Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Race, gender, size, age and the Oscars

There is a lot of discussion around race surrounding this most recent Oscars ceremony, most of it centered around The Help, Viola Davis, and Octavia Spencer. I didn't see most of the movies nominated this year, so I'm hesitant to contribute (at least in writing!), but I feel there is a part of the Oscars that is glaringly absent from these conversations.
“The way I watch movies, I’m really searching for myself because I don’t get to see enough of myself and I don’t get to like myself enough. But if I get to see myself onscreen then I know that I exist.”

-Gabourey Sidibe
Awesome, confident, and beautiful
I have been searching for a clip of this candid, disarmingly honest admission since it aired during Sunday’s Academy Awards, with no luck. I haven't even found anything from anyone talking about how important this statement is. This was the most profound thing I heard come from that ceremony, and I am so shocked I haven’t read anything about it, that I figured maybe I have to (try to) say it myself. I'll start with the disclaimer that I don't have any expertise in race or gender issues beyond my personal experience, and I know I won't be able to say this very eloquently, I just know that someone has to say something.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Working w/ unemployment : volunteering

I am currently unemployed. I'm very fortunate that this period of unemployment didn't catch me off guard, and that I have a huge amount of support to get through this as I pursue personal and professional goals. As such, my unemployment experience is likely fairly different than most of the millions of Americans currently out of work, but for all of us, it isn't easy.

This is the first post in a series called of how I am working with unemployment, how I'm managing my time and amplifying my job search, based on advice and research from others as well as my own experiences. For those of you also experiencing a similar transition or who have, I would love your input. For everyone else, I hope you don't have to involuntarily go through periods without work, but find this series of posts interesting nonetheless.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's blast from the past

I don't often celebrate Valentine's day (though I am thinking about baking some Valentine's themed cookie cups, because really, why not?), so instead I thought I'd use this as an opportunity to shamelessly self-promote myself and how I fell in love (Valentine's Day pun!!) with writing.*

When I was in middle school, being on student council also meant working on the school newsletter--and being student body president meant REALLY working on the school newsletter. So, when I was looking for something to do in the big bad world of high school, I got involved with our school newspaper, Knightlife (our mascot was the Knights, so puns everywhere). By the time senior year rolled around, I was editor-in-chief, and one of the features I took over from previous editors was a Top Ten list in each issue. For February, we (predictably) published a top ten list of the best and worst about Valentine's Day. This is by no means my best example of journalism (or, uh, even an example of journalism at all), but I thought it would be a fun/funny/terrifying and seasonally relevant glimpse into my high school mind to share with you.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Fewer "things"

At the beginning of the year, I decided I would discard, give away, or otherwise get rid of at least one "thing" each week until I move. For me, this is a little bit more challenging than it sounds because of just how much I got rid of when I moved in October, but six weeks in, I still believe it's manageable.

The inspiration for this challenge came from Dinah Sanders' Discardia. The tagline for Discardia is "make room for awesomeness." I haven't read the book, but from the website, what I take from this idea (I could be totally off from Dinah's intent!) is that paring down things that don't matter or aren't important will make room for truly enjoying the things that are. If you know me you also know that I'm always seeking ways to reduce my impact on the environment, so this idea of letting go of "things" appeals to my green side as well.

A sampling of "things" no longer in my possession.

Since I don't know when I'll be moving, I don't know how many weeks of discarding I have left, though I anticipate as time passes it will get more difficult. In the little more than a month since starting, I've played it easy, recycling a hand-painted dish that broke in the move, sorting through paperwork to weed out what I don't need, cleaning out my art class portfolios (hope no one wanted a painting of a collage of an ostrich), mailing a book to a friend, and going through my intimates drawer*.

These things, for the most part, weren't hard to discard. They were easy decisions to make given the state of the things, or with the luxury of more time to logically sort things. There are no stories to tell about my separation from these things, which is why they were easy to let go. As this experiment progresses, I don't anticipate it will continue to be this easy, but I do anticipate it will be rewarding just having fewer "things."

*If this post has intrigued you about letting go of some things you don't need, and, if like me you've had your share of ill-advised bra purchases, please consider donating them this month to benefit the National Network to End Domestic Violence. New or gently worn bras can be dropped off at any Soma Intimates, or mailed to NNEDV. And, if you aren't sure if your bra qualifies, that's ok! They'll make sure any unusable items get recycled properly.