Day Without a Woman

a_day_without_a_woman

In honor of #DayWithoutAWoman and International Women’s Day, I’ll be joining millions of women in taking the day off.

If you want to participate today, you can do any or all of the following:

  • Take the day off from paid and unpaid labor if you can
  • Avoid shopping for today (except for small women and minorty owned businesses!)
  • Wear red in solidarity with others who are also participating

I plan to participate today by staying home, drinking lots of tea, reading Bad Feminist, and writing to my local politicians. It should be a relaxing solo day of action and reflection.

I also plan to take (most of) the day off from the internet and television as well. For me, part of today is also to take a day off from the media coverage of our current president. It stresses me out, and I’d rather spend today focusing on what’s going on in my own community for a day.

I hope you all find some way to participate in #DayWithoutAWoman in your own way. Remember to take care of yourselves, and do what works for you!

If you want to learn more, check out the Women’s March website here:

https://www.womensmarch.com/womensday/

What I Read Recently

what i read recently

(This was originally posted on Bloglovin’, using their direct-posting function, which does not link to Afternoon Glow. It has been updated to reflect more books I’ve read since the original post.)

Happy Tuesday!

I thought I’d start the day by sharing what I’ve been reading lately. One of my goals for 2017 is to read 50 books, and I’m already well on my way!

I also want to focus on reading more from our feminist history, as well as honoring amazing women writers. One area I didn’t explore much in college was women’s studies. I’m going to make up for that this year, hopefully. I’d also like to read more fiction, but man I am picky when it comes to fiction. Perhaps more Margaret Atwood? 😉

2017 Reading List (So Far):

1. The Feminist Mystique by Betty Friedan

2. Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham

3. My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem

4. Blue Nights by Joan Didion

5. How to Win at Feminism by Reductress

6. The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir

7. How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

8. Bad Feminist by Roxane Gray

There you have it!

Any suggestions for books I should pick up this year?

My 2017 Mantra: Good Enough is Good Enough

My 2017 Mantra

I know, it’s already March and I’m just getting around to writing a post about my 2017 goals. Sue me!

Every year, I choose a mantra or quote to live by, rather than a resolution. Instead of a checklist of lofty goals I’ll never meet, I find it more productive to devote each year to improving one big thing. This year, I’m tackling my problems with perfectionism.

My 2017 mantra:

“Good enough is good enough.”

I chose this because I need a break. I want to focus on self-care and letting myself off the hook more often. It’s hard for me sometimes to stop picking on myself and say “fuck it, that’s good enough.”

Only a couple months in, I find it freeing to give up on perfection and decision paralysis. Reminding myself that “good enough is good enough” relaxes me when I stress over something stupid. I get caught up with little things, and I need an easy way to snap out of it. So far, this seems to work.

I am also giving myself a break in one major area of life: cooking. Sure, I’m relatively good at cooking and baking…but I don’t really love doing it. You wouldn’t know that, though, given how much time and energy I devote to meal planning, prepping, cooking, and pouring over recipe books or magazines for new recipes. So this year, I am scaling things back. I am sticking to recipes I know well, spending less time planning, and avoiding new cookbooks or magazines. Variety may be the spice of life, but I’m going to let restaurants bear the burden of introducing us to new things. I want to spend 2017 doing more of what I love, and less of what I don’t. If that means our meals are repetitive or boring, then so be it.

The only other goal I gave myself is to read 50 books this year. This is less of a challenge and more of a reminder to take time for myself each day. Reading is one of my greatest pleasures, but I’ve gotten out of practice over the years for several reasons I should probably share with a therapist and not the general public. 😉

Check back tomorrow to see what I’ve been reading!

Friday Favorites

Untitled

Happy Friday!

My main goal for this weekend is to go for a hike. I haven’t gone at all this year, and I’m itching to get back out there. I can only hope the weather holds up!

Have a great weekend!

Welcome Back

welcome back

Welcome back to Afternoon Glow!

While I wrote a few times since I took a break, this marks my official return to the blog on a regular basis. I think I’m ready now to come back for real. Let’s see if it sticks this time.

