pretty is not the rent you pay to be a woman

I’m sitting in the Middlebury College Library listening to Hope Sandoval’s sweet melodies while simultaneously playing one of John Berger’s talks. Berger is/was a well known English Art Critic and poet/painter, perhaps most famous for his work titled “Ways of Seeing”. Listening to the two together is really quite beautiful. DIY art show, wherever, whenever.



I stumbled upon a quote recently– Pretty isn’t the rent you pay to be a woman– and it blew my mind. Boom. Damn. Snap*. I often have admired (perhaps naively) men for being able to lose themselves more easily in the moment. For hunching and letting their jaws relax. For farting, for not excusing their very normal human noises and posture and itches and smells. For letting their bellies sit how they sit. I’m even more amazed by female identifying women doing the same. Essentially, I’m proud of people for appearing to exist without worry about their exterior, because it’s that novel. It’s a fucking anomaly.

John Berger discusses how women often feel as though they cannot see themselves for what they are, but through a reflection of another person’s gaze. Women have a difficult time seeing themselves as defined by themselves, as they are caught in the mirrors of onlookers which instructs them as to what and who they are and what they look like. Of course, this isn’t just the experience of women, but all bodies. *Especially bodies of colour, trans-bodies, and people with disabilities. Berger explains this theory through the lens of historic European paintings of women. He suggests that the women in the paintings are intended to please a male customer and therefore their body language and expressions are FOR the not-yet-known-male-buyer. He speaks with several women about how the paintings make them feel to which one of them responds that she cannot see herself in these portraits because they aren’t real expressions of femininity. They are pictures of women. They are devoid of the”human”.  So far, this all makes good sense and is actually quite obvious really.

“A woman must continually watch herself. She is almost continually accompanied by her own image of herself. Whilst she is walking across a room or whilst she is weeping at the death of her father, she can scarcely avoid envisaging herself walking or weeping. From earliest childhood she has been taught and persuaded to survey herself continually. And so she comes to consider the surveyor and the surveyed within her as the two constituent yet always distinct elements of her identity as a woman. She has to survey everything she is and everything she does because how she appears to men, is of crucial importance for what is normally thought of as the success of her life. Her own sense of being in herself is supplanted by a sense of being appreciated as herself by another….

One might simplify this by saying: men act and women appear. Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at. This determines not only most relations between men and women but also the relation of women to themselves. The surveyor of woman in herself is male: the surveyed female. Thus she turns herself into an object — and most particularly an object of vision: a sight.” -Berger

This is SO true of my experience as a woman. In this case, I do pay rent by cultivating my version of “pretty” for onlookers because I feel I am imprisoned by the eyes of onlookers. To reclaim my power from the “mirrors” around me, I dress certain ways. Sometimes I don’t want to be noticed– I want to escape the gaze of strangers and even people I know very well because they can say so much with just looking or not. Some days, mostly when I feel unhappy or unwell or uninspired, I choose to go without makeup and dress comfortably as opposed to wearing something that compromises my comfort. On these days, my curves are hidden behind baggier clothes– tomboy jeans, thick sweaters, tank top as a bra or no bra at all– because I am wanting to sacrifice, well, my perceived sexual power for the opportunity to hide. Sometimes this makes me feel more powerful. It depends on my mood.

You will often hear women talking about men hitting on them in libraries or cafes or on the street and the women will say “I can’t believe it either, I was wearing sweat pants and a baggy sweatshirt with no makeup”. Most hetero-men who hear that statement would respond “yeaaaah, that doesn’t matter to men”. In baggy sweat pants and sweat shirts, women feel they are taking themselves out of the male gaze and excluding themselves from the forever ongoing “game”. Essentially, women feel they can relax in the public sphere in clothes that they feel won’t bring them the attention that would otherwise make them 100% aware of themselves the entire time while being in public. It’s absolutely amazing in the most disturbing of ways. When are we as women able to feel as though we can function as humans in the public sphere without diverting our attention to ourselves, our appearance, over and over and over again? When can we go to the grocery store and simply browse for food and stand in line and feel that we are not caught up in the gaze of onlookers? I can’t personally say I experience many times while being in public where I “lose” myself– not while I am alone anyway. I am aware of the dude in the same aisle of books at the library– does he think I am fat? Does he see my bad posture *stands up straighter*? When I do lose myself, I wonder how long I was gone. The transition is not fluid. I am aware of it. I am aware of it like a high-student waking up from a mid-class snooze in a pile of their own spit. Shit. Who noticed?

