I’m a tired feminist

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If you were to randomly ask me to describe myself, the word “feminist” would be high up on that list. I grew up in a household where women and men were equal, where I was encouraged to stand my ground and to never back down from a tough situation. I was taught to understand that my story isn’t the only one that should be heard; that being an ally was just as important as being strong for my own sake. Growing up, I was so sure of myself and of my outlook.

During my years at college (and even beyond college), I was confronted with so many people who were anti-feminist; who couldn’t understand what feminism was or why it was needed. And for years, I fought the good fight. But after quite some time, I got tired. I was tired of having to explain myself and my perspective to other people. I was tired of explaining why sexual assault was a bigger deal than they thought. I was tired of explaining issues women around the world faced and why we should care. I was so tired that I ended up shutting out people who didn’t agree with me and tuning out of conversations that I was normally so invested in.

However, I found that staying out of the ongoing conversation didn’t make me happier. In fact, staying out of it made me even more upset and feel more exhausted. So, after looking into how I should best approach this conversation, I determined a very important thing that I want other tired feminists to know: You don’t owe anyone anything. You don’t owe someone a lesson in feminism. It’s not on you to explain to them what challenges and dangers women, non-binary and transgender people deal with on a daily basis.

Now, this definitely doesn’t mean I don’t try. But I do have a better clue of when to dip out and count my losses. Because if someone isn’t open to hearing the cold hard facts explaining why feminism is necessary, fuck ’em.

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Believing Survivors (Trigger Warning)

Christine Blasey FordWhen statistics show 1 in 6 women in the U.S. have been victims of attempted or completed sexual assault and 1 in 33 men in the U.S. have attempted or completed rape in their lifetime, how can we as a nation still sit here and pretend that all women are lying or have an ulterior motive for coming forward?

The Kavanaugh story has enthralled the world since the headlines first came out. Even before Dr. Christine Blasey Ford was able to give her testimony, people were ready to cast her name in the most negative light possible and torment her to the point of needing to move away from her home. And shockingly, many of the people who are doing this to Dr. Ford admit that the believe she was sexually assaulted but  say that we can’t know for certain that it was the man in question.

For any person who has been sexually assaulted or knows someone who has been sexually assaulted, they are very familiar with this sort of language. And as someone who worked in a Women’s Center helping support those who have been sexually assaulted, I constantly saw how there was always someone questioning the survivor’s validity at some point in their story. The amount of shame and fear they felt when telling their stories was heartbreaking.

When you’re regularly hearing those stories, it’s hard to imagine why anyone who fake a story or lie about the extent of their situation. Now, that’s not to say that it ultimately never happens, but the amount of times it has happened are so incredibly low, that we can almost certainly say that it is one of the rarest of situations in this conversation.

Why Women Don’t Report

Many people question why a survivor of sexual assault won’t come forward or why they come forward many years after the fact. In these situations, it’s important to understand that sexual assault can be a humiliating, dehumanizing and violating situation. When someone is confronted with those emotions, it’s hard to make heads or tails of what you should do. Because of this, how a listener reacts to a survivor’s story is that much more important.

As the Kavanaugh story is unfolding, many people took to Twitter to share their personal stories using #WhyIDidntReport.

How to Be Supportive

It’s hard to have the conversation — for the teller and the listener. And for those who aren’t trained to be an advocate, it can be difficult to know how to be as supportive as needed. Below are some tips that can help you navigate these conversations if you’re listening to a survivor.

  • Listen. Don’t tell them what to do or how to feel. Hear what they have to say about their situation and their feelings. Acknowledge that you hear them and appreciate them telling you their story.
  • If the survivor does want to go to the hospital or to the police to report it, offer to be there with them. Sometimes just being there is all you can and should do.
  • Be patient. Every survivor handles the aftermath of this situation differently and there is no timeline on recovery. Avoid putting pressure on them to do any sort of activity.
  • Help them find resources. There are so many helpful resources available for support. Share those resources with them and even offer to attend a session with them if they need the support of someone they know.
  • Learn the warning signs of suicide. If someone you know is considering suicide, offer your help and support. And most importantly, know that there is a suicide hotline always available for you. If you have questions on how to handle the situation or if the situation spirals out of control, visit National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or call 800-273-TALK (8255) any time, day or night.
    • In many areas, there are also local resources. To find your local sexual assault service provider, visit RAINN.

Restaurant in Review: Blue Hill

While binge-watching Chef’s Table on Netflix and gorging myself on Trader Joe’s matcha Jo Jos, I was introduced to Blue Hill in New York City. After watching an hour of Dan Barber talk about his passion for food and seeing it masterfully plated, I knew I had to check it out IRL. Thankfully, the chance to experience Blue Hill quickly came up when I booked a trip to NYC for a long weekend.

