What’s Up? (2/17/16)

Vagina Monologues 2k16
I’m sitting here on my day off, listening to Janelle Monae’s Electric Lady, and things are pretty good. They’ve been pretty good for a while, I think. You only need to go back to the end of January to see where things turn around. Let’s take it from Saturday though…

Pitt’s Campus Women’s Organization presents The Vagina Monologues

I haven’t seen The Vagina Monologues since 2014. Last year as a part of the board of directors, I worked the ticket sales desk both nights, so I only saw bits and pieces. As a part of the board I also was invited to the cast after-party, which was very much one of those formative life experiences? At once, one of the best nights of my life, and also this very validating night.

And I think part of growing up is like, taking that validation, absorbing it and moving on. So I had a fantastic time just watching The Vagina Monologues this year, cheering on my friends in the show, and walking out the door. Someone asked, and maybe even encouraged trying to go to the cast party, but I felt alright not going. I wasn’t part of the show this year, after all. 30% of my brain probably would have loved to gone, but the rest realized that, what happened last year was special, and that injecting myself into the same thing a year later would have been different. Besides, there was something amazing to look forward to on Sunday.

Valentine’s Day 2k16 
I spent Valentine’s Day surrounded by the lovely people of Planned Parenthood Western Pennsylvania. In a lot of ways, I feel like this is the next chapter in my life as a feminist seeking the company of others. I love my people at CWO but our schedules seem so incompatible. The same way the Vagina Monologues cast party was validating in 2015, I feel like this PPWP dance party at Spirit Lodge was validating this year, and validating for different reasons. In 2015 I realized I had made it as a male feminist, I guess, like I was welcomed into the rebellion. In 2016 I felt validated just as a person? Like it really is this easy to meet new friends, dance, get a little drunk, and have an amazing time. This transition from Student-to-person has had lots of ups and downs, and the perks of not being a Student are becoming more and more apparent.

Plus I got a little peck on the cheek, and I blushed like a kid. 

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What’s Up? (4/5/15)

Pride Week
I was just thinking before writing: “Man, nothing’s changed since I last wrote. I’m still coughing. I’m still stuffy from time to time. Being sick is still holding me back.”
But then I remembered I had an amazing Pride Week from beginning to end. On Monday I saw the amazing Laverne Cox who gave an amazing speech, touching on topics of gender, bullying, and perseverance. On Tuesday the Campus Women’s Organization had another great meeting, this week on reproductive justice ( maybe one of my last meetings ever :c ). On Wednesday the Fourth Wave feminist magazine had its last meeting of the semester, complete with pizza. On Thursday there was of course a Condom Casino, where I heard of an opportunity from Planned Parenthood, met up with friends I hadn’t seen in a while, and walked away with fist-fulls of condoms.
And that brings us to Friday, the night of the 15th Annual Drag Show, which was amazing. Very talented people, very funny, and I had a chance to go backstage and become friends with a Drag Queen ( c: ).

So am I still sick? Yeah. My throat is still sore from time to time. I’m coughing pretty badly.  My nose gets stuffed up.
But I’m having a good time.

Class
In trying to think about how to write my Senior Seminar project, I think I’ve come across a route that I like: Drinking and Sophistication. See, it’s hard to drink with an ounce of sophistication in a college setting, I think. For starters, if you’re underage and in a dry college dorm, you have to keep it on the down-low. When you are of age, you find liquor stores filled with adults buying booze for kids, stocked with cheap liquor. You find bars that don’t have cocktail glasses because they’re too expensive and too delicate to give to drunk college students. When you live a mile from the nearest place that serves you a drink in a martini glass, you have to do it on your own. A martini glass was probably one of the first things I bought from the University of Pittsburgh store after books, and when I got off campus it was a low-ball glass and a stainless steel shaker. I’m not sure where I’m going with this, but the arc is a little like this: at college you’re surrounded by cheap easy choices, and I chose the sophisticated path.

