The War of Women Against Women

Two nights ago, I hosted a discussion group where we talked about slut shaming. The evening was amazing as participants of all ages, backgrounds and sexual orientations talked about their experience being shamed. It was pretty incredible to hear everyone’s stories but it was heartbreaking at the same time- especially to hear all the negativity. We talked about recent events- more specifically, the whole Miley Cyrus twerking incident. A participant mentioned that the majority of negative responses about Ms. Cyrus were from women while her many of her supporters were men (NOTE: I’m not stating this as fact as Miley received negative and positive reactions from both genders. This is something I’m going to research. I’ll share that information with you readers as soon as I find creditable results). We talked about why women bashed other women- whatever happened to ‘Girl Power?’ Did it die out with 90s pop music and platformed-sneakers? We agreed that other women are simply jealous- with Miley, you see a beautiful young girl who has freedom- the freedom to be sexually-open and the freedom to express herself however she wants to. I understand what some of the backlash said- she is a role model for little girls; she is attention seeking; etc, etc… My thoughts on that is she can do whatever she wants. She seems like a smart girl who knows what she’s doing. She’s young, too- I look at my early twenties and at all the so-called mistakes and poor decisions I made. I’m not saying that Miley made a bad choice for her infamous dance moves. I’ve just been there. Who am I to judge someone when I’m far from being perfect myself?

Slut-shaming. Nah, how about just “shaming?” Judging is more like it. I see this most on the college campus. School started this week and people are eager to get an education- or at least, I think they are. I haven’t been in a classroom in about three years and I feel like things took a 180 from when I was in school (seriously- how hard is it to “pardon me” when bumping into someone or “thank you” as someone holds open a door for you?). One of the things I noticed on the first day of school is that every girl who walks by you looks you up and down. Walk to into the campus Starbucks and everyone’s head lifts up. I understand if these girls want to check out a hot outfit (I love clothes as much as the next girl) but I feel like these eyes are filled with judgment. I am being sized up and labeled simply based on the way I look. I understand this is the way society works- we put as so much emphasis on the way we wear out hair and the clothes we put on our backs- but I would think on a college campus that women would be smart enough to overlook appearances. We’re in college- shouldn’t we be more competitive with the grades we want to received rather than what purse we’re carrying?

Yes! Yes! YES!

Yes! Yes! YES!

I just finished reading Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In” (thanks for the amazing Christmas present, Bima and Dad!). Sheryl doesn’t address the Miley Cyrus twerk-off but she does mention something about women helping women. We should be encouraging each other, lifting each other up, helping each other accomplish our dreams (whether those dreams are to dance on stage at the VMAs or to be your state’s first minority female Senator). When we gossip about each other, stare at each other with judgment-filled eyes, or even laugh at one struggling (yes, I’m talking about you girls in my Spanish class on the first day of school), we aren’t only bringing ourselves down but we’re dragging the rest of womenhood down as well. While equality between men and women may never been truly seen in my lifetime, I hope that women would be able to rise up, hand in hand, to support each other- whether that support comes through achievements at work or school, relationships such marriages or one’s family, or even just through a goofy exploration time in their life. No judging. Not hating. Just kindness, acceptance and support. And that’s something to twerk about.

Back in the Dating Pool

As one is in the process of moving on from a past relationship, I am a firm believer in the power of dating. Sometimes, it’s what we need the most. We need to do something different, meet someone new, get out of our comfort zone for a brief moment. As I mentioned in my previous 20Something post, I like dating. But what that said, I love being in a relationship. One has to date to find his/her one true love (or your parents can set you up in an arranged marriage. Either or would work). So now, I figure that it’s time to throw on the teeny weeny bikini and hop back into the dating pool.

Okay, dear reader, I know what you’re thinking- you just got out of something. Why get back into the water so soon? Truthfully, I don’t know. There are many reasons behind it- I’m trying to get my mind off my ex. I want to make more friends.  But mostly importantly, I’m a great girl. I deserve to have someone fabulous in my life. So, I reactivated my OKCupid profile and let the messages come rolling in, hoping for someone incredibly special to catch my eye. Instead, I got this: “Hey. how are u?” Major turn-off, especially for someone who wrote on her profile that she writes for a living and is obsessed with vocabulary and proper grammar. I received a couple of messages from people specifically looking for a one night stand and a particular gross comment about the shape of my body. I read some messages from nice guys that eventually turned sour: “You seem like the smart-type,” one wrote. Seriously? Is there such thing as the “stupid-type?”

I spent a good chunk of last night thinking about love and being in a relationship- if I wanted to be in one at the moment. What kind of relationship I want to be in? Why do we put so much value in them? Am I really that desperate to get married and adopt an entire Ethiopian orphanage? Do I just feel alone? Am I lonely? I actually have been seeing this great guy for the past few weeks. He’s a sweetheart who has agreed to take things slow (which I much appreciate). Oh, he’s also polyamorous (polyamory is when a couple agreeing to date other people while they are still with each other). I’ve always been intrigued by the concept- I’ve dated a bunch of people at the same time before but never had two (or more) boyfriends at once. Would I even like it? What about jealousy? Do I really need to be with two people right now let alone one? When will I fall in love again?

