“I Am a Feminist”

Hi friends!

A quick post is in order, because I came across this amazing anonymous thought piece from one of my fellow ladies at the Law School entitled “I Am a Feminist”. This is the stuff the gives me life – this is pure spiritual nourishment for me!

“I like this new side of me. The side of me that relishes my curves in Alex Marie suits, that owns my height in Nine West heels, that holds her head high in makeup, hair, and jewelry – ready for the next interview, the next internship, the next opportunity. I like being feminine and professional at the same time. For years I ignored this core part of my identity in order to succeed on the basketball court, to succeed in the sciences. Without even realizing it, I tried to blend in with my male peers, to imitate their behaviors, to gain their respect and high esteem.”

My emotions in a nutshell.

My emotions in a nutshell.

I cannot describe how proud I am of my colleague who took the time to share her personal feminist “coming out” story. In law school especially, as she notes, being a woman is scary and, frankly, quite difficult. I commend her courage and her dedication to letting her voice be heard. I hope that neither she nor any of my woman/feminine peers ever stop demanding time and space from this very male-dominated institution!

Promise to post again soon! I have very exciting news 🙂

Peace, sweat and love,

G.

Awesome article alert: “Sisters of the ‘Yogic’ Yam: bell hooks and the Yoga in Self-Recovery” by Sariane Leigh

I didn’t see this article back when it came out about 2 years ago, but it is definitely still relevant. You all know I love yoga, self-care and self-recovery, and making those things accessible. Well, I am not the one to speak on some of these experiences, but Sariane Leigh, a.k.a. Anacostia Yogi, does so and does so beautifully. I found her article Sisters of the “Yogic” Yam: bell hooks and the Yoga in Self-Recovery (a guest post on The Feminist Wire) while searching for a different article regarding renowned feminist scholar bell hooks, and just had to share. Leigh embodies a fitness and wellness philosophy that I strive for every day – one that is not about punishment or strict competition, but one that is focused on healing, self-love, and nourishment (physical and emotional/spiritual).

As if her beautiful work and impressive bio aren’t enough, Ms. Leigh has also compiled a list of curvy yogis to follow on Instagram! It’s like she knew I needed more curvy fitness on my feed 🙂

Peace, sweat and love,

G

It’s been a while…

Hi friends!

It has been a very long time since I’ve posted – it’s been a rough couple of weeks. Not only have I been working a lot, but also I’ve been trying to prepare for and then actually making my big move into the city! But – it’s done! I am now the proud owner of a new Boston apartment 🙂

Needless to say, my teensy student’s budget necessitates a certain amount of creativity when it comes to acquiring different home necessities. I know I should’ve been posting more, but forgive me because I was scouring Craigslist for cheap vintage furniture. And completing my much-anticipated Tough Mudder. Oh, yeah – and starting law school!

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Things are finally getting settled. The girlfriend and I have almost all the requisite home items (with a few comical exceptions, such as a bed) and are working on decorating the space to make it our own.

We even jumped back into our couples workout routine! We ran a 5k this past weekend, on Saturday, at the Franklin Park Zoo. It was a really small event, but it was fun and a really cute idea. Running through the zoo is perfect – both of us love the zoo! It was actually a pretty rough race for both of us, as I hadn’t worked out in the 2 weeks since my Tough Mudder between being dunked into the craziness of law school and the awful thing that is September 1st (move-in day) in Boston and she also hadn’t had much time on her hands. We took it a lot slower than we normally would have, but from what I heard, so did virtually everyone else – it was HUMID! It was positively soupy out, much to our chagrin. Everyone finished the race soaked and breathless – we were no exception.

I need to start getting back into my old workout habits. It has been a difficult transition to a new home, the intensity of law school, and overall a huge life transition to find a schedule. I actually sat down the other day and made an obsessive schedule on Excel, something I actually think is vital to stay on top of the heavy work loads. I’ve obviously carved out my gym time – now to create a training plan!

