take-backsies: my body, not yours.

Baili

Hi all, it’s me, Baili. If you know me personally, you know I love my white wine (sponsor of this very post) my cat Rosie/Baby/HoneyGirl/Sweetie, and just about any book that my hero Rory Gilmore has mentioned in passing. You are also acutely aware of how much I love a good, old-fashioned rant about women’s rights. If you don’t know me personally, and have just read this and are now thinking I’m absolutely insane, hear me out.

IMG_3800

All photos by Kristin Coffman

I, like an alarmingly vast amount of you, have been subjected to sexual assault my entire pubescent life, and then some. From the creepy substitute teacher in 6th grade who insisted I hug him before he would let me leave class (whom I later that year ran into at a restaurant in the midst of his 6th Rainier) to the teenage boys who think it’s funny to yell obscenities at a girl trying to buy tampons (seriously) I’ve had it. It’s a wonder I haven’t morphed into some bra-burning vigilante on the hunt for predatory cat-callers (“V for Vagina, a Memoir”).

IMG_3804

There are absolutely days where I feel angry. Angry because I don’t feel safe enough to take a walk by myself when I can’t sleep at night. Angry because I guarantee there is a guy out there somewhere reading this, probably one I’ve even known intimately, who is seriously thinking that I’m mentally unstable because of my outward frustration. Yeah, being an intelligent, articulate, and passionate woman really sucks sometimes.

IMG_3817

But most days I actually feel very insecure. I moved far away from the convenience and excitement of downtown so that I could live in a neighborhood that was safe enough for a young, small (albeit feisty) woman to live independently. I sleep with pepper spray nearby (a habit I developed before I even had my first real period, no less). I never take Ubers alone. I turned down a promotion at a previous job knowing I’d be subjected to daily sexual harassment by my potential boss. I have to *practice* my resting bitch face, because resting smiling face has earned me several cat-calls, solicitations, and, in one instance, a threat to be gang-raped on my walk to work (sorry if you’re reading this, mom. I promise I’m okay).

FullSizeRender (6)

So here I am ranting about how unfair the world is. The truth is, if you’re a woman and you’re paying attention, you already know this. What took me a long time to figure out was that you can’t live in fear. You can’t go to work wearing clothes that you think will protect you from the losers with big mouths (and tiny you-know-whats, most likely) out there. You can’t let male or female antagonists determine your worth based on how much leg you show.

IMG_3811

Some years ago I somehow grew a butt that now has its own orbit. Try as I might to hide it, it’s not going anywhere. While I worshipped loose-fitting sweatshirts in the past, I now prefer tops that are, I don’t know, cute? I shamelessly wear booty shorts out in public. The skirt I wore to this photo shoot warranted the saddest pickup line I’ve ever heard (“Leaving me already?” “Yes.” “Oh… okay”). But I’m taking my body back, I’m rocking what I am, and the rest of the stone-aged world can just deal with it. Ladies, I encourage you to do the same.

IMG_3815

Let your style be your shield against ignorant, predatory boys who think they’re hot shit. You’re a worthy individual who is more than a walking porno for the drunk dude at the bar. I realize this is cliche, but if I’ve learned anything, it’s that you cannot control what happens to you. Ignore the victim-blaming dunces in the peanut gallery. There are things we can’t control. But we can learn from them. I now have more confidence in my body than I’ve ever had. It’s my body. Mine and only mine. Take your body back and flaunt it, babe. And if anyone gives you shit, send ’em to the big-booty psycho Khaleesi wannabe and I’ll teach ’em a thing or two about objectifying women. 😉

IMG_3816

your quarter life crisis playlist

Baili

This is it guys. The big 2-5. Suddenly you find yourself Instagram stalking your younger pledge classes’ house dance outfits and reminiscing about the days when you could stay up until 2 am without feeling like you got hugged by a falling tree. Rent, car payments, electricity, groceries, anxiety meds…they all add up. In addition to having absolutely no money, it’s so easy to get caught up in the demands of life. I’m turning a quarter of a century old on the 31st of this month and have been having one existential crisis after another. Luckily I’m surrounded by amazing girlfriends who love and support me. Kristin, the genius behind the photos you’re about to enjoy, decided we needed a much-needed trip to Cape Kiawanda. If you’re like me and you’ve got mid-twenties blues, here’s a playlist to help you get through it all. While I’m still struggling in life, I’m proud of who I am today, and these songs helped shape me into the woman I am today.

IMG_0670

all photos by Kristin Coffman

“Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac. This song is so classic and so relevant to any woman who has struggled to find her purpose in life. I’ve been so many people in my 25 years, and I’m still figuring out who I am. This is a big one.

