Diamonds

I just finished reading Jewel’s autobiography “Never Broken: Songs are Only Half the Story”, and it was one of the most enjoyable reads of my life…and I read a lot. The honesty with which she tells the tale of her life, the ups and downs (and oh, Lord, has she had some downs), never blaming anyone for the things that happened, always taking responsibility and owning her life – it’s mindblowing. This book should be required reading for every young girl – I can guarantee you that the Wee One will be reading this in a few years, as there’s a lot she can learn from Jewel.

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Here are some of my favorite bits from the book:

You need nothing other than what is in your heart.

No one can keep you captive.No one can keep you unhappy. We do not need to let our histories or our losses define us except in the way we choose.

Reality is our perception of it. Our reality is what we believe it to be. What we believe informs our thoughts. Our thoughts inform our actions. Our actions build our lives.

You don’t outrun pain.

Each of us has a self that exists undamaged and whole, from the moment we are born, waiting to be reclaimed. My life has not been about fixing what is broken. It has been about engaging in a loving and tender archaeological dig back to my true self.

A spirit cannot be broken.

Hard wook grows slowly.

I wish I could tell every young girl how special and valuable they are. I wish someone had told me.

I realized that happiness was not some bird that landed on your shoulder by accident, but was a skill that was taught, or not taught, in certain houses and families.

Negative self-criticism is an iron chain that will never let you ascend to real greatness.

Forgiving someone doesn’t mean you condone or approve of what they did. Forgiveness is not for the other person at all. It has nothing to do with whether they deserve it or not. Forgiveness is an act of self-love. The best revenge really is a life well lived.

In you lives my hopes and dreams. I believe in you.

I have always felt I had to try so hard to be loved, as if being alive were not enough. I had to be perfect, had to make myself small, unfalteringly kind, without needs. Even though I knew better rationally, I felt that who I already was wasn’t enough to be loved by a parent or a partner.

Before you have a baby, you have an ego, an image of yourself that’s been built up over time. You have an identity, forged in the ways you define beauty, sexuality, romance, success, the who and why of your self-worth. And when you have a child, you literally just take a hammer to it. The center of the universe is changed, and you have to redefine who you are relative to this new addition in your life. Sex and what’s sexy to you are no longer the same. What’s romantic to you is no longer the same. Everything is redefined. We mourn the loss of freedom and identity, and we must discover and redefine what makes us feel beautiful, sexy, supported, romanced, successful. You have to give yourself space to learn what the new definitions are – you don’t know overnight. I was a new piece of art. I was a work in progress.

Love and partnership mean being a witness to someone’s life, and loving and supporting them the whole way through no matter what.

A heart can break onmly if it is closed – if it remains open there is nothing to break.

Life is everchanging. What is consistent is knowing I am up for anything. That I am never broken.

Life broke parts of me that needed to fall away for me to live an open and truthful life.

Life demanded that I get rid of my ego, my facade, my contrived safety nets, until I was reduced to my true nature, so it could shine unhindered. I needed to know great darkness to know my light. I needed to understand extreme constraint to know my freedom. I needed to face shame to know my own worth.

This has been a long and imperfect journey. It is a journey I am still on. I will always be on. And it is one I would like to share with you. I want company along my road. This is an invitation to question your life and, should you desire, to find the courage to erase the lines that imprison you and to reimagine a better you. And if you do not get it just right (none of us do), you are invited to keep redrawing and redrawing until you feel your outer world matches your inner life.

This is serious. Every day that passes is another day closer to looking  back on your life and seeing whether you have done something meaningful. Don’t let the days pass wtihout doing something great. Be the architect of your dreams.

 

Aren’t these passages great? The whole book is – so honest, so hopeful…I can’t stop thinking about it. Towards the end of the book, she mentions embracing imperfection – I think about that idea a lot. Instead of striving for someone else’s ideals of what ‘perfect’ should be, wouldn’t it be better if we just lived our own version of perfection? Isn’t what we are absolutely perfect enough? If not, then it bloody well ought to be. This past weekend, Amber Rose hosted a SlutWalk in Los Angeles, and she was joined by the lovely Tess Holliday – and a ton of other women – walking to reclaim the rights of all women. Check out this article from CNN:

Amber Rose, an actress and model known for her personal style and steady position on the gossip pages, staged a “SlutWalk” in Los Angeles on Saturday that has folks debating the usefulness of the term and what it represents.

SlutWalks started in 2011 in response to a flippant remark reportedly made by a police officer after a spate of sexual assaults on the campus of Canada’s York University. According to local media reports, the officer said: “Women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.”

Women in Toronto, outraged by the comment, took to the streets dressed in lingerie and skimpy clothing, to spread the message that women should not be subject to sexual violence regardless of what they’re wearing.

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The notion spread, and SlutWalks now occur year-round across the globe. Rose announced recently that she would headline a walk at L.A.’s Pershing Square.
“[W]e recognize that shaming, oppression, assault and violence have disproportionately impacted marginalized groups including women of color, transgender people and sex workers, and thus we are actively working to center these groups in this event,” reads a statement on the Amber Rose SlutWalk webpage. “We deeply value the voices of marginalized groups and have a strong desire to find common ground among all of our intersections.”

Rose, a former stripper who gained fame during her relationships with rappers Kanye West and Wiz Khalifa, has lately been speaking out against the concept of “slut shaming,” or slamming a person for their sexual choices. She and friend Blac Chyna walked the MTV Video Music Awards red carpet in August wearing outfits emblazoned with phrases used to denigrate women.

Rose told the SlutWalk crowd about the first time she was “slut shamed” at 14. She then tearfully said she forgave West for saying he needed “30 showers” after being with her and Khalifa for calling her nothing but a stripper.

Rose appeared at the walk wearing black lingerie and her signature platinum blond buzz cut. She carried a sign that said “Strippers have feelings too” and started a chant that’s not publishable here — the gist being that women own their bodies and have freedom of choice.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the march was attended by “several hundred” people, mostly women. Some wore undergarments and wrote slogans on their skin while a few even went topless. “My clothes are not my consent,” said one sign.

Online supporters said the SlutWalk message is important for men and women to grasp.

“the #amberroseslutwalk was making the important point that women’s bodies are theirs to control, no one elses,” wrote a Twitter user who goes by “Blige.”

“Closed minded people see naked women asking for attention from the #AmberRoseSlutWalk but open minded people understand the message sent,” wrote another.

“Stop shaming women for their bodies and their choices,” wrote J. Emanual on Twitter. “Let them own their sexuality.”

 

Isn’t this great? I love it – I don’t know what rock I have been hiding under, but I had never heard about Kanye and that ’30 showers’ thing. I have absolutely zero use for that man to begin with, but now…well, what an absolute piece of shit. Who says that??! Disgusting. Absolutely disgusting. These are the kinds of things that make me despair for the world, you know – and all the more reason why a book like the one written by Jewel is so very important. We all can use the hope.

I don’t want to finish up with Kanye being the last thing I talk about – instead, how about this, one of my very favorite Jewel songs – it just kills my heart every single time. Love it. 🙂

 

xxx

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