Let's start this month's post with some transparency: July was a rough month for me & I never posted my top picks. With that being said, August is going to be a better month (I'm working on that speak-it-into-existence thing). So, here we are. Last I left you, we were all reading Willie Parker's Life's Work (I hope you enjoyed it; I definitely did), and I was off to the National Network of Abortion Funds (NNAF) annual summit (IT WAS MAGIC, YOU GUYS. PURE MAGIC.). Now it's August, so let's close out this summer with some of the things that are making me happy right now.
I realize that, even though you are reading this on BAF's site, you may not know exactly what abortion funds are and how they run. Hopefully, the Female Trouble podcast episode that I was pitching in June was helpful to understand BAF's leadership, but that is just a small part. There is a large community of abortion funds & grassroots activists/advocates around the country, and this article does a great job discussing what that looks like for many people. They specifically highlight funders from different states (as you may imagine, the work changes based on your state/local laws and political climate). Using the author's words themselves, "Abortion fund work can be difficult yet incredibly powerful."
2. Roxane Gay's Difficult Women
This book of short stories will knock you over with anger & empathy & love & pretty much every other emotion. Each story focuses on a woman and her interaction with the sexist, racist, trauma-riddled, violent world around her. I should say that I am giving trigger warnings for almost every major trigger (rape, domestic violence, child abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, kidnapping, racist acts, etc.). Even though these stories do require some resilience on the part of the reader, Gay has written a book that transcends writing traumatic stories for trauma's sake and instead, her stories will emotionally challenge you. These are among the most beautiful, raw, and heartbreaking stories I've read in a very long time.
3. BitchMedia - BitchTape on Body Positivity
If you aren't already a fan of BitchMedia's BitchTapes, listen up. Weekly, BitchMedia curates a playlist for whatever theme they want. This body positivity playlist is oh-so-good with tracks from Lizzo, Janelle Monae, TLC, and more. Here's a link to all of their past BitchTapes.
Mary Adelle, a writer for Baltimore Style, is regularly sharing her self-care tips (find her archive here), but my favorite article that she's written - and one that I keep coming back to - is her guide to post-election self-care. This year has been a garbage fire for most of us, and if our society/government/country isn't going to take care of us (spoiler alert: if you aren't a cis, straight, white dude, it probably never did), then we really should. Mary Adelle lays out the different ways we can give to ourselves and our communities. Her advice is one that I need to take more often: "Take good (self) care, friends. Trust your gut. Weep and eat donuts."
Interestingly enough, Lindy West was originally going to be on this list anyway because I just read Shrill and ohmygod everyone should read it, truly. No, really, go buy it right now. Lindy West is one of my favorite writers because she is hilarious, she is smart, and she uses her words to kick everyone's ass, but for good and not for evil, which I think is one of the best qualities a person can have. Recently, the Democratic Party stated that they are welcoming to anti-choice politicians and voters. Here is Lindy's response to that, which I think really guides my journey through rejecting a two-party system.
& that's everything! Enjoy my picks, share yours with me, and enjoy your August!
Ann Marie is a volunteer case manager with BAF, since 2015. She lives in Baltimore and can talk endlessly about mental health, self-care, and dogs. You can find her on twitter at @annmariebrok.