In between studying and brunching (both are necessary), I promise to post my Tough Mudder recap – it’s been a long time coming!

Peace, sweat and love,

G

Thrifty, busy, and moving forward

Hi friends!

Sorry it’s been so long. I have, of course, been super busy. I’ve been nannying or working late at the restaurant, so I feel like I haven’t had a chance to have much “me” time to blog, relax, sip tea (and wine)… And finally today I get to after a busy weekend! Thank goodness for a free evening – I just want to go to the gym, blog, watch a little TV, and go to bed early. Because I am an old woman.

This week has also been kind of crazy because *drumroll please* I have finally sorted out law school stuff! I am very happy to say that after careful consideration, I have decided to move forward and officially become a member of Boston University School of Law’s class of 2017! 

The decision makes sense for me, for a number of reasons. Staying on the waiting list was an uncertainty I couldn’t afford – I am not willing to sacrifice decent housing at a very slim set of chances. I want to start off my law school career with stability – no couch-surfing or juggling things last minute while I’m in that crucial first few weeks. Logically, BU Law makes sense. But emotionally, it also makes lots of sense. I don’t want to be in the middle of nowhere in Ithaca, and BU Law means I will be able to live with my girlfriend in an apartment in the city that many of my friends (from Wellesley and elsewhere) call home. And I am not far from my little brother and even parents!

So. obviously, this is exciting… But it also means that I have gone into full manic planning mode. And I love planning. But it is also my weakness.

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But in the midst of setting up last-minute doctor’s appointments and contacting Boston realtors, I am so glad to come home to my teensy corner of the webiverse. It is so cathartic for me to write here and share the little things in my life that make me happy… And read those things that make others happy!

The past few weeks I’ve allowed myself little treats while working hard to save up for this next year. As you know, I am obsessed with bargains! Thrift is my gift 😉 *eyeroll at myself*

I signed up for the City Sports “Insider” program months ago, and it’s great because I get a little chunk of change back at the end of every period. This time around I bought myself some replacement straws for my Camelbak and some cute hairbands from Moving Comfort with the couple dollars off I got (because who likes wearing just the plain ugly elastics on their wrist? not me!).

How do you treat your self (it doesn’t have to involve retail!)?

Looks much nicer on my wrist when I'm trying to look nice but still have access to an emergency hair tie!

Looks much nicer on my wrist when I’m trying to look nice but still have access to an emergency hair tie!

I also couldn’t resist a Lululemon visit when I was in the area – I just can’t help myself from checking their “We Made Too Much” section (fancy way of saying “sale”).Found a 105 F singlet discounted in this bright pink color. Fun! The sales girls told me I could buy a size larger than I normally take (I’m a 6 at Lulu and there were only 10’s and one 8 left), so I did. It’s a bit looser than I’d like, but it works just fine. It is very light and breathable – necessary for a sweatball like me :3

Image via Lululemon.com

Image via Lululemon.com

I was able to put my new singlet to the test recently when I embarked on my longest-ever run yet this past Saturday! I was working until late at the restaurant, and didn’t come back home until well after midnight, dead tired and sore from being on my feet for 6+ hours. I wanted to run in the morning when it was cooler, but I was just too tired! I let myself have an easy morning, a little nap, and set out for my run around 11.

So it turns out that running around noon – the hottest part of the day – is not my favorite. Don’t advise it. Nope. Especially if you sweat like an out-of-shape 45-year-old man like me. Two miles in, I had to stop in the shade for a minute and desperately chug from the little bottles of my hydration belt. This was my face:

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Definitely wanted to skip this run altogether. Definitely wanted to turn around from that point and just run 4 miles. But wanted to finish what I started more. So I braved the New England humidity and hot summer sun and sweated out those 8 whole miles. At the end, I looked like I had taken a shower and then immediately put clothes on, but I was proud. My longest run ever! I took it slow and steady (especially with the heat/humidity), but still clocked in at just over 11’00” – not as bad as I thought! I’ve definitely got to give a shout out to the amazing volunteers on the East Bay bike path of Rhode Island – they had a free water station that saved me on those last two miles. I was super dehydrated despite the presence of my hydration belt – two 10 ounce bottles weren’t enough on a day like that!
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2014-07-12 12.49.44A very busy, thrifty, productive, but victorious week indeed!

