5 Ways Introverts Can Create Social Change

As an introvert, just thinking about attending a march or protest probably feels exhausting. 

You get overstimulated easily and feel depleted in large crowds. You gain your energy from being alone, not from being around people. 

You tend to be on the quieter side needing time to contemplate and reflect. Because you are a deep thinker and take in information by observing. 

Activism for you looks different.

The best ways for you to create change need to be in alignment with who you are and help you protect and preserve your energy.

The best ways for you to be active are directly related to your passions and strengths. They are things you can do in your daily life that are interconnected with your everyday life.

Some of these ways aren't your "typical" ways of what you've been told in order to do activism or create social change, but they are essential to creating sustainable change, and they will probably fit you better than the stereotypical ways you've been taught. 

Create More Freeing Thoughts & Beliefs

As a mindset coach, I had to make this number one. As a queer feminist theorist, I firmly believe that our theories, which come from our beliefs, which come from our thoughts are extremely important to how we operate in society and mirror what systems are in place. 

Investigating your own thoughts and beliefs (beliefs=a thought that you keep on thinking) is the foundation of embodying the change you want to see in the world. 

All oppression comes from a thought and belief that people are different, that certain people are superior and others are inferior, and “evidence” is created to support these theories and beliefs.  Then, these beliefs create systems and societies based on those oppressive thoughts, which get reinforced by everyone in society.

All of us perpetuate harmful and false beliefs in some (often unconscious) way. It's part of living in oppressive systems (like patriarchy, white supremacy, capitalism, heteronormativity, etc.) 

Take the stereotypical belief that men are stronger than women. Where did that belief come from? According to whom? How do you define strength? What kind of strength are we talking about? Does that belief support our full humanity or hinder it? Does that belief reinforce a binary system of domination where one group is seen and treated as superior and another group is seen and treated as inferior?

There are many, many beliefs like this that get passed down and reinforced in all areas of society; they are so engrained in us that we don’t even question them. Thus, self-reflection and investigating our own beliefs is important.

Self-reflection absolutely has to go hand in hand with creating systemic change in society because if it doesn’t, we’re still going to have oppression. We can’t expect to challenge the system by going to marches and protests and expect policies to fix everything without also healing our internalized beliefs.

Policies may change, but do our beliefs change? Have our minds shifted? Have our lifestyles changed? It’s all interconnected. You cannot separate inner from outer change.

What harmful thoughts do you have about yourself? What harmful thoughts do you have about others? If you want to dive deeper into investigating your own internalized oppressive beliefs, I have a few podcast episodes for you, Internalized Oppression Part 1 and Internalized Oppression Part 2

The more freeing your thoughts and beliefs, the more freeing your decisions and actions because they're all connected, love.

2. Love & Care For Yourself

This one may sound selfish or narcissistic, but, I assure you, it is not. 

Loving and caring for yourself is a feminist act. It heals internalized oppression.

And the better you get at loving and caring for yourself, the better you will be able to love and care for others in the ways that they want to be loved and cared for.

Love and care are actions. We must take these actions for ourselves and for others.

Fighting for justice is love.

Taking a rest when we need to rest is love.

Choosing to believe more freeing thoughts of ourselves and others is love.

Choosing to speak out against injustice that you see happening in the workplace is love.

Choosing to hold your leaders accountable for sexual assault and reinforcing patriarchy is love.

In a world that tells you not to love yourself, loving yourself is a radical act. Get good at this because it has a ripple effect.

Be an example of self-love and selfcare. It has a ripple effect.

We are all connected. Selfcare and self-love is sexy.

Sometimes, in social justice communities, we like to think that self-hate and self-deprication in sexy, but it’s not. It’s really really not. We can indulge in self-pity and trying to get approval and attention of others and think this is how we take care of ourselves but it’s not.

Give yourself the highest quality of care possible. Be an example of what is possible for loving and caring for yourself. This energy is spread throughout the world. 

Practice coming more from a place of love with yourself, and this will help you caring for and loving others in ways that they need too. 

And, remember, if you're not taking care of yourself, then you can't fully show up in your life. You need to be replenished in order to be at your best. 

Your quiet, compassionate nature is a superpower, but you need to take care of yourself first and foremost in order to be able to truly use it. 

3. Protect Your Emotional Labor

Everyday Feminism defines emotional labor as “the exertion of energy for the purpose of addressing people’s feelings, making people feel comfortable, or living up to social expectation."

If you've been socialized as a woman and you're an introvert, then you probably feel exhausted and frustrated whenever you are giving away too much emotional labor. You might even feel resentful when this happens, but you don't know what to do about it. 

First, recognize that it's easy to internalize giving free emotional labor because that's what patriarchy has taught us socialized as women. Remembering this is key to getting free of it. 

Then, begin to notice when you are giving away your emotional labor in ways that feel depleting and frustrating, and set a boundary.

Say NO when your response is No, don't smile if you don't want to smile, don't give eye contact when you don't want to, tell someone you are unavailable when you don't have the capacity to be there for someone, don't let people demand your energy or attention by creating firm yet loving boundaries and being clear about what they are. 

You CAN say no. You CAN walk away from a stranger that is demanding your attention. You CAN tell someone that you are not available to give them emotional support right now. You CAN protect your energy. 

And, it is VITAL that you protect your energy as an introvert or you will burn out and not be well. 

Actively freeing yourself from giving away too much free emotional labor is changing the game. It's setting the stage for something different. It's creating new boundaries, new dynamics, new ways of being and relating that are, ultimately, more supportive for everyone. 

Learning how to set firm (which just means clear) and loving (meaning without any drama or resentment) boundaries is a feminist act; it is actively challenging the systems of oppression and taking care of yourself and being an example of how others can take care of themselves too. 

4. Language

Language is everything and it is often overlooked. It's such an easy way to create change in our everyday life, but, too often, we take it for granted and get lazy. We can live on autopilot and just keep repeating the same ol' phrases and words that we've always known. 

But, getting out of a language rut, paying attention to what you're actually saying and getting creative to create new, more freeing language is essential for societal change. 

Changing our gendered, sexist, racist, colonizer, heteronormative, ableist, whorephobic, classist language forces us to get creative! It forces us to drop our laziness and actually create the future that we want. 

I talk a lot about language on my podcast and have an episode to help you practice this in your daily life that you can listen to here

Language matters and you have the power and tools to change it and make it more freeing and inclusive! 

5. Creative Projects & Business

Your creativity and your business/work is connected to social change. None of the parts of our lives are separate from one another. They are all connected. 

You can always create social change through your creative projects and business. A lot of folks miss this opportunity, but it's super important and powerful. 

If you're a writer, pay attention to the language you use in your writing. When do you use gender? Are all of your characters White, heterosexual or able-bodied? What's the next level of consciousness you can bring to your writing to make it more inclusive and liberating?

If you make art, how can you use your art to make a political statement? Or, how is your art inspiring others to self-reflect or create social change? It doesn't have to be provocative, it just needs to be conscious and aligned with your beliefs and values. 

If you have a podcast, do you elevate diverse voices or does every guest come from the same kind of privilege and background? 

If you're an entrepreneur or business owner, do your business practices reflect your ethics and social views? Are you hiring a diverse team? Does your language reflect a higher level of social consciousness? Are you paying your employees fairly and equally? Are you partnering with brands that align with your social beliefs and values? Are you giving back in ways that feel good to you and still support you and your business?

Are you ready to enter the next level of consciousness in your business and creative projects? If you're needing more support in this area, my consulting sessions can help. 

Embodying change is a political movement AND a lifestyle through the everyday actions and decisions you make from who you give your money to, what business you support to the language you are using, to hiring people who are underrepresented to not giving away your free emotional labor. 

As an introvert, you have powerful gifts to bring to the world. Expanding your consciousness and integrating this next level of awareness into your everyday life is an essential way to create social change. 

Be an example of what's possible. 

Create more freedom for yourself and be that freedom for others to experience. Your beliefs, language, actions and energy have a ripple effect. 

You are a powerful creator. 

 

P.S. Want to take your social awareness to the next level and learn how you can implement all of these changes into your life and show up as your best self? Let's chat! Click the button below to schedule your FREE call with me to help you experience and create more freedom. 

 

 

 

5 Ways Empaths Can Protect Their Energy

It can feel tough to be an empath because we can feel the emotions of others easily. And, sometimes we can carry them with us to our detriment. It's tricky going out into the world because we pick up on all the energy. We feel everything. We feel the pain and suffering in the world. We also feel the love and beauty, we feel it all. 

It's part of our magic, part of our superpower. But, if we don't know how to protect and restore our energy, then our superpower can feel like a burden, and we can easily feel depleted. A STRONG selfcare foundation is essential for us to thrive in this world. 

Here are my top 5 ways to protect your energy as an empath:

1) Ground Yourself

It's important that you feel grounded every single day. If feeling grounded doesn't come easy to you (maybe you are very airy or fiery), make sure you develop a daily practice that grounds you and you commit to it every single day. 

If you are not grounded, then your energy is going to be all over the place and you won't be able to protect yourself from other people's energy. 

What grounds you? 

Is it exercise, meditation, yoga, sitting in stillness, journaling, feeling the literal ground in your front yard or back patio with a cup of tea? 

Be grounded in yourself first and foremost. I recommend engaging in your grounding practice at the start of each morning before you come in contact with other people, and, especially, before you check your emails or social media. 

Whatever it is that helps you feel the most grounded, commit to it every single day, love. 

2) Spend Sufficient time alone

Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, it doesn't matter. Being an empath can suck your energy if you let it, thus spending time alone is essential for you to quiet the noise of the rest of the world and focus on your own energy. 

You need to attend to your energy before anyone else's and spending quality time alone is the way you do that.

But, make sure your time alone isn't spent on social media (because that's not time alone, that's engaging with other people's energy). 

Do something that's FOR YOU FOCUSING ON YOU. Maybe it's just lying on the bed doing absolutely nothing daydreaming, cooking yourself a delicious meal, getting creative, making art, dancing to music in your living room, going on a solo hike or run, getting crafty, writing for fun,  or watching a comedy (careful about watching thrillers or violence-this is not usually the best way to protect your energy),... 

How often do you spend quality time to yourself? If it doesn't come naturally to you or you create a busy schedule for yourself, then when are you going to schedule your alone time? Put it in your calendar now, love. 

