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Inspire with Christy Birmingham

This week we are going to talk about Christy Birmingham. She is a writer, poet and feminist. Her writing is inspiring and motivates every woman who is going thru difficult moments. I personally love her work, Christy explains how art/poetry helped her to deal with personal issues, depression, and abuse. She is the perfect example what we have been trying to translate on our project.

Christy

Read her complete interview below.

When did you discover your passion for writing?

As an elementary school student, I realized my love of poetry and short stories. It was after becoming a voracious reader. I recall my English teacher asking us to pen a story based on a prompt and my story getting a good mark from the teacher. I was very proud!

Is poetry your favorite writing style?

Yes. Poems mean a lot to me as this was my first writing style published (back in elementary school – the poem was on the topic of recycling). I like the succinct nature of poetry. The format suits how my thoughts often emerge and I find that my expressions go well with a poetic format.

Do you think poetry is a type of therapy?

It absolutely can be! Art therapy has proven benefits and writing is a form of it. Poems, in particular, helped me to deal with personal issues, including depression and abuse. It was through my first poetry book Pathways to Illumination that I truly came back to being “me.”

Tell me about your writing motivation.

I am primarily motivated to write to help women struggling with their mental health or with unhealthy relationships. I speak from experience and want to help others. I believe that my purpose is to provide a hand to those who need help in these areas. By growing my blogging and book platforms, I can hopefully reach more women.

Who is your favorite author?

Margaret Atwood! I was drawn to her when I realized how distinct a writing style she has. I marveled in her book Surfacing at how she crafted a female character that was both unique and familiar at the same time. She has a beautiful way of phrasing sentences.

Tell me about your favorite poem.

I cannot choose a favorite poem. There are so many great choices. Some of the poets I admire most are Maya Angelou, Robert Frost, and Sylvester L. Anderson.

 

What are your career aspirations?

I think that keeping inspired in a career can wane, no matter who you are. If I find this happening, I take a break from my desk and walk out in nature (preferably by the water). This will calm me and help me refocus my train of thought. It helps to write down the why behind why you do what you do as a career and look at this piece of paper when you find yourself feeling uninspired as a way to re-ignite the spark in you!

Tell me about your coming book.

I am working on a collection of short stories. It will be my third book and the first one that is fiction. I am not releasing too much about this upcoming book… yet.

 


Women’s rights

What do you think needs to be done to reduce the violence against women? 

I think that we need to stop putting the onus on women to prevent violence. I suggest instead that we educate men about respecting women and what a healthy relationship looks like. Instead of looking at sexual assaults as “what did she do to be treated that way?” let’s instead say “why did he do that?” But, better yet, let’s address the issue before it even happens.

Do you think that women can overcome traumas through writing?

I think writing is a therapeutic tool, absolutely. Journaling is just one example. My therapist had recommended it to me, and I found it helpful for making sense of a full mind. Reading the words on paper was scary at first, but it does force you to come to terms with the past and only by doing so can you move ahead.

How can writing be a powerful tool to speak out about women’s rights?

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For me, writing provides a way to connect with women whom I might not otherwise ever meet in person. Blog posts, articles, and books are all powerful ways of educating women and men about gender equality. My last book Versions of the Self explores the different types of relationships and explains how we each affect one another. The great thing about the written word is that it can be read re-read and savored whenever a person wants.

If you could advise a young girl who lives in a vulnerable territory, what would it be?

It would depend on the exact situation. If she is scared, I would encourage her to reach out to someone she trusts and express what is behind her fear. This person can then take the steps necessary to get this child to a safe place. Also, I would tell her to trust her instincts. If something feels off, it likely is!

Feel free to leave any message to our readers. 

Feminism is not an ugly word! Often a person raises an eyebrow at me when I explain that some of the writing I do concerns the subject of feminism. It is about protecting female rights around the globe, and we deserve to fight back at the attacks being made on it. Let’s stand strong and unite, men and women, to make the world a more peaceful and fair place to live.

Bio:

Find Christy Birmingham blogging about ways to enhance your life and live fully at When Women Inspire. Also, you can find her on TwitterPinterest, and Google+.

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One Sky: A collaborative project with almost 90 female* artists and one instruction: look up.

Women Who Draw is an open directory of female* professional illustrators, artists and cartoonists. It was created by two women artists in an effort to increase the visibility of female illustrators, emphasizing female illustrators of color, LBTQ+, and other minority groups of female illustrators.

