1/25/15

homemade scarf.








After our mini-blizzard this weekend and in preparation for the incoming storm Monday night, being cozy has been at the forefront of my mind. Weekends always turn me into a hermit and this past one was no exception; J and I went out Saturday morning to run errands and that was the extent of my socializing. I lived in yoga pants, sweaters, and the occasional jean-and-scarf combo.

The weekend seems the most fulfilling to me when I spend it at home accomplishing things. For someone who seeks redemption through solitude I'm quite the busy bee. Over the past two days I finished another chapter in my synopsis, J and I planned and practiced our set list for next week's show, I cleaned the house, sorted the laundry, made chili and pumpkin cookies, and laid my ass on the couch for long periods of time to watch FRINGE. What kinds of stuff do you guys do on the weekend? 

and I also took the time to drink comical amounts of coffee and hang out with my cat while wearing a beautiful scarf. You know, typical weekend stuff. ;)

This scarf was a gift from a friend of mine. J and I had been to their house on Friday night to play Cards Against Humanity and, of course, I wore this scarf and then I wore it again today. The color is vibrant, a perfect accent piece, and hella soft. 

Oh, and, my fat cat Leon says hi! He is a slug in cat form who thinks the snow wants to play with him.

love,
a




1/22/15

Let's talk layering.



Ugly colors balanced out by a neutral with a surprise pop. 

turtleneck -- thrifted.
puke sweater -- thrifted.
green jacket -- thrifted.


Keep the length of your sleeves in mind with chambray, a yellow over sweater, and an ocelot top. 

Chambray -- thrifted.
ocelot sweater -- thrifted.
yellow over sweater -- target sale rack.




Keep it fresh and fun with quirky prints from head to waist. 

Bow jacket -- thrifted.
cat sweater -- thrifted.
orange button-up -- thrifted.



The vest is back with more pattern mixing than ever before. 

sweater -- thrifted.
scarf -- thrifted.
striped vest -- thrifted.



Flaunt a show-stopping necklace with a dark turtleneck and loose overshirt. 

turtleneck -- thrifted.
overshirt -- thrifted.
necklace -- AlterEchos on Etsy!



Happy Winter! It's currently approaching below zero here. 

love,
a



1/19/15

Five.





He did not put out the cigarette when asked to. 

He said, in a voice filled with texture from too many sleepless nights, in a voice with mountains and valleys, in a voice that skated the plane between sarcasm and sincerity, that he was only presentable when drunk or full of fresh nicotine. You wouldn't like me otherwise, he claimed. 

"Do you always make light of dangerous and unhealthy behavior?" The therapist asked. 

He took another drag. "See?" He answered, blowing smoke towards the perfectly white ceiling, lips curling into a smile. "You don't like me already. I've gotta finish this off to give myself a fighting chance. "

The therapist's pointed gaze followed his trail. She said nothing. 

"I like to finish what I start." He added. 

Her nails clicked on the clipboard. The crease between her manicured brows deepened the further his exhale climbed towards the fake flying buttresses that kept the room together. The office was pristine, one color from top to bottom, only punctuated by tasteful metallics and hints of blue. She sat square in the middle, the queen of her hive, the furniture gathered around her like faithful worker ants.

The white walls were commanding, almost overpowering. The smoke brought them down to his level.

"You will put that out or you will leave." She said. "It's your choice."

He let the cigarette suspend in his hand for a moment. It teetered between his options.

"You're lucky you let me smoke for this long. I'm agreeable now." He said, deciding that the final resting place for his cancer stick should be the heavy coaster that sat so perfectly in the middle of the glass table. "That looked expensive."

Her voice was smooth, polished as the blonde strands that lay flat against her motionless head. "Thank you. I'm sure we can work out a fair payment plan for it."

He caught her eye for the first time.There was no tenderness or concern, no symphony of pity that he was used to cushioning himself against when his ass felt foreign in doctor's chairs. She was sharp. He would need to strike first before she impaled him.

"I'm poor and I don't care." He said.

"It sounds like you have trouble embracing responsibility for your actions." His shot had missed and she clicked her pen, face frozen. "That will be a great point to revisit later, but we really need to discuss your choices lately."

He leaned back in the chair, feet clunking on the table. It wobbled under his weight. "Whatever you want. Should I start with the first time my mother hit me or the first time she brought a john home?"

"We need to talk about things that are real, Adam." She retorted.

He should have been prepared for her candor but it punched him in the chest. His laugh was guttural, congratulating her on the professionalism she put forth. "Cold-hearted cynicism is the same thing as professional, right?" He asked.  He piled more iron behind his heart and, with a deep inhale that should have been on the end of his cigarette, started from the beginning.

