I love social media, but there are some definite drawbacks that always make me miss good, old fashioned, bloggin'. I know I'm not alone (and some of my subscribers don't even have social media, what?) so at the risk of recycling information, I am sharing the main reasons I created the #patriarchydetox challenge, here. It will look better in long form anyways, I promise.
I created the #patriarchydetox challenge for several reasons.
The first reason, is when something becomes a buzzword, like patriarchy, it can be easy to write it off without understanding it, or the people who use the word. For those of us in the trenches of reversing patriarchal influences in our lives, it’s always a good reminder of why we’re fighting, and what we are fighting for.
So, If you feel like you’re on the fringes of this conversation, that you’re seeking empowerment but not quite sure you’re ready to jump in, this challenge is for you. If you sign up, you’ll only be entered in the giveaway if you participate in the challenge, but I can promise that just reading the emails or watching the videos will give you a better understanding of what patriarchy is even about, and how it relates to your life. If you’re not 100% ready, that’s OK. I’m not going to close the challenge right away, so if you start a little late, we’ll be here.
The second reason I created #patriarchydetox, is I really, really, super hate diet culture in January. I love New Years, but I loathe how so many fitness and pseudo “health” spaces use shame based marketing to make us feel like we need a “new us.” We are pressured to spend so much time, energy, and money to #detox on skinny teas, shakes, and wraps so that we will be more consumable to society.
I’m not here for that.
I am however, here for deconstructing harmful stories we participate in so our new year can be about discovering who we really are, and what we have really been called to. THIS is worth time, energy, and even money to me. Do you know what’s a HUGE boost to self esteem?
Actually believing that who you are in this world is enough, and that there is enough for you as you are.
I want there to be a permanent reminder in internet land, a sign post to remind us all that our goal shouldn’t be finding new ways to take up less space in the world.
The third reason I created #patriarchydetox, is it gives us ways to embody our growth. We can take specific action towards dismantling harmful stories we tell ourselves, and we can do it IN COMMUNITY.
Every single transformative healing experience I have had has been in the company of strong women united in purpose.
All of them.
My mission as far as I know so far is to create these spaces. Online, in person, one on one, anywhere I can. I want to offer so many ways for you to expand into who you were made to be. I’m here to hold that space for you to sift through the stories you’ve lived with compassion. I’m here to walk with you as you mourn the hard things, the dark places in yourself and in others. I’m here to rally behind your mission, calling, and purpose whatever they may be.
This is the world we can create in healing and reclamation, and this is just the beginning.
Reason #4: I created #patriarchydetox because patriarchal power dynamics are a baseline part of our stories that we often don’t question. If you haven’t figured this out already, I’m into questioning everything.
But really, it’s so important to know WHY we do what we do. This challenge is an invitation to deeper intention. It’s an investigation to discover how a main structure of society intersects with who YOU are.
We are only powerless when we choose not to claim our influence. We are powerless when we shut our eyes, and plug our ears. Living our lives on autopilot is always dangerous, to us and to those who trip over the bags we refuse to unpack.
I’m going to get a little vulnerable, and share that this is the case especially in spaces of faith. I think we tend to assume that if we partake in spiritual practices and beliefs we can avoid really getting to know ourselves. We hang a cross on the closet door that we’ve shoved all of our insecurity, fear, and shame in, and think that makes us good.
For my fellow Christians - Grace and forgiveness doesn’t mean we don’t live with the consequences of our actions, and of living in a cursed world. If we don’t evaluate the structures that our world is based on, how can we recognize them when they show up in our churches?
“The World” isn’t always sex, drugs, yoga pants, and rock n’ roll. More often “The World” is fear of not being enough, fear of not having enough, fear of being wrong, fear of not being good. Looking for quick, cheap, and easy fixes to our problems in life, and getting caught up in comparison traps. Patriarchy isn’t a system based in faith, patriarchy is a “worldly” system that we ALL must fight if we want to live wholehearted, autonomous lives of faith.
