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THE THINGS WE LEARN: POETRY SERIES

What We Hold  Girl, you’ve been selling your soul,  but have lost sight of the worth.     A dime bag  is not a rose offered  by trembling hands.  A quick bump  is not poetry scribbled over your skin  by nervous fingertips.  A shot of smack  is not a vow of devotion  whispered by love-chapped lips.    You’ve forgotten all the things  you were holding out for.  And now,  you have nothing left to hold.       What Happens to Girls  “Boys will be boys.”  But,   what happens to the girls?    We’re left behind –  tangled in dirty sheets and half  of our clothes,  or lying in the park with three-quarters   of our clothes shredded,  or in the morgue without   any clothes at all.     We’re left to pick up pieces  that should have never been broken  in the first place.   We’re...

JUICY CAMPUS QUEEN

Freshman year of college, I was the subject of a contentious feminist debate on my college campus. Remember the website Juicy Campus? (I know…this is going somewhere though) “Who is the biggest ball-busting feminist on campus?” Only one answer, “Meryl Duff,” sat in the replies. Yes, I was browsing Juicy Campus, and yes I found my name in the anonymous reply. My first thought was “Oh my God, people here know me?” and my second thought was “…as a ball-busting feminist?!” Now, after some intense self-reflection as to why I was even looking at the Juicy Campus website, I moved on to how people knew me as a “ball-busting feminist.” Was it “Penis Registration Day” or was it my argument of sexist language in my First Year Seminar? I guess I’ll never know, but I was both proud and slightly incredu...

DEAR EX BOYFRIEND

Dear Ex-Boyfriend,  I chose to focus on the good in you. Your heart is big and warm and loving by nature. You don’t need a program to teach you to lend out your hand to others; you do that naturally. You are one of the most selfless people I have met. You just want to care for your family and loved ones and protect them and make their lives a little easier.  You are intelligent, athletic and someone who most people enjoy being around.  You are not very funny. But you laughed at my jokes. You always see the good in people. You see the good in every situation and you rarely complain or get stuck in self-pity. I love that about you. It was contagious. You changed my perspective in that way. You made me feel at home and at peace. Feeling your touch made me believe everything would be okay. One...

8 HERBS EVERY WOMAN NEEDS TO KNOW

I grew up in the Midwest attached to my Grandmother’s side, making herbal medicine. I would tag along behind her singing The Itsy Bitsy Spider until she gave me the look. I knew the look meant I better keep quiet or I’m going to be standing in the infamous kitchen corner. We had our ritual walk out to the garden every evening after dinner dishes for my entire childhood. We prepared herbs almost every summer night until I was “too old” to do such things. One fantastic summer, my west coast older cousin came to visit for the summer. It was the best summer of my kid life. Then one day, her whole teenage world crashed. She was wrapped up in blankets with  pain relievers and terrible menstrual cramping. My Grandmother, being her natural herb savvy self, held my hand and we went into the garden ...

HOW TO REMAIN SANE WHEN YOUR CHILD IS A MONSTER

My daughter Juliana is deep into her terrible twos. In fact, it feels like she has been two for about 10 years now. Her 4-year-old sister, Clarabella, gave us the false impression that caring for babies and toddlers is easy (ha!).  When Clarabella was two, she would read quietly by herself for an hour or more, and loved to walk around cleaning the walls with baby wipes. Those walls are now decorated daily with food, crayons, and…well, I don’t even know what this stain is. While our home was once filled with the melodic sounds of Raffi and story time on the rug, there is now a cacophony of piercing screams, crashes, toys hurled at the wall, crying, and the occasional evil laughter. And I am losing my shit. I have always been sensitive to sound. In a chaotic and noisy environment, I feel cla...

#SUPERWOMAN JOSIE SCHWEITZER | FOUNDER OF THANK YOGA TALKS TO HARNESS

Josie Schweitzer talks to us about finding her calling, letting go of her business and the transformative power of yoga In the early 2000s, Josie Schweitzer took her first yoga class in a basement in the beautiful city of Columbus, Ohio. She was intrigued, but scared because the practice was not approachable. A few years later, in her 20s, she was introduced to a more challenging practice – and that’s when the art of yoga stuck. “The fact that I could go and sweat and feel like I’ve been worked in a lot of ways, kept me coming back to it,” Schweitzer said, who is also a runner and an adrenaline junkie. Yet, she knew there was more to yoga than just the physical benefits. “Once I started practicing, it only took a few months for me to get really, really curious as to why I was feeling...

