Internet Inspiration – May 23, 2015

This is cool: there might be a gene that makes you more prone to wanderlust and travel. The article seems a little skewed towards wanderlust as a sign of heightened curiosity and imagination, which I’m not quite sure is true, but it’s still worth a read.

Your orgasm tells you everything. So true.

I’ve been really enjoying this website, although it’s geared towards dealing with children. Good apologies are always worth the refresher.

What I’m Really Afraid Of

what I'm really afraid of

Now would be an excellent time for me to be able to speak in metaphors, but I just can’t do it. Three things happened in my mind last week, and so I think it’s a good time to talk about how I handle uncertainty:

  • I might be pregnant
  • My right breast hurts inexplicably
  • My teeth hurt and I saw some staining that might have been cavities

I’ve already worked through the specifics of these literal issues in my trusty journal, but what I’m very interested in are the qualities and patterns that are trying to be worked on.

There’s a line from Jung that goes

We know that the mask of the unconscious is not rigid – it reflects the face we turn towards it. Hostility lends it a threatening aspect, friendliness softens its features.

– Psychology and Alchemy (1944)

So the unconscious, or the Other, in my mind, is everything I have not yet realized is mine. And I am terrified of it.

It is Medusa, ready to turn me to stone and reduce me to that split second moment. Any proof of my life, of my shame, will be used against me.

Breast pain? You had cancer coming. Pregnancy? You slut. You careless human. What did you think was going to happen if you had casual, unprotected sex? That was stupid of you to think NFP would work. Teeth hurt? You’re going to lose them all.

I’m not terrified of pregnancy, I’m terrified of consequences.

I’m not terrified of my appetite, I’m terrified that something that is mine but is not under my control could become visible. I’m afraid it could control me.

I’m not terrified of getting crowns, I’m terrified of what it means for me to have tooth decay. I’m terrified of the permanence of it.

I’m terrified of being reduced to a single, visible moment. I do not trust what I can’t control because I can’t predict how I’ll look in that frozen moment.

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Of all the ideas I had on the subject, it was a line from the TV show GIRLS that brought the most comedic reassurance. Lena Dunham’s character, Hannah, receives the results of an STD test and discovers she has HPV. She’s upset, and has to reconnect with several sexual partners to figure out who infected her. This does nothing to assuage her about having HPV, and her friend Shoshanna says:

Jessa has HPV, like a couple of different strains of it. She says that all adventurous women do.

I love that line. I always have. And even though I’m not interested in pushing down my emotions with shallow declarations about how worth it I am, that line is so lighthearted, so casual, it almost makes me laugh. It reminds me that there’s a fine line between tragedy and comedy, and that line is dignity.

I’m holding on to the very last shred of my dignity, trying to maintain my contortions so that I’ll save face and still be “acceptable.”

Because some people might see a pregnancy and see an irresponsible slut. But the pregnancy might also be a sign of a healthy, fertile, jubilant body that enjoyed the hell out of sex with a man she desired.

Losing teeth and needing crowns might make some people think I’m a dirty slob who eats terribly and can’t take care of herself. But it’s also very fortunate that I have the means and medical progress to get the help I need. My teeth are also, symbolically, the most powerful tool I have to take the literal and metaphorical food that comes into my life and start breaking it down so I can digest it. They are proof of a lifetime spent coming back to the table, cultivating a relationship with nourishment, desire, and the ability to assimilate both food and life experience.

Right now I’m coming up with stories and justifications, which, although these are more loving and positive that the ones Bitch Boss comes up for me, are still defensive. I’m holding them up to my mind and saying, “Isn’t this also true?”

Eventually I’d love to get to the place where I don’t need the stories or justification because there’s nothing to defend.

But I know that my default, from a lifetime of looking for safety, is to assume the worst, to assume that people are going to think the most unkind things, so that I can protect myself. It’s an excellent coping strategy, and it’s worked for a long time.