I am discussing this not to bathe in the heavy suds of victimland– but to really think about what it means for me to be constantly distracted by the male (and really, human) gaze. I feel like my brain is already fragmented into a hundred pieces by virtue of experiencing general anxiety most of the time. Add in texting, checking facebook and snapchat and my email… my brain is in constant “checking” mode. Check, check, check. And by checking myself, I tire myself with the dialogue it generates, by the questions I then ask myself when I check myself. This must perpetuate anxiety!

With more and more women in the public eye reclaiming agency over their bodies and directing the way they want their image to be consumed, is the power of the male gaze being threatened? (Asked by Neha Kulkarni)

The idea of the “gaze” is apparently coined by French Psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan “for the anxious state that comes with the awareness that one can be viewed. The psychological effect, Lacan argues, is that the subject loses a degree of autonomy upon realizing that he or she is a visible object. This concept is bound with his theory of the mirror stage, in which a child encountering a mirror realizes that he or she has an external appearance. Lacan suggests that this gaze effect can similarly be produced by any conceivable object such as a chair or a television screen. This is not to say that the object behaves optically as a mirror; instead it means that the awareness of any object can induce an awareness of also being an object.”

It has also been called an aspect of one of the “most powerful human forces”; that is, “the meeting of the face and the gaze” because
“Only there do we exist for one another.”

That last sentence is so powerful that I’m going to leave it at that.






Kid, The best has already gone by, I’m afraid. 

The best birthday card my grandma has ever given me said “and know, the best of times are yet to come”.  I didn’t really believe that because my grandma always tells me how she would love to be back in highschool. I think that is her wish to return to a simpler, more pure time in her life of course. She loved singing in the choir. After talking to a good friend on skype yesterday, I was reminded again of this sentiment– that the best hasn’t gone by, unless you continue to make that a reality by reinforcing to yourself that you are powerless. 

Nearing the end of my time in university I couldn’t help by feel like I was ready to move on. I wanted time to do the things I wanted to do, like writing and theatre and whatever came my way that interested me. I treated the end of University like the end of a four year long grounding that my father gave me– despite loving most of it. And when I broke free from University and Guelph, I farmed for two months and then moved to Halifax. I vocally expressed my intentions to become a published poet and start a cool magazine about space/place within the context of Halifax. Neither happened, really. Instead I got a job at a trendy  restaurant and worked a lot. I got swept into the drama and spent hours looking at a wall and greeting guests. I think what that job did for me was deconstruct my running belief that I was too anxiety-ridden to hold a job. It also taught me that no matter what you’re doing, you will get wrapped up in it. Suddenly I was finding myself analyzing the politics of restaurants and finer dining. I was wrapped up in getting dressed for work and looking good by the door as I waited for guests to arrive instead of trying to be a poet. 

I was once told “nostalgia is dangerous”. I find myself there often riding around on the carousel of the snapshots and feelings from past times. The painted horses have nicer teeth than they used to. Even the horses that don’t move and never did start to seem special. Its amazing that memories become so much better than the times themselves. It is in nostalgia that I find myself pleasantly melancholic. My Nostalgia is all mine and when we grow old all we have is memories right? 

Maybe feeling like the best has gone by is a strange way of disguising that you feel unfulfilled and you are unsure about how to go about changing that. It’s a way of remembering a version of yourself you were proud of or a former situational self that you admired. I think I look at my time in university as my “best years” because everything seemed possible. I had student loans that made me richer than I’d ever been. I was hanging around people who had similar schedules and we talked about things we were learning and we went out dancing and my room was a mess and I said yes a lot to invites. If I wanted to get something started, there were a dozen people ready to help me do it. We marched around with ideas in our heads and we were told that everything is possible. Professors would willingly allow you to sort out tangled opinions in their office hours and you could get a tea and listen to music on the walk home and feel like you were in a movie. You were! And now you’re stuck watching that movie in fragments, believing it’s the best movie that you could ever make. It’s no wonder or surprise to me why people stay in academia. The world is your oyster (until that world becomes oppressive yet again).

I think having an artist brain keeps me hunting for nourishment or hunting for a state of what could be described as never-ending non drug induced euphoria. I sound like such a douchebag. I guess famous artists would have called it searching for a muse. Muses sound romantic to me. Like young “nimphs” with perfect skin and no hips. Some strange unrealistic sexual venture of the mind. I said to my friend yesterday that it appears that some people just live and are capable of doing so quite peacefully. They eat and go for beers and text and call their moms and work somewhere. They’re okay with just living a life (and I don’t even mean of mediocrity). These people could be living really satisfying rich, “cultured” lives too. But they don’t spend their time chasing feelings or new dreams and have a looming feeling of “not being there yet”. Then there are the chasers, some overly ambitious types who actually get shit done, some who are pure idea people, and some who are in between.  The idea people are the ones at dinner gatherings who provide good conversation but everyone feels that they somehow haven’t reached their potential. Oh god, potential. I feel like I’m maybe one of those people. I have lots of half-scratched out ideas that rarely materialize. It’s almost satisfying enough to just dream them out. Carrying them out brings with it the fear that it might not actually be amazing, and it might fail. 

All of this to say, I shan’t remain a victim of my circumstances. I can’t keep pretending that things are just happening to me and that life is purely out of my control because things are difficult and there are barriers to address. Giving in to the idea that the best has already come and gone is saying “oh well” to the rest of your life. Youth affords us this ability to believe everything beyond it is a slow but steady decline. Everything cool is made for the young to yolo around in (I know I’m still young). But 25 has arrived and I’m closer to 30 than I once was to 20. Time to read a few more coming of age novels. 

Loving commitment in a confusing time 


bell hooks says when we face pain in relationships our first response is often to sever bonds than to maintain commitment. That relationships are treated like Dixie cups. They are the same. They are disposable. If does not work, drop it, throw it away, get another. Committed bonds (including marriage) cannot last when this is the prevailing logic. Most of us are unclear about what to do to strengthen caring bonds when our self-centered needs are not being met. 

I’ve always struggled with the idea of marriage. I was never a close witness to any happy loving marriage, aside from a handful of friend’s parents’. I used to fantasize about being a single mom because single moms seemed stronger than most of the women I knew who were married with kids. I had this idea in my mind that single moms were heroes, and really, they are. But I no longer strive to be a single parent. I’m not even sure I want to be a parent. My womb is undecided. 

I feel safe talking about this. I’m in a committed relationship with my partner whom with I have discussed these things. It’s really quite funny how there is this social pressure to keep it all a big surprise– when’s he gunna ask when’s he gunna ask??– but I feel like maybe that whole suspense tactic is just more patriarchal bullshit. I’d rather talk about whether I want to get married (in whatever fashion we choose) than to suddenly have it sprung upon myself. How does one say “I’m not ready yet” or “can we talk about what this would mean to us?” to a nervous partner who so desperately wants you to say yes? 

bell hooks is so very right. Her words ring true to me. It’s easier (and more surface satisfying) to keep your options open, keep that special someone at the office smiling at you, than it is to face the issues that arise. Where do we go from there? We stand up to that inner voice that tells us that there is always something better. It’s that same voice that keeps us in a perpetual state of always searching.  You can’t compare to the game. You can’t be as great as the imagined possibility of something or someone greater. And that is a damn shame. And that is what keeps so many of us thinking there is someone better out there. Someone who will meet all of our needs, and someone who is genuine and kind, but not overly genuine and kind because that’d be no fun. 

