Ashleigh @orirai ?active 11 months, 3 weeks ago
Ashleigh commented on the blog post A short list of ways white people can be less oppressive 11 months, 3 weeks ago · View
i like this post for a few reasons. one, it did make me feel uncomfortable. as a white woman, i am aware of some of the privileges that i take for granted and am still trying to figure out ways to even the playing field. two, i am guilty of committing some of these actions [...]
i will put this the best way i can, with much honesty and as little confusion as possible:
i was reading a magazine at work today about the actors of the ”Twilight” series, and yes, i have read the books (brain candy defense!). what struck wasn’t robert pattinson’s edward pics, but the way all three of them were describing their work. they were excited and passionate about it. i just stood there and thought about what i do and who i am and where i am in my life right now and almost cried. i thought about you and the discussions i had had with you and needed to have with you and wanted to have with you. i thought about the feminism that flows between us and the connections of feminism that i wanted to tape into. i visualized the steps of my life up to that moment ever so briefly, like a montage. i just instantly felt a sharp piece of anger; i felt something had been stolen from me, at least for the time being, that was dearly mine and was calling to me to come get it. it was/is a future and a past that called out so desperately for me to live it, where i am joyous and confident and have worked for what i love. it was a life that reminded me of how disconnected my current one was from what i had dreamed and poured my emotional drive into: Ashleigh the actress, the singer, the feminist, the philosopher, the artist, and the lover of myself and my creation of my life. you remind me of this, of my obligation to myself to pour myself into things i love and to demand the respect and reciprocity of those tasks. i’m going to go get it.
i’m writing this at my place of work. It’s the place i feel most comfortable currently, probably because i feel like i’m here 24/7 and the people have gotten used to my antics. My plan was to utilize my free coffee privileges and crank out an inspiring and persuasive personal statement for my graduate school application. So far i’ve succeeded in discussing sexual politics between partners with an adult coworker who has never had sex, analyzing pagan spiritual encounters (hey, it is Halloween) and showing off my love for Awkward Black Girl to my V-card holding coworker. All this was of course done without an interfering manager-type (i just love hierarchies!).
i guess that this piece is my pre-writing attempt, my psyching-myself-up brainstorm prior to the explosion of a masterpiece. And yet i find myself unable to answer a very simple question: “Why do you want to go to grad school?” Instant roadblock. My reply is usually a frustrated and pathetic “Why not?!” i could also deliver my reasons in a laundry list (self-exploration, passion for the field, desire for a career in academia, etc.), but somehow that doesn’t paint the picture. How about the fact that i actively participate in discussions about abortion access and sexual power dynamics on sites such as this? Or that I read books about the male body, dissecting details about penises and the social implications that stem from notions of size and pleasure? What about that porn documentary i watched just last night where a photojournalist attempts to bridge the porn world with the “normal” world (Naked Ambition)? And does all that Tori Amos listening count for anything?
Because what i do on a daily basis is women’s studies, feminism, men’s studies, social-cultural studies, living. i don’t just disagree with something, i participate in an ideological discord between two similar, yet opposing realms of reasoning, feeling, and seeking. i’m not just Ashleigh, i’m a collection of experiences, political and personal, that branch to yours, bonding and exploring, tender touches here, vicious slaps there. i’m a woman and then i’m not. i’m a man, but my genitalia disqualifies me. i’m a pretty girl, yet a womanly woman, innocence with a spark. And i love to masturbate.
i want to change the world. i want to change my world. i cannot do this without education, and the more, the better. i truly believe that people do not live solely according to scholastic education, but for the majority of people (at least the ones i’ve encountered), their education is experiential. In order to grow as a person, i must grow my experiences, carve out a garden in the mysterious forest of life. And i most definitely cannot change my world without changing yours, and in order to do that, i must offer you a new experience.
Can graduate school do this for me? i truly believe so. Do i “need” graduate school in order to do this? No, of course not, but i prefer that path because of its numerous connections to social networks (governments and non-profit organizations for instance) and young students in college. “Is that all, Ashleigh?” No, you caught me; i was looking away hoping you didn’t notice the emotion in my answer.
i want graduate school for me. During the years since my graduation, i have found myself working job after job, feeling extremely unfulfilled, lonely, and mostly scared. Self doubt has more than ever become my bed fellow, causing me to make costly mistakes, deny myself enlightening opportunities, and overall sabotage who i am and what i want for myself more than any shitty lover ever could. i want grad school despite my brother’s advice to wait, my finances, the potential loss of my first full-time job in a year, the possibility for a new and better paying position, and mostly, despite my fears. Hell yeah i’m scared. But of course you can’t express that to the admissions committee.
How much of a role should the economy play in my decision to pursue higher education? To ignore this is to close my eyes, stick fingers in my ears, and yell blah blah blah like an unwilling child. This doesn’t seem to be an economy that values my feminist insights and much less my educational background. Consequently, i have found that whipping out my degree from UNC with all the bells chiming gets me a spot in retail or at most, administrative assistant. This isn’t what i had in mind when i decided upon philosophy. My degree whispers a future in academia, one with a title and a mission. Sorry retail, we’re temporary lovers so’s i can pay my rent.
Women’s studies is intimate for me. As i am Ashleigh, i am feminist. i need that outlet for who i am, the lines to hoist my kite into the wide sky, the glimpse of something beyond myself and inside myself. Why do i want to go to graduate school? Because I need to taste the truth behind the words on the page and see myself naked and unashamed. Some people choose drugs or yoga. I chose women studies and philosophy a long time ago.
**This is a post from 2009 but it is still very pertinent in 2011.** As advertised on my profile information, I work at a music store. Today, I had to resist the urge to give one of my customers a hug. She was a mother of two, black, and looked just so drained. She put [...]
Ashleigh commented on the blog post Romney chastised woman for getting life-saving abortion 2 years, 4 months ago · View
i’d like to see Romney in Woman X’s position and see what he does…
This post was published back in 2009 but it is still very much pertinent in 2011.
She couldn’t kiss me, nor i her those lips filled with acid realities a peril i was not prepared to undertake i couldn’t kiss him that taste burned my tongue a reality i knew too well a box i had finally climbed out of i wouldn’t touch it the sweet unpredictable swelling nestled in it [...]