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"A mother and daughter are an edge. Edges are ecotones, transitional zones, places of danger or opportunity. House-dwelling tension. When I stand on the edge of the land and sea, I feel this tension, this fluid line of transition. High tide. Low tide. It is the sea’s reach and retreat that reminds me we have been human for only a very short time.

I was born on the edge of the Pacific. California was paradise. My mother took me to the beach daily near Capistrano, home to the returning swallows. While my father was in the air force, my mother and I played in the sand. It is here I must have imprinted on the rhythmic sound of waves, the cry of gulls, the calm of my own mother’s heart.

It is here, on this edge of sand and surf, where I must have developed my need to see the horizon, to look outward as far and wide as possible. My hunger for vistas has never left me. And it is here, I must have fallen in love with water, recognizing its power and sublimity, where I learned to trust that what I love can kill me, knock me down, and threaten to drown me with its unexpected wave. If so, then it was also here where I came to know I can survive what hurts. I believed in my capacity to stand back up and run into the waves again and again, no matter the risk. A wave would break, rush toward me, covering my feet, and retreat into the sea, followed by another and another. This was the great seduction. There was no end to the joyful exaltation on this edge of oscillations.

And each night the smell of orange blossoms and sea salt ignited sunsets into flames slowly doused by the sea. Not a year of my life has missed a baptism by ocean. Not one.

Why this relationship to Mother and water?

Breaking waters. We are born from what is fluid, not fixed. Water is essential. A mother is essential. The ocean as mother is mesmerizing in her power, a creative force that can both comfort and destroy. My mother and I came to trust each other on the beach where we sat. Between the silences, we played together. We entertained ourselves. On the edge of the continent, looking west, we came to an understanding of the peace and violence around us. Power is the sea’s thundering voice, the curling and crashing of waves. Water is nothing if not ingemination, an encore to the tenacity of life. And life held in the sea is surface and depth, what we see and what we imagine. We cast a line, we throw out a net, what emerges is religion in the form of fish.

My mother’s transgression was hunger. She passed her hunger on to me without ever speaking a word. Solitude is a memory of water. I live in the desert. And every day I am thirsty.

When I opened my mother’s journals and read emptiness, it translated to longing, that same hunger and thirst Mother translated to me. I will rewrite this story, create my own story on the pages of my mother’s journals.”

— Terry Tempest Williams, When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice (via recycledsoul)

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excerpt:

“[W]hat if we recovered the more positive aspects of the biblical sexual ethic, paying attention to the God who says, ‘Do this, not that’? When Jesus told his disciples that they should be known for the quality of their love, he did not give them a pass on how they showed love in sexual relations. If we are called to strive for self-giving, self-denying, other-serving love in general, then this must surely apply as much to sexuality as to hospitality and friendship.

What would recovering this aspect of the biblical sexual ethic look like? It would undoubtedly mean a shift in teaching and writing. But hopefully it would also mean far more than that. Ideas only go so far—and when it comes to sex, they often don’t go far at all. That’s because, as James K. A. Smith argues in his provocative book Desiring the Kingdom, ‘worldview’-focused responses to sin are usually doomed from the start because they misapprehend the nature of our humanity. They assume that we are primarily thinking beings whose problems can be corrected either by correcting our thinking or by trying harder to think the right thoughts.

But as Smith vividly conveys, the most powerful forces at work on us—all the more potent for the stealth with which they operate—are anything but ideas. They don’t win because they have the most persuasive arguments for our brains. They win because they’re embedded in highly embodied practices. As Smith puts it,

‘While the mall, Victoria’s Secret, and Jerry Bruckheimer are grabbing hold of our gut (kardia) by means of our body and its senses—in stories and images, sights and sound, and commercial versions of ‘smells and bells’—the church’s response is oddly rationalist. It plunks us down in a ‘worship’ service, the culmination of which is a forty-five-minute didactic sermon, a sort of holy lecture, trying to convince us of the dangers by implanting doctrines and beliefs in our minds …. While secular liturgies are after our hearts through our bodies, the church thinks it only has to get into our heads. While Victoria’s Secret is fanning a flame in our kardia, the church is trucking water to our minds.’

This, I would respectfully submit, is why so much of the church’s teaching on sexuality has failed to accomplish its aim—greater submission to God in this part of our lives—and why each new hand-wringing piece, even if it runs to the length of a book, does little better. Content-dumps have little effectiveness in a general pedagogical sense, much less when their aim is to constrain some of the most deeply embodied desires in life.

