The Heat

This past weekend Stephen, Kyle and I ventured to the movie theater to see The Heat. We rarely go to movies. When I do attend I usually am hyper critical of the films. At times this is a great attribute and has made for some great conversations, while at other times I wish I could just laugh at dumb stuff.

I am not quite sure what drew me to The Heat, none the less, I suggested we catch this flick. I am in support of any female led comedies. Upon arrival the credits rolled and I noticed Paul Fieg directed and produced it. I began to feel more confident in our choice. I am a fan of Fieg’s work and have adored him since the good ol’ days of Freaks and Geeks.

o-THE-HEAT-570

I do not like how photoshopped McCartney is… bad move 😦

The verdict:
This movie was fantastic! I was surprised by the themes and choice in delivery for particular subjects.

It was consistently funny
The film was crude and genuine. Although it was vulgar, it wasn’t trying to prove a point. Sometimes I think female led comedies think they need to be overly vulgar to make up for the fact that they are in a rare position as leading ladies. The Heat is bold, but it never feels awkward. Melissa McCartney nails every line and does a phenomenal job acting through a range of emotions.

Prostitution
As an active member of the Young Activist Council for Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation I am hyper aware of media’s portrayal of prostitution. We meet McCartney as she stakes out a transaction between a prostitute and a john. I was sitting on the edge of my seat anticipating how she would handle the two. I hoped she would put the blame on the rightful people (the john and pimp)… and she did. She makes a comment to the prostitute but overall her focus is on bringing justice to those who are seeking the services. It was beautiful to see the rightful perpetrators be brought to justice.

Gender in the Workplace
The film was not scared of acknowledging the misogyny that is still incredibly relevant in the workplace.  In a scene where Bullock and McCartney are confronted by a DEA agent they have an open dialogue about the difficulties they face in their respective agencies because of their gender. Through a comedic lens they shed light on how difficult their positions are and how they must work harder than their peers just to be recognized as somewhat equal.

Love Interests
There weren’t any! I think this is the first female comedy (ever) that does not even dabble with a love interest. At the end of the film Marlon Wayans winks at Bullock, but aside from that second of film time… the women’s love interests are absent from the plot. There are consistent jokes and references to the women’s sexuality but the the women own their sexuality. The women carry the film on their own without the help of a man, and its awesome and so refreshing.

 

Over your Fourth Of July holiday opt for The Heat and support female comedy!

Advertisements

Ahimsa & Aparigraha

Non Violence and Non Hoarding

ahimsa_lotus_jpg_postcards-r3d5ab768dea44cd4a7a7ec12813f1460_vgbaq_8byvr_512

Ahimsa and Aparigraha

These two yamas have been driving me as of late. I have been working to shift my mindset in these two because I feel I struggle the most with holding onto thoughts, which ultimately lead to self- harm. This past Wednesday night I went to a lecture on the yamas and niyamas and have been inspired to target specific areas so that I can grow and move closet to bliss (isn’t that the dream?).

While driving to work this morning I heard this amazing story of using yoga in Kenya to bring peace to those who have encountered violence through social struggles. Check out this amazing story: http://www.npr.org/2013/04/12/177004536/yoga-project-changes-lives-in-nairobis-slums

Happy Friday!

Do the Right Thing

ayers-wife-family

In the vein of Women’s History month and my pursuit of inner peace, I am looking to the women of the past and the teachings of yoga for guidance towards a content state of being. I have experienced an array of great feelings over the course of the past week through my yoga practice, yoga education, business journey, and marriage and am overwhelmed with joy.

Last week while driving home I had the honor of listening to Bernardine Dohrn reflect on her life’s work and journey. WBEZ is currently running a series where they interview Chicago natives about their life when they were 25. At the age of 25 Dhorn was in Chicago finishing her last year of law school at Northwestern and helping MLK on the West side of Chicago. She later went on to become part of SDS and the Weather Under Ground which led to her being wanted by the FBI. Bad ass, yes. Idol, perhaps. But I digress. In the interview Dohrn is asked what advice she would give to a 25 year old today. Her response was the following:

“I have no advice whatever so ever. I support you, I encourage you but I cant imagine that anybody wants the cautious life. I am not urging people to do dramatic and romantic and insane things but persist. Have a long life where you are not waiting for some period where you are going to do the right thing.”

Here is the whole interview.

Dhorn’s response spoke directly to me. She speaks of freedom. Moving beyond the constraints of security and the expected to a place that is peaceful and free for you. This past week I experienced this freedom in a way I have never experienced it before. Freedom over your body, mind and spirit leads to peace which ultimately leads to happiness and contentment. I keep wondering and thinking about what a wonderful world we would live in if we could all reach this place. What if we could all move beyond the constructs of society (gender, race, class, capitalism, sexuality, etc.) and just be. How very free of an idea. What a world it would be.

Peace

As I go through yoga training and work towards gaining autonomy in my work life I have been examining the relationships I hold near and dear to my heart.

In yoga we are taught that the practice is not about striving to nail fancy poses but instead work to grow and realize where your strengths lie and where you need to work harder. I have been trying to apply this philosophy in my relationships and I must say it has brought me tremendous peace. Instead of dwelling and analyzing particular relationships I have examined what works for me and why these interactions benefit me in the way they do.

We can only control ourselves and our bodies. We can only work to shift how our body interacts with our mat and how we interact with others off of the mat. I truly think that if I can remind myself of the control I have and what works for ME (not in comparison to others) I will know peace.