What did you accomplish this week? This weekend?

Peace, sweat and love,

G

 

sorry i’ve been kind of absent lately…

… I’ve been busy GRADUATING FROM COLLEGE!!!

Gack! It has been such a crazy couple of days in every sense. I want to feel more than I can about graduation right now, but it’s still too early for me to hash out all my feelings. There’s just so much that I still don’t even know what or how to feel! All I know is that leaving Wellesley is bittersweet – perhaps even more bitter as it sinks in later on. For now, I admit that I am glad to go home and recuperate from a crazy couple of days (weeks, really, with finals and senior week and then graduation week). I’ve subsisted primarily off of champagne and cupcakes until now, so boring as it is I am thrilled to get back to real, home-cooked meals… Not to mention a regular exercise routine again! During really crazy times my body pulls through no problem, but once the insanity is over (finals, a major event I had to prepare for, etc.) I just crash. I’m definitely going to sleep 12 hours a couple nights this week just because I will naturally need that pseudo-hibernation to get me back into a normal routine. Will be sure to practice good self-care this week, even as I check things off my to-do list and unpack (ughhh).

But first, a visual recap of my graduation is in order. I am absolutely blessed to have an amazing, supportive family – so supportive that two of my relatives from Italy came to my graduation! That’s right – these family members flew overseas so they could see me walk across the stage and get my diploma! I am very close with my family in Italy, but unfortunately am physically far from them most of the time. It meant the world to me that they chose to be there for this moment in my life. That, and of course my nuclear family and relatives from closer by showed up wearing “Proud Wellesley Family/Parent/Sibling” pins! Though I can’t figure out my feelings on graduating, there were definitely tears to be had out of love and amazement at the dedication of my amazing family.

My little brother congratulates me.

My little brother congratulates me.

The family

The family

Some of the women of the family

Some of the women of the family

Friendship!

Friendship!

<3

No caption necessary.

The day after graduation, my family threw me a little graduation luncheon. Family and close friends (from home). Incredibly, my visiting relatives refused to let my mother order bagels and instead cooked everything themselves, minus the beautiful cake from a local bakery.

Ricotta-stuffed phyllo shells with peppered veg topping

Ricotta-stuffed phyllo shells with peppered veg topping

Mozzarella, breadcrumb, and basil stuffed and baked tomatoes

Mozzarella, breadcrumb, and basil stuffed and baked tomatoes

Pesto farro with cherry tomatoes, pine nuts, and ricotta... The farro is actually from the region in Italy that we are from!

Pesto farro with cherry tomatoes, pine nuts, and ricotta… The farro is actually from the same region in Italy that we are from!

A fish made out of fish! An adorable concoction made of tuna, pureed potatoes, and capers.

A fish made out of fish! An adorable concoction made of tuna, pureed potatoes, and capers.

Herbed ricotta dip with pine nuts and pureed olives

Herbed ricotta dip with pine nuts and pureed olives

mozzarellini and pomodorini skewers

mozzarellini and pomodorini skewers

And of course, a tiramisu cake from a local bakery! Did you know "tiramisu" is Italian for "pick me up"?

And of course, a tiramisu cake from a local bakery! Did you know “tiramisu” is Italian for “pick me up”?

On few occasions have I been more proud of my heritage 😉

Well, with that quick recap of a whirlwind weekend, I’m off to bed. I need to start getting my energy back!

Peace, sweat and love,

G

Spring in my step

Hello!

It is high time for another post. Don’t think I had forgotten!