IMG_1196

“Belle of the Boulevard” by Dashboard Confessional. Sometimes life is just downright hard. It is so important to remember that the struggles you experience make you the beautiful person you are. Never, never let yourself think that you are only worth what certain people think of you.

IMG_1020

“Swing Life Away” by Rise Against. When I was a little kid I thought by 25 I’d be married, have a house full of kittens and puppies, and be a successful paleontologist. Today I’m, well, not. That’s just life, and I’m okay with it. Enjoy the simple things in life. You will miss them later on.

IMG_0757

“Somewhere Only We Know” by Keane. I tragically lost my first love a few years back. This song has preserved every happy memory we ever shared. Whether it’s a person, a place, a song, a smell, or an idea–it’s okay to hold on to things. Nobody is immune to tragedy, but it takes a great deal of strength to hold on to the happy times in spite of it all.

IMG_1087

“Feel the Silence” by Goo Goo Dolls. The part in this song that always gives me chills goes, “we’re drowning in the water that goes under this bridge/when you’re fighting the current you forget how to live.” Pretty explanatory. We are a highly-intelligent species that have emotions in spades. Listen to them. If you spend your life hiding your hurt, you will always feel pain.

IMG_1120

“Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon and Garfunkel. This song was my Gramma’s absolute favorite song, and for good reason. The point of this song, this blog, and my objective in life, is to offer love and support to those who need it. We hear so much sad news every day, and this song beautifully acknowledges that all of life’s hardships can be overcome with the support of a good friend. You don’t need a ton of friends, just one or two solid ride-or-dies. Most importantly, be the friend that you need in your life.

IMG_0763

“Love” by Lana Del Rey. I’ve mentioned this before here on V+V but this song is just. So. Good. It takes me back to the days when all we needed was a 6-pack of PBR, a smooth hill to skate down, and a sunset to cheers to. Watch the video and you will understand. The years go by but we will always have that summer that ignited our souls.

IMG_0992

“Your Song” by Elton John. Oh Elton. This song has no particular meaning other than it is simply the best song ever written and I will never stop loving it. Absolute genius.

IMG_0903

“Wheels” by Foo Fighters. Easily the most under-rated FF hit. Central thesis is that life will never stop being hard. Your challenges will change, but life will never be easy. That being said–there’s no reason to not enjoy the ride.

IMG_0751

“For the First Time” by the Script. Does anyone still listen to them? I love them. Shamelessly. Keep making music, guys. All of their songs are so real and so relevant but this one specifically has helped me calm down when I’m sitting on my couch with my roomie and her cat, telling them about how stressfully my apartment hunt is going/how difficult work is/how much I wish I was Lauren Conrad. It’s so good to know you’re not alone in the struggle. Related: watch St. Elmo’s Fire.

IMG_0916

Lastly, “I Want to Break Free” by Queen. In addition to having arguably the most interesting music video ever created, this song is so empowering. Whether you’re struggling to accept your identity, or if you hate your job, or if you’re in a bad relationship–this song will get you through just about anything. And will also make you want to vacuum in a leather mini skirt. Or is that just me? Anyway–cheers to 25 years! Through good times and bad, I love you all and wish you all the best in your life. Take charge and be the lady boss we all know you are!

 

WHITE OUT: THE MODERN-DAY SUFFRAGETTES

Baili

I’ll be honest, I don’t go out and see movies very often. I’m more of the wait-until-it-comes-out-on-DVD-so-I-don’t-have-to-put-on-pants kind of girl. That doesn’t mean I don’t obsess over the Oscars. And by “the Oscars” I mostly mean the part before the awards ceremony where you’d normally find Joan Rivers (God rest her silicone soul) making some ridiculous and would-be insulting commentary  on the celebrities we love the most. Karlie Kloss, Hailee Steinfeld, Isabelle Huppert, Emma Roberts, Michelle Williams, Chrissy Teigen, Felicity Jones, Auli’i Cravalho specifically caught my eye this year. The 2017 Oscars were a flurry of white. This was no accident. We saw it when Hillary Clinton won the Democratic candidacy, and again at Donald Trump’s inauguration. It’s no secret that our favorite pantsuit-rocking badass ladyboss has taken it upon herself to remind us just how far we’ve come as women, and how much farther we’ve yet to go. I felt it only appropriate that I, being the outspoken, annoying feminist that I am, should take a page from her book and dedicate my first post to the official color of the OG suffragettes.

IMG_0194

photos by kristin coffman

IMG_0123IMG_0063IMG_0617IMG_0807IMG_0793IMG_0768IMG_0765IMG_0678IMG_0146