Furious and Fruitful Fables of Feminism

Last night I stayed up late. I was at the kitchen table typing and reading until three in the morning. And Jess was in the window seat, staring out onto the lagoon and singing along to Pride playlists on Spotify. Coexistence. We both got up and went to bed at the same time. Human rhythm.  Polar alignment.

Today at brunch, we cracked ourselves up about our three hour spiritual journey together last night.

“We were really on the same page,” Jess laughed “But we weren’t anywhere near each other. Lost in our heads. Lost in the world. Giving zero fucks about the other.”

I’m typing up four essays on diversity this afternoon, for the completion of the program. I’ve been putting it off forever. I really don’t like to be told when to write.

GOING RUNNING after I finish this. Reading “God is Red” to help inspire some thoughts. There’s just so much in the world. And the busy schedule this year has provided me with the valuable knowledge that it is just not sustainable to lock myself in my room for days at a time and read. I need to get out, and be in the world. And come back and read. And repeat. There is no hiding from anything. You have to do both. Do and think. Carinne, Jess and I are all trading books on native culture and history. And Alyssa is on the phone with her Mom right now doing genealogical research to determine which Native American tribe her family belonged to.

It’s a fucking beautiful day outside today. The weather is completely unpredictable.

Something I’ve been meaning to write about for a long time are the lemmings here. They are little tiny rodents that scurry under your feet as you’re out for jog– they are the same color as the dirt, and look identical to a slightly oblong meatball.

I really wanted to tie these creatures into a piece metaphorically. What do they represent? Humor, surprise, fear of rabies, the abundance of life even in the harshest climates…

The lagoon, which was frozen over when we got here, is completely melted now. The sea is dramatically melting daily as well. While we could only see a patch of blue far out on the horizon a month ago, now we only see patches of white ice in the blue.

“Oh come, and we will celebrate the things that make us real,

The things that break us open, and the things that make us feel

Like these accidental meetings up and partings of the way

Are not so much our choice but in the blood of how we’re made,

It’s like the way I have to write down almost everything I see,

So that the record does obscure the thing the record used to be” -Emmy the Great

My “everything” notebook is coming very close to falling out of our second story living room window. I’m using the window ledge as a table, and the pages of my year are blowing in the wind. No screens on windows in Barrow.

Okay. I’ve finished half of the diversity packet. I’m going for a run.

“His bike is tipped over, right? And then he’s in the middle of the road, making dirt angels in the dust. And I turn to Annie and she goes, is that Thomas? And she says, yeah it is. And I lean my head out the window, and go, “Are you okay?” “Yeah.” “Are you having fun?” “Yeah.” And then I pulled my head back in the window and continued with my day. Made infinitely better from that interaction,” Carinne tells Jess in the kitchen. She comes out to the living room and continues on with the absurdity of life with me.

“Texas tried to shake Thomas Jefferson out of the history books because he is an atheist. There is something fucking wrong with the Bible Belt. They forgot to mention. That’s why you have to teach kids to teach themselves…

“Good morning, lovely,” Carinne turns to Jess, who has just walked into the room and is making suggestive hand motions at all of us.

“Yo. That was the weirdest shit that’s ever happened. I just couldn’t get out of bed.”

Tony just walked in. He’s got a golf ball sized lump on his temple, unbeknownst to him. “What the fuck happened Tony?” I ask as I put on my running shoes. He tells there were a lot of mosquitoes by the beach, he might have gotten bit.

Alyssa looks up from her book. “Jesus. It looks like you got hit by a treeeee. Close the damn window.”

Carinne saunters through the living room with her backpack. “Bye, I’m going to go read by the beach.”

She slips out the front door, and Jess, Alyssa and I look at Tony and his bite again, and then back at one another.

“Should we warn Carinne?” Jess asks, on point.

“She’ll figure it out,” Alyssa decides, as the ever growing larger mosquitoes take shape in swarms outside the window.

“I knew Annie was writing this shit down. When she gets that belly laugh and her fingers are flying over her laptop… my life is scripted,” Alyssa concluded. “But, really. Close the damn window.”

“Dibs on this spot when I get back,” I say, specifically looking at Tony. We all have our spots in the room, but he always snags my window seat when he comes over, with my world blanket draped over it.

