the learn to love myself campaign

anonymous asked:

What do you think changed for Bill and Hillary after 1998 that helped him stop the philandering cycle? Had they done therapy before?

Well, the good news is, we can let them speak for themselves on this topic. I’m making a conscious choice to not use sources that don’t provide direct quotes from both of them, and sticking with three in particular: Living History, My Life, and Hillary’s Talk Magazine interview from 1999. There’s also a quick excerpt from May 2017′s New York Magazine interview. I wanted to add some bits from the Blair Papers in as well, but the length is already a bit out of control.

If you’re reading this and think the Clintons are lying about how they frame their marriage when discussing it publicly, then this post probably won’t do much for you.


Had they done therapy before?

I’ll start here, as it’s a pretty cut-and-dry one. Based on Hillary’s own words in the New York Magazine article from May 2017, the marital counselling after Lewinsky was the first and only time they did any kind of therapy together. Bill may have had therapy/counseling as an individual in the past, but the 90′s was the only time HRC went through any kind of counseling herself, and the only time they did as a couple:

Remembering Election Night and the inauguration, I can’t help but think that Clinton’s ability to set aside her own feelings might be useful but perhaps not entirely healthy. I ask her if she’s ever been in therapy, and she shakes her head. “Unh-uh. No. I have not.” When I express surprise, she allows, “Well, we had some marital counseling in the late ’90s, around our very difficult time, but that’s all.”

She shrugs. “That’s not how I roll. I’m all for it for anybody who’s at all interested in it. It’s just not how I deal with stuff.” [New York Magazine]


What do you think changed for Bill and Hillary after 1998 that helped him stop the philandering cycle?

A few things to start:

I need to preface that I do, indeed, believe that Bill stopped cheating after 1998. My posts here (regarding where I generally stand on interpreting the nature of their marriage) and here (regarding rumors about him cheating in the 2000s onward) cover that - so my answer will align with your phrasing of the question in that the cycle did indeed stop. Again, if you’re reading this and don’t believe that he stopped cheating, much of this won’t mean a lot to you.

So, to your question, what changed - and why did the cycle stop, this time?

(1) They attended marital counseling for the first time. It was extensive - for a full year, and weekly. Per both of them, they began discussing things about themselves, their marriage, their histories, etc. that they had never really dug into before. As HRC says in 2017, “That’s not how I roll.” She’s never been a soul-barer, and from what I outline below, WJC had never really faced the root of his own issues, either. So what changed this time was a willingness to start uncovering the core of the issues they faced in the 80s in their marriage, really surfacing them, and talking through them together with openness and honesty.

Hillary and I also began a serious counseling program, one day a week for about a year. For the first time in my life, I actually talked openly about feelings, experiences, and opinions about life, love, and the nature of relationships. I didn’t like everything I learned about myself or my past, and it pained me to face the fact that my childhood and the life I’d led since growing up had made some things difficult for me that seemed to come more naturally to other people. (Bill Clinton, My Life)

We continued with our regular counseling sessions, which forced us to ask and answer hard questions that years of non-stop campaigning had allowed us to postpone. By now, I wanted to save our marriage, if we could. (Hillary Clinton, Living History)

The simple act of talking - openly communicating - comes up a lot in their writing about the recovery of their marriage, in combination with an admission that it’s not something they had really done before that point in terms of discussing their own personal issues in great depth. If you’ve been married (or in a substantially long-term relationship), you’ll understand exactly how much this matters, and exactly how damaging it was that this hadn’t really happened up until the 90′s. That’s not to say they didn’t talk about their marital issues at all - it’s that they hadn’t taken time to be (1) deeply introspective enough to uncover everything (see: WJC’s note that some of what was discussed was for the first time), and (2) whatever issues they had uncovered in the past had never really been resolved (see HRC’s point above re: postponing answering the hard questions).

So, they pushed aside deep self-reflection up until they really faced it head-on together in the 90′s. That has so much to do with why the 90′s saw the end of the cycle. They asked and answered the hard questions, at last.

(2) Beyond just marital counseling sessions, they kept on communicating, and they got to know each other again as spouses, and as two people who loved each other, beyond just the fulfilling work they did together through public service. You’ll hear this common thread from a lot of folks who go through marital counselling - this idea of “getting to know each other again”.