As I try to figure all this out, I do know one thing. At 1 a.m. this morning, I deleted my OKCupid profile- and this time, I deleted it permanently. My mom used to sing that old Johnny Lee song to me growing up, “Looking for love in all the wrong place.” Those are lyrics that hold a lot of truth. I decided it’s best to let something happen organically, instead of trying to force romance with a date I met online just an hour ago. For now, potential suitors, if you was to ask me out, you can find me among the media law stacks at the UNR Knowledge Center. You can pique my interest by talking to me about bicycles and cheese.

And you, the future love of my life… Wherever you are, I know that someday I will find you. Until then…

Yes said it, Carrie.

You said it, Carrie.

I Think We Should Break Up

“I know what it takes to move on.” -Linkin Park, Waiting for the End

Break ups are probably the worst thing in the world. Okay, I’m exaggerating. War. Hunger. Global warming. Those are more terrible things. But heartbreak is pretty up there.

Yes, dear readers, I am going through a break-up. Even though me and the ex ended things over a month ago, I’m starting to feel the hurt now. Maybe it’s because we agreed to be friends and have started speaking to each other again. Maybe it’s because the guy I’m currently seeing reminds me a lot of him. Maybe it’s because I haven’t stopped loving him deep down somewhere in the smallest crevice in my heart.  Whatever the case is, this past weekend I was a complete basket case, crying in the middle of a restaurant, on the public bus, in the bathroom while showering.

Usually, I’m a lot better with break-ups. With my first boyfriend, I was so sick of his antics- enough so that I moved (okay, that’s another exaggeration. I moved to New York City regardless of our ridiculous relationship).  Happy to end that relationship, I serial dated- which I was obsessed with doing. In New York, it was easy to date. The city consisted of hook-ups and first dates. Understandable. New Yorkers are so busy with their careers that relationships get put on the back burner. When I moved to Brooklyn, I adopted this culture and I fell in love with it. I had some guys that I causally saw long-term but for the most part, someone new took me out to brunch every Saturday. That changed when I met my next boyfriend. Things were great until I found out he wasn’t serious about us and was seeing other women behind my back. I don’t have a tolerance for cheaters so we broke up. That break-up did hurt but soon, I met my next boyfriend. But that eventually ended, too. No big deal. I moved to the West Coast, met other guys and some months later, fell head over heels with aforementioned ex.

As I think about my relationship history, I realized that I’ve always moved on pretty quickly. So, what’s my deal now? Why am I mourning this past relationship so much? The more important question is how the hell do I move on? I think the best things to do right now is just to keep going, keep living your life. MY life. Stay busy with work and your to-do list. Hang out with friends (more so now I’m not attached). Volunteer. Continue to plan for the incredible future (!). I think it’s healthy to feel that pain but you have to eventually bounce back- just do so quickly.

But what about being back in love? I miss that experiencing that feeling. I’ve been watching “Legally Blonde” on repeat these last for days. Maybe because my little sister is going to law school and I always imagine her running around Washington D.C. in a pink pants suit. In the movie, Elle’s boyfriend breaks up with her and she eventually meets her future husband while she bitches about her rude professor. I like that part in the movie. It tells you that love, a great love, can be right around the corner (or you just might need to move to Cambridge). No need to cry over your ex-boyfriend, the break-up in a fancy French restaurant, his new fiancée and her massive engagement ring. You have Luke Wilson waiting around the corner- and he’s much cuter than your ex.

You Vs. Society (Keep Calm and Carry On)

My best friend and me, in Santa Monica last winter

Me and my best friend, in Santa Monica, last winter

I received a letter in the mail last week from my best friend who is living out in Los Angeles. She’s a young 20something, extremely bright and beyond beautiful. We first met in New York, where I admired her bravery for talking to cute strangers and her determination for finding the correct path toward happiness. I love her dearly and know her well. As I read her words, I can sense the distress in her tone, the tears she was trying to hold back. She’s at the ripe age when the world is telling you to find a career, a life partner, a place to settle down and lay your roots, and she was concerned that she didn’t have it all figured out.