Reason #5: I created the patriarchy detox challenge because I hate men. JUST KIDDING. I actually created Patriarchy Detox because I hold deep respect and love for many wonderful men in my life, and I want to see THEM free from these harmful structures too.
My repeatable phrase in this challenge is that Patriarchy is a SYSTEM, it doesn’t mean “men are evil.”
Patriarchy is the SYSTEM that tells men the only socially acceptable way of processing their emotions is through anger.
Patriarchy is the SYSTEM that suppresses the infinite ways to define “masculine” and “feminine”
Patriarchy is the SYSTEM that teaches men to see women as consumable
Patriarchy is the SYSTEM that cuts many men off from learning how to nurture themselves and their communities
Patriarchy is the SYSTEM that teaches us all to equate connection with weakness (and femininity)
Patriarchy hurts men too. We need to debunk this myth once and for all, that the system of patriarchy benefits men, and we women are just fighting for our fair share of power. No. Patriarchy is poison that turns us on each other, limits all of our potential, and creates spaces of isolation instead of spaces of connection.
This challenge is based in my, feminine, experience of patriarchy, but men are also welcome. It’s equally important (if not more important!) for men to unpack the role patriarchy has played in their lives. It’s not easy work, but it’s worthwhile. I’m all about sisterhood, but we need our men to live into the full spectrum of their identities too. We need our men healed and whole.
I could probably make a month long series on why it's so important to examine the role stories like patriarchy play in our lives, but I'll save that for after I finish my book. I am, however, so psyched to do this challenge with you all. The challenge will be open from Monday, 1/7/19, through Friday, 1/11/19, and if you'd like details on what's involved and how to sign up, click on over here.
See you on the other side!
So I told you I would be featuring some fantastic Indigenous women this month, and I'm so excited to introduce you to the first one! Cali is Sičháŋǧu Lakȟóta from the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. She is a trauma nurse, blogger, and ambassador for Native Women's Wilderness.
Cali details her journey to embracing her heritage on her blog, Through Her Native Eyes. Cali and I originally connected on Instagram. Her posts are beautiful, educational, and heartfelt. Her blog shares her story, Indigenous history, and how to be an ally to Indigenous peoples. I also loved her guest post discussing what it's like traveling as a Native woman, and how we can be respectful of Indigenous peoples and the history of Native lands.
Cali's love for nature and hiking has been essential as she has been called back to her heritage. Now she advocates for diversity and representation in outdoor and hiking industries, and is an ambassador for Native Women's Wilderness.
You may remember Native Women's Wilderness from last weeks post introducing the unique challenges Native Women face, and the fantastic organizations rising to meet those challenges. They are a Native run initiative that inspires and raises the voices of Native Women in the Outdoor Realm. They encourage a healthy lifestyle grounded in the Wilderness, and educate Natives and non-Natives on the rich beauty and heritage of the Ancestral Lands beneath our feet. (adapted from Native Womens Wilderness mission statement.)
Cali has become a strong advocate for her people, and justice for missing and murdered Indigenous women. I love her story so much. I'm inspired by her concentrated intention and determination to reconnect with and uncover her heritage and cultural traditions. I'm challenged by her calls to action and equity. I relate strongly to her love for the wilderness, and I'm galvanized by her hope.
I was so honored to have Cali answer a few questions for this post!
I loved your post "Being Native in a White World" and how shared so beautifully about your personal history. What has it been like for you more recently as you've been embracing your heritage? Do you feel like it has been a homecoming in a way?
"I feel like I have finally had the honor of truly getting to know myself. There were parts of me that were covered, hidden and ignored for so long. I’ve had a few moments recently where I’m like… “everything makes so much sense now.” I lived a lot of my life unhappy, with no true identity. So growing into my newly reclaimed identity has been life changing for me."
Tell us a little bit about your ambassadorship with Native Womens Wilderness.