One of their most recent project is called “One Sky”: a collaborative project with almost 90 artists and one instruction: look up.

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On August 13, 2017, at precisely 12:00 pm Eastern Standard Time, 88 artists all over the world stopped what they were doing, looked up, and drew the sky. What each artist saw was unique to the time, the weather, and the place. The locations ranged from Tel Aviv to Brooklyn, Buenos Aires to rural Georgia. Some saw different hues of blue. Some saw black, pink, or gray. Some saw stars or clouds or fog or rain. Here it was summer. There it was night. In one place a fire left a heavy brown haze. Whatever sky the artist saw, they captured it on paper in their own unique style. They were, at that exact moment, separate skies. But when we view these drawings together, they become one far-stretching, simultaneous world view. They become a portrait of one shared sky.

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This is the beautiful result: https://www.topic.com/one-sky

*Women Who Draw is trans-inclusive and includes women, trans and gender non-conforming illustrators.

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Women are making the best rock music today

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Snail Mail – Photo: Emma Swann

The New York Times newspaper published an amazing story yesterday about 25 new bands that prove women are making the best rock music today.Here’s what they wrote: “Where, exactly, have the guitars gone? Sure, there’s never been a shortage of traditional rock bands – say, a mostly male, mostly white four-piece. But in the face of increasingly diverse music tactics, their cultural impact is beginning to wane. Many indie-rock groups have started to feel rote or even parodic, as if they’ve run out of ideas or exhausted the passion to develop new ones.

But a new generation of female and non-binary performers – punk in style or spirit, coming from theall-ages warehouse and D.I.Y.-venue ecosystem – is taking their place. These singers and musicians, working just below the mainstream, are  making music about tactile emotion, rousing politics and far more.

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Laetitia Tamko aka Vagabon – Photo: Jared Allen

To take stock of this vibrant moment, and to spotlight these artists’ work, we spoke with them about why they make the music they do, and what obstacles the industry, and society large, have thrown in their paths.”

Check out the story on the link below:

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/09/05/arts/music/25-women-making-best-rock-music-today.html

Meet Shabana Basij-Rasikh

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Educator Shabana Basij-Rasikh was born and raised in Kabul, Afghanistan. She attended high school in the United States through an exchange program and then earned her degree at Middlebury College in Vermont. During college, she co-founded School of Leadership, Afghanistan (SOLA), a nonprofit to give young Afghans access to quality education abroad and jobs back home. She also founded HELA, a nonprofit organization to empower Afghan women through education. After graduating, she returned to Kabul to turn SOLA into the nation’s first boarding school for girls. She is the president of the nonprofit school that provides college preparatory courses and helps graduates enter universities worldwide and return to substantive careers in Afghanistan, where students often become the first women to enter certain fields. SOLA has helped girls from dozens of provinces across the country access more than $7.7 million in scholarships.

Source: National Geographic

Watch her very inspiring Ted Talks: https://www.ted.com/talks/shabana_basij_rasikh_dare_to_educate_afghan_girls

II Poetry Contest: Poems from India

Sewa is an organization that provides education for girls in Gujarati, India. These poems were written by Sewa’s students.

I Poem: Our Country

In the ocean of these relations

There’s one relation that is unique, that which I love…

Which I repeatedly recall day and night

Where the sand of sand dunes of desert
Fly around to make new sand dunes

The smell of that sand
Is what I can still feel today
As soon the rain drops pour down, it gets soaked up

Completely, in that ocean of sand
There’s is one relationship that is unique, that which I love…

I remember the crowdedness of those streets
Carts, scooters, auto rickshaws and those buses
Somewhere there were cows and at other places, the goats
They would swing and walk
Somewhere you would hear the noise of sacks filled with vegetables

They were the light of those streets
Were the sign of the population
Where we dreamt when asleep and awake
Of fairies and prince

Where there was humanity and honesty

There is pride

There was pride in one’s own earnings

Where there was glory of virtues
Where there was light because of festivals

This is my country and I am its

This is my country and I am its

This bond is unbreakable, this wouldn’t change

This relation that is the most unique
Which I love the most

 


II Poem: Where women are independent

There is every moment of happiness

Is being raised our princess

But why is she scared today
Even though it isn’t her fault, yet she is embarrassed

