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 proudย of my heritage ๐Ÿ˜‰

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

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.

image

 

 

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 toย 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

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.ย 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 ร  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