Hello! As you might have already read, it was my birthday this week, which got me all morbid and earnest. On a lighter note, some of my favorite bday gifts (from myself and others) were this, this and these.
This poem is sweet and sad and I just love it.
Meet Cause I Run, sustainable activewear that gives back. 10% of each purchase gives back to a cause.
Men Read #MoreThanMean Tweets to Female Sports Reporters in Powerful New Video. . . This is awful. Watch at your own risk; I couldn’t make it all the way through.
Helpful information for weight maintenance; this link comes from our resident nutrition guru Stacey Schaedler
Join our amazing community on a yoga and barre retreat in St. Croix! Take the survey and help us choose dates.
Some years ago, I spent my birthday packing my belongings into the car and eating Chinese takeout at the kitchen table with the real estate agent who was helping to sell my house. It was a kind gesture that she had brought me lunch. She knew I had few friends where I lived and I was alone in so many ways. Later that day, as soon as my child stepped off the school bus, we drove 3 states away from the abusive home we were living in to start our lives over. That night was filled with harassing phone calls and threats.
It was a cathartic and frankly very shitty birthday. My life is a lot better now.
I have a successful business centered on building communities of women and making them strong. I’m surrounded by powerful, passionate friends who inspire me. My relationship is happy, my kids are healthy. I get to travel a lot. We have more than enough money. I’ve finally mastered liquid eyeliner. I have a Jeep and I reeeaally like it.
For my birthday this year, I drove said Jeep to the beautiful, wild and quiet beach at Plum Island Nature Preserve, alone. I wanted some time to think. I walked along the water’s edge letting my bare feet sink into the wet sand.
Among the things I pondered:
I am in awe of the team that keeps Barre & Soul running. Having been on vacation for a week, it felt like if I had decided not to return, the studios would keep on kicking ass without me. I make my job harder than it has to be. One of the ways I do that is by writing this blog. I see that very clearly, yet I think I’ll continue writing it.
Because of my sensitivity to others’ pain, I don’t watch or read the news. I just can’t wallow in tragedy. Somehow, I seem to stay informed about current events.
But is there a right amount of happiness one should feel? Is there a right amount of outrage? I may be living a great life now, but what about all the women out there who are still suffering in abusive and unhappy relationships like the one I left all those years ago? What about victims of rape, assault, war, poverty? How much time should we spend confronting the suffering of others, lest we forget how privileged we truly are?
There is still so much work to do to make the world better.
Life is short. We have no idea how short exactly, since most of us don’t know when we’re going to die. But even if I get a relatively long life, I fear it still won’t be enough time to achieve all the things I believe I am here to do.
I know that every passing birthday is an occasion to be thankful for another year of life. But I won’t pretend to like birthdays any more than the average person over 30. They are a reminder of how quickly our time here passes.
As a woman, I struggle with the more secretive fear of fading beauty, that in a world that unfairly privileges youth and good looks, my influence and power will wear away a little with each new wrinkle in my skin. (Think about it, when will salt and pepper hair be considered “hot” and “distinguished” on women, the way it is on men?)
My analytical mind wants to figure out the most efficient way to do things. What is the secret to changing the world? Is it scholarship, research and the advancement of new ideas? Or is it just making noise, speaking your beliefs and starting important conversations? What makes revolutionary ideas go mainstream, and how do we mobilize people around them?
These questions are important to me because I want to spend my time here as fully and productively as I possibly can. I want to leave a David Bowie-esque body of work behind, creating until the very end of my life. There is so much work to do and so little time.
I don’t know if this is an essay, or just a stream-of-consciousness journal entry. It doesn’t matter. I promised myself I would publish something today, and so I will. I will keep talking about the things that matter to me. I will keep speaking up until the day I die.
What’s up, muggles? This week, my kids were kind enough to take me to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, FL. It was the best! If you haven’t read the books in a while (or ever), I highly recommend the recorded audio books, read by Jim Dale. They’re now available on Audible.com which is reason enough to subscribe to audible, honestly. I’m currently listening to “Bad Feminist” by Roxane Gay, a collection of essays that are insightful, at times funny and at other times devastatingly sad.
More links for you:
Why self care is so important. . . so easy to forget this and so important to keep making it a priority!
The Psychological Price of Entrepreneurship. Although I can’t imagine doing anything else, the pressure of owning a business is real, even if sometimes self-inflicted. This is the side of being self-employed we don’t always talk about.
Hamilton to stay on $10; Tubman replacing Jackson. . . finally including women on US currency?
The #whenIwas campaign has women tweeting about childhood experiences of sexual harassment and assault, and it’s powerful and infuriating.
Not ready but willing. . . Kelly Diels reminds us that we’re often not ready, but if the willingness is there to take the leap anyway.
Calling people toxic is bullshit. . . I wrote it, XO Jane published it, and lots of people had opinions.
This week I had the honor of being published on xoJane.com, an online women’s magazine run by former Sassy and Jane magazine goddess, Jane Pratt.
I chose to write about the advice I keep seeing on social media and in self-development literature to “dump toxic people” from our lives so that we can be free and happy. There are several reasons I disagree with this mentality, and I’d love for you to read the xoJane article and find out.
Who knew it would be such a hot topic?!
It was posted under the title “UNPOPULAR OPINION: Calling People ‘Toxic’ Is Complete Bullsh*t.”
To sum it up very briefly, I argued that calling people “toxic” is over-dramatic, self-righteous, and ultimately disempowering. I did include a caveat that there are situations where a person doesn’t belong in our lives because they compromise our safety in some way.
I didn’t write the “Toxic People” article about abuse.
It’s about putting on our big girl pants with the people we find “difficult” instead of labeling and blaming them or feeling so helpless that we just walk away to avoid conflict.
I have to admit that I was afraid my piece would be met with the sound of crickets and that no one would share it or comment on it.
I’m so glad I was wrong. At the time of this writing, the piece has been shared over 1,400 times. It caused a bigger stir than I expected, and plenty of people disagreed with me. Many made excellent points, some readers missed the point entirely. That’s part of the beauty of getting published on a site like xoJane.
What really struck me is that the most “Unpopular Opinion” of all, the one that many readers simply could not wrap their minds around was this: That everyone is worthy of compassion. Everyone. EVERYONE.
I guess I forgot that only a few years ago the idea would have seemed crazy to me, too. But today it IS my message and I’m sticking to it.
Bottom line: If you’ve got a long list of people who are no longer in your life because you decided they’re too toxic for you, then it’s probably time to take a look at your role in all of these relationships to see why this pattern keeps repeating itself.
I want to say again, THIS WAS NOT AN ESSAY ABOUT ABUSE and if it had been, I would have offered very different advice.
I talk openly about my past experience with abuse because I think it’s VERY important for others to know they are not alone, that it can happen to anyone, that you can come back from it, that you can absolutely go on to have a successful and happy life. You can!
And, when it’s appropriate, you can even forgive the people who have hurt you. (But first you have to GET OUT.)
But to bring it back to the intention of my article, as radical as this may be: I TRULY BELIEVE EVERYONE IS WORTHY OF COMPASSION, and that’s why I wrote what I did. I stand by it.
Do you agree?
Are there people in your life (or in your past) who you consider toxic?
What unpopular opinions are you sticking to?