2000 women, 13 cities, 2 countries and counting!

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The Freedom to Not Give A Fuck tour started in June with the first ever How To Be A Woman and Not Give a Fuck workshop held outside of the Bay Area in Oklahoma City! We held the workshop in a church, City Pres. Which was totally unexpected and yet, awesome. Teaching the fuck-it dance in a church was on my bucket list and I didn't even know it til it was happening. Brining my content to the Midwest and having it resonate so deeply with the women who participating was validating AF. Seriously. The group of women who met at the workshop that day have kept in touch and are still supporting each other in giving less fucks and living more life. 

And then I went to Portland, OR to be hosted by the amazing crew of women at The Perlene, a social club for ambitious women. It was a packed house of women so ready to not give a fuck. We spent a good chunk of time on the boundaries exercise where women work in pairs to figure out what feels good in regards to personal space. The work I do with boundaries is a little different than most people who are teaching boundaries on a somatic level. I focus more on what feels relaxed for you as opposed to what feels uncomfortable for you. We feel uncomfortable enough as it is. Fuck. My boundaries exercise is NOT a re-traumatization experiment. I was also able to visit with friends and colleagues who call the PNW home. It was both a reunion and a reunification of amazingness.  

My next stop was Ontario Canada.

The window at @venusenvyottawa @corysilverberg

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Yes, the tour went international! I was hosted by 2 shops in 2 cities: Venus Envy in Ottawa and Good For Her in Toronto. I was able to teach How To Be A Woman and Not Give A Fuck along with my Sex-Positive Parenting class. I haven't taught Sex-Positive Parenting for a few years, but given what's happening with Ontario's sex ed curriculum, both shop owners (who are awesome humans!) felt it was an important resource to offer their communities. And it was great to have participants come to both nights. I didn't realize how much the material of one of the workshops supports the purpose of the other. To be a sex-positive parent, there are a lot of fucks to sift through and find the ones that actually matter to you and your family. Next on the tour, and the final stop for this leg, is Chicago! I'm so excited to bring the workshop to this community of bad-ass women. I'm collaborating with a woman of color who is immersed in holistic healing and social welfare. She is dedicated to bringing more tools for self-care to the community of caregivers she belongs to. I'm also looking forward to meeting up with friends and professional acquaintances who live in Chicago that I've only been able to interact with via social media for years.

What comes next?

August I'm staying home as I need to get quite a bit of writing done. Taking the time to debrief with myself and write out all my experiences is crucial. That How To Be A Woman and Not Give a Fuck has reached over 2000 women in 13 cities and 2 countries totally amazes me.

My tentative plan is to start touring again in October, starting in San Diego, then to Austin, New Orleans, Ft. Lauderdale, New York and finally Boston. If you're in a position to host or help make the tour happen, please get in touch! We can make some amazing shit happen.

 

 

Why I create collective healing spaces

A brilliant article by Dr. Shawn Ginwright posted on May 31 on Medium just validated so much of the work I'm doing: 

The Future of Healing: Shifting From Trauma Informed Care to Healing Centered Engagement

Shawn Ginwright Ph.D.

In every women's workshop there is a moment where I say that the personal growth mantra of individual change is kinda bullshit. It's gaslighting. We cannot fix the sociological problems of gender based violence with individual psychological solutions. The people harmed are not the problem. The systems that harm us are.

If trauma is collectively experienced, this means that we also have to consider the environmental context that caused the harm in the first place. By only treating the individual we only address half of the equation leaving the toxic systems, policies and practices neatly intact. - Dr. Ginwright

This essay is brilliant, accurate and very much needed. Please give it a read. 

Dear Sugars take on Emotional Labor

Like a modern-day Greek chorus, women from across the country wrote in to the Dear Sugars inbox echoing identical inequalities in their relationships with their husbands and boyfriends. The Sugars commiserate with this aggrieved chorus along with Gemma Hartley, the writer who set off a national conversation about emotional labor with her viral article in Harper’s Bazaar, “Women Aren’t Nags — We’re Just Fed Up.”

Tracee Ellis Ross on the wisdom in women's fury

“Women have been trained to think that we are overreacting or that we’re being too sensitive or unreasonable,” she continued. “We try to make sense of nonsense, and we swallow the furious feelings. We try to put them into some hidden place in our minds, but they don’t go away. That fury sits deep inside as we practice our smiles ... and try to be pleasant ... because apparently, women aren’t supposed to get angry.”

