Category: women

Happy International Women’s Day!

International Women’s Day means to me: celebrating women. Doing and being me. Taking risks. Exploring. Standing up for myself. Listening to my inner voice and meeting my needs. Raising up other women. Disengaging from stuff I don’t believe in, stuff that tears women down. Being strong in and out of the workplace. Not listening to the “shoulds” anymore. Smirking when people tell me solo travel as a woman is “brave” (eyeroll much!?)

It’s stepping alone over snake tracks in the desert despite my fear, and marveling in the sunrise.

Making my own map, and my own destinations.

It’s celebrating the beauty in unexpected places. 

Much love to all my women and those who support us.

😘😘😘

 

solo women's travel

Catching sunrise in Death Valley

Recent Reads: Carnegie, Dune, a do not, & a must

Four days ago, I finished two books.

Two weeks ago, I finished an 800 page book in two days.

Two days ago, I finished two books.

Uh, what, LP? You ask.

Blessed audiobooks, that’s what!

Andrew Carnegie: The Biography (audio book)

This was fascinating. It was a really well-done biography (not always easy.) The author did well against Carnegie’s own widely read autobiography, against the myth and legend of the Carnegie name, and Carnegie’s wife’s fiercely protective work on his legacy.

I really enjoy learning how household names get their start. Carnegie came from NOTHING and got dang lucky with money. It really was like he was meant to have it. (This was also at the time before insider trading was illegal. It was par for the course for anyone in business. He saw opportunities and took them, major. He also took some massive risks – like, literally risked ALL.)

The most interesting part for me, aside from how one chooses to live with all that wealth, were the paradoxes contained in Carnegie: he didn’t want to give his workers raises or better hours, but he gave them, their communities, and communities around the world libraries and other donations that would drastically improve their quality of life. He was the least ruthless of the major capitalists of that age (by comparison), yet he made the most profit. Carnegie was a huge advocate for world peace, but considered making bullets and did make armor for warships. This poor immigrant had no political or formal education, but ended up with incredible access to multiple Presidents – to the point he annoyed them by being a doddering old man who injected his “thoughts” into major world events.

He was the richest man in the world, and the first millionaire to pledge to give away his millions.

I think history has tilted for Carnegie because of the huge impact donating his riches has had on the world (especially to libraries! Yeah!) Nonetheless, it was fascinating to learn about his many facets.

Dune (audio book)

FINALLY. I’ve been intending to read this book for about 10 years. Why hadn’t I? I have no idea.

It was … weird. It was science fiction, so of course it was weird. (Do the sand worms make it fantasy?)

I can see why it might have been amazing back in the day. Before ecological annihilation were mainstream. Before Eastern philosophy was so pervasive in Western vernacular.

Its top quote on Goodreads:

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

The book is essentially how one Jesus-type figure grows up, and then confronts the apocalypse and return. Some of it is confusing and too esoteric. And some of it, like the quote above, were definitely probably revolutionary back in the day. In the current generation, it’s mainstream. Everything comes from somewhere, eh?

The main female character (the Mary figure) gets a bit annoying. Her inner life is portrayed as a little repetitive and anxious. Especially once her son comes “into his power.” He is still like 15, and she is supposed to be a highly trained, revered master? Yeah …

There was also one chapter where the author mentioned “her unborn child” like 97 times. I almost threw my phone across the room.

The ending was also a bit amorphous. I understand there’s a huge series after the original, but I would like to feel like I got some sense of what was going on after (especially since diary entries from the future were dotted throughout this book …)

I’m glad I’ve read it.I intend to look into a bit more about why it’s such a BFD.

No More Mr. Nice Guy (eBook)

This was an interesting book that I read for an online group. It is a quick read, with really in-depth exercises. (While it ostensibly aims at men, it applies to women too!) The author suggests meeting with a group and/or accountability partner, which would of course take longer. I’ve also done a lot of the work outlined in the book, so that probably helped speed things along.

I liked his no-BS style and his ability to cut to the core of issues. Most of which are fear, fear of abandonment, and feelings of inadequacy. His final chapter is on career, so that hit me pretty hard and gave me some good things to think about. I’d recommend it for a friend going through a transformational phase, who is willing to look at this stuff.

Top quote, via Goodreads:

“In general, people are not drawn to perfection in others. People are drawn to shared interests, shared problems, and an individual’s life energy.

Humans connect with humans. Hiding one’s humanity and trying to project an image of perfection makes a person vague, slippery, lifeless, and uninteresting.”

The Senator’s Wife (audio book)

Did you know that women struggle with how they look? Their changing roles as wives, child-bearers, and in the workplace? Did you know that childbirth is really painful? That famous men cheat? That it’s one-sided, and women have no autonomy or power in a relationship?

Then … don’t read this book.