3) Create Verbal, Physical & Energetic Boundaries

Boundaries need to be the heart of our selfcare foundation because without them, our superpowers feel god awful and we can fall into depression, addictions, and some dark places. We need boundaries to thrive and shine in this world. Even to survive. 

There are different kinds of boundaries that we need to create for ourselves: physical, verbal, energetic, spiritual, etc....

Ask yourself:

What do I need in this moment? 

Are there physical boundaries you need to create like shutting and locking your doors and closing the curtains? Creating some kind of physical barrier between you and another person or the rest of the world?

Sometimes, we need to verbally communicate our boundaries to people and THAT'S TOTALLY OKAY. There is nothing wrong with this.

Patriarchy and social conditioning has told us to shy away from being direct about our boundaries. Being direct doesn't mean we have to be mean or cause some kind of drama. 

Being direct just means being clear. We can be clear in a kind, loving and warm way. Or we can be clear in a neutral way, whichever you prefer in the moment. 

But, remember, it's okay and vital to say "No" and "Not right now" or "Hey, I need some alone time for the next hour or so, can you go somewhere or...."

Other times, we need to create energetic boundaries. The awesome thing about energetic boundaries is that no one ever needs to know you are creating one! And you can do it anytime. 

You create an energetic boundary by visualizing boundaries in your mind. You visualize a different energy. For example, you might visualize a tall row of green trees or a stainless window between you and another person. Or, if you're wanting a harsher, more solid boundary, you could even imagine a steel wall. 

What boundaries do you need to create for yourself right now?

4) Take Care Of Your Body 

When we're not taking care of ourselves, we are more susceptible to other people's energy. We are more vulnerable to carrying what isn't ours. 

Are you taking care of yourself including your body?

Figure out what your body needs in order to be well (every body is different so you need to figure out what works for YOUR body not someone else's) and do it every single day. 

Commit to your personal wellness, whatever that is for you and your body. 

This will help you have a clearer mind, more energy, feel better and be more resilient in times when you are around a lot of energy. You will recover faster from overstimulation when you know how to take care of yourself and you put it into practice. 

Listen to your body and give it the love and wellness it needs because this is how you are going thrive, love. 

5) Have Fun & Connect To Your Joy

Joy is one of the best “shields” because when we are in our joy, nothing can stop us.

As empaths, we can easily take on other people’s emotions and can feel depleted and tired and “moody”, getting in our joy restores us; it’s healthy and protects us from taking on "negative" energy.

Know what brings you joy and feels fun, and strengthen it. Make sure this part of your selfcare foundation is really strong and can overpower people’s negativity.

Remember that the energy we put out there into the world is just as important, and joy is contagious so be deliberate about what energy you are receiving AND giving. 

What energy are you putting out into the world?

What energy are you giving to yourself?

Are you allowing yourself to have fun?

Engage in your joy every single day. 

Again, all of these practices are daily practices. Commit to all of them so you can use your superpower in a way that serves you (and, in turn, the world).

So you can thrive and shine!

XO Cam

P.S. Need some 1:1 support to help you put these self-protection practices into place and learn more about how you can thrive as an empath instead of feeling burdened by it? Let's hop on a FREE CALL and chat about what you're struggling with and how we can help you get to where you want to be. Just click the button below. 

 

How To Let Go Of Worrying About What Other People Think

 

Are you caring more about other people’s approval of you than your own?

 

If you’re answer is yes, then this blog post is for you.

 

Let’s be real, we care what other people think of us. We care what our friends think of us, what our partner thinks of us, what our family thinks of us, etc.

This is normal. We want to be loved, accepted and belong.

We want people to approve of us. We want to be well liked.

 

But, if we are worrying too much about what other people are thinking of us, if our mind is often full of thoughts caring about other people’s opinions of us, then that’s an opportunity to investigate deeper.

 

It’s an opportunity to give ourselves  the approval, love, attention, acceptance and positive regard that we are wanting from others.

 

So, here’s the thing...

 

Other people’s opinions of you are none of your business.

 

You’ve probably heard that before, but I want you to recognize this and start practicing believing this everyday.  

You cannot control what other people think of you and trying to by worrying about it will exhaust you and take your power away.

 

When you are preoccupied with what others are thinking about you, you are not in your power. You are not building a strong foundation of self-confidence, self-love and self-acceptance.

 

When you are preoccupied with wanting to be popular and get everyone to like you, you are probably ignoring yourself. You are giving too much attention to what you think might be happening in other people’s minds rather than your own mind. Your mental and emotional state will suffer from this.

 

People’s opinions change all the time. You can’t keep up, it’s impossible. Thus, it will serve you better to give up on trying to figure out what their opinions really are of you.

 

Have A Strong Foundation of Self-Care

Letting go of what other people think of you is selfcare. It’s caring for yourself more than you care about the opinions of what other people have of you.

 

What is your daily self-care routine?

Make sure you take breaks from social media (lots of people’s opinions are floating around on there) and take proper time to attend to yourself.

Exercise, meditate, express your creativity, rest, etc….

Do what fills you up and connects you closer to yourself and brings you closer to your joy and well being.

 

Focus on you without distractions. This will strengthen your self-love foundation.

 

When you have a strong foundation of self-love and self-care, you are able to be more resilient when someone’s opinion of you affects you.

 

You will bounce back faster and be able to laugh at yourself the next time you are worried about others. You will have a strong foundation to support you and fall back on.

 

Take ResponsibilIty For Your Thoughts

Recognize that you are the one worrying about what other people think of you. That you might be projecting. That you are choosing to believe what you think other people’s thoughts are. That you might be making up what you think other people are thinking.

 

What are the thoughts going on in your mind that are not serving you?

 

Pay attention to how these thoughts that aren’t serving you feel in your body. Do they have you feeling good, energized, confident, loved? Or, do they have you feeling tired, lonely, depressed, fearful?

 

Decide whether you want to continue believing these thoughts or not. Does worrying about what other people think about you serve you?

 

How do you feel in your body when you aren’t worrying about what others are thinking about you?

 

If you didn’t worry about what others thought of you, how would you show up differently in your daily life? In your business/work or relationships?

 

Consciously choose you.

Choose yourself before anyone else.

Every. Single. Day.

Choose you.

Remember who you are.

And show up as the confident person you are underneath all the mind chatter.

 

You approve of you.

And that is all you need to focus on.

 

Moving Beyond 'Masculine' & 'Feminine'

The terms masculine and feminine have been used to define us before we even came out of the womb. These terms have been connected to whatever gender we are assigned at (or before) birth: girl or boy.

The dictionary defines feminine as

  1. having qualities or appearance traditionally associated with women, especially delicacy and prettiness.

Syn womanly, ladylike

  2.  of or denoting a gender of nouns and adjectives, conventionally regarded as female.

Noun

  3.  the female sex or gender.

 

The dictionary defines masculine as

  1. having qualities or appearance traditionally associated with men, especially strength and aggressiveness.

synonyms:

virile, macho, manly, muscular, strong, rugged, brawny, heavily built, powerful, 

2. of or denoting a gender of nouns and adjectives, conventionally regarded as male.

Noun

the male sex or gender.

"the masculine as the norm"

 

Many of us have tried to reclaim these gendered terms to mean something other than their stereotypical definitions or to reclaim them as characteristics that every human has regardless of gender.

 

However, these terms have a lot of baggage attached to them that doesn’t allow for true fluidity to exist.

 

It’s the baggage of essentializing gender, which has taken us further away from ourselves instead of closer to ourselves.

 

I believe trying to remove the harmful baggage that has been attached to these gendered terms is more work that can never actually succeed because these gender terms and their definitions are too arbitrary. They don’t actually mean anything.

 

Since “masculinity” is attached to what it means to be a man, we then have to define man. What does it mean to be a man? Can we really define it? And, if we define it, are we perpetuating the gender binary? Many want to define it based on sexual anatomy. But, then how do you account for trans men? The same goes for “femininity” being linked to what it means to be a woman.

 

Defining what it means to be a man or a woman doesn’t allow us to connect to and embrace the fluidity that we are.

 

You are so much more than the gender that has been placed upon you. You are more than masculine and feminine. You are more than man or woman.

 

Let’s move beyond these gender definitions and expectations so that we can be ALL of who we truly are and accept others for ALL of who they are as well.

 

Instead of defining one another or certain characteristics as feminine or masculine, think about what you REALLY mean by those terms and use those adjectives instead.

 

If what you mean is a fluid energy, then say fluid energy.

If what you mean is strength and ambition, use strength and ambition.

If what you mean is receptive, say receptive. If what you mean is driven and active, say driven and active.

If what you mean is sensitive and intuitive, then say sensitive and intuitive.

 

It’s much more powerful to say what you really mean than it is to use arbitrary gendered terms that just reinforce a gender binary that doesn’t actually describe all of who we are or our experience.

 

The truth is we are fluid and we are not binary even though societal oppression wants us to believe otherwise.

 

Let’s move beyond the binary to connect to our own freedom and create more freedom in the world.

 

Let’s create more possibilities.

 

The Importance Of Asking & Respecting People's Pronouns

In every workshop, webinar, or call I facilitate or teach, it's important for me to have everyone state what pronouns they use during introductions. 

Why is this important? 

Asking people's pronouns acknowledges our understanding that gender is not binary, and that someone may use a pronoun that is different from what we may assume.

It gets us thinking differently. Thinking beyond the gender binary.

It gets us in this habit of acknowledging that gender is fluid and there are many different ways people identify.

It gets us actually embodying the changes we want to see in the world. Especially around acceptance and respect.

And affirming possibilities. 

The pronouns I use for myself are she AND they, and I use them both in my personal bios, which you will see in my About page. I have a friend who deliberately uses both she AND they when introducing and describing me, and I feel incredibly seen and heard every time I notice her doing that. It's a sign of respect and thoughtfulness. 

Yes, it can be a bit challenging to train our brains to use different pronouns, especially when we perceive people a different way, but we CAN actually train our brain.

A lot of unlearning old, oppressive, binary language is a practice and it's one that requires conscious action. 

When we mess up, we apologize and keep practicing.

We keep training our brain to ask about people's pronouns and to listen to what they tell us and to refer to them that way. 

We make the conscious choice to do this.

We must bring our consciousness to pronouns. Which means we must bring our consciousness to gender.