"I was drinking when I first met her -- you know, how all my shitty decisions start -- on the lip of a glass then the lips of a whore --"

"Quick note before you continue, Adam: if she engages in intercourse with you and that makes her a whore, in your eyes, doesn't that make you a whore as well? I mean, by virtue of you two enjoying the same activity." The Therapist said.

"It's different." He shot back.

Her lips were far from thin but they stretched across her face in a controlled smile. "Because of your gender? Or are you applying your own moral smokescreen because of how this made you feel?"

"Are you going to let me talk?" He snapped, the blood bubbling behind his ears. He had always hated how they flushed red along the rims. They betrayed him when he had trained the rest of his face to remain stoney. "Or are you going to judge me for my feelings like a good little therapist?"

The room was silent.

She breathed into her high-backed chair and switched the leg which rested on bottom. "Your social judgements have led you into a lot of messes, Adam. I'm only trying to encourage you to question them."

"Please stop." He said, curling into a fist because he thought the middle finger too extreme.

"Fine." She clicked her pen again. "Continue."

The couch that rejected him now curled into his back, supporting his elbow. "Like I said," He began again. " The lips of a glass then the lips of a whore."

I was drinking when I first met her. She wasn't. She was perched on the bar stool, in a bright red whore flag, her glass balanced between thumb and forefinger. She had this way of pinching things to create control -- the tighter she held the more secure she felt. She had lots of control issues, you know, for people and things. She refused to set her drink down without a napkin. She refused to kiss me when I was drunk. She made me give her my goddamn number and she texted me a few days later  later when I was sober. 

I called her a few times after we texted.  We both weren't much for talking over the airwaves. There was always silence. I suppose that should have been a clue for where our relationship was headed.

"You prefer to see someone when you talk to them. Eye contact is very important." The therapist interjected.

"Am I going to actually get to the good part of the story or not?" He snapped. "There was plenty of eye contact later."

It was much easier to talk to her in person. We talked about everything. She would dive in headfirst to whatever conversation I brought up. She wasn't afraid. She wasn't afraid of anything. She wasn't afraid to be a total bitch. "Get your head out of your ass," was her favorite phrase. She never even gave me a chance not to be an ass, you know? Not that I'm not an asshole. 

At least you let me smoke a cigarette in here. 

You know, she was always f*ckin' on me about that. It was like one of the first things she said to me. I was standing outside, minding my own damn business, when she comes up behind me and rattles off facts about cancer. I know what cancer is. You think I'm unaware of what I put in my mouth? 

That was a sex joke, by the way.

"Adam, I'm perfectly aware of what a sex joke is." The therapist titled her head to one side, face and voice matching up in a smooth line.

He had to let out a laugh. "Maybe we should switch and you should feed me your sob story because you seem to have a lot of opinions."

The room darkened but her face remained mellow. She had a question mark gaze.

"I'm hearing a lot of resistance to women with opinions." She said. "Do you want to explore that?"

His skin rippled. There was no weather with her, no scorching storm or frozen glare. The temperature remained constant. Unnervingly so. She was a wasteland in need of a flash flood before it all crumbled into dust.  "Not if you want to talk about real things." He said."Let's talk about real things. You want to know what's real? How many times I got laid."

The first time we had sex was on my kitchen table. She was over for dinner and I was pretending I could cook. She still held her wine in that pinched way but this time she drank it deeply, letting it spill over her lips and she laughed -- she laughed when she got some on her shirt -- She wasn't even that hard to conquer. She could pretend that her buttons protested but she melted like butter over the 
fire --

The words hit a wall when his chest heaved. He hadn't thought it was too soon to speak of it. The flames that had melted her crawled up his arms and he brought them together, folded like a barrier. This was the way he dealt with it. He kept it in.

"Adam?" The therapist rumbled from her throne.

"I'm fine." Concern was not the reaction he wanted. He waved it away, the pesky vermin it was. "I'm fine."

Her voice softened a bit, just around the edges. It chopped instead of slicing straight through. "According to your timeline, it was only a few months before you had trouble." She said.

"We're just going to skip over the part where I'm a sex god, huh?" He knew his voice was weak. This was no time to abandon ship. Wars were never won by licking your wounds.

We became attached at the genitals. It bored me soon after, though. You know the kind of girl. Easy in, easy out.  Before you wave that timeline in my face, a professional like yourself has got to know I was in a very different state of mind when making that for the good doctor.

Yes, I'm aware of what I said. It's not correct. 

