we must be the revolution

This article is making its way around Facebook right now.  If you haven’t given it a read, take the time to check it out.  It tells the story of a teacher whose class takes an unexpected turn from discussing the ways in which a poem can be read to a frank and open discussion about rape and the recent Steubenville trials.  In the comments, there is an outpouring of compassion and support for this teacher who was willing to look her freshman class in the eyes and say, ‘This is rape.  This is wrong.  This is not a gray area.’

I wish we didn’t live in a world where this was a revolution.

I wish we lived in a world free of bullies and chauvinists.  I wish we lived in a world where this conversation wasn’t happening because the truth of it is so engrained in us, a discussion is completely unnecessary.  I wish we lived in a world where we loved each other and no one thought twice about what you looked like or where you came from or who you loved.

I wish a lot of things.

I’ve been in the process of moving into a new apartment as of late.  My move only covers a couple of miles:  from northeast Rogers Park to northeast Edgewater.  Not exactly the other side of the world.  While picking up some clothes from my old apartment, I had the sudden realization that I have yet to be catcalled in my new neighbourhood.  I was delighted by the concept, having faced daily harassments for the past couple of years from a variety of men so wide I couldn’t begin to describe all of them.  I was so thrilled that I was now in an area where men didn’t shout at me from the safety of their cars, where men didn’t follow me home growling about my body, where I could walk home from the grocery store without having to suffer an entire block of hey-girl-you-single-what’s-your-number.  And then I found myself thinking, ‘Wow.  That is incredibly fucked up.’

I wish we lived in a different world.

I don’t want to be scared when I walk home from the L.  I don’t want to avoid bars and, honestly, entire sections of town just because it’s a Saturday night and I know men will be belligerent.  I joined an online dating service recently and was immediately flooded with demands for sex from thick-necked Casanovas who had seen my picture and my status of bisexual and decided I was DTF.  Why else would I join a dating site?  It couldn’t possibly be because I was interested in meeting new people and potentially developing a meaningful relationship with another person.

Why would I ever think that?

I don’t want to be afraid of dark alleys.  I want to feel safe in my home, at my job, in my city.  I want to go to the grocery store without being accosted by strangers.  I want to run up the stairs to my train when I’m running late and not worry that some schmuck behind me is looking up my skirt.  I want to dress up to the nines or have too many drinks with my friends and not be told I was asking for it.

But that’s not the world we live in.  I’m a woman.  These things are a given.

I talk to women about this a lot.  I hear their stories and I tell them that they didn’t deserve what happened to them, that it’s not their fault.  I tell them that they’re beautiful and amazing and strong.  I tell them — I tell myself — that they are not what happened to them, they are not victims, never a victim, survivor survivor survivors.  We are moving forward, we are still fighting, we will not give up.  We are goddamn warriors and we might lose a lot of battles but the war will be won.

Then another girl is raped at a party while her assailants are lauded as being Such Nice Boys.  Another woman is killed for her family’s honour.  Another takes her life because she can’t escape the nightmare inside of her mind.  And then a couple of ten-year-old boys — ten years old! — come to school with a gun and a plan to rape and kill a classmate because ‘she was mean to them’.

We are still fighting, but there are too many lost in these battles.  And our grief is too great for tears.

I remember the first days of puberty, when my father was worried that a shirt I wore was too tight for my fledgling breasts.  I remember his concern that a knee-length skirt would ‘give the wrong impression’.  I remember my mother’s knowing smile as she left me and my first boyfriend alone in the basement, my father’s fury when he found me and a close male friend sleeping on top of my bed because it was too late for him to drive home.

I remember my mother screaming that if I ever got myself pregnant, I was out of her house.  I remember my father dropping my brother off at his first high school party with a condom and a brief tutorial.

I know they meant well.  I know they love us, me and my brother both, and they did the best they could.  They are a product of their raising and these actions are the actions of many — probably most — concerned parents.  That doesn’t make me any less angry.

Being a woman requires constant vigilance.  Escape plans for every situation.  Mace.  When is that going to stop?

We should teach our girls to be cautious.  We should teach them to be independent and clever and to protect themselves.  We should teach them to hold people accountable when they have invaded personal space, crossed lines, when they are pushing them to do something they do not want to do.  We should teach them that they are worthwhile and deserve respect and admiration.  We should teach them these things because we should teach all children these things.

But it shouldn’t be up to girls to protect themselves.  We shouldn’t live in a world where the only thing standing between a woman — a girl — from rape is her steadfast assurance that she does not deserve to be raped.  We should live in a world where no one rapes.

We shouldn’t live in a world where this is a revolution.

there’s this nagging suspicion

Today I had one of those moments of sudden realization that vastly improve life more than you’d ever imagine. I was looking at some runway pictures because that’s apparently something I do now and I noticed that in the light of the cameras I could see hair on the models’ thighs. Runway models! Who spend their entire lives being dressed and undressed and photographed and manhandled by G-d knows how many people!

Models don’t shave their thighs, guys. Do you know how wonderful this is?

I feel like if I ever have children — and especially if I have daughters — I’m going to be one of those obnoxious parents who leave inspirational messages all over the house for them to find. But instead of inspiring, they’ll be things like, ‘If you pop that pimple, I will light your Bieber CDs on fire’ and ‘No one cares about your thigh hair; the internet told me so’. And they will be forever embarrassed of me and wonder why the universe has cursed them with such a ridiculous mother.

My father has taught me so well.

important notice

This is what happens when you don’t send them fifty bucks right now immediately.

important notice

That’s okay, World Poetry Movement. I’m not publishing your poem either.

