Precious, Divine Energy

This song. On repeat. All day. It carries an important message that really speaks to me right now. And I love supporting female Jazz musicians.

Lyrics below the video. Enjoy!

Esperanza Spalding
“Precious”
Love me or leave me but please don’t deceive me
And say you love me how I am
You love the way I fit some ideal
Not the real woman you’ve yet to understand
See love ain’t all heaven, and I am no angel
But I do the best I can

You always wanted something more from my body
And said you needed something more from my loving
But all you got was me and that’s all that I can be
I’m sorry if it lets you down

Now it’s no nice excuse but all the magic was used
Up on trying to uphold
Some kind of tame, flattering persona
That soon enough was getting real old
It takes more than pressure to change rock to diamond
Now all you have is sand,
Slipping through your fingers

You always wanted something more from my body
And said you needed something more from my loving
But all you got was me and that’s all that I can be
I’m sorry if it let you down

But I’m not gonna sit around
And waste my precious divine energy
Trying to explain and being ashamed
Of things you think are wrong with me
I’m not gonna sit around
And waste my precious divine energy
Trying to explain and being ashamed
Of what you think is wrong with me

Set you up, you say I set you up
Like I was different than what I am offering you now
Let you down, you say I let you down
And drug your heart around
Did you forget about
All of the love and the acceptance that you promised me too?

You always wanted something more from my body
And said you needed something more from my loving
But all you got was me and that’s all that I can be
I’m sorry if it let you down
You always wanted something more from my body
And said you needed something more from my loving
But all you got was me and that’s all that I can be
I’m sorry if it let you down
But I’m not gonna sit around
And waste my precious divine energy
Trying to explain and being ashamed
Of things you think are wrong with me
Me, I’m not gonna sit around
And waste my precious divine energy
Trying to explain and being ashamed
Of what you think is wrong with me

Posted in Life List | 1 Comment

Idea: The Facebook Breakup Package

facebook_breakup.png.jpg

Ok, Facebook, here’s the idea.

Breaking up in the time of facebook is really, really hard. And I know you’re always looking for more ways to make money, since ads might not be doing enough for you. In my time of need I thought something up for you!

When we break up with someone who happens to be on facebook (everyone basically), you offer a “breakup package” for like $1.99 or something. It would include the following options that we could pick and choose from:

  1. Block the name. As in, we see zero posts or pictures that has our exes name in it.
  2. Use your face-recognition technology to block any pictures with the ex tagged in it. That way we don’t have to block all our friends in common just to avoid this from happening.
  3. When we “breakup” with this person, it’s “silent” on the news feed. It took me an hour to figure out how to hide the facebook breakup news last time I did it.
  4. If my ex has RSVPed to an event already, that event gets blocked from my news feed. I don’t want to go if he’s there, so just don’t tell me about it.
  5. Automatically untag or delete all pictures that include our ex in our photo albums.

That’s all the ideas I’ve got for it. Facebook, whaddya say?

 

Posted in Life List | 1 Comment

On Catcalling

catcall-feeling-scared.jpg

****Warning: profane language below.****

Yesterday I had an experience on the main street that runs through my neighborhood. I had been sitting in a cafe for a few hours, doing work, and afterwards I was walking home. A straight shot down Fruitvale Avenue. As I was walking, I heard a man speak up from what sounded like roughly ten feet behind me. Here’s how it went:

Dude behind me: Hey lady… hey mama…

Me: *Keeps walking*

Dude: That wasn’t very respectful of me…hey sexy beautiful woman, whatchyu up to?

Me: *Shakes head, keeps walking*

Dude: Fucking bitch, can’t even talk to me? Fuck you, you fucking cunt! Can’t even take a second to talk to me? Who fucking wants to talk to you anyway, you fucking bitch.…

He screamed more, and it sounded like he had gotten closer, so at this point I duck into a store and pretend to look at T-shirts for 20 minutes. I was shaking. I was scared. My mind was racing. How the hell does this still happen in this day in age? In a town I generally consider so “woke”?

His behavior was upsetting. For obvious reasons. He insisted on me talking to him because he “complimented” me, and when I didn’t give him the attention he wanted, he seared me. Swore at me. Called me the worst names imaginable. That’s obviously all deplorable behavior. I think we can all agree to that.

But what has stuck with me the last 24 hours, what feels even worse, is what went through my own head as he yelled at me:

  1. “God, I wish I hadn’t worn these cute-ass leggings.”

