We met on a party bus traveling from Seoul to the Mudfest out on the murky west coast. After the dirty mirth of the weekend, we exchanged information because I told you I would be coming to Octoberfest someday.

A couple years later, you invited me to meet you in your college town on the week of your vacation. I alighted from the bus and saw your smiling face and looked up at your kind eyes and we cautiously hugged. We had some kolsch in Cologne along the river in those tiny glasses brought around by ladies with circular beer caddies. You told me of your years attending Carnival and the drunken, costumed festivities that ensued. We wandered around with all my bags and guitar hanging off our shoulders. We stopped to have a beer and reminisce about Korea and all the fun times we had there, separately, but of the same spirit. We reached your apartment among the cobblestone streets of Aachen and you gave me your room and slept across the hall. Your hospitality astounded me and I slept peacefully in your bed among your mostly empty bottles of soda water, staring at the pictures of your family and friends.

We went on a hunt for soju and we did find a solo bottle on the shelves! We rode bikes around the hills of Aachen and up to the precipice overlooking the city. You took me out to super cute local bars and we had cheap shots with gummy treats in them and played darts. I sang Amy Winehouse at you while we danced. You won the game and said your prize is to have your bed back. I said I was fine with that.

We laid together all night and neither of us made a motion to take things any further than a sweet cuddle.

Until the morning came, and we found each other aroused and thirsty for the other. Your tender affections and gentle positioning were so lovely to experience.

We took a car to the town where you grew up. “Lost Boy” came on the radio and you enjoyed that you could understand it because it was slow enough. I enjoyed it because I am a lost boy.

Your parents welcomed me with open arms and showed me to the bunk beds in the spare room. Your dad served us some beers as we got acquainted and we chatted with your sister as your parents tried to follow along.

You showed me around the town and took me up to church steeples. We went hiking. It was gorgeous and we spoke of music, my love and your fear of horses, and our romantic histories. We had beers at the restaurant at the top. We crossed streams and fields and farms. You wandered off the path and told me I should set up my hammock among the trees… so I did… and oh, did we swing that red parachute thing.

We hung out with your boyhood friends in the basement of the church you attended growing up and you had me play guitar while you funny boys laughed about your time at summer camp and nights around the fire. They tried to speak English so I would feel included but I felt the love even if they slipped into their native tongue. They spoke of their class pet, a parakeet, or, a budgie. I inwardly marveled at my connection to a budgie, as that is a childhood nickname of mine. We played beer pong and we beat your friends and you were so happy. We made out in your kitchen when we got back to your house and then we went into our separate rooms to retire, much later than you planned.

Your mother’s derndl fit me nicely and you looked adorable in your leiderhosen. You were hung over as we took to the train to Munich, but you perked up when we got to the fest and you took me on the ferris wheel.

We were alone in the house upon our return. You welcomed me down the hall. I’ve never had anyone else make love to me the way you did that night.

A flight from O’hare

A layover in Ohio

A day in New York in spite of 

A strange encounter with a lady with a birdcage 

A missing bag on a bus got us waylaid 

A stop in Central Park to sit on a rock 

Bagged lunch from a cute little corner shop

Bench in a park with an old friend by the UN

Beverages on the roof in Manhattan

Babe’s making waves and marrying Italian men

Books on the terrace of the library

Buses to Newark, New Jersey

Cheap Norwegian Air flight

Comfortable seats to our delight

Coming back to Paris on the tail of a breeze

Cups of espresso by the Catacombes under trees

Classes in college flashbacks occur

Decidedly we’ve seen that lion of stone fur

Ducklings back then we were

Decade later, meeting up with a boy we knew back then

Down some blocks from Republique, remember that from way back when?

Down some happy hour pints and champagne

Enjoying Paris as it’s all the same 

Eating croissants and fruit on the streets

Eavesdropping the French words as our feet make beats

Forcing our French onto our retail assistants 

Fancy eyelashes for photos and cobblestone dances

Fulfilling fantasies of long ago dreamt dreams 

Galavanting about with shopping bags bursting at seams

Going back and forth along rivers and over bridges

Gazing up at le Tour Eiffel of lit up ridges

Having a cup sur la rue

Happy times wandering and looking at you

Hookah on the lawn in front of le tour

Handsome tanned boys selling liquor

Hopping over to the canal 

Inspiring one another to pose more banal

Inklings of sadness in our calm repose 

Inching towards the reflections of our toes 

Imbibing wine and forgetting our woes

Inspiring smiles along the stoned rows 

Joking and laughing every other moment

Kidding and not – all in the same enjoyment

Loving this night and all the good times previous

Looking ahead to the German festivities

Making last minute conversations last too long

Missing the bus and rushing along

Mishaps with backpacks

Maps gone awry 

Near to the stop but not near enough, don’t cry

Not on the next bus

No such luck

Options limited and expensive to behold 

Optimism and comfort at a new low

Pick a bench and try not to scold

Pick some baguette and some jelly to mold

Queries and setbacks alas 

Realize we’ll stick out it and this too shall pass

Snag some tickets for a reasonable amount

Smoke our last smokes no doubt

Take the bus to the city of the Dutch 

Two hours to spend in a cafe and have a cup

Unwind and get ready to board 

Understand sometimes this is just the way of the Lord? 

