As the president of my college campus's Generation Action chapter, I and the rest of the exec. board (my lovely friends Michaela, Kayla, and Emily) were invited to Washington, D.C. for Planned Parenthood's Generation Action national youth conference.
It was incredible and inspiring, empowering and enlightening, to be surrounded by over 400 activists and leaders who are all concerned with same issue -- reproductive justice -- and all the many, many facets related to such a complex issue. The conference spanned four days, with activities ranging from guest speakers (such as Sen. Elizabeth freaking Warren!!!!) to workshops (such as, "Beyond Choice: Reproductive Justice 101" and "The Importance of Public Policy and Advocacy: Advancing the Issues You Care About") to a day spent lobbying with each state's senators and representatives.
Zoe Ridolfi-Starr, one of the co-creators of the Carry That Weight movement on the Columbia University campus, led a discussion on the issue of sexual assault on college campuses nationwide and how we can most effectively utilize social media in bringing about awareness and affecting change at a specific dinner centered on strategizing with peers. It was just so definitively cool to be able to talk with girls from all over the country on how our experiences differ along our fight for the same thing. I knew I'd come away from the conference with ideas, but I couldn't take notes fast enough as we exchanged stories about different events held and actions taken that we can share from campus to campus.
It was sometime in my high school career that I first went to my local Planned Parenthood for a check up; my regular doctor isn't a gynecologist and I just felt like I needed some specific questions answered. I was struck by how pleasant the experience was over all, how friendly and helpful the staff was -- it was comfortable, from the waiting room to the check out desk, the entire facility felt accepting and reassuring. Every time I've ever visited a clinic has been a positive experience -- I've even had direct responses from the Planned Parenthood account on twitter before the social media importance push that now has every company with interns specifically dedicated to replying to all tweets, all day. This is a company that has always been there for me and to be encouraged by them as a young leader in my community means the world to me.
The Generation Action conference invigorated me; there are students all over the country taking action in their lives and on their campuses and I can't wait to get to work alongside them. Our generation will make up 40% of the voting population in 2020 -- that is a lot of power. It means a great deal that Planned Parenthood has invested so much in supporting young people because we are the future and we can get shit done. Start conversation! Support your local women's health center! I've really realized the importance of making your voice heard, whether your deal is rallying on campus or lobbying state government. Speaking out makes a difference.
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
Friday, April 10, 2015
"Every day I discover more and more beautiful things. It’s enough to drive one mad. I have such a desire to do everything, my head is bursting with it."
- Claude Monet
I was once told by the internet that adults make a lot of lists and oh my god, is that true. I make hella lists. All I do is make lists. I feel like I have more pads of post-its than I do places to actually put those post-its. I write everything down; It's not even a matter of being organized, but rather I forget everything I don't write down. So, I write it all down, basically in as many places as I can. Listing and planning is an important part of the process of Getting Shit Done, as long as it doesn't take up all the time that could/should be spent on the actually doing of the shit that needs to be done. It's a hard balance to distinguish for me, because the planning process is the easiest and most cathartic part -- I'm not being judged or graded on my notes, so I don't feel outside pressure hindering my ability to think freely. However, it's also an activity I normally feel I can do while multitasking (there aren't many activities I feel I can't do while multitasking, whether that's accurate or not) which means I'm not really devoting my time to getting anything finitely done. If I'm not actually finishing anything, what am I accomplishing? I'm basically just wasting time, labeling my procrastination as "organizing my thoughts" or "creating a game plan." All good strategies to tackle projects, but not in the precious, dwindling time before it's due. Then all that's just nonsense and it's time to sit down and actually put some hard work into it.
|Imbalanced: the life of a terrible Libra|
I'm pretty sure my best friend from high school once said, "It's not the size of the ship, but the motion in the ocean." Of course, we were giggling ninth graders and she was referencing something much different than I am, but whatever, same idea. I am a small human (or boat, for purposes of this metaphor) but it's what I do that makes a difference. Right? Sure, why not. Go with it. If Rachel Platten can write an entire song around a similar idea, I can post a blog about it.**
Also, it's The Great Gatsby's 90th birthday! Take my advice: if you've only ever read it for school, read it again. The popularity is not all hype; It is legitimately some kind of magical.