Yes, I mind if you read it. 

Do not read that out loud. 

The therapist seemed oddly comfortable spilling forth his heart. "She was never sick. She called out of work for me and we stayed in bed all day, making love. I thought I could drown in her love. I thought it was a place I could stay in forever."

Stop.

Stop.

"Stop." He said.

"Can we discuss the change of heart? Or, rather, state of mind, as you put it?" She retorted.

"Um, I'm a man who says whatever he can to get sex?" He mumbled. It sounded feeble even to his own ears.

"You didn't say these things to your ex-girlfriend, Adam. You said them to the doctor at Mercy General. She wasn't there. There wasn't a sexual reason for you to say these things. I want you to confront your reasons. They have seemed to do you a lot of harm lately."

"Opinions change."

"This was five days ago, Adam." The therapist waved the paper, which, despite being white, was anything but a flag of peace.

His crossed arms weren't doing their job and he met her gaze. "I don't want to talk about it. I'm going to move on now."

The room, which fluctuated between too small and too vast, settled into an ocean between them.

"Very well." She said. "Continue."

"Thank You. I'll refer to my melodramatic timeline and start when my mother showed up to meet her without warning." He said.

Like, I've always been told women marry their mothers but holy shit I had no idea what I was in for. I thought I'd escaped the harpy by hiding myself in that shithole of an apartment but, no, she smelled fresh blood. She couldn't stay away. What is that animal that eats their young? Chimpanzee? 

My mother found pity in the ex-girlfriend. I refused to go out but, after a day and night spent together when she seemed unusually quiet, my red dress whore turned over to me and said that I needed to see my mother. I needed to. Like she knew the inside of me so damn well.

"That must have hurt. You said you felt like you lost an ally to a enemy." The therapist skimmed her finger down the timeline. She tapped the offending space and looked up, her question mark eyes now exclamation points. "Do you think she was only doing that to help you?"

"If she thought I needed my mother she didn't know me at all." He said.

No, she wouldn't have understood. Everyone worshipped the ground she walked on in her home. She was spoiled with love. That's probably why it was easy to throw mine away. Privileged people are the most ungrateful. 

Yes, I do mean that she threw me away. 

No, that's not interesting. 

"I would like to explore your word choice." The therapist stated. "thrown away implies that you think of yourself as garbage."

"It's an expression. I stole it. Remember, I'm an asshole." His eyes darted to the timeline. He should have kept his mouth shut and taken the confinement. He should not have supplied ammunition to the enemy.

A single strand fell near her temple, a crack in the flawless outline, and some emotion escaped with it. "I don't think you're an asshole, Adam." The therapist said.

Sadness was a trap. He had found himself leaning forward in his chair and he drew back. It was not as welcoming as before. The buttons pricked his spine, reminding him where he didn't belong. "I don't think of myself as garbage." He continued.

If anything I was the recycling bin -- put trash in, feel better about yourself for a little while. I could taste it the whole time, you know? You can sense dishonesty. Liars are sweet at first but the aftertaste is bitter. I had given up by the end. 

I could see it coming because she started to question a lot of things. We used to fight every day but I could take her down with one kiss and she'd fall into me as an excuse to make it stop. Easy in, easy out. She started to make it harder. Or, rather, she didn't make it harder because her nagging didn't make me want to bend her over the counter. 

Too graphic?

"Sexuality is a normal human experience. It ties into our everyday lives constantly." The therapist was unperturbed. "You asked for my opinion just now. Why?"

He had been resting his chin in his hand, maintaining a straight line of sight, but her arrow of a question broke it. " I didn't." He said.

"You asked me if your description of losing your sexual attraction to your ex-girlfriend was too graphic. It wasn't, by the way." She said.

"It was rhetorical. I was trying to make you uncomfortable. I'm an asshole." He retorted. "Damn, sometimes a figure of speech is just a figure of speech."

"It was first time you tried to include me in your monologue. I wondered why." The therapist's hand skated over his timeline once more. How the hell did she keep every single nail on her hand the same length? There was not one chip. Evolution, he supposed. A hunter has to keep their claws sharp for the prey. "Your timeline has a very different opinion on why you stopped sleeping together. Can you explain your change of mind?"

"I'm an addict. I want things that aren't good for me." He said.

"So you felt compelled to stay? You weren't driven away by her opinions? Which one is it, Adam?"

"I wasn't driven away by her opinions I was driven away because she was a f*cking bitch." His voice rang against the coffee table, drowning out the fan tirelessly working in the window, and came back to slap him in the face.