The past few months were busy, to say the least. We made a trip back home to Ohio in December. It was my first time back in over 2 years. It wasn’t relaxing at all, but it was nice to see everyone we managed to see. I can’t say I will do that again for another couple years, though – it was exhausting!

The holidays were good. I ate way too much, and stayed up too late getting drunk and playing euchre with our in-laws. I also helped my nephew put together a few Lego sets (a tradition we started recently). By New Year’s Eve, I think we were all ready to end 2016 and move on!

2017 so far has not let up. We moved unexpectedly in February, which meant we (and by “we” I mean mostly myself) spent January scrambling to find a new place and get everything ready to go on short notice. It was a mad dash, but we got it all done. Life didn’t really get back to “normal” until last week.

Over my hiatus, I thought a lot about the future of Afternoon Glow. After watching several blogs fold last year, I almost followed suit. In a last-ditch effort to keep this going, I am making a few changes to how I do things from here on out.

A Relaxed Schedule

In the past, I felt a lot of pressure to stick to a Monday – Friday schedule. Even when I cut back to a MWF schedule, it sucked. I could never live up to posting 5 days a week. Something about scheduling it all out kills the fun for me. It didn’t help that I was doing everything on my own.

For now, I am going to post when I can. That might mean 5 days a week; it might mean only once. I want this to be spontaneous and fun again – and I can’t do that if everything is regimented.

Less Social Media

Another part of keeping things casual means less social media. Keeping all of that coordinated also kills the fun of blogging. I will do my best to let you know when I post (mostly on Twitter), but I can’t guarantee that I get it right every time. I may also post less frequently, and I’m probably shutting down the Facebook page (I never use it). You can still find me on Instagram and Twitter, though!

If you want to guarantee you’ll get my new posts, follow me on Bloglovin’!

Ditching Comments

You may find that I shut off the comments on some posts. Sometimes, I write posts that aren’t meant to be responded to – and yet people do (not nicely, I might add). I still maintain the power to remove comments I don’t like, but I also learned there are times I shouldn’t allow people to comment at all. It’s for my sanity, really.

No More Food and Home Posts

The focus of the blog is something I want to clarify for myself. The two categories I write about the least are food and home. Frankly, they are boring as shit to write about.

I plan to replace those posts with more beauty, style, life, travel, and personal content. Instead of writing about topics I don’t care about, I need to move on to topics I do. That might mean losing readers, but hopefully it also means gaining new ones!

So welcome back, and I hope you enjoy what’s to come!

Getting Active: 10 Actions, 100 Days

10 actions 100 days postcards

Even though the Women’s March on Washington is over, we have to stay active. The 10 Actions / 100 Days campaign is a great place to start!

Our first task was to write to our senators. We should encourage them to fight cabinet appointments, advocate for issues that matter to us, and show we’re not going anywhere. The people who represent us should reflect our values, and it’s important to remind them what our values are. We want to see our education system is in good hands, global warming is taken seriously, our LGBTQIA friends live openly and freely, Muslims don’t wind up persecuted, refugees can seek asylum, black communities can trust their police forces again, and women aren’t pushed back to being second-class citizens.

I wrote to both my current senators in Washington and former senators from Ohio. I’m lucky as hell to live in a state where Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell are already doing great things. They are both outspoken about issues I already care about, and are in opposition to Trump’s cabinet choices. Instead of railing on them to change, I thanked them for the work they do – and let them know I recognize and appreciate it.

Writing to my former senators in Ohio, however, proved challenging. It’s hard to write to a senator who disagrees with you, but it was worth it. I think arming yourself with information is important for this exercise. It served as a reminder that our senators do good work for their state – yes, even the ones who belong to a different party than me.

For example, the Republican senator from Ohio does a lot of work with military veterans and bringing back jobs. Both Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman care deeply about the opioid epidemic in Ohio, an issue anyone living in Ohio is painfully aware of. While they disagree on some things, both senators work hard to make Ohio a better place to live. I can certainly respect that.

I started by thanking each person for their service to this country and the states they represent – and I truly meant it. Taking time to put it on paper, I thought about how thankless working in government can be at times. If this is the first time I wrote to them, how many others never bother? We vote for them, and trust them to do what’s best for us. How often do we truly thank them for taking on such tireless and thankless work?

