Summer never feels like summer if I’m at home. At home I feel trapped, stagnant, and unable to grow. I get suck in the same complacent mindset of idly going through life that doesn’t lead me to growth or development. In my mind, my summers should be full of  long plane rides, traveling, speaking another language, and returning home a better person than when I left.

These delicious tasty morsels are called maamoul (transliterating Arabic is hard). I can’t think of any sort of comparable American treat that is like maamoul, but it’s date paste or walnuts wrapped in a flaky, crumbly dough. Since Eid is family time, last night we made a lot of maamoul. Our host mother (bless her heart, she’s amazing) made all of the date paste and the dough, and let us put all the decorations for the maamoul. Usually, you stick to one design for the ones filled with dates and another for the ones filled with nuts, but our host mother lovingly called the diverse designs we made for all of them “American Jordanian” maamoul.

This time last summer I was back in Jordan. At this time I was celebrating Ramadan with my host family, stammering through sentences in Classical Arabic. Everyday was so fresh and exciting. But not every summer can be traveling and fun and pleasant. Sometimes the summer is for work and being challenged and not having a rest for not even a second. The thought of all the things I need to do almost makes me seize with anxiety. So much of the VERY IMPORTANT THINGS I have to do are connected directly with my goals for my life.

This summer is for thinking about my future and I’m tired. Well, I’m always tired, summer really has nothing to do with it. I’m tired of school and homework and actual work and having things to do and nothing to do. It’s a kind of tired that sits in your bones. The kind of tired where you can get a full night sleep and still say “Man I am tired.” And because I’m a glutton for punishment and there is no rest for the weary, I’m gonna keep being tired this summer.
I have to work on my thesis so I can prove to grad schools that I’m a good candidate for a PhD and then I need to start studying for the GRE so I can get into grad school, and I need to start working on my applications for grad school and I need to get fit so I feel more confident for when I’m in grad school and I needtoineedtoineedto.

There are so many things that I want to do…have to do to be the person that I want to be and have the success that I’ve imagined since I was a teenager. While this mindset has been beneficial in that I’ve achieved a lot of successes, it’s also really challenging. I deal with a lot of self-doubt, any sort of setback feels monumental, and comparing myself to other people.

Since I began college, I’ve been on a journey to maintain my high standards, but also chill out on the self-hate that comes with being a perfectionist/having anxiety/not willing to compromise on my goals.

It’s okay not to be perfect

It took my a long time to realize that it’s okay not to be perfect. It’s okay for my plans to go off of my planned path. It’s all okay. Getting a grade that I’m not happy or is lower than I anticipated in a class is not going to destroy my future.
In the moment, it can honestly feel like one setback is all encompassing and is setting a downward trend for your life (especially if your me), but in the long run, these moments are insignificant and only determine as much as you let them.

Change how you define success

Like last year, the way I defined success was perfection. Progress wasn’t good enough, like if I did something it needed to be perfect. This way of thinking tbh will make you hate yourself in a second. Instead try to focus on the things you learned in the process or find joy in something you learned along the way.

Literally chill

Chilling out is great. For my own mental health, being in a gottagofast gottadoallthethings mindset is not conducive to my overall physical, mental, and social health. If I’m putting all my energy into one thing, it means I can’t put energy in all the other things that are important to my health.

I’m still working on it though. Especially this summer when so much of what I’m doing is laying the foundation for my future and I really to be more balanced in all aspects of my health.

How has your summer been? Let me know in the comments or on twitter @noireandco

 

 

 

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[Image description: white flowers in the background with a light purple transparent box with light colored text reading “A Brief History of First WaveFeminism” in capital letters about this are the words “feminism series” written in a curly font]

Content contains brief mentions of sexual violence. 

Introduction

I struggle to identify with the mainstream feminist movement. The flaws in the mainstream feminist movement particularly the maintenance of White supremacy, capitalism, colonialism, imperialism and lack of diversity in leadership, transphobia, racism have put me off from the banner of mainstream feminism.

However, these critiques of feminism are not new. Since the late 1880s until present, the feminist movement in the United States has failed to build solidarity and meaningful allyship to those poor, non-white, disabled, trans, and non-binary. In this essay series, I want to explore the history of the feminist movement in the United States and the emergence of the Black feminist/Womanist movement, and imagine a better future for feminism.

I acknowledge that there will be flaws and gaps in this essay as I am one person writing, editing, and researching the information for these works. As I am an anthropologist (in training), it’s important that I recognize my positionality in writing this piece. I write this essay from my position as a Black womxn from a low-income background with disabilities. My critique and disappointment with the feminist movement is grounded in my identity and the racism, sexism, classism, and ableism I have faced in my life. This series of essays will be grounded in contextualized historical and academic texts to support my argument that mainstream feminism is not good enough to exact meaningful, collective change.