The Tasting Menu

The food at Blue Hill is available in two options: Tasting Menu and Farmer’s Feast. I chose the Tasting Menu since the majority of the Farmer’s Feast featured ingredients I actively avoid. The Tasting Menu went as follows:

7082 cucumbers (and squash?)
Montauk Fluke with cucumbers, dill and ginger (pictured below with potatoes)
Freedom Ranger chicken with Swiss chard (pictured below with pork)
Blueberry Pie
Seasonal berries

There was some serious mood lighting at this place, so the pictures aren’t the best.

Overview

Solid 3/5. Now, don’t get me wrong, everything was pretty delicious, but nothing made me feel like I wanted to go back to experience more or tell anyone else to check it out. I’m not opposed to spending a decent chunk of change on a meal, but I better leave that place raving about the food — not wanting to grab a slice of pizza.

I also think that we had a waiter that wasn’t exactly on his A game. The tables next to us had a waiter that was going into great detail about the food and where it comes from, which seemed to be a hit with the people she talked to. Our waiter didn’t really stop to chat with us very often and gave us only a couple tidbits to work with. Maybe that disconnect led me to not like the food as much as I had hoped I would. Either way, I’d say there are better restaurants to spend $300+ on, so check them out.

 

I have sensitive skin.

From oatmeal baths as a child to stress-induced adult acne, my skin has revolted throughout all stages of my life. And as I get older, I realize how important it is to take pristine care of my skin. The unfortunate thing is that my skin seems to break out with the slightest thing and trying out new skincare can be insanely expensive.

So, after putting all the money and time into this, I thought it may be worth sharing it with the world in hopes that another sensitive skinned person can benefit.

Cleansing

For years, I would use my Clarisonic brush daily with Philosophy face wash. While my skin felt great from the deep clean, it turns out that washing your face with that brush every day isn’t always the best for sensitive skin. I’ve now switched from daily to three times a week. This has made a huge impact on my skin! When I use my Clarisonic, I still tend to use Philosophy.

As a face wash, I switch between three products, depending on the state of my skin at the moment. For a regular day, I use Susanne Kaufmann’s cleansing gel. This stuff smells amazing and feels great. It easily takes off my makeup (including eye makeup) and daily grime easily.

For acne prone days, I go to the trusty Kate Somerville detox cleanser. I’ve fallen in love with everything I’ve tried from Kate Somerville’s line, including her Anti Bac acne lotion. I have seen a HUGE difference since I started using this lotion.

Serum

After I wash my face (and add Kate’s lotion, if needed), I add Clinique’s Turnaround Revitalizing Serum. This product is relatively new to me, but so far I love it. I may be imagining it, but I feel like I see a difference here. My skin feels and looks more energized.

Moisturizers

In addition to having sensitive skin, I have very pale skin that turns a lobster red when I’m in the sun for longer than five minutes sans sunscreen. So, when the sun is out, so is my sunscreen.

To make it easier for me, I try to only use moisturizers that have sunscreen in it. The one I’ve had the best success with is Josie Maran’s Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 47. I used Josie Maran’s products quite a while ago but recently added the moisturizer back into the lineup. I appreciate that this one doesn’t smell like sunscreen and it feels so light on my skin.

When it’s not so sunny, I use One Love’s Skin Dew. This moisturizer is coconut water based and feels so great on my skin. I am a big fan of One Love’s products but unfortunately haven’t added a lot of them to my line up yet.

Night Creams

Every night, I finish up with Philosophy’s Take a Deep Breath (Night). Once I add this, it cools skin down and feels amazing. This one does have a perfume to it, which I normally never like. However, it hasn’t had an adverse effect on my skin and it actually does smell pretty good.

Get ready to binge watch TV

Sometimes you just want to relax. When I’m in the mood to sit around and do nothing, the first thing I do is open up a bottle of wine, head to the couch and turn on the TV. Here is my current list of favorite TV shows to binge on when I’m trying to relax.

Psych
Psych is the only show where I audible laugh throughout every episode. If you haven’t watched it, change that right now.

Arrested Development
I always appreciate a show that you can jump in and watch at any point and still understand what’s happening. This show also does a great job of holding onto jokes and pulling them out seasons later with no real reason for it (i.e., blue handprints on the wall). All around great show to watch (minus the Netflix season).

Ugly Delicious
I love food and traveling, so naturally, I gravitate toward shows that talk about food and other cultures. David Chang is pretty funny and the guests he has on the shows are great to listen to. I highly recommend this Netflix show on a rainy day. Do not watch this when you’re hungry.

Keeping Up With the Kardashians
This is a new one for me. A couple hangovers ago, I ended up watching KUWTK and it changed my life. These people are always in the news, so watching things from the start of their show is fun because you know exactly how they turn out years later. Watching this show may be more about schadenfreude than anything, but it is pretty damn entertaining. I won’t apologize for this choice.

No Reservations/Anything Anthony Bourdain
I always have an urge to travel, but sometimes that urge is far more intense. When that happens, I instantly turn on Anthony. This guy is not only funny but also educational and interesting to watch. He connects with great people who share wonderful insights into a culture or region.

Great British Bake Off
Not only is GBBO inspirational for my own cooking and baking, it’s lighthearted and fun to watch. This is easily my favorite show to binge watch during winter.