The more we do it, the easier it gets and becomes second nature.

Getting in the habit of stating our own pronouns and asking others theirs gets us embodying a more freeing way beyond the gender binary. 

It's a practice of getting more free together. 

Tips:

If you're a teacher/facilitator, ask your students to state what pronouns they use and model the same. 

If you're a coach or consultant, ask your clients what pronouns they use and be clear about yours too. (I ask this of my clients in a short questionnaire form they fill out when they book a session with me)

If you're an employer, CEO, Boss, ask your employees and assistants what pronouns they use in the job application form. Ask them again in the interviews and when you hire them. Write it next to their name in your system. 

If you're a podcaster, ask your guests what pronouns they use and be conscious to refer to them with the pronouns they tell you. Make sure you use their preferred pronouns in your social media promotions of your episodes. 

If your students, participants, clients, audience, employees or guests are confused on why you're having them state their pronouns, let them know in a few sentences why this is important. Feel free to use some of my words in this post.

Feel free to share this post with them if they need further understanding, and with anyone you think could benefit from this awareness. 

It's always great to give your "why" when implementing something new so folks can have a greater understanding, which will further their awareness and inspire them to practice more freedom too. 

What pronouns do you use?

Note: You may choose to use multiple pronouns, any pronouns, or no pronouns at all. You may not care at all about what pronouns people use for you, and that's okay too. 

6 Ways The Patriarchy Harms Men

It is the best time to be a man! The path to realizing our potential, and the path to it, to free ourselves of our culturization, to regain our suppressed or stolen humanity, it’s never been clearer. So much support awaits a willingness to put out effort of facing who we became, and to discover who we can become!
— Karl B.

No matter your gender, getting free of patriarchy is essential in order to end patriarchy. Patriarchy is the system we live in, which means it is the air that we breathe, and if we want to end sexism and sexual assault, then we need to end patriarchy.

And, that includes men ending patriarchy. It includes men declaring that they have had enough of this patriarchal system because they understand that it doesn't serve them either. 

Patriarchy is:

a gender-based system of oppression that shows up in every area of society (political, social, and mental system) that perpetuates myths of male dominance and gender norms and expectations and binaries. It uses misogyny and our ideas of what it means to be “masculine” to accumulate and maintain power.

You, as a socialized man, want to unlearn patriarchal ways of being because you care about yourself, others, the society you live in and building a better world. You care about women and those who identify outside the gender binary. You care about other men. 

Here are 6 ways the patriarchy hurts you as a man so you can become more conscious of how this system affects you. Awareness is the first step in getting free. 

1. Gender Socialization

Patriarchal gender socialization has taught you that you SHOULD be and act a certain way, that you need to be "masculine", dominant, the protector, the provider, bigger, faster, stronger, so on and so forth. All kinds of gender norms and expectations have been placed upon you from the time you were born (often before you came out of the womb). 

You might cling to these ideas of what it means to be a man and what roles you feel you need to perform in order to be accepted and belong in society, and in order to feel love and connection. Because this is how you were taught to be loved and belong in society. 

You're NOT actually taught to be and embrace who you are.

It's not your fault that you were socialized this way, but you DO have the power to change that and recognize who you REALLY are underneath all the patriarchal gender conditioning. 

Now, as an adult, you are responsible for how you show up in the world and the kind of impact you have on the world. You can take responsibility for the ways you buy into patriarchy and participate in it in your everyday life, and CHOOSE to free yourself from it. 

Becoming more aware of how gender impacts your everyday experience and freeing yourself from societal gender expectations can enhance your life and relationships. The deeper your awareness of gender socialization, the closer you are to embracing all of who you are and living your full potential.

2. You Are Not Taught To Have a Healthy Relationship With Your Emotions

Patriarchy teaches you, as a socialized man, to suppress your emotions, especially your hurt and sadness. When your emotions are suppressed, you aren’t able to feel the love and power of your whole self. 

You are not taught emotional awareness and maturity. You are told not to feel all of your emotions or to express your emotions in unhealthy ways. You are not taught that it's okay and healthy to cry.

Suppressing emotions and keeping them bottled up leads to letting them out in unhealthy ways that are often aggressive and destructive to yourself, to others and society.

Not having emotional awareness or reflection also doesn't allow you to experience true intimacy.

3. You Are Robbed of True Intimacy

You aren't taught what true intimacy really is and how to have it with others and with yourself. You have been taught to rely on women for your selfcare, for your emotional and basic care needs.

Thus, you may not know how to truly care for yourself or how to connect with your body, heart, and spirit. This deprives you of cultivating an intimate relationship with yourself, and in turn, your partner(s) and friends.

You deserve to experience real intimacy in your life. Unfortunately, patriarchy has tried to rob you of this, but you CAN learn intimacy. You can learn how to cultivate true intimacy in your everyday life. 

You will learn that, while sex can be awesome, it is not what true intimacy is. You will learn how to experience true intimacy that doesn't rely on sex (and is available to you at any given moment). AND, you can learn how to have the most awesome sex with your partner(s). 

It's up to you to decide and invest in your personal growth. 

4. Your Relationships Suffer (Especially Your Relationships with Women and Gender Non-Confirming Folks)

Under patriarchy, your relationships with men, women and all genders suffer. Men (all men regardless of sexual identity) don't get to have intimacy with other men.

Instead, men have been taught to only look for intimacy with the "opposite sex" or what is deemed as the "opposite sex". Men don't get to be affectionate with other men and this is harmful. It places men's needs for affection on women and reinforces the hetero-gender binary.

Men's relationships with women really suffer under patriarchy. The first problem is that "men" and "women" are socialized differently, which there is no reason for except to uphold oppressive systems of power.

Because men are socialized to not have the emotional awareness that women have or to have a truly intimate and caring relationship with themselves, they aren't able to have fulfilling relationships with women.

Also, because of socialization, "men" and "women" are taught to communicate differently, and we know that communication is one of the biggest struggles in relationships. Some of that is personality, and a lot of it is from patriarchy and gender socialization.

Patriarchy teaches men that they are inherently superior to women, and when men enter a relationship with a woman, whether it's romantic or friendship, with that conditioning, the relationship DOES NOT WORK.

So much of our struggles in our relationships is because of what the patriarchy has taught us we "should" be instead of truly being who we are underneath all the societal bullshit.

No emotional awareness means no intimacy, which means no fulfilling relationship.

5. It Gets You Further Away From Your Own Innate Power

Patriarchy teaches you to have power-over other humans, especially women, animals and the Earth. But, the trick is, you cannot have truly fulfilling, healthy relationships with women when you are in the unconscious mindset of having power-over them.

Having power-over sets you up as superior and reinforces non-consensual dominance, which is a false sense of power.

Having a false sense of power gets you further away from the innate power that is always already within you at all times and does not rely on external validation or control.

When you’re taught to perceive and treat (unconsciously) another as inferior, you aren’t recognizing their whole self.

When you deny another’s wholeness, you deny your own. The reverse is also true. When you deny your wholeness, you deny other humans their wholeness too.

We are interconnected. If I’m denying your humanity, I am denying my own as well. Whether our dehumanizing has to do with gender, race, disability, sexuality, class, age, body size, so on and so forth….

The patriarchy takes your true power away because it wants you to rely on a system that ultimately uses and exploits you while tricking you into thinking it’s giving you control and power. 

Being taught to have power-over suppresses your emotions, affects your relationships, denies your wholeness, and holds you back from living your purpose and full potential. It blocks you from having the life you want. You don’t need to change though. You just need to connect with your whole self. 

Real power does not come from the outside, it is already always within us that can be accessed at any time.

When we use our power to oppress people or be complicit in a system that exploits and oppresses people, we are abusing our power and also moving away from it. I believe that we actually lose it though it may not seem that way.

But, the more we oppress people and participate in a system of oppressions, the more we turn away from our true selves, from the wholeness that is us.

 

Power and control will NEVER outweigh love.
— Jada Pinkett-Smith

 

6. You Can't Be All Of Who You Are and Live Your Full Potential

This point ties everything together. With all of the patriarchal conditioning, the bottom line is that you, as a socialized man, aren't allowed to be ALL of who you are and really live your full potential.

All of these ways that society expects and tells you to be prevents you from living your purpose and having the life that you actually want and the relationships that you really want.

Society teaches you to ignore your body and exploits your body for capital. You are taught to value your mind NOT your body or your heart and spirit. Thus, you rely on women for care and nourishment and don't know how to have an intimate relationship with yourself.

The way to get free of patriarchy and oppression involves growing your mind, body, spirit connection.

Getting free from patriarchy means reclaiming your wholeness. 

 

P.S. If you liked this blog post and you want to learn more, you'll like my FREE GUIDE on Getting Free From These 7 Patriarchal Beliefs. Go here to get it!

What CEOs, Bosses & Leaders Can Benefit From Coaching

Coaching is the deeper work of consulting...

You might come to consulting because you want to learn how to do things the "right way", say the "right things", use the "right language", so on and so forth. 

But, here's the thing, it's not about the "right" thing or way of bringing about change.

Yes, there's always new language to learn and unlearn, there are always new ways of relating, thinking and doing in the world that seem more freeing, but it's not about getting it "right." 

Getting it "right" is missing the point and is falling into the perfectionism trap, which I talk about in my FREE GUIDE TO GETTING FREE FROM THESE PATRIARCHAL BELIEFS

There is no one "right" way of doing things or saying things. Language is always evolving. Our thinking and doing is always evolving. That is, if we are committed to learning and growth. 

It's about your commitment to growth. And, this is where coaching comes in. Your personal growth is just as important as the change you want to create in the world. In fact, they're interconnected. 

You cannot truly enact change in the world if you don’t self-reflect, go inward and do your own inner healing.

You cannot truly enact change in the world without investigating your own beliefs, heart, and unpack the oppression you have internalized that impact your everyday life. The oppression that impacts how you show up in the world and how you treat other people.

When you look at our own mind and connect to your own body, you are better equipped to deal with the environments and world around you. You have greater skills and tools to integrate into your larger vision for the future. For the kind of change you want to bring about in the world.

When you're doing the inner work, you're experiencing more freedom in your own mind, heart and body. Freedom is an inside AND outside experience and creation.

The more you free your own mind from oppressive thoughts, get good at feeling your feelings, and feel free in your own body, the better you will be able to create freedom in the world. 