**The other day I actually met a guy in my English class who's favorite novel is Moby Dick. Ok. I wouldn't have believed him if his eyes didn't legitimately lit up when arguing that every single sea-related novel/movie/song basically owes it all to MD. Yay for sea-metaphors, I guess?
Thursday, April 9, 2015
"I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself."
A disembodied voice reverberates across campus. The kid who pitches a tent and smokes hookah beneath the elevated walkway in bad weather packs up; a girl coming back from the gym darts, shoes in hand, through the swamp that was my hall's courtyard two days ago; the alarm announcing the impending tornadoes sounds straight out of Silent Hill, awakening me from my safe and peaceful cat nap.
I love thunderstorms more than anything, especially ones that show up on an afternoon perfect for lounging near a window, protected by an empty schedule from facing the elements directly.
Just a minute ago, I was in my bed and now I sit cozily perched in my friend's. That's what I'll miss about dorm life: the proximity of possibility. It's the never knowing what could happen because there's always people around, even a night-in has potential to produce anecdotes worthy of re-telling. A wedged-open door could bring anything when you live with a couple hundred almost-strangers. My home is a hallway away from my best friends' floor. Loneliness just isn't even a thing because I'm never alone for long. Which, on one hand, can be read with an inflection of exhaustion: I'm never alone. Because, yeah, I like my space. But also, there's comfort in the tradition of stumbling into the room with my roommate and falling into our respective beds. Being jerked awake by the barging entrance of someone from down the hall. Getting locked out of the suite-style shared bathroom.* I like people and being forced to live with so many inspires so much friendship that wouldn't spawn in any other environment. (It brought me my former-RA, current-BFFL, Erin, who I probably wouldn't have met otherwise. Eternally grateful to the dorm gods.) It's gross and weird and a germ's freaking wet dream, but it's a unique situation to this time in my life and that's cool. We bond because we have to, we're stuck together; We're all scared and tired and invested far more in television shows than our homework. I bet Zac Efron has some choice words about this.
It's been nice and I'll miss it. Much love, Res Housing.
...But also obviously I'm excited to have my own room again, let's be real.
*Yeah, no. I won't miss that at all. Even if it is relatively easy to jimmy it unlocked.
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
"Raise ya hand if you don't have to diss people to feel better about yourself. Jealousy is a disease. It kills at a fast pace. Kisses to my bad bitches"
- Nicki Minaj
- Nicki Minaj
I have a whole list of topics to cover this month but I've had a ridiculous day of being awake and constantly moving since 8:30 a.m. so i'm going to let this night go and give you basically nothing
My friends are back announcing the night of Flood Fest 2k15.
"Be careful, I know you're very careful," my friend storms in, shouting advice. Like, when? "Remember I told you to be careful on your way home?! And you WERE!? You've built that trust. Make good choices."
Good advice for all.
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter."
-- ee cummings
I've always had a strange relationship with poetry. It was middle school internet-exploration that initially sparked my interest in poems; "To the Virgins" caught my attention and stuck with me -- mostly because of *sex* but also because even then I was rolling my 8th grade eyes at the (weak) lengths horny men would go to in attempts to get some. It is beautifully written though, and basically the inspiration for modern classics such as this Drake masterpiece. I embarrassed myself in front of my high school freshman year english teacher I had a hopeless crush on during the poetry section of the year. (Oh, god, it was awful...But it was fun.) More recently, I've put myself on stage during open mic poetry nights and read work by other authors (I've read this because it's held a spot on my desktop for over a year and yes I found it on Tumblr, but whatever, I like it a lot. It's very Gryffindor and I can get behind that), though I've never read one of my own because I definitely do not feel as close to writing poetry as I do to reading it.
I could read and analyze beautiful lines of poetic art endlessly, but writing it is not an area I feel comfortable in, yet. My phone is full of works in progress, my notebook margins are black with illegibly scribbled lines, even this blog holds private drafts of poems started up to three or four years ago. Sharing work is a crucial part of being a writer, but poetry feels different, ultimately far more personal and, because it can be so free form, I don't have an outline to follow -- which means my writing stands totally on its own, bare to judgement. Which is SCARY. (Criticism is not my jam. I'm working on it. It's a life long process, I'm sure.)