In the long counseling sessions and our conversations about them afterward, Hillary and I also got to know each other again, beyond the work and ideas we shared and the child we adored. I had always loved her very much, but not always very well. I was grateful that she was brave enough to participate in the counseling. We were still each other’s best friend, and I hoped we could save our marriage. Meanwhile, I was still sleeping on a couch, this one in the small living room that adjoined our bedroom. I slept on that old couch for two months or more. I got a lot of reading, thinking, and work done, and the couch was pretty comfortable, but I hoped I wouldn’t be on it forever. (Bill Clinton, My Life)

I think I survived because of a combination of soul-searching and relying on friends, the support of people who give advice, religious faith, long and hard discussions. (Hillary Clinton, Talk Magazine 1999)

“Bill has been subjected to so much abuse … he doesn’t make any excuses for what he did. But the reaction was unprecedented and harmful to the country … People are mean. I think it’s a real disservice, the way we sort of strip away everybody’s sense of dignity, of privacy. People need support, not disdain. … And you know, we did have a very good stretch,” she adds later, referring to the period after Gennifer Flowers. “Years and years of nothing.” And how they repaired their connection this time? “We talk. We talk in the solarium, in the bedroom, in the kitchen – it’s just a constant conversation…” she gives a tired smile. “We like to lie in bed and watch old movies.” (Hillary Clinton, Talk Magazine 1999)

(3) Bill further received personal therapy/counseling independently, much of it from religious leaders, to discover and deal with his own issues. This may be ongoing, still.

…I would pursue counseling from pastors and others to find, with God’s help, “a willingness to give the very forgiveness I seek, a renunciation of the pride and the anger which cloud judgment, lead people to excuse and compare and to blame and complain.” We would pray, read scripture, and discuss some things I had never really talked about before. The Reverend Bill Hybels from Chicago also continued to come to the White House regularly, to ask searching questions designed to check my “spiritual health.” Even though they were often tough on me, the pastors took me past the politics into soul-searching and the power of God’s love. (Bill Clinton, My Life)

I also came to understand that when I was exhausted, angry, or feeling isolated and alone, I was more vulnerable to making selfish and self-destructive personal mistakes about which I would later be ashamed. The current controversy was the latest casualty of my lifelong effort to lead parallel lives, to wall off my anger and grief and get on with my outer life, which I loved and lived well. During the government shutdowns I was engaged in two titanic struggles: a public one with Congress over the future of our country, and a private one to hold the old demons at bay. I had won the public fight and lost the private one. (Bill Clinton, My Life)

Some of this included uncovering and opening up about abuse he suffered as a child, and the impact that had on his adult life.

“Yes, he has weaknesses. Yes, he needs to be more responsible, more disciplined, but it is remarkable given his background that he turned out to be the kind of person he is, capable of such leadership …” I tell Hillary I read in his mother’s autobiography, in which she wrote about the atmosphere of alcohol, violence, and chaos that forced her son to be the man of the house while he was still a child. Hillary leans over and says softly, “That’s only the half of it. He was so young, barely four, when he was scarred by abuse that he can’t even take it out and look at it.” (Hillary Clinton, Talk Magazine 1999)

[Note: Some of the language in the Talk Magazine article on the topic of childhood abuse were walked back/softened afterwards, but I believe they are true. Topic for a different post.]


Now, I want to continue to answer the unasked question that I think is incredibly important - why did she bother at all? Why did she fight for him? Why even instigate the counseling in the first place, if Lewinsky was just part of the cycle? In order for any of this to be effective, and for the cycle to end, there had to be a drive and a willingness.

(1) They had a lot of shit to fight for (and against), and they were willing to work through whatever issues they uncovered to stay together and make sure that could continue to do so. Bill needed to address his own infidelity and weaknesses, but the “bigger picture” for both of them never went away. And that seems to have so much to do with why they (she, in particular) kept on fighting to make it work - she believed in what they were fighting for, and she believed him to be good and worthy. His infidelity did not overshadow that for her.

