Just 20 Minutes…

There was a recent post on Time.com about a little thing you can do that could help change your life- or at least a small portion of your life. They call it the “20 Minute Rule” -forcing yourself to do something for 20 minutes despite being incredibly exhausted. Practice an instrument; clean your room, mediate- just don’t waste this time on your computer (unless you’re doing a blog post). Push through those twenty minutes and you will find the energy to keep on going. And soon enough, you mastered the guitar; have a spotless house and be at spiritual peace. (And if you don’t have enough energy- go to sleep. Lately though, for me, sleep is the last thing on my mind. I’ve been trying to fill my life with accomplishing and busy-ness, so by the time my bedtime rolls around, I want to pass out and sleep a full eight hours without waking). According to the author, Evan-DeFilippis… “The key to progress is recognizing that any forward movement brings you closer to your goal. Humans reliably fail to set aside time to do the things we really want to do, and reliably succeed at finding time to do the things we know won’t make us better… We don’t pencil in the twenty minutes a day necessary to become the person we really want to be. And so we need to challenge the impulse to relegate our passions and our ambitions to something our future self will do down the line.”

I’ve been giving myself challenges the last few days of coming home from work and get 20 minutes of something done. I have a long laundry list of things to do- study for my driver’s permit, work an a hand-sewn quilt, mop the living room, (the dreaded) run and exercise. I come home after a long day and begin with light stretching, and then some simple crunches and push ups. By the end of those 20, my blood is pumping and my heart is racing- I’m ready to tackle on something (like homework). In fact, when I need a break from Spanish phonetics, I go belly-down to do some push-ups. And guess what- those 20 minutes of quick exercise helps.

I’m all about trying to improve one’s life, with hopes to make life easier and more fun. Those twenty minutes of just doing it can help- I challenge you to test this out and see if it can work for you.

And with that, my 20 minutes are up. Just another quick blog post for you, dear reader…

I Am Sex Positive (and Proud!)

On September 6th, the city of Reno will holding its first ever SlutWalk. For those who are not familiar with the walk, the first SlutWalk was in Toronto in April 2011. The organizer, Sonya Barnett, created the event in part as a response to a Toronto police offer telling a York University safety forum, “Women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.” Since then, SlutWalks have been organized in nearly every major U.S. city, as well in several countries around the world. I participated in my first walk back in New York City and was impressed and in awe with everyone’s open efforts to discuss rape culture and how to end such violence against women. For the last two years, after I moved back to Reno, I thought about the Biggest Little City’s progression and growth and how the city would be ready for a SlutWalk. There has been too many times in this city where I am verbally harassed by men driving by in cars or I’m called ‘a whore’ by a passing-by woman for the pair of shorts I choose to wear on a hot day or for a dress I wear out dancing. I know that I’m not the only woman in town who has been affected by negative words and its time to do something about it. It’s time to let voice be heard. It’s time to educate ignorant minds. It’s time to change.

I’m one of the leaders of the Reno Sex Positive (RSP) and we are the group who’s organizing this September’s SlutWalk. We are a non-profit that formed in March 2013 by our fearless co-leaders, Adam and Rocky. Our mission is to promote open sexual dialog in the Northern Nevada area as we welcome and promote acceptance of person representing all areas of sexual diversity including sexual orientation, gender identity and expressions, body type, ability, age (adult) and choice of consensual sexual expression. We welcome straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer individuals; as well as those who identify as gender fluid, asexual, polyamorous, monogamous and non-monogamous. At its core, the sex positive movement believes in the acceptance of all forms of sex among consenting adults. We believe that sex is healthy; that pleasure is good; and that intimacy helps bring people together. Reno Sex Positive holds bi-weekly discussions on a wide range of sexual and relationship topics including communication, slut shaming and love.

Yes, even YOU can be sex positive- just stop with the judgment and start with the acceptance.

