madisen kuhn

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to make monsters out of girls
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this morning, i sat in bed while the rain dripped outside and devoured an iced latte and amanda’s newest book in one sitting.

'to make monsters out of girls' is a darkly whimsical narrative of a person who, despite past abuse, is able to cultivate a self-love that blooms and welcome in a romantic-love that nurtures. she learns that there is intimacy in the world that heals instead of destroys, and conveys the importance of portraying mistreatment candidly so that others are validated in their own, messy chronicles. 

it’s so easy to look back at chapters of our lives and tell them with the hindsight bias we have now. i appreciate the way amanda thoughtfully inspects the monstrous relationship and acknowledges her own faults while still holding the abuser completely accountable. no one is perfect. but no one deserves cruel manipulation disguised as love.

my favorite pieces/quotes:

i can’t tell the difference between you & the dead of winter. - at least winter makes way for spring.
— amanda lovelace, to make monsters out of girls
in the spring, the thawing began. with a hand clutched to my chest, i stumbled down that overgrown path, dug through the softened dirt, & took that beatless thing back into my hands. i leaned in & whispered to it, “please don’t give up. not yet. there’s still someone you should be beating for—me.” somewhere in that darkness, the faintest sparkle of light bloomed.
— amanda lovelace, to make monsters out of girls
my new love— he’s got a green thumb. where you neglected me & let the weeds overtake, he’s always so very nurturing. & you’ll never guess what— he made for damn sure he repotted me where i could stretch towards the light & finally outgrow you.
— amanda lovelace, to make monsters out of girls
that girl belongs to the coffee shops & the bookstores & the treetops— but mostly she just belongs to herself
— amanda lovelace, to make monsters out of girls

the vulnerability + honesty in this collection inspires me. amanda's brutal, unapologetic poetry makes me want to harness my own power and boldly declare my strength + my truth. i will be waiting impatiently until march for 'the mermaid's voice returns in this one'

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period better with THINX

organic cotton undies 

for people with periods

in collaboration with THINX

Period-proof panties > any other period product.

Today is the last day of #MenstrualHygieneMonth!

I’m so grateful to @shethinx for sending me a new cycle set this month, and for the chance to collaborate with one of my all-time favorite brands. I bought my first pair of #THINX undies in 2014 (I think. Maybe 2015.) They were my favorite #lifehack for not wanting to sleep with a tampon or pad, but now I’ve graduated them to all-day use.

Lately I’ve been really conscious about what I allow in and around my body (and realized that I mostly hate both tampons & pads, and I’m not thrilled about the idea of sticking something synthetic like a menstrual cup up my vag!) I was so pumped when I found out that @shethinx now sells organic cotton underwear.

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black organic cotton briefs

These are the organic cotton briefs. They hold up to 2 tampons worth of ~blood~. They’re comfortable and functional as hell. The organic cotton line also comes in bikini and thong (and in grey!)  but I like the briefs best because they hold the most fluid.

 

Q&A

do you just wash these when your cycle ends??

I rinse them out in the tub after I take them off, then run them through the wash on cold for good measure, and air dry!

when during your cycle do you wear these?

The whole cycle! The first couple days I change underwear once, but the rest of my cycle I can go all day.

how many do you have?

I have 6 pairs now! 1 sport, 1 cheeky, 1 hip-hugger in the original fabric, and 3 organic cotton briefs. The organic cotton briefs are my favorite. I also want to try out the thong for light days at some point.

*I'm also happy to answer any questions in the comment section of this post :)

 

Some #MENSTRUATINGfacts, courtesy of THINX

  • Did you know? A majority of states tax period products because they aren’t considered necessities. What do they consider a tax-free necessity? Chips, Mardi Gras beads, BBQ sunflower seeds, rolled up fruit candy, Viagra and Rogaine.

  • Reality check: The price of poor menstrual hygiene can be devastating, even deadly. How? In developing countries cervical cancer and infections are rampant because people who menstruate must use filthy, unwashed rags.

  • Fact: Unable to afford or access proper menstrual products, millions of people with periods around the world rely on materials like scraps of old clothing, pieces of foam mattress, toilet paper, leaves, and banana fibres to manage their menstruation – all of which are unhygienic, ineffective, and uncomfortable.

  • No student should miss a day of school or feel ashamed because they don't have access to tampons or pads. Requiring schools statewide to provide students with access to menstrual hygiene products is a long-overdue move that will help remove barriers to learning and the strong stigmas still associated with normal bodily function. -- Linda Rosenthal, Assemblyperson, NY.

  • Reality check: In the US, people who bleed have reported giving up their food stamps for money to buy tampons.

  • Toilet paper is provided as a necessary personal hygiene product for free in schools - and period products should be too.


If you hate...

- bulky pads

- sticking dry cotton up your hoo-ha

- or want to invest in a sustainable period product

... then These babies are for you.


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for you!

use the code MADISEN5 any time at shethinx.com

Happy bleeding 〰️

take care,

 
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hometown signing at b&n

i figure the photos speak for themselves here. it was another magical day. i had such a wonderful time sharing my writing and meeting so many of you in the barnes & noble i grew up beside. my friend steven and i would come here in high school and stick little notes in between the pages of random books. my heart was bursting by the end and i'm dying to do more and more until i’ve met every last one of you. thank you to everyone who came (especially, specifically, the girls who traveled a long, long way. you’re amazing + i appreciate you.)

and here i am, maturely picking the nose of my photo on the event sign (which you bet your butt i took home with me to frame as a rare token of narcissism.)

