Here’s Why Activism Isn’t Cute

This past Monday I got on a bus at 6am and traveled three hours to Albany, NY and spoke with state legislators and lobbied for women’s access to quality reproductive healthcare—something we should already have in 2015. In order to go from Ithaca to Albany in a day, I missed all of my classes. So for the past week, I’ve been that person who walks up to the professor and says: “I’m going to be missing class the second week of the semester.” Most people were cool about it. Most of my professors gave me responses like “enjoy your political event” and some people even asked follow up questions about my involvement with Planned Parenthood.

Everything was fine, but a couple days ago I approached another student in my class and asked her for her number so she could text me the notes I missed. We had exchanged names once. She knew nothing about me.

“Why are you missing class?” she asked me.

“I’m going to talk to state legislators about women’s access to healthcare,” I told her. She typed her number in my phone and then said, “Oh, that’s cute.”

I’m sorry, working towards equality and access to quality healthcare is cute? What?

I’m no stranger to people misunderstanding the activist work that I do. It happens all the time. When I tell people that I do work with Planned Parenthood I’m used to people saying things like “Oh, cool” or “That’s interesting” before quickly changing the subject, but to call something cute is just plain degrading. Ensuring that people can afford quality healthcare, or have access to birth control, or have the freedom to control their own bodies is anything but cute, it’s a reality that many people fight for every single day.

When I participated in the Day of Action last year and was speaking with state legislators and learning about the benefits of the Women’s Equality Agenda, my first thought wasn’t this is so adorable that we’re all here. No, I was empowered and motivated to keep talking and giving voice to these issues. Activism takes a lot of personal time, effort and emotion. I love every minute of it, but sometimes it can be hard to drown out all the negative voices that make it seem like this work is pointless, stupid, or simply a ‘cute’ little side hobby.

Fighting for things like gender equity, reproductive rights, or freedom from gender-based violence can feel like an uphill battle sometimes, but my advice for anyone advocating for a cause is to stick with it anyways. When someone downplays or disregards what you believe in, it’s only an attempt to silence you and your cause. I say, keep speaking up. Keep fighting back because you are making a difference in someone’s life.

1am Ramblings on the Importance of Doing Things

*This post was written between 1:15 and 1:40 am so please disregard any sentences that seem to be awkward.

I have to say, I feel really great right now. There’s nothing better than the feeling like I’m actually accomplishing and doing things. I’m not just talking about all the things that I maybe want to do at some point in the future…I’m actually doing them. And that feels great.

It’s one-something in the morning and I can’t sleep because I’m buzzing on how much I’ve gotten done lately. I submitted my first application for a summer internship, I finished a three-credit college course in two weeks, I spent quality time with a childhood friend, and I drank hot chocolate while watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Oh, and I actually started this freaking blog, a project I’ve been talking about, thinking about, and coming up with ideas on what to write about for over a year. Why should anything stop me from doing what I want to do, you know?

It took a year of me studying writing at the college-level for me to realize that it wasn’t exactly what I wanted. Don’t get me wrong, I love writing and always will; but I found that once I started doing it for a grade and in preparation for the professional world, I kind of lost all my passion and excitement for it. I stopped thinking of new story ideas in the middle of the night. I put all my writing-energy into my coursework so I stopped having any motivation to do it for myself.

For the first time in a long time, this feels right. I feel happy and excited about this project. I feel the its-super-late-but-I’m-going-to-keep-writing-anyways kind of feeling again. And it’s great. It’s so great that I want to encapsulate these feelings on the page so I can look back at how wonderful it is to get things done.

All the best,


New Year’s Resolutions?

I meant to post this a few days ago but for the past two weeks I’ve been taking Principles of Microeconomics at a community college by my house so I could finish my Gen. Ed requirements and get out of a semester-long math class. However, fitting in the fifteen weeks of work into two was actually kind of a waste of time. I wrote most of this post during a discussion on currency exchange and at one point my professor left the room to grade papers for so long that me and three other people in my class left the building, drove down the street, bought pizza, drove back, and ate the pizza without my professor even noticing. He came back in the room about thirty minutes later and said “where did that pizza box come from?” I’m glad that the money I spent on the course and the $94 textbook that sat in the backseat of my car the whole time went to good use.

Anyways, the course is over now so let’s talk about New Year’s Resolutions.

Do you notice how at the start of every New Year (after the hangover subsides) we all restart the clock and collectively deicide that we totally want to run more miles, lose more weight, and become better people? I’m all for self-improvement, but do you notice that most people only focus on improving their appearance?