Very grateful to have made this train 

Very relaxed after such a strain

Walking through the steel station 

Walking away from a stressful situation

Xylophones of transit as we leave this country for its neighbor

You and I relax and the ride we savor 

Zealous as we head towards Jules our dear Berliner friend 

Zany as we glide through Europe for weeks on end 🙂

I think the dilemma in the #metoo era over Kobe Bryant’s reputation is a very interesting one. I think we can offer him redemption for the mistakes he’s made. I think we can see that he asked for forgiveness and that he loved his daughters and supported them with all his heart.

I think men can be victims of rape culture and kind of unknowingly commit acts of transgression on others. I think this has been a consequence of the patriarchal world we live in. Men have felt entitled to do as they please without concern for the ‘lesser’ for literally most of history.

As a bartender at a neighborhood sports bar, I get asked pretty often if I enjoy watching sports. I can’t say I hate them. I think the human spirit and the strength and agility that comes into being a professional athlete is immense and to be respected. I also think the football players’ butts are cute and the ladies’ tennis outfits are adorable.

However, I also think about several other things when I watch sports. (Usually what is on television at the bar are male dominated sports…but aren’t all sports male dominated?).

These men get paid so much damn money. What women and how many of them get anything near what these guys make? Sure, women are making incredible strides, but they have to work so much harder to make a name for themselves.

 

These men are physically sacrificing themselves for their sport and for the love of the game and for their financial gain. How much are they sacrificing mentally or emotionally? Aaron Hernandez sacrificed his education, his mental health, and his romantic and platonic relationships because the game was more important.

 

What good do these men do for society besides offering a source of entertainment and ultimately fluff when it comes to the commoner’s day-to-day? Is that a problem or not? Is that good enough?

 

Do these men do any charity for their community? Do they do enough? Are they inspiring young athletes and the poorest of the poor to go after their dreams?

 

Is there a corollary between the physical prostitution of professional sports and the physical pawnage of the military?

 

When people ask if I like sports, I usually ask them in return if they really want to know what I think about when I watch sports….

 

If men can, so to speak, prostitute themselves, physically sacrificing themselves for entertainment or the advantage of weaponry, and be respected and honored for it, then why can a woman not strip or offer her sexual services to men for exorbitant amounts of money and get respect and honor for it? Or get paid outright for having children and ultimately giving birth to these able bodied men? Yes, maybe that’s what alimony is, but we shouldn’t have to divorce a man to be taken care of financially. If a man makes extreme amounts of money for sacrificing his body, why can’t a woman? Why is she shamed for 1. not wanting to be a mother and making money from her sexy appearance? 2. using her head and not her sexy appearance to her advantage? Even men when using their bodies for their sexual appeal are more respected than women who do it. Look at drag queens. Women can’t strut on stage in the same manner as a gay man without being slightly judged. Burlesque is becoming more accepted but it’s always had a slightly seedy reputation. Why?

The patriarchy wants to be in control over how we use our sexuality to our advantage, and it usually ends up ultimately being to our disadvantage.

This is what I think about when I watch sports.

The most recent article my dad sent my mom was discussing how Greta Gerwig’s new Little Women doesn’t align with Lousia May Alcott’s intentions of faith as the true path to peace and love within family and life.

To that I say, what the fuck does it matter? Greta Gerwig’s feminism is what females and general audiences need to see today. I haven’t even seen it yet, so I’ll say more after that happens, but I already know that much without even needing to see it. Art inspires art. Since when does the remake rely on being exactly like the original? Besides the Disney cartoons being made into live action, nearly none of the remakes or redoes or homages to previous films can 1.live up to the OG or 2.is sometimes even better than the OG 3. and yes, of course, oftentimes worse. I don’t believe Gerwig’s adaption could be worse; different, sure, but isn’t that to be expected? Wouldn’t we be disappointed if it was exactly the same so many years and events later?

The most recent article my dad sent me was in defense of old white men everywhere. Rex argues that these qualities when combined are now unjustly working against men of this description because the prejudices of the new generations towards age. He argues that it is just not fair because age means experience and wisdom and their opinions and value must not be discounted.

Fuck you, Rex. How long have white men ravaged on throughout history about how one race or the other sex is less than the Western white male power?? Literally forever. And now, minorities are speaking up, women are speaking out, and you’re just not as cool or wise as you once were. Get the fuck over it. Support your fellow human specimens regardless of their race or gender, which is technically what Rex is also advocating for, but in the defense of old white men, it falls flat.

Being old today is not necessarily an insult, (as much as “okay, boomer” may be seen as such,) it only is if you can’t keep up with the woke of the world. If you resist and reject the youth’s trends towards open mindedness and fluidity, you’re the ignorant ones. You’re not wise. Just because you’ve been on this earth for longer than we have does not necessarily mean you are the smart ones and we are not.

