Women: Wise Up To ’50 Shades Of Grey’

Bill Cosby has recently been accused of sexual assault and rape by nearly three dozen women. In most cases, it has taken multiple decades for his victims to come forward and speak out against him.

Years later, we’re constantly reminded of Chris Brown’s beating Rihanna back in 2009. Rihanna’s pain has been exploited by countless media outlets looking to profit from their very-public breakup.

Eminem is another name that’s been tied to domestic abuse. He not only has a history of violence – year after year, he makes his living from rapping about said violence.

Sean Connery, Mike Tyson, Tommy Lee, Sean Penn – the list goes on of male celebrities that have in some shape or form, physically abused or harassed a woman at some point in time.

Meanwhile, women in Hollywood are being exploited as their phones are hacked and nude photos leaked online for the entire world to see (ie: Jennifer Lawrence, Scarlett Johansson, Vanessa Hudgens).

This is the real world of use, abuse, and exploitation.

It is a world of pain, shame, and real damage to real lives.

So why – why – are we praising this clearly obscene, clearly offensive, clearly awful movie, Fifty Shades of Grey?

I’ll openly admit that I have not read the book. Initially I wanted to – first out of curiosity, then because I wanted to rip it to shreds with criticism (a hobby of mine). Even today, before I sat down to write this post, I considered plowing through a few chapters to earn a little bit of credibility in speaking out against it. I ultimately decided not to.

Instead, I read a synopsis – which made me sick enough to feel that I don’t particularly care how credible I am in speaking out against this book. I’m going to do it anyway.

How have we fallen so far from emulating the relationship of smart, creative Allie and romantic, loving Noah as to emulate the “relationship” of a sadly naive 22-year-old and her manipulative, sadomasochistic abuser?

For the sake of a fair argument, I admit – I get it. This article said it perfectly:

Here’s what I would like to believe: that buried beneath all the smut, poor writing and abuse, on some level this book appeals to that nurturing part of every woman that makes her feminine and beautiful. That part that wipes the tears of a child who skinned her knee, makes her volunteer at nursing homes and adopt stray cats and unwanted dogs at the pound.

This is true. Women are likely reading this book and seeing a heroine who saves a damaged, distant, incapable-of-real-love, underwear model (half-kidding) – but those women are forgetting something.

This book is a work of fiction. That is (very unfortunately) not how these stories end.

These stories end the way they’ve ended for all women who’ve experienced an abusive relationship – they come out just as damaged as the man doing the abusing.

And even more importantly, women need to know that they do not have to submit themselves to this kind of torment and abuse in order to be loved – nor does loving their abuser mean submitting to his abuse.

As women, we are not doing any men any favors by accepting it. We owe it to ourselves and to the men in our lives to demand more from them than this.

Christian Grey doesn’t need a woman to submit to him, nor does he need a woman to deny him (which appears to be why he falls in “love” with Ana).

What Christian Grey needs, in real life, is intense therapy.

And what Ana needs is to back away, preferably as fast as she can.

Family Lovin’ | A Sappy Post

“Do other people think we’re as funny as we think we do?”

My mom asked my dad, Caroline, and I as we laughed over breakfast at Wheatfield’s in Omaha, NE on Saturday morning. No telling exactly what we were laughing about – but as I’ve gotten older and my family has seemed to blur the line between parents/siblings and best friends, it feels like all we ever do when we’re together is laugh.

It’s not always been that way. Each of us has had our ups-and-downs which have brought on natural ebbs-and-flows in our relationships with one another. I, personally, was a nightmare at around age fourteen. My parents wouldn’t likely admit that to other people in public for the sake of my feelings (my sisters would be less-inclined to use such discretion), however that doesn’t make it any less true, nor am I any less aware that I kind of sucked as a teenager.

And just as I’ve had my moments, they’ve had theirs as well. But in these blissful instances that we’re all laughing together around the breakfast table, or over drinks and free cookies at the hotel bar, or sitting beside one another at a Jesuit Honor Society induction (Congrats Emily, the family smarty-pants), I am overwhelmed with gratitude and love for these people in my life who’ve dealt with me at my worst and still choose to love me anyway.

This is where growing up tears me in two. Although coming to adulthood has added immense depth to my relationships with my parents and sisters, it has also meant I see them much more scarcely than I used to. I’m heartbroken at the end of weekends like this one because Monday mornings always seem to come too quickly.

Marie, my mom – my confidante, my closest ally, my biggest fan. God has given me the assurance that I’m always being prayed for, always being cared about, and never, ever forgotten, and He has given me this assurance in a mother who’s raised me to be the same blessing to my own family one day. Both cry at nearly anything, both quick to jump to our family’s defense, my mom and I are two of the same heart.

Tom, my dad – my greatest defender, my inspiration and my sense of humor. No person can ever make me feel half as loved as my dad can make me feel. God has set a high standard for my future husband in my life. I’m blessed to have grown up with a father so willing to sacrifice his own dreams for mine and to remind me all the while that he gives his love entirely without conditions.

Emily – my bright light. If my personality were contrasted in another person, it would likely be in Emily. Her sweetness and soft-spoken nature serves as my oh-so-gentle reminder to quiet down, calm down, and let my faith be my guide. She gracefully takes Caroline and I’s teasing and is an encouraging soul for our lives. Emily is truly deserving of the world and more.

