Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Writing

2015 October Platform Challenge: Day One

kerport-005-2015-10-1-14-29.jpg
October has arrived, once more. Hmmm. This is not very Halloweenish, but here goes.

Growing up, we started getting a subscription for Reader’s Digest. Soon, very soon, the wall of our computer room in the basement was lined with Reader’s Digest volumes, in braille.

I read one particularly gruesome story in RD, on the way to a family function, and I never read from those braille editions again.

Eventually, we got rid of them, when I moved out and we were cleaning house.

I was delighted when I discovered, not only was there such thing as Reader’s Digest (as much as I loved to read) but that Writer’s Digest existed too.

A lot of selling of their products, but I loved to write and I am now participating in their month long

2015 October Platform Challenge

As for platforms, I have mixed feelings.

I know it is important, in this modern moment in time, to have one. I have one and am trying to find my voice there, but the mood comes and goes. I am not quite sure why.

Here goes and I am not participating in the commenting on WD’s website. It involves all that fun stuff I just love about websites. I tried to sign in and it wasn’t a simple process.

Surprised? Not at all.

😦

I don’t care about winning some prize of a huge book for writers, one I can’t even read anyway, so I will go with the daily promos and see how that goes. See if I make it through the month.

I have never gone and done any monthly challenge, posting every day, so I hope this will not annoy the hell out of any readers I have gained in almost two ears of blogging.

My platform is this blog and the second blog I began a year ago, I guess it was now.

Name (as used in byline): I am Kerry Kijewski

AKA

Kerry L. Kijewski

Kerry Kay (a future author’s website title idea)

Her Headache

The Insightful Wanderer

Kerr

Kerr-Bear

Take your pick.

🙂

Position(s): published author, writer/blogger, public speaker, travel writer, interviewer/interviewee

Skill(s): writing, literary writing, creative writing, fiction, non fiction, memoir, reviews, interviews, poetry, articles and blog posts, speeches, public speaking

Social media platforms (active): I am on Facebook and Twitter most often.

I have a LinkedIn page, but not sure I like it.

Also, an Instagram account for any future travel, but not sure I like it. Need a photographer on staff.

😉

I started a Pinterest page a few weeks ago. Don’t yet understand that platform at all.

Did I do that, trying to find more of a platform, just because everybody else did it first? Why do everything everyone else does anyways?

URL(s):

This blog.

http://www.theinsightfulwanderer.ca/

Accomplishments: being a blogger, published author, Certificate of Creative Writing, public speaker, guest blogger on many blogs

Interests: creative writing, fiction, non fiction, memoir, doing interviews, blogging, reading, travel, movies, psychology, marine biology, astronomy, feminism, women’s and gender studies, history

In one sentence, who am I?

Kerry is, first and foremost a writer, but also she blogs and she is interested in honing her writing skills for any and all future possibilities which might present themselves.

I am bad at summing up, at being brief, and that is why I hate these one sentence questions.

“Feel the rain on your skin. No one else can feel it for you. Only you can let it in.”
–Natasha Benningfield, Unwritten

THIS IS MY PLATFORM!

http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/there-are-no-rules/2015-october-platform-challenge-guidelines

Guidelines were made to be broken, right?

Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Who are you? What is your platform? Can you sum up who you are, using just one sentence? Or do you need more than one, like I do?

Standard
Blogging, Feminism, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Interviews, Memoir and Reflections, Piece of Cake, Poetry, Shows and Events, Special Occasions, TToT, Writing

TToT: At the Heart of the Star, Not the Shape of It – Ten Years and Ten Things

“Oscar Wilde said that if you know what you want to be, then you inevitably become it – that is your punishment, but if you never know, then you can be anything. There is a truth to that. We are not nouns, we are verbs. I am not a thing – an actor, a writer – I am a person who does things – I write, I act – and I never know what I am going to do next. I think you can be imprisoned if you think of yourself as a noun.”
–Stephen Fry

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

I think Mr. Fry and Mr. Wilde to be two incredibly wise men.

A Rainbow over Titanic Belfast.