Of course everything is relative, but are we not experiencing so much catastrophe in a short amount of life? Maybe we are learning rapidly, and more quickly than you learned your life lessons? The wars you lived through were abroad. The wars we are waging today are happening right here.

We actually do respect our grandparents, it’s those just young enough and just old enough that think they know what is best for us when really it is becoming a whole new world from what the previous generation knew. We can no longer get one job in one place to work at for 20 years plus. We can have 5 different jobs in less than 10 years. We can get married young but we are also free to divorce younger and find new partners. We can quit our jobs and travel for awhile because we don’t have kids yet, and many of us are deciding maybe we don’t need to. We are owning our lives and our experiences and our observances in ways that the older generation is dismissive of because they find it rude to expose yourself so fully.

Keep those things to yourself, older generations might say. How many times have I felt dismissed when I’ve spoken of my period around, in particular, older men? How is that fair? Yes, men, you are half of our population, but no, just because we are feminists does not mean that we are misandrists. We love men and what we can be with them and for them and vice versa. But we’ve also put up with our more than fair fucking share of men who talk down to us simply because we are women, who don’t respect our opinion because we’re young or pretty, or even worse, both.

For a petty example,  younger females in the restaurant industry may have ten plus years in the beer industry and know exactly what we’re talking about, and even if you old men have been drinking beer for twenty plus years, we’ve been drinking a variety of way better shit, and the complexities have multiplied and since we have grown with the growth we’ve been able to keep up in ways that you actually haven’t. So maybe you should take our advice. Maybe you do only like what you like, but isn’t that proof of your inability to grow? I understand standards, and habits, and I’m not putting those down by suggesting you try this new award winning beer.

Maybe you old white men should start taking our younger and more nuanced advice. We are all products of our environments, truly, and wholly, and to break tradition or to be different than societal expectations is fucking hard. You should know. Honestly, I believe you old men resent us for your “inability” to go after your dreams in your youth like we are doing now. You resent us for dating a myriad of people and being really fucking picky about who we commit to. You resent us for having the balls to tell our elders off. You resent us for being gay because you’ve been closeted your whole life because toxic masculinity has made it impossible for you to express your true feelings and misogyny is so real that even feminine characteristics are looked down upon, the most important one of them being the ability to be vulnerable.

Women and minorities have been dismissed for long enough. And now, you’re upset at being dismissed? We’re actually not even trying to do that… We are open to conversing and discussing… but are you? You seem to just be telling us that we’re wrong… again. We’ve heard that all our lives, so we won’t be shy to refute it now. We’ve gathered strength now. We’re getting even stronger now.

Yes, in our liberal left party of diversity and inclusion and intersectionality, we have come down to two old white men for candidates to represent our party in the presidential race. This does not mean that they are still the best options for our governance. It means that the system is fucking twisted and broken and is gonna take a lot more work to overcome the misogynistic and racist structure that runs the world.

It does not mean that old men white are the smartest or wisest or best for the job. It means we have a lot more battles before we win the war on patriarchy. I mean patriarchy as the system on which our nation thrives. I do not mean individual men, one of those individuals is one of 7 billion people in the world that I love very much. Men are not better than women. Women are not better than men. We can work together and be better together, but it takes compromise and relentless pursing of our goals if we want to see change happen. We know that. We’re fighting the good fight everyday. Just because we’re not winning yet, doesn’t mean we are gonna stop trying. Youth is not better than age, but fresh perspectives can solve age-old problems, and the most intelligent youth do learn from their elders, importantly, they learn from history, so trust that will still happen, and do not belittle our efforts because you feel dismissed. Go travel or something. (Basically, go fuck yourself?) Make way for us young and femme and diverse. We will change the world for the better eventually whether you like it or not.

Make way for new interpretations of old stories. It’s our time to tell our stories, new and old, from our own fucking perspectives now.

If my dad says that the misogyny I see is merely ignorance, can I not say that they are thus ignorant of the misogyny they are exemplifying? That it is so engrained, they, and often we, cannot even see it?

My dad says I’m cherry- picking events to align with my patterns, but is that not belittling to my perspective and experience? I understand his perspective is different, but if I keep finding myself in instances where my integrity is in question, merely because I’m a woman – how can I not see patterns that then support my theory of an underlying misogyny in the world we live in? Dad says misogyny is a hatred of women, and disagrees with my meaning it to stand for the not so much hatred, but the “less than” treatment we get. For me, in my communication of the issues at hand, misogyny does mean how we, as women, are treated, valued, credited, so much less than men, by men and women alike.

I’m finding my visions of misogyny also align with a lack of confidence across females and an overconfidence in males. The misogyny I see seems to be correlated with obnoxious men and subservient women.

I find it incredibly sad that we have to have the hashtag “believe women.” Here, right now now, we have a movement about being honest and true to ourselves about our objectification, our sexual offenders, and how we cannot allow these transgressions to go on any longer, and big or small should be acknowledged because they cannot keep happening.

