Trigger warning: The paragraph below includes mentions of sexual assault (though it does not go into any detail about any of the acts):
In light of the Kavanaugh proceedings, I want to bury my head in the sand and find distractions from the terrible reality that's been unfolding. But what good would that do? As I continue to follow the coverage of a man who's been accused of sexually assaulting several women and still might be confirmed to the Supreme Court, I'm searching for respite in the responses of other men to similar allegations, that aren't filled with quite so much vitriol. Last year, the lead singer of a band I love, Pinegrove, was accused of verbally pressuring a woman to have sex with him. He didn't know he'd crossed a line until she told him years later and requested that he take a year off of touring—which he immediately did, as well as going to therapy and donating 100% of the proceeds from his just-released album to three charities. The near-immediate acknowledgement of his wrong-doing, and efforts to correct it, left me feeling more surprised than his initial accusation of sexual misconduct did. He did the unthinkable: He stopped to listen to his accuser, and respected her wishes (as did others, in this episode of the The Daily and this Ted Talk). These responses don't excuse sexual assault, but at least they provide their victims with some sort of closure that's a far cry from this gross display of 'patriarchal resentment.' Whatever your political beliefs, the only unacceptable reaction is "I don't care about politics." To a reader base that's mostly comprised of women, I'm simply asking: Please care. This affects all of us, and we need to pay attention and speak up—even as few as two women can make a difference, as these women did with Jeff Flake. Here's what else I'm up to this week:
Speaking of powerful women, one of the hottest topics in my text group of girlfriends recently is Jane Fonda. Between her recent HBO mini-series documentary and interview on Oprah's Master Class, we are all about the jazzer-cising actress and political activist. Listen to her interview here, which is an auto-biographical account of her life lessons, and watch the documentary here (I dare you not to love her too).
Booze is everywhere. It's in 'Rosé all day,' the Champagne emoji, and after-work happy hour. An Instagram with the caption "Need. Wine." will always get more likes than one with, "Hydrating after work with water." I'm not sober, nor have I ever struggled from substance addiction, but for the past few weeks I've cut out alcohol, along with gluten, dairy, and sugar from my diet, for personal health reasons. For the most part, I've had no problem cutting out these foods (it's similar to how I eat already, with a few adjustments), but cutting out alcohol has been incredibly challenging, because as soon as you cut it out, you realize it's everywhere. I've recently come across a few blog posts and books written by recovered addicts that are incredibly interesting, whatever your relationship with alcohol is, because they shed a new light on our society's relationship with it. Here are three I read and loved recently:
1. The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy (Memoir): I read this memoir in one sitting earlier this year, and while Levy and her partner's struggle with alcoholism is only a fraction of the rich story ("We made a fine mess together," she writes), her descriptions of if will likely always stick with you.
2. 'The Sobriety Series' on Veggiekins Blog (Blog Series): Scroll through Remy Park's Instagram and you'll immediately categorize it as another picture-perfect yoga instructor Instagram run by the type of girl who's so balanced she uses moon-cleansed crystals to align her chakras (true). But she also recently revealed, in a series called the 'Sobriety Series' that she's a recovering addict as well. Read the first post here.
3. Nothing Good Can Come from This by Kristi Coulter (Audiobook): "This is the summer I realize that everyone around me is tanked. It also dawns on me that the women are super double tanked." If that starting line doesn't grab you, I don't know what will. Her memoir is funny, candid, and worth a listen!
Over the past month, two films about climbing Yosemite's El Capitan—the epicenter of outdoor climbing—were released. In The Dawn Wall, Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson climbed an 'unclimbable' stretch of wall (that was highly documented as a New York Times cover story). In Free Solo, director Jimmy Chin, of Meru, documents Alex Honnold's ropeless climb of El Cap. Not-so-spoiler alert: Both succeed, so the resulting movies are beyond inspiring. They also both go to unexpected depths. At a screening and Q&A I attended, Chin's wife and co-director Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi pointed out, "This is a film about climbing. But it's also a feminist film" because of Honnold's relationship with his girlfriend Sanni. While The Dawn Wall had a limited release, Free Solo was released nationally on Friday.
P.S., The Palisades Village opened last week, which is pretty much a mini-Grove with much cuter shops. It includes stores like The Little Market, St. Frank, and Botanica Bazaar. I'm not one for malls, but am planning on heading to the westside to check it out this weekend (not an ad, I'm just genuinely excited ha!).