There is a difference in truly knowing when you are unhappy in your relationships versus feeling discontent with yourself, your habits, your appearance, and/or your purpose. It’s difficult to feel worthy of love when you’re not feeling your best. It’s difficult to feel loved and give love when you are keeping your options open. It’s difficult to feel loved when you are hurting. Or when you’re sad. I want to keep learning to seperate [my bullshit], my inner struggles that are longstanding (one of them being jealousy), from my romantic relationship, all the while knowing I am supported and I don’t need to face my demons by myself.  I want to trust that my partner is as complicated and complex as I am, and empathetic towards me as I am towards him. I want to feel loved, and give my best love, and see where that takes me. What avenues might that open if I am able to get to that place? Who do we become when we are not fixated on the next best thing? 

It’s reasonable to feel that the sanction of marriage is a part of systemized patriarchy. I would struggle big time with my identity as a married woman. What does marriage say about young people now-a-days? In many social groups, it’s still awesome and everyone is very excited about one day getting married and planning their big day. But in other groups, marriage is like giving in. Giving in to more than just hetero-patriarchy, but capitalism and a long history of oppression. Side note: If I want to live with my partner in his home country, it’s not enough for me to just love him and want to be with him, we must get married. And health benefits aren’t issued to non-spouses either. If I want to live with my partner in his home country, I either have to marry him or find an institution/ company that the government finds worthy enough to sponsor me. And then I must work for this company. sigh. Jobs. Sigh. 

But I am mostly talking about loving commitment. Whether two people choose to get married is just their own form of solidifying that loving commitment. I am secretly (not so secretly now) afraid of the judgement I could receive if I choose to get married. I guess it’s fear of people devaluing my identity and politics. Maybe in my head Ive made a story that says married women seem to have somehow given up on their politics or their strength to fight against societal norms? Perhaps I must overcome this strange equation I’ve been battling which keeps telling me that married women are somehow less strong. Because I now know that a good partner is able to actively support you and that can actually make you stronger. 

Loving commitment means that you are willing to try your hardest to fight the good fight. That you are open to the possibility that love is amazing and that you can experience it. That you are worthy of love and your partner(s), friend, mom, dog is just as worthy of love. That you won’t drop your loved ones because they frustrate you, or you feel hurt by them or yourself. That you won’t drop your loved ones as they age, or get sick, or start forgetting things. It’s finding a deep compassion for the complexities of being human. It’s saying that you recognize you might struggle, and that they might struggle, in different, or confusing ways, and that what you know so intimately of your own experience of living, you will be patient and loving for as long as you can towards another person.
 The pool of potential babes and hotties and hard bodies and smart cookies is overflowing. You can never compete against the pool. You’ll never be as beautiful as all of the beautiful women combined. You’ll never be as smart or as funny as the entire pool. But it’s worth finding a good swimming buddy for those times you think you might drown. Or when you want to celebrate your triumphant conquering of the breast stroke. Tell them you will try your best to save them if they try to save you. And then maybe pinch eachother’s nipples underwater for fun. 

You’re not a piece of poop

 There’s nothing quite like the decadence of indulging in a daydream where you are powerful, beautiful, resisting someone’s shitty offer, singing the most beautiful song in front of everyone you admire or just simply walking away. I fantasize about my strong self often–the parts of me that could resist short lived temptations, the parts that are brave, the inner self that is hungry for intense self expression. When I break out of the daydream, I’m rarely disappointed. I usually feel a creative surge. Sometimes I put on a new outfit and take a picture of myself. And then I post it to Instagram and everyone who likes it somehow is also affirming that I’m not totally a wash bag of old fish bones. Carry on. 

We’re all pretty well versed in parental expectation. It’s real shit. I didn’t experience that in the typical sense. My parents rarely remembered to ask about my grades. They didn’t pressure me into University or even flinch when I told them I wanted to study environmental policy. A lot of the time they were too self involved or tired to even know where I was at and what I was doing. But I’ve been thinking a lot about self-imposed expectation. I think I’ve always felt like I’d be doing something great by now. I imagined I’d be highly regarded in some thing or another. It’s beyond that though. It’s like I feel like I have potential but I’m too scattered to commit to one thing. I don’t really have a “thing”. I have bursts of passion. Sometimes all I want to do is express myself musically, and other times I need absolute solitude from sound for months. I like gardening, but not enough to pursue it. I am interested in theatre, but periods of anxiety hold me back from wanting to throw myself on stage and be watched. I am obsessed with herbs, vitamins, testing various tonics and substances on myself and boyfriend. I like cutting hair. I am into urban policy. I am into beekeeping. But not 100% committed to anything. I’ve been petrified my entire life of having a career. I like to see the exit as soon as I walk in. Tell me how easy it will be to leave this if I hate it. It’s like having agoraphobia towards most things. 