I’ve decided to stick, somewhat, with the theme of storms and rainbows that I’ve been going with for most of the month thus far. Since we’re nearly finished with the month of August, I can start fresh next week, but I’ve added a little something more, to make this final week of summer, for the most part, its own.

10 Years Later

I have been thinking about the last ten years since Hurricane Katrina happened. My life wasn’t directly affected by that storm. I remember watching it on television, all the horrible news reports that were coming out of New Orleans, and wondering what my grandmother might have thought of it, as she had just died a few weeks earlier.

Now, I come across so many things, in the course of my week, that I want to share because they make me happy or because I just think they are note worthy.

The TToT has become a place where I can make note, as I don’t know if all the technology and extra information since my grandmother’s death and Katrina, if it’s all that good or not, but I like to share it anyway.

Ten Things of Thankful:

For the first so-called autumn evening of the season.

I know it’s not officially fall yet, but this week I felt the air coming in through m open window, and it smelled like fall.

When I say that people flip out. Yeah, I know the sooner fall comes and summer ends, the closer we are to cold and snow of winter (I know), but maybe I want fall to start now, even just a little bit, and maybe it can be an extra long one, so as to not bring on winter for months and months.

But I’ve already come across things like this, a sure sign that people are starting to think pumpkins and changing leaves:

Ontario Pumpkin Patches, Corn Mazes, Hayrides, and More, Find Halloween and Fall Fun in Ontario! – Pumpkinpatchesandmore.org

and

Haunted Mansion Drops in Price But Still No Takers

For my brother arriving back in Ontario, safe and sound, after one hell of a summer road trip through Canada’s Maritime provinces.

Although we were communicating, every few days while he was gone, it was nice to receive the full rundown, both over the phone and in person.

For see shells, red rocks, and other seaside treasures.

For my brother’s effort in finding me something Anne of Green Gables related from his time on Prince Edward Island: postcards, a fridge magnet, and even a little straw hat. He says he considered, for a moment, getting me the full sized version that I could wear, but on further consideration, went with the miniature one instead.

🙂

Good idea.

For lunch out with family, even a three-year-old nephew who thinks he should stand up on the bench seat, but we block him in. He just wants to be closer to our heights at the table, and that is equal to him standing when we’re sitting. I can’t say I blame him for that.

For the perfect combination of Irish culture and Italian food.

The name Muldoon’s Pizza speaks for itself, but our waitress had a rather thick Italian accent.

For another guest posting spot:

#BeReal – KERRY KIJEWSKI

Thanks, Hasty, for the chance for being real, as this is on the list of things that scare me, thus means it’s completely worth doing.

For my returning brother’s highly appreciated assistance with technology matters this week.

He helped me figure out that I could fix one more thing, made wrong by the computer issues I dealt with back in the spring, by downloading software from the Internet.

When It Rains It Pours

I can, once more, use my scanning device, known as an EyePal, to start work on the final few high school courses I need to complete my high school diploma.

Close But No Cigar

Of course, now I have no more excuses. The only person standing in my way is me. This is something I have battled with for years, since I was unwell and unable to graduate, and I have been left feeling unaccomplished, ashamed, and embarrassed for years since that time.

I have made some progress and am half way to my goal. I have completed two out of the final four credits necessary, over these last few years, and that means I am all the more close to being finished.

This scares me because I then have to decide on what my next move should be. As long as I have something standing in my way, be that technology problems or lack of the education necessary, I don’t have to make the really tough and frightening decisions about my future.

No more excuses means facing my fears, head on!

For the chance I’ve had, of late, to get to know an old friend, a friendship that has become new again.

I attended a farewell party, a drop-in brunch as it was called, and got to wish her well as she and her husband start fresh in California.

For more opportunities to face my fears and work on my issues with crowds and unfamiliar situations.

I attended this goodbye party, with a friend, and we both faced our nervousness at these things. OFten, much of what we are afraid will happen doesn’t end up happening, and the worst turns out to be all in your mind. We wanted to wish someone well and, by going together, we had the support we needed.

Then, my friend and I were at our local county fair and we very nearly had a reunion with an old friend of ours.

She was actually a best friend. At one time, it was the three of us, inseparable. We have grown apart from this old friend and I had it on pretty good authority we may run into her, as the county fair is a common place to find her and her family every summer.