Everyone benefits from doing the inner work. I do believe everyone could benefit from a life coach (even those of us who already are life coaches).

Having someone’s guidance along your path can feel like the amazing support that you need and also the gentle push to help you move outside your comfort zone so you can dream bigger and live the next level of your life.

Because this is what you’re meant for, as a visionary-someone who cares deeply about the state of the world, oppression and injustice and who wants to be a part of creating a more freeing future for all.

You need the best support having your back and helping you grow to the next level. This makes you and your work more powerful. You are worth it.

Say yes to yourself and your own personal growth. This is what the world needs just as much. 

 

P.S. Want to live the next level and show up more powerfully? I invite you to sign up for a FREE 20 Min Coaching Session with me where we'll go over your goals and desires, identify any barriers to break through, and you'll leave with at least one action to take towards your desires and vision. Just click below to schedule your free call!

5 Tips On Moving Outside Your Comfort Zone

 

If you want to show up more powerfully, create powerful change and grow, you can't stay in your comfort zone. Growth is never comfortable, but it is worth it. You are worth it. 


It was two years ago when I set out on my nomadic journey. My first inspiration to be a nomad came from one of my best friends, Jaden.

A few years prior to my journey, I watched Jaden leave her corporate job and apartment, buy a Sprinter van with her partner, Ralph, pack it up and hit road for indefinitely! They constantly inspired me with their travels as Jaden would write me often. I was thrilled for her and knew that it was something I wanted to do, but I couldn’t even imagine it for myself yet.

About six months before I became a nomad, I met a woman who housesitted full time and that was how she lived. I felt myself light up hearing more about her life. I never knew someone could do that! The nomad life sounded amazing but I still wasn’t thinking of actually doing it.

However, I knew that the Bay Area was wearing on me and I would often fantasize about leaving and living a new life somewhere else. My soul was hungering for a change. 

 

The hunger grew and grew to a point that I could no longer ignore.



So, I signed up for a session with a life coach, told her about my desire to move and that I was feeling scared out of my mind. Scared of leaving my friends and moving outside of my comfort zone. Scared of the magic that I could experience on the other side. The life coach I talked to told me that if I’m feeling stuck (which I was in more ways than one), that a move could be just what I need.

After our session, I felt so much lighter getting this hunger to move off my chest. She was the first person I told about my desire to move, and this allowed me to still feel my fear but take action anyway.



When I gave myself permission to have my secret desires and talk about my fear, the fear decreased and it’s power didn’t have a hold on me anymore.



This allowed me to truly feel my desire to move, to give my desire the spaciousness that it was begging for. Feeling more into my desire gave me the excitement and motivation I needed.

One month after that call with the life coach, I moved away from the Bay Area and began a deeper journey of listening to my intuition. I thought I was moving to LA, but my intuition strongly nudged me to live nomadically, and I listened.

I was scared, scared of the unknown, scared I couldn’t do it, didn’t have enough money, didn’t have a plan, so on and so forth but I kept feeling my intuition tell me that is right. I trusted. I trusted my intuition and the unknown even when I was scared and felt like I didn’t know what the hell I was doing.

I thought I needed to have a certain number in my bank account or an opportunity lined up before I could make this decision but I realized that if I was waiting on some external thing to propell me forward that I might never leave. I needed to take the action and see what flowed from there.

It was the taking the action part that allowed for other things to come in, but I had to take that leap of faith and jump into the unknown. And I did it headfirst.

I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, but what I KNEW, what I felt in my bones and every part of my body was NOT to settle down. I thought, wow, is this my time to finally live nomadically? 

My inner wisdom told me YES. I still didn’t know how but I knew I had to trust that my intuition was leading me in the right direction.



I kept listening and following that inner feeling and things flowed. 



I didn’t live the way I thought I would live necessarily but I found various opportunities to support my nomadic life. Friends were generous wanting me to stay with them, friends needed housesitting, friends of friends wanted me to housesit for them, I hopped on a few housesitting websites and housesitted for wonderful strangers. Sometimes, I stayed in airbnbs with generous hosts that would let me stay longer and pay them cash. Sometimes, I stayed at beautiful airbnbs for great deals.

I also had the opportunity to spend more time with my parents, and mom and I got to hang out more (which is one of my favorite things) strengthening our relationship. This is something I couldn’t do when I had a static home and job because I had rent to pay and clients to see in-person. I couldn’t be away for that long.



A whole new world has opened up to me since getting outside of my comfort zone to take action on something I REALLY wanted.



Whatever your desire is that you’re feeling scared shitless about is valid. And it’s so worth taking action on because you are worth living your dreams.



What do YOU want that requires you to get outside of your comfort zone?



Maybe it’s move to a different location or take that trip you’ve always wanted

Maybe it's to leave a relationship that isn’t serving you or ask someone you’re crushing on on a date.

Maybe it's leaving your day job or change your career entirely or level up in your business.

Maybe it's experiencing more intimacy and pleasure in your relationship.

Maybe it's learning how to set the right boundaries for yourself.
 


Whatever your desire is, it's important. 



And, maybe you're feeling a lot of fear about inching more towards it for any number of reasons. 

Let's talk about that fear. I want to share my tips with you on how to help you move through that fear. 

How to get out of your comfort zone:

1. Acknowledge your fear. It's completely okay to have fear about what you want or where you want to be. That fear is natural. It's giving you an opportunity for growth. 

2. Feel your fear. Feel all of it. There’s nothing wrong with your fear. A lot of times we are afraid to feel our fear, but it’s feeling it that will allow you to move through it. Give yourself permission to have your fear instead of pushing it away and avoiding it. Then, you'll be able to give it less power. 

3. Feel into your desire underneath. What do you really want? Can you allow that desire to come to the surface? It wants space and attention. Feeling your desire will give you motivation to take action on it.

4. Take an action towards your desire.

In my example, my action was making the decision to move and choosing a time when to do it. I chose one month and told my friends, mom and significant other. I find that telling people keeps me accountable to actually follow through and it provides me more support.

My first action though was scheduling a session with the life coach because I needed to talk to someone about my desire, someone I knew who wouldn't judge me, and someone I knew who could relate. 

5. Remember you have the power to get outside of your comfort zone. You have the power to be with your fears and all the feelings that arise above your desires. And you have the power to move through the fear to let your desire shine through and take action in the direction towards your desire. 

There are a lot of different things that we want throughout our lives that lie outside of our comfort zone, and require us to move through fear in order to feel our desire more, and feel the motivation to take action.

This means you're growing. And that's a beautiful thing. 

Often, it's not the discomfort itself that's keeping us from taking action, but what we make of the discomfort and our willingness to be with the discomfort.

Are you willing to be with your discomfort in order to move through it? What are you making your fear and discomfort mean?

What's something that your heart desires that's outside of your comfort zone?

P.S. Are you ready to be brave and move outside your comfort zone? I want to invite you to sign up for your [FREE] Connection Call with me where I'll give you space to have your desires and talk about your fears so you can take action towards what you REALLY want. Click below to schedule.

5 Min Feel Freedom In Your Body Visualization Exercise

Connecting to our bodies is essential for our inner freedom and power.

It's essential for getting free from all the societal messages that we've internalized about not feeling good enough, sexy enough, deserving, worthy, lovable, accepted, and.....

A lot of my deeper work with clients involves helping them get more in their bodies and listening to their inner wisdom. If you’re feeling disconnected from your body at all, I have a little exercise that could help you feel more connected.

I offer you this visualization exercise:

Think of a time when you felt free. Or, think of an image/fantasy that makes you feel free. Pay attention to every detail of your image from the shoes you are wearing to what color the sky is. Then, feel into the freedom that you are experiencing in this image.

What does it feel like? What are you feeling in your body?

Pay attention to what it feels like in your body from your head to your toes. Imagine that you are there, now, experiencing that freedom right now in your body. Feel it for as long as you need.

When you are ready to step away from the image in your mind, wiggle your toes and fingers and slowly open your eyes. Continue to feel your body and notice how it feels against the couch, chair, or bed of where you are sitting.

Carry that feeling of freedom with you noticing how it feels, how it feels in your body.

 

P.S. Did you like this post? I think you'll like my FREE guide that I created for you to Getting Free From These 7 Patriarchal Beliefs. You can grab it by clicking below. 

What To Do When You're Experiencing Burnout

Are you feeling burnt out on some part of your life or of many things in your life?

Maybe you're feeling burnt out on your business or work. 

Maybe you're feeling burnt out on a social cause or something you've been passionately spreading awareness about. 

Maybe you're feeling burnt out on social media (consuming it, posting, and having online conversations).

Maybe you're burnt out on your social life and want to spend more time to yourself or draw new friendships or community into your life.

Or, maybe you're burnt out on a hobby or activity you enjoyed doing for a long time. 

Whatever you are feeling burnt out on is REAL. Burnout is real. 

We don't talk about burnout that often let alone what we can do when we are feeling burnt out.

I want to share my 5 things you can do when you're feeling burnout so you can continue to show up for yourself and live the life you REALLY want. 

1 ) Be Honest About What You're Feeling

First, acknowledge that it is completely okay to feel burnt out. About anything.

Give yourself permission to feel whatever it is that you are feeling without pushing your feelings away or telling yourself that you "shouldn't" feel burnout. 

There are no "shoulds" here. You feel how you feel and that is more than okay. 

Be honest with yourself because you deserve it. 

2) Recognize That Burnout Is An Opportunity...

It's an opportunity for you to take care of yourself. 

It's an opportunity for checking-in with yourself and your boundaries. Have you crossed your own boundaries? Do you need to put some new boundaries in place?

It's an opportunity to go inward and ask yourself what you're REALLY wanting. 

Burnout is often a sign that we are growing into another part of ourselves and leveling up in our life. 

Burnout is a sign of growth. 

What is it that wants to be born?

Is there a way that you want to show up differently? Is there something different that you want to do with your life? Is there a new direction you are craving to go in?

3) Rest

Whatever opportunity burnout is presenting to you, it's important that you take time to rest to let what wants to be born sprout. 

It's also important to just rest for rest's sake. Rest from whatever you are feeling burnout about. You are going to need some distance from it to re-charge and rejuvenate. 

Give whatever it is that you're burnt out on a rest. And give yourself proper rest.

You will thank yourself for it. 