I was looking for something “light” and I got it, alright. Blech.

Desert Solitaire (paperback)

This was my favorite of the bunch. I bought it at Terry Tempest Williams’ home book store, in Moab, the town at the center of the book’s geographic world. He wrote it while a park rangers at my favorite park down here, Arches.

I held on to the book for about six weeks after buying it, waiting to read it until I could savor it, and I am so glad I did. I’ve been reading it in bed and in coffee shops and over tea.

It’s a beautiful meditation on the region I’m in right now. The author, Edward Abbey, is basically the Thoreau of the Southwest. He is writing in the 1950s, a fascinating period of social change, when America shifted from a focus on the natural, the outdoors, to the cubicle and the city. He’s writing about a region that is some of the most remote and challenging in the country. He does it in a very focused and poetic way.

There’s a chapter he has on the National Parks System, automobiles, and Industrial Tourism that is amazing. You can read it here (not the same Lauren.) It really made me think, especially considering my own recent trip and what I’ve seen in the parks, from both the administrators and tourists. This chapter also made it ironic as hell that the Park Service is selling it in National Park gift shops. I’m sure that one has Abbey howling in his desert grave, either in indignation or appreciation for the double underline that does to his point.

I don’t often reread books, but because Abbey brings to life the atmosphere of this region that I love, it makes me want to dive back in again. I highly recommend it, and would venture to say it’s a must-read for college students.

Next?

What books are you reading? Which books should I read next? What are the best atmospheric nature books? The best biographies? What niche genre do you love?

Happy pages!

Woman’s Worst Nightmare: A Play

So a few weeks ago I got a call from the gynecologist saying I needed to come back so they could do some follow-up. While I’m an anxious mess on many fronts, this is not one of them. “An ounce of prevention,” that sort of thing.

So I dutifully schedule the appointment & turn the results over to Fate.

Fate must’ve been having a lack of hilarity in her life this afternoon. ::eyeroll::

So I drive downtown – no parking – park in a garage that is $11/hour (#ReasonsI’mLeaving.)

I trudge into the office & since I’m there barely on the nose, I only bring my phone.

I pay my $30 copay and sit down. It’s just turned 1:00! Surely I will be called soon. 

I look up after a bit and notice that the waiting room is packed (it’s a large office with many doctors) … but more and more people that come in after me are getting called.

25 minutes into my wait, I go up to the front desk, where they tell me she’s “backed up, only two rooms for her today,” bla blah. Shouldn’t they be required to tell you that when you get there? Or like, send an alert on your way in, so you don’t run down the street looking like a nut & end up a sweaty mess with possibly elevated vital signs? I thought so.

NOT TO MENTION I’m at a garage that’s charging in first-born’s-blood minutes. Argh. Costs now are well past 3 nights on a campground in our National Parks — which is a much more relaxing environment. Sigh. 

I finally get called back … 52 minutes into my wait. That just compacts fear/dread/anxiety. Thank god for phone-based distractions (but! So much time wasted. Oh – just wait.)

So I get in the room, the tech is on point (PROPS, DJ. PROPS.) Except: in the middle, she realizes I’m IN THE WRONG ROOM. Guys: there’s only two. How did she lead me in to the … ::face palm:: Srsly, WTF are they pumping into the air over there?

SO THEN.

The tech shuts the door on the dreaded, “the doctor will be in in just a minute!” (Yeah, right.) She was pretty prompt, though! So: the freaking doctor enters. Here’s where the red-faced emoji comes in —

My doctor is on maternity leave, so I was scheduled with this lady. Who comes in with this face like I’m going to get very bad news. WHICH IS TERRIFYING IN ANY MEDICAL OFFICE SETTING, FTR, much less during a “FOLLOW UP APPOINTMENT.”

Yeah. Turns out the bad news is: the nurse at my last appointment ENTERED MY RESULTS WRONG & THERE’S NO NEED FOR ME TO BE THERE AT ALL.

Yeah, you read that right: NO NEED for me to take time out of my day, money out of my account, and hair out of my scalp waiting 52 minutes. 

I was so floored I just started verbally batting at anything. After making her read my entire case history to confirm I didn’t, in fact, need to be there, and then logging on to my own online health system case history so she could show me, I then was like, “But … are you sure you don’t want to just check, in case maybe?” Like: literally the only woman to be looking forward to the possibility of a speculum out of something other than yet another duty of the burden of femininity.

And she literally was like, “nope! Yours would’ve been an inside issue, the incorrect one is an outside issue. So, nothing to check!” And then she does that weird little laugh that’s like, “unless you think you have any outside issues!” All I could think was, I do after this encounter! (“outside issues” like, “things you need therapy for.”) [I do not, fortunately, have any “outside” gynecological issues.]

