meg says read this, Read This

Read This: Everything Everything

I guess you could say I’ve taken a bit of a break from young adult novels in the past few weeks, (well, in terms of usual ratio,) but I saw the movie trailer for Nicola Yoon’s Everything Everything, and thought to myself “why the heck haven’t I read this yet?” Too impatient to wait on the library’s hold list, I picked up a copy at Sam’s Club, and dove right in. Maybe I’m off my game, but I was thrown by the plot twist. And I LOVE that. I genuinely love when I’m surprised by the words on a page, and am so overwhelmed absorbing the information I didn’t expect to see, I have to pause. Everything Everything tells the story of teenager Madeline who has lived her whole life in the same house, breathing filtered air, with only in-person contact with her mom and her nurse (who takes her stats and vitals all day,) and a time or two a visit from a teacher – because she is allergic to everything. Can you imagine? Though, maybe it’s like some things in life – when you haven’t experienced them yet, you don’t know to miss them. You can’t miss the smell of the ocean, if the salty air has never wafted below your nose, and you can’t miss the taste of a steaming hot slice of pizza burning the roof of your mouth, if those ingredients have never touched your tongue. You probably won’t daydream all day about holding hands with a boy, if you haven’t interacted with one in real life. Maddy lives life vicariously through the pages of the books she devours, and is entertained by movie nights, and made-up board games with her mom. Life as Maddy knows it, changes when cute, mysterious, Olly and his family move in next door. How convenient their bedroom windows face one another. What starts with hand gestures, and condensation notes on window panes, leads to e-mails and the ole trusty instant messenger, and then opens to a whole other world of experiences beyond what Maddy could have imagined on her dreamiest days. Armed with a credit card, and a mischievous streak of braveness not to let her life pass her by, Maddy makes some huge decisions – taking her life and all of it’s possibilities into her own hands. Everything, Everything is a story of love and friendship, trust and betrayal, adventure and risk, and listening to your gut. I know I’m late to the game, but this was a fantastic read, and I found it refreshing. If you haven’t yet, check out this great novel. (I have to admit, I’m excited to see what they’ve done with the movie adaptation!)

listen to this, meg says listen to this

Listen to This: “We Could Happen”

My friend Jared has made me a number of fantastic mixed CDs. This morning on a dreary drive to work, I popped one in to make the ride a bit cheerier. One of my favorites, that I’d never heard before until he introduced me is AJ Rafael’s “We Could Happen.” It’s vulnerable and honest, but it has a happy beat. Something about it reminds me of the butterflies of anticipation when you’re entering new territory with someone you like. It really encapsulates that whole wave of hesitation and uncertainty before you take the jump. It’s a unique tune, and it’s a little sappy, but I like sappy. If you haven’t heard it yet, give it a listen:

meg says watch this, Watch This

Watch This: “Auto Correct”

People are going to get tired of seeing me share about this, but I don’t care. As long as there are people who say they don’t understand this, then I will never be able to let this issue go, or be quiet about it. It’s important that we keep these conversations going. Apparently in a time when there is still so much “grey area”  and victim shaming of sexual assault – it’s necessary. Maybe claiming “not knowing what they’re doing is wrong,” is some people’s way of trying to get out of consequences for their actions. Anytime you have to “convince” someone, situations of coercion, or force them into something they don’t want to do, or just ignore their attempts at refusal, or violate an unconscious person – that isn’t right. There’s no grey about that. As long as there are Brock Turner’s in the world, and judges who refuse to accept that they should hold them accountable for their actions (at the very least) – then the conversations must continue. Sexual assault doesn’t always  involve violence – ripping of clothes, or walking away black and blue (though the psychological and emotional scars are there.) It’s not always a stranger pulling someone into a dark alley, just as often the attacker is someone the victim knows, sometimes even someone they trusted.  There continues to be talk about how women have to come forward in these situations, but have you looked at how they are treated so many times, when they do? Why don’t we talk about respect and boundaries before we get there? Furthermore, no means no. Sex without consent is rape. Period.

I woke up last weekend, and honestly thought it was an April Fool’s Joke that our current president spoke of April as “National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.” On the WhiteHouse.gov website, the opening paragraph of the proclamation reads: “At the heart of our country is the emphatic belief that every person has unique and infinite value. We dedicate each April to raising awareness about sexual abuse and recommitting ourselves to fighting it. Women, children, and men have inherent dignity that should never be violated.” Nice sentiment and all, but this is coming from a man who has proudly bragged about assaulting women, degrading them, and is completely void of respect. How is that for awareness? It disgusts me what we deal with as a society, the standards that have been set, that people try and find ways to blame victims for what happened to them. (IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT.)

If I sound angry, it’s because I am. Why are conversations continuously steered towards what someone is wearing when they are assaulted? Or if they were drinking? Or if they flirted with someone? Agreeing to go on a date with someone, does not mean you “owe them” sexual favors. None of these are an invitation to have your space and body violated.

It takes a brave person to share their personal experiences, and sometimes through this we realize that more people than you might’ve originally thought, can relate. In an effort to continue educating people, watch this video put together by the It’s On Us campaign that highlights even just how we need to change our conversations about this.

It’s important for victims to know this is never their fault, and they are not alone. If you or a friend needs to talk to someone about this, the National Sexual Assault Hotline # is 1-800-656-HOPE or visit notalone.gov

listen to this, meg says listen to this

Listen to This: “Tin Man”

It probably comes as no surprise that one of my favorite tracks on Miranda Lambert’s new album The Weight of These Wings is “Tin Man.” I mean how can you listen to this song, and not feel anything? I’m not really sure. On Sunday, she preformed it live on the ACM’s. Acoustic. Raw. I think there’s something beautiful and admirable about someone revealing their heart for anyone to see. It’s a real song, and it’s vulnerable, and I think that’s wonderful. The world needs more of that. I believe it’s a brave thing to do, even if it’s scary, to put your emotions out there like that. You never really know how that situation will transpire, but it’s better than hiding away. And isn’t that  kind of how love works, anyway? It’s all a risk, but what is life without taking those chances? Her performance gave me goosebumps, but the song has that effect anyway. I’m not sure I’ve listened to it one time without getting tears in my eyes yet. (*Sap alert* I know, but it’s so good.) It had been a few years since her last one, and this much anticipated album was well worth the weight. I believe it when they say she brought her heart to the table, ready to pour it out into these songs.

“Hey there Mr. Tin Man
You don’t know how lucky you are
You shouldn’t spend your whole life wish’
For something bound to fall apart
Every time you’re feeling empty
Better thank your lucky stars
If you ever felt one breaking
You’d never want a heart

Hey there Mr. Tin Man
You don’t know how lucky you are
I’ve been on the road that you’re on
It didn’t get me very far
You ain’t missing nothing
Cause love is so damn hard
Take it from me darling
You don’t want a heart

Hey there Mr. Tin Man
I’m glad we talked this out
You can take mine if you want it
It’s in pieces now
By the way there Mr. Tin Man
If you don’t mind the scars
You give me your armor
And you can have my heart”

If you haven’t heard it yet: