How To Beat the Holiday Blues

 

Happy Holidays! Yes, I had the holiday blues and yes I still have a reason to smile. HUGE.

 

First of all, I made it. It has now been one full year since my last PTSD-related Emergency Room visit for dehydration due to cyclical vomiting. Let’s take a look at how I did it:

HOW I BEAT THE HOLIDAY BLUES:

(1) I cried a lot. This is not a new thing. I usually want to cry the whole time and do cry most of the time. The difference this year? When I felt like I wanted to cry, I didn’t judge that feeling or conclude that I was an asshole for wanting to cry. Instead, I would get up and go find a quiet space to cry into until I was done and then I would simply rejoin my family.

 

(2) I went out of town just days before the holiday. We took our son to LegoLand to make this Christmas extra magical and it totally worked. The two days we spent in the car was WAY better than spending two days anticipating my annual holiday blues.

 

(3) Activism. I am wearing a dress every day in December as part of the #Dressember movement to raise awareness and funds for survivors of human trafficking. As part of the campaign, I post a photo of me in my dress online and this has forced me to get dressed up every day of a month that I normally spend exclusively in my pajamas. (To check out my campaign, click here).

 

(4) Activism. I am the official organizer for the V-Day Las Vegas 2017 campaign to benefit Refuge for Women Las Vegas, an aftercare program for the trafficked and sexually exploited. This campaign will produce a benefit production of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues on February 4 and I am the Director of the show. This means I have to talk to people and participate in life.

 

There are times when I have thought about quitting. For sure. I didn’t particularly enjoy Christmas shopping this year and often experienced feelings of “what’s the point?” Also, I miss wearing my overalls and thought about blowing off my Dressember obligation like every other day. Furthermore, I ran into an incomprehensible amount of difficulty securing a beneficiary for my V-Day campaign and wondered if I was supposed to just give up.

 

Then I think about how I’m glad I don’t live in a box under some sicko’s bed right now. I’m glad I didn’t get stolen from my family and forced into prostitution. As much as PTSD, anxiety, and grief can feel like a prison in your own mind, at least I’m not really in some prison unable to get out. I value my freedom. I express gratitude for my freedom through activism and this heals me.

 

activism or volunteerism is a great way to beat the holiday blues

Activism Heals

 

XO,

Rachel

One Billion Rising For V-Day

 

 

It’s February. It’s cold. There is a lot of political talk going on. Does anyone know where the potential U.S. presidential candidates stand on the global issue of violence against women?

 

I don’t. And I do. I know enough. I know we all need to be more aware and involved.

 

What is the One Billion Rising Campaign?

 

One Billion Rising is the biggest mass action to end violence against women in human history. The campaign, launched on Valentine’s Day 2012, began as a call to action based on the staggering statistic that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. With the world population at 7 billion, this adds up to more than ONE BILLION WOMEN AND GIRLS. On 14 February 2013, people across the world came together to express their outrage, strike, dance, and RISE in defiance of the injustices women suffer, demanding an end at last to violence against women.

On 14 February 2014, One Billion Rising for Justice focused on the issue of justice for all survivors of gender violence, and highlighted the impunity that lives at the intersection of poverty, racism, war, the plunder of the environment, capitalism, imperialism, and patriarchy. For the third year of the campaign, One Billion Rising’s global coordinators chose the theme of “Revolution” as an escalation of the demand for justice, and to build upon the massive efforts of communities worldwide that also looked at the roots and causes of violence as part of their call for justice.

On (or around) 14 February 2015, millions of activists in over 200 countries gathered to Rise for REVOLUTION, to change the paradigm, demand accountability, justice and systematic CHANGE. We are rising to show we are determined to create a new kind of consciousness – one where violence will be resisted until it is unthinkable.

In 2016, the theme of Revolution continues with a call to focus on marginalised women and to bring national and international focus to their issues; to bring in new artistic energy; to amplify Revolution as a call for system change to end violence against women and girls; to call on people to rise for others, and not just for ourselves.

 

To join my official One Billion Rising Campaign for V-Day, click here. I have been a volunteer activist for V-Day since 2002 and I will continue to do so Until The Violence Stops.

 

What is V-Day?