"When I was contacted about becoming an ambassador for NWW, it was an obvious yes. I had been growing into my Lakota identity and finding my voice, while simultaneously reconnecting to the outdoors. So to be able to embrace both as they intersect is a huge honor for me. NWW is applying for it’s 501c3 status this year, and we have been focusing on obtaining sponsors so we can provide gear and funding to Native girls and women, sending Native girls and women to outdoor camps and participating in DEI (diversity, equity, inclusion) work within the outdoor industry. We have some really exciting and big plans for next year!"
If you could recommend a few resources for my readers and myself to become better educated on Indigenous peoples and their history, what would those be?
"The entire #TravelingWhileNative series on HNTTLABB.
An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz.
Be sure that you are reading books and articles from Native authors."
What does decolonizing mean to you?
"For me, decolonizing has been learning Lakhotiyapi (Lakota language), returning to ceremony and fully embracing my identity as a Lakota winyan (woman)."
How do you and / or the native communities that you're part of generally feel about the Thanksgiving holiday?
"I can’t speak for the entire Native community, but my family has always used this as a time to be together and enjoy good food. I would never want anyone to miss out on family time, but I do think it is important to acknowledge the truth surrounding the day and how it came to be."
I LOVE spotlighting amazing women for you all to follow, learn from, and support. Besides thankfulness, November and the Thanksgiving holiday are often when we remember what we know of our roots, and stories of the “First Thanksgiving”. Unfortunately, the mental picture of peoples from vastly different backgrounds sharing a meal and tenuous peace is often where our understanding of Indigenous Americans ends. So this month, I have a treat for you. I am going to link you up with fantastic Indigenous women to follow and learn from. Let’s expand our understanding of and respect for these women together.
Today, I want to share just a little of what I’ve learned as background. For the last couple years I have been actively working to fill my social media feeds with people who are different from me. Originally this started out as resistance to diet culture. I wanted to follow women who looked different from me because I wanted to build new pathways of what “normal” looked like in my brain. But as I followed these other women, and started learning about their lives and struggles, it became something more.
I realized that representation doesn’t only affect our self image through showing us airbrushed and photoshopped versions of reality.
Representation shapes our communal understanding of each other.
To put it more plainly, we understand and assume that most people are like us, the people we know, and those we see represented in media and government. We have more empathy for those people because their stories and lives feel familiar.
I used to think representation wasn’t a big deal, until I started paying attention to those who I really didn’t see represented. They showed me new worlds full of perspectives and histories I had never considered.
Violence against women has been headlining lately. I’m glad to see women gaining their bite, and a movement forming. But Indigenous women have been especially vulnerable to sexual violence for centuries, due to unjust legislation and lack of priority. Non indigenous people visiting a reservation were not chargeable with crimes committed on that reservation until the VAWA act was passed in 2013. 1776 to 2013 held 237 years of crimes (against Indigenous women) that were not able to be prosecuted. As of this year, there are 5,712 missing and / or murdered Native women.
According to the Indian Law & Resource Center;
“In the United States, violence against indigenous women has reached unprecedented levels on tribal lands and in Alaska Native villages. More than 4 in 5 American Indian and Alaska Native women have experienced violence, and more than 1 in 2 have experienced sexual violence. Alaska Native women continue to suffer the highest rate of forcible sexual assault and have reported rates of domestic violence up to 10 times higher than in the rest of the United States. Though available data is limited, the number of missing and murdered American Indian and Alaska Native women and the lack of a diligent and adequate federal response is extremely alarming to indigenous women, tribal governments, and communities. On some reservations, indigenous women are murdered at more than ten times the national average.”
When I first heard these numbers, it was staggering. I thought about how how most of the women that I know have experienced harassment or assault in some way, and that all of us have felt unsafe because of our gender at one point or another. Then I thought about how our “normal” could be so. much. worse. There’s knowing that female genital mutilation and gendercide are still happening on the other side of the globe, and that is terrible. It’s another thing entirely to realize the breadth and nuance of what Indigenous women are facing right here.
Here’s the thing about fighting for equity and equality. We aren’t here, til we are ALL here.
If our version of morality, faith, spirituality, or equality only works for people who look and think like us, we need to do better.
