Rep. Greg Murphy clearly doesn’t understand that the internet is forever.

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Imagine a leader who posts an offensive, racist response to a colleague’s statement on a public platform. Imagine they posted it without thinking of the ramifications. Perhaps it was a mistake in the heat of the moment. Okay, surely they at least apologized later, right?

But let’s imagine that instead of accepting responsibility for the harm they caused, they quietly delete the post and hope no one else noticed. Imagine they refuse to acknowledge what they said, despite being contacted by the people they serve and the media.

Does this seem like the kind of leader you want? …

And 4 other simple items inclusive leaders have in their office space

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I can tell in an instant if my male boss is a sexist jerk or worse, well-meaning but unhelpful guy who is happy to let the waves of privilege gently urge him ahead, just by looking at his office space.

The physical office space sends a message. I take notice of how they keep their office space and the items that they choose to display. Are there pictures of family? A bookshelf with actual books? Knick knacks?

Some of these items are as simple as a box of tissues. An accomplished professor once pointed the tissue box on her desk…

And more importantly, does that even matter?

Photo by Amy Shamblen on Unsplash

I was hit hard with a memory of fear and confusion on my commute this morning.

My morning commute loves nothing more than a good podcast. I especially love a podcast that makes me feel less alone or when I can see myself in the content, exclaiming “Exactly!” or “Me too!” out loud in my car. I had one of those moments listening to the Fearless She Spoke Podcast recently. …

Why we should let our daughters move on to Hulu in real life, too.

Photo via Disney

Finally. Something to look forward to while living in this waking nightmare that has been recent history: the Lizzie McGuire reboot. Lizzie McGuire only ran for two seasons in the early 2000s, but the popular Disney sitcom-inspired The Lizzie McGuire Movie and blessed our TVs in reruns and popular culture for years to come.

Who among us didn’t have that sleepover (or five) where you sang along to the total banger, “This is What Dreams Are Made Of”? Who among us didn’t imagine their own animated mini-me who could provide sassy responses to your daily trials and tribulations? …

On the ‘What ifs’ you can’t miss.

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I avoided my hot girl for two years. Something about her made me afraid. I couldn’t put my finger on what exactly. Then I stopped avoiding her. I stopped avoiding her so hard that instead I wrote a romance novel inspired by her. That seemed safer at the time.

My husband said he knew that our marriage was over when he heard the plot of my novel. It was a coming into your identity story featuring a steamy affair with a woman named Summer in a sweet Southern town on the water. I think you can guess which element of…

Creative Nonfiction Contest Winner

My mom left and saved my dad’s life.

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There was a lot about him that was 80% blocked for me.

A memory of standing between my dad’s anger and my younger brother. The words rising like black smoke, billowing up to our high ceilings. They were gone in the morning, but I still smell them on my clothes years later.

A loud conversation at a Longhorn Steakhouse that turned heads and reverberated through hushed whispers around us. He stormed out, more smoke enveloping me in words I can’t unhear. We drove separately home.

Somehow more painful, are the memories of the mornings.

He sat peacefully with a newspaper…

“Adopt the Pomeranian” and other words of wisdom from Chanel Miller’s Know My Name

Photo by Edwin Andrade on Unsplash

My friend’s yellow sweatshirt read: Surviving, not thriving.

I laughed when I saw it. A sign of the times, of educators like me who are burnt out at a marathon of a semester with impossible asks and limited rewards. We can’t believe I made it to the end of this fall semester, we joke. Somehow, we survived, we marvel.

I’ve been thinking about survival a lot lately. Maybe it's the existential threat of a pandemic, the way our lives have been upended in big and small ways, or the processing of my trauma after all these years. I’m overwhelmed and…

“I want you to be safe and smart.”

Photo by Janaya Dasiuk on Unsplash

Like your typical neighborhood feminist killjoy, I am super fun at parties. I can sound like this: This is a fun coming of age movie and all… but have you considered how this might perpetuate rape culture? As I said, Super. Fun.

I really try to take off my feminist hat to watch soapy or trashy TV (hello, Bachelor franchise) or movies. I get that there is privilege in being able to disconnect from analyzing things with a social justice lens… but I’m in this for the long haul. Sometimes that means taking a mental vacation. …

Scotland’s historic move helps everyone, not just women.

Photo by Gabrielle Rocha Rios on Unsplash

There is just about anything I’d rather do for approximately 2,535 days than be on my period.

That is seven years or the average length of time that a person who menstruates will spend on their period in their lifetime. To make matters worse, in the United States, we somehow consider this a “luxury” and many states have a luxury tax on menstrual products like pads and tampons.

Beyond being truly ridiculous to even consider menstruation a luxury, period poverty impacts people all over the world, and the statistics are bleak.

Nearly one in five girls in the United States are estimated to have missed school due to a lack of period products.

At least half a…

Lesson #2: Move before you stand up.

Photo by Krzysztof Kowalik on Unsplash

We began our paddle one serene morning, the water so glassy it mirrored the fluffy clouds and sunshine in our gentle wake.

All was quiet when — SPLASH!

My paddling companion fell from her board with impressive force, spitting out water she inhaled from her surprise collision with the calm lake as she rose to the surface.

The water was calm. We were both confident paddlers. She just lost her balance.

There’s a lot to learn from stand up paddleboarding. …

Ashley Cleland, M.Ed.

Educator & Writer. Empowered Career Coach. Passionate about feminist leadership & trauma-informed practice. Let’s chat → *Views my own*

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