Saturday, July 13, 2013

Feminist And Proud!

I used to be one of those women who claimed that I was not a feminist. It used to drive my deeply feminist best friend up a wall.

"Do you believe that women should have the right to vote?" she would ask me.
"Yes"

"Do you think that women and men should be paid the same for doing the same job?"
"Of course."

"Do you believe that women are any less important than men?"
"No."

"You're a feminist."

Yet I would still go on claiming that I was most definitely not a feminist and that feminism was just this grasping attempt for certain militant women to do their best to overrun all the males in the country.

Then I had some sense knocked into me. I'm not really sure what convinced me that I'm a feminist. It was probably the combined efforts of my best friend and how much time I spend reading and, therefore, coming across literature that explains the things I don't really understand. (Also, Youtube. There are some pretty kick-ass feminists on there that have helped me straighten out a thing or two in the way I think. ie. Laci Green, HayleyGHoover, etc.)

If you look up "feminism" in the dictionary, this is what you'll find:

It is "the advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, societal, and economic equality to men."

It's not trying to be better than men. It's not trying to dominate the world, become lesbians, and burn our bras. (I happen to like my bras. I don't intend to get rid of them while they still have use to me.) It's about being treated like we are also human. Feminism is about being respected as fellow human beings, and not as objects. 

This is why I'm so confused when I meet someone who claims they're not a feminist. Or, at least, I would be confused if I hadn't gone through the same thing a few years ago. The problem we're facing here can be narrowed down to this:

People haven't been educated in what it means to be a feminist. The things that they have been told are wrong and it's extremely difficult to refute the things that are so fully ingrained in our minds from birth.

It's strange and sad to me when I have conversations with other women about women's rights or dealing with a particular misogynistic asshole who has shown his deep disrespect for women very clear. These women are always on the same page all the way until I drop the word "feminist." It's like I've just called them a terrorist!

"That's not even feminism! That's just respecting women!" they tell me. Or, "Actually, I'm not a feminist, but I agree with everything else you said."

And when I explain that women's rights/respecting women as equal humans IS WHAT FEMINISM IS ALL ABOUT, I get that blank expression that tells me they're not even really sure what I'm talking about anymore. I just have to shrug and walk away, hoping that seed I just left will take root and they'll eventually look back and say, "Oh! That's what she was talking about!"

I'm a feminist and I'm proud to call myself that. Feminism isn't a dirty word. It isn't an insult. In fact, it ought to be a compliment. It means I'm not afraid to state that I will fight for the rights of women. It means I respect my own gender as well as the opposite sex. And there's nothing wrong with that.



Monday, June 10, 2013

A Love Letter to My Hair

Dear Hair,

 I know we've had our issues in the past. We've had great times and bad times. We've had nail-biting waits where you were covered in foil or simply waiting atop my head to be revealed in an entirely new way. Whether you were soon to be black, blonde, red, or purple, we've always stuck together, doing our best to help each other along the way.

Remember that time we left the bleach on you for too long? You came out beautiful but so weak and almost gummy in places. Or the time we had to spend two weeks with that awful reddish brown color after the hairstylist stripped the black? We've come a
long way since then, haven't we? I know you still have some healing to do, but I'm glad we held on through that. I did my best to nurse you back to health, and now look at how far you've come!

We've always had a mutual love for hair dye and that's probably one of my favorite things about our relationship. That . . . and the fact that I cut and style you. It's the best way that we can mutually express ourselves and it makes me
giddy from head to toe! (Or root to tip, in your case.)

I hope our relationship always stays this fun and exciting . . . where neither of us ever know what color or cut we'll shoot for next. I'm sure we'll continue to have our close calls and even our fights (I know you don't like the straightener, but we have to have some compromises), but I know we'll always come out on top together.


I love you,
Kirsten Erin




Thursday, May 23, 2013

Feeling Restless

There's so much to do and so little time.

The above phrase is one that I've heard repeated over and over my entire life. Why does it always feel like we're quickly running out of time? It's like I constantly feel like I'm racing the clock to accomplish everything.

It's odd. Especially since I find myself wasting time more often than I care to admit. There are so many things I want to do; so many things I want to accomplish. But I seem to just get overwhelmed with the vastness of it all and shrink back, allowing my procrastination to rear its ugly head as I go back to Facebook or spend three hours on Pinterest.

It's time for me to start learning to manage my free time more efficiently. Working forty hours a week has somehow managed to make me lazy the rest of the time. I use up all my energy at work and then come home and succumb to the exhaustion. I can't keep doing that if I ever want to stop needing a day job.

I need to start learning how to utilize the time I have while I am still free enough to do so. Now I just have to figure out how.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Stifled

My dad was home for the weekend, which was awesome. I rarely get to see him and it's always a treat when he comes to town.