Sometimes that means coming up against hard things in ourselves. We must build the resilience to do this work.
I’m not writing this post to guilt anyone. There are myriad causes that we can (and many times should) be aware of. It can be overwhelming to absorb so much information, and if you’re an empath like me, emotionally exhausting. Resilience is my repeating mantra here.
We do what we can, with the understanding that as we learn our capacity for growth and affecting positive change will increase.
I’m going to leave you with a few really actionable and positive steps to take to improve your understanding and, if you choose, help Indigenous women gain safety.
The first thing we can do, and it’s often free, is educate ourselves. Amnesty USA has a PDF explaining the nuance in legislation that vastly contributes to Indigenous women’s lack of safety.
There are non-profits run by Indigenous peoples to combat violence against Indigenous women like
Native Womens Wilderness is a Native run initiative that inspires and raises the voices of Native Women in the Outdoor Realm. They encourage a healthy lifestyle grounded in the Wilderness, and educate Natives and non-Natives on the rich beauty and heritage of the Ancestral Lands beneath our feet. (adapted from Native Womens Wilderness mission statement.)
The White Buffalo Calf Woman Society is committed to providing shelter and advocacy for individuals victimized by violence. They recognize the necessity of a multi-faceted approach –the need to develop an effective response to systems in our community such as health, criminal justice, and other institutions that minimize violence against woman. They also believe it is necessary to raise community awareness by naming what has happened to them as indigenous women. At the same time, they recognize that responding to systems may or may not make significant institutional changes that will stop violence against women. Therefore, they are also dedicated to exploring and creating actions that will move us toward a social transformation that will allow equity for women.
(Adapted from The White Buffalo Calf Woman Society Facebook page)
Mending the Sacred Hoop grew out of regional organizing efforts and a Native women’s advocacy and support group for survivors of domestic violence in Duluth, MN in the 1980s. They began as a Native program operating within the Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs (DAIP), with the goal of changing the way systems and service people respond to American Indian people. Their first funded project was conducting systems advocacy and intervention: organizing a Coordinated Community Response (CCR) to domestic violence with Carlton County and the Fond du Lac Reservation in northeastern Minnesota.
(Adapted from Mending The Sacred Hoop Website)
The Mission of National Indigenous Womens Resource Center is to support and uphold grassroots advocacy by creating and enhancing the capacity of Native communities to end gender based violence through technical assistance, education, public awareness and policy development. NIWRC’s vision is to restore safety of Native women and their communities by upholding the inherent sovereignty of Indigenous Peoples. (from NIWRC website)
Native Hope believes in the power of storytelling to dismantle barriers, bring healing, and inspire hope for Native people. Why? Because telling stories of Native struggle and Native strength is a powerful catalyst for unity, generational healing, and personal growth. Each of us has an evolving story which no one else can write. Native Hope believe that healing for Native people starts with a vulnerable recounting of where one has been, where one is today, and where one wants to be tomorrow. That's why we tell stories. (adapted from Native Hope website)
Taking positive action can look like reading these (and other) websites, subscribing to their newsletters, and financially supporting them.
We can expand our mindsets by purposely following, supporting, and learning from Indigenous peoples on social media.
We can respect the sacred things in Indigenous culture, and abstain from degrading them to the level of personal trinkets.
We can make sure that if we buy clothing, jewelry, or household items featuring patterns from Indigenous culture, that they are made by (and the profits of the sale go to) Indigenous artisans.
We can allow the perspectives and histories of the Indigenous communities to show us their communal narratives, teach us, and broaden our mindsets.
If you've read any of my work, you know I'm all about building up other women and boosting their signals. The belief that drives this for me is a conviction that we all need each others gifts. We are not whole, until we are all whole. We haven't arrived until we all have arrived.
We are not safe until we are all safe.
I have just started my journey of learning about and from Indigenous communities and cultures. This post is not about me or my experience. This post is an arrow to the communities and women that I am learning from, so that we can grow together.
The last two weeks I talked about authors that have been instrumental in my life. But today I want to talk about a woman I know personally, who always encourages my growth.