We ran into her sister and her father, but just missed her by a narrow margin. I can’t decide if this was for the best or not, unavoidable or something else altogether. Missed opportunities are disappointing, because you never know if they were meant to be, but I guess not this time.

Things have to come together, at just the precise moment in time:

You’ve Never Seen Clouds Like This Before

I don’t like to turn down things. In fact, I’m making a huge effort, in my life, to not turn down chances and opportunities when they present themselves. It’s a work-in-progress, but I am determined not to let my shyness and awkwardness win out.

The Milky Way Over Yellowstone is Impossibly Beautiful

So whether it’s the destruction of a storm (past or present) with the anniversary of Katrina or this week’s Hurricane Erica. Or maybe it’s another terrible story of a shooting of two news persons. I see no reason to shy away from living life and paying attention to the beauty of the world, all of which makes for a much brighter existence.. That’s why I write down what I’m thankful for every week.

I listened to two interesting things this week. One was a conversation between writer’s Chimamanda Adichie and Zadie Smith and the other was an interview with poet Mary Oliver.

Between the Lines: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie with Zadie Smith

I could listen to conversations such as these, all day long. They teach me about writing, about feminism from strong females, and about facing my fears.

In other words:

Never Surrender – Cory Hart

So whether it’s the beautifully explored character development in and of a novel or the splendid simplicity of nature in poetry – I liked the idea of examining a star, or anything for that matter, not only by the shape or form it comes in, but by what’s at its heart. You never know what you’ll find in both.

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?

–Mary Oliver

Standard
Blogging, Feminism, History, Special Occasions, TToT

TToT: The Great White North

Since I started taking part in TToT, I have wondered, am surprised constantly, at how I have been able to come up with ten whole things to be thankful for each week.

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

Well, this week started with Canada Day and has ended with Independence Day for the US. This is a time when people are thankful and grateful for the blessings in life. So, here I go again.

First, I’ll start off with literature and feminism.

For a remarkable woman who is a star at both of these things.

In Conversation With Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This week I have been learning more about other cultures and ways people live.

When I was young, I thought Africa was nothing but poverty, but that is the simplistic view of a child who doesn’t know any better.

Chimamanda goes on to talk about her mother, using words such as: “cool” and “warm”. It’s clear, the powerful influence and strong role models her parents have been to her.

So you go on to learn, I learned through listening to interviews, that this Nigerian girl’s mother was the cool mom and a warm person. This is basically the same as my own mother. We’re not so different, us who come from different parts of the world.

Canada to Africa…it may seem a world away, in distance, but not in human spirit.

Chimamanda is a brilliant writer, a commanding speaker, and a strong advocate for feminism and she is fast becoming someone I admire for all she has accomplished.

Monday: for my wonderfully helpful sister.

She is there, always just there for me when I really am in need.

Like, say, when I start to panic and then am thinking about backing out of a first date and she talks me down with help on my hair, wardrobe choices, nails and the rest.

She knows me best and I trust her opinions more than anyone. I can be confident she wouldn’t let me leave the house looking anything like a slob. Nice to know.

🙂

Thanks, KH, for even dropping me off.

For first dates, in themselves.

Because, even if first dates never lead to second dates, I am thankful that I get to go on a date of any kind.

They teach me, every single time, about the different people there are in the world and, more importantly, about myself.

It helps when there is over two hours of flowing conversation. This, of course, is much preferred, to long pauses and awkwardness.

Tuesday: for a visit to the library on a rainy day.

The first time we took my nephew to our local one of these, I think he was so overwhelmed by the setting he found himself in, that he did well. Of course, we only stayed a few minutes, until he chose a book with no real words. It was mostly a picture book about a cat and a spaceship.

:Don’t…eat…space!”

This time he was more determined to climb the stairs, but unfortunately that was where the adult sections were and the people up there did not enjoy what happened next.

So all my two-year-old nephew wanted to do was run up and down the isles of books, hiding behind the shelves and have me chase him.

I wasn’t about to do this. Part of the reason is that being quiet in a library is the common rule, I was much too enthralled by all the books around me, and there was a place he could be louder in. This was called the children’s section.

