the-ache-of-monogamy (1)
This is Not the Last Thing You’re Ever Going to Love.
April 27, 2016
may-2016-review
May :||: The Month that Was
May 5, 2016

April :||: The Month that Was

april-2016-review

Naming the Moon:

The Moon of Deep Roots.

I stole this tradition from Havi, who got it from the book Slow Time by Waverly Fitzgerald. I didn’t have my own name for April, but I liked the quality on the calendar this year, which was roots. And I remembered that line I love about spring from Pablo Neruda, “I want to do to you what spring does to the cherry trees.” So sensual, so sexy, but if we step back and remember what spring does to the cherry trees, it seduces them to bloom by melting the ice, nourishing the roots, refreezing so no one’s speeding through, re-melting, making safe, re-melting, making safe, coaxing them out of the bud.

Also, the Cosmic Collective called this the Reconnection Moon on their 2016 calendar. We’re on the same page!

Tarot:

– Gwynhwyfar, The Goddess Tarot

Key words: sovereignty, confidence, decisions

Meanings: Important decisions or news. Movement in to the next phase of life. Time for a major and necessary change in life — often welcome, but frightening because of its magnitude. The confidence of a queen.

Watching:

The Americans: This is a show set in the 1980s during the Cold War and follows two Russian KGB officers living undercover in the US. It gets such amazing reviews, and people whose opinions I really trust love this show, and I think my main issue with it is that it’s a show best served once a week. So I’ll watch two episodes, and then not go back to it for a few weeks. But it is good, it’s just a slow burn.

The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Ok, there’s a lot of humor in this show that feels just… stupid and silly to me. But I am enjoying the second season way more than I enjoyed the first (episodes 1-3 were a little slow, but it picks up pretty well) and it does have some really great moments. Also, it’s the type of show that gets better in the quoting, which is my real favorite kind of show. I also really appreciated this poignant excerpt from a critique by Emily Nussbaum, who is a hilarious follow on twitter:

This is rare material for a sitcom. But it’s not unusual for modern television, which has been experiencing an uptick in stories about sexual violence—a subject once reserved for Lifetime and “Law & Order.” Here’s a partial list of dramas in which at least one central character has been raped: “Game of Thrones,” “House of Cards,” “Mad Men,” “American Horror Story,” “Outlander,” “The Americans,” “The Fall,” “The Fosters,” “Scandal,” “Top of the Lake,” “How to Get Away with Murder,” and “Switched at Birth.” You could call this a copycat phenomenon, but I’d argue that better roles for actresses made it happen: when women’s lives are taken seriously, sexual violence is going to be part of the drama.

I’m not sure why that reframing of the show hit me the way it did, but it added a layer to the show that spoke to me.

The Great British Baking Show: If you haven’t watched this show yet, it is a DELIGHT. They get legitimately talented people and give them baking challenges that are about proving that talent. It’s not about a race against the clock, or having to use ridiculous ingredients, it’s not catty. It’s just delighted British people baking delightful delicacies.

Listening to:

– Bachata and country music. Every time I think I should diversify, I hear another bachata or country song. They’re my favorites. Here is a playlist I made for you, and, as always, you can follow me on spotify, where I make playlists every month.

Guys we F****d, on the recommendation of a friend. Two female comedians talk about sex and answer questions from listeners. They call it the anti-slut-shaming podcast, and I kind of dig it.

Loving:

Bellies. I’m writing a post about bellies, specifically soft ones, and was outraged at what I found in an image search for soft bellies. So I started taking pictures of MY belly! And I can’t tell you the joy I get. Every time I gaze through the pictures I took I truly think, “That’s me! That’s my belly!” I love having this experience of recognizing myself. It reminds me of the excerpt from Eat Pray Love where Liz Gilbert sees her reflection in the window of a building and mistakes it for a friend. She runs, waving at herself, until she gets close enough to realize that she’s been running toward herself.

Never forget that once upon a time, in an unguarded moment, you recognized yourself as a friend.

Quote I’m Pondering:

The difference between my darkness and your darkness is that I can look my own badness in the face and accept its existence while you are busy covering your mirror with a white linen sheet. The difference between my sins and your sins is that when I sin I know I’m sinning while you have actually fallen prey to your own fabricated illusions. I am a siren, a mermaid; I know that I am beautiful while basking on the ocean’s waves and I know I can eat flesh and bones at the bottom of the sea. You are a white witch, a wizard; your spells are manipulations and your cauldron from hell yet you wrap yourself in white and wear a silver wig.