  I had felt pretty that day. I wore some boots, a little black sweater, and some fierce leggings. I felt great until this person was giving me horribly unwanted attention. When I was getting yelled at, I felt so painfully aware of my legging-covered butt wiggling around. I felt like I was some succubus who let all her voluptuous, sinful, woman-bits jiggle about simply to taunt these poor, innocent men around me. I had internalized Rape Culture bullshit into my own mind. Like, what do I expect for wearing something so sexy outdoors?

This is so not ok with me. I shouldn’t have to wear baggy or conservative clothing just to make sure that fuckheads like this don’t yell profanities at me. I shouldn’t have to tame myself in order to make sure I’m not threatened. His behavior is on him. Not me. You absolutely cannot blame my attire for what he choses to do.

I recently saw The Vagina Monologues with a male person I know knew. There was a monologue by a lady who had been sexually assaulted while wearing a short, black skirt. She wore this black skirt in the monologue and reclaimed her body as her own. Saying things like,“these legs are mine. Not yours, mine.” After the show this male person I went with *sincerely* said to me, regarding this particular monologue, “I don’t understand how she can wear a short skirt and then not want the attention that comes along with it.”

I *sincerely* said to him… “that’s a mighty fine beard you’ve got there. It’s just begging to be kissed. I mean, why else would you have it? We all know that’s what you want, so we all should be entitled to sucking on your face….right?” No. That’s bullshit entitlement. Yes you’ve got a nice beard, yes she’s got a great short skirt on, but y’all have to be *invited* in.

2. I want to yell back at him but I’m scared of looking crazy.

This is another thing that went through my mind in the moment. What if I just turned around and faced this dude, while he’s yelling at me, and scream at him to FUCK OFF….? What if I went storming up to him, called him a crazy ass mother fucker, like he was doing to me – what then? I was scared of doing that because I didn’t want to look “crazy.” If I did do that, I’m sure he’d be all like, “whoa look at this bitch, you’re fuckin crazy, I was just trying to talk to you….” In a perfect world, what I would have said to him was: “you are not entitled to my attention, dude,” but that would have been giving him attention, something I didn’t want to do. So I just shrunk up into a little, tiny, ball of invisible instead. But that makes me angry too. Why can’t *I* yell back?

3. I want to yell at him but I’m scared of getting actually physically hurt by him.

This is why I couldn’t yell back. As my friend Elly put it, if he can go from admiring me to cussing at me in five seconds, what else is he capable of? I’m legitimately scared of men on the street who call me a fucking cunt. Obviously. That shit is scary. I could have been physically hurt in a myriad of ways and I didn’t want that to happen to me. Just a perspective check-in: I’m scared for my life simply because I didn’t give a man on the street the attention he wanted. That’s some straight up bullshit and it’s not ok.

So there’s my experience. I know millions of other women can relate to this all too well. I’ve received this kind of unwanted attention all over the world, in every country I’ve been to, in every kind of neighborhood. It doesn’t matter what you’re wearing, it doesn’t matter what you’re doing, there is a power imbalance that plagues us and victimizes women and it’s despicable. I know a lot of men in my life that are equally horrified by this and I am grateful for them.

I suppose I would love to know, dear readers, what you do in these situations?

Posted in Life List | 2 Comments

Quick & Easy Method for Interpreting Dreams

I have been having a lot of dreams lately. I have always tried to use my dreams to gain insight into what I’m dealing with in real life.

AdobeStock_80968285.jpg

I figured I would share with you my method for interpreting dreams. I don’t really ascribe to the more complex dream interpretations that say certain things mean certain things (“snakes mean evil!”) because symbols mean different things to different people. So here is my method:

  1. What emotion did you feel? (The main one, if you could boil down your dream into one.)
  2. Where in real life are you having that emotion?

I’ve noticed this quick and dirty interpretation can give some pretty awesome insight. I had a dream the other night that there was a flash flood and I was desperately trying to get onto higher ground. The main emotion I had was fear. Fear of being overwhelmed. Then I asked myself, where am I feeling that in real life? I realized I am scared of being overwhelmed by all the emotions that I’ve had lately that are just coming up, feelings that I am in some ways trying to avoid because they are painful. Bam! Dream interpretation helped me understand myself a little bit better.

And now, when I meditate in the mornings, I imagine my emotions flowing by me in a slow moving brook instead of a massive flash flood. I dip my feet in, my hands, I sit in the brook. It’s been immensely helpful. Hope this quick and easy method helps you!

Posted in Life List | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Emotional Recovery: Simple, Self-loving Pleasures

This week has been rough. Breakups are hard, and I’m still reeling from one of them.