Here’s a funny for ya!

funny yoga comic

Feminist Friends

This past weekend I had a blast with my lovely friends. Each day was filled with laughs, talks, and love. Being that this blog is grounded in third wave theory and my active role within the feminist movement,  I find it appropriate to discuss how my friendships are part of my identity as a feminist activist.

minus Natalia

minus Natalia

Each time we are all together we laugh about how distinctly different we look. People stare and we giggle about how others perceive us. We must look very odd together because we each have very individual styles and personalities. Yet despite our outward differences  we get along swimmingly. I don’t think it is coincidental that we make so much sense together. We are all driven to shift the trajectory of our society and that underlying passion within each of us allows us to communicate and respect one another, ultimately creating a healthy synergy.

While at dinner Saturday night my ladies and I began to discuss the dynamics of our group and the respect we have for one another. We have all been friends for over three years now and I can honestly say we all love and support one another without hesitation. Further, we are compassionate towards one another. I think its important to note that every lady in our group is strong, intelligent, and is some form of type A personality. I think in normal circumstances such strong personalities would struggle with one another because of power dynamics, however this has never been an issue for us. I think we haven’t struggled with one another for many reasons however I think the central tenant to our success lies within our understanding that we need one another since we do such difficult work. We understand that pettiness is a waste of our time, we have bigger fish to fry. Ultimately I think we each recognize that in order to move forward both within our professional and personal lives, women must help one another and build a strong community of love.

It makes me incredibly sad when I see women of power struggle with those who might also be successful. *(On a side note: I understand to an extent. It is so hard for women to get power. When they finally obtain it they become very protective due to the circumstances they endured to obtain it.)  We are conditioned through capitalism and patriarchy to create hierarchies which results in competitiveness and disrespect.  The lack of community that results because of competition hinders women from gaining the power they need in order to shift major social dynamics. However I truly believe in my heart that if women started supporting one another we would see major changes in female success in our country.

I love that my group of friends is part of the larger narrative of women empowering women. We are will hold one another up when we are down. We will support each other through transitions. Our relationships will help propel us to positions that will make us happy and change the world. Nothing is better than female communities of love, nothing 🙂

We are all in on this whole making the world a better place thing ;)

We are all in on this whole making the world a better place thing 😉

5 ways to get happy.

It’s the new year and everyone is scrambling to find ways to adjust their life to be “better.” This morning after my spin class, I walked into the next studio placed my mat down and had a snack. While munching on my nuts people began filling the yoga studio in droves. Do not get my wrong, I think yoga is amazing and we should all find something to do to help us take a moment to breath, but those who were running for the studio door were entering for the first time… they were new years resolution folks.

From what I have witnessed resolutions seem lofty and hard to sustain, which ultimately leads to disappointment. Further, these big shifts in lifestyles often suggest that who you are NOW isn’t who you should be. Resolutions don’t push you to progress and grow over time, they ask you to dump who you currently are and become someone else.

Yesterday I sat with an old friend and sipped coffee. We talked about life, love, and all that jazz. My friend spoke of her relationships, work, and adventures and then frankly stated “I’m just happy.” She then followed up this statement with “I know that’s weird to say.” I think she is right, we don’t normally just take in moments to recognize when we are happy. We are always looking to plan what’s next, what could be better, what else could I have…. And while I think planning and growth are beautiful… we need to just take a moment and stop to see how great things are.

I did not set a new years resolution. I am trying to get back to being balanced after the holiday season and continue doing things I love. I have found a lot of happiness in  simple little choices I make in my everyday life. I am going to share these little things because… well… I am happy. My little choices will also lead to a healthier me. I want to continue recognizing what makes me happy because it is a part of who I already am and will continue to foster growth within me.

so maybe there is a new years resolution in there after all 🙂

5 ways to bring balance back into your day

1. Incorporate nuts and greens into my day.. at least two times a day. I try to have a green shake for breakfast with a handful of nuts and a salad with seeds for lunch. I just feel so light and clean when I consistently consume these two items.

Wholefoods fruit and nuts mix is 110 calories for 1/4 cup

Wholefoods fruit and nuts mix is 110 calories for 1/4 cup

2. Take sometime to breath and not think of anyone else. THIS IS NOT SELFISH. I do this each day at yoga. I know not everyone does yoga, but YOU time can be done through music, meditation, running… whatever.

vintage lady

Isn’t this woman such a babe?

3. Read. With work I often forget to read things I actually enjoy. Its so wonderful to just forget about things and scan a blog, book, or magazine. Reading helps me feel connected to the outside world, it brings a sense of community to my sometimes isolating work schedule.

one of my favorite blogs.

one of my favorite blogs.

4. Fresh food. My body yearns for fresh food right now. After the sugar of the holidays and so much bread… I can hear my stomach say “feed me fresh greens.”

spinach1

I endorse the spinach, not the popeye plot lines… hello glorified domestic violence

5. Doing something you’re passionate about. Let me first say, I want to close the achievement gap. However, my greatest passion is not education equality.. rather its making an equitable society for men and women. I think education is a HUGE part of our great inequality but its not what REALLY makes me tick. Going into this school year I knew that I could no longer just rely on work to help fuel my passion for change. I needed to reconnect to my roots and find an organization that spoke to my values and tried to change our patriarchal system in a HUGE way. I am currently a member of the Young Activist Council for CAASE (Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Expolitation) and could not be prouder of the work CAASE does for the Chicago community, women, and our society. Chicago aims to end sexual exploitation through policy, advocacy, law, and education. They have broken huge ground over the years and will continue to make major changes in the way we understand and view sex work, sex trafficking, sexual assault, and gender equality.

CAASE_logo_300