“Toxic masculinity hurts men, but there’s a big difference between women dealing with the constant threat of being raped, beaten, and killed by the men in their lives, and men not being able to cry.”—Robert Jensen (via blondeyed)
“I was born into a line of women too afraid to leave.
My mother sleeps with her eyes open in his bed
and wills herself not to cry to strangers
when they offer her a glass of wine.
I have seen her pack her suitcase in her head
as she nervously wipes her stained red teeth,
always snapping out of it and straightening her skirt
before she makes it to the door.
Even in her dreams, she is terrified of him
not having a meal to come home to.
I did as I was taught and gave
“I love you”s like apologies,
staying even when I began mixing up
“growing up” and “giving up”
never even noticing my tongue had
slipped until I was corrected.
Five pages of my journal began with
“reasons to leave” and still,
I did not tell myself to run,
just continued to scribble things
I needed to change about myself,
saying that my shaking bones did not
excuse my shortcomings,
that I needed to be more for you.
I wish someone had told me: in the struggle to love another better,
do not forget to love yourself.
You are more than your failed relationships.
Your lovers do not shiver when you touch them
because they can feel ghosts beneath your skin.
When he talks to you about “forever”,
do not be afraid to say “no.”
You come from a line of women who
forgot what “no” tasted like,
who kept their feet out the window
but felt too guilty that someone would have to
clean up their mess to ever jump.
But you are not your mother
and do not need to put makeup on
before he wakes up
out of fear that he will see desire to be more.
You do not have to open your legs to him in sleep
because your grandmother taught you to
never turn down somebody who says
You were born on a battlefield
with white crosses in the spaces where
love took a bullet to the chest,
but you are more than a wounded soldier.
The moon is sleeping in your stomach,
waiting to remind you that
you can glow without
somebody’s hands inside of you.
I wonder if anyone ever told you:
just because he says he can
does not mean
you owe him yourself.”—
I Wonder If Anyone Told You | Lora Mathis (via lora-mathis)
“Sometimes you’re 23 and standing in the kitchen of your house making breakfast and brewing coffee and listening to music that for some reason is really getting to your heart. You’re just standing there thinking about going to work and picking up your dry cleaning. And also more exciting things like books you’re reading and trips you plan on taking and relationships that are springing into existence. Or fading from your memory, which is far less exciting. And suddenly you just don’t feel at home in your skin or in your house and you just want home but “Mom’s” probably wouldn’t feel like home anymore either. There used to be the comfort of a number in your phone and ears that listened everyday and arms that were never for anyone else. But just to calm you down when you started feeling trapped in a five-minute period where nostalgia is too much and thoughts of this person you are feel foreign. When you realize that you’ll never be this young again but this is the first time you’ve ever been this old. When you can’t remember how you got from sixteen to here and all the same feel like sixteen is just as much of a stranger to you now. The song is over. The coffee’s done. You’re going to breathe in and out. You’re going to be fine in about five minutes.”—The Winter of the Air (via berryhealthy)
“Forget stardust—you are iron. Your blood is nothing but ferrous liquid. When you bleed, you reek of rust. It is iron that fills your heart and sits in your veins. And what is iron, really, unless it’s forged?
“Here’s the thing. Men in our culture have been socialized to believe that their opinions on women’s appearance matter a lot. Not all men buy into this, of course, but many do. Some seem incapable of entertaining the notion that not everything women do with their appearance is for men to look at. This is why men’s response to women discussing stifling beauty norms is so often something like “But I actually like small boobs!” and “But I actually like my women on the heavier side, if you know what I mean!” They don’t realize that their individual opinion on women’s appearance doesn’t matter in this context, and that while it might be reassuring for some women to know that there are indeed men who find them fuckable, that’s not the point of the discussion.
Women, too, have been socialized to believe that the ultimate arbiters of their appearance are men, that anything they do with their appearance is or should be “for men.” That’s why women’s magazines trip over themselves to offer up advice on “what he wants to see you wearing” and “what men think of these current fashion trends” and “wow him with these new hairstyles.” While women can and do judge each other’s appearance harshly, many of us grew up being told by mothers, sisters, and female strangers that we’ll never “get a man” or “keep a man” unless we do X or lose some fat from Y, unless we moisturize//trim/shave/push up/hide/show/”flatter”/paint/dye/exfoliate/pierce/surgically alter this or that.
That’s also why when a woman wears revealing clothes, it’s okay, in our society, to assume that she’s “looking for attention” or that she’s a slut and wants to sleep with a bunch of guys. Because why else would a woman wear revealing clothes if not for the benefit of men and to communicate her sexual availability to them, right? It can’t possibly have anything to do with the fact that it’s hot out or it’s more comfortable or she likes how she looks in it or everything else is in the laundry or she wants to get a tan or maybe she likes women and wants attention from them, not from men?
The result of all this is that many men, even kind and well-meaning men, believe, however subconsciously, that women’s bodies are for them. They are for them to look at, for them to pass judgment on, for them to bless with a compliment if they deign to do so. They are not for women to enjoy, take pride in, love, accept, explore, show off, or hide as they please. They are for men and their pleasure.”—
I had a patient in the clinic who really did not want an abortion but who had no resources to cover the costs of prenatal care or childbirth. She was single and without insurance coverage but made just enough money to be ineligible for state assistance. She already had outstanding bills at the hospital and with the local ob-gyn practice. No doctor would see her without payment up front.