Remember how I wrote that thing about 13 tips for surviving a breakup? One rule I probably should have included is DON’T GET BACK TOGETHER WITH YOUR EX. It’s so rarely a good idea. This time, it got bad. Like, real bad. Tearing myself away was hard and terrifying and violent and all sorts of shit that life should not be full of. That was two weeks ago. I’m learning a lot about myself (why do I put up with crap I shouldn’t?) and a lot about ex #2 (narcissism is a bitch). Thank god he doesn’t read this.

A dear friend sent this spoken word video about what I’ve been explaining to her about my experience. The video is about gaslighting, a particular form of emotional abuse that I’ve had the misfortune of being victim to. It just took me a long time to realize what was happening. Have a watch of it:

All sorts of feels on that one. I’ve been researching my face off about how to move on after such a toxic relationship. The primary bit of advice I’ve found among all my research is to LOVE YOURSELF. Take all that energy you were putting in to trying to love your partner and re-channel it to yourself. So today? I took a day off work. Visited family. I went to a meditation group. Got an over-due oil change for my car. I bought a bunch of nice food to make a beautiful healthy meal. I danced a little in the living room. And I’m taking this emotional recovery one day at a time.

Posted in Life List | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

International Women’s Day: Three musicians inspiring me today

Here are the three songs that inspire me right now. Sometimes you need your ladies behind you to get you out of bad situations – or in my case, a very toxic relationship. We’ve got Era Istrefi, Janet Jackson, and of course, Beyonce.

Era Istrefi’s video is very simple yet RIDICULOUSLY AWESOME. She’s kinda the Rihanna of Albania in my opinion, and I am completely obsessed. I didn’t even have to know the lyrics to feel it’s a message of lady-empowerment. I’ve pasted below some of the lyric highlights, translated into english:

I’m Era and my time’s coming..
If you don’t love me
then I’ll love myself
I don’t need you heeeyo
I can have fun by myself
You can’t put me down, I’m here
You can’t do it, can’t do it, can’t do it, can’t do it do it
It’s okay okay, even if it’s not okay
…..
You’re the king as long as I say so

…..

We don’t hear from each other anymore, don’t need you at all
When I do,you’re not here anymore
You used me
Dammit dammit whatever
Gonna be alright
……
I told you that once you mess it with me, it’s over
Many chances no more
Cause when you cool it once, I don’t heat it anymore

3268c7a3d00.jpg

 

 

This Janet Jackson song is my JAM right now. The lyrics sum up perfectly how I feel about my singlehood. Here’s the lyrics. #byefelicia

 

And, of course, Beyonce’s Formation. Because even though this video isn’t really meant for me, I can still say fuck your violent white male privilege, and mean it.

07-beyonce-formation-dylanlex-w529-h352

 

Posted in Life List | Leave a comment

Christina’s 13 Tips for Surviving a Breakup (And Maybe Even Flourishing)

This is my first time being single in nearly a decade.

Not only have I been with my husband since I was 22, I was polyamorous for many years as well so I had several loves at once. My husband and I broke up six months ago, and my boyfriend of four years and I broke up a few weeks ago. Back to back divorces basically. Now I find myself, at age 32, completely and totally alone. It’s both wonderful and awful. I can do whatever I want and no one cares what time I come home, but at the same time, no one cares what time I come home. You know?

"Two Fridas." She painted this during her divorce from Diego. Cutting those heart string cords.

“Two Fridas.” She painted this during her divorce from Diego. Cutting those heart string cords.

In my new little apartment, I’ve been slowly compiling things and ideas and reframes that have helped bolster me through this time. Trying to heal. Trying to grow. Trying to access all the self-love I need. Cutting the heart string cords I had attached to these loves for so long.

Here is what has worked for me.

  1. Affirmations up the YANG.

Breakups can sometimes wreck the self-esteem. That internal feminist can sometimes go dormant. Maybe if I was prettier or chiller he would have stayed with me… Clearly I am unlovable… God, I’m a terrible partner and will be alone forever… I needed to cut those thoughts right out. So I put messages up all over my life: post-it on the inside of the front door, lipstick on the bathroom mirror, cell phone lock screen wallpaper. Messages full of how OK I am right now. “You are beautiful just as you are.” “You are a success.” “You are perfectly loveable.” “I fucking dig you, you amazing bitch.”

This is the quote I have on the lock screen of my phone.

This is the quote I have on the lock screen of my phone.