While the two of us were driving to see a movie yesterday, we somehow managed to get on the topic of my future. Right now, I'm living in their home (in America) while they're overseas (in France). My aunt (Mom's baby sister) and uncle recently moved in since they don't have anywhere else to stay and she's pregnant with her first baby (Hank!). I work as the Assistant Store Manager and a video store not far from my home.

To be honest, I hate it here. I feel stifled where I live, like I'm constantly on the verge of a panic attack. The suburbs have never been the place for me and I'm pretty sure they never will be. I love my job and I love my friends, but I'm ready to be out of here. Yet it seems like my plans keep getting pushed back.

Or maybe I'm just too scared to make the leap . . .

Anyway, I was venting about all of this when my dad brought up a way I could move a bit sooner. He was telling me that if I could find some way to further my writing career in Seattle (the city to which I'm wanting to move), if I could convince him that this would be a viable option that would actually help me make progress on that writing career, he would figure a way to set me up so that he could help me live there and be able to eat without working my ass off 24/7.

Of course, he's basically referring to college. Though he was talking about the possibility of a trade school, or something of that nature, that would strictly teach writing instead of requiring the student to take all of the other pointless classes that they will probably never use. *cough* Maths. *cough*

It's tempting. It's sorely tempting. Right now, I feel like I would do anything to get out of here and feel like I'm actually doing something: moving toward my future. I spent a good portion of my free time today looking for something like what he said. I found one or two promising universities, but those are so expensive and I've been so certain up to this point that I don't need college and I don't want to waste my (and/or my parents' money) on something I'm not absolutely certain I need for the future I desire.

It's not that I have anything against going to college. I think that, for a lot of people, it is the right choice. But I also think that not everyone has the same path and, for some, that means choosing not to go to college. I thought that was the path I was going to choose.

Then again, how are you supposed to know which way to choose? I mean, that's a pretty big decision there. How can I know whether my initial choice was the best or if I ought to change my mind before it's too late? I mean, I could always use more training in the skill I enjoy so dearly. I'm sure there's plenty to learn, but I'm also sure I don't want to get in debt of any kind.

As you can see, I've been having quite the inner dilemma. I don't do well with these sorts of issues. Thankfully, I managed to quell the panic attack that was on the verge of breaking loose tonight, though the nausea is still present. I don't really know how to explain my emotions on this any better than that. I mean, it's probably not a good idea to get me started on my social anxiety and all the things that crop up when I think of having to attend classes again (of course, this contributes to why moving is scary for me anyway, though my desire to get out of here is greater than my discomfort at the very idea of social interaction).

I hope I don't sound whiney, or worse, like a sociopath, but these are my general thoughts on my current situation and the decisions I feel like I need to make. I'm terrified and hopeful and entirely conflicted.

I just hope that, in all of that, I'll be able to figure out what is best for me, regardless of the other factors that play into the making of this decision. Writing this out helped, as writing out my emotions generally does, even if it hasn't quite led me to a solution.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Phobias

I've never been ashamed of my phobias. I mean, everyone's terrified of something. I happen to be terrified of enclosed spaces and deep water. It's not a big deal as long as no one puts me in an enclosed space or forces me to get on a boat. I've written a post on my claustrophobia (which you can find here), so you can tell I'm not ashamed of it. I feel like it's a pretty legitimate phobia. I mean, I do hate having it. I hate that I can't enjoy the Hezekiah tunnels the way my tour group did and that I started panicking when my family went into a partially underground tomb in Ireland. I hate bursting into tears and having trouble breathing. And I especially hate when that happens on a crowded Metro car or in front of people who like to tell me afterward that I'm probably over my fear now. (Sorry, but throwing spiders at an arachnophobic person isn't going to make them stop fearing the little buggers. It's going to make it worse. Claustrophobia works the same way.) 

I've been embarrassed by people witnessing my reactions to my phobias, but never of the phobias themselves. Until now.

I've recently noticed that I am growing increasingly fearful of elevators- a problem which I'm not okay with. I believe it's a mix of my claustrophobia and that time my sister, niece, and I got trapped in the library elevator. It seems that every time I find myself in an elevator, my heart rate goes up and I catch myself holding my breath until the doors open up again. 

It's almost comical. I mean, I get claustrophobic on planes, which are clearly the more dangerous of the two, but I seem to panic more on elevators than the metal birds I seem to find myself sardine-packed into every couple of months.

Frankly, it's embarrassing. Elevators freak me out. Then again, so does claymation and I've never really been ashamed to talk about that one. I just think it's irritating and odd that I've somehow managed to find another thing that makes me want close my eyes and pray for it to be over. At least I haven't gotten to the point where I'll only take the stairs. I suppose I'm a bit too lazy for that one.