Today in Boston it reached 70 degrees. Do you know what that means? Everyone was in full-on tanning mode, in shorts and t-shirts like it was mid-July! I’m so happy that it is finally getting nice out – it’s been a very long and harsh winter! Cheesily, I must remark that this long and harsh winter’s melting away into a late spring mirrors my own senior year. Basically, after spring break’s sunshine and acceptance into law school, I am emotionally pounds lighter than I was in the winter!

What I want the rest of my senior year to be.

What I want the rest of my senior year to be.

My training thus far for my upcoming 10k has been going really well – I have been consistently faster and stronger than I have been in the past! If you recall I have run a 10k before, so this will be my 2nd one. I have been doing really well during my speed workouts, and even set a new (indoor) 5k PR for myself! I can’t say exactly what my goals for this 10k are at this point in my training (besides finishing with relative ease and comfort), but I would really love to come in at under 10’00″/mile. I know that doing that with my 5k is one thing, but twice that distance is another for me. By the time the first mile or two have gone by, I’m rapidly slowing down if I’m running off a treadmill.

That said, I was able to get in the longest run I’ve been on in a while outside today with the gf because it was so gorgeous. Maybe even too gorgeous… I was so thirsty! I have a great Nathan hydration belt, but I discovered it doesn’t work very well on my body. I think those things are really meant for men and women with curveless bodies, not someone with a lot of junk in the trunk but a small waist! Luckily, my gf fit much better into the belt, and we were able to bring along much-needed hydration for our 6 miles. We felt great afterward! Running outside again is key for me, as I haven’t been able to do much of that until recently, and the uneven surfaces, dips, and inclines are something you can’t do as well on a treadmill! As I type this I’m goofily wearing compression calf sleeves under my jeans 😛

Evidence of spring - finally!

Evidence of spring – finally!

The Rec Department at my college also adorably hosted a “Spring Day” today, and there were so many cute dogs (we all know about my animal obsession… right?). They had fun little crafts and activities, so the gf and I went to say hi to friends and grab some free swag because I am like a Depression-era grandmother in my dedication to free things. Included in our swag were green Wellesley rec sunglasses, little gym towels (perfect for sweaty old me), and tons of energy bars (Luna bar, Clif, and Kind) and even a Gatorade table with free gel chews packs and drinks. More snacks are always a necessity for me – I always get hungry at work between lunch and dinner!

Speaking of food, because I am a totally obnoxious “foodie” who Instagrams pictures of her food, I need to share pictures from last night’s date here. Yes, I know I am a tool. No, I will not stop OR give you a bite! That means that I can provide you delicious pictures like the one below from last night’s date with the lady:

Korean stone bowl with tofu, rice, veggies, a fried egg, and slightly spicy and sweet sauce drizzled on top. Don't tell me that's not internet-worthy!

Korean stone bowl with tofu, rice, veggies, a fried egg, and slightly spicy and sweet sauce drizzled on top. Don’t tell me that’s not internet-worthy!

I’m going to have a busy day tomorrow – lots of homework to do, and I will be participating in the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center’s Walk for Change in the AM! Pictures and a recap to follow.

Peace, sweat and love,

G

 

Moments of Tranquility

Hey there!

I just have to share this with you. This is the view from an evening run this week. Just as I was cooling down and heading to the gym for an arm workout, I stopped and stared at the sun setting from the lake. In all seriousness, I have no idea how long I stood there. I kept staring at the water and the beautiful sky as these two geese cut across the water and came to shore. I forgot where I was for a while, until I was pulled back to reality minutes later when I realized that other humans could see me and that it was actually getting chilly rather quickly.

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Here’s to hoping that you all have moments of tranquility, nature-inspired or not! In the midst of a crazy week back after spring break, it was nice to have that moment of absolute breathlessness… That mental clarity and euphoria is why I run and work out! I’m the kind of person who has to tire myself out to clean my mental slate. I am a huge believer in the power of endorphins, obviously!

See you on the interwebs again very soon!

Peace, sweat and love,

G

Spring Break recap

Hello friends –

Sadly, I am writing this from dreary, chilly Boston and not sun-soaked LA. I had an amazing spring break, and am so, so sad that it is rapidly coming to an end! These last few days will have to be spent studying and picking up where I left off with various student organizations and *ahem* the gym.