My friend, Lorri, has faced a lot of challenges in her life. Single parenthood, kids with serious health concerns, an abusive ex, stories a lot of us can relate to.
I find her so inspiring.
She is one of the most grounded women that I know when it comes to her faith. No matter what she’s going through, she is always looking up. She is always looking for ways to serve, even in the middle of her own crisis.
She is always looking for ways to educate herself and grow. She is unpacking and laying out the path for her healing journey, and deciding which of her old, faithful, coping mechanisms might not be serving her the best now. She reads, she teaches, she learns new languages in her spare time.
She is a thoughtful and present parent to her kids, who are mostly grown now. She is moving into adult relationships with them and guiding them through the first steps of college, jobs, and first cars.
She talks about writing books, and for all your sake I hope she follows through, because I’ve only skimmed the top of her story.
I love sitting down and getting a heart to heart with Lorri.
When it comes to faith, we may not always agree on interpretations of scripture or all of our belief patterns, but we respect each others journeys.
This is something I want to see more of in Christian faith communities. We are divided for many reasons. I’m not going to bore you with a detailed explanation of how the denominations came to be (hint: they exploded during abolition and civil rights movements…) but when we separate ourselves from everyone who believes something slightly different than we do, it’s isolating and dangerous.
We need to know how to have healthy relationships and conversations with people we disagree with.
We need to know how to respect people we disagree with.
I saw an Instagram post this past week stating how a Christian woman read about an author, and then unfollowed her and stopped reading her book because the author didn’t line up with her theological beliefs.
Here’s the thing. The Bible tells us to beware of false teachers. But if your theological beliefs are so flimsy that just reading about another woman’s journey or walk makes you rethink them, maybe you SHOULD be rethinking them.
Jesus says in that same passage that we will know which teachers are of God by their fruit. Is the fruit of their lives and work loving, joyful, peaceful, compassionate? This is the fruit of the spirit. I don’t know about you, but I grew up with teachers ensconced in our religious circles who couldn’t claim that fruit.
It’s sobering to consider that not being able to share mutual respect in faith is fruit.
What belief systems and theologies led to our total intolerance of the walk of a brother or sister in faith?
So here are some sisterhood marching orders: Go sit down with a woman who has a different story than you, who holds some different beliefs from you, and practice mutual respect and love. Pray together. Support each other. Affirm each other in your journeys.
The fact that we aren’t all the same is beautiful, not scary. We don’t all hold the same gifts or functions in faith, and that’s reason for celebration, not disconnection.
If you’re looking for some ways to reach out in love and practice non judgement and respect, take a look at my post from Monday for five mantras to nurture compassion!
As always, thank you for walking with me.
I had never heard of Jen Hatmaker, but her book “Of Mess and Moxie” was chosen for my groups first book club. Bonus, it was available at my local library. DOUBLE bonus, the audiobook was available on the library app, and I had a long drive to make. Have you ever read the perfect book at the perfect time? That’s what happened here. I was in the very beginning stages of thinking that I *might* need more sisterhood and support from other women in my life.
Jens book had me in tears within the first ten minutes, which is only slightly dangerous when driving. First, she reads the audiobook, which is my favorite. I always prefer to hear the author read their own words, because they know exactly how to put across the meaning of what they’ve written.
Second, Jen feels like the best girlfriend you never had. I wanted to camp on her porch by the end of the book and that’s saying a lot for this introvert.
Third, she is a couple life stages past me, and reading about her life and challenges and relationships enabled me to look into a future that in many ways I could choose to build for myself. She gave me a map to building deep, fulfilling relationships, and showed me a picture of what that can look like. It took a lot for that to sink in through the “safer alone” mantra I had been living for years.
When I was done with the book, I needed more. So I looked up her “for the love” podcast.
Friends. Jen has a gift (and / or a talented team) for picking amazing guests. She interviews all kinds of people for all kinds of reasons, but at this point in my life, I was looking for women. She was just starting a series called “for the love of girlfriends” which had ways to develop those deep relationships as a central theme. I ate it up. I reference multiple women I found through Jen’s podcast in my book (coming next year!) because she just has such fantastic conversations, and picks such insightful guests doing really powerful work.