4) Have Fun

Seriously. You're burnt out, it's time to increase your fun. Can you honestly say that you have fun every week? You know, that feeling of FUN? 

No? Then, it's time to do something you find FUN and to do it regularly. Give yourself permission to have fun. 

I don't know about you, but if fun isn't a part of life, then I want nothing to do with life.

You are meant to have fun in this life.

Give yourself this gift of fun.

Try something new. Is there something you have always wanted to try that seems fun? Do it! Better yet, do it now! 

5) Make A Change

Obviously something wants to change if you're feeling burnout, and this is a beautiful thing!

Change is good. Oh, so good. 

If we're committed to growth, our minds, desires, goals, and values are going to evolve.

That's all part of getting more in touch with your whole self, and connecting more to the essence of who you are underneath societal constructs. 

What kind of change are you hungering for? 

Be honest with yourself, let yourself feel ALL of your feelings, let yourself have ALL of your desires. Let yourself dream of something different. Something you're wanting MORE. 

It's okay to let go of what no longer serves you. In fact, it's one of the most loving things you can do for yourself. 

Follow steps 1-5 to refresh and begin anew. You're worth it and you deserve it. 

XO Cam

P.S. Did you like this post? I think you'll like my FREE guide that I created for you to Getting Free From These 7 Patriarchal Beliefs. You can grab it by clicking below. 

When You Deny Yourself Your Feelings, You Deny Your Power

Every emotion has a valuable message for us, and as we allow ourselves to feel and hold each emotion in loving awareness, our relationship with our self and with everyone in our lives will become more authentic and whole. 
— Deepak Chopra

We’re not taught to feel our feelings or how to manage our emotions.

We’re not taught that we actually have control of our feelings instead of thinking that circumstances control our feelings.

But, I have EXCELLENT NEWS for you.

Circumstances do not control your feelings. Circumstances happen and you get to respond to them however you want.

You have that power.

When we think that circumstances and other people cause us to feel what we feel, we are giving our power away.

I remember my school counselor telling my 4th grade class that “no one MAKES us feel anything” and it’s stuck with me ever since. When we say, “They made me feel this way”, we are actually being inaccurate. No one makes us feel any particular way at all. We do. We “make” ourselves feel what we feel.

This is EXCELLENT NEWS because it means we have more power than we think we do.

And, you do. You DO have more power than you think you do.

No matter your circumstances, or what someone does to you, YOU get to decide how you feel about it.

Now, that doesn’t mean that we want to feel like rainbows and roses all the time. If we witness someone being harmed and we respond with joy, then that probably doesn’t serve us because feeling joy in that circumstance won’t teach us to intervene or help stop physical harm. It won’t teach us that physically harming someone isn't okay.

All emotions are valid, have their place and are available to us to serve our highest humanity.

But, the problem is when we get caught up in blaming others for our emotions thinking that they cause our emotions instead of recognizing our own power.

We can’t grow and mature emotionally if we stay in this false cycle of not taking responsibility for our own feelings. It doesn’t mean we don’t create boundaries and have an attitude of “anything goes” or let people walk all over us. Quite the opposite actually.

Our freedom is in owning our feelings and feeling them.

This creates more space in our heart, mind and body (since our bodies store our emotions).

When we deny ourselves our feelings, we are holding onto more unnecessary weight that holds us down for a longer period of time.

My desire for you is that you recognize that you CAN free yourself from this weight. You can take the weight off.

It does involve getting vulnerable with yourself and feeling your feelings. Trust yourself enough to hold your feelings. The more you do it, the better you will get at feeling your feelings, and the deeper you will trust yourself to hold space for YOU.

And the more capacity you will have to hold space for others when they are having feelings, which will enhance your relationships and have you experiencing deeper intimacy.

Feel your feelings. Own your feelings. And take your power back.

You are more powerful than you think and you are worth owning it!

XO Cam

 

P.S. Did you like this post? I think you'll like my FREE guide that I created for you to Getting Free From These 7 Patriarchal Beliefs. You can grab it by clicking below. 

Where Are You Avoiding Intimacy In Your Life?

I want to talk about intimacy so you can experience more of it in your life.

Because you deserve it, and it's a perfectly human desire and need.

In my latest podcast episode, I talk about gender, intimacy, and being vulnerable. 

In this blog post, I want to talk about where you might be avoiding intimacy in your life, and how you can change that so you can experience the intimacy you deserve. 


Intimacy is a need for:

connection
closeness
having and expressing our feelings in healthy ways

Intimacy is a human need. 

We need connection with each other.

We need to feel close with one another.

We need to be able to have our feelings, feel them, and express them in ways that are healthy. 

But, even though we need intimacy, we tend to create barriers to having the intimacy we want. 

We avoid it because we don't feel:

worthy, deserving, lovable, valuable, good enough, and and....

Or, we feel shame, fear of judgment or rejection. 

We might believe or feel some of these things, which create barriers to avoiding intimacy.

Because it's what we've been taught to do or because we don't know how to have intimacy. 

So, we continue to avoid it and push it away. 

When we label and judge others, we are creating a barrier to intimacy.

When we judge or shame ourselves, we are creating a barrier to experience deeper intimacy with ourselves. 

When we live in resentment or anger, we are avoiding intimacy.


Where are you avoiding intimacy in your life, in your relationships?

Are you holding onto resentment or anger?


It’s hard to feel close and connected with ourselves and with others when we don’t give ourselves space to feel our feelings, take responsibility for our feelings and express them in healthy ways.

The good news is that we CAN cultivate the skills to experience more intimacy anytime we want. 

It begins with being honest with ourselves and being vulnerable. 

Getting good at feeling our feelings.

Getting brave.

It’s a practice.


Are you afraid to make the first move of being open with your partner or friend or family member?

Are you afraid to feel all that you're really feeling?

Are there conversations you’re avoiding because you’re afraid of intimacy?

Are there feelings you’re avoiding feeling because you’re afraid of intimacy?

What are you afraid of?


Feel the courage to open.

Open up to yourself. Trust yourself to hold space for your emotions.

Open up to others and trust yourself to hold you no matter how the other person responds.

We must open if we want intimacy.

Open honestly and gently....

This is part of experiencing deeper intimacy with ourselves.

And will lead to greater intimacy with others.



I invite you to open a little and come a little closer to yourself.



Exercise:

Ask yourself....

What barriers to intimacy are you creating?

Can you pin point why?

What’s underneath the avoidance and barrier?

Do you feel afraid, hurt, angry....?

What's causing you to feel fear, hurt, anger, resentment, jealousy, etc....?

What are you telling yourself that is causing these feelings? What are you choosing to believe that is preventing more intimacy?
 

Maybe it's an internalized belief from oppression, childhood, or from something someone said to you that you latched onto

about your worth, body, desirability, or what you deserve ....

Investigate the beliefs you have taken on about yourself and about others that are preventing you from experiencing deeper intimacy right now. 

Decide whether these beliefs are serving you or not. If they are, then let them stay. Stay in your feelings and be with whatever you need to be with. Maybe there’s something more for you to experience here and learn.

If these beliefs aren't serving you and you want to adopt new ones that will serve you better, then begin the process of letting them go and see how it feels. 

Choosing more freeing beliefs and learning how to embody them on an everyday level requires practice and commitment. 

But, it's doable, love. You have the power to believe what you want to believe, feel what you want to feel, and experience deeper intimacy. 

Deeper intimacy with yourself and with others. 

Your true self knows you deserve it. 

XO Cam

P.S. Did you like this post? I think you'll like my FREE guide that I created for you to Getting Free From These 7 Patriarchal Beliefs. You can grab it by clicking below. 

5 Ways Men Can Self-Reflect During #MeToo

I think it’s time for us to listen to the discussions that women are having and look at ourselves in the mirror and interrogate our own behaviors because a lot of times men are coming off in ways that they don’t understand are harmful
— Kumail Nanjiani

 

#MeToo is an opportunity for men to show up more powerfully

 

Times are changing. More and more men are being held responsible for sexual assault and harassment.

 

I know you think sexual assault is wrong, and, yet, maybe you’re still feeling scared

 

Because maybe you’ve participated in it in some way in your life.

 

Maybe with a girl in college.

Maybe with a coworker.

Maybe with someone you know well.

Maybe on the streets catcalling.

 

Seeing leaders around you crumble might have you feeling terrified thinking

 

Will I be called out?

Have I done harm?

Am I a bad person?

What does this mean for me now as a man?

How should I respond? I’m afraid to say or do anything at all.

 

I’m here to help you navigate your fear and be the good person that you are and show up powerfully for others.

We need more male leaders owning their shit, listening and rising up to support.

You can absolutely be one of those leaders, and if you’re a parent, you have the opportunity to be more of a positive example to your child(ren) and teach them what consent really looks like.

 

An Opportunity to Grow

You have a real opportunity to change the game, to have better relationships, strengthen your resiliency and be more of who you really are underneath the societal muck. You have the opportunity to grow more into the person that you really are, the whole person that is YOU.

You’ve been told too many lies about who you “should” be, it’s time to stop believing the lies and come home to yourself.

Personal growth is the best investment you can make. This is your life. I know you want to do what’s right and be all you can be and feel fulfilled.

While it may not seem like it, the #metoo campaign is a huge opportunity for you to do just that because it’s calling you to look within and self-reflect, and this will allow you to be the best version of yourself and be a part of a growing, positive social change.

Expand Your Listening Skills

You’ve heard feminists telling men to listen more.

Listening is the most important skill you can master.

Listening makes up the foundation for a fulfilling life, relationships and being a part of a better future. Learning to listen to yourself, to your partner(s), your child(ren), your clients or employees, your intuition, your body, the environment,...., will greatly enhance your life and society.

Listening to women and nonbinary folx about their experiences, perspectives, and needs during this #metoo movement will help you self-reflect and show up more powerfully to support and be a leading example. See women and nonbinary folx as your teachers, mentors, and role models. See them as people you can and need to learn from, and learn from them.

Pay attention to any eagerness you have to respond and get your voice heard. Pay attention to whose voice gets heard more than others. What voices dominate the room, the media, higher education, politics, your work space, your household, etc….?

Listening also brings you greater intimacy, more pleasure, and hotter sex.

Listening is part of learning what consent really looks like. True consent requires listening, listening to what a No sounds like and what a Yes sounds like.