Sex, Power and Leadership 2018

 

Amy Jo Goddard and I talked a bit about the questions leaders need to ask themselves about power and sexuality. We have many questions and a few answers.

To gain a lot more perspective on sex, power and leadership, check out this brand new online conference running April 30-May 7th. You can get a complimentary pass to Sex, Power and Leadership here.

For women in the East Bay, I'm teaching Building Solidarity via Collaborative Leadership on May 2nd in Oakland at the East Bay Community Space. Get tickets here!

Denise Jolly and I talk codependency and not giving a f*ck.

Call and response video. I talk about a RoleReboot article on sexism, gender, codependency and giving all your fucks. Denise Jolly adds her perspective and a fuck she's being mindful of no longer giving. 

Here's the article: http://www.rolereboot.org/sex-and-relationships/details/2018-03-sexist-culture-contribute-codependency-women/

Maureen Benson on SPARK Seat

SPARK Seat with Maureen Benson: A conversation about education, bias, what makes "breaking news", and why it takes courageous leadership to disrupt the status quo. This interview shows the power of dismantling power structures, interrogating times we feel like we don't have choice and how to look at media with an intersectional lens.

What do you need to not give a fuck?

I'm thinking about those of you who have been to the workshops, those of you who I've been working with one on one, those of you who respond to my emails with questions or stories, and I keep coming back to that thunderstruck feeling of how our fears and frustration are not simply individual challenges, it's not just me, it's not just you. It's US. All of us. And we have neeeeeeeeeds. I'm typing that again N E E D S.

And I'm down to do whatever I can to help us give less fucks about the bullshit. Be unapologetic about our experience and existence. To give less fucks and live more life.

And in honor of how fucking busy I know you are, I'm making it as easy as possible for you to communicate your needs. Take the not giving a fuck survey!

Create your own user feedback survey

11 things I want men to commit to. Right now.

  1. Question the mentorship you received. Teachers, bosses, leaders; who have you looked up to and learned from? Were they misogynists or sexual predators? Identify the unlearning you need to do.
  2. Be honest about your relationship to power. Do you crave it, do you never have enough of it, do you feel entitled to it, do you resent others for not giving it to you? Are you afraid of it? Do you avoid it? Get fucking real with yourself. Your actions are already being guided by it anyway.
  3. GO TO FUCKING THERAPY.
  4. Invest time and energy into friendships with people you aren’t interested in having sex with. In the words of the mighty Michelle Obama: "Y'all should get you some friends. Y'all need to go talk to each other about your stuff, because there's so much of it! Talk about why y'all are the way you are." 
  5. Don’t pursue sex with women you work with. Not peer to peer, not subordinate to supervisor or vice versa, just don’t fucking do it.
  6. See women as the leaders they already are. Step back from leadership roles. Cycle out. Create a transition moment. Invite women of color to step in and get paid.
  7. Learn and appreciate the difference between competence and confidence. You're getting snowed, my friend. 
  8. Expand leadership roles so that more than one person occupies the role. Legit checks n balances. Co-leads, Co-facilitators, Co-chairs, Co-directors with equal decision making and veto powers.
  9. Be outnumbered by women in your collaborations. Make this shit happen. I don’t care how it’s done. Just do it. And make sure the women are paid equally.
  10. Stop talking over or interrupting women when they speak. Also, pay attention to when another man does that and tell him to fucking stop.
  11. Hold men accountable. If not you, then who? Another woman or group of women and we're fucking exhausted.

It’s not business as usual anymore. Men don’t get to blunder their way through work environments, communities and social scenes expecting women to clean up their messes. 

 

No Sacrificial Women Required

It used to be when I wanted to offer someone support, I had two women in mind. The first woman threw her body over yours to shield you with her own, taking blows and absorbing pain on your behalf. The other woman rolled up her sleeves and planted her palms on the flat of your back to push you uphill wether you liked it or not. I aspired to be those women. Single-minded women. Heavy-handed women. Self-sacrificing women. Women who acted from a place of absolute knowing. I am protecting you or I am pushing you. That is how I supported me too. Protecting myself or pushing myself. Single-minded. Heavy-handed. Self-sacrificing. I didn’t understand how my concept of support was disempowering and damaging. Especially to my own sweet self. I was too in love with my own brute strength and force of will. I was too scared of uncertainty to allow myself anything other than an unwavering ability to act.