Image

an open letter to a friend, in honour of valentine’s day

Alright, coffee thermos.  Here’s the thing.

I know you’re angry because I ‘never wash you’ — which is totally a lie, for the record, because I definitely found you in the sink on Monday and it was the clean side of the sink before you even think about getting all sassy on me; we have a system — but do you really have to keep dribbling coffee on my desk every time I try to drink out of you?  I understand that you were a free gift and maybe that makes you feel like I don’t expect a lot of you.  I DON’T expect a lot out of you, coffee thermos.  Namely, I expect you to house coffee so that I may drink it.  Which is your intended purpose.  I appreciate your feelings and I respect your need to express them, but this passive aggression has got to stop.

And, yes, I have been eyeing that other thermos, the one with the Starship Enterprise blueprints printed on it.  But last time I checked, we were not in an exclusive relationship.  I can see other beverage containers.  This is not an all or nothing kind of deal, coffee thermos.

Honestly, you’re embarrassing yourself.  Get a grip or we are going to break up.

Respectfully submitted,

Kiri

update!

What’s up, internet?  Long time no see.

There’s not a lot of purpose to this post.  It was a rough weekend and thinking kind of hurts.  However, if you do any reading over at my original fiction blog, you might notice that I’ve edited everything so that it’s under my pen name. I haven’t been hacked or gotten my stuff stolen; I’m just trying to keep things a little bit subtle just in case any potential future employers (or worse: my mother) are smart enough to surf the internet for me.

This is the side effect of having a weird name. Also: constant misspellings.

I might post some new fiction later today, so keep your eyes peeled.

the post that exploded

So last night I told my cold to suck it and went to see a Frightened Rabbit concert. Had the best of times imaginable and I’m so glad I went. Seriously, if these guys are playing anywhere near you, go see them. They do not disappoint. I got to hear a Scot say ‘grumpy’ and ‘chutzpah’, which is ADORABLE by the way. Best time I’ve had semi-sober and sitting in a balcony in ages.

However, this meant that I didn’t get home until almost one o’clock in the damn morning and I am now completely sleep deprived and punchy. So here are all of my thoughts about my day.

Reading Jenny Lawson’s amazing blog is inspiring me to keep better track of my own sorry blog. I’m hoping this will encourage me to write more. I got really depressed a couple of months ago and stopped writing all together. It was a poor choice. I’m feeling a lot better now and didn’t do anything stupid, so I’m trying to kick myself in the ass a little and get back to actually creating things. Other than hats. Which I can now make. I’m so glad I have opposable thumbs.

I started wearing a watch again for the first time since middle school recently. I’d sat on the purchase for a really, really long time because, while the watch is adorable and just punk rock enough to take me back to those bygone days of my high school Sex Pistols phase, it was far more expensive than any watch I have ever bought because I grew up in Central Illinois and we buy Wal-Mart watches there. This was a run-on sentence. But I have a spending problem, so I bought it. I am now wearing it all the damn time. Good purchase? Apparently so. But anyway, I have forgotten what it’s like to wear a watch. Cell phones aren’t allowed in my office during work hours, so I don’t have a clock on me at all times. I was in the bathroom a few minutes ago and happened to look at my wrist.

‘Holy shit!’ I thought, ‘It’s five past eleven.’

‘Holy shit!’ I then thought, ‘I’m in the loo and I CAN FIND OUT THE TIME.’

Clearly, I have mastered every part of modern civilization. Prepare for my robotic inventions to hit the shelves any day now.

I’m leaving town at the crack of dawn tomorrow to see the folks for a couple of days. Should be an interesting trip, full of emotions. This will be the first time I’ve been home since our beloved and constantly crabby cat Snowflake passed away. Not sure how empty the house is going to feel. This will also be the first time I’ve been home since my brother moved in with our godmother. Da asked if I wanted to help him move JPalm’s stuff. I laughed heartily. Mum will be rehearsing downstate all day Saturday, so I should get plenty of Chuck the Potions Master stories in. They are, as always, bound to be epic.

I just ate a whole bag of cinnamon Life because I’ve got the low blood sugar and/or sleepytime shakes. I make choices.

If you’ve followed this whole thing, please go buy yourself an ice cream cone. You deserve it.

a real florence nightingale

For those of you who have met me, you might already know that I get sick more often than a normal, 24-year-old person should.  This can be mostly attributed to my two obnoxious, pre-existing health problems: asthma and hypoglycemia.  The asthma ensures that I am completely debilitated every time the weather has an extreme change.  The hypoglycemia guarantees I am completely insufferable if I haven’t eaten in two hours.

How I still have friends is completely beyond me.

Autumn has decided to actually show up this year and temperatures took a pretty impressive drop in the past couple of weeks.  I had managed to stave off my usual season-change illness for some time, but Saturday night my body finally decided that This Bird Had Flown.  I don’t know if that actually makes sense in this context, but I’ve got a system full of Mucinex that says it does.  So now I find myself a coughing, phlegm-y mess and at my office, praying that the clock manages to speed up so that the next ten minutes pass in ten seconds and I can go home and curl up in bed.

My bosses have been out the past few days because they were honeymooning in sunny Florida.  Because of this, I have been working on both mine and my supervisor’s computer off and on since Thursday.  I know for a fact that boss has a weak immune system and, on the off-chance that what I have is actually contagious, I got out some sanitizing wipes to use on her computer now that it is the end of the day and I’m done working on it.  Then I realised that I had also man-handled the container the wipes come in, causing it to be potentially contaminated as well.  I have now reached a disconcerting paradox wherein even the sanitizing wipes are not sanitary because I have touched them.

I never expected proper OCD to feel so much like a Mucinex overdose.

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