2. Date Yourself.

If you’re like me, you love date nights with your partner. I didn’t want to give that weekly indulgence up, so I’m doing it alone now. Nice bottle of wine, fancy steak, pretty outfits, mood music, makeup, you get the idea. You can even have sex with yourself by lighting a candle and wearing pretty lingerie when you rub/buzz one out. Buy some pretty underwear and a fancy new vibrator. Whatever floats your boat! That deep, romantic, saturated energy can be enjoyed alone. In fact, I highly recommend it.

3. Engage your Talents.

Do something everyday that you know you are good at. It doesn’t matter what it is, just something that you can do and think to yourself “I am the shit at this”. It could be cooking, singing in the shower, doodling starburts, it could be blowing bubbles with your chewing gum or french braiding your hair–doesn’t matter, anything. It fuels the self-esteem little by little.

4. Lean into Social-Anxiety Feels.

My Hero.

My Hero.

Our culture over-values extroversion. We see going out and meeting people and being social as healthy, and staying home alone as cause for worry. I get where this comes from, but it’s not entirely true. If you feel like staying home because the thought of putting on a happy face to see all your friends at the bar just seems like too much – go with that. I once read that (non-clinical) depression developed in humans to help us solve our problems. We need quiet, we need solitude, we need to slow down enough to process and think about what has happened or what is happening. I don’t know how much I believe this, but I want to. It helps me feel like being home and alone sometimes isn’t a sign of something being gravely wrong with me, it is just a sign of healing.**

Side note for ladies with male exes– your recent ex-boyfriend/husband is probably already dating. It’s a generalization, I know, but dudes just seem to have an easier time jumping back into the scene so soon. That can be really hard to sit with sometimes. Sometimes we think “well, I’d feel better about him dating if I was dating too.” If you go on a date for this reason, I guarantee that date will feel awful and sad and lonely. TRUST ME. Basically, try not to compete with all the tail your ex is probably plowing through. It’s so often not worth it. If you do feel like dating, or getting laid, or going on a date just to hear someone tell you you’re pretty, that’s fine too. Try your best to listen to your little voice telling you what your motives for dating are, and follow that.

** If you haven’t left the house in two weeks, you’re skipping work constantly, and haven’t showered in more days than you can remember, maybe you’ve leaned too far into solitude. In this case, call a friend and have them come to you. It might be time to join the living a little bit. Use your judgement and intuition to assess.  

5. Find New Music

Break-up songs are necessary. “Going There Strong” by audiafauna is currently my open chested, tearful, fist-pump to the sky, “fuck-yes-I’m-going-to-be-ok!” song.

Here are some music suggestions to help you with your breakup:

“Soar” Christina Aguilera

“Going There Strong” by audiafauna

“Let Him Fly” by the Dixie Chicks (cover of Patty Griffin)

6. Crumble On The Floor Crying, As Needed.

Fuck it. Fuck everything. It all sucks, life feels over, and you’re going to collapse on the kitchen floor in randomly triggered sobs every once in a while and I’m giving you permission to feel fine about it. Because you have to go through the “break” part of the breakup. Your love resource, future family plans, social circle, travel plans, shared apartment, routines—most of that is gone, fucked, or broken. You’re allowed to cry about it. You’re allowed to crumble. Things have changed but not all the way yet. You’re in that murky swamp of transition where you’ve left where you’ve been, but you don’t know where you’ll land yet. It’s scary and lonely and sad, and it’s only after you’ve leaned into that emptiness that you can begin to slowly rebuild your life again healthfully. Even roses need shit to grow, as they say.

7. Accept Sucking at Work.

Maybe it’s just me, but this one sometimes hurts the most. Like, I already suck at love and now I suck at work too? I’m a double failure. We forget to call a client, or we’re late to a meeting, or we write a mediocre report. Details can get lost on us when we’re in a mild state of panic/pain. Inspiration and great ideas can feel difficult to access. Our head can be so loud that it’s hard to hear the reality around us. What went wrong? Remember that terrible thing he said to you that one time? What are you going to do about having babies?

This ruminating thought process is so distracting, and sometimes feels impossible to turn off. I call this the hamster wheel– the thoughts just keep going around and around and around but take you nowhere. Give yourself a break about it, accept that you’re in a hamster wheel kind of phase and know that it won’t last forever. We can’t be perfect at work or in other areas of life right now, and that’s ok. YOU are ok, just as you are.

