A solution to your madness.

Whilst sitting with my little sister in the crook of our basement couches watching old episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, I have began to ponder my future- maybe my entire life.

I’m a mere 20 years young and have many talents, not to toot my own horn or anything. I’ve been at a university for about 3 years now, and could graduate early if I had enough credits towards anything in particular.

I aspired to be a doctor. I wanted to “practice as a DO and be an OB/GYN.” I told everyone this at my graduation party after high school. I was the perfect student, athlete, and daughter.

When I got to college I realized that I was better at studying boys that weren’t my boyfriend than studying books. I was, and still am, in a small residential college of science. Everyone is obsessed with school and their books and how many points they have in all their classes. Something I had spent all my time agonizing over in high school.

In fact, my entire high school career had been spent studying and memorizing, planning for my future and fantasizing about how great of a doctor I would be.

Second semester of my freshman year, I had a breakdown. I couldn’t possibly be a doctor. I couldn’t handle the stress of holding life and death in my hands. I could barely take care of myself, yet alone deliver children from another human being every damn day. I couldn’t bear the thought of taking the MCAT. What happened if I actually got into med school? Every week would be like final exams week.

2013-02-21_00-10-41_853A photo from said breakdown.

No way. No way in hell.

Ok cool. So I decided I would concentrate my efforts in a field other than human biology.

Nutrition sounded nice. Nutritional Sciences I said over and over again to myself. I could do that. Yeah, that’s something I could do.

First semester of my Sophomore year, I came back to school with a vengeance. I had spent my summer working a crap job, earning minimum wage at a pool. Kissing the asses of rich bratty children and stay at home moms with one too many boob jobs.

I declared the major of Nutritional Sciences that I had spent all summer mulling over. Despite somewhat awkward encounters with my always naked roommate, I felt as though this whole Nutrition thing could actually work out.

Second semester of my sophomore year I became an RA. My floor partner on the guy’s side had a major stroke halfway through the semester.

The summer before my junior year of college I took the same summer job again, but decided to also take summer classes. How ingenious. I went back to school and officially trained to be an RA, a job I had spent several months doing without formal training.

During this time I also met a man who could quite possibly be the love of my life.

Over the course of a semester, I gained a new friend: anxiety.

Going to sleep at night became the worst part of my day. Waking up in the middle of the night was even worse. Covered in sweat or just plain scared out of my mind, I would awake breathless. Why couldn’t something else be taking my breath away?

I became lethargic and insensitive to myself. I moved through the days not acting the way I wanted to be acting or saying things that I wanted to be saying. There seemed to be a disconnect from my brain and my mouth and my body.

The worst of all the nights, I drank shitty wine out of a coffee mug in my bed. Spent way too long looking out my windows. Pushed the potential love of my life away from me until he came knocking at my door. He laid with me while I told him things between sobs that I never thought would come out of my perfect mouth.

Having an opportunity to not be alright is one we often choose against. Maybe something we run the other way from as fast as our legs will carry us. Being something other than just fine is frightening. Emotions are scary. Tears are too much. Being confused is just not acceptable.

A sense of direction was something I used to pride myself in. Anywhere I was in life I knew exactly what my next step would be. Even if I was lost somewhere, I could feel where I needed to go. Evidently, direction has escaped me.

As I prepare to enter yet another semester of college, very few things are for certain.

The way my pulse sparks whenever I take a full gulp of crisp air. That is for certain. The way my eyes shake beneath my lids when I lay down and try to sleep. That is for certain. The peace when I’m with him, or even near him. That is for certain.

Despite the maybe’s and the tears. The new friends, old friends, and the friends we have yet to meet. The direction of our path that is somewhat obscured because we’ve gotten turned around one too many times. There’s only a few things that will happen no matter how lost we are. Of course, the sun will still rise and set. Our choice is whether we want to be there to see it or not.

I know you’re probably wondering how this is comforting or where the solution to my madness lay. To this my answer is: there is no solution. I am merely normal. I think I am a human being.

How to Smash the Patriarchy with a Small Book

BINARYTHIS

Perusing Yang Lin's new work Perusing Yang Liu’s new work

Book Review: Man meets Woman by Yang Liu
You often hear of blogsters of the new world gaining financial – and product – benefits from their blogging pursuits. I’m thinking here mostly of the fashion and makeup bloggers that have risen to stardom, who are no doubt constantly being sent designer threads and cool new stuff to put on their faces. Well, here at binarythis.com, I’ve finally reaped the first free thing of my blogging days: a book about gender stereotypes (yes, I have obviously officially made it to the big time). Oh the spoils of blogging about gender! But enough of my bragging – let’s cut to the chase and get on with a review of the thing.

Taschen asked me if I might like to review Yang Liu’s new conceptual book, Man meets Woman. Yang Liu explains in the preface that her work seeks to…

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She Doesn’t Think Brown Skin is Beautiful

I recently read an Upworthy post by one of my favorite people on the internet, Franchesca Ramsey, better known as Cheschaleigh, that featured stills from the documentary Dark Girls. The trailer above contains one of the most heart breaking things: a young black girl, no more than five, who identified the picture of the darkest black girl as “dumb” and “ugly” while she identified the picture of the white girl as “smart” and “good looking.” When she was asked why the girl was “dumb and ugly,” she responded “Because she’s black.” For her white skin equals elite and dark skin equals inferior.