Through her podcast I’ve discovered:
Shasta Nelson and her book, “Frientimacy”
Latasha Morrison and her program, “Be The Bridge”
Rachel Held Evans and her book, “Inspired”
Jo Saxton and her book, “The Dream of You” as well as her podcast, which is also one of my favorites, “Lead Stories Podcast”
Nichole Nordeman and her album, “Every Mile Mattered”
Sara Cunningham and her “Free Mom Hugs” movement
Austin Channing Brown and her book, “I’m Still Here”
Becca Stevens and her business & ministry, Thistle Farms
Here’s the powerful thing about discovering a lot of powerful women. You realize that you can be one of them. When you hear enough stories of grit, determination, and yes, moxie, you start realizing that you can do YOUR thing, whatever that is for you.
So check out Jen Hatmakers book (available on amazon and at libraries!) “Of Mess and Moxie” and her podcast “For the Love”. But I’m warning you, it might be life changing.
“They won’t tell you fairytales of how girls can be dangerous and still win.
They will only tell you stories where girls are sweet and kind and reject all sin.
I guess to them it’s a terrifying thought, a red riding hood
who knew exactly what she was doing when she invited the wild in.”
Meanwhile - Nikita Gill
Salem MA, right in our backyard, is a Halloween destination. Haunted Happenings lists all of the ways you and your family can get the full experience. Of course the reason Salem is on the map is much more sinister - the Salem Witch Trials from 1692-1693. This phenomenon and paranoia left over 200 people accused of witchcraft, and 20 lost their lives.
I grew up knowing that the witch trials happened, of course, but looking back now I think we have much to learn from our history, and some hope to draw too. The Salem Witch Trials came on the heels of massive witch hunts across Europe. This cultural history spanned over 300 years, and came with the puritans across the ocean. Theocratic government - religion chosen and enforced as law came with them as well.
The Theocracy made witch hunting a natural part of the Pope Gregory the IX Inquisition, fully sanctioned by church and state alike. All the witch hunts - both in Europe and Salem were fed by fear, closed mindedness, corrupt power dynamics, and lack of understanding. Suspects were imprisoned inhumanely and cruelly tortured until confession and death seemed their best choice.
It’s roughly estimated that tens of thousands of people in Europe, mostly women, were executed as witches. This seeps into our lore and fairy tales, as does the fear of a strong, intuitive woman. The crone or hag is a mythical archetype woven into lore from every country and culture. Much of the "damning" evidence for witchcraft was herbal mixtures of plants which were poisonous and hallucinogens. Applying these to sensitive areas gave a high without causing severe illness or death, which ingestion would cause. Whether or not it was labeled as witchcraft, these rituals were not looked on kindly by the theocratic government. Witch hunts were a very real way to strip women of personal pleasure or bodily autonomy.
Our stories and lore extol the sweet, virtuous maidens and princesses, while casting shadow and doubt on the crones, the witches, the hags. In “The Women Who Run With Wolves” Clarissa Pinklola Estes talks about the history of these characters. The old, wise, woman, often represents the Wild Woman archetype. But we overlook her because she is not “pretty”. She does not meet our specifications of Heroine. She is too weathered, is missing too many teeth, and to hold space for her, we must face the dark wild in ourselves.
Some days I look at our current social climate and see the same themes:
Abuse of power and corruption
Fear of what we don’t understand
Fear of others who aren’t like us
Fear of different belief systems, cultures, and religions
Searching for reasons that bad things happened to us or our loved ones
Searching for ways to right a perceived slight or a vendetta
Fear of the fully embodied and unleashed Feminine
But there’s another theme that I draw from Salem’s story, and one I think we should hang on to.
The turn around.