Yet, we have to appeal the need to actually believe us? Like, we are lying? After all this time of keeping it in, paining ourselves, we let it out, not to cure ourselves, but worsen it actually, even for those subtly connected to our lives. We have done this NOT to call attention to ourselves, but to call attention to the fact that we live in a world and culture where men dominate and women are subordinate and it has been a detriment to the greater good to live like this. We live in a world where men are more confident than women and assert themselves and women do not. It’s no one’s fault in particular, but we want it to be acknowledged that this has been the case and that we can change things. That we can speak up and both be listened to.

Monica Lewinsky didn’t call Bill Clinton a predator of any kind, but she still was blamed and the scandal named for her, only her. The blatant sexism of this was ignored. Her situation probably would have been made worse had it been of the world of the social media scene it is today, but if the #metoo movement had been around at all, she would have at least had some support, and someone to say, “He’s the president. She’s a young girl in college. None of this is her fault.” Because it wasn’t. But because misogyny was and still is real, the world will see her as the culprit, and according to my coworker, who I thought was progressive, but maybe not so much, blames her for the George W. Bush terms and the Iraqi War, so that makes me think that other people believe that, too, which is devastating.

I do think it was stupid that Bill Clinton had to have that kind of situation when many men in power have been unfaithful, even our current president, and it makes me wonder if it would have been better for him to deny it somehow, and why Monica had to come out with it, if it wasn’t assault. But Bill Clinton is fine apparently, his wife ran for president. Monica, she’s probably had a much much much harder time. How is that fair? Do we not live in the same world, today, 20 years later?

Part of feminism is understanding that women can be equally evil, but Monica was not malicious. I don’t think any of the women, or men for that matter, who have come out about their sexual assault experiences have any kind of malice, but that they want to make sure that the truth is heard. That no one has to deal with anything like that again, at least not in silence or in hiding.

Speak your truth. Own things that happened to you. Call people out for treating you like you are less than.

No, we don’t always know when a man intends to make advances, or if his actions means he wants something more. Usually, in my experiences, this is the case. BUT, there are men who are naturally very tactile and emotive, and we can start asserting ourselves to men for making us feeling uncomfortable. This movement should help us tell men to their faces that a gesture makes us uncomfortable. This movement could or could not start a stream of accusations and court cases, just because we have a voice now. Yes, men who have actually committed sexual assault and harassment should be arraigned and justly punished. But men who make you uncomfortable because they’re creepy, or dumb, or unaware, sue them if you want to. They need a good talking to, maybe many times over. So tell them like it is. This is a whole new world. But before you sue Joe Biden, think about how much more we need to do for retribution against the incumbent president. 

Girls and boys have not come out about their assault experience for pure terror of not being taken seriously.

I resent the people that supported Kavanaugh, and Cheryl didn’t lie about anything that happened to her, it just didn’t really matter in the end that he may have done this to her. This is the world we live in. Cheryl didn’t come forward lightly about this, she was just trying to warn the world that he isn’t the best guy to serve on the Supreme Court for life when there are better options at hand. It sucks that she wasn’t taken seriously.

I want to talk about power dynamics. I want to talk about how the movement to help bring women their voices so that there are less grey areas about when a women is comfortable or not. We need to feel empowered to speak up in any situation of discomfort instead of giving into something because the man wants us to.

No, we can’t always speak up, thus the man needs to also be educated on what is appropriate. Think about the position of power you are in compared to the women, in terms of gender roles of the world we live in, and in terms of how much more confidence men are shown to have than women, overall, in every age group.

Men will be overconfident where a women is quite less than, thus contributing to an unequal dynamic in power, regardless of the industry or situation you find yourself in.

Take this into consideration, boys, men, girls, ladies. Boys, second guess yourself and if she really wants it, ladies, let it be known if you don’t. We need to both change for things to equalize. We need to empower women and let boys be vulnerable with words instead of assertive with hands.

Even my man, my boyfriend, the most feminist of men that I’ve met, is convinced that there is fear about being “caught up” in the #metoo movement. There’s no reason for this fear if we can all be more honest about our feelings and intentions.

A whole new world means girls and women will start to have more confidence in themselves and their voices because this movement will give them the support to acknowledge the power difference and susceptibility of their nature, and give them the tools to counteract and move forward.

So, dad, when I say misogyny, maybe you’re right in that I’m wrong, it’s not a hatred of women that the world has been exuding, but I assert that I am right in that it’s a feeling of less than, felt towards women by both men and women, as evident if you look at levels of confidence and self assuredness, and the still present pay gap and lack of female representation in positions of power.

My father’s concern for the future of boys I believe is unfounded. I think having more empowered girls will only help the world and our boys be better boys.