Bill and I had agreed to participate in regular marital counseling to determine whether or not we were going to salvage our marriage. On one level, I was emotionally shell-shocked and trying to deal with the raw wound I had suffered. On another level, I believed Bill was a good person and a great President. I viewed the independent counsel’s assault on the Presidency as an ever escalating political war, and I was on Bill’s side. (Hillary Clinton, Living History)

“Now she was arguing the other side, explaining to Democrats in Congress with legalistic dispassion why her husband’s actions, while deplorable, were not impeachable. ‘She was very effective and certainly won him the support of the Democratic caucus,’ says Congresswoman Nita Lowey. (Talk Magazine 1999)

She turns to me now with startling intensity. “I don’t believe in denying things. I believe in working through it. Is he ashamed? Yes. Is he sorry? Yes. But does this negate everything he has done as a husband, a father, a president? … And what is so amazing is that Bill has not been defeated by this. There has been enormous pain, enormous anger, but I have been with him half my life and he is a very, very good man. We just have a deep connection that transcends whatever happens.(Hillary Clinton, Talk Magazine 1999)

(2) They have an absolute, deep, endless, abiding love.

And, well, the most important part of all, right?

And, most important, Hillary stood with me and loved me through it all. From the time we first met, I had loved her laugh. In the midst of all the absurdity, we were laughing again, brought back together by our weekly counseling and our shared determination to fight off the right-wing coup. I almost wound up being grateful to my tormentors: they were probably the only people who could have made me look good to Hillary again. I even got off the couch. (Bill Clinton, My Life)

“You know people have a lot of daily problems in relationships. Everybody has some dysfunction in their families. They have to deal with it. You don’t just walk away if you love someone - you help the person.” (Hillary Clinton, Talk Magazine 1999)

And, my favorite excerpt of all, from that 1999 Talk Magazine article.

Does she believe, I wonder, that you don’t leave someone you love under any circumstances? “You have to know the real quality of the person,” she says thoughtfully. “You have to be alert to it, vigilant in helping. I thought this was resolved 10 years ago. I thought he had conquered it, but he didn’t go deep enough or work hard enough.”

“What’s the part of the Bible that deals with this?” she had asked at one point.

“Corinthians?” I suggested.

“Love endures all things? No, I love that, but I was thinking of when Peter betrayed Jesus three times and Jesus knew it, but loved him anyway. Life is not a linear progression. It has many paths and challenges. And we need to help one another.”

“And it is love, isn’t it?”

“Yes, it is,” she said. “We have love.”

anonymous asked:

What is a Curtis Scholar? How do learning trips help end poverty?

Jay’Len here. I love this question!

Curtis Scholars are a group of young people who are from underrepresented backgrounds and are given the opportunity to embark on a one-year mentorship with Global Citizen. The learning trip for me, was an enlightening experience. I learned more about myself and my ability to do great, than I ever have before. Because of my experience, I plan to bring awareness and change to my community through campaigning and holding the world leaders accountable.

#answertime #globalcitizen

Coming out (as chronically ill...)

As a lesbian, I’ve had to “come out” many times in my life.  Sometimes it was a big deal (the first time I told my friends in high school) and sometimes incredibly hard (finally telling my dad 10 years later.). Since I don’t look like the stereotypical “butch” lesbian, I sometimes even have to come out to other gay people.  It is sometimes joyous, sometimes heart wrenching and sometimes just annoying.  Nevertheless it is something that has made me braver over the years and more resolved in my sense of myself.  I am who I am, take it or leave it. I can still remember the excitement and relief of moving from my small rural town to NYC and finally feeling like I could be accepted without fear or shame. As many people who are first coming out can attest, I was very wrapped up in that identity for a few years.  I was thrilled to have other friends like me, to learn about LGBT history, to be involved in gay rights campaigns… to learn about, celebrate and love this part of me that I had hidden for so long.

I also started having my first major Crohn’s flare ups that first year of college.  If I spent half of my time absorbed in my queer identity, I spent the other half in emergency rooms, in doctors offices and on bathroom floors.  I pushed through so many flares to maintain a sense of normalcy at the expense of my own self care. And worst of all, I rarely told the truth to anyone about what was going on in my body.  After all… I didn’t look sick. 

It’s been over ten years since I was first diagnosed and I am only now beginning to “come out” as chronically ill.  I would cringe with shame if I had hidden my sexuality the same way I have hidden my illness for all of these years.  I have lied in jobs when I have had to miss work or cancel dates.  I stopped wearing clothes that show the scar from my bowel resection.  Just this past year I deleted all of the prior social media posts that mentioned my illness because I was afraid the job I was applying for wouldn’t hire me. My biggest infraction, however, is that I simply stayed silent.  