As a parent, not only is that not an effective way of transferring life skills for success to my kids, it’s fucking exhausting. It’s also a little soul bruising for them. And my desire to keep my sons’ beautiful hearts as intact and vibrant as possible won out over the fear and led me to learn new ways of parenting.

As a community member, it was downright dysfunctional. There’s no growing together. There’s no taking turns. There’s no room to learn from mistakes. As a lover and friendship partner, it was just not cool. Where is the choice? Where is the recognition of unique skill sets different than my own? Where is the display of belief in a loved ones ability to choose their own adventure? So I tried new ways of being supportive. New ways to show I’ve got your back, but they were shaky attempts. I wasn’t quite sure of what I was doing. I didn’t know if I was being as helpful as I could be. Maybe I should go back to pushing and protecting. This whole being gentle thing is so mysterious to me.

As much as I love being right, there’s something so satisfying about being wrong about what support looks like.

I’m now 6 weeks out from an intense surgery. The months that led up to the procedure were pain filled and emotionally draining. Sometimes I didn’t recognize myself, I was so far from the woman I thought I had forged myself into being. I was not in control of what was happening inside of me. I could not reach into myself and fix the problem. I also had this sinking fear that if I was not the heavy-handed, single-minded woman I have relied on in my past, I would fail to heal and my children would suffer greatly. Yup, all of that was there and no, none of it happened.

Instead, the kids and I were supported so deftly, so deeply, by so many loving, sweet, strong, kind people. People who never disempowered me as they held me close. Support that looked like a steady hand to hold and be guided by. Support that was many arms in a squooshy soft embrace. Support that came with check ins and me being asked “is this ok?” sincerely. There was no heavy-handedness on the scene.

I am beyond grateful, I’m transformed. This level of love and support is healing me on so many levels. My body is no longer in pain. I’m in the process of regaining my stamina while remembering to be gentle with my body. I’m also healing the broken heart that comes from never having experienced what empowering support actually feels like. The world is a lot less scary when you know people are capable of effectively caring for you. And now I have so many more examples of what it means to help than I could have imagined! A whole new menagerie of helpers now live inside me.

And I want to keep being helpful in this way to others too. To empower and support. To create the sustainable container for growth. No selves need to be sacrificed in order for care to emerge.

Mothers with dangerous voices

Today is the shared birthday of three women who inspire me in all parts of my life- my parenting, my studies, my activism, my art, my sexuality, my feminism and my belief in radical love: Yoko Ono, Toni Morrison and Audre Lorde. This post is dedicated to these three brilliant brave women. 

So you become a mother. Maybe a young mother. Maybe not. Maybe having children in your early 20’s isn’t anything to write home about. It’s just what your people do. And you have a man. A man in your life who comes home to you every night and you’re still young enough to think that seeing someone everyday is all that really matters in regards to love. And you have these children and you love them more than anything else you’ve ever seen or even imagined seeing. The love for your children creates a foundation inside you that maybe you didn’t know you didn’t have. And suddenly the world around you becomes so shockingly not good enough. The man in your life is too quick to anger, too sulky, too demanding of your affection. The education nobody thought you needed feels as necessary as the clean air your babies deserve to breathe. You look around for the same expression of discontent and need and want and curiosity on the faces of someone, anyone, you meet during your daily routine of child rearing. But you don’t see them. 22 hours a day you spend at home. Who are you going to see?

So, you pick up used books. Maybe many. You buy used CD’s. Maybe spoken word and poetry. And suddenly there they are.

Fierce, brilliant, wordsmiths. Women. Mothers. Artists. Activists. Scholars. 

There they are. And now you are not alone.

“Each time we don’t say what we wanna say, we’re dying.” – Yoko Ono

 And now your fire has a name. And now you have elders. Mothers who think dangerously. 

“You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.” ― Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon

You now know yourself as a dangerous thinker. And everything has to change. Begin by breathing.

“When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” ― Audre Lorde

Breathing in a room full of strangers. Stretching muscles forgotten. Stretching feelings gone dormant. Every breath brings you closer.

Each breath in, “I am here.” Each breath out, “And it fucking matters.”

You read. You listen. You breathe. You read and listen and breathe. And you leave.

To follow your elders.