And – fun fact! The difference in my results code and the other one is one letter – BUT – the difference in %s is  – for the same exact numbers – registers as:

My correct code: “Normal Range! You’re good!”
The other code, for the same exact % range: “Holy shit, fast forward all the way to worst case scenarios, because this is probably stage 4 cancer???”

— I’m not even joking, this is literally what the doctor conveyed, STREAM OF CONSCIOUSLY, as she was reading through my case file as I’m vibrating in the vortex of 17 emotions, while drenched in a cold sweat.

Conclusion: That code was made up by a MAN. Because how the fuck could you make two things that are so vastly different ONE LETTER OFF?! Answer: only if you are robot without a vagina who has no ability to imagine HOW FUCKING STRESSFUL A “NORMAL” DAY IN THIS IS, much less without a potential MISDIAGNOSES OF DOOM hanging over your head. UGH

Anyone who knows me knows HOW FUCKING FORTUNATE it was that NO ONE SAID ANYTHING HINTING AT THIS ON THE PHONE TO ME “A FEW WEEKS AGO.” (Well, I would’ve been hopping in the car while still on the phone, if someone had done that to me. BUT STILL.) No – like, literally – I would seriously rather take dealing with all of the above, than having someone blurt out something like, “HM, THIS LOOKS PRETTY HORRIBLE, SEE YOU IN THREE WEEKS!” STILL not an excuse, but: silver linings. I guess.

Ironically, my very next appointment was THERAPY, so I’m reasonably grounded now. Fucking LE SIGH. 

Total cost:

  • $46 (I was refunded on the copay.)
  • 3.25 hours of time 
  • 16 grey hairs and 15 minutes of life span

SIGH.

My ladies know what I’m talking about. But: seriously. What a fucking clusterfuck.

Yet another podcast to subscribe to

It’s like:

http://www.reactiongifs.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/omg-excited.gif

 

 

 

 

 

Marie Forleo debuted a podcast, on the day I already feel like I have wayyyyy too many podcasts on my list. Here’s a quick scroll-through of my current podcasts. Not to mention Ash wants me to binge The OA, Aaron wants me to watch The Magicians, and I’m actively watching This is Us. Oy vey!

Tara Brach
WTF with Marc Maron
Recovered Podcast
The Recovery Show
This American Life
Being Boss
Hay House Radio Podcast
How She Creates
Bad Money
Stranglers
Hidden Brain
Crimetown
Hay House Meditations
Hay House World Summit
The Tim Ferris Show
Rick Roll Podcast
The Way I Heard It
Welcome to Night Vale
Dr Wayne Dyer Podcast
Marie Forleo Podcast

Dare I ask what you’re listening to? X-P 🙂

How to Quit Your Day Job

I’ve listened to the Being Boss podcast for about a year now. The two powerful women at the center of that, Kathleen and Emily, are modern & engaging. In this episode, they share how they left their day jobs, how others do it, and what you need to do to prepare. They recommend having a plan, but reveal that a large financial safety net isn’t always required. To hear the whole episode: https://beingboss.club/podcast/episode-108-leaving-the-day-job

Shame: The Monster in All Our Heads

 Ask Polly is one of my favorite columns right now. Sometimes I’ll flip through and read old ones, just for inspiration to keep going. I appreciate her grounded real talk.
Here’s a recent excerpt that struck me so hard I had to put it down for later: 
First, though, let’s clear away some of the noise in your head. You ask, “But if I really wanted to become my true self and live my life, wouldn’t I be doing it? Wouldn’t I be doing the work that needs to happen?” The answer is no. It takes a lot of time and work to become your true self. It’s not a small thing. Believing that you’re supposed to be experiencing desire in some different, overpowering, inescapable way — the wanting-to-want problem — is a totally paralyzing delusion. You can’t assume that other people want things more than you do, therefore they have no choice but to go out and pursue them. Those other people are just making choices and committing, just like you have to do.

[…]

That’s how I know it’s important: When I’m embarrassed, that’s a sign that I’m getting nearer to the center of things.

Lately, I can’t write. I know work will save me from the state I’m in, save me from this mood of despair that comes and goes, save me from how ashamed of myself I am sometimes, just for growing older and being largely powerless and for not being heroic enough. I have deadlines that seem unimportant, so they come and go and I do nothing. I am supposed to be reading one book and starting to write another one. But the world outside seems off-balance and sick to me, and when I take that in, I have trouble not blaming myself for all of it. The news is bad, and it’s getting worse, therefore I must be bad, therefore I must do better. But how?
I know I could exercise more, and that would help. I could try to spend more time with my kids. I could talk to my husband or my friends about how I feel. But these things don’t always bring a real breakthrough, and sometimes no one is available to talk. To work my way through this feeling, I have to slow down time.
I have to close my eyes and admit that I feel broken and that I blame myself for that broken feeling. I have to admit that I always suspect that things will fall apart at some point in the future and that it will be my fault when that happens. People will say, “See, I was right about her. She’s a fucking joke.” And other people will nod along. My future misfortunes always include a jeering Greek chorus.