The therapist adjusted herself in the chair. She clicked the pen twice, despite it already being ready to write. "Which one, Adam,"

He was put in place by the barbed-wire stare. He toyed with it like a cat. His hands bled.

"Both." His heart bled.

I told you, I'm an addict. You've got my records in that manilla folder, don't you? I want things that aren't good for me and even when I know they aren't good, or I don't need them anymore, I can't walk away. In my mind we had already left each other. I was a shell the last time we slept together. I don't remember a thing.

Her hair. Her eyes. Her left arm with the wine-colored birthmark. Her waist that nipped in slowly, a rewarding valley for climbing her hips. Her brain, a jumble of tunnel and twisted memories she was never afraid of. Her name.

She told me it wasn't healthy. She said that while lying on top of me, that goddamned hair getting in my mouth all the goddamned time. It was just like her, too, to put me in a vulnerable position and wait for the perfect moment to fire. Hot arrows pierce flesh better. 

She told me we weren't right. She blubbered and I felt sorry for her, being so consumed, so involved. She said the back-and-forth was exhausting, nevermind how being with her was exhausting. She didn't ask me if the relationship felt wrong, she told me the relationship was wrong for me. She told me she had to do what was best. 

"The implication is that you thought you were already doing what was best." The therapist said.

His eyes traced her hairline. The stray strand has been smoothed in place and was lost in the perfect curve. "I'm an addict and she was a facade. How much better do you think we could do?"

There was no chance. There was no choice. I never had a choice and she never had a chance. I was a pawn. She left me in that bed and walked to my right. I have no idea if she grabbed her clothes or headed straight out in a sheet; I didn't turn my head to see. I couldn't. I was already a shell. 

The back of his neck ached. Sitting in bed for hours, eyes glued to the ceiling, hands curled into a fist against a cold blanket. will develop muscle memory faster than exercise. Grief is not a flood but a gas that permeates surface and crawls into corners, soaks the sheets and rots the food. He couldn't sweat it out or wash it out; the hot water was supposed to open his skin and burn her touch away, but he would still close his eyes and trace the exact pattern her hand left on his chest. He was a liar who forced food down his throat only to sit in his stomach like a stone, mumbling to everyone, I feel much better now, when in reality he had no idea how to scrub her tongue from his teeth.

Her hair. Her eyes. Her left arm with the wine-colored birthmark. Her waist that nipped in slowly, a rewarding valley for climbing her hips. Her brain, a jumble of tunnel and twisted memories she was never afraid of. Her name.

He couldn't do this.

"I'm hearing a lot of contradictions, Adam. I think in order to help you heal yourself we need to talk about what happened last week." The therapist folded his timeline neatly and slid it on the table between them. "I would like you to take some deep breaths and walk me through. Take as much time as you need."

He shouldn't have picked an apartment so near the ground. That would have made it so simple. The closer he walked to the bridge the tighter his feet felt with the earth. His shoes were too heavy. He had left them by the bench overlooking the harbor, toes pointed west, the direction he would slowly slip under.

"Adam?" She said.

Gravel and dirt, pebbles to metal. He heard the siren before he saw the lights. He teetered on his own, leaning forward, but the pull that brought him back was not voluntary.

Her hair. Her eyes. Her left arm with the wine-colored birthmark. Her waist that nipped in slowly, a rewarding valley for climbing her hips. Her brain, a jumble of tunnel and twisted memories she was never afraid of. Her name.

He wanted to take it under with him so he pulled his lips apart as he faced the water, but he never got the chance to offer it up. A rough hand, when finding that the shirt was not giving way fast enough, wound around his hair and heaved. He cried out her name while the others chanted his. He screamed loud enough to overtake them. He mumbled his way through police officers, paramedics, and doctors

"Alexis." He breathed.

The therapist, who had been studiously putting her pen to paper, accidentally punched a whole, a tiny rip, in her notebook and her composure. "Excuse me?" She said.

Her body followed the path of her wing-backed chair, embracing the gentle curves stitched together by bony ankles and elbows. He looked her up and down, allowing himself the leisure of memory. Her hair was shorter now, and it hid behind her ears instead of hiding them.

"Alexis." He said.

Her eyes had not changed. Despite her hair being so fragile her eyes were strong and glassy as an ocean, rimmed in suspicion, regarding him through dark curtains of lashes. They looked at him the same.

"Adam." She said. "No."

"Alexis, please."

"Adam, you said you could do this." Her posture snapped into defense mode; knees together, arms clasped into a shield in front of her chest, nails digging into her arms. "You said this would be closure."

The couch rejected him completely and he pushed his body to the edge, hands gripping the coffee table, arms and chest wide. He opened up the more she shrunk inward.