So if I know that the face I turn towards the unconscious is one of fear, of dread, knowing that is powerful. The most powerful thing I can do is find my pattern and own it. I am afraid of what I can’t control, and the opinions of others top that list.

And now that I know my knee-jerk reaction, I can start to find space in that reaction. I can remember my patterns and also try to turn a different face to the Unconscious. Maybe curiosity, maybe presence, maybe being Radically Pro-Kathryn. I could treat the Unknown the way I treat new clients that come into my gym, as though we’re already great friends and there’s no need for that I-don’t-quite-know-you awkwardness. I could remind myself, when faced with the proof of my humanity, that “All Adventurous Women Do.”

If the Unconscious is a mirror, any of those reflections would feel good for me. How about you?

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Internet Inspiration – May 1, 2015

5.1.2014

This article isn’t relevant to anything, but I still enjoyed it. The author let her Tinder “dates” pick her outfits for a week. I was thinking more along the lines of, she’d have a date and the guy would pick her outfits, but she’s really just crowdsourcing to the Tinder Hivemind. Either way, an interesting experiment. It reminded me of an article I read years ago where a woman had her husband pick her clothes for a week. It was so interesting to see the differences.

This was an awesome article on how language changes how you think. I’ll never forget learning that Chinese doesn’t conjugate verbs the way English does; in Chinese the phrasing is the same and you add a sort of modifier to indicate when something happened or will happen. According to the research, this helps speakers feel more connected to the future.

There’s a playlist called What Would Beyonce Do? in case you’re having that kind of weekend.

Loved this one from Momastery on being the Right Kind of Threat.

Sisters: let’s not buy the lie being sold to us: that we should waste our one precious life and one brilliant mind and one beautiful body threatening each other. NOT BUYING IT.

I do not want to be a threat to you. I want to invite you to join arms with me and together I want US to become a REAL THREAT TO what needs changing. I want us to be WARRIORS together—for love, truth, peace, justice, children, the weak, the poor and the needy. I want apathy and fear and violence and poverty to SHAKE IN THEIR BOOTS WHEN THEY SEE US MARCHING TOGETHER TOWARDS THEM.

This was a cool essay on truth vs. fiction in nonfiction writing and how truth is always present, even if the details vary between memories.

I cannot get enough of these Cosmic Cuties.

I kind of invented them as a species. They’re born from space dust and slow down the universe and fight sexist crime. They’re these feminist goddesses that watch over all women and are there to protect them.

This was an interesting idea to contemplate this week:

You enter the forest at the darkest point, where there is no path. Where there’s a way or a path, it is someone else’s path; each human being is a unique phenomenon.

The idea is to find your own pathway to bliss.

I, like the author, am pro-abortion. And this was a great article outlining several reasons why.

I am pro-abortion like I’m pro-knee-replacement and pro-chemotherapy and pro-cataract surgery. As the last protection against ill-conceived childbearing when all else fails, abortion is part of a set of tools that help women and men to form the families of their choosing. I believe that abortion care is a positive social good. I suspect that a lot of other people secretly believe the same thing. And I think it’s time we said so.

As an aside, I’m also pro-choice. Choice is about who gets to make the decision. The question of whether and when we bring a new life into the world is, to my mind, one of the most important decisions a person can make. It is too big a decision for us to make for each other, and especially for perfect strangers.

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Imperfection Confessions

Imperfection Confessions

Over the past few weeks I’ve had a lot of “Imperfection Confessions” pop up in my various social media feeds. I’m sure you’ve seen them: where women “confess” all the stuff they do that’s not perfect. Like, “I hate exercise!” “I have an unhealthy relationship with brownies!” “I have cellulite!” “I hate my nose!”

I can’t stand posts like that. And they’re worse still when they end with, “But that’s ok! Because I love myself!”

And yet, these posts endure. They get a lot of positive feedback. I can see why, but I think we can go deeper.

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I think what gets triggered for me is what the Soul longs for in writing and reading posts like that, and how often the Ego appropriates them.