I’ve had at least ten dreams this past month where I am in highschool and taking a math class or something and eventually have an “aha” moment where I close my books and announce “hey guys, I don’t have to do this because I’ve already been through university. Right?” And everyone looks around and nods and says “yeah, I guess not.” I understand these dreams as my brain saying you can move on. I’m clinging to the high I felt in university. I’m clinging to the notion that everything’s possible and there’s a party Friday night and you’re great and smart and let’s talk about the perils of the tar sands and first-past-the-post politics. I’m clinging to the reckless wake up late and head to class, feel like you have life meaning cause you made an astute observation in class and everyone is like //who that girl//. Can’t tell whether I’m craving it or I need to give it up. Probably the latter. There’s something strangely invigorating about the constant ego boost of a Bachelor of Arts. When I hear the girls who work at the coffee shop talk about their “new apartment” and this “guy I’m seeing” and “this new thing I’m a part of” and they’re sipping coffee (how indulgent! I’d have a panic attack) and dyeing their pubes pink and hitchhiking home after work… I’m partly jealous? It helps to pretend they’re jealous of me too. 

I’ve idolized people who could make a living from one thing. People you can call up and be like, hey, my pepper plant has weird bugs on it, what do you think? And they’re like, yeah, it could be aphids or does it look more like a beetle? Or when everyone in town is like “you’ve gotta go to ____ for _____”. I wanna be the figurative man!  “THE MAN!” This post is funny to me. Im becoming very self aware of how I’m sounding (mopey, lazy? Twenty five?) Fuck it yo! 

A few things float around my head, and sometimes they feel contradictory: You’re only a fucking human. What is amazing, anyway? Is the circus amazing? Or is being in a committed supportive relationship amazing? Trick question. Both are amazing. Is it more important to do great things at a macro scale or a micro scale? What fulfills you versus what makes you look great on paper? Stop fighting your natural urges. Fight them a little more. You don’t need to be anything. Do what feels best at the time and keep doing. Doing something is more important than what you’re doing (Wisdom of adam). 

That last one hits home. There are so many ways to express yourself and express what you are doing with your time. You don’t owe an explanation to anyone either. You’re not a piece of poop if you work at a cafe, or walk dogs, or just moved in with your sister, or are just focusing on painting, or making decorative piñatas. You’re living. And the sun goes up and the sun goes down. 

One last thing. Watch Wolf Alice make me jealous with her semi-high budget music video. Hey @wolfalice hey! Can I be in one of your vids? #wolfalice


Exhaustion isn’t a status symbol

Soooo, I’m not very busy right now in life.  I’ve been busy before though. I’ve been that person who was late to work, late to friends’ houses, super tired, in rehearsal, at work, volunteering, trying to meet new people, trying to cook enough meals at home, trying to have good relationships, cleaning the litter box, getting enough exercise, getting enough down time….but right now I am not busy. I am not working for money right now, which really helps the equation. My partner has a job and we live together and supports us both. I also don’t know very many people where I live, which has drastically reduced the amount of social time I have.  And it’s caused me to become very strange once again– strange in that when I pause for more than a minute (well, a few weeks) I begin to feel verrrry anxious again. Like, where’s the oat straw tonic anxious. When I don’t have any self-imposed schedule, I tend to sleep in more, take more time to cook and get back into yoga, gardening, painting and writing. And while everyone around me seems to think this type of lifestyle sounds like heaven or that “I’ve got it made”, it’s somehow very distressing. In the forefront of my mind, I feel like I don’t really have answers for anyone’s questions about what I am doing. If I had a job, that answer would suffice. If I were doing something beyond “menial” household chores and things that fulfill human needs i’d somehow be more okay?  These beliefs have made me, yet again, question why we are so quick to validate busy lives as “better” lives or more important lives. 