"I can't." He said.

Alexis drew in a sharp breath, one that hurt his lungs, and stood. She braced herself with the clipboard and took a few steps back, crossing behind the chair and outlining her frame in the window. "You need to leave." She said. "You need more help than I can give. I tried to do your mother a favor but -- I can't. I just can't. That's something we finally have in common."

"Alexis, please."

"My name is Doctor James!" She spun around, her eyes open wide for the first time that day. He could see everything in the star burst around them, the same star that used to lay against his chest, tug at his hair, thread her fingers within his whenever his own thoughts became too loud. "You tried to jump." She continued, her eyes and voice shrinking. The thought was apparently too much and a tear declared victory over her stubborn cheek.

He stood. Instead of gravel and dirt his death-walk was wood and carpet.

"Did you take your clothes when you left?"

She held out a hand to stop him. She turned away as if to hide from his whisper. Her shaking breaths followed her from the office and, with a gust of wind and crackle of wood, she slammed the door on her way out.




"Do you know how long it takes to hit the water when you jump from a bridge?"

Alexis closed the book in her lap and turned over on the blanket, letting the sun sketch her nose and eyelashes. She was golden in the light, bathed in whatever the opposite of his reality was. She was happy. 

"No." He replied. "How long?"

She giggled as he wrapped her in his arms. She had always fit perfectly in that space between chest and chin, and even now he couldn't stop himself  from playing a tune on her spine. She was strong in her vulnerability. 

"Time changes depending on who perceives it, so there's no real definitive answer. But people -- you know, who have survived, they say that you count in your head." She answered. "My thesis is going to be on survivors and how listening to their five-count thought process can help those at risk."

"God, you're smart." He whispered into her ear. "I can't wait to make love to an actual doctor."

She snorted at him and sat up, clutching her psychology book. "I haven't even told you the number yet." 

"What is it?" He asked.

She tilted her head to one side. "Promise me you won't ever try it." She said. "That would kill me. Do whatever you can to get help."

He found himself in her eyes, curved around the pupil, a distorted frame that paled in comparison to how straight and narrow she was. It was all he could do to better himself to stand by her side.

"Of course not." He said, and took her hand, threading finger by finger until they were stronger together. He laughed. "I'm an addict, Alexis, not inherently self-destructive."





1.

Take a step up.

2.

Balance against the beam.

3.

Breathe in the air. The water is close. It's so high up.

4.

I'm so selfish. You always knew, didn't you, love? You saved yourself when you realized it wasn't your job to save me. You were right all along.

Alexis.

What would you like me to do, darling?

Do you know how long I can count before I hit the water?

5.

I made it to five.

1/14/15

Steps.







I alternate between days of many clothes and then days of simplicity. 

I was reading on a blog the other day that understated is the next big thing in fashion. 

It would sure save me a lot of money on clothes.

;)

love,
a

vintage striped dress -- thrifted!
boots -- thrifted!
Necklace -- thrifted!
watch and bracelet -- gifts. 


1/11/15

The top six ways Feminism has helped men, as told by me and my husband, who is a man.


One of the understandable complaints I have heard about Feminism is its misandrist treatment of the privileged sector ( you can find an eye-opening checklist explaining male privilege and what it is here. ). When you take a gander at Feminist sites, blogs, and facebook groups, it's easy to assume that we all hate men and have daddy issues -- but you all know what they say about assuming. 

They say it makes the truth harder to find. What? 
What were you thinking?

Ah, stock photos. 

Being a fiery Feminist and someone in possession of a terrific male husband, this assumption bothers me quite a lot. I would never want to be a part of a movement that actively hurts someone I love. Believe me, Feminism is not just a train I jumped on because it was fun and popular. It was something I took the time to research and evaluate.

Without further ado.

1.Feminism promotes satisfying romantic relationships.
It's no secret that a heteronormative worldview claims that all Feminists are hairy, smelly, sexually unavailable, emotionally stunted misandrists who would like nothing more than to squash any notion of male-female happiness in a romantic relationship. 


The terrifying Feminist in their natural habitat, ready to squash the human male just out of frame. 

The first thing I need to clear up is that, yes, there are heterosexual Feminists who do not agree with/want monogamous relationships and who would never get married. The second thing I need to clear up is that for some of the Feminists (read: me and every other Feminist I know personally), Feminism has had an overwhelmingly positive effect on our romantic relationships.