Yes, even YOU can be sex positive- just stop with the judgment and start with the acceptance and respect!

I’ve been involved with RSP since last winter. I was intrigued by the concept of the group and appreciated everyone’s open-mindedness. During the weekly discussions, I learned a lot about sexuality- that being sexual active was okay; that being a virgin was okay; that sexuality was different to everyone. I learned that sex and sexuality is not shameful– it can be talked about in the open with mature adults (thank you, Samantha from “Sex and the City!”). I discovered that all forms of sexuality are okay- (as long as you’re a consenting adult, of course). If you’re religious and are only having sex for pro-creation, that’s okay. If you’re in a bar and you want to hook up with that cute couple in the corner, that’s okay. If you’re single and you rather spend “some time” with yourself, that’s okay. If you had have 34 sexual partners, that’s okay. If you’re a virgin- even being one at a late age, that’s okay, too (yes, it really is! I wish I knew that when I was 22!).

Of course, I’ve received negative backlash from creating the walk and being involved with RSP in general (so many people have asked me to the change the name of the walk to something more appropriate- huh? Seriously, why?). I’m sure that people think the members of RSP are a bunch of horny nut jobs who go to swinger clubs and screw each other during our free time (not that there is anything wrong with that but no, I don’t that and I can’t see myself ever doing so). I’ve deleted comments on the SlutWalk Facebook page on how the idea of a walk is stupid- rape is going to happen no matter what. Instead of women walking and protesting, we should be learning how to defend ourselves. Although I understand where that viewpoint is coming from (I have taken self-defense courses before and I can throw a decent punch if need be), I want to live in a world where I don’t have to look over my should when I walk home late at night. I want to live in a world where I can get coffee for the shop around the corner and not be stopped by some guy sitting in his car, asking if I’m “available.” I want to live in a world where I can wear whatever I damn well please and not be slut-shamed. I want to be able to talk about sex as if doing so wasn’t taboo and considered “dirty” or “funny” or “promiscuous.”

To me, being sex positive is about acceptance and respect. Although there are a lot of sexual ideas I’m not into, I do respect others and the choices that they make. Just because I’m not into something, doesn’t mean that it’s wrong or immoral. I’m all about the happy- sex makes me happy! And as long as that sexual activity and sexual awareness comes from a respectful place, I can be positive about that.

For more information about the Reno SlutWalk, please visit our Facebook page

You said it, Samantha.

You said it, Samantha.

Be a Doer, Not a Dreamer

  • Get my driver’s license by the end of the summer
  • Make a short film with my friends
  • Go skydiving with my boyfriend
  • Finish hand sewing a quilt before it gets too cold outside
  • Send out pitches to international magazines
  • Learn how to do a move seen in an episode of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”
  • Host a fancy dinner party where I cook for hours and hours to feed friends’ bellies

These are some of the things that I’ve wanted to do lately but just haven’t had the time to do so. But then I spent some nights, wake in my bed, thinking about the great things I could be doing right now, right at this moment (perhaps those late night think fests are one of the reasons I’m so tired a good chunk of the time). I’ve been using a lot of excuses lately- I have no time. I have no money. I work too much, need to sleep. All that is such bullshit.

In this graduation season, I listened to two really good speeches- one by Shondra Rhimes delivered at Dartmouth College and the other by Jim Carey at Maharishi University of Management in Iowa. Both speeches had stellar advice (one- about not being an asshole and two- the illusion of having it all) but they both focused on one central theme: Doing, not dreaming.

“Dreams are lovely. But they don’t come true just by dreaming. Ditch the dream; ditch that blue sky dream. Be a doer. Do something until you can do something else.”