What’s Up? (2/14/15)

Friday the Thirteenth, Twenty-Fifteen, may be up there for top five best days of life ever.” – 3:36 AM, 14, February, 2015.

The Vagina Monologues
Last night was epic, a word I seldom use without cringing afterwards. When we filled 360-ish chairs for the Thursday night showing of The Vagina Monologues, I was impressed, shocked, and proud…

Then we filled 500+ chairs for the Friday night performance. Then we had to turn away another 100 people who wanted to get in. Then we raised over $2,000. I was ecstatic, hard to contain. Triumphant, face-distorting smiles, and shouts of joy. I was so happy to be a part of this, and I’m glad the show ended with smiles on my friends’ faces. If anything stressed me out about the show the last few days, and the last few weeks, it was so far away in the rear view mirror–that, that… I don’t know! We were flying down this road and the white dashes mixed with the blacktop and became a gray blur.

So I packed my tote bag, Skyy Vodka, lime juice, shaker, ice, and martini glass, and arrived at an after party. And the drinks were good and the conversation kicked ass–“Come on Eileen” was played–and I struggle to finds the words to describe this moment but I must…Because well, there was a moment where most of my friends and acquaintances were just topless and free and I realized this is me. This energy, what it stands for, I love it, and I love them.

What’s Up? (12/10/14)

Finals Week
There’s only one-thousand words left between me and Winter Break. My level of productivity has been a huge boost to my energy. I suppose I don’t look energetic. I do feel optimistic as heck though. I just handed in what may be one of the better essays I’ve ever written about myself. And I just handed in one of my best essays to my best professor in all my time at the University of Pittsburgh. I am doing incredibly well.

I’m sipping down a small mocha. I’m looking out the window of Crazy Mocha. MSMR is softly humming in my ears. It’s cold out, but not unbearable. Sparrows are gathering on the roof across the street. They don’t care whether the roof is Joe Mama’s or Olio Trattoria’s.

I’m excited to finish this all soon. The last thing in my way is a research paper. If I’m lucky enough to find the right research today, I’ll finish the paper tonight. It’s not due until midnight Thursday, (12/11/14) but I don’t intend to use that much time. If I submit the paper a day early I can spend two nights relaxing. I can crack open some Bacardi and fire up Photoshop or Fruityloops.

You Are Nothing Without Feminist Art ♀
I just saw a student from the Campus Women’s Organization walk by Crazy Mocha. I never mentioned that we had a super cute pajama party last Tuesday (12/2/14). It’s true. I even met somebody who lives in the apartment below me. Life’s crazy. This semester with CWO was maybe less eye-widening than the first, but I feel like I got closer with a lot of the people there. I turned out to be more than a one-semester curiosity, and I think that made a big difference. I’m showing my funny side more often. I’m getting “likes” on Facebook from people I thought would never “like” my dumb jokes. It’s a weird thing to be energized by, but that’s what it’s doing. This positive attention is having a super positive affect on my life. I can’t wait to be on the Vagina Monologues board next year. The next semester at Pitt is going to be my last, and I’m excited to make the most out of it.

What’s Up? (11/8/14)

Concentration Problems
So, I should be working. I have essays to write, books to read, and I’ve wasted some time today and I don’t know why. I know how miserable I get when I have to cram work into Sunday, so, why do I slack off on Saturday? I guess things didn’t start off amazing: I was insanely stuffed up this morning as I was trying to go to bed -and when my alarm went off at 7AM I had only gotten two hours of sleep- so I went right back to bed. This means that I missed a volunteering opportunity with the Secular Alliance which makes me feel bad, since I’m the acting secretary, but I don’t know if going downtown to pick up trash was going to be a smart decision if I were sick with two hours of sleep. But am I making excuses? I wish I knew. When I get things done, I do them well, whether it’s art, writing, or other works and projects… I’ll make it up to the Secular Alliance, and I’ll get my essays done – but these times when I’m recovering or “wasting time,” they hurt. On one hand, I need to do things – I feel great when I’m doing things and getting things done! On the other, I naturally do nothing on Saturdays, no matter how much I feel I should. (that’s not always true, but it feels like it’s harder to do things). 