I love libraries and I know he will too, one of these days.

🙂

For the chance to be introduced to other cultures and people who share this country with me.

Some beautiful Aboriginal music. Check it out.

🙂

It was unfamiliar to me, but I soon found it to be quite catchy.

For Canada.

As the above video shows, Canada is made up of so many different cultures and ethnicities. This is what makes this a great place to live and to learn and to love.

The Great White North, we are known as.

What makes us great is our acceptance of other people. I know this has not always been the case, as I’ve said in recent posts, but it is what I want for myself and everyone. I know Canada has had our struggles, like any country, but I am still proud of what we are known for around the world and here at home.

For a view you just can’t beat.

I celebrated, July 1st, with my family and an amazing view of the fireworks display my city put on.

Sure, it may have cost thousands of dollars.

Fireworks – Canada Day, 2015

But it certainly was a show, and right from my lawn too.

For the small bit of sight I still have.

I know I can complain sometimes, about all that I can no longer see or never could, but when I can still make out the bright lights, exploding in the night sky, I am lucky.

Friday: for summertime because that means fresh peas.

You can’t turn green from eating too many peas? Does anyone know?

Ever since I was young I’ve looked forward to, not just the eating of the peas, but even more it’s the podding that I love.

Does this make me strange?

*Crickets*

Nah.

It’s a zen thing. Very relaxing.

Saturday: for family gatherings.

Every few months we get my whole family together. Sure, it’s hectic and chaotic, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I’m used to having nearly twenty cousins and those gatherings used to get unruly. Compared to all that (three siblings, siblings-in-law, and only three niece and nephews) is nothing in comparison to that, when it comes to size.

There’s a lot of food, drink, catching up, laughter, and play.

My family is the best!

And so, whatever may happen in the next little while (whatever is to come), I will still remember to be thankful for the family I have and the country where we all live.

Happy Canada Day and Happy Independence Day too.

Standard
Blogging, Kerry's Causes, Special Occasions, Spotlight Sunday

International Women’s Day 2015: Making It Happen

GET ON YOUR FEET (Make It Happen) – Gloria Estefan on YouTube

“One day’s commemoration, no matter how special, is not enough. We know the march is not over. We know the race is not yet run.”
—Barack Obama

The above quote is from the president’s speech at the 50th anniversary of the march at Selma, Alabama, that took place this weekend and which was a defining moment for civil rights in the US all those years ago.

However, as much of what was said was directed to racial equality in America, much of what he said I thought applied very well to all such pushes for equality, to be found anywhere.

This is why I included it here for my March 8th post on

International Women’s Day.

The biggest things I am hearing today, not unlike any time feminism of any kind is discussed, are as follows:

**Both men and women like to ask why we need a day to talk about or celebrate women? Shouldn’t women be celebrated every day of the year? What good does singling girls and women out on just one day out of the year do?

I ask these questions too. I hear the same basic question asked about Black History Month, for example. I wonder it every time a day is set aside to focus on anything disability related. I wish I wasn’t scooped up, as far as my blindness goes, into one day.

The day is only a brief twenty-four hours long and then it is back to the status quo. A lot of the rest of the time I feel ignored and misrepresented all the others.

In my more negative moments I ask myself what any of these days actually accomplish.

Is it those who are the first to call out feminism of any kind as a movement for separation and blame that is the problem? Do certain people not want equal rights for women talked about because that might actually make a difference for change in the future? Why does that threaten so many, so very much?

Why should we be ashamed and made to feel like we, men or women, are either bragging, or whining, or making too much of the issue?

**This day is being turned into a silly day of fluff and commercialized and that it should be just about the serious.

Of course a lot of what is talked about is serious stuff. It is an international problem that we need to work on together, internationally. It shouldn’t be taken lightly or for granted, that we even have this day be what it now is.

More than twenty years ago there was nothing like it to celebrate, not like we have it now. That is not so long ago still.

Right now I am reading a lot about women traveling safely because I am hoping to travel more myself. I have both that and the fact of my disability to contend with when traveling and this is not a small thing.

Again, I feel like I am being silly or making more of it than I really should. Why do I feel like that?