I think women want the world to be better for everyone, I don’t think we’re trying to take over, as much as Selena Meyer (Veep) is an apt figure for a female in the day of politics that it is, she is still of a world that doesn’t exist. We are not in this whole new world quite yet. We still have some way to go. As much as my father begs to differ, we do not live in an equal world. Not until women and men feel as equally compelled to fulfill their dreams and open their minds to all the possibilities.

A more equal world means everyone will be more confident in their desires and actions to go after what they want. White men have been privy to this feeling, and I don’t think it will fade for them just because women come more into their own.

No one’s abundance has to mean anyone else’s failing. There is room for all of us. Capitalism will have you believe and not believe that, all at the same time. My dad says that women have never excelled as much as they have in the present capitalist world. That may be true, but we’ve also never seen women come out of their shells as much as they have within the last century. Women are becoming more confident. We will work towards working with you, growing together, if you can fight the misogynistic tendencies this world is constantly putting on us.

Aladdin has all the confidence, even before he gets his wishes. Jasmine has the natural glamour and power, yet, isn’t allowed to have the confidence she inherently has, and the pauper must become a king for the princess to be a queen? Let us be queen and have our pauper or our princes, or none of the above. Jasmine had her cat and could have ruled the world just fine. Her dad wanted her to find a husband though. Thank god she rejected the patriarchal pressure to marry rich. 

Maybe I am the post modern feminist my dad claims I am, but I don’t see the equal world he sees, so I’ll keep fighting the good fight, until we actually do live in a whole new world. 

 

Several of the articles here have started as conversations. This is one of those. And it’s a conversation I keep finding myself in.

This guy said he does believe in feminism but doesn’t want to call himself a feminist. He said he wants a word that doesn’t have the “femme” in it, but that means everybody is equal, sure, men and women, but also that is more inclusive of other terms of gender/sexual identities like gay, trans, etc.

I understand what he’s saying, but to me, this points to just how deep misogyny has placed itself. Ok, sure, Equality is our goal, and maybe that’s the only true umbrella word, but for all intents and purposes, I think Feminism does that, and more.

Even though you believe that men and women are socially, economically, and politically equal, different but the same, you can’t use the word that today we are using to mean exactly that?! Because it has the “femme” in it?!

Feminism is that umbrella word for equality that we need today. We need to put females at the forefront in the progress toward equality, and in doing so, equality of all peoples will progress with more success than if we let the misogynistic mentality in power continue to control our resources.

If feminism means that women are equal to men, equal in the sense that we are capable of everything and anything we aspire to, and have not been treated as such, and are still not treated as such, then this means that all men and women should be treated equal, regardless of where on the male/female spectrum of individual identifies. It is the term that means all humans are equal. It does not mean that women are better than men. It means that we want to be treated as HUMANS – as men are treated, with respect and trust because they are believed to be capable and responsible humans. There does not need to be a strict divide, there cannot be a strict divide anymore.

But to call yourself a humanist, instead of a feminist, because you think that’s a better word for the equality we’re striving for, is to not acknowledge the fact that women and the feminine aspects of our natures have been looked down upon, seen as less valuable than our male counterparts. It’s the same as saying all lives matter instead of black lives matter – it’s not acknowledging the issues at hand. The true oppression that we have felt as a female gender, and that black people have felt, must be acknowledged in order to be rectified. This is the first step. We must have empathy.

This guys says to me, “You must be happy then, with the #metoo movement.” Ummm… That’s really not a good way to put it, but yes, I am happy that boys and girls are speaking out against sexual harassment and assault, because we cannot let the world function like that anymore. We must be comfortable speaking up for ourselves, and I made the point that this movement is not just for girls. Boys get raped and taken advantage of all the time, and it’s not a weakness to say that you’ve been victimised, because we are all just humans and it is possible for any one of us to be susceptible to exploitation!

He said, “Don’t you think a guy is a pussy if he gets raped?” And to that I say, absolutely not, he is a victim. And don’t you see the sexism in that entire statement? You’re calling a man a female body part when he’s been assaulted?? The toxic masculinity in that statement is terrifying. To feel the pressure to be so manly that you can’t prosecute your rapist, is terribly sad and cannot continue. Thus, women must also come forward against their aggressors, and inspire men to do the same, and see the uselessness in rejecting vulnerability. It is incredibly destructive to the person and to society to blame the victim.

If you are a humanist, be a feminist, too. Say that you are feminist in your conversation with others, that you believe in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes. It is not a projection of women being better than men, but better than they’ve been thought of historically. Treat us better than we have been treated in the past. Let us have ownership over our bodies and dreams and desires. Men have owned everything for a long time. Women have engrained the feeling of less-than, and we’re finally starting to see ourselves as more than, not necessarily more than men, but more than we’ve thought of ourselves, more than we’ve been thought of.

We need to solve the world’s problems creatively and collaboratively, and that means women must come to the front. To not tap into the potential of a more feminine ways of life is to disregard beautiful perspectives. We must look at things in a new light. We all must be more woke.

 

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Well, even if you cannot, here’s what I saw.

If watching Roma doesn’t turn you into a feminist, I don’t know what will.