If Smith is right, as I think he is, and it is actually practices, habits, liturgies (in his parlance) that have the most power to shape our daily lives and even beliefs (though their true shape may often be hidden from us until a situation where our actions spell a surprising manifesto), what then are the practices that cultivate and foster in us, the body of God, a more distinctively loving sexuality? What are the practices we, the church, might take up—or resume—to encourage greater bodily obedience to God in our sexuality?”

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"I was born on the edge of the Pacific. California was paradise. My mother took me to the beach daily near Capistrano, home to the returning swallows. While my father was in the air force, my mother and I played in the sand. It is here I must have imprinted on the rhythmic sound of waves, the cry of gulls, the calm of my own mother’s heart.

It is here, on this edge of sand and surf, where I must have developed my need to see the horizon, to look outward as far and wide as possible. My hunger for vistas has never left me. And it is here, I must have fallen in love with water, recognizing its power and sublimity, where I learned to trust that what I love can kill me, knock me down, and threaten to drown me with its unexpected wave. If so, then it was also here where I came to know I can survive what hurts. I believed in my capacity to stand back up and run into the waves again and again, no matter the risk. A wave would break, rush toward me, covering my feet, and retreat into the sea, followed by another and another. This was the great seduction. There was no end to the joyful exaltation on this edge of oscillations.”

— Terry Tempest Williams, When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice (via recycledsoul)

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"Me, what’s that after all? An arbitrary limitation of being bounded by the people before and after and on either side. Where they leave off I begin, and vice versa. I once saw a cartoon sequence of a painter painting a very long landscape. When he’d finished he cut it up into four landscapes of the usual proportions. Mostly one doesn’t meet others from the same picture. When it happens it can be unsettling."

— Russell Hoban, Turtle Diary (via anotherword)

(Source: invisiblestories)

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theparisreview:

“I would leave everything here: the valleys, the hills, the paths, and the jaybirds from the gardens, I would leave here the petcocks and the padres, heaven and earth, spring and fall, I would leave here the exit routes, the evenings in the kitchen, the last amorous gaze, and all of the city-bound directions that make you shudder, I would leave here the thick twilight falling upon the land, gravity, hope, enchantment, and tranquility, I would leave here those beloved and those close to me, everything that touched me, everything that shocked me, fascinated and uplifted me, I would leave here the noble, the benevolent, the pleasant, and the demonically beautiful, I would leave here the budding sprout, every birth and existence, I would leave here incantation, enigma, distances, inexhaustibility, and the intoxication of eternity; for here I would leave this earth and these stars, because I would take nothing with me from here, because I’ve looked into what’s coming, and I don’t need anything from here.”
A vignette by László Krasznahorkai from Asymptote’s summer issue, translated from the Hungarian by Ottilie Mulzet. Illustration by Guillaume Gilbert.

theparisreview:

“I would leave everything here: the valleys, the hills, the paths, and the jaybirds from the gardens, I would leave here the petcocks and the padres, heaven and earth, spring and fall, I would leave here the exit routes, the evenings in the kitchen, the last amorous gaze, and all of the city-bound directions that make you shudder, I would leave here the thick twilight falling upon the land, gravity, hope, enchantment, and tranquility, I would leave here those beloved and those close to me, everything that touched me, everything that shocked me, fascinated and uplifted me, I would leave here the noble, the benevolent, the pleasant, and the demonically beautiful, I would leave here the budding sprout, every birth and existence, I would leave here incantation, enigma, distances, inexhaustibility, and the intoxication of eternity; for here I would leave this earth and these stars, because I would take nothing with me from here, because I’ve looked into what’s coming, and I dont need anything from here.”

A vignette by László Krasznahorkai from Asymptote’s summer issue, translated from the Hungarian by Ottilie Mulzet. Illustration by Guillaume Gilbert.

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anyone who enjoys—and would like to be aware of—male privilege, please read this.

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(Source: pigeonbits)

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Dove Camera Shy

dear Dove, we need to address a logical error. whether or not one thinks oneself beautiful has nothing to do with one’s willingness to be on camera. one person may think oneself beautiful and not feel comfortable being on camera, while another may not think oneself beautiful and have no problems with being filmed or taken a photograph of.

but what is more disturbing about your video is your willingness to intrude—or to compile clips of people intruding—the spaces of women who clearly do not appreciate said methods of being surprised. so what we end up having is clip after clip of women feeling uncomfortable with, and trying to duck, unwanted (videographic) attention.

tell me again how you “are committed to creating a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety”?

