Monday, September 14, 2015

Female Empowerment in Kenya

I was in high school when I first learned about female circumcision. I discovered the reality of this horrible practice when I was reading a book about a Saudi princess. I was shocked and totally appalled. Unfortunately, this practice is still going on today. And in some places, it's such a common practice that women are not able to be married without having it done; however, some women are rebelling against this horrible process. They're rebelling against being thought of as the weaker sex. They're finding ways to live together with other women and make their own money, thus giving them power. They're slowly but surely changing those old, outdated traditions and replacing them with the more modern idea of female empowerment. If you're interested in this sort of thing at all, I highly recommend you watch this video clip that I watched today. It's about a women-only village in Kenya which has started a new matriarchal movement. It's thrilling to me to see these women show such bravery, and it's also very exciting to see that there are some men who are moving forward in their views about women as well. So if you have about 30 minutes and are curious, check out the video. It's well worth your time.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Imagining Better Relationships

Earlier today, I was having a conversation with a family member about another family member who is in a very volatile, dysfunctional relationship. There's a lot of fighting and disrespect and emotional and physical abuse within it. But even though they seem to hate each other, they can't ever stay apart for very long. At one point, the family member I was talking to said, "I wonder if he just can't imagine that there's another possible life out there for him."

And you know, I think she's absolutely right.

How many of us have known someone, or have been in a situation ourselves, where we can't imagine life without a certain relationship? Even if this relationship is destructive, we still feel stuck. I think that sometimes we wrap up our very identity in the knowing of another person, and that can be a huge mistake. I'm guilty of this in my own life, but the thing is, we may not realize it, but we always have options for different, better relationships with people, which can create for us different, better lives.

We have options. All we have to do is imagine ourselves in that better life, and it's all of a sudden possible. But if you never try to imagine it, and you think you are the mess you're in, then you are placing self-imposed restrictions on your freedom. You're the one shackling yourself to the mess.

This can apply to thoughts, too. Imagine what you'd be like without that negative, obsessive, fearful thought you carry around every day. Wouldn't life be so much more peaceful without it? Wouldn't you stand a little taller and feel a lot lighter? If you can imagine it, you can make it happen.

In order to get freedom from something, we must disassociate our identity with it. We must imagine the better options. We must believe the healthier relationship is possible in order to make ourselves available for it to happen. And it's even possible for a shitty relationship to turn around - as long as both people are willing to imagine that future where they don't hate one another but love and respect each other.

Love and romance do not have to be torture! It doesn't have to include constant fighting and misery. People have options. As long as we're still alive, there's always hope for something better.