#SUPERWOMAN AUNT FLOW | 20-YEAR-OLD FOUNDER CLAIRE CODER CHATS WITH HARNESS

Photo by The Wonder Jam Claire discusses period positivity, dropping out of college and entrepreneurism She’s only 20-years-old, but Claire Coder is changing the world – one cycle at a time. As Chief Estrogen Officer of Aunt Flow, a subscription service which mails a customized box of tampons and pads, Coder’s mission is to provide every menstruator access to menstrual products. For each box bought, another one is donated to a select organization or an individual in need. Businesses can also purchase their tampons and provide them – for free – in bathrooms. As the website reads: “Taking care of your flow, takes care of their flow.” Tampons and pads are not covered by food stamps or by the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). Accord...

#SUPERWOMAN TEENEAR | UP-AND-COMING URBAN POP SINGER TALKS TO HARNESS

Teenear discusses the biggest risk she’s taken, why she wants to be a good role model to young girls and positivity.  Women from all different walks of life contribute to Harness Magazine. On rare occasions, we come across women who are pursuing a dream that is quite extraordinary. Take Teenear, for instance: a young urban pop singer from Miami. When she was 15-years-old, her parents encouraged her to upload her cover of “Stay” by Rihanna to YouTube. Soon after, she signed on to Slip-n-Slide Records (the label worked with the likes of Rick Ross, Trina and Plies) and released singles with accompanying music videos. One of them, “Friday Night,” even featured Sage the Gemini. The song, an empowered anthem (peep the lyric: “Tonight I’m doin’ me”)  is about a girl who doesn’t need a man o...

A WOMAN’S LIFE STARTS AT 30

A woman’s life starts at 30 Life is a constant change and for a woman, the change, paradoxically, becomes the routine. We develop and evolve with every year that passes but sometimes, these changes are not as obvious so we choose to ignore them if they don’t make us proud or simply take them for granted if they do. Among those changes, one of the most interesting ones is when a girl becomes a woman. Sounds radical but it is not as drastic as it seems. It might feel like we go to bed one night feeling all “girly” and wake up the next morning with responsibilities for ourselves, our homes, our lives. However, this is a change that happens among many years and through a lot of experiences, even if we might not be aware of the entire process. I say “we”, because I am not the only woman who tur...

SINGLENESS ISN’T WAITING

You’ve been waiting for this. You clicked on this link because you, your single and desperate self, need more advice on how to make Singleness worthwhile. “What’s wrong with me?” you ask, possibly scarfing chocolate and watching The Notebook. “Why am I still single? I must be doing Singleness wrong. Please, O Internet, tell me how to Single.” We all know there’s an exact science to Single. You do all the right things and eventually you magically bump into The One. Not intimidating at all, right? You have to get the formula exactly right, or else you’ll end up alone forever. You have to do exactly what those lists on Cosmopolitan and Pinterest blogs tell you to do. You have to read all those “Open Letters” on the Internet so you know exactly what is wrong with boys who won’t ask...

10 SIGNS YOU’RE A COUPLE WITH AN OLD SOUL

Contrary to popular belief, old souls aren’t simply people who prefer records to iTunes or books to Kindles. Instead, they’re people who are wise beyond their years with gumption to seek inner knowledge and spirituality. They are the ones you knew in Elementary school as the odd ones out, the loners, the kids who acted well beyond their age with a weirdly mature understanding of the world. With their extraordinary approach to life, old souls often love differently than their peers. However, when two manage to find one another, it’s a deep bond that’s nearly impossible to break. Here are 10 signs you’re just a couple of old souls: You don’t fool around with each other’s hearts. Playing with emotions is unappealing and you have no time or patience for thos...

HOW TO PREPARE FOR SPRING – WITH THE HELP OF AYURVEDA

I am definitely not one of those people who can naturally enjoy cold weather. Actually winter used to be the season of depression for me. Instead of enjoying the time with friends and family at and around Christmas I fell into depression – although I was still kind of functioning as I forced myself to – which was often accompanied by panic attacks. I always thought of winter as a period to survive and kept planning to move to a country with warm climate instead of trying to focus on the positive sides of the season and balance out the qualities I do not like about it. It is not a very positive way to look at life, is it? 🙂 The encounter with Ayurveda has completely changed my life and the way I think of my own likings and preferences. Finding out that I have a certain body cons...

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