TIL

Here’s what I’m listening to: 
Tim Ferris’s Podcasts with Brain Pickings’ Maria Popova, and Peter Diamandis.
Kathy & Mo’s back catalog

Reading: 
-Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations
-John Updike’s Travels with Charley

On deck: 
Stumbling on Happiness, Vagabonding, The Taliban Shuffle.

Thinking about: 
-How Obama mentioned the prescription drug crisis in the first two minutes of SOTU last night (but didn’t elaborate later. What a missed opportunity, with that platform. SIGH.)
-My future

Doing: 
4HB diet
http://www.fiveminutejournal.com/
http://www.tut.com/index/infinitepossibilitiesproject 

Viewing: 
http://literaryjukebox.brainpickings.org/

http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/sam-harris-the-salon-interview

http://www.vulture.com/2015/10/one-podcast-to-start-with-across-24-topics.html

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/01/valeant-wall-st-darling-to-pariah.html

http://nymag.com/thecut/2016/01/ask-polly-how-can-i-make-my-marriage-last.html

http://nymag.com/thecut/2016/01/feminist-resolutions-for-2016.html

http://nymag.com/thecut/2016/01/how-would-you-like-your-hot-dude-today.html

http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2016/01/you-dont-need-to-make-time-for-mindfulness.html

http://www.vulture.com/2015/10/one-podcast-to-start-with-across-24-topics.html

Writing Exercise: The Date

10 minutes to write about 1 of 3 scenarios in Novel Writing Workshop on Wednesday. This was my piece. Handwritten, 10/15/14.

“Well?”

“Ma, I told you. He was nice.”

“I’m just asking. So, was he cute?”

Cheryl’s arm shot out, held the phone at full reach in a fist and shook it as she exhaled below, trying to compose herself. She threw herself back, feet up on the expensive yet hideous floral printed couch – another gift from her mother she despised. She returned the phone toher ear and the other hand to her forehead, clamping back impatience.

“I don’t know. He was fine. I mean, today.” And suddenly, she couldn’t stop herself, words pored out. “He ate like a pig, though. You would not believe it. Nearly lost my appetite. I mean, I could just see it in 25 years: me, two porker teenagers, and Mrs. Miller with a beard. I just couldn’t!”

She guffawed, hoping her mother would get in on the joke about the neighbor’s nephew that had happened to move to the same town as Cheryl recently.

Her mother’s voice was steely.

“My goodness, Cheryl. Mrs. Miller is a kind woman. You’d be lucky to get some of that. And we both know that looks fade. How were yours in this little picture?” she clipped, and then exhaled into the receiver. “It’s not like you’d know, though.”

“Know what, mother?” her hand was back on her forehead, bracing for whatever that could mean.

“How to keep a man that long.”

“Ah! There it is!” Cheryl roared, slamming her hand down on the flimsy Ikea table her roommate had bought.

Her mother kept talking over her.

“Well, I mean, if you want to keep going after these hulking lookers, and keep getting dumped for the next hot thing, that’s fine, if that’s what you want. I’m just trying to look out for yo-“

Cheryl paused her toothy assault on her lower lip to cut this off. “Ma! Cameron was like, a hundred years ago. And you are right! That is also porcine behavior! Whatever. All men are pigs. It’s not my fault.”

“You have no values, yet come up with ridiculous expectations. You don’t understand that this Romeo crap is never gonna happen. You have to train them. I regret ever reading you and your sister a single fairy tale! You’re just as desperate!”

“Yeah, yeah, I know, ma. You got dad wrapped around your pinkie, and it’s marital bliss.”

Her father never spoke much, and ferried himself from a job he seemed to loathe, to his wife’s to-do list, anything to keep her mom from nagging him. I feel ya, pops, Cheryl thought.

Her mother sputtered and then came out hot.

“Well, at least I wasn’t 90 before I gave my mother grandchildren!” she exploded. “I mean, would you rather that I have wisted my life away, waiting for a prince – royalty which has never visited South Rionick, New Jersey, I can assure you , or would you rather I brought you into the world?”

“Mom, I’m working on my career here! I’m trying to take care of myself so I can be free! I mean, look at Aunt Tessa. Three kids by 21, no degrees, no career, hubby leaves. She’s destitute, times are hard, step uncle Phil – her prince – is an asshole. I don’t do princes. That what you want for me?”

A concession hung between them. In the tense silence, Cheryl straightened her Vogues on the coffee table, counting higher in her head, resolving to wait her mother out.

“Well, just tell Mrs. Miller you had a good time,” her mother chirped finally.

###

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