Anger, a February Salon

[Sharing our Anger Salon email to our salon for this weekend. because I would love to hear what others would add to the readings or how they’d answer some of the questions.]

Hello lovelies,

I don’t know about you, but I am really excited about this topic because it’s hard to figure out what to do with all my anger right now. Even limiting my news consumption is only doing so much…
Some questions: 
1 //  you let yourself be angry? When? Are there other times you try to “turn it off” or hide it?
2 // In your view, are there more acceptable forms of displaying anger? Where did those “rules” come from?
3 // Can anger be productive?
4 // What is making you mad right now? (I think we’ll start with this answer in the intros, feel free to bring a list… I definitely have one right now haha)
Some readings…
Kaela and I talk about Anger a lot because it seems to be an emotion that society has a lot of rules about, particularly in, as Roxane Gay puts it, who is allowed to be angry.
And finally, if you’re at work and like me occasionally need to find some things to channel the anger into, at least until you can go home and use it for something more productive, lifehacker has some ideas.
(Header image credit: Rob Howard / Flickr)

Spring 2017 Salon Syllabus

I am excited to introduce the Spring 2017 salon calendar! As I did with the fall calendar, I will update this with our readings and questions as we move through the Spring.  Think of this as a Work-in-Progress Syllabus.

1/22 2017: what’s your next jump?

It was nice to meet with everyone right after the women’s march in NYC. This was a more simple salon and question, since we know it’s been a strange time for many people and we hoped offering some reflective space here would be helpful.

We asked the group, “what will your next big jump or risk be for 2017?” Each person offered their reflections on the end of the year and where they wanted to grow this year. Especially in a year where political participation mattered in new ways to some of our salon members.

Our upcoming topics include:
2/19: Anger
3/5: Men explain things to me

Rebecca Solnit’s Hope in the Dark kept me sane during the 2016 election. We thought this was a good time for her collection of essays, Men Explain Things To Me.


3/19: Strangers in their own land reading group

Our reading group from the fall (Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Men) decided this was a good way to follow up on our really interesting discussion on race and America from the fall. 


4/2: Feeling worthy: what does it mean to observe without judgment


4/23: Resistance and Relaxation (how do we find balance?)


5/7: Mental health and our monsters

Inspired by my friend here, drawn by TED Animator Franz Palomares

Work by Franz Palomares

 

Franz Palomares

I will continue updating as we move through the spring!

Header Image credit: gabriella szekely / Flickr

Fear of Fat

I get more out of this talk every time I watch it. If you haven’t seen it, please enjoy a quiet lovely moment with me:

Today, I am most appreciative of the conversation she wants to have about the “feedback” media/”concerned friends” have for people who are any version of overweight. I appreciate this talk alongside the conversations happening over twitter describing weight/height to add context to our conversations about weight and what it means to be healthy. I appreciate the honest conversations about the flaws with BMI as a measurement for who is “healthy” and who is “not healthy” on that scale, removing important context.

It’s hard to watch communities where girls as young as 12 decide it’s time to start dieting and seem themselves as “ugly” or “deformed” because they don’t fit the “perfect profile and measurements.” There is some absurd idea that all bodies, if starved or fed correctly, will eventually look the same. They don’t and they won’t. I appreciate the context this speaker brings to what it means to be comfortable in your own skin and find a rhythm that makes sense for you in your own body — that whatever other people have to say to you is advice, and ultimately what “advice” you accept is yours and yours alone to decide.

I think often of something a friend told me once:
“Your body is the cheapest gift you have ever received,
and the most expensive gift you’ll ever have to return.”

I love the opportunity she presents to celebrate our own bodies for their strengths, instead of constantly comparing ourselves by our weaknesses. She provided me and so many others with a quiet, happy moment to be grateful for how amazing life and human bodies really are. I love this talk, and I am so grateful to this speaker for her bravery to face a difficult topic head on.

It reminds me of the body image salon we hosted over the summer. I shared it with the group from YouTube before our chat, and people shared the quiet personal moments they had that made them reflect on their bodies differently. I love these quiet moments.

Fall 2016: Salon Schedule

I’ve been running a salon for women interested in reflecting together for the last four years. We hoped this experiment could lead to a cool network of women interested in answering difficult questions, continuing with their research after college, and supporting each other through life transitions. It has been all of that for me for years, I am very grateful for this community we’ve built together.

To make this easier for new salon leaders, I am posting our fall/winter schedule and topics, maybe to inspire some of their own discussions. I will update it with our readings in case you want to follow along on your own.

