“Capitalism not only denies the majority any real control over their lives, it also insists that this unfair arrangement be accepted as normal. To contain rebellion, all who are impoverished and oppressed are treated as personally inadequate, biologically defective, mentally ill – anything other than the victims of a heartless and exploitive system.”—Susan Rosenthal | Mental Illness or Social Sickness? (via antineutral)
“I must say a word about fear. It is life’s only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary…It begins in your mind, always … so you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don’t, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you.”—Yann Martel, Life of Pi (via wordsnquotes)
“Lately, I’ve been thinking about who I want to love, and how I want to love, and why I want to love the way I want to love, and what I need to learn to love that way, and who I need to become to become the kind of love I want to be… and when I break it all down, when I whittle it into a single breath, it essentially comes out like this: Before I die, I want to be somebody’s favorite hiding place, the place they can put everything they know they need to survive, every secret, every solitude, every nervous prayer, and be absolutely certain I will keep it safe. I will keep it safe.”—Andrea Gibson (via earnestly)
“Not all toxic people are cruel and uncaring. Some of them love us dearly. Many of them have good intentions. Most are toxic to our being simply because their needs and way of existing in the world force us to compromise ourselves and our happiness. They aren’t inherently bad people, but they aren’t the right people for us. And as hard as it is, we have to let them go. Life is hard enough without being around people who bring you down, and as much as you care, you can’t destroy yourself for the sake of someone else. You have to make your wellbeing a priority. Whether that means breaking up with someone you care about, loving a family member from a distance, letting go of a friend, or removing yourself from a situation that feels painful — you have every right to leave and create a safer space for yourself.”—Daniell Koepke (via copingskillstoolbox)
“Highly sensitive people are too often perceived as weaklings or damaged goods. To feel intensely is not a symptom of weakness, it is the trademark of the truly alive and compassionate. It is not the empath who is broken, it is society that has become dysfunctional and emotionally disabled. There is no shame in expressing your authentic feelings. Those who are at times described as being a ‘hot mess’ or having ‘too many issues’ are the very fabric of what keeps the dream alive for a more caring, humane world. Never be ashamed to let your tears shine a light in this world.”—Anthon St. Maarten (via justalittlegreen)
“You go away, and I seem not to exist for you. I don’t understand. I don’t know what you want, or what I am! You write to me like a lover, you treat me like a casual acquaintance! Casual acquaintance, no; but a friend, yes. I’ve always told you I foresaw that solution, and accepted it in advance. But a certain consistence of affection is a fundamental part of friendship. One must know what to hold on to. And just as I think we have reached that stage, you revert abruptly to the other relation, and assume that I have noticed no change in you, and that I have not suffered or wondered at it, but have carried on my life in serene insensibility until you chose to enter again suddenly into it. I have borne all these inconsistencies and incoherences as long as I could, because I love you so much, and because I am so sorry for things in your life that are difficult and wearing—but I have never been capricious or exacting, I have never, I think, added to those difficulties, but have tried to lighten them for you by a frank and faithful friendship. Only now a sense of my worth, and a sense also that I can bear no more, makes me write this to you.”—Edith Wharton, from a letter to Morton Fullerton (via violentwavesofemotion)
“I don’t want to stand before you
like a thing, shrewd, secretive.
I want my own will, and I want
simply to be with my will,
as it goes toward action.
And in the silent, sometimes hardly moving times,
when something is coming near,
I want to be with those who know
secret things or else alone.
I want to unfold.
I don’t want to be folded anywhere,
because where I am folded,
there I am a lie.”—Rainer Maria Rilke (via observando)
When you live in the dark for so long, you begin to love it. And it loves you back, and isn’t that the point? You think, the face turns to the shadows, and just as well. It accepts, it heals, it allows.