 

V-Day is a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls. V-Day is a catalyst that promotes creative events to increase awareness, raise money, and revitalize the spirit of existing anti-violence organizations. V-Day generates broader attention for the fight to stop violence against women and girls, including rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation (FGM), and sex slavery.

 

To raise money for vday.org I have organized a SUPER SALE with a bunch of my friends who are hot mamas in direct sales willing and able to donate 20-25% of their sale proceeds from February 14, 2016-February 29, 2016. I’m talking about organic herbal Steeped Tea, statement making Chloe + Isabel Jewelry, easy to apply nail art with Jamberry Nail Wraps, health and nutritional products with Plexus, pampering bath + beauty products with Perfectly Posh, and therapeutic-grade DoTerra Essential Oils.

 

It will be impossible to feel bad making this purchase! You will be receiving an awesome product from a working mother who is donating her profits to a charity designed to stop violence against women and girls.

 

Still not interested?

 

one billion rising

 

Then please consider donating your time and resources to your local crisis center. If you don’t know where to start with locating that building, this website will help you find the one nearest you, click here.

 

As a former Domestic Violence, Rape & Sexual Assault Advocate for the Crisis Services Center of Buffalo, I can tell  you from experience that the volunteer services provided are life saving. To advocate on behalf of a victim in the aftermath of their trauma will change your perspective on what it means to be a human being.

 

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is:

WHAT ARE YOU DOING FOR OTHERS?

~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

XO,

Rachel

V-Day & the Versatile Blogger Award

V-Day, a global movement to end violence against women and girls, is hands down my favorite charity.

 

V-Day

 

I have been a volunteer activist for V-Day since 2002 when I co-organized my first college campaign for SUNY Cortland. What does that mean? For us, that meant putting on a benefit production of Eve Ensler’s play, The Vagina Monologues, and using the proceeds from ticket sales to benefit the local YWCA Aid to Victims of Violence Unit.

 

V-Day

 

I love theatre. I love activism. V-Day enables me to put those two passions together into one explosive social change rainbow firework.

 

V-Day

 

In 2003, 2004 & 2005, I co-organized Community Campaigns for Buffalo by co-directing and producing The Vagina Monologues and using the proceeds to benefit Crisis Services Advocate Program.

 

V-Day

V-Day

 

In 2006, my third year of law school, I organized the first ever University at Buffalo Law School campaign to benefit Crisis Services Advocate Program.

 

In 2007 I actually relocated to Las Vegas for a job opportunity one week before my V-Day Community Campaign for Buffalo was to open and flew back and forth to make sure that the campaign was a success.

 

V-Day

 

Between 2008 and 2012, I financially supported existing V-Day campaigns in my area. I missed the high pressure and stress that producing a benefit show can conjure.  I began to feel like I didn’t know who I was anymore. Working for Judges during this time period left me feeling stiff like plastic. I longed to show my rebel side. I am radical.

 

The past 2 years, 2013 and 2014, I have joined V-Day’s One Billion Rising campaign and have participated (with my husband and son!) in flash mobs to break the chain and stop violence against women through DANCE!

 

How does that work? Well, I went to the One Billion Rising website (click here), I clicked Events and then Find an Event, and then I was brought to a page where I could find a flash mob in my area to join. There is a link to a YouTube video tutorial teaching you how to complete the dance steps so you can practice at home and then just show up at the proper time to dance in a flash mob–super fun!!!

 

V-Day

V-Day

 

In 2015 I am trying something radically different, an online fundraiser. Please check out my official One Billion Rising campaign page by clicking here.

 

Between today and February 14, 2015 my campaign to benefit www.vday.org will be available to support.

 

V-Day

 

Please join in the FaceBook party by clicking here. Basically, you can purchase your favorite Chloe + Isabel jewelry and Jamberry Nails and pat yourself on the back knowing that 15% of the total sale proceeds will be used to benefit www.vday.org.

 

Thank you in advance for your support!

 

Speaking of support, have you head that I won a major award?!

 

lamplegaward

 

I am so GRATEFUL to Ally of My Little Piece of Quiet for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award! I think YOUR blog is amazing and that everyone should follow it (click here to follow Ally).