I am about to watch the highly controversial documentary about the brutal gang rape and death of a woman on a bus in India.

I will be writing about my thoughts on the documentary this week, once I’ve seen for myself how the matter was dealt with in the film.

I have said it before, but it bears repeating.

I am lucky to have been born where I was and living where I do. Canada is not somewhere I feel unsafe on a daily basis. I know a big part of that is how I was raised and the blessings I have had, although things aren’t always perfect, but I want to help speak out here because I have the right to do that and am not being persecuted or censored like so many.

Girls need a fair chance at living without violence, receiving the same educational opportunities as boys, and of course equal pay for equal work is a big topic in the news.

I don’t want to hide and bury my head in the sand about any of these issues and, although I am unsure about hearing more on the crime that was perpetrated in India on this documentary, I believe we need to hear about it and to use any day that we can to talk openly about what we all deserve for our world.

I have a niece who deserves to be treated equally. I want that for her future.

I also have nephews who will hopefully grow up in a more accepting world and I know they will learn that women should be valued and appreciated. I know this because I know what amazing and capable parents they have, but not all children are so lucky.

As long as we allow ourselves to feel silly or overly sensitive, all stereotypes and negative treatments will continue to be permitted all over the world.

I want to recognize some truly wonderful women that I know, on this day:

My mother is at the top of the list. She is strong and wise and she always knows what’s best. Okay, so maybe that “mother’s know everything” line is a lot of pressure to put on anyone, but she handles it quite well.

🙂

I want to declare what amazing mothers my two sisters are. They are both quite new at the whole thing, five years or less of experience yet, but they have raised the sweetest and best children and they love with grace, bravery, and warmth.

I was able to take part in a blogging project centred around compassion, what we women are supposed to be pretty good at, and the ladies who first began 1000 Voices For Compassion are prime examples:

Reflections On 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion

I recently wrote a blog post where I mention several female bloggers and writers who kick ass at what they do. I wanted to include them again,

Kind and Generous

I have written a good number of posts over the past year, highlighting women doing spectacular things, of whom I admire:

He For She and Equality,

Bigger Than Sheezus,

Lucky Ones,

and

Up We Go.

These are some perfect examples of why I do not only wait for one day a year to bring attention to the incredible women to be found everywhere. I have my blog for just this very reason and I will continue to write about as many as I possibly can, right here.

Just as parenting bloggers come together to find strength and support in the words of one another, I have done this with so many brave female bloggers and that is why they deserve to be mentioned here and on this day.

Whatever the issue may be: equal rights, empathy in love in relationships, or whatever it may be I think we feel better when we speak up and really listen to each other.

The silences must be broken like the bursting of a dam.

For additional info on IWD:

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/happy-international-womens-day-google-doodle-celebrates-female-achievement-across-the-globe-10093489.html

http://proof.nationalgeographic.com/2015/03/06/portraits-of-strength-seven-extraordinary-women/

http://canadacouncil.ca/council/blog/2015/03/internationalwomensdayletscelebratetodaysstrengthsandtomorrowsaspirations

Standard
1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Happy Hump Day, Kerry's Causes

In The News and On My Mind: #1000Speak Edition

Watching the news in the evening is a bit like being on an emotional Tilt-aWhirl. “Isis now sets people on fire.” “Harper Lee has a new book out!” “Some oddballs are bringing measles back because they’re scared of autism, which is a bit like saying I’m worried about birthday candles, so let’s start a forest fire.” “It’s going to be gorgeous this weekend!” “Look, a politician being deliberately rude.” “And also, look at these adorable puppies!” My limbic system does not work that fast!

The above is a status I came across on a Friend’s Facebook page a few weeks back and I thought it summed up the horrors and the confusion to be seen on the news every night, with a bit of her witty and intelligent sense of humour thrown in for good measure.

The following five things have been on my mind lately: Isis, measles, assisted suicide, Deflate-Gate, and Fifty Shades.

Note: I am writing longer versions of my thoughts on these topics, one a week, for the next five weeks. I just wanted to write a more trimmed down post, to coincide with:

1000 Voices Speak For Compassion

The #1000Speak movement is coming to its dramatic finale in two short days.