It always seems to be such a damn struggle to find the right balance between overly busy and horribly underwhelmed. I’m usually somewhere between trying to create meaning and trying to feel inspired and worth something, and feeling intensely critical of workaholic culture, and apathetic about the future of many things (but mostly my financial and emotional states). There seems to be this inner voice that shows up when I’m really busy (and coincidentally stressed, but stressed in a different way than when I am not busy) and says “things will get better when x or y is finished in a month”. But it doesn’t. Because I can’t relax. I’m back on the quest to find something to fill the void of what just so recently cleared up my schedule. I think it’s important to find meaning in your life, and try new things, but I think I’ve often just wound up working jobs I didn’t like very much in order to feel like I had a greater purpose than pooping and peeing. 

I’ve stopped using facebook for a little bit. Facebook is great when I have lots on the go and feel proud of my day to day. But it’s a strange place when you’re feeling unsure about yourself, underwhelmed, or a bit lost or hungry in your quest for meaning. Because there is always someone, and sometimes it’s me as the antagonist in others’ lives I am sure, who will show you what you’re missing out on. 

I’ve recently been eating vegetarian (with the exception of intending to eat bone broth near my time of menstruation). I’ve always been that person who sorta cheaps out on food. If I’m a ravenous beast at lunch time, I’ll probably grab a slice of pizza or a small container of potato salad. Carbs carbs and more carbs. I’ve spent a lot of my life caring about good food, researching diet and health, and yet most of my time on earth has been spent eating whatever is around me at the onset of hunger. I’ve long known I’ve had an sensitivity to dairy but I continue to load on the sour cream and have yoghurt and granola in the morning, which causes a fountain of delicious mucous trickling down my throat for hours.  Until just a few weeks ago! And now instead of heading the store and buying some chicken thighs, sweet potatoes, and salad greens, I have to think of cleverly delicious vege meals (well, really vegan cause I’m actually avoiding dairy). It takes a fair amount of time. It takes time to research new recipes, experiment in the kitchen, and cook two meals a day and make healthy snacks. At least if you’re hoping for variety. That’s what I have concluded. But it’s rewarding to not just auto pilot towards meat, cheeses, and creamy dishes. I don’t condone the eating of meat, but the China study has got me thinking again. It’s worth watching “Forks over knives”– a documentary that discusses the findings of Colin T. Campbell and his colleagues. 

All this to say that I’m vowing to remove myself from praising BUSY. I want to value intention, and being, and laughter and slow. I want to spend time cooking and making my home nice. I want to continue to learn to be okay with myself in times where I am not running around stuffing bread down my throat in between classes and work and dinner hangouts. Im going to take more time to live, and deal with the resurgence of feelings from anxiety and fear and sadness and pain and avoid them no longer. I might have to do this over and over again as to keep reminding myself to breathe. #preach

Ps. Even bees aren’t that busy. They get things done, but they spend a whoooollle lot of hours hanging out. Straight up. If you open up a hive, you will see many bees collected on the insides of the box just meditating on fruitful days of honey production. 

Cute self care for cute people with cute mental health problems 

Self care is any intentional activity that self-nurtures. Self care is the mental health cure all of today as hempseed, goji berry, and spirulina were of 2010. Self care is often on checklists of health care professionals– “Have you been practicing your self care activities like we had talked about?” Self care is for people who neglect their own needs and desires. Self care is for busy parents and employed people and stressed out people who aren’t depressed or chronically anxious or paranoid or chronically ill– we think about ourselves a lot. It’s for relatively high functioning people who need a little down time. While I know, from personal experience as well, that yoga, bathing, napping, cooking, baking, reading and gardening are all things that  contribute to a healthier state of mind, sometimes they just don’t cut it. 
When I am anxious, I am focused too much on myself. I’m studying every thought and feeling and sensation in my body and everything else is secondary. I can auto-pilot conversations, all the while thinking and believing I am going to die or pass out or barf or whatever the feelings may be. When I am anxious I don’t know how to relax. Sure I can stop and meditate or jump in a warm bath, but just in doing those actions I can’t promise relaxation or any supposed benefits of self care. And what about after the bath? Shall I spend my whole day hopping from relaxation technique to relaxation technique?While I believe the intention behind self care is good, I think it’s a passive and lazy way to try to engage someone who is experiencing mental illness. What if they say no, no they haven’t been practicing their self care? Do we really believe that taking a bath or lighting some candles or other conventional ideas of relaxation are really going to work on someone who feels utterly distressed, lonely, confused, exhausted, miserable, and/or sad? 

