It Was Not Nothing

ibelieveyouitsnotyourfault:

By Jenny Yang

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Dear Little Sister,

I was quite young when I realized my own parents weren’t the most emotionally supportive. I wish we didn’t have to be so young to learn that sometimes our own parents can let us down. I knew they loved me, but so many things get in the way of kids getting the love that we need.

Most of these things are totally out of our control. In my case, I was the youngest of our immigrant family. I got better at speaking English and “being American” than the rest of my family. A lot of times, my own parents relied on me to figure out the world, even when I was very young. Sometimes our own parents are not the best place get comfort when we are being mistreated by the world—especially if this is a world that they don’t understand. And sometimes, sadly, grownups just think that our life is so small when we are little and young.  

I was the only girl and youngest of three kids. When I was six years old, I was new to the block and finally playing with the neighbor kids on a regular basis. This one day, a boy from the next street over showed up. He was this jagged-toothed, sandy blonde white kid with a mischievous grin.

He interrupted our freeze tag and started making fun of me. I didn’t quite speak enough English after only being in America for less than a year, but I could see that his face was mocking me. Maybe he knew that I didn’t understand his words so he had to make himself perfectly clear.

After laughing at my face for what felt like forever, he reached underneath my flouncy knee-length skirt and flipped it up. My face got hot and all the other kids started laughing and pointing. They saw my underwear and I knew the kid was being mean.

He tried flipping up my skirt again but I ran away just in time. I escaped to my house with hot tears streaming down my face.

As I heard the sound of the screen door slam behind me, I realized I had interrupted my mom who was deep in conversation, speaking Mandarin Chinese with a neighbor lady. I screamed in Chinese, “Mom! The boy down the street. He was laughing at me and he flipped up my skirt.”  

While I cried and clutched fists full of my skirt in anger, all I wanted was a hug or an “I’m sorry this happened to you.” But all I got was laughter. Their laughter echoed the sounds of the kids who mocked me just seconds ago.

“Oh, Jenny! Is that all that happened? He flipped up your skirt? Hahaha.” She turned to her friend and shot her a glance that said, “Oh look at this silly girl.” This friend of my mom also started giggling. Grownups can be so mean sometimes.

“Jenny. Don’t worry about it,” my mom insisted. She was about to turn back to her friend to continue their conversation but I stood there and screamed louder. Something was wrong. Harm was done.

“Mom!  He just came up to me and flipped up my skirt! Everyone saw my underwear!”  

My mom laughed some more.

"Oh, look at my daughter. Isn’t she funny getting so upset? It’s fine. It’s just your underwear. It’s over.”

“But, mom!”

My mom laughed even harder.

“Look how upset you are. Don’t get upset over this. Nothing happened. It’s nothing.”

In Chinese, the words “mei shi” literally translate to “not a big deal” or “not a thing.” No thing. Nothing.

My mother would go on to contradict herself when it came to how I was supposed to carry my own body. When I got just a few years older, she told me to close my legs when I sat down because “a proper girl didn’t show her underwear.” So when is it okay for a girl to show her underwear? Only when a strange boy forces you to show it?

After feeling rejected by my mom, I ran into the bedroom and cried. I knew there was nothing I could do to get the reaction that I wanted. I wanted my mom to understand that what this boy did was not okay.

From that day forward, I vowed in my heart to never wear a skirt again. I learned that to wear a skirt was to be laughed at and to feel vulnerable. That to be a girl was to be weak and ignored. That life was better to be just like my two much older brothers rather than the silly, youngest girl who was never really seen for how I felt and who I was. That this was just the beginning to learning all the ways that life was so unfair to little girls and young women. That our own parents can love us so much and work really hard to clothe and feed us, but that they might not protect and nourish us in very important ways that help us to grow up, and feel whole and safe.

I am here to tell you all of this because it’s okay. I will believe you when somebody mistreats you. I know it matters to you so it matters to me. You know when you are not being treated well.  I’m here to tell you that you are right. You do not deserve to be mocked and bullied by anyone. You deserve to have grownups  believe you when you say that you were harmed and violated. Your body is yours. What you wear has nothing to do with other people’s bad behavior.

I see what happened to you. I know exactly how you feel. It was not your fault. I believe you.

Love,

Jenny Yang

asker

buddh1sm asked: Also, i'll admit: every time i'm at a bookstore i find your section just to see if you've put something new out or if i've missed a book.

chuckpalahniuk:

A big  confession…  In 1996, when ‘Fight Club’ came out, a Portland book store icon named Bob Mahl — since retired and died — took me aside and gave me some gruff advice.  Bob was a gruff, older guy with a big grey mustache.  He said, “Kid, make sure you have a new book out every 16 months, because after that readers forget about you…  And don’t write long sentences with lots of commas, people HATE that.”   He terrified me. 

Reblogging for that last bit. betheboy TAKE NOTE!

Men Against Men’s Right Movement

dadofthedecade:

"Gay men have invented new technology, built cities, researched cures for disease, made profound contributions to the arts, literature and philosophy, excelled at athletics and participated wholly in every aspect of the development of civilization as we know it.

But of course, they did not do these things because they were gay. They did these things because they were men.”


This is the kind of bullshit the “Men’s Rights Movement” espouses. Because I occasionally blog or write about how poorly fathers are treated as a class in family court, I am Sometimes identified as one of these bigots. This could not be farther from the truth.