How I feel about hitting the books again

How I feel about hitting the books again

I am now officially in training for my May 10k (the Newton 10k) and am hoping to beat my time on my last 10k, which was ages ago in October (the Tufts 10k for Women). Now that I have *some* sense of where I could possibly be come autumn, I may be able to start signing up for more races and events. In addition to my 10k coming up, I’m hoping to do a Tough Mudder with my friend Tom on June 1st – 2 days after my graduation! More on that when I figure out the details.

But before I spiral out of control talking about the scary thing that is the future, let me revisit the past. Spring break was incredible, as I mentioned in my last post. We all wanted to do an official spring break-y spring break before we graduated, and this was our last chance! Our days were spent relaxing in sun drinking cocktails and our nights were spent relaxing in the hot tub with wine. It was very relaxing and also very boozy… Hey, I’m 22, OK?! 😛

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On the least sunny day of our trip, we journeyed to Hollywood in order for me to have a spiritual experience. Yes, that means I would not leave until I found Britney’s star.

Hello, beautiful

Hello, beautiful

I also found out that Sophia Loren and I have the same size hands – odd, because I have pretty big, muscular hands for a lady. Either way, I was pretty thrilled to step into her stiletto prints, because she is my Italian sister and a rad body image icon for me personally. She is an endlessly sultry and gorgeous fellow Italian with dark hair, light eyes, and olive-y skin with a curvy and airbrush-free body.

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Loren killin’ it in “Ieri, Oggi, e Domani”

 

Women like Loren (Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez, Kim Kardashian, Beyoncé, Mindy Kaling, and even Britney Spears among them!) inspire me because they have bodies, however perfect or airbrushed in various contexts, that are more relatable to me than to those of extremely thin, largely curveless and often Northern European bodies. Those bodies are also beautiful, but they are not my own. BASICALLY that was a really long way of saying that I was just as happy as I look in this photo!

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The view directly above

The view directly above at Hollywood Bouvelard’s Chinese Theater

I also got in plenty of snacks – don’t you worry! – during my trip. One of the most amazing things I ate? A giant banana split cookie (yes, you read that right) with chocolate chips, banana, and strawberries at the Milk Jar, a milk-and-cookies place for adults. With a side of iced coffee (served in a mason jar because LA), I was practically jumping up and down at this ecstatic temporary return to childhood.

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The entire trip was incredible, but I think the best morning was by far the one I spent with the GF’s sister. We woke up early to catch a 7:30 AM hot yoga class at Modo Yoga – a celeb favorite that is mere minutes from her apartment. Man… I’ve done hot yoga before, but this was the hottest hot yoga I’ve ever done! The studio was bougie as anything, cheery and comfortable, and the actual practice room was expansive but purposefully airless. They were burning sage, which maybe made me feel like it was even hotter. I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say I’d never sweat so much in my life. I regularly did hot yoga through high school, but this was next level hot. At the end of class, I collapsed into a puddle on my mat. After wiping ourselves down (yes, I was that drenched) we browsed the little showcase they had at the front of the store. She bought cute new yoga pants, I bought a sexy new water bottle for a price that took me by surprise. Oh well. It is beautiful and apparently holds 40 oz, and retains temperature like no other – the lady behind the counter claimed that ice would stay ice in it for 12+ hours. I really hope so, because lukewarm water makes me very grumpy.

The color is called "Açai Purple"... LOL. But actually I love it.

The color is called “Açai Purple”… LOL. But actually I love it.

After we made our purchases, we stepped over the the juice bar next door (hello, LA) to refuel post-practice. I’m recently re-inspired by juicing, so much so that I actually broke out my old juicer and starting shaking up some green drinks. I got a hearty, beet-based juice infused with lemongrass and ginger, among other things. Totally delicious and totally gorgeous.

