My Feminist New Year’s Resolutions


Javacia JanBring it on, 2015.

By Javacia Harris Bowser

 

New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are my two favorite days of the year. New Year’s Eve is my Night of Possibilities. New Year’s Day is my Day of Dreams. 

I know it sounds silly. I know that there’s nothing special about the last day of one year or the first day of the next, but there’s something about hanging a new calendar that makes me feel as if I have a new lease on life, a clean slate, and the ability to make all my dreams come true. So, yes, this means I love New Year’s resolutions and you can be sure my resolutions are always girl-power fueled. Here are my feminist resolutions for 2015.

 

I resolve to run like a girl.

In 2014 I resolved to exercise every single day—not to lose weight, but just to be healthy and strong. And I did it! I exercised for 365 consecutive days. After such a feat I figured I needed a major fitness challenge for 2015, too. I decided that this year I would strive to become a member of the 1,200 Mile Club, a special distinction the Birmingham Track Club gives to members who run 1,200 miles in a year. When it comes to running, I am certainly the tortoise, not the hare. I’m slow, but steady. And that slow and steady pace of mine has helped me complete two half-marathons and a number of 5K runs despite the fact that I suffer from a connective tissue disease. And I believe it will help me accomplish this goal, too.

I resolve to redefine “girl push-up.” 

When I was in college I taught group fitness classes at our campus community recreation center. The supervisor for the group fitness program asked us instructors to develop personal fitness challenges for ourselves every year. One year my challenge was to build enough upper body strength to be able to do 50 consecutive military-style push-ups. I accomplished this goal in just a couple months. I want to reclaim that strength and by the end of the year, I want do be able to do those 50 push-ups again and redefine the meaning of a “girl push-up.”

 

I resolve to be a card-carrying feminist. 

In October of last year, the Greater Birmingham chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) was reactivated. I jumped at the opportunity to join and to officially become what I call a card-carrying feminist. But I don’t want to be the kind of NOW member who just pays her membership dues and wears the T-shirt. I want to be an active participant in NOW programs that seek to empower women and girls and make our community a better place for all.

 

I resolve to read more feminist texts. 

This year I want to reread feminist classics like Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique and pretty much everything by bell hooks. I also want to read more contemporary feminist texts like Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay, and I resolve to do a better job of keeping up with my favorite feminist blogs, too.

 

I resolve to write more feminist texts.

In 2011 I started See Jane Write, a networking group for local women writers and bloggers. Through that organization I host workshops, panel discussions, conferences, and social events to encourage women to write more and to do what it takes to see their bylines in print. But lately I’ve realized that I often don’t practice what I preach. I’ve been so busy encouraging other women to go after their writing dreams that I haven’t been going after my own. So in 2015 I resolve to strive to get my work published on my favorite websites and in my favorite magazines. I’m also going to be better about regularly updating my personal blogs, WriteousBabe.com and Javacia.com.

 

I resolve to cure myself of impostor syndrome. 

In the past I’ve suffered from a severe case of impostor syndrome, that feeling that professional people—often women—have that tells us that we’re not good enough or smart enough to be in the positions we occupy or have the titles we hold. I often feel this way about writing and blogging. Because of See Jane Write, many people in Birmingham consider me a writing expert and a blogging guru, distinctions I often dodge because I don’t have any bestsellers or Pulitzers on my resume and because I don’t make thousands of dollars a month from my blogs. But lately I’ve realized I don’t give myself enough credit. Over the years I’ve seen my name on the pages of a number of local and national publications. And when See Jane Write members ask me questions about blogging, I can answer their inquiries quickly and completely. I don’t have to consult an expert. The answer is already in the brain beneath my curly coif. Blogging is making me a better and faster writer, too. It’s making me quick and concise. I can come up with a blog post idea and develop it into an interesting, inspiring, or informative narrative in less than two hours. I’ve finally realized that I really know my stuff!

And so whether I’m writing like a girl or running like one, I’m determined to make 2015 my best year yet.

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