Sunday, August 21, 2016

creating ease

—> friday afternoon
i walked out of my second movie ever last night.  watching sausage party made me physically sick to my stomach. the rape culture that exists in our society was never so visible.

but spending any of my time writing about that movie is not what i want to do.  i left four friends in the theatre. i texted them and told them that i would be around the corner at a bar.  but i didn’t end up staying there: i sat down at the bar, ordered a glass of wine, started to cry immediately, and then promptly left and took an uber home. 

when i got in the uber, i had a few tears trickling down my face.  the uber driver told me not to be sad; i was too pretty to be sad. 

that command, combined with the implied cartoon rapes i had just watched, crashed down a wall blocking a lot of sadness and anger.  maybe even rage.  i began crying hysterically.  loud sobs were heaving from my body. 

i texted my friends at the movie; i texted a best friend abroad; i texted my gf.  tania called, heard me hysterical, and upon learning i was almost home, immediately followed up with my friends at the movie to ensure they were coming to attend to me. 

(what was the uber driver doing, you ask?  turning up the radio to drown me out.)

before tania even texted them though, my friends from the theater were on their way.  they all crowded into my bedroom, soothing and comforting me.  i was feeling guilty—that they had not gotten to eat dinner, that they hadn’t had a fun night out, that they would regret that they “had” to spend their evening this way.

of course that’s not what any of them were feeling.  and their check-ins later in the evening and the next morning confirmed that.  the gratitude i have for friends that are willing to chuck everything out the window to make their way to my side at a moment’s notice is… well, it's everything.

and this afternoon, here i am escaping to a yoga retreat in upstate new york: leaving the internet behind, leaving most of my every-day support behind, and venturing into soul-space.

space for my journalling, my sketching and doodling, my blogging, my chanting and meditation, and my yoga-ing. no bad movies, no uber drivers, no bad juju. 

—> insert yoga weekend 

we talked a lot this weekend about ganesha—who happens to be one of my favorite deities.  he is generally known as “the remover of obstacles,” but one of our teachers (deb) flipped that a bit and called him “the creator of ease,” which i really liked.  kenny told a story about him (oh, ps, he has the head of an elephant), where ganesha is the one who is under your foot, supporting it, when you lift your foot to take a step.

creating an easeful path, helping you move forward. 

just like my support team.

this is a blog of gratitude (i know, common theme), but also a reminder.  a reminder to 1) use your support teams without question: your friends love you and want to help.  and 2) to reflect that back out to all your closest friends: see what you can offer before they ask.  mirror mirror.

love/gratitude/support xo

Wednesday, August 3, 2016


disclaimer: this is one of the harder posts to share. 

when i teach about sexuality and the importance of enthusiastic consent for sexual activities, we talk about all the things that don't count as consent.  for example: assuming that because someone is ok with naked kissing that they want to have sex.  or assuming that because someone has had sex with you before they want to have sex with you again.  

or wearing someone down and getting a "yes" after 97 "no" replies.  

there's even an activity that is used in some sexuality courses where we give two individuals a role to play:  one is trying to get a "yes" from the other; the other is instructed to only say "no" to the first. what happens is that inevitably the person saying "no" is worn down; it is exhausting to say no so many times.  

i consider myself to have high sexual agency and am intelligent about my actions and reactions.  and yet my protective self-armor was worn down yesterday.

i was left feeling very angry.

i posted on facebook that i had a bad experience. several friends texted, offering support in numerous forms. one friend didn't think i needed support though, and she simply told me: "No matter what you go through you always come out on top, you're not just a fighter, you also inspire. That's why I love you Spring." 

it was nice to have various forms of support, but it was also nice to hear my strengths reflected back to me.  most friends i shared all the details with were very supportive; even creating new plans with me about how best to feel happy and safe.   one friend, however, replied "how could you let him treat you like that?" 

i know that friend cares about me deeply, and was angry at what had happened.  but i did not let him treat me badly.  it is this whole situation: the bad behavior i experienced as well as that response that led me to get over the fear of sharing this and to write this.

i've experienced other similar situations, and i know many of you reading this have as well.  the range of sexual assault is wide, and all too often hidden.  i work in sexuality and sexual health, so i felt somewhat responsible to share this story.

through this post i hope to 1) inspire--maybe you have a story you haven't ever shared or haven't told more than a couple of people, or maybe you want to share this story with others as a form of education; 2) start conversations--talking with peers and young people about consent and how it should look is an ongoing job; and 3) remind people to respond with unequivocal support to anyone who has experienced any form of sexual assault: blaming someone (even with a "how could you let him..." text) lays more burden on that person.

as a friend of mine, i'm asking you to challenge "typical" gender roles of males as aggressors, of females as conquests, as any gender as more powerful than another.  speak up when you hear friends or colleagues reinforcing them: it's up to all of us to make change.