The Best Parts of Being a Rule Breaker

best parts

Do you remember an exercise in school where the instructor asked you to make a list of things that would be easier if you were the opposite sex? What advantages do the opposite sex have?

Maybe you never did this exercise. I remember doing it in like middle school and then again in college. I remember some of the males answers had to do with the fact that men won’t hit a girl (that is not true and we know it), girls get things for free (drinks at a bar etc).. Some of the female answers included the fact that men do not deal with menstruation or labor and birth.

There are things I love and do not love quite as much about being the gender I am. For example, I could totally do without breasts. I think they are cumbersome and unnecessary. I look forward to having a different relationship with my breasts when I am a mother one day but until that time I have no need for them. Another example is dresses, love dresses. Comfy ones made of cotton or jersey, it is a whole outfit in one. They are easy and comfortable, dresses are great.

So again, before I go any further I want to acknowledge that dresses are for everyone and not all women have breasts and some men do. This post is about not fitting neatly into a gender box. I do not fit neatly into the box so I hear you. We are all worthy and whole just as we are.

So when I talk about the gender box, that box looks different based on your perspective. I am speaking about the box from the angle of normative white, christian, American culture and in those terms here are some ways I enjoy being a rule breaker:

  • Shaving only when I am in the mood. A guy once said something to me about how another woman’s arm pits that were maybe two days out from shaving were grody. Grody? Really? It was like being in middle school. I am not going to lie I did not meet this remark with compassion. I did not call him in which is something I totally preach about. The truth is in that moment I could have cared less about having that guy as an ally so I called him right out by making a comment about if she was grody than he was straight up filthy! I mean when was the last time he shaved his pits?! Gross man, go get a razor!
    I do not enjoy shaving and I made sure to marry a man that does not police my body. I do shave but like I said, only when I feel like it. I shave for me not for the world.
  • My hair. I have a pixie and it is everything. It is easy and it is easy and it is easy. I have a million reasons why I love this cut and they all come back to it is so freaking easy. When I go to get a hair cut it I get what the boys get. It takes about 15 minutes costs about 15.00-20.00 less (which is total bull) and I am on my way.
  • Bras. Don’t like ’em, don’t want ’em, go without them as often as possible. Now I cannot pretend to be some bad ass I don’t give a crap what other people say in this area. I totally wear bras when I do not want to. I hate it but professional standards are what they are for women and sometimes whether I like it or not I have to play by the rules. I will go out in the world with no bra without shame though.  At Publix, watch out! Therapy, no bra don’t care. Family dinner at a restaurant, my girls are free. Hanging out with friends, I hang out.
  • Domestic life. That is not really a thing in the traditional sense in our home. I do the chores I either like or don’t hate and he does the chores he either likes or does not hate. Luckily he hates to clean the toilet and that is not a problem for me and I hate to vacuum and he could care less. It works.
    I do not bake as we all know by now. Cooking is okay because it is not an exact science but if I don’t feel like I don’t and we either make do or he cooks. Nobody is forced into a certain role based on gender in this house.
  • Make-up. Pretty much not a thing for me. I will wear it if I feel like it from time to time but make-up is rare for me. I do like to paint my nails. I have a rainbow of choices when it comes to nail polish. Again, I keep up with my nails as I feel like it only which means at times I may have nothing left on my nail than a small single turquoise polish chip. My favorite part of my beauty routine is lotioning my face after a hot shower, I look forward to it everyday.
  • Clothes. I wear what is comfy and feels most like the person I am on any given day. That usually results in loose fitting jeans with a tank and possibly a cardigan (bra optional) or a loose fitting dress, or athletic wear. Comfy is key. 
    After reading all this what must your impression of me be? This girl is a total slob! Yeah, maybe, but am I any more slobbish than any of the men in your life who do not wear bras, or make up, or shave their legs or pits, or choose to wear comfy clothes, or hate baking, or have short hair? I am not a slob. I am my own definition of myself, and I do not fit neatly into a box, and the very best part about being a rule breaker is that  I am super fucking comfortable with that. So comfortable in fact that I make others uncomfortable at times, that is for them to figure out though.So in what ways are you a rule breaker? And who are you making uncomfortable with your unapologetic authentic approach to your life? You answer that question for yourself and know that you have a fan in me.

One Step Then Another

today and tomorrow

This photo/quote is the literal inspiration for this post. It is no hidden matter that I am heavily focused on personal growth. I am mindful of my journey at large but in order for me to constantly be changing and evolving I have to  be mindful of my daily strides as well. Little acts add up to big changes.

Here is what I did today that is part of the metamorphosis in to my tomorrow self:

Cleaned out drawers. I went through my sock drawer and got rid of all socks without pairs and all pairs of socks that are run down and no longer useful. I rarely wear socks anyway so there is no reason for the socks I do own to take up so much room. I addressed that issue as well which freed up an entire drawer in the dresser.