“When you commit to doing something, you make a promise to yourself. And when you break that promise out of laziness, discouragement, or fear, you are only cheating yourself. You are not “getting away with something.” You are only getting away from your own potential. When you commit to making your dream come true, that is the promise you simply decide to never, ever break. It doesn’t matter how many times you get discouraged, or exhausted, or frustrated, you just remember that you have not given yourself the option to quit. That is what commitment is — when the idea of ever stopping your efforts simply doesn’t exist. You have infinite patience and resilience because there is no other option. You have the ability to bear the pain and frustration because you must find a way to beat it. It doesn’t mean it won’t feel hard to press on — it might feel impossible, and yet you still find a way to keep going. You simply always press on. At a certain point, all your effort and energy and power is only directed towards your dream, and you no longer have to waste any energy on trying to motivate yourself to keep going.”—On discouragement. (via girlinlondon)
“You see, I take the parts that I remember and stitch them back together
to make a creature that will do what I say
or love me back.”—Richard Siken, excerpt of Litany in Which Certain Things are Crossed Out (via camilla-macauley)
[…] A mature, realistic peacemaker will be the first to tell you, once the cycle of violence has gotten to the point there’s suicide bombers looking to blow themselves up in your midst or psychopathic killers looking to chop off your head, the peace process needs to concentrate on self preservation. It’s important, here, not to escalate beyond self-preservation into a vengeful orgy.
What seems to me the most important point to make here is the need for serious, socially respected peace talks that work on a separate track from the war-making track. Yes, there is a problem with this, and that is people who live for vengeance don’t extend much respect to those who would talk peace with counterparts of the demonized enemy. And vengeance lovers tend to be the ones with the guns, the police and the prisons.
Since it’s above the fold in the news right now, I’ll use Israel/Palestine for an example. It seems to me the reason peace talks never work there is because they are totally reliant on a pre-existing climate of peace. This is as absurd as it is true. In other words, you have to have peace (a complete cessation of all violence) in order to begin talking about peace. The only workable solution is to have peace talks on a separate social track than war decisions. A useful checks and balance dynamic within the social contract. Peace talks would go on even as suicide bombers were blowing up buses and F16s were flattening apartment houses in the neighborhood.
The question is do the combatants really want peace — or do they actually want war? The answer too often seems to be no, they really don’t want peace. Mao Zedong’s conclusion that power grows out of the barrel of a gun seems to prevail in the United States and in the Middle East.
This is so vague I love it. The voices you are hearing are real, god is speaking to you. The nation of France needs you. Don your armor, take up arms, lead the French army. This is your destiny, joan. When the flames come for you let them lick your bones and laugh.
“The paradox of vengefulness is that it makes men dependent upon those who have harmed them, believing that their release from pain will come only when their tormentors suffer.”—Laura Hillenbrand, Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption (via wordsnquotes)
“Quinoa may deliver a complete protein—all of the amino acids you require—in a compact package, but rice and beans together actually do better. And like goji berries, blueberries and strawberries are packed with phytochemicals. The only problem is that lacking an exotic back story, food marketers can’t wring as exorbitant a markup from these staples: The domestic blueberry, for example, is periodically (and justifiably) marketed as a superfood, and in 2012, products featuring blueberries as a primary ingredient saw their sales nearly quadruple. But they only raked in $3.5 million—less than 2 percent of açaí-based product sales.”—
“Worse than superfoods’ origin myths, though, are their effects on the people in their native regions. In 2009, at the height of the açaí berry hype, Bloomberg News reported that the fruit’s wholesale price had jumped 60-fold since the early 2000s, pricing the Amazonian villagers who rely on it out of the market. In the Andes, where quinoa has been cultivated since the time of the Incas, price spikes have turned a one-time staple into a luxury, and quinoa monocrops are crowding out the more sustainable traditional methods.” (emphasis mine)
So not only are the markets for “superfoods” putting the foods out of reach of the people who relied on them as a dietary staple, but there are foods easily accessible to us that deliver all the nutrition at a fraction of the cost, both to our grocery bill and to the social/environmental toll.
“Most writers were the kids who easily, almost automatically, got A’s in English class. (There are exceptions, but they often also seem to be exceptions to the general writerly habit of putting off writing as long as possible.) At an early age, when grammar school teachers were struggling to inculcate the lesson that effort was the main key to success in school, these future scribblers gave the obvious lie to this assertion. Where others read haltingly, they were plowing two grades ahead in the reading workbooks. These are the kids who turned in a completed YA novel for their fifth-grade project. It isn’t that they never failed, but at a very early age, they didn’t have to fail much; their natural talents kept them at the head of the class.