It’s important to stay strong and loud during this fight. However, it’s also time to acknowledge and appreciate those who work hard on our behalf. We need to stay focused while being humane in all this.

If you haven’t written to your senators yet, I highly recommend it. Check out the Women’s March on Washington website for ideas and inspiration, and to find your senators. I also recommend finding something, however small, to thank your senators for. They work hard on both sides of the aisle – and showing appreciation, not just opposition, might encourage change. It can’t hurt, right?

Womxn’s March on Seattle

womxn's march seattle

I woke up Saturday morning after only a few hours of sleep, and with a nasty cold that wouldn’t go away. My body was telling me to stay home and rest – that it couldn’t handle marching in the Womxn’s March on Seattle.

Even as I sit in bed sick writing this on Sunday, I’m so glad I went anyway. I regret nothing.

Originally, organizers estimated between 50,000-75,000 people at the most. I’m not sure I’ve ever been in a crowd that big (outside of maybe a sporting event).

I showed up 1.5 hours early to Judkins Park, only to find that there were already 50,000 people there! People came by foot, car, bus, ferry, bike – however they could get there.

By the time the march started, I was standing in a crowd of almost 100,000 people.

womxn's march seattle

(Marching down Jackson Street, with people stretching in front and behind me as far as I could see!)

I marched with 130,000 people, though organizers now say it may have been closer to 175,000. I honestly couldn’t tell you which number is true – both are equally nuts to me. We filled the entire 3.6-mile stretch of our march’s path. It was wall-to-wall people for the entire 5 hours it took to complete it. Every muscle in my body just straight hurt afterwards.

What I will remember most about Saturday was how positive and kind everyone was throughout the day. It’s hard to feel safe in a large crowd, especially given I went alone. I had a great time, and never once felt unsafe. Not a single person got arrested, and no one reported shoving/pushing that usually happens with crowds that big. We were there together, marching and chanting with the same mission – to show our solidarity and support for each other.

I spent the day chatting with women of all ages, sharing goldfish crackers with hungry kids, and taking in the amazing signs everyone made. It was poignant to see signs that young girls and boys made for the event. They sincerely expressed what their generation worries about – the environment, immigration laws, bullying, racism, science education, equality, and more. I was proud to see so many children marching and chanting alongside their parents.

womxn's march seattle

The number of signs with a positive and supportive message far outweighed the angry ones, which made me feel encouraged. Sure, it’s funny to see a “Queef on Trump” sign. It was more impressive to see signs from men supporting strong women, children supporting their friends, and women supporting each other. I didn’t make a sign of my own, but once I got there I kind of wish I had!

womxn's march seattle

(At the Space Needle, trying really hard not to look like sick and exhausted!)

By the time I made it to the end of the march, I was ready to head home. It was an amazing experience, but the cold medicine wore off about an hour before we finished, and I was physically shutting down hardcore. I was exhausted, but extremely happy to make it the entire way, sniffles and all!

When I got home, I told my husband all about it while he made dinner, and I watched television coverage from our march and others happening around the world. Not having cell coverage for most of the day, I missed a lot of what was going out outside of Seattle. Seeing millions of people show up around the world on Saturday was comforting. To know that so many others were just as supportive and kind throughout their own marches restored my faith in humanity that I lost in November.

Now, I’m working on what to do next – how to take what I felt Saturday and spread that into my everyday life. I’d love to hear how you plan to do so, too!

Why I’m Marching Tomorrow

 

From the moment I found out we were having a march in Seattle, I was all in.

I’ve never participated in anything this…big…before. I’m excited and a little nervous, to be honest.

When people ask why I’m marching tomorrow, the answer is simple:

I march for all of us.

I march for every woman who has been told that she shouldn’t or couldn’t do something because “good girls don’t do that,” or “women shouldn’t be like that.”

I march for everyone who told us men don’t like women who are too smart, accomplished, outspoken, or confident. (My husband would argue otherwise…he likes my loud mouth just fine.)