When you’re ready, there are two great little mind tricks to get off the hamster wheel. One of my favorites is thinking: “I can think about this bullshit in five minutes from now. Right now I’m going to think about my favorite dish to make, or being at the beach.” The second favorite mind trick of mine is to actually imagine opening the hamster cage, calling the hamster by a new made-up name, taking him off the hamster wheel, holding him in my hands and petting him and soothing him and imagining this process for as long as possible. These are temporary relief, but they work in a pinch.

8. Hide Everyone You Need To On Facebook.

Breaking up with someone in the digital age ain’t easy. In the words of Liz Lemon, “there’s just so many devices for boys to not call you on now.”

We need new rules and ideas for how to deal with the social media breakup bull shit. Here’s what I did:

  1. I went through my facebook friend list and “unfollowed” all the mutual friends that might potentially post pictures of my exes. This is temporary, and I’ll probably only unfollow these friends for a few months. Your friends will understand that you might not be “liking” their pictures for a few months while their posts are hidden from your timeline.
  2. I unfriended all the friends that are only my ex’s friends.
  3. I also straight up unfriended one of my exes. Not in a passive aggressive way, like in my room with a bottle of wine in my hand in front of my computer and thinking TAKE THAT JERKFACE I HOPE YOU’RE HAPPY as I click the unfriend button. As much as I wanted to do it that way, I didn’t. I texted him and said, “hey, this is hard. I’m unfriending you to make things a little easier on my heart. I hope you understand.” Trust me, it’s worth it. Seeing your ex’s face or name pop up on your phone isn’t great and can come at the most inopportune times. Shield yourself in whatever way you need.

Also – if you’re like me and you’re kinda obsessive and curious, don’t just “unfollow” the ex because you can still see their page if you go directly to it— and you know your crazy ass will stalk their page too often. Just cut the (digital) cord.

9. Find a Temporary Binkie.

A binkie. A security blanket. Whatever you might call it – find one. It can literally be anything. For me right now, my binkie is Trader Joe’s Mandarin Sparkling Water. I don’t go anywhere without one. I keep a case in the back of my car at all times. Those bubbly sips fill me up and make me feel so warm and cozy and good. Plus it’s not ice cream or cigarettes or something, so I can feel healthy about my choice. But it doesn’t need to be food – it can be a crystal you wear around your neck, or a pretty stone you keep in your pocket, or even a stuffed animal from childhood that sits in your purse for a while. In a sea of change and newness, it’s a constant- a buoy to help you feel like you’re not drowning in that sea.

10. Pack A Bag.

You’re single now. Maybe you’re going on dates, maybe you’re hanging out with friends more often. Routines are perhaps interrupted these days, and it helps to be prepared. Everyday I’ve carried with me a bag packed with my makeup case, clean underwear, clean socks, and an unwrinklable work shirt because you just never know. A date might go super well and your next-day “stride of pride” could be just a little fresher. Or maybe you accidentally have a bit too much whisky while crying on the shoulder of your bestie and thusly can’t drive home even though it’s a work night. Having a little help to feel fresh and pretty the next day can lend a hand in alleviating the self-loathing that sometimes accompanies a midweek hangover.

11. Think About Your Ex From High School.

No, really. Remember how much that breakup hurt? Your adolescent brain thought it was the end of days. And now? You’re probably super over it. That pain eventually passes. Even the pain you might be in now, it will pass. You’ll get further and further away from all that you’ve been wrapped up in, and you’ll gain perspective and you’ll be happier for it.

12. Talk To Your Friends, Honestly.

This is an obvious one, but it can’t be said enough how much it helps to talk to people who know you and love you. They can remind you of your beauty, your bullshit, your love, your true self that can get a little lost in a breakup. They can support you and remind you you’re doing the right thing. For some people, this is family. For some people, this is friends. Whoever it is, go to them in all your vulnerable brokenness and lean in. They will catch you.

13. Fuck Everyone’s Advice. Even Mine.

Everyone has advice for you in a breakup. It can get annoying as hell. Several people and an emailed article from a friend told me to “Get out into nature! Fresh air! It will help!”

Fuck that. I did it and nature felt vast and cold and scary and unfamiliar and all I wanted to do was go home and hide under a warm blanket. Eventually nature will feel good again, but right now I’m trying to listen to that beautiful, tiny, little emerging voice inside that’s telling me how I need to care for myself. She got kind of quiet in the final year of my unhealthy relationship. But she’s also the one that eventually got me out of it. So let’s give her some credit, do our best to listen to her, and continue to grow stronger together. You’re your best mentor. You’ve got this.

Posted in Life List | 4 Comments