If I were to sift through the many articles recommending goals to set for the New Year that keep popping up on my social media pages, the majority the articles that are not listing ways to lose those extra pounds or offering tips on going to the gym more often are about romantic relationships. I saw articles with titles like “relationships resolutions” and “dating resolutions all single girls should make.” So basically, you have two options: you should focus on making yourself look more attractive, or you should change yourself so then someone else can find you attractive.

Why is it that self-improvement and becoming better versions of ourselves is synonymous with losing weight and being skinnier and more physically attractive?

We live in a culture that promotes being thin and fears being fat. That’s why we care so much about dropping pounds and fitting beauty standards. I’ve felt that pressure. I’ve made resolutions to lose extra weight and it didn’t do much for me. I found that making those resolutions only made me feel bad about eating high-calorie food and stare in mirrors more often. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to eat more veggies or go running, but people should set these goals for the rights reasons. Let me tell you, there’s so much more to a person than looks and weight (you know, brains, talent, personal achievement, etc.) and we should work to focus on that more.

This year, my goal is to focus on self-care and self-love.

I don’t want to create a list of my flaws that I want to improve, I want to work on remembering what I actually like about myself and what makes me happy. I think we should all do more things that make us happy in 2015. Whether that’s taking more time for yourself, or giving yourself a day to do nothing in pajamas, or maybe challenge yourself to start a new project or a hobby. Or my personal favorite, stand in front of a mirror and tell yourself you’re awesome every now and again.

Let’s not put ourselves down. Let’s not only focus on what we feel like we need to fix about ourselves. Let’s not fret about our weight so much. Instead, let’s focus on what we love about ourselves.

Here’s to a year full of self-care.

All the best,


Let’s Talk

Hey there. Happy New Year. Let’s do this. Let’s start a blog.

I’ve always liked the idea that when the clock strikes midnight, we all get some sort of second chance, a clean slate, an opportunity to kick bad habits and become better versions of ourselves. In the past, I would make lofty, generic goals for myself that I would completely forget about or give up on by the first of February. I’m not doing that this year. I only have one thing I want to do this year: I want to start blogging.

That’s why tonight I had big plans of sitting down at a Starbucks with some mint decaf tea to finally write my first blog post (I know writing in a café is kind of lame and cliché, but I have family visiting and it’s impossible to focus at home). But instead, every seat in the Starbucks was completely full because life in upstate New York in the winter is clearly very exciting. So I sat in the Subway next door and reluctantly purchased a sandwich for tomorrow just to have a reason to be there. I had no idea how to get started. I write for myself and for professors all the time, but the idea of putting myself online is a little daunting.

The Subway was pretty much empty and I sat in the far corner of the room so I could have some privacy. Moments later, moments after I wrote the first sentence of this post, two girls who looked about fourteen sat at the table right next to me. I watched my cursor blink and they stared at me while they ate Cool Ranch Doritos. Just as I was starting to wonder whether or not this whole starting a blog thing wasn’t meant to be and if I should just head home, one of the girls stood up and started running her hands over her stomach. She kept saying to her friend “look how much it puffs out.”

I was about to give up, but then I was reminded of why I write in the first place. I was reminded of what gave me the idea to start this blog. You see, I write to give voice to social issues that most people would otherwise never talk about. I write to give voice to the problems that we think are personal and specific to just us, when in reality, these struggles are pretty common. Sure, seeing those girls tonight was pretty random and almost insignificant, but I see instances like that all of the time, little moments where I’m reminded of the social pressures that women and young girls navigate through every single day. These experiences that are also compounded for anyone who identifies outside the gender binary, anyone who is not white, anyone who is not straight, and anyone who is not able-bodied. I’m very aware that it’s going to take a lot more than some blog posts to overcome the systematic power structures in place in our society, but I really want to create a space to have a conversation about these issues. Let’s start talking.

If I learned anything in 2014, it’s that my voice matters and the things I have to say and the stories I have to tell are worth sharing. 2014 was full of many personal achievements and growth, but when it came to the challenges, many people tried to get me to shut up, to keep my thoughts to myself, to not let my voice take up too much space. Words and personal narratives carry quite a bit of power, and when we share our stories with the world, it reminds others that they are not alone in their experiences.

So here is my first message to anyone who comes across this webpage: use your voice because you never know who might be listening and you never know the impact you might have.

This is a brand new project for me and I’m sure I have a lot to learn, but I’m going to work through it and I’m going to keep writing!

Here’s to many more posts in 2015.

All the best,