The first time I came to poetry night here, it was almost religious. I ordered the legendary Honey and Lavender Latte for the first time, the room was practically standing room only, and a girl with enormous talent got up and read The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, a poem that has always touched me ever since a boy I liked in high school mentioned it in passing and I looked it up to further get a sense of him and happened to find a part of myself there, too. Currently, sitting at a well-worn wooden table waiting for another wave of talented peers to take the stage in front of me, I'm writing this in lieu of finishing the massive final paper due tomorrow for my African American Lit class. This is all relevant, though, because Third Girl from the Left is about three generations of women and their relationships to art; one character, Tamara, specifically says at one point: "I thought about what pictures could do. What they could do if you weren't afraid." Replace "pictures" with "words" and wow! What an applicable contribution to this topic!
Being afraid and doing it anyway, whatever it is, is hugely important. Art wields incredible power and the world is better for having more of it. I'm beyond grateful to have this time every week to celebrate artistic expression in an immediate and personal way; every night should be poetry night! Every month should be poetry month! It'd be crazy awesome if anyone that has taken the time to read this hot mess would take another extra minute share one of their favorite poems. Like, I'm begging you. I live for that stuff.
Monday, April 6, 2015
"It has to be about cheering each other on as women,"
As I've previously mentioned, I LOVE compliments -- both giving and receiving. They are my favorite thing. Compliments are a great way to build people up in small everyday ways as well as make yourself feel more comfortable with your own presence and appearance; a huge part of loving and accepting yourself is loving and accepting others. Plus, compliments are a super easy way to break an awkward silence -- no more silent elevator rides if you ask the girl beside you where she got her shoes/book bag/headband etc! The giving of compliments is the easiest because it doesn't take much thought or confidence and it can really mean a lot depending on the situation and depth of compliment. Something I've noticed recently, however, is how I'm changing in the way that I receive compliments. Specifically, from dudes.
It's not that I'm necessarily sick of hearing "You have beautiful eyes!" Like, thank you, really. That's nice to hear, but also it's sort of lacking in creativity...I understand that every compliment can't be personal and deep but JEEZ, am I expected to swoon every time a guy notices my eyes are blue? It's just kind of a weak opener. It doesn't help that it generally feels insincere after so often hearing guys discussing their "move," their go-to tactic, and it starts with complimenting the eyes because girls are emotional and love that dumb romantic shit...As if telling me the specific hue of my eyes is bluest blue they've ever seen will instantly get me naked. Blegh.
It's kind of a big deal to feel distant from boys' approval when for my entire adolescence I was socialized to desire that above everything else. Even as a 13-year-old, I knew I wanted attention from boys and a small part of me held onto the idea that having it would make me worthwhile. Obviously, boys knew what was worth wanting and what wasn't, I assumed, and so the deciding factor of my worth was their reception of me. I could vomit at the memory of childhood crushes and the way my pubescent mouth would justify catcalls as compliments to be grateful for before I learned the full weight of the term 'sexual harassment.'
The resurgence of so much feminism in the public eye and the encouragement of love and support among women has been exponentially beneficial. It's the message that we can validate ourselves, an idea that I wish I'd been so widely exposed to a long time ago because it definitely would have rocked 14-year-old Cecilia's world. Even so, the process of loving myself has greatly improved my life, as it is. I think I can be simultaneously both genuinely pleased with compliments from guys while also detached from constantly seeking them out.
The fact that I basically don't even take compliments from boys seriously anymore is much more of a personal issue, I think. I probably shouldn't psychoanalyze myself too deeply and publicly on the internet, though; I'll save that for my diary. You can read all about it in my memoires.
Sunday, April 5, 2015
"The feeling of health, the full-noon trill, the song of me rising from bed and meeting the sun."
Loving is often much more important and worthwhile than hating, so in the shocking sequel to "Things I Hate," I've compiled a list of just a few select wonders that make life worth living in a world where tires go flat and salsa costs a million dollars.
Things I Love:
- hot sauce
- plastic containers of coffee
- Kristen Stewart
- nail polish of all colors and quality
- my signed copy of The Casual Vacancy
- The fact that the Stars Hollow set is also in PLL
- Tacos, all shapes and sizes
- the look dogs give when they're just absolutely exhausted with you
- throw pillows and blankets
- breakfast all day
- free movies
- pink and orange, together
- The video that played on old VHS head cleaner tapes
- the possum that was in my driveway one night that appeared very cute until it charged
Saturday, April 4, 2015
"It’s all about falling in love with yourself.”