 

versatilebloggeraward

 

Official Rules:

  1. Thank the person who gave you this award.
  2. Include a link to their blog.
  3. Select 15 blogs that are truly excellent and nominate them for the Versatile Blogger Award.
  4. List 7 things about yourself.

 

Once again, big THANK YOU to Ally of My Little Piece of Quiet for the Versatile Blogger Award!

 

I would like to officially nominate the following blogs for the Versatile Blog Award:

  1. My Little Piece of Quiet
  2. Midnight Blues
  3. Uncomfortably Honest & Honestly Uncomfortable
  4. INFJ Ramblings
  5. Things of Joy
  6. Of Means and Ends
  7. A Small Act of Kindness
  8. Taking the Mask Off
  9. Basically Beyond Basic
  10. Creating Your Life Journey
  11. Robin, Rach & Joe
  12. Kindness Blog
  13. Sensitive New World
  14. Art of Receiving
  15. Allowing Myself

 

V-Day

  1. I am a lawyer
  2. I am a survivor of PTSD
  3. I am in the middle of an online Screenwriting Course
  4. I am in the middle of Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred
  5. I eat chocolate every single day
  6. Dirty Dancing is my all time favorite movie
  7. I hug myself every day.

 

XO

~Rachel

The time I was nominated for The One Lovely Blog Award

One Lovely Blog…

 

I am incredibly GRATEFUL to Midnight Blahs for nominating my blog “Oh, Brother…” for the One Lovely Blog Award.

 

one lovely blog

 

The One Lovely Blog Award nominations are chosen by fellow bloggers for those newer and up-and-coming bloggers. The goal is to help give recognition and also to help the new blogger to reach more viewers. It also recognizes blogs that are considered to be “LOVELY” by the fellow bloggers who choose them. This award recognizes bloggers who share their story or thoughts in a beautiful manner to CONNECT with viewers and followers. In order to “accept” the award the nominated blogger must follow several guidelines:

 

  • Thank the person who nominated you for the award.
  • Add the One Lovely Blog logo to your post.
  • Share 7 facts or things about yourself.
  • Nominate 15 or more bloggers you admire and inform the nominees by commenting on their blog.

 

Gratitude

 

Gratitude surrounds her.” Thank you Midnight Blahs for truly seeing me. I think YOUR blog is lovely 🙂

 

one lovely blog

 

(1) In college my comedic timing was compared to the great Gilda Radner’s.

(2) When I was 8 years old I dressed up as my hero, Carol Burnett, for Halloween.

(3) I will work Rambo First Blood into any conversation.

(4) Things got out of hand between me and a giant stuffed panda bear on YouTube this summer.

(5) My mouth gets me into trouble all the time (INFJ problems).

(6) I have been a volunteer activist for V-Day Until the Violence Stops since 2002.

(7) Lately, I have been expressing myself more and more through the ancient art of Haiku.

 

one lovely blog

photo by @true_heart_jamila on Instagram

 

It is my pleasure to announce the following One Lovely Blog Award Nominees:

 

 

If you enjoy my blog, please check out the above list for your reading pleasure.

 

XO

~Rachel

Heal your Self, heal the world

Come As You Are

Come as you are…

 

I have a dream.

 

I dream of a world where human beings are not defined by their gender.

 

There I said it.

 

Feels good to get that out. I get in trouble a lot for saying these things. I actually have been randomly receiving a lot of hate for BEING a feminist. There is this “anti-feminist” movement online that has been following me pretty aggressively and, as you can see by their title, they are “anti-ME.”

 

That hurts.

 

I know it shouldn’t but…

 

I mean come on! It’s not ok to be a part of a group that is anti or against a group of human beings. As a feminist, I am a human being and I am not against a group of other human beings. Contrary to “anti-feminist” rhetoric, feminists don’t hate men. That’s absurd. I am married to a man and I made a son. I love these men. I would give my life up for them without hesitation. It wouldn’t even occur to me to pile up men into a group and then express hatred toward that group; that has a very nazi prison camp feel to me. Nazis hate a big group of people, too. The KKK hates a big group of people. Anti-feminists hate a big group of people. That’s unsettling.