Ideally, she should have identified every girl on the picture as smart and beautiful, but she didn’t. She pointed out the darkest girl, the one that looks most like her, as ugly and dumb. It showed how she perceived herself at such a young age. Sadly this is something that is not uncommon when it comes to young black girls. It has always been taught that lighter somehow equals better. The darker your skin, the more unwanted you become. It’s an ugly cycle. These young girls who don’t love themselves at five grow into women who don’t love themselves at 25.  Somehow, black girls were taught that they must alter themselves to be accepted.

We have to teach young black girls that they are beautiful, smart, and worthy of love. We have to instill in them everyday that they are perfect. We cannot keep teaching our young black girls that they’re only beautiful if they alter themselves. We have to teach them that with their brown skin and their curly hair, they can be the next president, or astronaut, or doctor, or engineer, or lawyer, or entrepreneur. We have to teach them to love themselves for who they are. We do this by leading as example. We show these young girls the type of self love we want them to have.

-Asha

(I’ve watched Dark Girls several times and it is a really good documentary. It does a very fine job of allowing these women who have dark skin tell their story and acknowledge the problem. There are some aspects that were lacking in my opinion, but overall it is definitely a good watch. I would recommend the documentary if you’re interested in learning more in depth about problems that black women face.)


[ (for context) The idea of light skin versus dark skin originates from slavery and in many ways is still upheld today. ]

When Did I Become #LessClassicallyBeautiful?

When a television critic for the New York Times, Alessandra Stanley, referred to Shonda Rhimes as an “angry black woman,” in a recent article (that I will not link) twitter went wild. It was filled with many black women including Ms. Rhimes appalled at the author for characterizing her in that way. The author went on to say that Ms. Rhimes’ characters such as Miranda Bailey from Grey’s Anatomy, Olivia Pope from Scandal, and now Annalise Keating from How to Get Away with Murder (who’s creator is not Shonda Rhimes, rather it’s Peter Nowalk) are successful women despite being the “angry black women.” The phrase “angry black woman,” is a tool used to silence black women and discredit their anger. As a black woman, I am angry that Ms. Stanley chose to perpetuate a stereotype that is not only false but demeaning, and disguise it as a compliment.

As if referring to Ms. Rhimes as an “angry black woman” wasn’t enough, the Stanley then  goes on to say that they casted a “less classically beautiful” African American woman, Viola Davis, as Annalise Keating of How to Get Away with Murder. If you have never seen Viola Davis, she is gorgeous and exudes elegance. What does “less classically beautiful” even mean? When I searched classically beautiful it returned countless white faces, so the assumption would be that less classically beautiful is anybody other than white. Countless black women on twitter responded with a mockery of the phrase “less classically beautiful” with gorgeous pictures of themselves. You can see examples below.

It’s for reasons like this that black feminism exists. Ms. Stanley never claimed to be a feminist and I don’t believe her to be. However, I used her article as an example to bring forward some of the many issues black women face on a daily that white women aren’t aware of and do not understand. Black women are overlooked, characterized as angry, mocked, and imitated. Black feminism was birthed because our needs were not met with mainstream feminism. Our needs were not understood. Our needs were even ignored. We have the right to be angry, and that doesn’t make us the “angry black woman,” it makes us angry. One must understand a black woman’s story, to understand her fight

Signed,

Asha (in all my less classically beautiful glory.)

The Shaming of Monica: Why We Owe Her an Apology

Worth a conversation. Told my sister about reblogging this post and she immediately said, “Oh she’s such a whore.” Mind you, she’s 16, has no knowledge about this event, and can barely define what she considers a “whore” to be. The conversation that followed was definitely worth it.

Women will be blamed.

Unless we change ridiculous stereotypes and raunch culture that slut shames.

What is a slut anyways?

TIME

Ask any child of the 1990s, and she remembers – vividly – when she first heard about the Monica Lewinsky scandal (as well as the particular sex acts involved).

I was 16, perched with a group of friends in the hallway of my high school, devouring the contents of the Starr report like a trashy romance novel. (He did what with a cigar?! ) None of us was old enough to truly comprehend the complexities – or power dynamics – of a 22-year-intern fellating the President of the United States. And yet we did know one thing: We didn’t like that raunchy Lewinsky girl. What kind of woman flashes her thong at the president, anyway?

Long before “slut-shaming” was a term, Monica Lewinsky was its original target. My teenage friends and I were among her critics, though the rest of the country too seemed to be acting like horny misogynist…

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Oh you twerk? Do history a favor and watch these women.

The history of twerking.

If you know what twerking is via Miley Cyrus, you should probably educate yourself. This dance that girls do is part of an important history. Other dances like tango, salsa, tap, and swing get distinguished cultural histories while twerking has its history written over by someone who bears no relation to its origin.

To see the inspiration for this post, click here: http://www.upworthy.com/if-all-you-know-about-twerking-is-miley-cyrus-do-history-a-favor-and-watch-these-women?c=tpstream