Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Why I'm saying #metoo

For the last week, all of my social media has been filled with heartbreaking stories and a simple hashtag, and the number of posts I've seen doesn't even scratch the surface of the number of events that prompted them.

Every girl has one. I don't mean that we all have a big, scary, horrific story like so many do. I mean we all have something that is the reason we're scared to be in places like parking garages alone or why we remind ourselves to fill up our cars during the day if we know we'll be out late. The ones that make me grateful for friends that stand between me and strangers on the D.C. metro when they see the stares, or stories that make me walk three paces faster than normal to keep up with my boyfriend while exploring the strip.

It's every comment I got as a waitress about how the girls on staff should unbutton their shirts a little bit more or wear tighter pants on big game nights to "please the crowd" because "it will pay off, I promise."
It's every remark at every house party in college about not being slutty enough and how girls shouldn't be so afraid to "have fun."
It's every guy who's wanted a kiss he thinks he deserves after the first date.
It's the cook at the restaurant I worked at in college that every girl was warned to never be alone with and to always bring somebody else along if he asked for a ride home--the same one who kept his job even after one of the girls filed a sexual assault report because "he's our best cook and we couldn't do the morning shift without him."
It's every whistle out of a car that makes your skin crawl.
It's every time I heard a friend or sorority sister tell another "who was it, I'll fight him" after hearing a recap of the weekend.
It's pretending to be on a phone call when you walk down the street by someone who looks off.
It's the leers and the cat-calls and the "you know you want to's" that every girl can bring to mind without more than a few seconds thought.
It's making your gay best friend pretend to be your boyfriend for the night because that's 100x easier than explaining to someone that you're just not interested.
It's the client who refused to listen to me because I was a woman in a male-dominated industry and told me I "clearly didn't know what [I] was talking about" but listened to my male coworker repeat, word for word, what I said and respond enthusiastically that it was a great idea.

I'm lucky that I haven't experienced anything traumatic or devastating like so many have. And that's not because I dress differently or lead people on any less but purely because I'm lucky. And it makes me a little sick to think that it's such an ever present thing that the only way to avoid it is to be lucky.

So while I don't have a story to add to the scores of them we've all seen, I say #metoo because I know what it's like to be uncomfortable or scared. Like Kirsten King said, "these are not just two words or one instance - this is the world [we] have been conditioned to live in, and it needed to change yesterday."

Friday, October 13, 2017

Little love letters: Friday the 13th.

Thank you for being the inspiration behind these love letters and my latest blogger crush. 

Dear email drafts folder, 
Thank you for holding all my thoughts and ramblings in a (somewhat, okay not really at all) secure place so that nobody's ears have to. 

I don't care if you're trendy, you are pretty close to the top of my most prized possessions list and I don't care what people say about you. 

Dear This Is Us, 

Dear Diet Coke, 
You aren't as bad as I've made you out to be for the last 10 years and I hope you'll forgive me. 

Dear fall, 
I haven't been warm in three weeks, but I'm seriously crushing on the view I walk out to every morning, so it's okay. 

Dear  "old-fashioned," paper desk calendar, 
Well, this. 

Dear rice pudding, 
I don't care if it makes me sound like I'm 80 years old, I'd be perfectly content if there was a bowl of you in my fridge every single night. 

Dear Hendrickson fam, 
There are a million reasons why I'm dating Riley, but 8 of them are nieces and nephews. 

Monday, May 1, 2017

April: Be more forgiving.

[I'm not going to lie, this one sat in my drafts for a lot longer than I thought it would. I guess I thought that after singing Let it Go for the last couple years this would come a little bit more easily--but that couldn't be further from the truth. Lucky for me, we're all constantly a work in progress, and I'm better today than I was yesterday, or last week, or last year (I hope), and this is my way of keeping myself accountable.]

Normally, I'm a very trusting person.
I'd rather trust somebody completely from the get-go and give everybody the benefit of the doubt than have loads of reservations about who I could trust with what....

but if anybody does anything that makes it hard to trust them, it's basically game over.

Giving somebody a chance to earn that trust back is something that I've always struggled with.
I have a hard time getting over things that hurt or disappointed me and an even harder time not letting those feelings affect my judgement of that person or situation.

A couple of weeks ago, I was talking to a friend about something that had been bugging me for a while. After several minutes of ranting, I wrapped it all up with a nice little "but I'm not a bitter."
She looked at me and said, "Well, yeah actually, you are." I argued that no, I wasn't, I was just annoyed and couldn't believe that this thing was happening, blah blah blah. She rolled her eyes and let it go (probably because she knows me and realized it was fruitless), but that night I was reading a talk by Kevin R. Duncan and realized that she was right.

I was bitter. I was still upset. I was letting this situation (and a dozen other ones), things I had essentially no control over, affect how I was feeling and it wasn't doing anyone any good.
Being upset about these things wasn't making me a better person, it wasn't solving the problem, and I can pretty much guarantee that it wasn't causing the other people involved any grief.

Elder Duncan says, "I am convinced that most of us want to forgive, but we find it very hard to do. When we have experienced an injustice, we may be quick to say, "That person did wrong. They deserve punishment. Where is the justice?" We mistakenly think that if we forgive, somehow justice will not be served and punishments will be avoided." 

I put my computer down, opened up my journal, and started making a "let it go" list; a list of everything that was making me a little more bitter, a little less peaceful, and was wasting my time to be worrying about.

I knew when I was done that some were going to be easier than others (duh, Ash).

Some were bugging me because I'm a stubborn person that struggles to admit when I'm wrong; some were on the list because there had never been any resolution to a conflict; some were there because they still hurt and affected me, and like Elder Duncan said, I felt as though there was a punishment or consequence that had not been divvied out.

But, as Elder Duncan also says, "none of us should be defined only by the worst thing we have ever done." 

When somebody does something that hurts you, disappoints you, or causes you to abandon your trust in them, it's hard. Forgiving somebody for those offenses is even harder. But shouldering those feelings when you don't have to is the hardest thing to do.

That's not to say it's easy. Or something that happens quickly (because believe me, there's still a lot of work to be done here, and it's a good thing these New Year's resolutions span 365 or I'd be really slacking), but I do know that even the small improvements I've made have made me a little less bitter and a little more peaceful.

So make like Anna and Elsa and let it go--I promise it will feel better if you do.