On February 20th I and over 1000 bloggers will write about what compassion means to each of us. We will do this together, as one, and we will stand up and speak about acts of kindness and empathy, to rival any of the horrors to be found out there.

The news, like is illustrated at the be inning of this post, can be dreary and can bring you down within the first two minutes.

Watching this over and over again, night after night, will make it seem like there is no goodness left in the world. This is so very far from the truth of it.

I just wanted to highlight five things that have been going on lately, in the news, and on my mind. I want to share the compassionate view I choose to have for all five and I hope, by bringing my own personal brand of attention to these, that I can help share and spread the thinking of kindness just a little bit.

***

1.
Isis

It’s so hard to hear about such horrific and senseless acts as hostage takings and beheadings. It seems like this threat is growing and we are powerless to stop it.

It’s a part of the world that I know nothing of: Egypt and Libya, Syria, or Iraq. This, however, is not where it ends.

That part of the world wants nothing more than to live in peace, like anywhere.

The problem exists here too, although it may be harder to see.

I do wish there existed much more empathy and understanding for our fellow human beings.

Extremist terrorist groups are out there, like some invisible bully on steroids. This isn’t something I can wish away with my positive thoughts.

I just hope to partake in small acts and acts that spread, such as a newly started compassion blogging project, to show us that the world isn’t all bad, one hundred percent of the time. With one thousand speaking out for compassion, we can say our piece and hope to inspire peace in return.

2.
Measles

Fear and ignorance spread like wildfire when it comes to our children, most of all.

Rumours and myths aren’t so easily distinguished for some like for others. The measles vaccination is no exception.

I know how powerful conspiracy theories can become. Is that what fear of vaccinations is, like the moon landing and UFO’s before it?

I fall prey to thee sorts of thoughts sometimes, when I’m feeling suspicious and doubtful about the world. I wake up some days, and I choose pessimism over giving the world the benefit of my doubts.

I sometimes wake up feeling angry at a world that would allow such rumours to spread so rapidly. I have benefited, so very much, from medical science. I think about fifty years ago even, and the fact that I probably wouldn’t be alive now, to write these words.

It’s hard to imagine a time when illnesses such as measles killed with impunity. I think we take for granted the advances we now benefit from.

So I guess you could say I am pro vaccines, but the idea of forcing parents to give something to their children or themselves that they don’t freely choose, well that does not sit right with me either.

What will win out?

I have children in my life that go to school and I know how easy it can be for illness to spread through a classroom full of kids.

I hate that any kid might miss out on an education and a social life with friends because of a decision their parents or the government made.

No clear-cut and right answers here, I realize.

All I can do is have compassion for each side of the debate, hoping that we don’t regress to a pre-vaccine, tragic, society.

3.
Assisted Suicide

I know this is one of the touchiest subjects there is in our world today. I know the idea of stepping in and taking one’s own life or someone else’s is beyond controversial.

I know things like religion, ethics, and consent are all twisted up and even breaching the topic is taboo.

I know that what constitutes a life worth living is up for furious debate. Nobody wants to use this as an excuse to rid the world of all those poor people who we shy away from because of disabilities beyond our imagination and handicaps we hate to think about.

I can’t help but putting myself in the place of anyone who lives with pain constantly, no end in sight. I keep going back to those poor souls and, although I too hate to think of what this means, I know this issue is not going to go away, no matter how much we look away.

I think we all have compassion in our hearts for these people, but then the fear of “playing God” stands in our way of anything more.

Think of those in real need of empathy and consideration. If there were any time to put ourselves in their shoes, this would be it.

4.
Deflate-Gate

I almost wrote a blog post about this after the news broke that the New England Patriots, on their way to the Super Bowl, were under suspicion of having tampered with their team’s footballs.

Now I fully admit to having no prior knowledge of the rules and regulations of how the footballs are handled. I considered writing about my outrage, that this team was suspected of cheating and yet, off to the biggest football championship they were going, but I ultimately decided that I really had no business writing about it.

Maybe my own personal issues were getting in the way.

This lead to more of a broad concern with the Super Bowl as a whole. I looked at all the hype with Katy Perry set to perform and I felt unsettled.