While on my cleaning spree I cleaned out my toiletries including old lotions, other skin care products, and make up. No need for old unused items hanging around the bathroom taking up space. It feels good to declutter.

Today I also made time for a friend and met a new little life that was brought into the world earlier this summer.

I wrote on this blog which plays a big role in my growth because it is a place for me process and release anything that needs a voice.

A was mindful of my nutrition.

I took time for creativity.

And lastly time with family, which technically has not happened yet because Todd is still at work. When he gets home though we will walk Lucy, eat dinner together, talk about our respective days, and spend time in the evening together.

I liked this writing prompt because it is all about being mindful and having purpose and intention in action which is so easy to fall away from. Always happy for the reminder.

Summers End

summers end

This weekend Todd and I will be taking our last over night beach trip of the season. We are going to see a band we have both listened to for years at one of the coastal amphitheaters and then going to the beach the next day. I am looking forward to it. We have had multiple beach trips with family and friends this summer, I think it is nice to finish off the summer with a trip for just the two of us.

There will be a little travel happening next semester but nothing compared to what we did last year. I have a workshop in October that will be held at the beach which I am looking forward to. Todd will be traveling to Nevada for work mid semester. Originally we talked about making a trip out of it but the timing is off and it sounds work heavy so he would not have much extra time to explore anyway. There may be another opportunity for travel with work in the future though and if that were to happen we would definitely both be going, it would be a big trip. I am not going to count that chicken just yet though.

We have decided to plan a trip for the fall of 2017 as a way to celebrate my graduation so that is something else to look forward to. We are thinking another mountain vacation but we have not decided yet. We could do Colorado or Oregon or maybe the New England area as well. The possibilities are many.

This week I have been finishing up all my final papers and tests. Next Tuesday is my official last day and I will have one semester of grad school under my belt. Hard to believe I will have just two more semesters!

I am meeting with my mentor next week to talk about post grad school plans. I am thankful for his guidance.

This has been a summer for the books. I can’t really even complain about the heat this year, most of the time I spent outside I was swimming. I also feel like I have grown quite a bit this summer and I think that is largely because I gave myself the gift of down time. The last two semesters I have been so busy that I don’t know if I was fully processing everything that was going on in my life. This summer was a much needed break, I am thankful for it beyond measure.

Congratulations You Have Created a Religion

coercion

I have never considered myself political. When I turned 18 I joined the republican party because that was my Dad’s party and what did I know? I did not follow politics, at most I would listen to my Dad’s opinions about this or that. “John Kerry is a liar”, “Bush is not as stupid as they think”.. None of it meant anything to me though.

I rarely voted and if I did it was for whoever Dad said was best because what did I know? No one I dated was particularly political so no one was challenging anything I was hearing, until my last partner before Todd. I will call him N. N was from South America, he was a citizen but no one in his family was. I watched for years while he tried to help them gain citizenship, it was a process that started before we were together and did not finally happen until years after we had parted ways, for the record he and I had been together for 3 years. He opened my eyes to how other countries view our country, he opened my eyes to other ways of thinking, he was the first person to challenge my father’s ideals, he was the first person to turn on my own political light.

I still did not consider myself a political person but suddenly I was aware of things I hadn’t been and once you see certain things they are impossible to ignore.

I am not here to say what my Dad believed/believes in is wrong, I am just saying I realized it was/is not right for me.

The rest of this story can be summed up by saying I still do not consider myself political in terms of belonging to a certain party in America. There is a lot about our political system that I think is unbalanced and I do not support any specific side as a result. I am registered no party affiliation and vote on the left. Where I do consider myself political is that I understand now being informed matters, who we elect matters, the social justice issues of our country and the world will not be resolved without macro intervention and the political system is a macro system. I no longer turn a blind eye, I can’t.

This election cycle was the first time I had gotten excited about a candidate. I really like the Obamas but I was not politically tuned in when he was running the first time so I was not caught up in the momentum of his campaign. This year is the first time I have been really paying attention, this is the first time I am listening to the messages. I was Bernie all the way. I liked that he fell outside of the party lines, I liked that he could not be bought, I liked his platform in terms of addressing social justice issues and the reform he was outlining.

I would not say I am Bernie or Bust but I can say as much I am afraid of Trump I also do not trust Hillary. Now that Bernie appears to be out I have fallen back to feeling pretty cynical about our options, that is just me and I am allowed to feel that way. If I vote there is a strong possibility I will vote Green Party, I have only just started researching Dr. Jill Stein but at first glance she seems more in line with what feels right to me.