The fact that this is where the witch hunts stopped. It’s sad irony that the witch hunt in Salem started losing steam when the Governor’s wife was accused. The humanity seeped in when she was someone (someone importants') wife. If she had just been “someone” she may have been number 21. But hey, for 1693 that’s progressive and I’ll take it.
The hope I see in this gruesome and sobering story is this:
We decide what traditions and vices we hang on to, and pass on to the next generation.
We decide what stops with us. I know for me, the work I am putting in can feel like an uphill battle. I don’t just mean blogging! I mean the healing work, the therapy, the reading and developing my mindset. Calling out misogyny, being totally honest about where my integrity and yes, my faith, lead me regardless of response. In another 300 years, it’s possible and even likely no one will know who I was. But I can also choose to stand with my sisterhood of women in making history, saying that #timesup.
We may not be witches (well some of us may be, but not THAT kind!) but we hold the power to craft the future that women are looking back on in another 325 years. I’m not just talking about protesting, or hashtagging, or social justice warrioring, although all those things have merit.
Moms, I’m talking about what you say to your sons and daughters.
I’m talking about how seriously you take their “no” and how much autonomy you encourage.
I’m talking about giving your sons tools to process their emotions, and your daughters opportunities to get messy, be loud, and find their voices.
I’m talking about teaching ourselves that we matter, by prioritizing our own needs, as women, above the convenience and comfort of everyone else in our lives.
I’m talking about advocating for ourselves, claiming our space, and waking up to the full understanding that our healing is of so much more importance than our waistlines.
I’m talking about using our energy to build community and sisterhood, instead of counting weight watchers points.
I'm talking about doing the work to understand what power dynamics we benefit from, and leveraging our advantages to help those who were born in different social landscapes.
The women of 2,343 are counting on us to show up for them. To craft a world where they don’t feel the need to hold their keys between their fingers when they walk down the street after dark.
Where pepper spray isn’t a common keychain accessory.
Where every other girl and woman doesn't have a #metoo story.
Where they can stand on the shoulders of women who have done excruciating work, and reach the stars.
Let’s be those women.
For me, Salem is famous yes, for the executions of
Bridget Bishop (née Playfer; executed June 10, 1692)
Rebecca Nurse (née Towne; July 19, 1692)
Sarah Good (formerly Poole, née Solart; July 19, 1692)
Elizabeth Howe (née Jackson; July 19, 1692)
Susannah Martin (née North; July 19, 1692)
Sarah Wildes (née Averill; July 19, 1692)
George Burroughs (August 19, 1692)
George Jacobs Sr. (August 19, 1692)
Martha Carrier (née Allen; August 19, 1692)
John Proctor (August 19, 1692)
John Willard (August 19, 1692)
Martha Corey (September 22, 1692; wife of Giles Corey)
Mary Eastey (née Towne; September 22, 1692)
Mary Parker (née Ayer; September 22, 1692)
Alice Parker (September 22, 1692)
Ann Pudeator (September 22, 1692)
Wilmot Redd (September 22, 1692)
Margaret Scott (September 22, 1692)
Samuel Wardwell Sr. (September 22, 1692)
Giles Corey (September 19, 1692) - Pressed to death.
Bethany Shafer (october 21,1692)
But the fact that they were the last. This fall as you enjoy Halloween with your family, remember these men and women. Think about what about our world, based in fear and control, you might want to see end with you, or your generation.
Looking for more Fall posts? Check out my favorite Connecticut Blogger Babes below! We've linked up for an October Blog Hop. Want to participate too? Add your link!
I have joked recently that the fact I’m a photographer for hire is my best kept secret. I’ve never been good at self promotion. This year, I decided I was going to get back in touch with my inner creative, and what a ride it’s been.
I imagined getting in touch with my inner creative to be like Merida in Brave chasing willow the wisps; in a word:
The reality has not been ethereal, unless you consider ethereal sleepless nights and distracted days, constantly jotting and plotting ideas. I am telling myself that after years of barely giving my Creative a passing glance, she is making up for lost time, but there’s also a possibility that this is just life now.