I was not a Feminist when I got married. As I examine my life philosophies between then and now, I can clearly see a discrepancy in what I expected from myself and my husband. Society tells women that, if we dare to choose a job outside of the home, we are still expected to keep the house in tip-top shape, cook amazing meals, have a dazzling social life and interesting hobbies, and always be down for sex whenever the hubby feels like it. It was exhausting. 

Feminism, on the other hand, told me that all chores and relationship expectations should be divided equally. When I started applying Feminist principles to housework and errands, I found our home life much more harmonious and appreciated. Splitting up the chores equally made J and I both feel like we should proud of our home and the responsibilities we shared. It also takes resentment and nagging out of the equation when men ascribe to Feminist principles, because they are aware of the cultural inequality and can see their partner's reminders as a request for fairness instead of whining. 

Also, sex. You can't talk about romantic relationships without admitting how important sex is, unless the relationship is between two Asexuals, and even then, intimacy is still a big factor. Patriarchal sexual roles take a lot of fun out of what is supposed to be an amazing experience for couples. Feminism is responsible for the sex-positive, liberated expression that so many couples can now enjoy. (NOTE: I am aware that some extreme feminists say that heterosexual sex is rape. Not only is this very backwards in assuming only penetrative sex "counts", it discounts a lot of experiences of women who enjoy sex. As such, I do not consider it a productive feminist philosophy and ignore it) In fact, as it turns out, Feminism directly impacts heterosexual couple's sex live for the better. It's no wonder to me, because as Feminism regularly preaches sexual health, honest sexual communication, freedom of sexual expression, and crushes the standard woman-submissive, man-aggressive (unless you're into that. Have it it!) monopoly that seems to have seized a lot of marriage books lately. 

Feminism is also decidedly anti-racism and anti-homophobia so if a man wants to marry someone of a different race, or the same gender, or a mixture of the two, then guess what? You have Feminism's support to lead whatever kind of romantic life you want.

So, to recap: equally divided chores, mutual respect, less nagging, better sex, love whoever you want. 



2. Feminism gave men permission to become unabashedly active in their children's lives and to remove the stigma of men being the inadequate parent. 

Obviously no one outright says that men are considered secondary parents in our society. That would make it to easy for everyone to revolt. So they do it subliminally by making sure we all view and judge woman as primary caregivers. We all do it. I do it without thinking at work, and have to stop myself in little ways, like calling the mother first when their child is sick, or judging the mother WAY more harshly for having a day to themselves.

Feminism says that your genitals/gender identity has no bearing on whether or not you would make a good parent. Feminists have regularly fought for dependant care deductions for single dads, and paternity leave for new dads. Feminists also believe that men deserve to take time off to care for their family and support policies that enable them to do so. Feminism also demands that we remove the stereotype that dad's should do all the harsh discipline and not tend to children's emotional needs. 

Feminism also says that being an "okay" dad is not cause for celebration. We, as a society, tend to view a little effort on a dude's part as a massive sacrifice. We judge women for not packing children organic lunches after they've woken them up, cleaned them, packed them for school, gotten them out the door, and drove them to school before they themselves had to go to work, but we see a man at the park for not even an hour with his children and we lose our minds over how "awesome" that is. 

Feminism says that there are amazing dad's in the world and we recognize how important it is for fathers to be involved as much as mothers are in their child's lives. Feminism says we need to support all parents who are doing their best but we also need to expect as much effort from men as women, and we should either praise women WAY more for what they do or dial back on the men. This, in turn, means that we need to fully support and appreciate stay-at-home dads and not shame them for somehow being "less manly" by taking care of their children. 

oh god so shameful take this degrading picture away from me. 

So, to recap: benefits for single dads, more time with baby, respect stay-at-home dads, empowering men to step up their daddy-ing game. 


3.Feminism says it is not shameful for a man to be a victim of/seek help for issues the Patriarchy usually considers "female problems."

I can't tell you how many times I heard that J was "less of a man" because he was in touch with his emotions and suffered from depression. The danger of strict gender roles comes in the form of hypermasculinity, where we pretend that men are all slobbering, stonewalling, hypersexual beasts who never experience those weak "female" emotions or fall victim to "female" issues. The Patriarchy assumes that women are less than man, so it is shameful (and impossible) for men and women to share the same issues in life. 

Feminism says that your genitals/gender identity do not change the availability of emotions, mental state, or tragedies you may endure. Just because you were born with a ding-dong does not mean you are not allowed to access the whole spectrum of life. Feminism says that men can suffer from anorexia and body image issues, because thanks to hypermasculinity we are trained to see muscular men as the ideal physique. Feminism says that yes, men can be raped and it happens a lot in professions that are notorious for excluding and assaulting women. Feminism says that men are not mindless slaves to their sex drives and that, since rape is about power and not actually about sexual desire, we need to stop shaming rape survivors, no matter their gender. 