And, remember, if it’s not a yes, it’s a no, and listening to that more subtle no is everything.

Learning to only pursue yeses will give both parties the utmost pleasure and satisfaction.

Exercise: How can you listen more? Are the women in your life giving you feedback that you’re a good listener? Ask them, and listen to their response.

 

Recognize You’ve Been Socialized To Feel Entitlement

With messages like “boys will be boys”, you’ve been taught, from a young age, that you have a certain kind of entitlement.

Entitled to women, women’s bodies, romance and sex with women, attention from women, so on and so forth (no matter your sexual identity).

So much of this is unconscious because it’s deeply ingrained from socialization, so you may not even realize that you have some of this feeling of entitlement.

We can see it when boys/men kill girls/women because she rejected him. This socialized male entitlement can have deadly consequences for women when gone unchecked, when men are not self-reflecting.

A good place to start is to begin recognizing that rejection isn’t about you and it’s part of life. It blows, and we all experience rejection from someone at some point.

 

Rejection (from women or in any situation) is an opportunity to love yourself more, to know that someone else’s rejection of you isn’t about you, and you have the confidence to let it go and move on.

 

It’s okay to feel the hurt from being rejected, but don’t let this hurt guide your actions.

Feel what you feel (anger, resentment, etc), then act from a place of true self-confidence and love instead of anger or resentment.

Reflection: What messages have you received from society about what you are entitled to?

 

Question Gender

One of the most important things the #metoo campaign is shedding a light on is this outdated idea we have of what it means to be a “man” (or “woman”).

It’s no longer acceptable for men to prove their “manhood” by dominating and having power over women, which means that the ideas of what it means to be a “man” is being shaken up.

Ask yourself what it means to be a man in the first place. Bring awareness to what you’ve been taught as a man in society.

Write a list of all the ways society has expected you to be.

 

Do these ways fit who you really are? Do they serve you? How/how not?

What do you want to shed that isn’t who you really are?

You don’t have to perform “masculinity” anymore. You don’t have to perform “manhood”. You get to be YOU. All of you.

What are the parts of you that have been denied?

Start to embrace all of you. You are worth it.

 

Talk to Someone

You might be having a lot of feelings about everything you’ve been learning during the #metoo movement. It’s important to release your feelings in a healthy way.

Talk to someone. Whether it’s a friend, counselor, mentor or coach (I’m here for you, let’s talk). It’s not healthy to keep your feelings bottled up.

If you have the funds, talk to someone or find a really good friend who will listen. It’s worth your time. Because you are worth it.

Want to talk to someone and get some support for all of this reflection?

Are you ready to expand to the next level of who you are and creating positive change?

XO Cam

P.S. Did you like this post? I think you'll like my FREE guide that I created for you to Getting Free From These 7 Patriarchal Beliefs. You can grab it by clic

 

 

 

Connecting To Your Intuition To Live Your Best Life

Your intuition is one of your deepest wisdoms.

Developing a relationship with it is essential for your well being and to live your best life.

We've been taught to value the logical/rational mind more than our intuition, which cannot be explained through logic and reason.

We've been pulled away from trusting our deep, inner wisdom and connecting to it and letting it lead our lives.

From experience, when I really listen to and follow my intuition, I feel better, things in my life flow better, and I'm more at ease. This is why I've become so passionate about listening to and trusting my intuition and want to help and teach others to do the same.

I started leading more with my intuition a few years ago when I moved away from the SF Bay Area (which was a desire that had been deep inside of me for a long time, but I was too scared to take action on), and it's completely changed my life, and how I want to live my life.

Leading from my intuition has given me more inner confidence, which has helped me as a woman in this society who has been taught to listen to the authority of others, especially men, before my own.

This is why listening to your intuition is a feminist act and an act of selfcare.

Society values the "logical/rational" mind, which it links to the "masculine" and "maleness" more than our inner wisdom (not that logic/reason is "bad"; I believe it should also be valued but not more than our intuition and inner wisdom).

Society teaches girls from a young age to listen to everyone except herself, to rely on external authority instead of her own, instead of trusting herself, her heart, her spirit or wisdom or intelligence. This is why listening to my intuition has given me a greater confidence that society has tried to steer me away from as a woman.

Society doesn’t just try to steer women away from their intuition, but men aren’t taught to connect with their intuition either.

Patriarchy knows no gender and since we live in a patriarchal society, we have all been taught to value our mind over our intuition.

We are all being disserviced from not learning to listen to and follow our intuition. I’m here to help change that and bring you closer to yourself (no matter what gender you identify as) and live the life you deserve.

Developing a relationship with your intuition will help you live your best life because it wants nothing but the best for you and never steers you wrong.

Here are my 6 ways to help you connect deeper to your intuition.

I recommend exploring all of these ways at different times and noticing where and how you hear your intuition the clearest:

1) Getting out in nature. Being out in nature helps you connect to who you are underneath/outside of society's constructs, oppression and conditioning. It reminds you of your interconnectedness to the earth, water, animals, planets, stars, the Universe...

Getting away from the stimulus of urban life and out into quiet nature where you can hear your intuition more clearly and feel that pure joy that's deep inside but gets covered with all of the various muck and stress and oppression of daily human life is essential to your life.

2) Sit quietly with yourself. This doesn't have to be a meditation per say, but just sitting in stillness without outside distractions helps you connect to your heart and gut, and to feel what's going on inside of your body.

3) Write to your intuition and ask it specific questions. Often times, writing things down can bring so much clarity and can be a gateway to our soul, where we can hear our intuition speak more clearly. Write down what arises without thinking about it. Let your body write instead of your mind.

4) Do something creative and that brings you joy. Feeling your joy connects you to your heart, which connects you to your intuition. Feeling your creativity connects you to your essence, which connects you to your intuition.

Tapping into our creativity is important for listening to our intuition, soul care, living our purpose, and creating the kind of social change we want to see in the world.

If we want to see a shift in society and politics, we need to come up with new, creative ways of doing things. We need to come up with new, creative ways of relating to one another, sharing and creating knowledge, implementing our imagination, taking inspired action, making a living, doing more of what we love and what brings us joy and keeps us healthy and well, and building a world that supports everyone's safety, well being, and them thriving.

Some of my favorite, consistent ways of getting creative includes dancing to loud music in whatever living room I'm staying in, letting myself free write, talking out loud and just saying whatever needs to be said without thinking about it, creating something new in the kitchen, thinking of funny scenarios in my head and how I can make my mom laugh (one of my favorite things to do in life that brings me pure joy), brainstorming/mapping and having deep conversations with friends.

I recommend doing something creative everyday for a week, big or small. This can include writing, journaling, painting, drawing, cooking, baking, brainstorming, moving your body, poetry, playing music, learning a new tool or way of doing something and trying it out, dancing, taking a different route (big or small), crafting, gardening, make someone laugh,....

Just doing something fun-anything! There's creativity in anything and everything.

Tapping into your creativity more will help you connect more to your joy, and this will help you connect more to your intuition, your soul or the true essence of who you are, and it will inspire you to create change from that place instead of one based in fear.

Creativity is vital to your well being.

5) Pay attention to your night dreams and let yourself daydream. Sometimes our intuition speaks to us through our dreams. It's okay if yours doesn't and if you don't remember your nighttime dreams. Let yourself daydream.

Allowing yourself to rest connects you deeper to yourself where you're letting your ego take a backseat.

Daydreaming can spark creativity connecting you more to your intuition.

6) Immerse yourself in water. There's something about being in water that connects us to our intuition and can offer us a download of ideas that are in alignment with our hearts. I've noticed that my intuition speaks the loudest to me with ideas when I'm in the shower or taking a bath. Now, whenever I feel stuck or confused or need clarity, I tell myself that I just need to take a shower!

When we connect to our intuition, we are connecting to our soul's purpose, and from that place, we will know what to do. We will then be guided by our soul's being, rather than our ego.

Try these ways of connecting to your intuition and let me know how it goes!

P.S. Did you like this post? I think you'll like my FREE guide that I created for you to Getting Free From These 7 Patriarchal Beliefs. You can grab it by clicking below. 

Your Being Is More Important Than Your Doing

I've been thinking...

more about being instead of doing...


It’s hard for us to just BE and not feel like we need to be doing something. Society and our ego define our lives based on doing. It's what capitalism has taught us. That we need to be productive. And if we're not, then we're not worthy. We're not enough. We must be working. We must be producing labor. This is how success is defined. By hard work. Success is not defined by just being, by just being ourselves.

But, I think there's something in the being that we're missing because we're so focused on the doing.

When we focus on our being, we get more in touch with the essence of who we are, with our spiritual selves, with our intuition.

Who are you before the doing? Who are you before you do anything at all? Before you work? Before productivity? What kind of being is present? Who is your being? What does it feel like?

This is where I think the heart of the matter is.

But, how do you get more in touch with who you are underneath it all?

Sitting still with yourself is a direct way to feel into our essence. You can call it meditation or just sitting with yourself, it doesn't really matter. But, just sitting in stillness and connecting to the you underneath it all or above it all. Connecting with your intuition. Paying attention to who your soul is.

I believe that when we connect more to our being, then we will be more guided by our intuition and the stuff that doesn't matter, the unnecessary stress, will melt away. Maybe little by little at first, but you will start to align yourself more with who you truly are and live more of life from that place.

Being out in nature can help us connect more to our being. Since we are part of nature. This reminds us of our interconnectedness. This is who we really are. We are interconnected. When we remember that we are interconnected with nature, again, more of the muck falls away, because we see the bigger picture. We see that we are part of the whole. That there is no me without you and no you without me. We all created this world together. We're all in this together. This helps get us more in touch with our compassion and empathy for one another, which will help us create and live a more liberated and just place for all.

And the more we connect to the ground, the more grounded we feel. The more grounded we feel, the more stable and centered we feel. From this place, we are able to listen more closely to our intuition; we feel more at ease within ourselves and operating in the world; we can make decisions and communicate more clearly.

You can see all of these connections between connecting to the Earth and connecting to our spiritual selves and connecting with the world...

And success isn't actually defined by our doing because if it were, then we would all be seen as successful. Most of us are working really hard. Not all of us are "successful" by society's standards. Many of us tend to get too wrapped up in our idea of "success" that we lose touch with who we really are and why we're really on this planet.

