As women, when we’re children we’re taught to enter the world with big hearts. Blooming hearts. Hearts bigger than our damn fists. We are taught to forgive - constantly - as opposed to what young boys are taught: Revenge, to get ‘even.’ Our empathy is constantly made appeals to, often demanded for. If we refuse to show kindness, we are reprimanded. We are not good women if we do not crush our bones to make more space for the world, if we do not spread our entire skin over rocks for others to tread on, if we do not kill ourselves in every meaning of the word in the process of making it cozy for everyone else. It is the heat generated by the burning of our bodies with which the world keeps warm. We are taught to sacrifice so much for so little. This is the general principle all over the world.

By the time we are young women, we are tired. Most of us are drained. Some of us enter a lock of silence because of that lethargy. Some of us lash out. When I think of that big, blooming heart we once had, it looks shriveled and worn out now. When I was teaching, I had a young student named Mariam. She was only 11 years old. Some boy pushed her around in class, called her names, broke her spirit for the day. We were sitting under a chestnut tree on a field trip and she asked me if a boy ever hurt me. I told her many did and I destroyed them one by one. I think that’s the first time she ever heard the word ‘destroyed.’ We rarely teach our girls to fight back for the right reasons.

Take up more space as a woman. Take up more time. Take your time. You are taught to hide, censor, move about without messing up decorum for a man’s comfort. Whether it’s said or not, you’re taught balance. Forget that. Displease. Disappoint. Destroy. Be loud, be righteous, be messy. Mess up and it’s fine – you are learning to unlearn. Do not see yourself like glass. Like you could get dirty and clean. You are flesh. You are not constant. You change. Society teaches women to maintain balance and that robs us of our volatility. Our mercurial hearts. Calm and chaos. Love only when needed; preserve otherwise.

Do not be a moth near the light; be the light itself. Do not let a man’s ocean-big ego swallow you up. Know what you want. Ask yourself first. Decide your own pace. Decide your own path. Be cruel when needed. Be gentle only when needed. Collapse and then re-construct. When someone says you are being obscene, say yes I am. When they say you are being wrong, say yes I am. When they say you are being selfish, say yes I am. Why shouldn’t I be? How do you expect a woman to stand on her two feet if you keep striking her at the ankles.

There are multiple lessons we must teach our young girls so that they render themselves their own pillars instead of keeping male approval as the focal point of their lives. It is so important to state your feelings of inconvenience as a woman. We are instructed to tailor ourselves and our discomfort - constantly told that we are ‘whining’ and ‘nagging’ and ‘complaining too much.’ That kind of silence is horribly violent, that kind of insistence upon uniformly nodding in agreement to your own despair, and smiling emptily so no man is ever uncomfortable around us. Male-entitlement dictates a woman’s silence. If we could see the mimetic model of the erasure of a woman’s voice, it would be an incredibly bloody sight.

On a breezy July night, my mother and I were sleeping under the open sky. Before dozing off, I told her that I think there is a special place in heaven where all wounded women bury their broken hearts and their hearts grow into trees that only give fruit to the good and poison to the bad. She smiled and said Ameen. Then she closed her eyes.

A Woman of War by Mehreen Kasana (via pbnpineapples)

this is so empowering! beautiful 

(via dirtyflowerchild)

All day. Last night a banker-type said “it’s a long way from your private high school education to here”. Meaning that I somehow had done myself and my alma matter a disservice by waiting tables now. Implying that I had fallen. I’m tired of that line of thinking. Like I’m not capable of making a good choice. So I told him that I thought I was doing alright, being subversive, providing for my family, not having to pay for dayare, not having student loans eating away at my life. I don’t want a house in the suburbs, ever think of that? For a second I thought “you don’t have to be a bitch”. But only for a second. He wanted me to crumble, to ask his executive permission to be myself. I wanted to be the one to tell me what is good enough. So no. I decided I DID have to be a bitch. I don’t have to make him comfortable, ever. But especially when he had no qualms about making me feel shitty.

I must remind you that starving a child is violence. Suppressing a culture is violence. Neglecting school children is violence. Punishing a mother and her family is violence. Discrimination against a working man is violence. Ghetto housing is violence. Ignoring medical need is violence. Contempt for poverty is violence.
Coretta Scott King (via samirathejerk)

Learning to speak inclusively means ensuring that the words we use include all those whose identities apply to a given situation. And speaking in this manner is applicable to both your personal and professional lives. Assuming the gender of someone that you meet, or the gender of those in the room, runs the risk of erasing identities.

Often, addressing this means using gender-neutral language in order to include all who are trying to access the information we are offering. Speaking gender-neutrally also means keeping in mind that most of the issues that we are working for can’t be pigeon-holed as “men’s issues” or “women’s issues.”

One place we often run into this problem is in conversations around reproductive rights. It is easy to fall into the pattern of calling abortion a women’s issue, but this erases the identities of trans* and non-binary folks. In reality, safe and reliable access to abortion is important for everybody who needs it. Framing it as a women’s issue erases the stories of those who have and need abortions who are not women.

Learning to speak this way can be as simple as substituting “they” for a gendered pronoun or “people” in the place of “men” or “women.” Permanently making this switch is little harder, and it will take time. However, including everybody is worth the time and effort. It will make you a better ally and expand the reach of your messages.

Do not try to be pretty. You weren’t meant to be pretty; you were meant to burn down the earth and graffiti the sky. Don’t let anyone ever simplify you to just “pretty.”
Things I Wish My Mother Had Taught Me | d.a.s   (via queenoakenshield)



gehayi submitted to medievalpoc:

So I found this list of books that were banned from Tucson, Arizona schools when, in 2010, Arizona used a state law “to shut down the controversial classes that conservative legislators accused of politicizing Latino students.” The law has been declared…

At the ugliest times, the politics of respectability—the idea that individuals can defeat systems of oppression by modifying their behavior and/or presentation to be more “acceptable” or “deserving”—reared its head and diverted our attention from real people’s pain and suffering. Children were being shot dead in the streets, and we were debating whether their pants sagged too low. Their schools were being closed, and we talked about whether they had good father figures in their home. They were stopped, frisked and beaten by police, and we somehow managed to chastise them for littering.

This is the current state of discussion about racism: one that places the onus on those who are oppressed to comport themselves according to the rules that oppress them rather than eliminating the system. The problem is that there is no escape. You can do everything “right,” obey all of the rules, be exemplary in every way, and racism still does its work. Respectability politics are not rooted in fact or reality, only in a false notion of individualism that upholds structural oppression.

covet garden