frequent the same coffee shop, see if they offer reusable mugs there, and at places like Dunkin and Starbucks, they usually do! Sometimes, you even get money off your coffee or tea when you use a reusable cup! And, like the plastic bag logic, if the coffee shop doesn’t need to spend as much money on disposable cups, they could cut costs on coffee! Win-Win!

 Be Crafty!

          So this is less for the lazy and more for the broke, but turning your trash into something trendy is actually pretty in. Just check Pinterest. There are a lot of cool ideas for plastic bags, like using them to make bags, headbands, and a lot of other cool things. So give it a shot, and then you could brag that your bag is totally great for the environment.

Start Thrifting!!

For all you shopaholics out there: Think about the number of clothes out there, in stores, in closets, online… and then in the trash. The amount of clothing in the world is not only sustainable but it also supports sweat shops and other inhumane practices of making clothes. It’s very difficult for the average American to always afford and consciously buy clothing and items made by companies who provide living wages and safe work spaces to their employees. Solution? Start thrifting! And currently, with the rising popularity of thrift shops, you can find some pretty cute brand names quite easily. No good stores around you? Try out apps and online stores like Poshmark or Vinted where people from all over buy and sell used and unwanted clothes. Just recently I bought a super cute Free People top for under $30. By thrifting, you are supporting a sustainable environment, saving cash, and not directly supporting inhumane working conditions!


Happy Earth Week friends!!!!!!!!!