If watching Big Eyes doesn’t turn you into a feminist, I don’t know what will.

But, there are lots of things I don’t know.

What I do know is that Roma paints a picture of life as a woman in a developing country, and the strife that is the female situation regardless of class, regardless of intelligence or skill.

I know that Big Eyes paints a picture of life as a woman in a developed country, and the strife that is the female situation, again, regardless of class, and regardless of talent.

I felt the pain of all the women in the films. I felt them sacrificing for their men and ultimately disappointed and dejected by their men and by themselves. I felt them bond together to build something new after an abandonment of the original ideal.

What was the original ideal? A man that would take care of them. And that women are to take care of men. And their children. And everything else.

Traditionally, men say they were put on the earth to be in charge, to fight for control, to protect their women and children.

But then, what do men do? Watch Roma. and Big Eyes.

Of course women are having a moment, forming a movement, developing a revolution.

Women have been dismayed by the promises broken.

Toxic masculinity has been a motif throughout history, sure, men deal with their hormonal aggression in a myriad of ways, as history and literature have shown us. Women have been taught to deal with toxic masculinity by… being everything that a man wants her to be.

I see women happily have their man’s babies.

I see women who are thankful for their children despite the man.

I see women who don’t want their baby and feel inhuman about it.

I see men who don’t want their babies and don’t feel any bit of guilt about it.

I see women who think they are putting the child first, but are casually manipulated into putting the man first.

I see women band together to take care of their babies after the men have left them.

I see men take what they want without worrying about who they hurt.

Men rely on women without giving them any ownership in what happens to them.

Women have been taught to put men first. Yet blessedly are burdened with also putting the children first. Women may be abandoned by their men but will rise to the occasion to take care of their children. Because they have to. Because they want to. Men have, (God has? the patriarchy has?) over time, built in women this responsibility of childcare and in doing so have relied on them for the continuation of our species, without thanking them for it appropriately.

Telling themselves that they are the ones being responsible because they have dicks and swords. How do they believe they are so powerful, when women give life to the world? Despite their need of a man, that role can be so small in the persons that females are responsible for building. How much responsibility is given to the mother when the child is messed up? So much. Yet men get so much responsibility just by being absent.

Men have been taught to put themselves first. And in doing so, he believes his wife and kids will fall into line. Sewing his seed is important, sure, but men make their role whatever they want it to be, whether they choose to see that that’s the way it is, it is the case. Women have little or no choice in their roles in life, and of motherhood, expected or not, accepted or not.

Our lack of choice in what becomes to us is a disadvantage of the patriarchy. A form of oppression. A form of control.

I saw an artist suffocated and stolen from, because of her love and abandonment of reason for the man she loved, for fear of abandonment by him? For fear of the sake of her child.

Women have put men before themselves and put men before their children. There is an evilness in that. Women who do that are actually punished, though, and not appreciated for their sacrifice. As we are now being shown.

Men have been taught to demand respect. Women have been taught to give it, to such a degree, that they lose self-respect. They give everything of themselves. Men take. They are accustomed to taking. To asking, sure, but also to taking without asking.

We are demanding respect now.

We don’t have to be available.

We don’t have to be at your beck and call.

We don’t have to do what you want.

We don’t need you at all. Not in the way you think.

In fact, you might be surprised and delighted, so let us speak.

It is time we tell the world our mind

Share our ideas and solutions in kind

A feminine spin to rewind

A system to dismantle

An agenda of humanity

A shifting of the tide

Roma is an enjoyable black and white beauty… a collection of moving pictures that form a story that transcends time and place.

Big Eyes is as sad and pretty as the art that is glorified and abused for the commercial candour that is The Man. A woman driven crazy by the possession of her work, consider it like a child, her art, taken away from her by the selfish desires of a pathological liar.

I see these women as mothers, but I see them as so much more than that, as well. Complex female characters is what cinema has been lacking for far too long.

Different examples of women doing what is expected of them, being disappointed with it, and doing something completely different.

Men have had many examples for them to follow and to inspire them.

Finally we have more than princesses waiting to be rescued.

More than a simple heroine wanting to find a hero.

More than a distressed lady looking for a lover.

We are finally showing each other the reality of what comes after ‘Happily Every After.” What do you do when your happy ending isn’t so happy?

We can be something after being mothers. We can love children and not have or want our own. We can have art and work that is as important to us like a child is.

