A smile, a stranger, and a train

I met a man on the train today.

I was choosing to ride without headphones. A dying phone, a sleepy mind. He sat beside me.

As I took off my sweater a simple remark – “it’s so hot today!” caught my attention. I smiled and said that it was, and apologized if I had elbowed him.

A simple decision to get on at a different stop so I could sit. The choice of chair. Leaving work late. They all led to me making a friend. I’ve recently been thinking about listening more, about connections and compassion, about paying more attention to my surroundings.

He asked me if I liked poetry. “I do,” I replied. “I don’t get enough of it.” Sure enough, he is a poet, and he gave me some of his poems to read. An act of sharing his work – not of forcing it on people or handing it out. A gesture of kindness and sharing and connection from one human being to another

A self described “global citizen and a pacifist working for gender justice and global peace” with heroes like Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King, and John Lennon, Shiraz Ramji gave me back a piece of myself without even knowing it was missing.

Today I gained a hummus recipe, some poems, and a grain of human connection that was desperately needed. And a smile that lasted me all the way home.

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… You [Will] Look Like A Man!

Society is slowly changing the way it looks at women. I say slowly, because let’s just admit that a sleeping snail is probably moving faster, but phrases like “strong is sexy” and “healthy is happy” are phrases I hear more than the “skinny is best” emphasis that was placed on all women when I was growing up in the 90’s.

This post is about how along with some of those changes, society has decided that we can be TOO muscular.. TOO healthy… and nobody takes the heat for this kind of thought process more than somebody like Serena Williams. JK Rowling tweeted out about Serena’s win, and somebody responded by saying her success is purely because she is “built like a man” (read more about Rowling’s epic response here).

Here’s the thing folks. I don’t understand why we feel the need to constantly classify each other. I am me, you are you, we are all unique and individual – there is likely NOBODY out there on this planet who is the same as you (unless you’re one of identical multiples). So saying somebody is “built like a man” means what, really? I can think of a few defining “manly” characteristics, but I’m pretty sure I can’t get them by going to the gym. And even then, the definition of “man” and “woman” is still pretty fluid.

This is how I feel every time somebody tells me that lifting is going to make me more like a “man.”

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So here’s the deal. I’ll do what I want to do, and you do what you want to do. And if what you want to do is sit on social media berating anybody for being fierce, and a badass, and making their own choices in a world where its SO HARD to do that without judgment… then so be it. I’ll probably be at the gym.

 

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Reminiscing

stephandi

I have caught myself reminiscing quite a lot lately. I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve been watching re-runs of Full House on Netflix (sidebar: who else is BEYOND excited Read More