So, to recap: men deserve recognition and help for their disorders, men deserve healing and support when recovering from rape, because it can happen to anyone. 



4. Feminism says that jobs don't have gender. 

Male nurses are still disrespected and derided for their choice of occupation. Textbooks continue to actively focus on teaching as a female occupation, and daycare centers and childcare businesses have a startling female-to-male worker ratio. Women are discouraged and questioned from seeking out certain jobs due to the social perception of them being maternal, and on the flip side, men are pushed (not as much as women, but still) into certain jobs based on our limited perceptions of masculinity.

Feminism says that your genitals/gender identity have no bearing on what kind of job you should have. Women are not inherently better at working with children and men are not inherently better at manual labor. Feminism say if you want a job, go get the the training for that job, then get that job. 

Yay! We both work in healthcare but I hope people won't assume our specific professions based on our gender alone!

J is a very talented musician and I have noticed that the less open-minded a person is, the more they will scoff at his dream to play music professionally. Don't get me wrong, I certainly expect him to have a job and pay his fair share for our lives -- but I don't look down on him for having a hobby that requires him to save and spend a lot of money on music equipment, time traveling to shows, etc. Before I was a feminist I used to laugh at the idea of wanting to do an art professionally, but now that I'm aware of the many ways society has programmed me to see men in non-labor professions as less than, I recognise that it is no more silly for J wanting to play guitar in a stadium than it is for a girl to want to dance ballet professionally, and I am wrong to scoff at either. 



5. Feminism rallies behind, and supports, rights for LGBTQIA men, disabled men, and men in the racial minority. 

I mentioned and provided a link in the first paragraph about privilege. I feel it's important to bring it up again in my fifth point because in order to understand how Feminism has helped these groups, you should know why they deserve recognition in the first place. So I'm here to break down some of the prerequisites and terms you will hear when people discuss privilege

You obviously know what it means when they say someone is white. Caucasian. Light-skinned. But what you might not know is that African-Americans are receive harsher sentences than Caucasians for the same crimes? Or that, by and large, racial minorities are paid less? When talking about white privilege, Buzzfeed says it best. Because White people are offered a whole lot more by society, it's important for feminists to call out entrenched racism and rally behind racial minorities when it comes to things like education and healthcare access, the justice system, and social perceptions. Race is a feminist issue

Being straight also affords a lot of privilege. I am asexual, J is bisexual, and yet we are afforded straight privilege because we married each other: We won't be killed for our appeared orientation, no one is telling us our appeared sexuality isn't real, and our marriage is respected in all 50 states. If we take it away, though, to talk about our individual sexuality, J and I have both experienced some disbelief and discrimination for our orientations. We have both been told (behind our back), by people we thought liked us, that our orientations aren't real or are going to send us to hell. Homophobia is a feminist issue. Feminists are tireless on the front lines of breaking down stigmas and unfair laws about the LGBTQIA community -- just visit your nearest gay rights tumblr or instagram if you have any doubts. 

Ableism is a fairly new social justice issue. For too long, disabled individuals have been ignored by all sorts of social justice groups. They have been reduced to lesser beings who do not feel as able-bodied people do. Not only is this degrading, it is exclusionary; I wrote a blog post a while back about how feminist is important for everyone, and in it, I included an example about why assuming men should hold open doors for women is wrong -- what if the guy was in a wheelchair and could not physically hold open the door? Does he deserve to feel less-than because of his level of ability? Ableism is a feminist issue. -- not only physical disabilities but mental disabilities as well. 

So, to recap: If you are a gay, bisexual, asexual, queer, or transgender man (or even masculine-presenting genderqueer or genderfluid) feminists have got your back. If you have a physical or mental disability, feminists have got your back. If you are a racial minority, feminists have got your back.




6. And finally, Feminism says you have the right to express yourself however the hell you want.

At the risk of sounding like a whiner, I do have to admit that the amount of snide remarks and judgement J and I have received for having tattoos and counterculture appearance is way higher than I think it should be in the United States in 2014/2015 (and we're pretty mild as far as that goes, so I can only imagine how it must be for others.) Behind our back, someone has said that they "have no idea why someone would inject ink into their skin to permanently scars themselves. That's stupid." And then there was the conversation where someone was trying to tell me about the unprofessional look of body art, where they asked me three times to choose between someone with tattoos and someone without them to perform a job, flabbergasted when I replied that the appearance didn't matter to me. And then there's always the assumption that J and I are irresponsible with our money because instead of buying lots of dinners or clothes, we save for tattoos. 