It’s hard when your mom wonders why you don’t have a boyfriend. “But you’re such a pretty girl!” I haven’t stepped in a classroom yet and people are already asking me what I’m going to do after I graduate. “Have you started looking for a job yet?” We all get this big push from society to be someone, to label ourselves, to pick one group we can’t escape from. Why?  Why can’t we just say that we don’t know what we’re doing with our lives other than simply living it. I understand the importance of security in the form of jobs and having a future family but why is there such a heavy weight attached to it? We shouldn’t have to justify why we’re still trying to figure things out. Some of us take longer than others. I know that I’m one of the lucky few who knew what she wanted to pursue career-wise. I never second guessed about journalism (even though social work was calling my name for a brief while). Relationship-wise, I have no fucking idea what I’m doing. I know that I want to get married and adopt children one day but I’m riding that train out. You shouldn’t have to follow anyone’s expectations but your own. Though, it’s easier said than done. How do you build that expectation for yourself- I say, just follow your heart. That should give you enough of a drive in creating a life that you love and are proud of.

One of my favorite rappers right now is Childish Gambino (a.k.a. the hilarious and very handsome Donald Glover). In his song V. 3005, he raps, “Man, nobody out here’s got it figured out/ So therefore, I’ve lost all hope of a happy ending/ Depending on whether or not it’s worth it.”  His lyrics have some truth (I’m a fan of happy endings and think that they can happen). Most people have no idea what they’re doing. They either fake it until they make it or just say ‘fuck it’ and dive right in. We can think about it for years and years and we will never have the answers to those great life questions. So, the best thing to do is just enjoy the ride. That doesn’t mean drop everything and stop working hard. That’s when we find lovers and our dream jobs. But don’t strain yourself. Seriously- take some to smell the roses. Their scent is sweet.
Keep-calm-ad-carry-on-scan
Dear reader, I know that life is painful. Things don’t happen the way you expect them to. There’s heartbreak and doubt (a ton of both). We wentleft when we should have turned right. But keep your chin up. Keep calm and carry on.  The British government used that slogan before the start of World War Two in order to keep its citizens strong as the German began dropping bombs on the country. If you’re feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders, feeling like bombs are about to drop on your pretty head, take a step back. Breathe deeply and remind yourself that you’re going to be fine, whether or not you have everything figured out (and if you do, please tell me your secrets!). You will find your happy ending sooner than later- I promise. (And Baby Bird, you got this.)

Jennifer Lawrence and my New Year’s Resolutions

Jennifer Lawrence, my spirit animal

Jennifer Lawrence, my spirit animal

A new year, a new hurdle to jump over. My hours at work were reduced. When my editor told me the news New Year’s Eve, my brain went into panic mode. How am I going to pay my rent, student loans, this spring semester’s tuition? I admit- I cried on the bus ride home. This isn’t the first time I been through this kind of trouble but every time this happens, I sink into my corner and can’t escape my semi-permanent panic attack. But this time around, something different happen. I got off the bus, cranked up some Major Lazer on my iPod and skipped home. I kept telling myself that everything was going to be okay, giving myself validation on how getting my hours cut was the best thing to ever happen- 1) I didn’t lose my job completely (which I am extremely grateful for. My editor believes in my talent and the work I produce. It’s humbling). 2) School starts in two weeks and I have more time to study- not only to study but time to hang out with friends; time to spend volunteering with the causes I care about; time to spend pitching ideas to publications I eventually want to write for career-wise. Yes, I’m going to have to budget my finances more carefully and I’m still considering looking a second job but everything is going to be alright.

2013 was a good year for America’s sweetheart, Jennifer Lawrence. In my opinion, she is the baddest bitch out there. She is an exemplar for success- not just with her film career, but for supporting feminist issues, body acceptance and the fact that everyone should embrace their quirks. Lately, when people ask me what I want to do with my life, I tell them that I want to be Ms. Lawrence. Based on the things I’ve read about her, she is the kind of woman I aspire to be and this year, I plan to live like her- one filled with bravery, kindness, humor, drive and passion. She takes good care of her teeth and protects about her friends and beliefs. Hell, I may even learn to shoot an arrow like her “Hunger Games” character. It’s takes courage to live the life that you want to. I know that I have enough balls to create a life that I’ve only dreamed about. While walking home that night, I thought about what Jennifer would have done if she learned that her hours were cut. She probably would have shook it off and focused on having a good time at her New Year Eve’s party. So that’s what I  did.

I had a drinks a few days ago with Clarissa, one of my best friends who is a writer in New York City. She is one of the few people on the planet that knows me best and we spent a good chunk of the evening talking about all the things that we want to accomplish this year. This time of the year, we always sit down together and write out our goals and New Year’s resolutions. We’ve always had big plans of writing for something grandeur- and we both decided that this is the year that we’re going to make it happen. Clarissa told me our motto this year is to JUST DO IT. Don’t let any kind of fear getting in the way. Fear is so powerful. There are way too many times I let fear dictate my life. But if I just embraced the fear and spent more time dancing in the rain, my life could be more fulfilling.

What would you do, dear reader, if you weren’t afraid? Would you apply to that dream job, move to a big city, ask out someone expectionally cute? Sure, have a healthy amount fear is acceptable but don’t let that feeling run your life. Be like Jennifer Lawrence and be a little weird, be a different. I think she would approve of that.