With all the talk of feminism these days, and all my interest in it, I felt uncomfortable.

It seemed like the NFL was trying too hard to bring themselves out of the recent scandals in their franchise. Katy Perry, for me, did not wipe away all the bad judgement and the celebration of star players and athleticism our world idolizes.

I don’t want to feel this way about anything that brings such joy to others. I’ve seen it. I try to understand the passion with which they express their love of football. I just wish we could value such things as criminal behaviour and spousal abuse not at all, instead valuing things like playing fair and no cheating. These values and rules of the NFL and organizations like it are hard for me to wrap my head around, but it seems to be a powerful force that I have to accept. I just hope it remains all fun and games, yet I know there’s more going on than meets the eye.

Finally…

5.
Fifty Shades

I read the books. As both a reader and a writer I was curious.

Since then the love for these books (originally Twilight fan fiction) grew for so many, but I was unimpressed by the silly catch phrases and the silly banter between main characters Ana and Christian;.

A fantasy come to life, from one middle-aged woman’s brain to millions of women, looking for a thrill.

I do not ignore or underestimate the cultural value of a book like this, come to life on screen.

I know it is nothing more than a romantic experience for so many ladies. I know how I take it, as nothing but a story. It’s fiction and I put it in its proper place.

I don’t know if impressionable youth are able to do the same thing. However, I am not prepared to hide and shy away from the things people like James are thinking.

Feminism is an important issue for me and I can’t begin to imagine what a movie like this says about our society, both men and women.

If any person has been hurt by a serious issue like controlling and abusive behaviour, and this movie reminds then of those traumatic experiences, I think we should be sensitive to that.

If Fifty Shades is enough to open wounds for those who have experienced real abuse in their lives, then I want to recognize that, instead of simply brushing it away.

Something like this doesn’t make the money it does and draw in the number of movie-goers it does if it hasn’t made an impact. That is impossible to ignore.

I want to remain willing to have an open dialogue about issues of gender equality, sexual rights, all with the proper amount of love and respect.

Women should be able to make up their own minds, as to what they want to watch or read, without completely dismissing the very real feelings of shame and regret that exist for so many, both women and men alike.

***

All these stories are, for the most part, not going away. These things rarely vanish, but rather are changed and altered with time.

Today I wanted to speak my mind and hope to show that compassion, even in the face of disagreements and differing opinions, is indeed possible. It is the common thread we all must not lose sight of.

Two days left and I will continue to share my view of what compassion means to me. It isn’t over just yet.

🙂

Standard
Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Kerry's Causes, Spotlight Saturday

She’s The Bomb

Say what you wanna say. And let the words fall out. Honestly, I wanna see you be brave.
– Brave, Sara Bareilles

With all this talk over the past few days of feminism, what with the speech heard around the world by Emma Watson at The United Nations, I thought today was a good time to share this.

There is a website I like to read, which posts interesting articles by young women with unique points-of-view.

I would call myself a feminist, but I too have had a hard time defining what that meant. Here is someone who knows a little something about it.

She is the creator of

TheFBomb.org.

She is a feminist, a blogger, and an author.

I contacted her a while back about doing an interview with me, to find out what feminism means to her and what she aims to do with the website.

Welcome Julie.

***

K: What is the FBomb.org?

J: The FBomb is a feminist blog written by and for young women and men who believe in equality. While I founded and edit the FBomb, the blog is really an open platform and community based on submissions and exists as a space for a younger generation to define what feminism means to us.

The blog is called (the FBomb) to poke fun at the way the term “feminist” is often vilified, in the hope that socially aware and passionate readers and contributors could reclaim this negative stereotype and show the world that feminism is really a beautiful, positive movement that, at the end of the day, is about the pursuit of equality.

K: How did you decide to start this site?

J: I first became interested in feminism in 8th grade when I started to research the movement and specific feminist issues for a required speech. With the guidance of some great teachers my freshman year of high school, I discovered the world of feminist blogging. I was so inspired and excited by bloggers who took feminist issues seriously while maintaining a sense of humour. the only issue I had with such blogs was that the teenage perspective on most issues – even issues that directly impacted us, like sex education, for example — was missing.

