2016, The Tower, and Diving Head First Into The Unknown

daniel-headshot An end-of-year reflection from staff member Daniel

I am far from the first and will certainly not be the last person to say this year has been… quite a time. In the last 362 and counting days, bad things have been happening all around the world . And like, bad things have always and will always happen and sometimes we create the illusion that more bad things are happening than normal by highlighting and paying more attention to the bad things, but to be perfectly honest there is something hellishly special about the year Two Thousand And Sixteen. There’s been a lot of personal stuff too. Most of the people I know– and me– have all been going through significant change in our lives, our social circles, our beliefs, and our goals. We’ve had some pretty big losses and intense life experiences. Everything is so strange lately, like we’ve clipped into an alternate universe where everything is exactly the same except that it’s… not.

My friend recently texted our group chat with the revelation that the 16th card in the major arcana of a traditional tarot deck is The Tower. Next year, 2017, is The Star and 2018 is The Moon. If you know much about tarot I don’t really need to say anything else but I will anyway. If you don’t know much about tarot that’s awesome because at least what I’m saying will be new to someone.

Let me tell you a little about The Tower. Continue reading

A Brief Reflection on Finding My Voice

Mariana De Matos Medeiros

A blog reflection by Women’s Center intern Mariana de Matos Medeiros 

I’ve been working on a draft for this blog post for over 6 weeks. It’s been intimidating and scary to be vulnerable in such a public space.

I was hoping to describe how I self-silence and how I struggle to find words that match my thoughts and feelings. I often try to polish them, make them perfect and pristine. Drafting and editing about a million times and still feeling like what I’ve written is not quite right. Sometimes I feel that folks are all too willing to accept that femme women often struggle with expressing their unique voices.

Further, my ideas and how I express them through writing—in other words my voice—have often been devalued. Whether through my experience with academic writing or the constant rhetoric that lived experience is less valuable than ‘objective’ facts found through scientific research. Often, lived experience is closely associated with emotion and thus femininity. It feels invalidating and that my thoughts are only valuable if I can back them up with an outside source. Continue reading

What Does Self-Care Really Look Like?

Prachi Kochar

A reflection of what self-care really looks like for each of us, especially during finals, by Women’s Center student staff member Prachi Kochar.

It’s a common refrain that we’ve all heard, especially around this time of year. “Don’t forget to take care of yourself during finals week!”, “Remember that self-care is important!”, and so on. But what does taking care of yourself look like? Does it look like buying yourself your favorite drink at Starbucks? Does it look like going to the gym for a hard session on the treadmill? Does it look like sleeping in an extra hour? Does it look like going to the movies with your friends? Simply put, there is no easy “yes” or “no” answer to these questions. Self-care looks like what is right for you at this point in time. And self-care does not always fit into a neat little box of “Do this and you’ll feel great!” Self-care can be an ongoing process, a process that is sometimes painful and sometimes exhilarating. And it is something that everyone has their own interpretation of, which can be incredibly overwhelming – googling “what does self-care look like” yields over 29 million results!

treat yo self.jpg

Besides these yummy cupcakes, what does treating yourself look like?

For me, self-care can take the form of sleeping in a few hours and giving my body and mind the time to rest and recover from stresses. It can also take the form of waking up early and going to the gym for a 7 AM yoga class or going for a run. Sometimes self-care means showing up for all of my commitments, even when I am tired, and sometimes it means saying “no” or “I can’t do it.” Sometimes self-care means pushing myself to finish all of my assignments when I am not feeling my best so that I will not be thrown into crisis mode later when all of my commitments pile up. What is most important is that I take stock of how I am feeling, mentally and physically, and do not become upset at myself for not being able to do everything, but also recognize that sometimes it is necessary for me to push myself to take care of myself. In other words, self-care sometimes involves doing the hard things and showing up for yourself. Continue reading

Slaying on the Weekly: What’s the Bell Foundry?, Self-Care + More

A weekly round-up curated by Women’s Center staff member, Michael Jalloh Jamboria

In the spirit of my friend, who gave us the glorious name ‘Slaying on the Weekly’, every week I will be bringing you some interesting, funny or thought-provoking content from the internet! Be sure to join us next week for more and continue to slay!

Things you should know:

The Bell Foundry, a queer/POC dominated art space, was condemned on Monday December 5th, displacing dozens of artists and performers in the process. There are efforts to find temporary homes and long term spaces for those people, including a benefit relief fund event.

Article of the Week:

Time Magazine has a pretty good list of tips for exam week. Take care of yourself, get some sleep, you’ll do fine.

The holidays are coming up, meaning family. We understand family can be difficult to navigate and be around. Check out Feministing’s guide for navigating the holidays.

UMBC Happenings:

Self-Care Day is December 12th from 12pm to 1pm. Join us during free hour for arts/crafts, tea/coffee and a stress-free zone.

During Exam week and Winter break, the Women’s Center will be reducing the hours of operation.

Song of the Week:

I’ve been listening to really great music recently, and I want to share that with all of you! This week’s song is a youtube playlist for studying. Enjoy some jazzy goodness and get some work done!

You are great! You can pass all of your exams! Enjoy winter break!

img_8371

The panelists and facilitators (from left to right: Shira Devorah, Dr. Kate Drabinski, Dr. Mejdulene Shomali, Dan Wiley, and me, Mike Jalloh-Jamboria) from the Fatness in Focus Roundtable. Keep an eye out for the roundup!