“How can you really tell the story of a culture when you don’t include all the voices within the culture? Otherwise it’s just the history, and the story, of power.”
This weekend was the perfect storm of hard work and feminist news. I spent the entire weekend working, which usually doesn’t give me much free time, but I did get time to watch the first GOP debate, and read the NYT (fancy). I also saw the trending story on Kiran Gandhi and Free Bleeding – a term which I had never previously heard of before, but the concept is not foreign. I have free bled many a time in my life, but I usually call it, “forgetting a tampon,” or “not having to leave the house today.” Not to minimize Kiran’s message.
How did people find out that Kiran was Free Bleeding for a cause? If I saw someone who was leaking from their period during a marathon, I wouldn’t necessarily assume that they were making a political statement. I can’t imagine a reporter seeing a random, period-blood soaked woman in the crowd and thinking, “ah ha, there’s my lead!” But none the less, Gandhi got her message to the masses and given the current conversation over reproductive rights I appreciate the attention that she is receiving.
I even followed her media trail back to her website, where, aside from her work as a drummer for M.I.A. and recent graduation from Harvard Business School (I know), I also learned that Gandhi is part of the select group of people who have tried to influence the world through internet public speaking – I’m talking Ted Talks. This is pre-marathon, in more innocent, and less bloody times (okay, I’ll stop). Karin Gandhi has an interesting life theory, which she calls, “living atomically” as in, living in the same way that atoms interact with each other. Basically, the idea is that if you focus on six pillars that make up your life (six core interests or concerns) and allow those priorities to guide your decision making, then you will create a natural barrier that will propel you to the path that will make you happy. The idea is to not make 1, 2, or even 5 year plans, because you would be ignoring the possibilities of random occurrence . She gives the example of a typical Saturday when you are out running errands and you run into a friend who wants to chat or get some lunch together. Though you may like this friend and wish to spend time with them, you will also be thinking about the laundry that needs to get done, or the sleep that you had been promising yourself to catch up on. But Gandhi argues that it would be a mistake to forgo an opportunity to make a meaningful connection in order to do what seems like the responsible thing to do. She believes that that one moment of connection can lead to new opportunities or ideas that you hadn’t previously considered and that you can make better connections about what you want from life when you let go and move with the opportunities that are given to you.
As I’m rounding the last lap of being 24, I can reflect and agree that I’ve had similar thoughts to Gandhi’s, but I’ve been calling them, “experiences that I never regret.” As in, I never regret going to the park in my free time, I never regret going to a museum, and unfortunately, I never regret going to the gym. Don’t I always have the most fun at the party that I just didn’t feel like taking the trouble to go to? Those ideas seem to check out.
But getting rid of my 5 year plan… Or perhaps I should say, getting rid of my 5 year back-up plan….Well that’s a little harder to release. Maybe my critique is that Kiran is from an influential New York Family (she mentions that family dinner guests as a child were the likes of Hilary Clinton) and is obviously an incredibly intelligent and hard working girl, whose natural aptitude and brightness means that people will flock to her because she is extraordinary. She is not the typical pleb who is trying to plow their little plot of the earth while paying off their student loan fees. This doesn’t dilute her message, but I guess I recognize my own limitations and realize that for me, a little strategy is necessary. I can get on board with forgoing errands to go try a new experience, but right now I can’t shake the impulse to Google admissions requirement for grad school or say no to a night out because I want to write.
On Sunday, I was left Internet-less and tired from a long day of serving others coffee, but had luckily bought a fresh copy of the Sunday New York Times as a treat. In the arts section, there was a feature on the radical feminist-arts group, The Guerrilla Girls. In the Donald Trump world we live in, where a female moderator can be criticized for her questions, because Trump accuses that “she’s bleeding from her wherever…” It was refreshing to see these old biddies still kicking. Though it sort of proves what Gandhi was arguing. The Guerillas were all artists in their own right, but they only made their most recognized work when they collaborated and combined their activism with their art. That would not have happened if they clung too dearly to their original plans and perhaps being part of something larger than yourself is greater pay than individual notoriety.
So what’s my conclusion? Relax a little if it seems like you’re not on track for your dream life. Plan a little, but anticipate that the unexpected will enhance the vision you’ve been dreaming of. You may be better off for it.
MY FIVE CORE CONCERNS FOR LIVING ATOMICALLY ( I can’t think of six)
- Personal relationships
What are yours?