Hating things is exhausting and often pointless, but I'm typing this on my phone and so is that. Plus, I think getting to know yourself is as fun a process as getting to know someone else -- good, bad, everything. We're all a lil self-centered because we are the center of our own little brain universes, so why not get in touch with yourself and figure out specifically what it is that makes you tick, right?! I'd give you a list of what makes me tick, but we're simply not that close yet, Blogger.
Here's a very superficial list of things I hate:
- that I'm running on limited laptop power because I forgot my Mac charger at school (hence the newly downloaded blogger app I didn't know existed)
- dolls with blinking eyes
- the post-bad nap headache
- pot holes
- flat tires
- how expensive tires are
- emails from Spotify
- melty, gooey cheese that is impossible to pick off of pizza
- the fact that Keira Knightley wasn't in Pirates of the Carribean 4
- tiny scissors
- Fox news
- the fact that I don't have a bowl of salsa next to me at all times and it costs a butt load
- the feeling of having something to prove
- whoops got too serious on that last one bye
Friday, April 3, 2015
"What you will be in five years depends on two things: the people you meet and the books you read." -Twyla Tharp
The way we perceive time is weird.
Freshman year I basically did nothing of substance. I dipped my hand into a couple different clubs on campus, but nothing stuck. I enjoyed myself: movie nights with my suitemates, sleeping in my single whenever I felt like it, picnics on the green. But I wasn't productive. I didn't significantly expand my friend group beyond the people I lived with and I didn't develop my resume at all. Meeting people and growing into a professional adult is literally what college is for, so I began to recognize I was doing something wrong. Needless to say, I made some huge changes coming into my Sophomore year and I'm so happy with the results.
Not only am I actively involved in several organizations, I just became president of a super cool club that I'm extremely passionate about? (Generation Action/VOX -- we're advocates for Planned Parenthood, aka the condom queens of campus.) I've made countless new friends, genuinely kind hearted souls that I know will color the rest of my years here with fun and love. I'm developing habitual tendencies and exploring my school's community; I go to poetry night every Tuesday at a local coffee shop -- and I've actually read poetry there...Like, in front of people. For fun. It's different. There are hills to hike, trees to climb, an endless array of new food to eat. I came into 2015 with the goal to really grow as a person, to push myself beyond the average growth that changes everyone with time; new people, new ideas, new experiences. I have definitely dealt with a lot of new in just the past few months, so, yay! Exposure is key, right? Growth!
I'm grateful to have this time in my life where I can broadly explore who I want to be -- I know that it requires certain levels of privilege to have that kind of opportunity. I haven't stopped running since Spring Break but I'm in a really good place, overall. Good days, bad days, I'm figuring it out and I'm really finding my place.
Thursday, April 2, 2015
"It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”
As good as it got throughout March was teasingly pleasant summer in the sun with winter hanging in the wind and haunting from the shade. So, it was a positive sign for the first day of April to be the first really truly beautiful warm day of the season. Without even the chill of a breeze, it was the perfect Spring afternoon. My peers poured out in droves, sprinkling the greens with blankets and frisbees; My friends and I hula-hooped, slack-lined, picnic'd, hiked, and jumped rope -- in one afternoon? I've honestly never been as active as I have been since Spring Break. The weather is immaculate and this atmosphere is opportunity, both of which have made it nearly impossible to ignore the call of the wild for a nap or even a table beneath my dinner.
It's cliche to marvel at how incredible it is that only a month ago I was boot-deep in snow, because duh, the seasons change the same way, every year, get used to it. But time is weird and the way brains work is weird and I think it's beneficial to appreciate life's weirdness on the reg.
Thunder just alerted me to the torrential downpour that has broken the skies that were shining only an hour ago -- the flip side of spring weather (equally as fun as sunny days under the right conditions). I know the weather is typically a boring subject, the first go-to for chit chat among strangers and acquaintances alike, but this isn't really about the weather -- like everything isn't really about what everything's about on the surface. This is just a casual way of bringing up how really really really happy I am to be where I am. It's not that I forget how much I love my school, but it's easy to get distracted by daily stressors and, like everything: it isn't perfect. Even amidst all the hype, it's good to take note of what it is that does make this place special. (I think that's applicable to this town in particular, as well as the college atmosphere, in general.)
I'm happy where I am and I'm making it mine.