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Miss Representation

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Tough Guise: Violence, Media & the Crisis in Masculinity

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6. Don’t Take It Personally If She Gives You the Cold Shoulder

"She may have given you the cold shoulder because she wasn’t into you personally. She may also have given you the cold shoulder because of other reasons unrelated to you.

Remember, some women may be on guard because women’s bodies are highly visible. A lot of men do feel entitled to a woman’s time, attention, and body without considering her feelings. Dealing with men like this on a daily basis leads some women to adopt a stony faced, disinterested persona to avoid being targeted for street harassment.

Say, for example, that a woman who regularly uses public transportation keeps getting lewd or unwelcome comments from strangers about her appearance, her clothing, what have you. To avoid dealing with this every day, she starts wearing headphones and reading on the train.

You happen to meet her at this point, but when you try to strike up a conversation, she shuts you down immediately and acts distant.

It’s easy to think that you’re the one she’s reacting to, but it’s more likely that she thought her headphones would let her ride the train in peace. She might not be thinking you yourself are a terrible person or a potential rapist — you just happen to be in a space that she does not feel safe in.

So even when you don’t act entitled to a woman’s body, don’t take every cold shoulder personally. Whether you’re one of them or not, there are a lot of creeps in this world that she’s trying to protect herself from.

And could you blame her? If a woman says ‘I don’t want to give you my number,’ and a guy badgers her into giving it to him, what’s to stop him from calling when she says ‘I don’t want you to call me anymore’? What’s to stop him from coming to her place when she says, ‘I don’t want to see you anymore’? If the first, small boundary is ignored, how will he handle the bigger ones?

So please, if you see a boundary in the flirting stage, respect it. It shows you’re not the kind of guy that thinks a woman owes him something just because he noticed her.

And if you see one of your friends disrespecting someone’s boundaries in an attempt to flirt, have a talk with them or show them this article.”

— Jarune Uwujaren, The Feminist Guide To Non-Creepy Flirting

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5. Don’t Assume That She Wants Your Attention Because She’s Attractive and In Public

"Women who wear heavy makeup, push-up bras, heels, or other ‘sexualized’ clothing in public aren’t necessarily looking for the attention of every man in the room. And even if she is, this doesn’t mean that she wants to be treated with less respect.

It’s a common misconception that women are constantly dressing up for the sole purpose of getting men to talk to them. The truth is, you’re never going to know why someone chose to wear they outfit they’re wearing.

They might be dressing that way because it’s comfortable for them, they’re interested in attracting someone else, or they just like to look good.

Either way, try not to make assumptions about someone else’s motives. Unless you’re a telepath, you really don’t know.”

— Jarune Uwujaren, The Feminist Guide To Non-Creepy Flirting

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4. Don’t Assume She’ll Like You Because You’re Being Respectful

"If you’ve done everything you could to be respectful — respected her boundaries, avoided staring, avoided catcalling — you’re on the right track. But don’t expect women to fall at your feet just because you were respectful.

Respect is a basic human right. Showing respect to someone else doesn’t automatically get you brownie points in the dating world, and you may still get rejected even if you’ve been respectful.

Does this mean women hate guys who treat them with respect? Nope. It just means that women do not owe romantic attraction to everyone who treats them like a human being.

So respecting boundaries isn’t necessarily about finding a new way to seduce women — it’s just common courtesy.”

— Jarune Uwujaren, The Feminist Guide To Non-Creepy Flirting

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3. Do Not Stare Or Follow – It’s Scary!

"So the woman in the train is reading and you’re thinking of approaching her. As you’re gathering up the courage, you find yourself absent-mindedly looking in her direction. She’s noticed, and is visibly uncomfortable under your gaze.

Easy mistake. At this point you can just look away. But do try to be aware of your gaze when approaching strangers.

Being stared at is unsettling for everyone because we can’t read minds — we don’t know if the person staring is thinking, ‘What a nice scarf they’re wearing,’ or ‘I think I’ll follow them home and strangle them with that ugly scarf.’

Following someone is creepy for the same reason. In the scenario with the train, maybe your car is noisy and the woman is really far away from you and you have to get conspicuously close to her to say anything. If she’s aware of her surroundings, you moving toward her might instantly set her on edge and make her less receptive to your greeting.

The same could be said for meeting women on the street, at parties, in clubs, anywhere. If you’re approaching someone from a distance, try to get their attention and make your intentions clear before you make a beeline for them. You don’t want the person to feel like you snuck up on them.”

— Jarune Uwujaren, The Feminist Guide To Non-Creepy Flirting