Why sons don’t undergo such stringency

We have raised our voice today
This fight is for equality
This is unfair

No one should stop us, no one should accost us

This is the fight for our existence
But who has begun this fire of inequality
Even though the fault is not of oneself

She is yet embarrassed today
Where even the mother is scared for her
But
There today
The daughters have raised their voice
Why are today the restrictions enforced only on us

Why sons don’t have have to face such harshness
This is unfair
This fight is for equality
This is the fight for our existence
No one should stop us, no one should accost us
I have reached that height today
Where there is an honest earning
It is a fight for our justice
The strength of my sisters lay in the wings
March forward, march forward
In this there lies the betterment of the family There is height in the society

There is height in the society
There’s independence today
In our homes
In our country and in family
No one should stop us, no one should accost us

The one who distributed all her rights of living Neither in bread nor in clothes
Either in education nor in illness
Neither was she remembered in wealth

We all are her debtors


III Poem: Invaluable diamond

The one who gave up life even before birth
Is there anyone who is responsible for it
Whom god had created to be magnanimous since birth

The one who distributed all her rights of living

Neither in bread nor in clothes

Either in education nor in illness

Neither was she remembered in wealth

We all are her debtors

The childhood passed and so did youth, the aged eyes saw darkness

Yet on one from us took up responsibility of this
Today, that daughter only, is the music of our lives
The one who has brightened the lives of her family

Became independent and made discoveries

Has opened the doors to her own destiny
Sisters have become partners of each other
Have taken care of all the burdens of life
After toiling and struggling she has become understanding

Let us all accept today
That only she is our sparking invaluable diamond


 

IV Poem: There was brightness on all four sides of Chamanpur’s crossroads…

Will the moon’s brightness remain caged in the four wall only

on the face was the stole, and chameli in the hair, and in the middle were the stove and grinder

this was no one but kamla’s  free-spiritedness
she came to me with glitter and sparkle

hopping and jumping she came to me

take me to the academy one day,
I shall wait for you and that chance, When that day arrived,

When that day arrived,

There entailed series of questions such as what is it? Why is it? Sometimes on telephone and sometimes on phone Sometimes on camera and sometimes on monitor

Sometimes on telephone and sometimes on phone Sometimes on camera and sometimes on monitor

Sometimes on camera and sometimes on monitor
Posed many questions

She blushed seeing herself smiling on the T.V.
She waited a moment and then erupted such a flame

On the face of chamanpur’s fire, rested some silence

Can this computer, phone and camera

Not be in the hands of mine

I do not wish to make cigars and sell vegetables

Give these weapons to me also once
Then you see my beauty and fairness
How do I use my thoughts for outsiders

In that there will be matters pertaining my sisters and sometimes that of my dreams too
I will jot down sometimes the violence shown to my sisters

Someday it will become weapons of my livelihood

This incident occurred seven years back

The fire of chamnapur
Our free spirited and our dream’s beauty

Today, she has kindled the fire of passion and enthusiasm In thousands, has the battalion of girls become ready.


V Poem: We want neither poverty not inequality

We shall break this wall
Which separates us from each other
This is a cry for peace, we shall break this wall of differentiation

That which brings inequality in earnings, which brings shortfalls in employment
In the helplessness of hunger, in the illness of children
We fight each day in this epidemic

This nothingness in our identity
Have lost our land and our roofs
Today it is the relationship that has rocked it In this fight of creed and caste,
Let us break this wall of inequality

This is a cry for peace
Do you think that the battle has calmed down
Have the weapons been let down
No o siste , e ha e ’t hea d the all of pea e
When the peace shall prevail, there will be earning in villages and streets, our lands shall also become fertile
Beauty shall not be an unknown
Men and women shall become equal. The country shall awaken There resounds a cry for peace in every household

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II Poetry Contest: The Blue, The Moon, The Stars & I

by L.L. Lynch

The blue, the moon, the stars and I
All in the dark we do reside
Our faces bright as mountain sides
Whose flesh is clothed like virgin brides.

Constant as the tides we are
Both high and low and near and far
Deceptively strong yet weak and starved
Like ballerinas at the barre

We exist for you both more and less
Until you lose all interest
And then you’ll watch with baited breath

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Many children worldwide have grown up playing with Barbie dolls and Transformers. You can perhaps guess which children played with which toys. From the time of our birth we are taught the ways in which males and females should conduct themselves. Why does society enforce such restrictions from the moment a child is born? Too often, our society sees men as […]

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