SEPTEMBER:
Sunday Sept 25: Family and Community

Questions we’ve been playing with:
– if we’re moving past the mom+dad+2 kids+dog in a white picket fence home, how has the definition of “family” shifted for you? Who do you consider to be your “family?”
– can your community become part of your “family?”
– who do you seek out when you need support?
Some thoughts on community:
Courtney Martin’s the New American Dream
And a really honest essay about one writer’s anxiety and the support system she built with her friends

OCTOBER

Sunday Oct. 9: Death

Kaela’s Intro Email: I had originally been inspired to add this as a salon topic because of IDEO’s event series about death back in May. I realized that I had never really had any long conversation about death with anyone in my life.
There are many ways we could go on this, but we thought we could spring board off of with the idea of ‘what does it mean to be alive versus dead?’ and ‘how do the dead in our lives “live” on once they’ve passed?’
A few things to get your brain moving:
From Diana herself (On Day of the Dead, Memory, and living profiles)
A TED talk about how other communities engage with the dead/death
This group and this other group who are also trying to open conversations on death
And a great insta post shared to use by Connie (who also gave us a few of the links above!)

Sunday Oct 23: Grief

Our questions (brought together by Kaela and Connie)
Thinking about before and after — how do you change before and after you grieve? What does grief bring and how do you build through it?
And how do we deal with the timeline of grief? We have heard of all the stages – but what about the days you feel like you “should feel better” but don’t?
A few readings: 

NOVEMBER

Sunday Nov 6th: Transformation

“Human beings,” Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert observed…, “are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished.”
Let’s talk about Transformation. There are two questions that we’ve been playing with her that we’d love to hear your reactions to:
1) How do we know when we’ve “transformed” from someone we were or thought we were into a different version of ourselves?
2) And is this transformation really just a chance in perspective? Or is it like shedding a layer of armor and taking up something different?
Some Media:
Maybe change is like the Tower in Tarot (it’s meant to show the destruction at the end before a significant change. You can see it as “doom” and “disaster” like this image depicts, or it can be an opportunity for something new and exciting)
If it is about our perspective, maybe we can rewire towards optimism… I always seems to come back to Carol Dweck’s “Growth Mindset” too
And finally, sometimes relationships transform when we are able to ask questions. In light of this election, I related to this and it helped me feel better, like we can heal after Tuesday.

Sunday Nov 20th: Gratitude (Family style thanksgiving) Dinner

DECEMBER

Sunday December 4th: This Is Water: Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Book Discussion
Dec 18th: Holiday Party

JANUARY

Sunday January 8th: Men Explain Things to Me
Sunday January 22nd: Anger

More to come! Please send me questions/readings/thoughts, as they occur to you.

Header photo credit: Pedro Ribeiro Simões on Flickr, http://bit.ly/2d9A8QQ

Leave-Your-Shell-At-The-Door Spaces

When I was a senior at Yale, I met a girl who seemed to understand and articulate all of my thoughts on feminism and independence and what I wanted for myself in terms of self respect and adhering to my personal value system in the same language that I was using in my journal. It was strange. Like having my mind read for 3 hours. Obviously, we clicked and, as I usually do, we decided to build something together.

Now, nearly two years later, the salon series we built for our friends and growing communities in New York have expanded into several cities (Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, DC, Miami and soon, hopefully, Minneapolis and abroad). The salons grow organically — what started as one salon based in NYC turned into four of them running independently in NYC and several others sprouting up because people are generally interested in what we have created.

For me, the real value add of these salon spaces is that people come to have coffee/brunch in my apartment and agree to “leave their shells at the door.” While New York and certainly other cities value carefully curated public personas and responses, we value honesty and kindness to yourself and others, self respect, and the bravery it takes to dig into the soft, uncomfortable, not fully formed pieces of thoughts and values and goals that we all hide in our mental closets for a while longer than we should.

I love meeting new, cool, badass, creative ladies across cities and inviting them to join the salon space. I naturally have found a series of close friends through these spaces. Because I’ll explain something raw in my head and they will engage with me about it, seriously. They listen. They value the ideas and person that you introduce to a space. Because that is what it is — showing up and being fully present and engaged with a stranger, but promising to listen and be present throughout the conversation, is a sign of respect. It is what builds strong communities.

I am excited to see how we grow and change this year. It has been such a pleasure to organize and attend these salons for a few hours every few weekends. I leave feeling raw and open and reminded of my own values and personal growth goals. I am grateful to have a space where I am required to leave my shell at the door. It gets heavy and unpleasant to carry around all the time.

Most importantly, I am grateful to the women who have pushed me and challenged me and listened to me when I sometimes feel lost and unable to full express myself. Thank you, Tiffany, Sharone, Camilla, Joanna, Molly and our other organizers. You have changed me for the better.