I Am Human, Let Me Roar

“What is repugnant to every human being is to be reckoned always as a member of a class and not as an individual person. … What is unreasonable and irritating is to assume that all one’s tastes and preferences have to be conditioned by the class to which one belongs. That has been the very common error into which men have frequently fallen about women–and it is the error into which feminist women are, perhaps, a little inclined to fall about themselves.”–Dorothy Sayers, Are Women Human?

A couple of years ago, when I wrote a piece for this magazine called “I Am Woman, Leave Me Alone,” I wondered if the true mark of equality will be the day when women don’t have to worry about “having it all,” because a woman can do what she wants without an essay being written in response to her actions (that day is clearly not yet here). I still wonder that. I also wonder if we’ll get to a place where women are allowed to be viewed as human beings first and that their life choices are not automatically assumed to be generated from gender–whether it’s an outworking of that or a reaction against gender normativity. Continue reading

How Heartbreak is Similar to Travel

A month ago, I had a really, really bad week. First, I got dumped. A couple days later, my apartment building caught on fire and I was displaced. The next day, my phone was stolen. A few more comically bad mishaps rounded out the week and I found myself in serious, official Heartbreak Mode.

Heartbreak manifests itself in a few ways for me. Some of the time, I feel like a zombie–in a disoriented daze, struggling to get through a simple routine. Other times, my mind’s protective numbness wears off and I feel it all so intensely that it’s unbearable. Then, when the daze lifts and the sobbing peters out into whimpers and hiccups, I’ll feel waves of gratitude. I have moments where the silver lining overwhelms the cloud, and moments where the kindness of friends or the rush of hope are enough to temporarily set my equilibrium back to normal.

In wandering through Heartbreak Mode the past couple weeks, I have found that it’s a very similar experience to being in a foreign place, where things feel strange and not quite right. I’m learning to navigate through my days a bit differently, which feels a lot like being in a new place altogether. While I’d much prefer to be on a vacay to Bora Bora or jaunt to Barcelona, the experience of the blues and of travel are surprisingly similar.

Continue reading

House of Cards: Meet Me at the Cathedral Heights Metro

Now that I’m sure most of us have seen at least the first episode of the second season of House of Cards, can we talk about the Cathedral Heights metro scene? Don’t worry, I’m not offering any spoilers here other than the fact that the scene was not filmed anywhere in the DC metro system. There is a Cathedral Heights in DC, but unfortunately there is no metro station nearby (Maybe there could be. WMATA?). But that wasn’t the only way you could tell. The distinctive interiors of the metro system were absent and there were definitely people standing on the left side of the escalator without any fear of reprisal.

Courtesy of living in Washington DC

I know that there are only about 600,000 people living in the District of Columbia, and that maybe there are a million other people scattered around the country and the world who would pick up on that discrepancy. But as someone who has grown to love this city, it bothered me. Continue reading

Which Kind of Writer’s Block Post Are You?

Almost two (!) years of weekly posts on The Wheelhouse Review and I’ve finally hit it.

The wall.

The lethal combination of procrastination and empty headedness.

The moment when your mind goes blank and all original, unoriginal, derivative, and blatantly plagiaristic thoughts go into deep hiding.

Yes, that’s right: I’ve come down with a nasty case of writer’s block.

It’s viral, you know. A lengthy incubation period (the better to infect those around you) and a low mortality rate. I blame Juliet. She blames Ryan, who kicks the can down the road to Sarah, patient zero (if you’ll allow me to mix my metaphors, which when down with writer’s block is tantamount to dragging yourself out of bed to go lay on the couch).

I exaggerate: my mind isn’t totally blank, of course. It’s full of habits to incorporate into my year, 2014 budgeting strategies, recipes to try, yoga classes to attend. Wonderful things, all of them, but they do not a post make, unless “7 Easy Daily Smoothie Recipes for the Yogi on a Budget” is the new BuzzFeed quiz/Upworthy video/political troll post to rocket to success, as success is defined by Google Analytics.

I could try some haikus, but Ryan gets territorial. I could write something thoughtful and considered on the culture news i obsessively consume, but who has the time for that? I could send you on a delightful rabbit trail of links from my Feedly and Twitter, post some Olympic gif roundups, throw in an amazing Miley Cyrus video and call it a day, but just typing that sentence cost me twenty minutes of cute animal videos on YouTube. And what a waste of time; we all know this video is the only one that will ever matter:

Despite what this video may lead you to believe, you’re still better off walking like a penguin this winter, no matter how silly you feel doing it.

Writing is a discipline, they say. It’s not supposed to be fun. You’re supposed to do it every day, whether you want to or not, preferably in the wee dark hours of the morning. The words should flow out of your fingers like blood from a turnip.

And like any discipline – the gym, your daily greens, flossing – some days you just don’t feel like it but do it anyway. And on a few – a rare, precious few – of those days, you run your best mile ever or have a transcendent moment over a cauliflower, capers, soft boiled egg, roasted lamb and wilted romaine salad. But on many more of those days, there’s a 20 minute wait for the elliptical, they’re out of towels and you forgot your headphones at home. Or worse: you end up back on your couch after an innovative meal of penne, shredded cheddar and canned green chile at which even your college self would have turned up her nose. This post, dear reader, is the equivalent of that culinary nightmare I not but two hours ago thought up, “cooked” and consumed for dinner, knowing in my heart of hearts that the odds of flossing before bed are approaching 50 to 1.

And so it goes. (By “it” I mean of course the word count, which has reached an acceptable level for a writer’s block post.) Sometimes you can write yourself out of a corner, get the juices (ew) flowing (gross!). And sometimes you can’t. C’est la vie.

What you can do, however, is close this tab and go watch House of Cards Season 2 on Netflix. How does Claire maintain such an impeccable wardrobe, and how much do you think she pays for her haircuts? Do you think she does Pilates or yoga? Share your thoughts in the comments!