I found a pretty interesting blurb that follows in line with this thought. 

The following is written by dion-the socialist who can be followed here. 

No one here seems interested in the grimy parts of mental health. Everyone wants to talk about mental illness as quiet introverts drinking tea and nervously stuttering over words. No one ever talks about symptoms like paranoia or hallucinations or hypersexuality or compulsions or homelessness or drug addiction or delusions or psychosis or violent urges. Every time a clearly mentally ill person commits a crime, and someone says, “Hey, maybe this is a sign that we need to improve mental health awareness in this country,” everyone goes to screaming: “This isn’t about mental illness! Mentally ill people aren’t violent!”
But yes, sometimes mentally ill people are violent. Sometimes we are bad people. And even those mentally ill people are in need of advocacy, maybe even more so.
When you post “Protect people with mental illnesses at all costs,” do you mean all of us, or just the cute ones?
I get sick of tumblr’s version of self care, which 90% of the time threads into this beautifully: go pet a fuzzy cute animal! pile up your favorite blankets from childhood and watch disney movies! take a nap! play a game from this list of cute soothings games! 

More realistically: go take a shower because it’s been three days. Wash the dishes that have been in the sink since last Friday that you can smell as soon as you open your door because rotting food stinks. Pick all your clothes off the floor because that’s where your entire wardrobe is and you’ve already cried today because you tripped over a sweater and realized the cat puked on it. Call someone who can give you enough courage to pay that bill you’ve been ignoring. Put away the crackers because that’s all you’ve eaten for two days straight. Apologize to the friends who are worried sick about you, and if you can’t, at least let them know you are ok and need space. 
One of the most empowering types of self-care is responsibility, but tumblr just wants to sit in a closet strung with fairy lights and read their favorite fic.  
“Cute” self-care for “cute” mental issues. That’s not reality. 🐱

Are you looking for meaning in your life? Yeah, same. 

Emma Hewson does it again. She reviews a book and tells you why and why not to read it. I love Emma. Thank you. 


 The day before a friend of mine was about to leave the country for a several months, she found a copy of the Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield on the street and passed it along to me. This was odd, considering that she had been wanting to give me a copy for months, and had now found one at the last possible moment. Even more odd, considering that the book is entirely about synchronicity.  

 The Celestine Prophecy is a narrative that follows a man, John, as he discovers 9 ‘insights’ towards a spiritual life. It’s an effective format that gets you excited about the material because the protagonist is learning at the same time that you are. 

 Essentially the plot is as follows: John has come to a plateau in his life when he meets an acquaintance who tells him about an ancient Peruvian manuscript. He somewhat spontaneously decides to travel to Lima, Peru, to investigate. Once there, he synchronistically meets a series of characters that reveal to him more and more of the manuscript. He learns that the entire world is made of energy, and our happiness in life has to do with how tuned in to that energy we are–especially important are synchronicity and intuition.

 Personally, I loved the book because it describes some of my favourite spiritual ideas in a fun and engaging fictional world. The whole idea of fun is sometimes lost in the self-development section of the bookshelf! If you’re interested, the Celestine Prophecy was also made into a film, starring Mathew Setter of Gossip girl fame. And although it redefined my assumptions about Setter, the film itself moves too quickly from insight to insight to be engaging or to allow the audience to connect with the characters.

 Additionally, there is one thing that is slightly disappointing about this and many personal development/new age books, and that is its very strong Christian influence. This book specifically revolves around the suppression of spiritual ideas by the Christian church, and seems to be trying to convince Christian readers that the two philosophies don’t conflict. For me, I can kind of ignore this aspect in order to enjoy the other messages. However, skip this book if you’re not in the mood for a Christian-tinged narrative.