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Back here in Boston, I am ready to make some of my own juices again! I went shopping yesterday, so I am armed with kale aplenty. In fact, tonight I plan to make kale chips to accompany my dinner with the GF.

Be still my heart!

Be still my heart!

After an awesome but totally crazy spring break, I am ready to kind of lay low for a few days until the craziness of school starts up again. I’m thinking getting back to the gym and running, plenty of yoga and foam rolling. That, and lots of green tea, kale, detoxing dandelion tea, and juices. And chia seeds. Sweet, sweet chia seeds. So good when you’re feeling icky post-travel.

In that spirit, I did some hatha yoga before bed last night. I’ll share the same, gentle 25- minute video I used from yogadownload.com via youtube with you so that you can enjoy the same nurturing sequence!

Peace, sweat and love,

G

Sunday Runday

In light of the difficulty I had putting up new posts last month, I have decided to do better in March and blog, blog, blog! Also, I need to remind myself that I (being a classic perfectionist and mildly OCD) do not need to write a giant, life-changing, soul-touching post every single time I blog. This is surprisingly not apparent to me. Any other perfectionists out there, just getting in your own way?

Well, I was lucky enough to get a nice long run in. I did an easy 5 miler (didn’t have time for 6), and am super happy to report that when I was finished, my Nike+ app home screen looked like this:

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I have officially run over 200 miles (using my Nike+ account)!!! That, and I have finally broken a 10’00 average. When I started running more seriously using this app last summer (around June/July) I was averaging 12’30” on my runs, and felt totally exhausted, if proud, after those grueling runs. Now I am able to run so, so much faster. Even if it’s not fast in comparison with really “serious” runners, I’ll take it! I ran my fastest mile the other day at 8’31”, and that is really big for me. I’m not a super fast runner – honestly I don’t think I’m built for speed, but rather endurance and strength – but this marks a major accomplishment for me. This makes me feel appreciative and even proud of my body, a body that I haven’t always had a great relationship with.

This weekend I have my St. Pat’s 5k – so I’m really excited for that! I’m hoping to beat my PR and come in at 9’40” or under. I’m at least feeling quite confident that I can come in under 10′, and probably  9’50”. We shall see!

In the meantime, I am going to take care of myself this week, get plenty of sleep (totally caught up on sleep this weekend after my horrendously busy and stressful week), and stay healthy. The gf is feeling sick, and I am nervous that she has something and that I’ll catch it, too! In light of this, I have summoned the wellness trifecta of chia seeds, organic yogurt, and Airborne to try to stay healthy despite the fact that I am a college student and am therefore basically unable to escape hordes of potentially sick people. *sigh*

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Stay healthy everyone! I’m just waiting out this particularly brutal New England winter *shivering emoji*

Peace, sweat and love,

G

 

A very reluctant post about the now infamous “naked man” statue at Wellesley College

*TRIGGER WARNING*

Before I add to the insanity of the Wellesley-Naked-Man-Statue controversy, let me first assure everyone that I am doing so with extreme reluctance and displeasure.

Wellesley, my dear alma mater, is renowned for being an elite, historically women’s college that has produced and continues to produces bright, inquisitive students coming from a variety of backgrounds and experiences… At least in some circles. The students of Wellesley are known for being passionate, fearless, and extremely active in their political and social critiques.

The infamous statue in question, "The Sleepwalker", by Tony Matelli.

The infamous statue in question, “The Sleepwalker”, by Tony Matelli.

It is of course no surprise that the above statue, installed suddenly by the on-campus Davis museum, caused a stir at dear old Wellesley. Driving home from work I, like many others, thought it was a real man and nearly crashed my car.

At best, the statue is an aesthetically unpleasing traffic block. At worst, critics say, it is a lethal trigger for painful memories/threats of sexual assault.

Those students who have taken a decidedly anti-statue stance have asked that the work be removed from its very public position on a campus where the vast majority of students, most of them women, live and eat and study. A petition was started, in true revolutionary Wellesley spirit, and as of now I believe that it boasts upwards of 500 signatures.