This teaches a very bad, very false lesson: that success in work mostly depends on natural talent. Unfortunately, when you are a professional writer, you are competing with all the other kids who were at the top of their English classes. Your stuff may not—indeed, probably won’t—be the best anymore.
If you’ve spent most of your life cruising ahead on natural ability, doing what came easily and quickly, every word you write becomes a test of just how much ability you have, every article a referendum on how good a writer you are. As long as you have not written that article, that speech, that novel, it could still be good. Before you take to the keys, you are Proust and Oscar Wilde and George Orwell all rolled up into one delicious package. By the time you’re finished, you’re more like one of those 1940’s pulp hacks who strung hundred-page paragraphs together with semicolons because it was too much effort to figure out where the sentence should end.”—
Side by side, not hand in hand: I watch you walking in the summer garden—things that can’t move learn to see; I do not need to chase you through the garden; human beings leave sings of feeling everywhere, flowers scattered on the dirt path, all white and gold, some lifted a little by the evening wind; I do not need to follow where you are now, deep in the poisonous field, to know the cause of your flight, human passion or rage: for what else would you let drop all you have gathered?
While much of the sex in Fifty Shades is as cruel and sadistic as in mainstream porn, it is expertly packaged for women who want a “fairy tale” ending. In male-targeted porn, the woman is interesting only for as long as the sex lasts. Once done with her, the man is onto the next, and the next, and the next. … She is disposable, interchangeable, and easily replaced. No happy ending here for women.
In Fifty Shades, however, the naïve, immature, bland Anastasia is, for some unfathomable reason, the most compelling woman our rich, sadistic, narcissistic hero has ever met, and he not only kisses her during sex (something you rarely see in Internet hardcore porn) but he doesn’t move on to the next conquest once he has had his wicked way with her. In fact, he actually marries her and confesses undying love. As one of the female fans I interviewed said, this is like Pretty Woman all over again.
Indeed, Fifty Shades is about as realistic as Pretty Woman. How many prostitutes do you know who end up living in marital bliss with a former john? I would guess about the same number of women who live happily ever after with a man who dictates, in a written contract, what to eat and wear, and when to exercise, wax, and sleep. In my work, I meet many women who started out like our heroine, only to end up, a few years later, not in luxury homes, but running for their lives to a battered women’s shelter with a couple of equally terrified kids in tow. No happy ending here, either.
In his book on batterers, Lundy Bancroft provides a list of potentially dangerous signs to watch out for from boyfriends. Needless to say, Mr. Grey is the poster boy of the list, not only with his jealous, controlling, stalking, sexually sadistic behavior, but his hypersensitivity to what he perceives as any slight against him, his whirlwind romancing of a younger, less powerful woman, and his Jekyll-and-Hyde mood swings. Any one of these is potentially dangerous, but a man who exhibits them all is lethal.
And yet women of all ages are swooning over this guy and misreading his obsessive, cruel behavior as evidence of love and romance. Part of the reason for this is that his wealth acts as a kind of up-market cleansing cream for his abuse, and his pathological attachment to Anastasia is reframed as devotion, since he showers luxury items on her. This is a very retrograde and dangerous world for our daughters to buy into, and speaks to the appalling lack of any public consciousness as to the reality of violence against women.
Fifty Shades also reveals just how pornographic our culture has become over the last decade or so. While the old Harlequin romance novels had narcissistic heroes who toyed, sexually and psychologically, with their much younger prey, however remote and emotionally challenged he was, the hero did not have a torture chamber tucked away in his basement. Fifty Shades of Grey is Harlequin on steroids, a kind of romance novel for the porn age in which overt sexual sadism masquerades as adoration and love. New as this is, the ending remains depressingly the same for real women who end up falling for the Mr. Greys of the world.
“Empathy is really the opposite of spiritual meanness. It’s the capacity to understand that every war is both won and lost. And that someone else’s pain is as meaningful as your own.”—Barbara Kingsolver (via words-and-coffee)