This is part of a long series of posts which will be known as Feminist Fridays. Because individuality is at the heart of feminism, I’m going to open up this space to different people each week to share with us a little portion of their unique journey.
So, I (Libby) moved to this little-ish town in the middle of Kansas nearly seven years ago. I didn’t have any friends in this town. I only knew my brother, my sister-in-law, and my neighbor (now my husband, actually). And for about a year these were all the friends that I had. Which was wonderful, don’t get me wrong. But I had a need for community. And boy did I go to the wellspring for it.
Kat is the first friend that I made on purpose in this town and through her, my life has grown this whole entire garden of friendships and relationships and experiences that I would never know if I hadn’t gathered all of my courage one day and sent her a Facebook message that, essentially, said, “You’rereallyprettyandcoolandsofunnyontheinternet. Do you want to be my friend????” And then for some reason she was like, “You don’t seem terrifying. Yeah ok!” And I’m grateful for her every day.
And you will be, too.
Do you want to tell the people a little about yourself, Kat? Katherine G. Hurl lives in McPherson, Kansas with her two dogs. She is currently in training for her dream job of ‘Queen of the World’ which she hopes to see come to fruition in her lifetime (even though she would settle for it being awarded posthumously). Beautiful. Thank you for that.
How long have you identified as a feminist? Not very long at all. I feel like I am the tiniest of all baby feminists! I started leaning towards feminism about a year ago and it’s grown even more so in the last 6 months.
Can you think of a situation in your life that really stood out as a defining moment regarding feminism in your life? As far as a “defining moment” goes, there are SO MANY. My journey towards feminism began early last year after a long relationship came to particularly nasty end. My self-esteem was already low but the end of that relationship really broke me down to nothing. I started reading quotes by strong women (especially Amy Poehler because she could make me laugh) and it got me PUMPED UP. I started to realize my worth. I’d never seen it presented in such a way and it really opened my eyes to all the injustices I’d either been subjected to or had subjected my own self to for so long. I had accepted so much of it as “just the way things are” when I should’ve been standing up for myself and other women. The one quote that hit me between the eyes the most was one that said something to the effect of “You’re not being sensitive- he’s just being an asshole.” I think I literally got off my couch and swung my fists in the air. 😛 My whole life I’d been branded “too sensitive” and told just to be quiet and not to make waves. Now I just want to roar all over the place.
What makes you roar? So many topics. I don’t like men telling women what to do. I don’t like members of a religion telling other members of other religions what to do. I don’t like women telling other women what to do, and I CERTAINLY object to law makers trying to tell me what I can and cannot do with my own reproductive system or (more recently) trying to tell me what to wear, even. I object to the idea that if I go to a party in a miniskirt, I’m “asking for it” or have less to offer in a conversation or IQ test. The system is jacked up and we need to stand up and make sure future generations stand this racist and sexist system on its head.
Going back to “I don’t like women telling other women what to do”, I hate that we’re so ingrained to see other women as the enemy. I hate that jealousy is such an overwhelming feeling. We blame the “other woman” or “side chick” when men or our own psyches are setting us up against each other. It’s easier to hate on other women than to blame the men we “love” for being assholes. What’s up with that?
Oh man, you make me want to throw out a round of applause! I wish that translated well to text.
What does Feminism look like in your practical, day-to-day life? Well, since finally getting a grasp on my self worth, I met a wonderful man and he has changed my day-to-day life in so many ways. It sounds cheesy but I truly would not be in this relationship if I had not gone on this journey. He gives me the room to truly be myself and a soft place to land when and if I need it. He never puts me down–which is life changing for me.
I’m still a work in progress. I stand up for myself more (especially at work) and I don’t put myself down nearly as much. I’m still working on my self-deprecating sense of humor- it’s pretty much ingrained into my being at this point. And I’m learning how to say the word “no”. “NO!!” Can you imagine? Me ever saying no? I find myself not apologizing for my opinions. So MUCH of my life has been me presenting my opinion and tacking “…is that ok?” on the end. I do not need the validation of others for I find validation in the love and the spirit God has given me. I just sat on it for so long that I didn’t even know it was there.
I love what you had to say here. Particularly the way that you said that your relationship wouldn’t exist without having done so much work on yourself and not the other way around. A lot of times we’re told, “Get in a good relationship and everything will fall into place!” But I’m not hearing you say that’s your story. That is definitely what we are fed. That’s what the movies say, so it must be true!! (nope) That was not my story at all. I knew I was a mess and needed to change before what I really NEEDED could walk into my life. I had to get over my hurt and hating men and my “I can do this on my own” attitude. Yes, I CAN do it on my own but it’s amazing to have someone in my life who WANTS to help me. It’s been a learning experience to LET him help me.
Let’s not skip over “finally getting a grasp on my self-worth” by any means. I know that involved a lot of work–it’s not as easy as flipping a switch. What does self-care look like for you? Self-care involves a lot of slowing down and saying “no” for me. I’m such a people pleaser and I let my perception of myself get wrapped up in my ability to take care of others expectations. If someone was disappointed in me, I would agree with them and hate myself instead of telling them to take charge of their own feelings and expectations. I have to make sure I’m a priority, which is hard for me because I have been so ingrained with “don’t be selfish!” when in reality, self-care and selfishness are two completely different things. Trust me, it’s better for EVERYONE in the long run if I take time for myself. Sometimes I literally just lay on my bed or floor and stare at my ceiling fans and pray for God to remind me of what really matters or to help me prioritize things. Just taking a few minutes to breathe or meditate can do WONDERS for me. I am valuable. I am a child of God. I am not what others think of me. (Look in the mirror and repeat that several times. I dare you to not get pumped up.) Yes! Hold on one sec I just want to say this a little bit louder for the people in the back, “self-care and selfishness are two completely different things“!
If you could say one thing about this topic to a large group of people, what would you choose to say? Feminism is not a dirty word. It’s not offensive and we shouldn’t be scared to label ourselves as feminists. Stop being ignorant and look up the definition of “feminism” in the dictionary. No one should find anything even remotely offensive there. We’re not asking to be raised above men and we’re not asking for men to lower themselves. We’re asking to be treated as equals. Men and women have different strengths, yes, but no strength is better than another. They’re all valuable and WE’RE all valuable.
What’s on your Treat Yourself list? Pizza. Lots of pizza. Pedicures. A nice glass of moscato and a bubble bath. A warm, fuzzy robe. Quiet dogs. Movie theater popcorn. Going to the movies is one of my very favorite things to do. Especially at the Warren when you can push a button and people bring you whatever you want. I am a simple girl of simple wants.
Everyone—thank you for reading!
As always, if you have any questions or thoughts or would like to be interviewed yourself, either include them in the comments section or email me: libby(at)xoxolib.com.