Saturday, September 25, 2010


My birthday has officially passed. I gauge this by the fact that the parties in my honor are now over. I had a fabulous run of events devoted to my mother having her stomach cut open, and me being pulled out wailing in such a way that was deemed "sassy," and I was named Kimberly because the other option, Rachel, was too mild for such a spunky little baby. Foreshadowing?

This is the first year in many that I have not specifically made a list of things I want to accomplish in the next year, or thought hard about attributes that I want to make an effort to emulate. It seems that this year, the reflection is happening in a more broad, vague, all-encompassing sort of way. I don't feel the same urge to quantify my progress this year. I just want to grow. I just want to feel honest, in every aspect. I want to assert myself and defend others and love people really well. What does that look like? I know what it has looked like, but I also know that it will change indefinitely. The older I get the more clear it becomes that quantifying everything is as incomplete as leaving everything in an intangible, theoretical form. Life is both. Life is everything.

Interestingly, I feel both the most hopeful I have been and the most pessimistic I have been. I'm feeling very Buddhist about everything in the sense that I am consciously letting things go, and letting them be. My high-strung, misdirected energies that I have exhausted on stressing out about the state of the world and the state of people's lives around it are shifting. My tension between what I consider to be mainstream culture and the values that are what we should be focusing on is becoming less upsetting to feel. If we use up the very finite resources that our infrastructure and civilization rely upon (read: water, top soil, fossil fuels) and people die off (with the exploited people at the bottom of the class hierarcy being first by way of natural disasters caused by climate change, such as the absolutely devastating flood in Pakistan) until there are only some humans left, or none for whatever reason, and the other species that once existed plentifully (word?) die off for the most part....whatever. I hope that doesn't happen and I will work my whole life to make things better in all capacities I can, but if it does? Fuck it. The complete disappearance of life on this planet would still be pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of things. And if I'm wrong and our planet holds the only forms of life in the universe and then it's all gone to shit? Whatever! What the fuck ever. History is full of beginnings and ends. We should've done  a better job.

So, it's doom and gloom, but I am also content. I will do work and have fun and enjoy my life and help as much as I can, and that's all. I can't worry about the future of our planet constantly, and stress out about people not acting on this or that. I'm going for feeling good, and taking advantage of the fact that I am ridiculously lucky and privileged by way of taking opportunities, educating myself, making other people's lives better, and keeping love in all forms at the top of the priority list.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Seasons change, things rearrange...

The transition from Summer to Fall is here. The air is no longer textured and weighed down with heat; it is crisp and impalpable and the trees remain green for the time being. I had a moment yesterday on the balcony of Julie's place (i.e. my pseudo-home) while attempting to read my very intense book for WEAVE (Women's Empowerment and Violence Education, which is the group I am a Lifestyle Advisor for at Western). I was trying to choke down chapters of these overwhelming stories from women from all sorts of paths discussing the hard issues: rape, domestic violence, exploitation, abortion, coming to terms with sexual identities that are not hetero-normative, among many many others.

My particular interest lies in the "big picture" as I see it- the culture itself that perpetuates these tragedies. People who are violent rapists, or manipulative "lovers," or who participate directly in human trafficking, are not aliens. This environment, this society, has produced these people. So how do we change the society as a whole, instead of focusing on the symptoms of the broken society in which we all live?

So anyhow, I am contemplating this outside, with a cozy sweater on and my notebook and a glass of wine. And I am compelled to write a poem instead of reading this book, so I begin to write down my musings on the trees and the sky and the trash cans below, which are uncapped and filled with flattened boxes and dirty bags full of the waste that are the staples of our college lives (read: Lots of Rainier boxes). So suddenly I look up at the sky and I have this MOMENT of Everything Being Perfect.

Sans acid, I have never experienced such a feeling before. The blue sky behind one of the countless giant trees that provide a comfort to all of us lucky Northwesterners was so gorgeous with the green leaves. I could hear birds chirping and I saw a squirrel bolt across the road, missing a car that rolled by slowly. A brave helmet-less biker flew past my porch, overtaking the car. I felt so much awe and gratitude at what an incredibly beautiful world this is and how nature is still very much here, and how in that moment nature and this modern society were complementary to one another. In that moment, nothing was at odds. Spiritual experience?

During training today we were told to write to our future selves (the one who will exist in June) about our goals in WEAVE this school year. I hadn't had coffee I had low expectations for my cognitive capabilities under the circumstances (8am + no coffee = crickets a la brain). I was having a hard time figuring out how to quantify my progress over the next year in the area of helping survivors of violence and providing information about gender equality and feminism to my peers. I concluded that I needn't quantify anything at this time. I simply wrote to myself that I wanted to feel like I had successfully fought patriarchy and rape culture. I want to feel like I was an accessible advocate that people are comfortable coming to. I want to help survivors access resources, and build confidence in themselves and their boundaries. I want to help others find their power, and I want to fully tap into my own.

My birthday is coming up, so I have been feeling extra reflective as of late. I will write more on that later. For now, my heart is full of emotion. It is sad for all of us who have felt the weight of oppression, and it is hopeful that we will affect lives through this work.