 

Took my son to the park this weekend and posted this picture of us on Instagram:

 

come as you are

 

This is the comment I provoke:

 

IMG_6139

 

“Feminism is a sign of being weak. Your weakness will be used against you. You have been selected to be on trial of committing acts of treason if found guilty your instagram account will be band {ha ha} by reports of over 300 jurors in our internet trial court.”

 

I added the “ha ha” to the quote above because I think nafu_1st_ar meant to say “banned” instead of “band.”  Not because I am in any way laughing at the person who uses a nazi flag for their profile pic. That’s not funny.

 

I am going to be me no matter what. Even if your end game is to line up all feminists into a gas chamber, I won’t betray who I am. I am GRATEFUL to the feminists (men and women) who fought for my RIGHT to vote from 1777-1920. I will continue to express gratitude for that. Many lives were lost so that women could vote and I am grateful. If you think that I should die for that, bring it. Until then, as a sociologist and lawyer, I will use all my resources to undo the legal mess that took place between 1777-2014 as a result of REAL OPPRESSION. If you want to stop me, good luck. I don’t hate you. I’m not against human beings.

 

Come as you are.

 

come as you are

 

But don’t bring me your hate, I won’t carry that weight.

 

come as you are

 

SERIOUSLY.

 

Instead of coming onto my page and muddying up beautiful family time park pictures, explaining how I am “weak,” just keep moving along, you don’t have to bother with me.  Obviously, if I’m so “weak,” right?  What’s the point?

 

LOVE always wins.

 

XO

~Rachel

My hero, Maya Angelou

Will you join me in a moment of silence in honor of my hero, Maya Angelou?

 

My initial reaction to being told she had died today was screaming followed by scream crying. My husband did not see that coming.

 

Neither did I.

 

It’s just…I thought…I don’t know. I made this website and blog because I was inspired. My dear friend, Sarah, sent me this Meme today:

 

Maya Angelou

 

I love Sarah so much and felt it was a real gift to hear from her in this way so I invited her to look at my new website, as it is rife with Maya Angelou quotes. I then launched into a desperate plea for her strength, explaining to Sarah that I was too afraid to put myself out there (as in, too afraid to shoot my excellent YouTube video scripts or tell anyone that I started a blog).

 

Sarah told me: I think the Internet is a great resource in having your voice heard and you should 100% go for this.

 

When I began to tell my husband about my conversation with Sarah, he informed me of the great Maya Angelou’s passing. During my scream crying it occurred to me that Sarah reached out to me today so that exact conversation could take place; so that I would 100% go for this. I think it’s what Angel Maya Angelou wants.

 

It makes sense that she would use Sarah, as my connection to Maya Angelou is linked to my friendship with Sarah. In the Spring of 2002 Maya Angelou spoke at our college in New York thanks to the painstaking efforts of the students involved in the Women of Color Club. Her message of activism inspired the rest of my life. When she sang, the huge packed auditorium went dead silent, you could hear a pin drop. It sounded a bit like this:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtdffxj7pNE

 

At the time, Sarah and I had just finished Co-Directing The Vagina Monologues for our school’s first ever V-Day college campaign to benefit the local YWCA Aid to Victims of Violence Unit. Maya Angelou blew our minds. I bought her autobiography afterwards called, “The Heart of a Woman” and was just astounded to learn that, like Eve Ensler, Maya Angelou wrote a play in an effort to create positive social change.

 

THIS was my calling.

 

My heart wanted to right all the wrongs that my GIANT brain could readily see, but I knew that I still needed to learn HOW to be heard. So, I went to law school and excelled. I got to stand up for victims of violence. I got to represent children in the middle of nasty custody disputes. I got to work for Family Court Judges as their Law Clerk. I even got a very nice thank you letter from a Family Law client, which is almost unheard of among attorneys.

 

However, this was not my calling.

 

I don’t want to argue. I don’t want to be lied to. I don’t want to be in a position where I witness children being used as pawns or bait.

 

I want to be heard. I have a lot of important things to say.

 

I don’t have Maya Angelou’s height or booming voice, but her spirit is within me.

 

I will shoot my YouTube videos; that is a promise.

 

Thank you for listening.

 

XO

 

~Rachel