I am a #feminist, and proud to say so. I view feminists as my partners in my quest for equality. Feminists and single dads should be natural allies-we want so many of the same core things.

So, #dads, I encourage you to refute these misogynistic permateens with the hashtag #MenAgainstMensRights. Show the world that these hate-spewers don’t speak for you, and tell us why!

#MenAgainstMRM #feminism #mensrights #fathers

bethanysworld:

fightingforanimals:

Veronika Scott was a fashion student at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit when her teacher, Stephen Schock, challenged her class to create a product that filled a need, rather than satisfying or creating a fad. Veronika’s design was a coat for homeless people that could transform into a sleeping bag, since in her city, she says, “you are constantly faced with the homeless epidemic.” Not only did her design win a International Design Excellence Award from the Industrial Designers Society of America, it’s become the core of Veronika’s nonprofit organization, The Empowerment Plan, which hires people from homeless shelters and transition homes to help her make the coats. Now, three years later, the 24-year-old social entrepreneur expects that her team of 15 seamstresses will produce over 6,000 coats in 2014 — all of which will be distributed free of charge to people living on the streets. Veronika originally designed the coats seeking input from people at a homeless shelter. After receiving feedback from people who used the prototype over a Detroit winter, she refined the design to create her final version which, in addition to being a waterproof and windproof coat and sleeping bag, also transforms into an over-the-shoulder bag with storage in the arm sockets. When she started out, Veronika states,

“Everybody told me that my business was going to fail — not because of who I was giving my product to but because of who I was hiring. They said that these homeless women will never make more than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich — you cannot rely on them for anything. And I know my ladies enjoy proving everybody wrong.” 

And, their impact is growing — according to CNN, which recently honored Veronika as one of their 10 Visionary Women of 2014, “The Empowerment Plan expects to launch a ‘buy one, give one’ program that will make it sustainable beyond the donations and sponsorships that keep it running now. Hunters and backpackers who’ve asked to buy the coat will be able to do so, and the Empowerment Plan will still create coats for homeless people who need them.”Veronika is also excited to show other clothing producers that local manufacturing is possible: “I think we’re going to show a lot of people: you think it’s outdated to do manufacturing in your neighborhood, but I think it’s something that we have to do in the future, where it’s sustainable, where you invest in people, where they’re not interchangeable parts.”You can read more about Veronika’s organization on CNN, or watch a short video about her work here.To learn more about The Empowerment Plan or how you can support their work, visit http://www.empowermentplan.org/For a wonderful book about women’s great inventions throughout history, check out “Girls Think of Everything” for readers 8 to 13.For those in the US who would like to support efforts to end homelessness and help the over 600,000 people who experience homelessness on any given night, visit the National Alliance to End Homelessness athttp://www.naeh.org/ or to find a local homeless shelter to support in your area, visit http://www.homelessshelterdirectory.org/

Important in so many ways.

This is amazing and wonderful.

bethanysworld:

fightingforanimals:

Veronika Scott was a fashion student at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit when her teacher, Stephen Schock, challenged her class to create a product that filled a need, rather than satisfying or creating a fad. Veronika’s design was a coat for homeless people that could transform into a sleeping bag, since in her city, she says, “you are constantly faced with the homeless epidemic.” 

Not only did her design win a International Design Excellence Award from the Industrial Designers Society of America, it’s become the core of Veronika’s nonprofit organization, The Empowerment Plan, which hires people from homeless shelters and transition homes to help her make the coats. Now, three years later, the 24-year-old social entrepreneur expects that her team of 15 seamstresses will produce over 6,000 coats in 2014 — all of which will be distributed free of charge to people living on the streets. 

Veronika originally designed the coats seeking input from people at a homeless shelter. After receiving feedback from people who used the prototype over a Detroit winter, she refined the design to create her final version which, in addition to being a waterproof and windproof coat and sleeping bag, also transforms into an over-the-shoulder bag with storage in the arm sockets. 

When she started out, Veronika states,

“Everybody told me that my business was going to fail — not because of who I was giving my product to but because of who I was hiring. They said that these homeless women will never make more than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich — you cannot rely on them for anything. And I know my ladies enjoy proving everybody wrong.” 

And, their impact is growing — according to CNN, which recently honored Veronika as one of their 10 Visionary Women of 2014, “The Empowerment Plan expects to launch a ‘buy one, give one’ program that will make it sustainable beyond the donations and sponsorships that keep it running now. Hunters and backpackers who’ve asked to buy the coat will be able to do so, and the Empowerment Plan will still create coats for homeless people who need them.”

Veronika is also excited to show other clothing producers that local manufacturing is possible: “I think we’re going to show a lot of people: you think it’s outdated to do manufacturing in your neighborhood, but I think it’s something that we have to do in the future, where it’s sustainable, where you invest in people, where they’re not interchangeable parts.”

You can read more about Veronika’s organization on CNN, or watch a short video about her work here.

To learn more about The Empowerment Plan or how you can support their work, visit http://www.empowermentplan.org/

For a wonderful book about women’s great inventions throughout history, check out “Girls Think of Everything” for readers 8 to 13.

For those in the US who would like to support efforts to end homelessness and help the over 600,000 people who experience homelessness on any given night, visit the National Alliance to End Homelessness athttp://www.naeh.org/ or to find a local homeless shelter to support in your area, visit http://www.homelessshelterdirectory.org/

Important in so many ways.

This is amazing and wonderful.