My sassy responses to whether the US is following the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

  1. All are equal and free. Is this true? Is systematic segregation real? Is white male privilege real?
  2. No discrimination? My ass..
  3. If we all really have the right to life, why are guns so easy to obtain? Are we really protecting each other?
  4. Cool, no slaves anymore. (But how recent was that? Think about it.) minimum wage is an unlivable wage in most places…
  5. Trump is torture. Women being forced to have babies they don’t want to have is torture. Handmaid’s Tale is the world we live in.
  6. Do we all have these rights no matter where we go? Are we helping refugees who have nowhere to go?
  7. Really? All are equal before the law? OJ? Kavanaugh?
  8. Our rights are protected by law – are cops helping everyone?
  9. There are way too many innocent people in jail.
  10. Right to trial? The system is fucked.
  11. Are we innocent or guilty? Sure seems like guilty until proven innocent.
  12. Excuse me, Equifax.
  13. Freedom to move? Sure. I wish this one right people exercised more. We would all be better humans if we saw life outside our bubbles.
  14. Again, are we welcoming refugees?
  15. If you’ve grown up here, you have the right to be here! DACA
  16. Umm, women, how about the right to NOT have a family?
  17. Yea, stealing is bad. Tom Price.
  18. Think what you want. Don’t force it on others.
  19. Express yourself. Don’t hate on others.
  20. The right to public assembly is for defending yourself, not for attacking others.
  21. Um, did America choose their leader? Did we, really?
  22. I’m sorry, who here has affordable healthcare? meds? education? Very few of us.
  23. Women, are we being paid fairly?
  24. Do we really all have the right to play? Then why do most Americans only get a week or two or less of vacay?
  25. How many homeless in America?
  26. Copyright. Copycats.
  27. A free and fair world.
  28. Are we protecting each other?
  29. How many people have died from guns?
  30. freedom… but the man. He’s always watching. The level of anxiety in this country is ridiculous.

Eleanor Roosevelt was apart of writing these. We should be proud of that. But can we be?

how can you afford that?

my question for you is, how can you afford not to?

I don’t mean to be rude, I’m just saying, it’s time you take a trip if you haven’t in awhile!

Here are some things I do to keep my trips really cheap, or “afford” my ventures.

Remember, flexibility is key when trying to keep costs down, and it may come down to either spending your time, or your money, so if your time is more important to you, then you will probably have to spend more money. If you have more time to spare, and an open mind about where to go, you can find some great deals.

Environmentally, it is best to fly as little as possible. Use buses and trains as a way to see the countryside!

Most importantly, follow your heart.

So, for my following trip to Europe for a month; transit there, back home, and within, I did my best to keep my spending below $1,000. I’m keeping my accommodation costs down by staying with friends, which is a huge reason for this trip, besides trying to get to 30 countries by the age of 30.

I started planning by looking at airlines that I know are very inexpensive when it comes to crossing the Atlantic. My favourite cheap airlines are as follows;

Norwegian Air (the best cheapest airline!) I found NYC to Paris $169 (direct). I was considering Dublin, also very cheap to get to, but you have to fly out of Stewart. I researched all the cities I was open to going to from NYC and Chicago and this was the best deal I found. Amsterdam was another option, and so was London. I used their low-fare calendar!

The thing about this airline though is that you usually have to fly from NYC to Europe, but if you’re open to getting a cheap flight to NYC from Chicago or elsewhere around the States, via credit card miles or Spirit or something, or by even taking the Amtrak ($80 from Chicago, count on it being delayed!) it’s pretty fun to add NYC to your itinerary even if just for a day.

WOW Air (Iceland’s budget airline) This airline layovers in Reykjavik! (So, if you feel like adding an expensive trip to Iceland to your plan, that’s fun, too. I found our flight home from Stockholm to Chicago for $300, and there was a decent layover in case we wanted to go to the Blue Lagoon. I’ve flown London to Chicago on WOW and met some of the loveliest ladies and the time just flew by, just trust that it may run slightly behind schedule.. always.

TAP is Portugal’s budget airline and has a lot of really cool less known destinations. There is usually a layover in Lisbon, but I’ve never met anybody who didn’t like Lisbon.

Some of the sites that are good for helping you get ideas about what airlines to use are Kayak and Rome2Rio. I don’t buy through sites like Kayak or Expedia, because there might be cheaper options through the actual airline site, but if you’re looking to buy a flight and hotel and car, the combos offered by those sites are worth looking into.

Rome2Rio is so great because it shows all the different transit options and times and cost estimates of how to get to anywhere from anywhere! It will then just direct you to different companies, so mainly I just use it for ideas on the best ways to get from A to B and then I try to be creative.

GoEuro is also awesome because it shows you the different cost options for train, bus, and flights. I do buy directly from their app and it has worked out for me, at least for buses and trains. Flights should be bought from the airline directly.

I used GoEuro to find a night bus from Paris to Amsterdam for $30, and a train from Amsterdam to Berlin for $50, the DeutscheBahn, which does have their own site you can use. I checked with my friend in Berlin and he said this was a good price, as he almost advised me to go to Warsaw and then Berlin to save money.

Flixbus has good deals all the time and they’re decently pleasant bus rides with wifi. I do not exactly recommend the Polski bus, however. I’ll have to try another way to get to Warsaw, another day, because that was not a bus ride I could complete (we got on only to get off at the next stop before the bus left Berlin).

RyanAir and Easyjet are the budget airlines I use the most around Europe, with a flights from Berlin to Corfu costing $30-$50; Corfu to Naples, and then to Zurich, and Berlin to Vilnius.