– C. JoyBell C.

Reading:

I got off to a slow reading start this month, and picked some shorties to up my numbers. I’m currently working my way through Lonesome Dove, which is a frustrating book because it’s nearly a thousand pages, so I can read 100 pages, sit back and look at my overall physical progress through the book, and realize, “100 pages doesn’t matter. There are still a billion to go!”

How Yoga Works – This book was assigned reading for a yoga teacher training I did, but I moved before I completed the training and didn’t get around to finishing this book. I really appreciated this allegorical story about how yoga is about more than poses and flexibility and about keeping our minds and bodies open and receptive to life and emotion. The first third of the book was the part that resonated most with me, but it’s probably the best (perhaps only?) book I’ve read that delves into the Why of yoga.

Psyche’s Knife – This is a psychology book that explores the myth of Eros and Psyche. Psyche is married off to Eros without ever having seen him, and expressly instructed not to look at him. He comes to her at night and makes ecstatic love to her, and leaves her alone in a palace by day. When her sisters convince her that she’s married to a monster, she gathers an oil lamp, a knife (a seriously large one), and her courage, and looks upon her mysterious lover. As you might guess from Greek mythology, heartbreak and chaos ensue, and Psyche must go on her own journey to claim a lucid, conscious, deeper love. The book explores the idea that we must destroy something in order to create something new, and, to quote poet David Whyte, that a knife could “cut things together.”

Man’s Search for Meaning – A psychiatrist’s reflection on his time in concentration camps during World War II. The author, Dr. Victor Frankl, developed the theory of logotherapy, which says that the primary human driver is not pleasure or power, but the pursuit and discovery of what we find meaningful.

The Royal We (reread) – A fictional reimagining of the love story between William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. It’s light, it’s fun, it’s an easy read (although it’s nearly 500 pages, so it’s not necessarily a quick read), and I already love the writing style of the FugGirls, so it’s a fun book to just breeze through casually. Although, when I was finding a link for this post I found this critical review, which articulates better than I could some of the character motivation issues in the book.

The Killing Floor (audiobook) – One of my brothers really loves Jack Reacher books, and I thought they’d be good candidates for an audiobook during some long commutes. It’s good, once it especially once all the plans come together and the narrative speeds up. My critique mostly has to do with editing and writing style. On one hand, the incredibly detailed descriptions are probably good for both a mystery and an audiobook (you can kind of zone out without missing key plot points or pay attention and guess the conclusion), but it just made the book too long for me. I mean, it’s a nearly 18 hour audiobook. Ain’t nobody got time for that! Also, some of the dialogue had that style that Scandal uses where the character will use the same sentence structure 3-5 times in a row in order to build suspense, but it just pisses me off. Get to the point!

The Art of Learning – This is Josh Waitzkin’s (the chess prodigy on whom Searching for Bobby Fisher was based) semi-autobiographical book about creating the conditions for lifelong learning and peak performance. I picked it up (read: stole it from my parents’ house) on a whim, and then heard a few really great reviews. For me, if you’re looking for a personal development book this would not be my first pick. I continued reading was mostly interested because of another book I read, Boyd, which included a large section on the idea of Destruction and Creation, or what must happen to a system (or a person) in order for change, creativity, and innovation to take place. Boyd tackled it from a military perspective, but the philosophy is universal and I think a lot of what Waitzkin writes is on that topic from a personal growth perspective. So the expansion of that theory was personally interesting and kept me reading, but I found the writing style dull, with little humor, so it’s not a favorite.

Making me happy:

– Morning sunshine! I feel like April had an unusual amount of sunny days this month, including one entire WEEK that was sunny every day! Pittsburgh is normally overcast for 300/365 days a year and it gets to me, but this month has been wonderful!

– My friend got married this past weekend, and I got to go to Maryland for that, and I took the opportunity to visit family, join my brother for CrossFit, hang by the lake, and enjoy the beautiful place where my parents live.

– I love hearing how women in my gym compliment each other. So many of the compliments are praising effort and cabaility, rather than criticizing looks, and when they comment on bodies, there’s no trace of objectification or cattiness; it’s always said with love and regard.