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I haven’t hiked since 2009 at hippie school. All I can remember now is that it was some weird solo hike to learn more about ourselves. It was probably one of our final projects for the school because it was hippie school and Seattle, so you can do whatever you want basically. I remember that there was a journaling component and me as the sassy/super edgy/way cool 12 year old I wrote in my reflection that hiking was super lame.

So, my best friend and I decided to go on some hikes this summer (unlike adorable edgy skater age 12 me, I can appreciate going for a hike now a bit more as an adult than I did as a kid). For our first hike, we decided to venture to RATTLESNAKE LEDGE TRAIL, I put this in all caps to emphasis how much of a big dealTM going on this hike was. I think all of the cool kids at my high school did this hike a bunch of times and all their super aesthetic/pre-instagram popularity but insta worthy pictures.

We ventured to Rattlesnake Ledge on a sunny, Sunday afternoon listening to a bunch of songs from her playlist that I had never heard. With the nice weather, good vibes, and surprisingly good traffic, the drive honestly didn’t feel like it took that long and before we knew it we were in North Bend, the home of Rattlesnake Ledge. Just the drive there made me hyped for the hike because despite my complaints about the PNW, Seattle. Is. Beautiful. You can drive like 10 minutes out of the city and the mountains with their snowy peaks are visible, you can see wildflowers in all sorts of vibrant colors, and trees everywhere. When you get closer to the trail, it intensifies. The metropolitan landscape has transformed into an idyllic small town. It seems like the kind of place where everything would seem perfect, but something sinister would be lurking under the surface, like a giant bear or a group of racists.

As we approached Rattlesnake Ledge, we learned the real sinister truth…there’s no phone service at the bottom of the dang hike. How were we, two early 20s adults supposed to call our moms without phone service?! It was only as we got closer to the end of the hike that phone services was bestowed up on.

Despite the misfortune that had fallen upon us, the texts that didn’t get sent, and the notifications that we could only make emergency calls, we began our hike. At the start it was deceptively easy, it’s flat and covered in stumps and rocks galore. Once the hike starts going though, it’s not easy. While it’s only 2 miles until you get to the lookout, the 95% of that hike is uphill. Not like a chill uphill, but like a “Dear me I’m a bit winded oh god I’m sweating a lot oH REALLY ANOTHER HILL MOUNTAIN THAT’S JUST GREAT THANKS” kind of uphill. Compounded with that it’s also hot because fun fact: Washington has temperate (so like not tropical) rainforests, so it gets kind of muggy.

After an hour of walking and gaining 1,160 feet of elevation (me complaining, stopping, and taking breaks; singing the theme song to Dog the Bounty Hunter), we reached the top!

I could try to describe the view, but they say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I’ll leave it to Mother Nature.

The descent unlike the ascent was pretty dang easy. Besides the fact that I almost twisted my ankle like 3 times, it was no big deal. Since we were descending later in the afternoon, there were a lot less people to contend with on the trail. Thank goodness all the people who run up/down hiking trails, the barrage of cute puppers, and smol children were a much less of a presence of the trail so we could *zooom* down.

And after the hike like the healthy people we are, we indulged in some delicious fries from McDonalds on the drive home.

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Before I began my freshman year of college in 2014, I started The Traveling Curl. My blog began as a place for me tot talk about the exciting, terrifying, and stressful experiences of my first year in college. My blog began as a hobby, but as time went on I wanted to make it a side hustle…and then when that became too stressful, it went to on to be a hobby I rarely partook in.

I envisioned my blog to be a space for me to express myself creatively in the niche of being a college blogger. Over time, this niche became a bit more suffocating than I would have liked and I felt as though I couldn’t be creative in this space.

After 3 months of not blogging, I decided that it was time for a change. I needed to make a change for my blog to be a space that was inspiring. And I think I’ve found that.

Noire & Co. is a lifestyle blog for quirky, eclectic young folks who can appreciate discussing social justice, their favorite books, and memes. On Noire & Co. expect long form posts discussing the challenges of being a young woman in these interesting times, academic discourse, and short form content covering my wide array of interests.

In my first few weeks of post I think it will be clear that Noire & Co. will be diverse. I hope to write about college, movies, books, travel, nature, and my life. Every week on Sunday a new post should go up. Heck, I even plan to put out some planner printables since I’m interested in that too!

I hope you’re excited and willing to join me on this journey!

 

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