We did pay the extra 7 euros to be able to bring 2 bags on these flights, because we don’t want to get caught up having to pay when we get there if our bags are too big. It’s hard to say how strict they will be, it completely depends on the people and the country of the airport.

I’m also taking the DeutscheBahn from Geneva to Berlin which cost about $50. And a flight from Helsinki to Stockholm for $40 because we didn’t think we had enough time to take the cruise, but I may have to go back to Stockholm just to do that.

We are taking coach buses from Vilnius to Riga to Tallin, using LuxeExpress bus, at about $20 each, and a ferry from Tallin to Helsinki that we will figure out when we get there, but shouldn’t be more than $20. (It ended up being $70). Should have bought those tickets ahead of time.

I ended up taking the Swiss rail from outside of Zurich to Geneva, a local bus to Loex, France for a weekend, back to Geneva, and then over to the Valleys, and train tickets each way were about 30-40 euros, which wasn’t bad for a last minute purchase. Leaving Zurich, my train was late, so if you get really confused, you might be on the right track, and the train might be late. It was hard for me to find anyone to help me and I ended up having to just get on a train that I thought was going in the same direction, and told the attendant on the train, and they advised me where to go from there.

The main travel apps I use when I travel are XE for currency exchanges, WhatsApp for communicating, Couchsurfing, and GoogleTrips, which organizes all of your reservations and emails and tickets for you!

I turn my iPhone on airplane mode and look for wifi, and when I have wifi, I look at my maps so that it saves for later use. You can also use citymaps2go which has downloads of city maps, there are several apps for that. My friend had service ‘everywhere’ through T-mobile, I had service when I needed to for $10 a day through Verizon. I believe I had to use it 4 different days throughout my month, because of transit issues… gotta be prepared for those the best you can and go with the flow!

I know a lot of my friends use TripAdvisor for the most fun things to do in a place, but usually I like figuring that out for myself. I prefer just stumbling upon something, or following a recommendation from a friend.

Couchsurfing is a tricky site because it has been around for quite a while, and not everybody is very active. It is best to search by who has last logged in, so I have heard, and to contact people that way. I also like to put out that I will be in a city and then willing hosts can tell me that they are available. It is important to read all the reviews and profiles thoroughly and to trust your gut when contacting someone. I’ve had mostly great experiences Couchsurfing! and only a couple kinda weird ones.

I do love Hostelworld for booking hostels! It is also v important to read the reviews and look at the location and convenience of transit depending on how you’re arriving into town.

I have to mention the companies I taught English for. They put you up, feed you, and introduce you to travellers and locals. All you have to do is converse! I did it with Diverbo in Germany and Spain, and with Angloville in Hungary. They were all great experiences and I formed some really great friends and connections!

I was recently called a travel snob, and I’m not really sure how I feel about it. I travel because I’m curious, because no one else is going to take me there unless I take myself, and because why the fuck not? Life is short. The people that I’ve met abroad have made my life so much more wonderful than I ever imagined it could be. I love my people at home, sure, and I spend a lot of time here, with them, but I cannot express how thankful I am for the encounters and relationships I’ve developed with people around the world.

Maybe I started traveling because I wanted to see the world, but now I travel because I want to see my friends and loved ones that live far away. (I’ll get a few new countries along the way if possible :)) I want to inspire others to get out of their comfort zone and do something daring because the experiences you’ll have with the people that you meet are so great. No, they’re not like being at home, which of course are great, but travel makes you appreciate both environments all the more, new and familiar. See other people and cultures for what they truly are, rather than an image you’ve seen on your screen. See yourself for what you really are, in a completely new environment! You’ll get a whole new perspective on what you like and don’t like!

I’ve been to Berlin 4 times now, Paris twice, and more than 30 countries. I don’t have an exact recipe to follow. I followed my heart. I invested in myself and my life. I don’t know what I’m doing or where I’m going next, or if I’ll stay in Chicago or gtfo again. I love being a librarian for the time being, and I love being able to talk about the countries I’ve been to with the kids at school. I’d love to go back to school, especially in Berlin, but we’ll see what works out.

I do a lot of my traveling solo, because I love being in transit by myself. If I miss a connection, it’s only myself I have to deal with. I did this month last summer in Europe with my best friend/roommate and we did spend most of the time together, split up for about a week, then met back up, and for the most part it all worked out really well. I am open to having travel partners, but everyone’s paths are so different, it’s difficult to find ones that collude conveniently. Whatever gets you abroad!

Yes, I do live slightly beyond my means. Also, I work very hard to make what cashflow I do have work for what I need it to. I also use credit cards (with no international fees). I try to keep enough in my savings for emergencies and to be able to pay bills if I need to while I’m abroad. Besides that though, I plan ahead and make it as cheap as possible and still completely worthwhile!

I don’t know what will happen next, and I’m okay with that, because that’s the true lesson of traveling. I am humbling myself before the world. And if I’m a snob because I talk about where I’ve been, well, then, so be it. I’ve had too many great moments not to share them. Cheers!