Feminism, and other North Dakota swear words

I live in North Dakota where feminism is a four-letter word.  We're the state that repeatedly tries to make history by creating and supporting bills which will, essentially, make abortion at any stage, illegal.  This is probably why I've been a half-ass feminist instead of speaking loudly like others do.
 
My friends and man friend (the word boyfriend is too weird to me) know that I'm a feminist and I get gentle ribbing about it.  Sometimes it's offered up as an apology, as in "Well I know you're a feminist, but..." or "You're going to be offended, I'm sure, because you're a feminist."  It is probably because of these weird half-attacks, that I've become a half-feminist
 
 
When something offends me, I don't just call someone out, but instead say something along the lines of "Well, the feminist in me...".  It was only recently that I realized saying "the feminist in me" is me telling others that I'm not a feminist, that I just have "those tendencies" on occasion (after all, I'd never say "the girl in me" or "the human being in me").
 
I cringe whenever someone asks what my man friend's opinion is on something I'm doing, or something that I'm wearing.  I hate that my actions and thoughts and clothing choices are not always seen as an expression of who I am, but instead as in connection to a man.  My typical response is "Why does his opinion matter?"
 
 
I may live in a state nearly as red as Texas, but I am not a piece of property.  No one owns me, or my thoughts, or my decisions.  I own me because I am strong enough to own who I am.  If my man friend doesn't like something, it's a matter of personal taste.  He's entitled to his opinion because he's a human being, not because we are in a relationship and his opinion is more important because it's attached to a penis.

 
The other day I was watching some trashy Netflix show, because we all have our weaknesses and mine lets me wear sweatpants and no bra, when the two characters discussed how they "belonged" to the other, how the other "owned" them.  This moment was played off as emotional and romantic, if you find Romeo and Juliet romantic, I suppose.  I shuddered a little bit.  Love isn't supposed to be about ownership and not being able to survive without the other.  Love is supposed to be about respect, being an equal partner, and loving someone as an individual, not as an extension of yourself.
 
 
I'll admit that once upon a time (in a galaxy far, far away),  I thought that my boyfriend completed me.  He said that I belonged to him and it was okay because he belonged to me.  I thought this was romantic, the way he reduced us to each other's property.  The thing is, people aren't meant to be property and they sure as hell shouldn't complete you.  If someone completes you, what happens if the day comes when they leave?  You're no longer a whole person because something is missing (and it's bigger and more important than the hoodies you swore you left at his place, but are actually hiding in your bottom drawer).  I like to think of my man friend as an extension pack; he makes me a better version of myself, but should we ever separate, I won't cease to be who I am.
 
 
I'm proud to be a feminist and I need to act proud instead of tip-toeing around my uber-conservative peers.  I suppose this is where I could do my Leslie Knope Pawnee Goddess roar, but instead I'll end my ramble with a bit of advice for everyone: Be who you are because you are amazing.  And if who are is someone who disagrees with me, that's okay, too, because hey, we're each entitled to respect.

26 before 27

1. Read 50+ books, 4 that are religious/spiritual in manner
Last year I met my goal and came so close to 50 that I decided it would be an obtainable goal, as long as I find the time between classes.  During my 25 before 26 I didn't go to school for half the year (though I was working fulltime), so I did have more free time to read.  I still think 50 is achievable even with a full college load and working fulltime.
 
2. Visit someplace new
A couple of my friends live in Rapid City, so this is an option as far as new places to visit.  I may just convince my friends in Bismarck to day trip to some place new though.

3. Make a quilt
This goal is being recycled from last year.  I'm hoping that since my sewing machine has been moved from the storage room at my parents to the spare room at the apartment, I will see it and be motivated to quilt.  I'm pinteresting a lot of quilting things because I'm not na├»ve enough to think I can make a complicated quilt the first go around, so hopefully the "easy" quilts I've pinned prove to be just that.

4. Work out 26 times
Mike thinks this goal is stupid and that it should be to work out weekly.  I think that by having a low-pressure number and also by redefining "work out," that I'll actually accomplish this one.  I've always thought each work out needs to be earth-shaking, sweat-dripping...I need to just be healthier and if that means walks with Crookston as a work-out...so be it.

5. Take more photos
I know I'm going to regret the word "more" in this goal, but I can't think of a concrete number.  Is it weird to say that I already hate this goal?

6. Settle into the apartment (and maybe do a photo tour when it's complete)
This is pretty self-explanatory I feel.

7. Blog at least 4 times monthly (starting in January or February)
(Considering that I'm just now publishing this and it's the very end of March...oops)

8. Write two new short stories
Concrete numbers for the win!  This summer I really hope to be able to just sit down and hammer out some words.  I'll only be in one online course, so that'll be a huge obligation off of my back.  It'll be nice to just be working fulltime.

9. Get my passport
Carry-over from last year.  Mike has a passport, so maybe if I actually get mine, we can have crazy and wild adventures in Canada.  Or just hit up a show or two in America's hat.

10. Create and follow a budget
I need to be more responsible in terms of my finances.

11. Send more mail than last year
This shouldn't be horribly difficult, though, it's March and I haven't sent a stitch of mail.  I have so many great cards and postcards that need to see the world.

12. Learn to crochet
I know a few people who are learning (looking at you, Jessica, if you're reading this!) so I'm hoping to rope them into teaching me.  I just cannot get the hang of it from YouTube tutorials.

13. Go to a winery
Yep, North Dakota has wineries...maybe they won't be good wineries, but they exist.

14. Date-night with Mike monthly, at-home dates count too!
Honestly, we've done this one so far.  I have learned that it's a lot more refreshing outside of the apartment because it does take a little more effort so you end up feeling a little more connected.

15. Take a yoga class
Because I've taken a lot of other random work-out classes throughout the years, and I think if I enjoyed yoga, it'd really help me de-stress.

16. Have my parents over for dinner
This may be a little more difficult because of lack of seating.  I suppose I can require my parents to bring a cardboard table and chairs.

17. Create a blog feature
You know, to make sure I'm actually blogging interesting content...or just content in general.

18. Finish my volunteering requirement for school
Since this needs to be completed before student teaching, I should probably actually focus on it and get it done.

19. Get a new bed
It's time.  I was actually able to do a little mattress shopping/pricing the other day, so it looks like this goal could be completed within a week or two.

20. Go to a play at Red River's "new" theater
Mike has mentioned wanting to go a few times now, so I'll probably use it as a date-night thing.  I went to Red River, so it'll be cool to see the new space.

21. Have a "no spend" week in April
"No spend" means stupid spending.  I'll still buy gas, and pay bills, but no buying clothes, or anything at Target, or eating out.

22. Have a "no spend" month in September
If I can successfully handle a week, why not really up the challenge and attempt an entire month?  If you're going to fail, fail big!

23. Study for and take my Praxis tests
Ugh, another lame real life need.

24. Pay off one big credit card
Come on, tax refund...and responsible spending.  I honestly think with the exception of smart debt, I could be debt free in a little over a year.

25. Create my "space"
The spare bedroom is my space, so I need to make it an inspirational space that I actually spend time in.  Right now, it's Crookston's room and it houses my books and yarn and a bunch of open, half-unpacked boxes.  I still kind of like the chaos though, because that really does make it seem like my "space."

26. And one to grow.  I thought and thought and thought, but could not come up with a 26th item.  This space is reserved for any great and grand ideas I get during the year.  If I feel passionate about something and want to have a semi-consistent reminder, it will get popped into the 26th spot.