“It’s by far the best seat,” Tony comments, eyeing it.

“It is, I don’t know why no one else tries to grab it.”

I mark my territory with notebooks and books and send disapproving glances at Tony eyeing the seat again, and then I jog out into the world.

My jog was great. It’s a beautiful day, and I went out to the ocean. The ocean is a magnificent blue now that it has melted, and continues to melt daily. I realize that I am living on the ocean for the first time in my life. Who would have believed it would have been here?

I find the one coffee shop in town, that’s operates on beach hours, and has two tables and eight dollar cups of coffee in a little, dark, windowless room.

I jog home, and squish ankle deep into a mud hole by the lagoon. I keep running, as the mud dries around my feet.

“I’m not from Puerto Rico. I’m from Spain,” Alyssa says as I walk in the door after I get back. She is surrounded by paintings she has just created, and gives them to me. One is a picture of the midnight sun that questions our place here, another is the pink feminist hand symbol, the last one says “si se puede.”

Tony is in my window spot, but moves as I take a seat on the floor with Lyss.

Immediately following, Jess comes storming into the living room, throwing Naomi Wolf’s “The Beauty Myth” on the ground.

“FUCK THIS BOOK. FUCK THIS BOOK. FUCK. THIS. WORRRRRRRRLLLLDDDDD.”

She picks the book off the ground, and frantically begins shouting quotes from it.

“SEXUAL VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN IS NOT OBSCENE WHEREAS FEMALE SEXUAL CURIOSITY IS.

“Can you write this one down, too?

“THE ONTARIO POLICE PROJECT P HELD UP THAT PHOTOS OF NAKED WOMEN TIED UP, BRUISED, AND BLEEDING, INTENDED FOR SEXUAL PURPOSES, WERE NOT OBSCENE SINCE THERE WERE NO ERECT PENISES.

“ERECT PENIS. ERECT PENIS. ERECT PENIS!” Jess is shouting and yelling

“SO EVEN IF WE AGREE THAT SEXUAL IMAGERY IS IN FACT A LANGUAGE, IT IS CLEARLY ONE THAT IS ALREADY HEAVILY EDITED TO PROTECT MEN’S SEXUAL- AND HENCE SOCIAL- CONFIDENCE WHILE UNDERMINING THAT OF WOMEN.

“ERECT PENIS. ERECT PENIS. ERECT PENIS.”

We hear voices outside of our apartment, and Jess continues to yell. Perhaps louder with the arrival of male voices. Carinne walks in, introducing us to our new neighbor Doug, who’s a little older than us.

“What are you reading?” he asks, as Jess throws the book on the floor and collapses on the ground next to me.

“A feminist book.”

“Oh. That’s great. I’m a feminist.”

We proceed to invite him over for tea sometime, and he says he’ll bring a book. Then he tells us we need to clean the floor outside where all of our boots are lined up.

“He’s like, oh hi nice to meet you. YOU CLEAN THE FUCKING HALLS NOW,” Alyssa comments after he leaves.

“What book are you reading, Jess?” Carinne asks, as Jess and I continue to laugh and rant hysterically to one another.

Not missing a beat she replies, “”Sexually frustrated in the Arctic”… No, ‘The Beauty Myth’ by Naomi Wolf. ERECT PENIS ERECT PENIS ERECT PENIS.”

Jess pulls her sweater over her head, arms spread out in front of her, glasses cocked off her face waiting for me to finish copying a quote down from the book. Why is your sweater on your head, Jess?

“My armpits are sweating because I’m so angry. I’m airing them out.’

“I’ve been living a lie everyone,” Alyssa says about her mistaken Puerto Rican identity.

“I tried to trim my armpit hair, but now they’re all like various sizes. Super long, and then really short ones,” Jess muses on her sweaty pits.

Jess and I continue to inhabit the living room floor, her reading and me typing out the previous sequence of events. She is grunting and making so many noises as commentary to the text that I can almost tell what the pages hold.

“Sorry for getting you angry on your day off,” she says, as we calm down after another outrageous quote from the book is read aloud.

I tell her that I live for these kind of days off. We are simultaneously experiencing full body belly laughs while raising our voices in revolution to injustices relayed to us this afternoon by the beautiful Naomi Wolf.

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