You can redefine success or give it up altogether no matter how many big dreams, desires and ambitions you have! You don’t have to quit having them, but if focusing on “success” too much is getting you out of touch with your being, then it’s worth re-setting. You might find that you are more "productive" when you’re more focused on being and more connected to your intuition. This doesn't mean action goes out the window. It just means that your actions come from a different place, and are more in alignment with who you really are that cannot be defined by society.

My mantra for you: May you know your true essence. May you always be connected to it and follow your intuition.

XO Cam

P.S. Did you like this post? I think you'll like my FREE guide that I created for you to Getting Free From These 7 Patriarchal Beliefs. You can grab it by clicking below. 

My gender story as a non-binary queer woman

(*The above photo comes from the DC Capital Pride Parade )

 

“Gender has always been considered a fact, immutable. We now know, it’s actually more fluid, complex, and mysterious.” –Geena Rocero

 

I started puberty a little later than most of my peers. My period didn’t begin until I was almost 15 yrs old. I was always a skinny, short, athletic kid who didn’t “need” to wear a bra until junior year of high school. When that red river first flowed, everything changed. All of a sudden, I was “female” and would turn into a “woman,” two identities that were completely foreign to me. I knew that I was a “girl,” which didn’t seem to bother me too much because up until the point of puberty, I was pretty genderless. My body wasn’t particularly “marked” in a way that exuded gender, and I had always been gender fluid since the time I was a baby. I played with toys, dressed in clothes, and liked things that were considered “feminine” and “masculine.” I was never a “girly girl” but I was a girl’s girl who was more like a faggy tomboy. I liked it all and wanted it all from the barbie dolls and blue lipstick to the baseball caps and baggy jeans. I was a very creative kid with a variety of expressions.

When my body started to change and it was confirmed that I was in a “woman’s” body, I wanted to scream at the whole world “NO NO NO NO THIS ISN’T ME. MAKE IT STOP.” I resisted my bodily changes and clung to denial for dear life. When my period would strike, I would wear pads and change them, but in my mind, it wasn’t happening, I wasn’t female, and this wasn’t my body. People had always warned me that, one day, I would develop breasts and start my period, but I didn’t believe them. I thought that I was “special,” that it wouldn’t happen to me because it wasn’t who I was. I was different. And I was different, but not in the ways I had thought I would be.

I was different because the body that was developing wasn’t the body I identified with. But, as a teenager in the late 90s and early 2000s, I didn’t have the words to articulate my feelings. I didn’t even have the skills to acknowledge my feelings. I just knew that I felt uncomfortable, that something was “wrong,” but I didn’t know what or why. It wasn’t until my first year of college when I began to find more words for my strong discomfort.

I was a freshman at a Christian college pissed as all hell at “God” for making me this way. How could you, God? Why did you make me this way? I’m in the wrong body! I wasn’t familiar with the term transgender and I don’t remember when I was first introduced to it, but when I was, I clung to it. The Latin prefix "trans" meaning "beyond" or "changing thoroughly" deeply resonated with me. I felt like I wanted to move beyond gender, to transcend it. After a lot of yelling at God, I decided to see a counselor during my second year of college. I remember he asked me what brought me to counseling and I said “I have a lot of anger inside of me.” He said, “That sounds miserable.” It was, and he helped me uncover all of the feelings that were hiding underneath. With him, I realized that I never wanted to be “female,” that I never felt “female”, and that I had a lot of anger and resentment about that.

While I felt like the term transgender resonated with me deeply at the time, I was scared to come out to my friends and family. The term was more taboo during this time, and I was afraid that no one would understand or accept me. I did end up coming out to my best friend and roommate at the time, who seemed supportive though I don’t think they fully knew what being transgender meant. Rightly so, as I don’t think anyone who hasn’t felt like the gender that was assigned to them at birth can truly understand what it’s like though I do believe they can listen fully and have compassion and acceptance.

It took me another year to open up to my mom, who ended up telling my dad. My parents didn’t understand and didn’t talk about it. They didn’t ask me any questions, but my mom said “I don’t want a son.” Her words struck me in a complex way. On one hand, I felt hurt knowing that she would not accept me if I realized that I was her son. On the other hand, as a feminist who was aware of the patriarchal world we live in where sons are often more desirable, I was happy to hear that a daughter was her preference. I didn’t even know if I was a son though. I just knew that I wasn’t a daughter.

The more I unpacked my feelings through counseling, the more I realized that I didn’t want to be a girl or a boy. I thought about transitioning. I had been uncomfortable having breasts since I developed them as a teenager, and a mastectomy crossed my mind many times. I, also, thought about hormones, but decided against them because I didn’t want my face to change. All I knew was that I felt uncomfortable in my body and didn’t want to be a gender. I felt this way for a few years, then I made a firm decision that I wasn’t going to transition because I didn’t know what I would be transitioning into exactly, and didn’t want to make a big decision like this without feeling confident about it. I wanted to accept myself and my body for the way that it was and release feelings of self-hate. Now, this is where my story can get tricky. I don’t want to make it sound like there’s a “fix” for feeling trans or that trans folks just need to accept their bodies the way that they are. I don’t think or believe this at all. For me, though, I knew I didn’t want to transition and I wanted to love my body the way that it was, but I, honestly, believed that I would always feel uncomfortable in my body. However, that changed for me.

In my mid-20s, I don't know why or how it began to change, but I started to feel comfortable in my body. I wasn’t trying to feel comfortable because I had already accepted the "fact" that I would always feel uncomfortable in my body. I started to love and appreciate my breasts, and all parts of my body. I was accepting my body for what it was, and, at the same time, embracing that I didn’t have a gender identity. I stopped identifying as trans and took on “queer” instead. Queer seemed to encompass my gender fluidity/non-gender identity and my pansexuality all in one.

When I started feeling more comfortable in my body, I started to embrace all parts of me, including the more “feminine” ones that I had ignored because I felt like they presented me as a “woman” when I didn’t want to present that way. But, I started to care less about being perceived as a “woman” by others. I even began to reclaim it for myself. 

I’m 32 now, and, while I’d rather have no gender identity at all, I seem to need one to operate in this world. Thus, I refer to myself as a non-binary woman. I like saying that I’m non-binary because I reject the binary as a concept and as a practice. I resist the gender binary in many different ways in my life even if I look “cis” to the public eye, BUT I do have the privilege of “passing” as cisgendered, and thus do not experience harassment or violence for living outside the gender binary on the outside. I’m aware that I “present” as a woman on the outside (whatever that really means), but I do not have an intrinsic gender and have never felt in alignment with the gender that was placed upon me. The “woman” part of my identity is a social and political one that acknowledges my experience with “women’s oppression” of sexism and misogyny, but I recognize that this gender has been imposed upon me and is not me at my essence. My soul was not born a gender, but society placed one upon me before I popped out of a vagina!

Gender is complex, and so is my relationship to it. I’m prouder than ever to call myself a woman and to identify with the social group of “women.” I’m, also, proud to call myself non-binary and queer to embrace my complexities with gender and my belief in it as a construct and performance. My ideal world is one that does not place a gender on me or anyone, one where I do not have to have a gender to survive or operate, one that sees beneath the complex layers to my soul and who I am at my core.

 

What is your gender story? Did you align with the gender that was placed upon you growing up? How/how not? Why/why not? Have you ever thought about sharing your story? It can be so healing and liberating to express our experiences and thoughts around our relationship to and how we've been affected by gender. I encourage you to think about your own experience with gender and express what needs to be expressed in a way that feels good (whether it's through writing, verbally telling a friend, art, dance, song......)

XO Cam

P.S. Did you like this post? I think you'll like my FREE guide that I created for you to Getting Free From These 7 Patriarchal Beliefs. You can grab it by clicking below. 

Trusting Your Own Authority & Intuition

As women, we are taught from a young age to value and listen to the wisdom of others, usually (cis) men because patriarchy tells us that men are the authority, that they know everything. This prevents us from listening to and trusting our own wisdom and intuition. We’re often criticized for being too emotional and sensitive and dramatic. The systems of oppression (patriarchy, White supremacy, capitalism, etc..) doesn’t value empathy, sensitivity, intuition, listening. Thus, tapping into our intuition might feel scary or like unknown territory because it's not what we've been taught. Following our intuition and trusting our inner wisdom (or authority) requires that we go against the status quo, challenge what we've always been taught, and undo the taboo and stigma we've subconsciously taken on.

A lot of girls and women have received messages from the media that they need to be saved or taken care of and protected. While these messages have been slowly changing, they have messed with our heads getting us further away from our intuition, from trusting ourselves and our authority of our life. If we’ve received messages that we need saving or protected, then we’re going to look to others, particularly cis men for answers, for authority, wisdom, and control instead of ourselves.

It's not just patriarchy that has steered us away from our own authority though. White supremacy teaches us that White folks are the authority figures. Ableism teaches us that non-disabled folks have authority. The gender-binary teaches us that cisgendered folks have authority. Capitalism teaches us that our bosses or society have the authority. So on and so forth. The systems of oppression greatly influence who we perceive as having authority, who we perceive as "experts," and what kind of relationship we have to our own authority and intuition. Because of this, there are many messages that we have internalized to keep us from listening to and following our inner voice and wisdom. 

Becoming more aware of what the systems of oppression have taught us in relation to authority, and how we have internalized these messages is a key to our liberation. Not only do we need to change the structures outside of ourselves and outward oppression, but also inward oppression, the unhealthy and unsupportive thoughts and beliefs we have latched onto about ourselves that aren’t actually a part of who we truly are. The more we hold onto internalized oppressive beliefs, the less we truly are ourselves, and therefore the less connected we are to our intuition. Connecting to our intuition can help us realize more the oppressive beliefs that we’ve been taught and internalized, and vise versa; the more we confront these oppressive beliefs, the more in touch with our intuition we can be.

Are you following someone else's authority on how you "should" live your own life, run your business, or do relationships? We constantly get messages from outside sources that we should be doing this, should be doing that in all areas of our lives. We're told that we have to fit someone else's mold and follow their model thus keeping us further and further away from creating our own model, and doing what feels right to us. 

It is scary and confusing to create our own model because there's no other structure to model after when we're tapping into our creativity and wanting to make something different. A lot of times, we end up re-creating the same structures that we've always seen, been a part of and experienced because those are the models that we know. But, this can be detrimental and not serve us or those around us in our communities and world. Often times, the structures we end up re-creating have oppressive foundations that reinforce hierarchy, patriarchy, White supremacy, capitalism, individualism, heterosexism, etc...