“You can spend your whole life swatting away ghosts, scared of the future… You can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”

My life is full- there is lots of love, positivity and satification- but sometimes, I think it could have just a bit more. Like, what would happen if I didn’t spend so much time on Facebook or Reddit? What would happen if I put all the self-doubt aside; all the negative outer judgment from others? How much could I get done if I managed my time better; budgeted my finances better? A whole lot of things would happen. In my last post, I wrote about legacy and what I’m doing to better the world. But what about the legacy I want to leave and live for myself? Those stories I can tell the grandchildren when I’m all wrinkly? Those moments I’m especially proud of and hold in the deepest corners of my memory? Those are the things that I want to do and focus on- not on a stinkin’ Facebook post. I want to come home at the end of the day so exhausted from being incredibly busy (and not just busy because I spent six hours online shopping). I want to mobile and see different things and meet new people. I want to have memory cards filled with photos of adventures. I want to live. So, I’ll be doing so.

It’s time to start doing not sit around in my room, dreaming. There is a bucket list waiting. There is a life waiting.

So, dear reader, if you don’t hear from me in a while…

You got this, A! Go kick some ass!

You got this, A! Go kick some ass!

This and That

With all the beautiful chaos going on in my life, this blog is the first thing I put on the back burner (sorry for the lack of recent posts, dear reader). But alas- I am here now, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed ready to write (at a decent 6:30 in the a.m.). I have had a lot of things on my mind these post couple of weeks- short, little bursts of thought that probably wouldn’t be enough to make a full blog post. Nevertheless, here are some of the things that have been on my mind…

#BringBackOurGirls

#BringBackOurGirls

1. #BringBackOurGirls. At the end of April, 234 school girls were kidnapped from the Chibok Government Secondary School by the Boko Haram group in Nigeria. All 234 are still missing and uncounted for. Humanity groups all across the world have protested, hoping that their words and motivation will bring all the girls back to their families. As the Boko Haram continues to murder and pillage villages all over central Africa, the United Nations, as well as the rest of the world, are fighting back. For more information on how you can help, click here.

2. I had a to make a hard decision last week. I’m not going to go into the details but I will say one thing about it. In high school, I was obsessed with the movie, “Moulin Rogue!” In the movie, Christian (played by the fabulous Ewan McGregor) falls in love with the terminally ill star and courtesan, Satine (played by Nicole Kidman). The tragedy focuses on the central theme of love- the greatest thing you will ever learn is just to love and be loved in return. I thought about quote that as choose the next path of my life. I don’t know where I’m exactly going (in some kind of positive, lasting direction, I hope) but I know that this new road will currently be filled with love and kindness. In the end, I think that’s we all hope for. We all want kindness and deserve love in one way or another. If you can find those traits in someone (other than yourself- you should be kind to and love yourself first and foremost), I think you should hang on to that person as tight as you can and don’t let him or her go.

NBA player Jason Collins

NBA player Jason Collins

3) While out enjoying a light dinner, a friend recently asked me why I was so busy all the time. I told her that I’m busy leaving my legacy. Legacy- this is something I think about often. I think of the positive things that I’m doing for my community and how I can not only better my home but myself, as well. How am I am making a difference? How I am I influencing others? As few issues ago, TIME Magazine came out with its Time 100 Most influential People of 2014. The people featured in the list are incredible- people from Edward Snowden to Janet Yellen, Beyoncé to the Koch Brothers (I was actually surprised to see them on the list- I must admit that I’m not a fan of them but to each their own). Each article about them is written by one of their peers- showing that their talent, success and bravery have truly influenced the world. During these last couple weeks, when I’m feeling defeated, I reread each written piece and I feel inspired again. I know that leaving legacy takes hard work- doing any kind of good does- but if these people in TIME can do, so can I.

4) Last weekend, I treated myself to a movie at the cinema and watched “Godzilla” (it was so good! I highly recommend it!). Movies like “Godzilla” taught me:

  • Never live in or around metropolises like New York City or San Francisco;
  • Learn basic first aid;
  • Improve your running time and speed- it’s a sprint; not a jog (especially when it comes down to a scary monster chasing after you.)

What’s been on your mind lately, dear reader?