Dearest readers, I hope this blog post finds you well and enjoying whatever version of winter is gracing your air. I am coming off the kind of week that throws you in a good way. Being in Boston during the “snowstorm of historic proportions” was such an unexpected treasure. As an admittedly “type-A” personality, having a transportation ban force me to sit still with the quiet of a normally bustling city was just really….grounding. I was lucky enough to have some company and, in between that sitting still, got to spend the day catching up on work, making delicious food, playing scrabble, kitten-cuddling, drinking hot toddies, and watching way too many episodes of this strangely addictive show.
I am also writing you from the other side of 30. I have had some really lovely celebrations with a couple more to come, and I am feeling grateful for everything that has gotten me to and through these past three decades of life. <3
And now, the Friday Five!
If you haven’t already been exposed to the unmatched comfort that is Dear Sugar (or Cheryl Strayed in other forms), now is your chance. I recommend that every human read Tiny Beautiful Things, a book that is composed of letters from Strayed’s Rumpus advice column, and now there is an opportunity to listen to the same voice (plus the voice of the original Sugar, Steve Almond) on a weekly podcast. So far there are only two episodes, but already I am feeling that feeling I crave more and more….that, ‘someone gets it’-feeling. They talk about love and loss and sex and body image and family and just all the life stuff. The Sugars engage with letter writers’ dilemmas with heart and “radical empathy.” Hope you find some time to tune in too. <3
Sexism is Making Women Sick (TW: sexual violence)
Well, add this to the list of things I could have told you without a scientific study: living in fear, on a daily basis, that you may be attacked or harassed is bad for your mental and even physical health. Researchers found a substantive “link between physical safety concerns and psychological distress” when studying the impact of the various forms of harassment and threats women experience on a daily basis. Studies like these, and the discussions they encourage, lead Jessica Valentti to ask, “What does living with the fear of rape do to your mental well-being over time? What diagnosis do you give to the shaking hands you can’t stop after a stranger whispers “pussy” in your ear on your way to work?” If you are a woman, you may be reacting viscerally to even just these questions because you know the descriptions all too well. Valentti concludes, “There’s no vaccination we can get or drug we can take to lessen the impact that sexism has on women’s everyday lives. But perhaps recognizing just how sick it is making us – and that the damage it causes runs deep – we can start to convince others to take sexism (and the misogyny behind it) more seriously.”
This article was so inspiring to read. Leah Penniman discusses a number of organizations that are using farming as a means of challenging racial injustice, including the Freedom Farm Alliance, Project Growth, and Soul Fire Farm. Penniman looks at the history of movements that connected land and food to liberation, and notes, “If we are to create a society that values black life, we cannot ignore the role of food and land. I believe that black people’s collective experience with slavery and sharecropping has created an aversion to the land and a sense that the land itself is an oppressor. The truth is that without good land and good food we cannot be truly free.” These orgs are making sure this truth is known.
The upcoming Super Bowl is making me think about all those staple (theme-appropriate) comfort foods, and so of course vegan chili is on my mind. I love sweet potato chili and this version from The Simple Veganista sounds delicious!
Stuff from the Week That Made Me Happy
snow days; yoga; sculpt; teaching my social movements class and seeing students get pretty psyched about our discussion of radical vs. mainstream approaches (even if they aren’t siding with where I hope quite yet…); saved by the bell hooks; pema; kitten; montreal; friends’ good news (engagements! job opportunities! workplace victories!); my mom finally feeling a little less sick (she’s been fighting a horrendous months-long cold/cough); reflection (which admittedly also sometimes made me feel sad, but also happy); youtube workout videos (always, but especially weeks when it’s hard to get out of the house); green tea.
What made you happy this week? Have a great weekend! xoxo