How can we move away from these oppressive structures and create new ones that work towards a model of liberation and justice? 

It can be messy and complex creating our own new models of "success", how to love and do relationships, what decisions we make for ourselves, where we want to work, how we want to run our business, and how we want to build community. It's an exploration that doesn't have a destination. A journey of liberation is one that is always evolving; it is fluid. 

What if you listened to and trusted YOUR authority, instead of someone else's? What if you listened to YOUR intuition and how it wants you to live your life and manage and market your business? How do you keep yourself in check, coming back to myself, and listening to your intuition, listening to yourself? 

What do YOU want? What do YOU desire? What is YOUR intuition telling you? What feels good to YOU?

When someone gives you advice, whether it's unwanted or not, pay attention to how what they're saying feels in your body. Does it feel good? Not everything will resonate. Sometimes, nothing will resonate. Sometimes, much of it will resonate. Take what resonates and leave the rest. You can tell what feels right to you, what ideas and decisions feel right to your body and intuition. 

I don't believe that there is one blueprint or model for everyone. There is no one "right" way for everyone. I believe that when you listen to what feels right to you, then you are living in alignment with your genuine self (and not someone else's). I cannot promise that all of what you want will come to you, that you will achieve everything that you want, that you will attain specific results. I cannot promise you anything, in fact. What I can do is support you, hold space for you, reflect back to you, ask you insightful questions that help you connect deeper to yourself, your desires, your intuition/soul and listen to your own voice underneath. Your own voice underneath all of the layers that you've been taught of things you "should" do in order to achieve x, y, z in your business and/or life.

I do believe we can and do learn from each other, and that we are always influencing each other. We have A LOT to learn from and offer one another. We each have interesting, incredible gifts. We can teach one other. We are influencing one another all of the time. And I think that's different than preaching a one-size-fits-all model and saying the "shoulds".

 

What if we all supported each other to listen to our own authority on our own journey instead? How do you connect with your intuition, your own authority, to hear the answers that want to come through you?

 

XO Cam

P.S. Did you like this post? I think you'll like my FREE guide that I created for you to Getting Free From These 7 Patriarchal Beliefs. You can grab it by clicking below. 

How Internalized Oppression Plays A Big Role In Our "Core" & "Limiting" Beliefs

How Internalized Oppression Plays A Big Role In Our "Core" & "Limiting" Beliefs

The personal growth world tells us that we have “core” beliefs or “limiting” beliefs that hold us back from being ourselves and doing what we want in life, and that these beliefs come from ourselves. They might tell us that we have learned some of these beliefs from our parents or families growing up, but, they fail to recognize another root cause of our negative “core/limiting” beliefs, which is societal oppression. This is called internalized oppression.

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Make Her Whole: 3 Tips on Crafting Women in Romance Writing

This is a guest post by Eliza David

I’ll just put it out there: I love creating women characters.  If there’s one thing I like more than writing strong & bold women, it’s reading about them. From Janie Crawford to Isadora Wing, I marvel at them.  I’ve walked away from books by my favorite authors - Erica Jong, Toni Morrison, Zora Neale Hurston, and Judy Blume among them – feeling fuller for having followed the pages of their journey.

As a writer, I wonder where the character creation process comes from for these literary legends. How did Hurston make Janie strong enough to pull a gun on her rabid suitor Teacake?  Where did Jong find the inspiration for Isadora and her quest for the ‘zipless fuck’? I often come back to these unique women characters to create my own. When I created CeeCee, Zoe, and Laney – the beloved figments of my imagination that spawned nine novels – I came back to the Janies and Isadoras of my favorite novels. From those experiences, I keep the following three guidelines in mind when creating whole, feminist-friendly women characters:

Create LayersAny character worth a read has a rich backstory that supports her decisions, thoughts, and actions throughout the novel. One of my favorite wants to learn more about my character’s backstory is to use a character questionnaire.  While every detail of your character’s past should be in the final draft, it’s helpful as the writer to know what type of childhood she endured, what her education level is, or how many times she’s had her heart broken (or how many hearts she’s broken – now there’s a story!).

Avoid Trauma As A Crutch Too many times, women characters are abused, raped or otherwise destroyed in order to prove her strength in a novel.  Of course, conflict is required for a story and it may not be pretty.  However, using a traumatic event as an explanation for your character’s personality can be a disservice to your character and to your readers.

Give Her Goals Beyond Love A romance novel cannot exist without a relationship of some sort. This is an undeniable factor of the genre and, in its greatest form, love is beautiful. It’s also important to give your main character other sources of satisfaction and happiness. Think about what fulfills your character’s soul – her career, her family, a hobby, anything that defines her personhood outside of her relationships.

Above all, be cognizant of the woman character you’re wishing to send out into the literary world. Give her a true voice that rings clear.  You never know who will be touched by your happy ending!

 

Eliza David was born and raised on the noisy south side of Chicago, but now lives in super quiet Iowa. When she’s not writing, working full-time, or raising two children with her loving husband, Eliza enjoys reading Jackie Collins and indulging in the occasional order of cheese fries.  She is a blogger for Real Moms of Eastern Iowa and has self-published seven romance novels.  Her dreams include seeing her name on the New York Times’ Best Sellers List and convincing her favorite actress Nia Long to portray a character from her books onscreen.

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Masculinity, Divorce and Loving Yourself

This post includes a series of vignettes from Carlos Quevedo, exploring different topics tying common themes of gender, setting boundaries, being intentional, and loving yourself. 

I Want To Show Myself To You

Men are expected to be stoic and thick skinned, that's not me. I cry watching a rom com or an anime. Hell, I cry because it's Tuesday. All my life I have been told that a fundamental part of my character and personality was a flaw. It's always been strange to me that the problem was me caring too much, not that they didn't care at all. A lot of my thoughts on being an emotional man go back to one undeniable truth, men are absolute trash. Anything I learned in my life worth retaining or keeping I learned from a woman. Being there for people, understanding them and willing to sacrifice money and time. Women. What did I "learn" from men? Emotional manipulation, entitlement, a biblical sense of superiority. I'm an empath, I care for people. Not in that "I'm sorry" empty words kind of way. I'm talking about that "tell me what you need and it's yours" kind of way. This was shown to me by you guessed it, women.

 

"I want to be vulnerable in front of you. I want to show myself to you, not who I present myself to be."

 

I'm constantly being told I'm too sensitive, I handle things "like a woman", by my own mother no less. I would have never thought twice about playing certain kinds of music in front of people until I was told "why are you playing that, there aren't any girls here". I didn't know telling my friends I love them and want the best for them made them so uncomfortable. I'm stuck performing masculinity because sometimes I just don't want to deal with the judgement that comes with me simply being myself. I am into plenty of things "the average guy" is into but do I want to spend entire conversations and build friendships around that? I want to talk about what love means to you, what it means to me. I want to be vulnerable in front of you. I want to show myself to you, not who I present myself to be. I want us to Laugh together, but be there for each other's tears. Everyone is emotional. I am tired of not being able to simply show people who I am.

Divorce And Needing True Guidance

When I finally came to the conclusion that my divorce needed to happen I wanted guidance. I turned to my friends, that was a mistake. Every piece of "advice" was centered around the idea that the person I loved and cared for was somehow this evil villain that I should have never been with in the first place. The idea that I need to rationalize my pain and grief by demonizing someone I care about makes absolutely no sense to me. I don't want to hate her, I don't want to treat her like a stranger. I'm a big believer in community and this is one of those times that I wish I had it here.

 

"The same way we worry about someone's book smarts is the same way we need to worry about people's emotional intelligence too."

 

Even now there is no one I can turn to, no one that I can ask for advice that will edify me and actually help. I internalize so many things because when I vent, I end up having to explain to people that negativity about my former significant other is not what I want to hear. The same way we worry about someone's book smarts is the same way we need to worry about people's emotional intelligence too. This experience has shown me that so many people don't know how to deal with and process things without making themselves a victim. There are many situations like that certainly, but mine is not one of them. I'm simply someone looking for guidance and some positive affirmation, sometimes.

I feel like I failed, sometimes I feel like I'm unworthy of being loved. I just want someone to tell me that's not true. I know it isn't but sometimes I just want to hear it. I don't need to hear that the person I was married to for two years is horrible. I don't need to hear that she doesn't care about me, because that isn't true either. I ask for advice, but end up being the one explaining that there are no villains, just two people who made mistakes and are coming to terms with a hard decision. I could always use some guidance, and, in my current spaces, that isn't going to happen.

Be Intentional

Relationships should always be intentional. Have people around because you want them there. Make them feel that way, it matters. Save someone's day with a text, a call, a kind word. Doesn't matter whether you talk for five hours or five minutes. That's fuel for the day. You know the types of affection the people you love want to receive, give it to them. Sometimes you have to remember to be a friend. Don't give freely though, no matter how much you might want to. Not everyone deserves your time, your dedication, your affection. If they're not intentional and straight forward with you, let them go. You deserve better, you are worth it. Don't sell yourself short. We tell people (especially women) to give freely and sacrifice while getting absolutely nothing in return, that is harmful, stop that. It's ok to set boundaries. It's ok to decide who you do or don't want in your space. You don't owe anyone anything. While you love one another, don't forget to love yourself.

Don't Apologize For Being Yourself

You don't need to perform for people. If they can't handle your lows don't share your highs with them. Don't drain yourself with fair weather "friendships" and one sided emotional labor. Be conscious of people's manipulation, love yourself. Don't deal with people who only pretend to see your humanity when they want something from you. Prioritize yourself. For 2017 and the future, remember that YOU OWE NOTHING. Anyone who tells you you do is not worth holding on to.

As an empath I understand how hard this is to do. But if you care about your own survival, you'll reflect and see who's worth keeping. Surround yourself with people who want the best for you. Surround yourself with people who see your humanity. Surround yourself with love. Have standards, be HIGH MAINTENANCE. You are worth it, don't compromise what's important for people not willing to put in the work. Be as picky with your plutonic relationships as you are with your romantic ones. Don't ever settle. Make sure you love and are being loved.

~Carlos Quevedo, an anime/manga video game enthusiast dedicated to understanding people and showing them that good still exists

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