I have been thinking about the reasons why it has taken me so long to share my reality and like most things, there are many layers.  

  • Coming out as chronically ill meant I was chronically ill…as in forever and always.  I think many of us have a secret hope that we will one day be cured or at least find ourselves in a lengthy remission.  There are so many stories out there of other people curing themselves naturally or overcoming the odds.  Which is great, but we also have to remember that most diseases exist on a spectrum from mild to severe and all bodies are different. I have been in and out of the hospital since I was a child, I have had a surgery, blood transfusions and have been near death because of my illness.  I have been on more medications than I can remember and the after effects of those will be a part of my life forever, regardless of any potential remission. I am finally ready to admit to myself that chronic means forever.  And that doesn’t mean I am giving up on my dreams or that I won’t continue to try to live a healthy life despite my illness.  But it does mean that I can finally accept that this is a significant part of my life and if has shaped the person I have become. 
  • I was afraid that identifying as chronically ill would somehow take away from people living with “actual disabilities.”  I felt guilty that there were days when my illness didn’t affect me and that I could lead a relatively “normal” life.  But I’ve come to realize this kind of thinking is actually incredibly abilist.  The disabled community is incredibly diverse, just like any other identity-based community.  I’d rather everyone on any spectrum of identity embrace and celebrate it.  (And f*ck normalcy.) I still have a lot to learn and will continue to educate myself.  There are so many incredible disability activists out there and there are many things that we still need to work on within our own community.  We all need to share our stories because it it the only experience we can honestly speak to.  As long as we make the space and effort to listen to one another, our own voice will not silence others .  I am slowly becoming more comfortable with the idea that sharing my story will only add to the collective strength of our community.  
  • …Side note: One of the most significant impacts of coming out is that I now finally have a community to relate to. I can’t imagine what it would be like to not have any gay friends or even any gay people to talk to.  But I have gone years without knowing anyone else that has a chronic illness! I have met the most amazing and kind people on Instagram and Tumblr. They do all kinds of rad things that inspire me, but more than anything it helps me know that I am not alone.  Chronic illness can be incredibly lonely and exhausting because we are constantly having to explain or defend ourselves to people.  I am convinced now that having a supportive community is key to self care and healing. 
  • Crohn’s and other digestive diseases aren’t sexy.  More than that, we live in a society where poo is taboo.  It is considered impolite and unladylike to even acknowledge that we “use the restroom” (or any other euphemism for taking a poop.) I have had gastro doctors whisper to me when they have to talk about my anus. Well I am sorry, not sorry, but the reality of my disease is that sometimes I can’t stop shitting, sometimes I don’t shit for days, a few weeks ago I shit my pants and I throw up a ton. Going to the doctor sometimes requires that things go in my butt and absolutely requires that I talk about my rectum and my guts.  So let’s get over this shit shame because everyone will be healthier if they start talking about their bowels.  (*I feel like I have to say that crohn’s is also an autoimmune disease and affects a million other things than just my butt.)
  • Finally, there is just something about those of us with chronic illnesses that makes us want to smile all the time and say “I’m fine!”  Maybe it is because we don’t want to make other people feel uncomfortable or maybe it is because we don’t want them to pity us.  I don’t want friends to think they can’t rely on me and I don’t want bosses to think I can’t successfully complete a job.  But the reality is my illness will affect my relationships, my work and my life.  We have to start acknowledging the complexity of all identities and realize that as much as we may hope, there are no simple solutions.  I am not lazy, but  I may need to rest more than others.  I am incredibly driven, but sometimes I might have to take a day or a week or a month off from work/ school.  I love having fun and traveling and being crazy and I also need (and love) to rest and read and lay low for a while.  Sometimes I can eat, sometimes I can’t.  Sometimes I am feel OK, sometimes I don’t.  But I am an amazing, and complex, human being who is more compassionate, stronger and more resilient because of my experience with illness. 