What is bothering me is now that Sanders appears to be out is that there is all this shaming of his supporters going on. This fear mongering of “If you don’t fall in line with Hillary it will be your fault when Trump is elected.” This approach rubs me all kinds of wrong, the pressure, the attempts at control and coercion.. I was reading one such attempt to shame Sanders supporters and in the comments saw something that resonated with me.. The summary of what it said was, this is a guilt trip meant to force people to abandon what they believe in and endorse criminals out of fear, “congrats you have created a religion”.

Personally the only chance I think we have at true change comes from free thinking. Again I am going to reference a Tool lyric, Maynard got it right with “Think for yourself, question authority.”

I do not believe in abandoning what feels right to you just because it is not popular. I do not believe in surrendering to bullies. I do not believe that a two party system is enough to encompass the varying beliefs of over 300 million people.

I may not agree with all of my father’s ideals now that I am more politically conscious but there is one thing he taught me that still rings true. At the end of the day you have to be okay with you. For my Dad this time around that means not voting with his party which I know is really hard for him. For me that means doing whatever feels right for me.

 

 

Courage to Create

One of my favorites and I are going to an event tomorrow at the tea shop near the house. It is a writing workshop, she is the true writer – I just play a writer on this blog. The workshop is a Show and Tell where we are to bring an object, do the show and tell bit and then we will be given writing prompts once everyone has shared. As we are writing we will be given tips on how to improve our writing. I think it will be fun and different and worse case scenario it will give me an excuse to drink green tea.

I was excited to learn about this event, even more excited when I learned my girlfriend was interested in going, but now I am left with dilemma.. What on earth do I bring for show and tell?

Suddenly everything I own either seems insignificant or too personal to share with strangers (I laughed when I wrote that because that is literally what I do on this blog, get super personal with strangers). Regardless, I am now in a pickle. I remember being a kid in grade school and feeling like this about show and tell day, excited but anxious. Is what I bring in going to be cool enough? Will the other kids like it? What is everyone else going to bring? What do I say about my thing?

It is grade school all over. It is anxiety knowing I am going to have to share with strangers and anxiety knowing I am then going to write about it and possibly have to share that with the group as well. Scary! I do consider myself a writer, I write almost everyday, sometimes multiple times a day, and I need to write to feel balanced. I do not consider myself a writer writer though. Am I in over my head going to a writing event? No more than someone who does not consider themselves a painter painter going to one of those paint night events right? I mean this is for rookies, it’s for fun.

I am going to have to take sometime tomorrow morning and think on it.

I am glad I have people I can take risks with. I am thankful for all the creative types in my life, I have a lot as I naturally gravitate towards other creative beings. I am thankful for the time to be creative and have fun. I am grateful to live somewhere that grants me easy access to creative outlets. I am grateful for the courage to put myself out there even when it feels scary.

creativity

What’s Next

I am profoundly grateful to have a mentor on my social work journey. I have a few between my former intern supervisor and a few professors, and I am sure to accrue a few more while in my next internship. One stands out from the rest though because of the role he has played in my growth.

As I ease into the next phase of this journey I am thinking more and more about what comes next. In less than a year I will be an unemployed MSW, I will need a job! When I started undergrad I had a very clear vision of what I wanted to do with my degrees upon completion. Now as I reach the end of the academic part of my journey I realize I am not the same version of myself that I was when I started and as a result my vision for my future, immediate and long term is changing. As I become more myself and am figuring out what feels right to me within the realm of social work I am starting to wonder, where do I fit in?

I recognize that it is unlikely I am going to walk off the stage at graduation and land my ideal job, partly because I do not even know what that looks like right now and partly because I have to get there. Part of what may help me figure out what I want is by figuring out what I don’t and some of my jobs right out of school may fall into the don’t category, I have no way of knowing.

I have reached out to my mentor so we can talk some of this out. I would like to have some piece of mind so I will feel more open when I start applying for jobs in the near future.

I am grateful that I have someone to reach out to who is willing to sit in this with me and who I know will ask me the questions I am not able to ask myself about this right now. I am grateful for all of the mentors and guides and supporters and critics in my life. They all play an enormous role in my continued growth. I know I will land exactly where I am supposed to when I am supposed to get there and I am grateful for having that knowledge. I am grateful that knowing this to be true takes some of the anxiety away as I get closer to my next phase.

 

Intention

intention

I expressed gratitude a while back for the people in my life that make me safe to accept/feel love. Today I took a long hard look at what I need to be doing to be one of those people in my life. What do I  need to be doing for myself to make me feel safe to be loved by myself? How do I define safety?

I don’t have all of these answers yet but I am doing the work to get there.

What I do know is that this work is the key that opens the door to everything for me. I am on one side of a door, safety is the key that opens it, and on the other side of the door is every single dream I have ever had. Everything I have ever wanted, everything I have ever wanted to be, everything I have ever wanted to feel.. It is all right here, the only thing standing between me and everything is safety.

safe