We were willing to do the abortion for a reduced rate or for free if necessary. But she really didn’t want an abortion. Once I understood her situation, I went to the phone and called the local ‘crisis pregnancy center.’
"Hello, this is Dr. Wicklund."
Dead silence. I might as well have said I was Satan.
"Hello?" I said again. "This is Dr. Wicklund."
"Hello," very tentatively, followed by another long silence.
"I need help with a patient," I said. She came to me for an abortion, but really doesn’t want one. What she really needs is someone to do her prenatal care and birth for free."
"What do you expect us to do?"
I let that hang for a minute.
This Common Secret, Susan Wicklund
Crisis Pregnancy Centers often disguise themselves as medical facilities, with advertisements offering “help” with an unplanned pregnancy. Their main goal is to keep the pregnant person from having an abortion at all costs. Usually, all they’ll give you is a free pregnancy test, some baby clothes, and maybe a box of diapers.
The patient referred to in the quote was given free prenatal care and did not have to pay the financial cost of childbirth by a local anti-choice doctor. She would often stop by Dr. Wicklund’s office to let her know how she was doing:
"He (the doctor) always moans and groans about being tricked into [doing this]," she says. "Then he goes off on these tirades against abortion."
“I tried to write you a poem
but all that came out was
a bushel of flowers.
I’m sorry that the only
metaphor I can think of
to describe how I feel
about you is:
the thought of you
makes my insides bloom.
But a field of wildflowers
has grown in my throat
since the first time I
touched you.”—The Period of Flowering | Lora Mathis (via lora-mathis)
“A study on masculinity and aggression from the University of South Florida found that innocuous – yet feminine – tasks could produce profound anxiety in men. As part of the study, a group of men were asked to perform a stereotypically feminine act – braiding hair in this case - while a control group braided rope. Following the act, the men were given the option to either solve a puzzle or punch a heavy bag. Not surprisingly, the men who performed the task that threatened their masculinity were far more likely to punch the bag; again, violence serving as a way to reestablish their masculine identity. A follow-up had both groups punch the bag after braiding either hair or rope; the men who braided the hair punched the bag much harder. A third experiment, all the participants braided hair, but were split into two groups: those who got to punch the bag afterwards and those who didn’t. The men who were prevented from punching the bag started to show acute signs of anxiety and distress from not being able to reconfirm their masculinity.”—
“I will lose you. It is written
into this poem the way
the fisherman’s wife knits
his death into the sweater.”—Gregory Orr, "The Sweater," from The Caged Owl: New and Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2002)
people act like it’s some kind of revolutionary subversion of gender roles when men do things like bake or paint, as if those things as crafts and trades have not historically been and are not still dominated by men, as if women pursuing them are not marginalized and reduced to hobbyists, i’m just saying is all
Harry disappears from the wizarding world for a little while after the fall of Voldemort and only like Ron Hermione and Ginny know where he’s gone
but he’s traveling. he considered backpacking Europe, but then he realized he’d had enough of camping for at least twenty years, so he teaches himself to drive and pulls enough strings to get himself an American drivers’ license and and then he’s off on a roadtrip in a beat-up car that’s still fast as anything. he doesn’t use magic if he can help it because it feels tainted, feels like it belongs to the war, feels like it marks him out again as someone with power and responsibility and the weight of a world on his shoulders. and for now he wants to find out what it is not to be a world-saving wizard, but just to be Harry.
and he meets a lot of strangers (he figures it’s safe enough picking up hitchhikers when they’re more than likely muggles and he’s got his wand if anything bad happens) and he learns what it’s like to be just another face, another car on the road and he learns all sorts of stuff on the radio, tries every genre out there. and it’s nice to listen to stuff that isn’t specifically designed to remind him of the wizarding world, but he finds so much of it surprisingly relatable and sometimes he just breaks down sobbing at the wheel and has to pull over.
and one of the hitchhikers he picks up is a veteran, and Harry doesn’t tell him much but he does say that he’s been a soldier, too, and it’s hard adjusting to a life that you never thought would exist because things were so hard that you could not imagine yourself after. hard to think about settling down and marrying the girl you thought you’d die loving. hard to think that not everyone around you is an enemy. were you a prisoner of war? the veteran asks. or undercover? both, says Harry. and lost, not knowing whether I was on the run or on a mission that was taking a year. I got back alive in the end but something—something’s definitely dead, you know?
how old are you, says the veteran. I’m eighteen, says Harry. the veteran raises his eyebrows. but they both know that some armies, some wars, don’t care about your age.
I think the dead thing is me, Harry says one day, when he’s going seventy in a fifty-five mile zone and the sun is setting in their eyes. when I killed the enemy, I killed myself.
and the veteran looks at him for a very long moment and Harry slows down and looks back at him and at last the man says, no. no, you lived. and you’re going to keep living, son, and one day you’ll be ready to marry that girl, if you love her, and now that you’ve got out of the war, it’s time to get the war out of you.
(they almost have a wreck when Harry pulls over to the side of the road, gets out, sits in the grass and laughs through his tears. flowers start to spring up around him and he feels the magic in his core, but this time it’s peaceful and pure and fun. unspoiled. and he knows it won’t always feel this way but for now things are leaking out of him, joyful things, because he is the boy who lived again, the boy who lived after the war.)
Way out in Seattle, young Kurt Cobain Snuck out to the greenhouse, put a bullet in his brain Snakes in the grass beneath our feet, rain in the clouds above Some moments last forever, and some flare out with Love Love Love