Riot Grrrl
Three things you should learn
Riot Grrrl will never die
Every girl is a Riot Grrrl
Stop boys violence

When the schoolwork piles up and I feel stressed out about things, like the future of my college life and post-college life, reflecting on the past can help a lot! I like to think about how far things have come since a year ago. One little book, Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home led to an “identity activation” for me… I identified as a feminist before reading it – but reading it changed something in me. I wanted to get involved, I wanted to learn things, to make a difference – and a year later I totally have! I’m in three clubs that are fighting for gender and sexuality equality, and working to create safe environments for people.

It’s like, I’m pushing a stone up a hill right now, and that sucks – but if I look downhill I can see how far I’ve come. I’ve become a much better person, and I shouldn’t get discouraged just because I have a challenging weekend. It’ll be rough tomorrow, and the day after that – as there are essays due Monday and Tuesday… but they’re only two days.

I can work harder than usual for two days.

What’s Up? (10/9/14)

Things have been really, really good. The pressure’s on for getting good grades and graduation on time, but things are still really good. I feel like hard work is being acknowledged where it’s being done, and I’m less stressed out than normal? I’m affording myself some really stellar downtime: I’m realizing how great it is to just have a Starbucks Coffee and just relax. Order a coffee, sit down, relax. I also tracked down some 1940’s erotica by Anaïs Nin, “Delta of Venus” released in 1977, or something like that. Very interesting: I understand why it gets a mixed reception by feminists. Anaïs was incredibly resentful of the mysterious patron that paid her to write erotica, with specific instructions to concentrate on sex, and to cut out the poetry. Her and a self-described erotica tour-de-force of authors were all negatively affected by the wishes of this patron, who’s demands made them write soul-sucking-sex with no emotion or beauty. This is a really interesting scenario, and it creates a really odd collection of erotica wherein Anaïs Nin writes generous acts of cunnilingus in the 1940’s (cool) but also of child molestation and incest. It can be really disturbing, and I didn’t know what to think of what I’ve read on the whole. She uses really beautiful language when describing female sensuality, and the body in general, but I don’t know if it’s the sort of text I’d keep in a personal collection.

This Anaïs Nin detour took me to the University of Pittsburgh’s special book collection of the rare and old. It’s a very cool room, though no books can exit: the atmosphere is incredible, the lamps old and Victorian in design. So yeah! A few days of hard work, Starbucks, and books, books, books. That’s my life at the moment, more or less: books! That calms my recent anxieties about missing out on new video games: because even if I had the money to buy them, I wouldn’t have the time to play them. Not if I was being responsible and whatnot. Speaking of: I don’t have any work to do right this moment, nothing’s due tomorrow, so I think I’m going to go ahead and do one responsible thing (bicycling) followed by some irresponsible things (like making some gimlets or something!). Namaste or something!

What’s Up? (3/18/14)

I’m so tired. I completed a feminist critique on the first season of The Wire on Monday night/Tuesday morning ahead of schedule, as it’s due Wednesday night. I thought this would free up Tuesday for working on another 3,000-word paper, due on Thursday, but it hasn’t really. Though Monday was incredibly productive, as a good speech on trigger language was given, and a paper was completed, Tuesday was more tiresome, emotionally I suppose.

I chilled in my Professor’s cafe, discovered Carlow, learned about gay marriage in Europe, and discovered the world of Eco-Feminism; all great things right? But all it took was the presence of one person to bring me down ten steps, and then to walk home alone – another few steps. Suddenly the energy and optimism I had coming out of Spring Break was sapped, and ultimately I’m in a hole of feeling lonely tonight.

I like to write with a touch of happiness, but I’m just tired right now. I feel emotionally drained, in need of companionship; and I overate and drank sugary soda to compensate for this, so now I feel bloated too… The choice now is whether to slug through this funk and start on a 3,000-word story, or to break of the funk and work on this story in higher spirits tomorrow.