Caroline – my laugh, our baby. Caroline and I are so alike in many ways, yet entirely different in so many others. I often envy her eye for fashion and her wit; she is one of the funniest people in my life. Caroline has the most compassionate, forgiving heart of anyone I know, which has been a blessing to me as I’ve often had to ask for her forgiveness. I’d take on the world to protect Caroline’s sensitive heart.

God has given me my greatest blessings in my family – I have absolutely no doubt in that. I am so happy to spend time with them and so, so sad for it to end. So tonight, I’m in a little bit of a funk.

But I remind myself that although age has separated us physically, we are now the closest we’ve ever been. That, in itself, is something to be hugely grateful for.

Word Dump

A strange combination of cough/flu/stomach thing has been floating around my office the past few weeks, so when I woke up with a scratchy throat and a sickly sort of drowsiness on Friday, I gave myself permission to nap like crazy over the weekend in the hopes of fending off whatever I was catching. My attempt came back to bite me though, because last night I stared at the ceiling until 3AM. When my alarm went off at 6, it felt like I had shut my eyes for all of five minutes.

Now I’m laying in bed feeling completely exhausted after a busy day at work (the too-tired-to-actually-sleep kind of exhausted) and I’m wanting to post on my blog, but can’t seem to form an articulate thought (not to mention the fact that I can’t think of a single thing to write about.)

So instead, I thought I might dump some of the hundreds (not kidding – hundreds) of bible passages, quotes, excerpts, etc. I’ve got stockpiled in a word doc on my Mac. I’ve been copying and pasting things I’ve read since I was a sophomore in college – so if you’ve ever hoped for a peek into the mind of Mary Kate, now’s your chance. The following are likely pieces of writings I’ve picked out because I liked them, related to them, cried when I read them, etc.

Here goes:
“We are not the same persons this year as last, nor are those we love. It is a happy chance if we, changing, continue to love a changed person.” – W. Somerset Maugham

“The beauty is that through disappointment you can gain clarity, and with clarity comes conviction and true originality.” – Conan O’Brien

“God cannot give us a peace and happiness apart from Himself because it is not there. There is no such thing.” – C.S. Lewis

“Most of your unhappiness is due to listening to yourself instead of God.”

“For after all, the best thing that one can do when it is raining is let it rain.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“Restlessness is discontent and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man and I will show you a failure.” – Thomas Edison

“We need to find God, and He cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass – grows in silence; sees the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.” – Mother Theresa

“What is a vocation? It is a gift from God, so it comes from God. If it is a gift from God, our concern must be to know God’s will. We must enter that path; if God wants, when God wants, how God wants.” – St. Gianna

“The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent.” – Exodus 14:14

“My soul rests in God alone.” – Psalm 62:1

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully around with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” – C.S. Lewis

“It is a curious thought, but it is only when you see people looking ridiculous that you realize just how much you love them.” – Agatha Christie

“The heart has its reasons which reason knows not.” – Blaise Pascal

“The desire is thy prayers; and if thy desire is without ceasing, thy prayer will also be without ceasing. The continuance of your longing is the continuance of your prayer.” – St. Augustine

“Nearly all marriages, even happy ones, are mistakes: in the sense that almost certainly (in a more perfect world, or even with a little more care in this very imperfect one) both partners might be found more suitable mates. But the real soulmate is the one you are actually married to.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

“It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.” – Leonardo da Vinci

“Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desire can be won. It exists. It is real. It is possible. It is yours.” – Ayn Rand

“A strong woman understands the importance of creating space for personal well-being, spiritual nourishment, and regeneration in order to maintain her authenticity, especially when the universe whacks her with its two-by-four and hands her days where it takes a great deal of courage just to show up.” – Laura Folse

“May we be consumed by the Creator of all things rather than by the things created.”

“Be pretty if you can, be witty if you must, but be gracious if it kills you.” – Elsie de Wolfe

“Go make a life, not a living.” – Jason Mraz

“Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love.” – Rumi

“After all these years, I see that I was mistaken about Eve in the beginning; for it is better to
live outside the garden with her than inside it without her.” – Mark Twain

“Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but of looking together in the same direction.”
– Antoine de Saint-Exupery

“True beauty emanates from a woman who boldly and unabashedly knows who she is in Christ.”

“Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be.” – Thomas A. Kempis

“I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.”

“I didn’t want to kiss you goodbye, and that was the trouble. I wanted to kiss you goodnight, and there’s a lot of difference.” – Ernest Hemingway

“There is no force equal to that of a determined woman.”

“Never have I dealt with anything more difficult that my own soul, which sometimes helps me and sometimes opposes me.” – Imam Al Ghazati

“The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” – Flannery O’Connor

“The greater of feeling of responsibility for the beloved, the more true love there is.” – Pope John Paul II

“The Fathers of the Church say that prayer, properly understood, is nothing other than becoming a longing for God.” – Pope Benedict XVI

“The opposite of love is not hate. The opposite of love is use. It is using people as objects for our own pleasure… When we see people as only objects and tools for our own use, that’s not love, that’s lust.” – Jason Evert

“It’s never too late to be who you might have been.”

“I marveled at how stealthily God works in your soul, one day and one trial at a time. He softens your edges so slowly and subtly that you can fail to notice how far you have come until you have moved on to the next problem.” – Colleen Carroll Campbell

“There are years that ask questions and there are years that answer.”