My illness is a part of who I am, but not all of who I am.  I refuse to hide it anymore or be ashamed of the choices I make in my life because of it. I will not sacrifice my self care for anyone else’s comfort.  I refuse to stay silent, or polite or simply smile and say “I’m fine.”  I promise to tell my own story and speak out on behalf of others living with chronic illnesses. 

foryouathousandtimesover-b  asked:

Hi:) Your blog is beautiful!! I am actually an African American girl finishing senior year of high school and all I know i want to do is travel the world. So much so i was thinking of joining the Peace Corps out of college (Major Wanderlust lol) But I am kinda weary about being black and a female going to so many different countries by myself. I don't have close friends ect to travel with. Any advice? Thxs:) :)

You sound like me! I’m Afro Latina but grew up in the USA and “traveling black/female” was definitely one of my fears. It’s a valid concern (for women of all races, people of color, and LGBT) but it’s SO important to not let that seep into your consciousness and affect your mentality, or you risk living a life of limits (”I’d love to visit Russia but what if….”). Be cautious, but be BOLD! Make the world adapt to you because if you adapt to it you’ll forever be confined, and traveling is about total freedom. I also think that through traveling you learn how incredibly kind people can be, cruel too, but the kindness you’ll experience will surprise you.

As for Peace Corps, I nearly applied myself after HS because same - wanderlust - and I love helping people, but I didn’t like that none of it was on my terms (only able to go to a certain country, confined for 2 years etc). I found it way easier and much more liberating to travel on my own accord (by becoming an Au Pair initially) and starting small projects supporting the causes I’m passionate about (while living in Italy in 2009 I started a campaign for refugees). I’m planning a move to Rio de Janeiro next year because, why not, but while there I’m thinking of starting a project for sexual assault victims. One passions (travel) doesn’t need to be neglected for the other (international human rights).

If you’re a humanitarian and/or traveler at heart Peace Corps looks like a fantastic option, but this is the millennium, we aren’t so dependent on big organizations anymore. I promise you can do anything in the world today with a laptop and wifi, you just have to do a little brainstorming and think outside the box :)))

\come_over_
i wanna trace hearts along
the lines of your skin to find
myself tracing thin air in the near future

\come_over_
i wanna make you lightheaded and
weak-in-the-knees
i wanna make rebreathers obsolete
cuz we share oxygen so efficiently
ill kiss you until both our mouths
are raw from being in constant proximity…
…only to spend nights
yearning for your touch when youre not around

\come_over_
i wanna tell you how you light up my world.
ill do the math.
ill count the stars to realize
their combined brightness cannot add
up to the radiance you bring to my life…
this way i can calculate how much
darker my universe will be
in your eventual absence

\come_over_
i wanna be real with you.
i wanna be able to discuss
my trials & tribulations
And fears with you—
youll see the darkest parts of my mind…
…youll delve the deepest parts of my soul
youll give me a shoulder to cry on…
…im sure a year from now,
those tears will transfer to my pillow

\come_over_
i wanna make sincere love to you,
im talking that ground-breaking, earth-shaking,
body shuddering, resolve renewing,
intimate, desperate, instinctual,
rubbingyourtemples2makesenseofwhatsgoingon-type love
youll feel too many sensations at once
i will gaze deeply into your eyes
and grin when i see
divine providence staring right back
ill need it when im self-destructively
sleeping with women
hoping to replace (or possibly recreate)
what we had.
naw…just—

\come_over_
i wanna listen to music with you…
…youll share your taste in music with me,
ill share mine
ill come to appreciate jon b., maxwell, kem,
and brian mcknight
youll learn to love daley, james blake, the xx,
and denitia & sene
ill find a myriad
of my fav songs through you
ill appreciate having a song(s)
that make me think of you…
…especially when it plays…
…in that café i frequent…
and i get that
pit in my stomach…
…long after we parted ways

\come_over_
i wanna let my guard down.
ill make myself vulnerable again for you…
…just for you…
everyone else gets my
campaign-season poker face
but not you
ill love you w/every fiber of my being—
all my heart, my soul, my consciousness,
my unconsciousness too…
all of that,
youll be able to deem property of you
i will give you all of me
so that after it is all over,
we can go back to being strangers…
…cuz you know that more than anything else,
ill wanna be able to pretend
like we never met—no—like you dont exist
until the pain goes away.

but until then youre welcome to come over.

—  j.c.c.c:>_come_over_
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alyraisman Shoutout to all the boys from 5th-9th grade who made fun of me for being “too strong”. Thanks for forcing me to learn to love myself and my body. My muscular arms that were considered weird and gross when I was younger have made me one of the best gymnasts on the planet. Don’t ever let anyone tell you how you should or shouldn’t look. There is no such thing as a perfect body type. I love being a part of the #PerfectNever campaign. #GirlPower #Supporteachother