Additionally, I really wanted to create a community where young feminist-minded women and men could come together, share our ideas and offer each other support and advice. It was important to me that an adult or a corporation create this community, but that it was authentically peer-driven.

K: What are your hopes for this site, its future, and what it can do for women and men alike?

J: The FBomb just partnered with the Women’s Media Center, the non-profit organization founded by Gloria Steinem, Jane Fonda and Robin Morgan, which aims to make more women visible and powerful in the media. I think this partnership will help this goal by allowing young women and feminist-minded men to develop and use their voices and giving them a platform from which they can add diverse and vital perspectives to the blogosphere and media at large.

On a more personal level though, I think the FBomb has and continues to allow young feminists to find a community and develop a stronger sense of identity as well.

K: What does feminism mean in your eyes?

J: Feminism is, on the most basic level, the pursuit of equality. Feminism as a worldview is about recognizing that people face a variety of different kinds of oppression due to their personal standing in the world (based on socioeconomic factors like race, class, religion, ability, etc.) that intersect to create unique experiences, but that any type of oppression is unjust and must be critically analyzed and pushed back against.

K: What do you think are still some of the biggest battles or issues women face in our world today?

J: I think it’s difficult to isolate certain issues because every woman, based on her perspective and place in the world — faces a unique intersection of challenges and this is why the feminist movement looks, feels, and serves a different purpose for everybody depending on where they’re coming from and who they are.

However, sexual assault and gender-based violence generally is an incredibly pervasive issue that impacts women young and old. For example, as many as 1 out of every 4 college women will experience attempted or completed rape during their time at school. Issues related to body image (including eating disorders, unrealistic standards of beauty in the media, etc.) are also incredibly pervasive amongst young women and an issue many teen feminists focus on.

K: Do you have any idols or role models in particular for yourself or for feminism as a whole? Do you see any women who are making positive changes and providing examples for young women to look up to?

J: Like most feminists, I always have and always will admire Gloria Steinem. She’s such an incredible icon for this movement. She’s an incredibly intelligent and charismatic leader and it’s undeniable that she completely changed and continues to change the way our society views women.

Female politicians – like Hillary Clinton, Kirsten Gillibrand and Elizabeth Warren – are also doing fantastic work to advocate for women. and there are also plenty of women doing incredible things around the world – Leymah Gbowee’s work with Liberian women is astonishing, Zainab Salbi’s work with women for Women International is vital, and there are so many more.

the bottom line is there are plenty of people doing incredible feminist work and making positive change in the world: they just don’t always get the widespread recognition and media attention they deserve.

K: What do you think are the misconceptions people have about all things feminism?

J: In my experience, I’ve found that the biggest reason young women shy away from identifying as feminist is because they don’t feel that they really understand what the movement is or what that word means. Plenty of people still associate feminism with negative stereotypes, but I think more than anything else misconceptions about the movement stem from a lack of education about and exposure to it.

I find that my generation is more willing to identify with and support feminist issues than any other generation in the past (and the statistics back me up on that – according to advocates for youth, 74% of millennials support gay marriage, 68% support access to abortion and 88% support to comprehensive sex education) but more often than not, unfortunately, they don’t realize that that’s what the feminist movement is all about.

K: What’s your best advice for a woman with a disability like myself, or women with other additional challenges in general?

J: My best advice for women facing any challenge is to speak up about it. I started the FBomb so that young adults could find a place to feel that their stories and perspectives are valuable and that speaking out about our individual challenges will help us feel less alone and hopefully work to demystify and eventually eradicate prejudice based on ignorance. I truly believe in that mission: every voice deserves to be heard and the most radical thing one can do is to use theirs to advocate for change.

***

Thank you so much Julie for answering my questions and for everything you do to speak up for women’s rights and equality for all.

To find out more about Julie you can check her out

HEre,

or at her website:

http://juliezeilinger.com

and you can read more on The FBomb, on

Facebook,

or On

Twitter.

and I will be submitting something to the FBomb to speak up, just like Julie suggested because I too feel like I am tired of remaining so shy and staying so quiet.

BRAVE

What are your thoughts on feminism and what it means to be called a feminist in our world today?

Standard