I march for Planned Parenthood, who helped me out when I was a poor college student without insurance. I continue to go there because they are amazing healthcare providers for both women and men. I hope you thrive for many, many years to come.

I march for every women’s studies student I poked fun at in grad school. I’m deeply sorry, and I understand now more than ever what you were all so angry about.

I march for every woman who has been told that how she dressed, spoke, or behaved led to her being a victim of sexual assault or domestic violence. For every woman who was told, directly or indirectly, that she was asking for it. You didn’t. None of us did.

I march for every time woman who feels the outside world is a dangerous, violent place for women. I hope that changes someday, and that we teach both girls and boys that they have equal right to occupy public spaces.

I march for the next generation of women, who I hope are watching (or marching) today and see that we all care deeply about the world you are growing up in.

I hope everyone marching tomorrow has a safe, positive experience. 🙂

Getting By

vonnegut_quote

As I sit in the warm sunshine at my favorite coffee shop, I’m finally feeling like a person again.

The past couple days were rough.

I woke up Tuesday morning full of hope and optimism, but went to bed drunk and anxious.

I woke up yesterday morning with tears in my eyes that still haven’t really left, and went to bed a little bit high and still anxious, though the weed did help a little.

(By the way, congratulations to all the states who legalized recreational marijuana. You won’t regret it, I promise!)

I woke up this morning still a little sad, but hopeful. We all seem to be clawing ourselves back up from rock bottom and getting back to it.

Online today, people are sharing their support for each other, and promising to do more. They are encouraging people to donate, volunteer, and raise awareness for groups like the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, The Trevor Project, National Immigration Law Center, and many others. Even if laws or policies change, these groups will still be around to help fight the good fight – they just might need more of our help if they no longer get as much help from our government.

People are beginning the painful process of healing by taking action – and not just protesting or creating hashtags. They are hugging their neighbors, saying hello to strangers, and silencing bigotry on the street. They are coming together in prayer, in tears, and in little coffee shops like the one I’m sitting in right now to talk it out. Even here in Seattle, where people are known for being a bit…frosty…people seem a little friendlier and gentler than they were a few days ago.

So while I’m still lugging around a rock of anxiety about what the future holds, it’s a little smaller than it was yesterday. I hope that in time we can breathe easier, but not all the way. We still need to keep that pebble of anxiety in our pockets, a reminder that the next 4 years aren’t going to be easy for many of us.

It’s going to be a very hard road to keep the country going forward now that we have a president who is determined to set us back 50 years.

For the women reading this, keep trudging along. We’re used to doing twice the work for half the recognition – and unfortunately, that’s not going to change any time soon. Taking the high road might be harder and more dangerous, but the view at the end is worth it. Keep telling girls they can be whatever they want, and hold the women in your life to a high standard.

Now is not the time to give up and go home. Now is the time to teach little girls that yes, part of being a woman is dealing with setbacks. Part of being a woman is about getting your heart trampled on. Part of being a woman is enduring men in power who believe women should be pretty, silent, and obedient. Part of being a woman is being told no, but ignoring it and moving on anyway.

Show the girls and women in your life that we are strong, powerful, intelligent, and determined. We are not a reflection of what our next president thinks of us. We are a reflection of what Hillary Clinton thinks of us. She may not have broken this glass ceiling, but she showed us that someday one of us will. Someday a woman will be president, thanks to the sizeable crack Hillary left in that glass ceiling to help whoever she is break through, once and for all.

For the men reading this, keep trudging along too. We know you want a better life for your mothers, wives, girlfriends, daughters, and sisters – and we know not all of you voted for our new president (even if the news wants us to think differently).

Be a good example for the boys in your life who look up to you, and hold the grown men in your life to a higher standard. Don’t just tell the women and girls in your life that you respect and support them – show it. Show the world that you are not a reflection of our new president and his misogynistic, racist, xenophobic, homophobic views. Show the girls and women in your life that you value us for more than how we look, or how submissive we are. Show the world that you’re hurting and nervous too.

Well.

This is where we are right now – where I am right now. Though it may seem bleak right now, we’ll get through it. Get outside, bask in the sunshine, and take care of yourselves. We have a long road ahead of us, and we’ll need all the strength we can get!