While it's true that women with body mods get WAY more flak than men, men are still routinely judged for daring to have an appearance outside the norm.
"Anytime a job has asked me to cover up my tattoos or my ears just because they don't like the way they look. Anytime someone has criticized me for spending my money on tattoos instead of something I'll actually want in the long run, When people ask about my stretched ears, expecting an explanation, and when I explain it to them, they make this face, this grossed-out face. In high school, I didn't want to have my head shaved to match the ridiculous dress code so I had to settle for a bowl cut that GOD FORBID graze my ears or eyebrows. Or when I was younger and got made fun of for wearing skinny jeans. Or when older people tell me to "Get a boy's haircut" because the top half of my hair is long."
--- J.

 I'm irresponsible, low-class, and unintelli-- 
oh wait. You have no way or knowing that because you don't actually KNOW me, you're just making society-driven judgements based on my choice of self-expression. Awkward. 


There are a thousand ways to express yourself. Wear that cartoon-character shirt. Wear that baseball cap. Wear those tripp pants. Wear that stained hoodie when you go outside because you owe it to no one to look your best 100% of the tine. Get tattoos. Dye and cut your hair however you want. Grow a beard. Don't grow a beard. Manscape as much as you want without it affecting your sexuality. Read that anime in public. Join that choral club. Be an outspoken vegetarian. Paint with bright colors. You and only you are the final authority on how to express yourself. 

In short:

Hang in there, guys. I know it seems like feminism really isn't for you, or even against you, but I assure you it's not the case. Once you get to REALLY understand feminist issues, I assure you, there is always room for more allies. <3

love,
a
and her extremely-willing feminist husband, J. 


1/3/15

Vegan Sweets and Healthy Treats!


For someone who doesn't have much of a sweet tooth, I sure make a lot of dessert. 

The more that I read about nutrition, the more passionate I become about healthy food. As a result I've eliminated a lot of things from my diet that aren't the best for me (read: most things but coffee. Give me coffee.), white sugar being one of them. The excessive amount of sugar humans consume has been linked to pretty crappy stuff. After becoming vegan I was plugged into a lot of blogs and sites that promoted processed sugar alternatives, which in turn has made me addicted to finding ways to embrace good food while still slathering my taste buds in yummyness. 


Yes! Gross bananas. 

Seriously, though, the star of this milkshake recipe is indeed the banana, one of the only foods I specifically eat when it's close to being bad.  



For this recipe you'll need a blender and excitement about blending things.


Gather two extremely ripe bananas, frozen.
2 tablespoons cocoa powder.
about 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup (our sugar replacement! You may need more or less to taste.).
1 tsp. vanilla. 
1/4 cup peanut butter. I know, I know, I used crappy peanut butter. Don't be me.
1 1/2 cup non-dairy milk. I prefer almond milk. 



Blend, baby, blend. 



Overall, the milkshake was divine. The texture was perfect, and J -- notorious for hating the texture of most imitation vegan food -- made the point to drink it with much slurping. The peanut butter taste was extremely strong -- if peanut butter isn't your thing, you could always put some almond butter in there.


I have big sweaters and thick milkshakes. And I do not bring any boys to the yard. 


In honor of the New Year and me trying to finally kick all of my bad eating habits to the curb, I've decided to include some extras in my recipe post tonight. Feast on these scrumptious, body-loving foods that I regularly stuff my face with:










Cheers!

love,
a

12/27/14

Dipped.






I'm not sure how familiar many of you are with the Maine climate, but we range from hot summers to bone-shatteringly cold winters. So when the high reaches 40 degrees in late december you ditch hats and bulky coats and opt for bright layers. 

My two-tone sweater has a beautiful gradient that makes me think of expertly trying to tye-dye your own clothes.


Me, all the way back in the good ol' summer, at our family's annual tye-dying extravaganza. I did not master the art of the dip-dye.



The beautiful scarf I received for Christmas paired perfectly with my sweater and gaudy aviators. I don't usually stick to an all-one color scheme but I've been seeing a resurgence in my love for the color blue. It skimmed my body tightly, so a loose cardigan finished off the shape nicely. 

I'm recovering from an awesome Christmas! J and I stayed home in the morning after sleeping in late. We made a big breakfast and opened presents over hot coffee. We watched a horror movie and took an afternoon walk. It was perfect. 

How was your Christmas?

love,
a

sweater -- thrifted!
cardigan --Thrifted!
Boots -- thrifted!
scarf -- a Christmas gift. :D