Naturally, fierce debates have ensued. Art, its definition, sexual assault, and our duties to survivors have been the topics of these highly charged discussions.

My heart goes out to the Wellesley sibling(s) who do not feel comfortable with this statue around. To those of you who are survivors of sexual assault and/or violence, I am also so sorry that you have been made to feel unsafe or even betrayed by this sudden installation.

Things have been tense. Sometimes passion can become harsh, even alienating, regardless of intentionality. But recent media attention have made debates even more polarizing.

That is why I feel compelled to write. I first saw the statue and was startled. I thought it was a real man. I thought perhaps it was a performance, or a bizarre photo op. I thought of my grandfather, who towards the end of his life was at risk of escaping the house and wandering the streets in his pajamas, in a state of utter confusion brought on by the Alzheimer’s that had begun to eat at his mind. I found, and still find, the statue to be creepy and, frankly, bizarre. But that is unimportant.

I am taking a deep breath, because I am about to come out in a very public way, despite the fact that maybe 3 people read this blog: I am a survivor of sexual assault.

The statue never triggered me personally. I never found it to be menacing. I am of course able to speak only for myself, however.

What has driven me to the point that I write out this absurd, long, post is a lot of the discussion surrounding sexual assault and survivors. This damn statue has become something of a litmus test – “You aren’t anti-statue? So you don’t care at all about your siblings who are survivors?!” I’m paraphrasing here, but those are the kind of comments I’ve been hearing/seeing all over social media.

You know what triggered me? People constantly telling me that the statue was triggering. I can’t escape this horrible statue – people are writing about, talking about sexual assault, triggers, violence, male privilege… It makes my head spin, to the point that I think I really need to wait things out and not access any social media for a couple of days. And this is coming from someone whose job is focused on researching sexual assault and violence.

The fact that I didn’t feel triggered bothered me, gnawed at me. I haven’t been able to put my finger on it, and still am only able to vaguely begin to hash out my feelings about this.

I was never triggered, and became so upset about the discourse around this statue because nothing that was being said was true to my experience as a survivor.

Like many other survivors, my assailant made me feel weak, powerless, inhuman, and dirty. As is the the case with many other survivors, my assailant was someone I knew. My assailant was not a balding, middle-aged man, taking young students by surprise (although Wellesley has dealt with flashers/fondlers in the past, this is important to note). My assailant worked his way into my life when I was vulnerable, and then he took my humanity.

What has disturbed me so much in this is the vague “stranger in the bushes” assumption that has been resurrected in a lot of the discussion about the statue with regards to sexual assault and survivors. The outdated idea that a rapist is someone in a dark alley, a stranger with a knife. Most of the time, that isn’t the case. It’s the reason why Take Back the Night is simultaneously so powerful, and so fundamentally flawed: because we need to take back more than just the night.

This is not a means of dismissing the hard work that a lot of my siblings on campus have been doing. People are working very hard to support one another in a time when Wellesley has, to my great displeasure, become a seat of uncontrolled international (but actually) media frenzy. This is simply one survivor’s story, and her relationship to this godforsaken statue. This is a gentle, tear-stained request that you be careful, no matter what position you do or do not take on the statue, not to lump survivors’ experiences together.

Please do not claim to speak for survivors. Instead, amplify the voices of those who wish to be heard, and support those who wish to be fought for. Please do not co-opt my experience, no matter how good your intentions. Please do not claim to save me from the naked man statue, because I do not wish to be saved. Survivors are just that – survivors. We are strong.

We are strong, but we are all different. What I want and need is not what every survivor wants and needs… And that extends to their wants and needs vis à vis the statue. I ask only that you remember to keep your activism and your feminism nuanced, and that you respect the diversity of experiences of survivors on and off of Wellesley’s campus.

One last thing: don’t read the patronizing comments under news stories. You know they are inevitably going to be some dude saying some variation of “they need the D” and so forth. In my opinion, this is not even worth our time and mental health.

Love,

G