I made the decision that I would post daily to Instagram in June. I had written some posts and felt I needed specific imagery for them, and did a last minute shout out on facebook to see who could make it to the beach for a photoshoot.
The perfect group showed up for me, and the results were magical. You see them all over my website and branding, because I can’t imagine a more perfect visual to accompany messages of sisterhood and empowerment.
When I thought about engaging creatively, I thought maybe I would write more, or do some projects around the house. I really didn’t think that it would revive my photography, but it has.
I also didn't count on the impact getting together this group of women would have. We ALL were empowered. We all left feeling like we had a stronger support system and connection. We all left feeling less alone in our femininity. We practiced and embodied taking up space. We practiced and embodied not smiling for someone else. We got dirty, we played, and we had such a wonderful time. In the end, I have these photos all over because they fit. But also because they inspire me, and every time I look at them I think of my badass friends showing up with less than 24hrs notice just because I asked them to.
The scary thing about the roles and stories we are handed as women is how ingrained they are. When we actively flip that script, and move in ways we are told to never move, and pose in ways we are taught not to pose, we practice reclamation.
Fair warning: if you ask to awaken your inner creative, be prepared. You might just end up chasing the moon.
Welcome to Woman Up Wednesday!
Where I link you up with the women who have had incredibly powerful impact on my life. A huge part of my why is to show other girls and women that they have options. They have ways to explore their creativity and healing. Growing up in extremely conservative Christian church circles, I knew from a really young age what I didn’t want for my life. We knew some fantastic families and women, but my inner empath is a powerful detector of pain and lack of fulfillment. A large percentage of the women we knew weren’t happy or free. They weren’t living into their callings, they were living the life they were told made them holy.
I knew that path wasn’t for me, however I didn’t have other women to look up to and follow that showed alternatives. I finally sought them out in my adult life. I am so excited to bring them to you, and share the impact they’ve had on me and my journey.
So, let me introduce you to Erin Brown! Erin is an author, activist and speaker from Lawrence, Kansas. I found Erin through Girls Gone Strong several years ago, when she (and I) were more focused on empowering fitness. Her books and presence have played a vital role in my healing. There are three, and she is working on a fourth which I can’t wait to get my hands on.
Soon after Sovereign came out, Erin released affirmation cards. I use these almost daily. Having those cards and her books is like having her sitting next to me, sharing her wealth of experience and all the healing work she has done. Empathizing and affirming me, while still calling me to be and do more. Erin released these cards when I was actively moving through seasonal depression, and they were a complete lifeline in that season specifically.
Erin also came to Connecticut (!) and hosted a “Sovereign” workshop in January. It was phenomenal, and probably as close as I’ve come to fangirling over anyone I’ve met. My version of fangirling equals watching them closely from a corner, gathering the courage to ask for one selfie, and driving home in a trance.
It’s really hard for me to fully quantify the impact Erin has had on my life through her work.
Her instagram stories remind me she’s a real, human, woman.
How she talks about parenting, and Letters to Lola, reminds me that it’s possible to break cycles of trauma for the next generation. That our healing not only matters, but is vital to healing our world.
Engaging with her through social media shows me the life of an artist and creator.
Participating in her many projects has shown me that growing and changing as a creator and artist is amazing, that we can always continue to reinvent without shame.
Reading Sovereign, and regularly using her affirmation cards as mantras, has constantly reminded me to keep choosing my integrity.
She has reminded me I am capable.
She has reminded me I am strong.
She has reminded me that those who are meant for me, will keep walking with me on my growth journey.
She has reminded me to seek healing.
She has reminded me to seek a sisterhood.
She has reminded me I’m worthy.
She has reminded me to take care of myself, but to keep showing up.
So, if you’re not already following her; let me formally introduce you! Her books and cards are linked through the pictures above, but can be found on Amazon, and her instagram is @iamerinbrown
Her website is www.iamerinbrown.info
I hope she illuminates your healing journey as wonderfully as she has mine.
Megan is a writer and creator from Wallingford, CT. She is passionate about empowering women to step into the full power and identity they were created to embrace and claim.