A Time to Resist + A Time to Take Care

amelia-meman-headshotA reflection written by Women’s Center Special Projects Coordinator, Amelia Meman

So here we are. Another day in this brave new world.

Are you exhausted yet? Emotionally, physically, psychologically?

If you’re not–congratulations! That’s really good and you are a sweet glowing angel.

If you are, though, you’re not alone and you are also a sweet glowing angel.

deadI’m tired, too. For all of us feminists, social justice warriors, and snowflakes, this is a tough time. The stream of executive actions and questionable cabinet appointments have rocked our communities and have malignantly affected some of the most vulnerable groups in the U.S. The fights we’ve been engaging in throughout every administration have been exacerbated and fear is alive more than ever. 

Seeing the reaction from social justice activists has been heartening for me in many ways. The women’s march was awesome and huge (though not without its fair share of criticism from Black women, the trans community, and many others). Other demonstrations against the refugee ban and the massive uptick in people contacting their elected representatives to demand accountability has shown us that massive swathes of the public have been activated to resist in a great variety of ways.

This work is both vital and neverending. Making an impact is difficult, exhausting work. It involves massive amounts of human energy. What I’m ultimately getting to is this: are you taking care of yourself right now? 
Continue reading

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“Twice as Good” On Being a Woman of Color and Overcoming Imposter Syndrome and Perfectionism

Meagé Profile Pic

Meagé Clements

A blog reflection written by Women’s Center student staff member Meagé Clements 

Growing up, my mother would always remind my sister and I that we had to work twice as hard as everyone else because not only were we women, but we were Black women. Living in a society that has always had low expectations of us, a society where we are confined to various stereotypes and generalizations, it has always been important for us to excel above and beyond the expectations of others. We applied her advice, made the honor roll and the dean’s list numerous times, pursued membership in honors programs and honor societies, yet we continued to question if any of these things would even matter in the long run. Would we still be subjected to the glass ceiling and other barriers that would prevent us from reaching the top because of our gender and race?

As I approach my final weeks of being an undergraduate and I’m frantically trying to plan every detail of my adult life after grad school, I find myself returning to this question more and more. At a recent Women of Color Coalition meeting, I learned that this constant questioning and self-doubt is called “Imposter Syndrome.”

Despite earning the grades and being just as qualified, if not more qualified than many of my peers, I doubted myself and whether I truly belonged and I continued to try and find ways to prove that to myself and others. During the meeting, I found that I was not alone in this sentiment, and that this was something that nearly everyone experienced; however, this persistent self-doubt impacts women of color differently for a number of reasons.  Continue reading

Treat Your Body Lovingly: A Twelve-Step Program

Daniel Profile PicA Women’s Center blog post by staff member Daniel Willey 

Note: I hope what I’ve learned can be applicable to other people, but I know my experience isn’t universal. I use a lot of action verbs in my post, but I don’t intend to make assumptions about what a body can do. I encourage readers to challenge their ideas of how one might “feel” and “wiggle” and “tend” and “look” and “know” in different ways, and how you as an individual do these things in a way that is unique to you and your body.

This is a twelve-step program designed to teach you how to be tender to yourself. Continue reading

On Self Love and Testosterone

Halloween was this Friday (as if you didn’t already know that– I know, I’m still recovering from my candy coma, too) and I’ve been doing a lot of self reflection on the past year. Most people do their reflecting in January at the start of the new year, but Halloween is my “new year.” I started my medical transition on October 31, 2013, so as Friday rolled around I began thinking about all the things that have happened and who I’ve become since last Halloween.

guhhh…This Halloween definitely paid for my dentist’s vacation.

I am so much happier than I was 18 months ago. I have a group of very dear friends who care about me. I have made my own family and my own home here in Baltimore, and my family’s house back in Frostburg feels much more welcoming. I feel joy again. I’m doing well in school. I feel validated in my work and I feel like I have the ability to make change not just at UMBC, but in the larger community.

If you had told me all of this before I went on testosterone, I would have said, “Wow! It’s amazing all the things testosterone can do for me!” Now, I’ve realized that the testosterone had nothing to do with it. It wasn’t some magical elixir like a Felix Felicis potion. It didn’t fix something that was broken. It didn’t give me friends or make people like me more. All of that was me. I did that.

“Bottled good fortune. Brewed correctly the drinker of this potion will be lucky in all their endeavors…” –J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

It’s amazing the things you can discover about who you are and what you’re capable of once you stop putting all your energy into hating yourself. Being on testosterone didn’t make me hate myself less– just like losing 20 pounds isn’t going to make your body image issues go away. It removed the thing I was using as an excuse for hating myself. It’s easy to say, “I’ll love myself once I’m on testosterone,” but I realized that self love doesn’t come in a 10mL vial. You can’t diet your way to self love, either. You have to work towards it and it’s hard, but it’s totally worth it.

What I’ve learned in the past twelve months is that I am worthy of my love unconditionally and let me tell you, that Halloween candy tastes so much sweeter now.