The Soul of the follower longs for reassurance, longs to know that they are not alone in their struggles. They long to be soothed. It’s very nourishing to see facets of yourself that you haven’t yet allowed reflected in someone you admire, respect, and love.

The Soul of the leader longs to lose the weight of perfection. Being perfect, holding all those hopes and dreams and projections of their followers, being idolized, is heavy. There’s little room for personhood. Sharing what’s true for you in a “confession” is a way to set down that weight, to be seen as a human and not as a figure.

From this perspective I can truly see the value and service of these confession posts where people “admit” their “failures.”

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But even writing out that way, about admitting flaws and failures, implies blame. When the Ego is involved, it wants to be right, look good, and be in control. If it “admits” any thing, it’ll do so in a way that’s controlled and curated. I’m just like you! Self-deprecation. Jokes.

The Ego will make itself wrong so that no one else can. It will control the manner of visible shame.

It’s understandable, and for some people the best they think they can do is operate within the confines of the paradigm of Who I’m Supposed To Be.

But there’s nothing fucking wrong with you.

Souls want authentic sharing, “I love cheez-its and brownies and also there’s a voice in my head that makes me wrong for loving or having them. I’m struggling because what I ‘should’ do goes against my true nature and my deep desire and I don’t know which to trust. I was never taught to truly hear myself first and not to prioritize cultural pressures. I long for safety and security, to know I’m making the right choice, and yet there’s this force within me that moves me and I can ignore it everywhere else except when it comes to these fucking cheez-its and brownies. How can such a small thing become such a battleground?”

That’s the kind of thing that wants expression. That’s the kind of thing I want to read – true, honest, with no “excuses” or superficial “But it’s ok! I love myself.”

Love yourself. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. There’s nothing wrong. To continue to feed that paradigm is frustrating.

It’s frustrating to hear people keep themselves so small and locked up. It’s frustrating to witness people allow themselves to be made wrong, to be encouraged to love themselves and in the same breath told to fight against their true nature.

I’m ready for the new paradigm where everything you feel is normal, valid, and probably worthy of celebration.

Your true, unbridled ownership of your thoughts, feelings, actions, inconsistencies, impulses, desires, pleasure, vices, needs, wants, paradoxes, and uncertainty is absolutely worthy of celebration.

Following the threads of these true impulses, uncovering and excavating what’s really trying to be expressed, that’s heroic.

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Internet Inspiration – April 24, 2015

4.24.2015

I remember learning about synesthesia in high school and thinking, “I want it.” Check out this artist who painted songs she saw.

Did I link to this before? I hope so. How to DIY an awesome writer’s retreat. I’m thinking this needs to be a quarterly thing for me.

Your brain on orgasms. My favorite thing about this article is that it acknowledges that there are many different kinds of orgasms; not just clitoral.

There’s an awesome social media push for #LoveYourLines, and I’m into it.

An important reminder about the limits of your jurisdiction.

Your outrage is understandable and appropriate; it’s just not helpful.

There is a time and place for skepticism like yours: When you’re the one deciding whether to marry/reconcile/procreate with someone, or you’ve been asked to advise the person who is.

24 fiction books that can change your life. I haven’t read many of these, but those that I have are solid recommendations. Actually, now that I’m reviewing the list again, I only see one book by a woman on this list, and I don’t think any from people of color. So these books might change your life, but there are more authors to explore. Here are 100 books by black women everyone should read and 41 awesome female authors. These are the convenient lists I have, but there’s a big world of authors out there, so if you have recommendations from demographics I haven’t highlighted here (A Fine Balance, Cutting for Stone, Americanah, Wild Swans, etc), do share. I’d love to take a literature trip around the world!

And I read this op-ed on Earth Day. It includes a list of counter-intuitive recommendations to save the planet, which mostly include concentrating humans in cities and leaving nature alone. Interesting thoughts to say the least.

Lastly, I know it’s an ad and it’s designed to manipulate me, but I felt things watching these blindfolded kids pick their moms out of a crowd.

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