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the strand.

If you weren't able to make it to the event last week, you can watch the entire conversation in the video above, thanks to Strand Book Store's YouTube channel. I am so grateful for the opportunity to have had the very first signing of my career held somewhere as iconic as The Strand. This event showed me what I was capable of.

SOME HISTORY.

In 2013, at the age of 17, I read my poetry aloud for the first time at a local coffee shop's "writers and poets night." I truly didn't want to do it. I wanted to keep my poems in the safety of my journal and the internet, where I didn't have to listen to my own voice quiver as I poured my heart out to a crowd of people who both did and did not know me. After that night, I felt pride in having done it but still thought that I didn't want to make a habit of it. 

In following years, my anxiety only grew more debilitating. In 2014, I left college after one week because I couldn't cope with my agoraphobia. It hasn't been until this year—5 years later—that I feel like a functional human being (which is, like, the bare minimum of existence. But feeling functional, to me, feels like flying.) Even just 4 months ago, I wouldn't have felt confident enough to say yes to a reading or a signing, much less seek it out without external pressure (I knew it would make sense to try to do an event while I was already in NYC on vacation, so I emailed my publicist to see if anyone would have me. I made it happen, although I knew it was out of my comfort zone. 2013-me would be so proud.)

I had pretty much decided at some point that I wasn't the type of person to be able to confidently do readings. I made excuses like, "I'm just too introverted" or "my writing isn't really meant to be read aloud." The Strand changed that for me. I felt poised and secure in the words I was speaking. I felt like it was something I wanted to do again and again.

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I keep coming back to the concept and beauty of transformation. of change. of miracles. What my friend, JohnMark, said that night at a 'house' (apartment) party in the Lower East Side really stuck with me. A paraphrase:

“Miracles look like whatever you need them to. It’s a miracle that I’m here facing new challenges/struggles that I wasn’t facing a year ago.”

My life is full of miracles. It’s a miracle that I’ve written two books at 22. That I’m in spaces I never knew were possible this early on. That I got up in front of a group of people, without any help from Ativan, etc., and spoke from my soul without my hands shaking.

Because the world can make you feel so small, and it’s hard to really believe you are capable of all the things you so desperately want. 

I am in awe of the realness of change. I have experienced it firsthand. Your dreams are within reach, no matter how big or small. My small: taking the subway without having a panic attack; going to an apartment at 11pm full of people I don’t know, by choice. My big: having a talk/signing at The Strand, in the presence of people who cared what I had to say.

Thank you to everyone who braved the ugly weather to share this moment with me. I love you. Thank you thank you thank you. If you're reading this and have photos of us at the event, I would love to add them to this sweet little album below. I am so thankful for these pictorial memories.


PS, Leah. I am so glad we got to experience this together. Thank you for being my partner in crime.
PPS, Christopher. I love you. Thank you. For everything.

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a picnic + a reflection
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the poetry picnic in rittenhouse square this past saturday was everything i'd hoped it would be. i scheduled it to start exactly one hour after my train arrived in philadelphia, so i was really setting myself up for a high-stress/pressure scrambling to make sure i was prepared and there on time. thankfully there were no amtrak delays (for once!) 

christopher and i stopped by trader joe's and target on our trek from 30th st station to rittenhouse square and picked up a very cute picnic blanket from hearth & hand with magnolia (because, of course, i forgot to pack one) and fruit and limeade and all of the picnic necessities. i was anxious about being prepared and on time, but that was it. i've only done maybe 2 "meet-up" type of gatherings, so i was fully expecting to feel anxious about this picnic, expecting my brain to be filled with thoughts like, what if i don't know what to say? what if there's an awkward silence? what if they don't like me? what if i embarrass myself? what if no one comes? i had a few of these, but let them float away fairly quickly and easily. mostly, i was just filled with excitement. 

it feels like magic when you are able to look back and see such a strong contrast from who you were the last time you visited a specific place. when you're in the deepest trenches of anxiety and agoraphobia, a life without: hyperventilating, bloody cuticles, panic on/in trains, city sidewalks, dimly lit restaurants... feels impossibly out of reach.

but then you learn to breathe deeply, add some experience and tools to your belt, and suddenly you find yourself feeling peace as you stare out of an amtrak window, floating down crowded streets, being (maybe a little too) talkative with new friends while eating tacos and laughing. it's not sudden, really. it just feels that way. it takes time, some hard work, some extra support. but it's there, at the end of the road, waiting for you.

it's important to me that i highlight these things. i feel obligated to convey my journey in a non-superficial way. it sometimes feels more appealing to portray myself as strictly a highlight reel. post a photo with a few words of gratitude and humblebragging; let myself be impersonal to maintain a 'perfect' persona. i scroll through my instagram feed and see all these lovely people, traveling and experiencing life in what seems like an effortless fashion. i don't believe it always is. or i don't believe it always has been.

the picnic was beautiful. the rain held off until the very end. it was intimate and personal and pure. everyone came in pairs, which i found sweet. friends, hallmates, sister-in-laws, girls who have been through a lot together. it meant a lot to me to spend this time together, as friends, without the formal division of "reader/fan/follower" and "author/idol." it's important to have these moments, where strangers can connect with each other through a common interest. i love that art, and poetry specifically, has the power to bring people together in this way.

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thank you: madelynne, kalia, meg (& her sweet friend i can't find the name of anywhere on the internet), cat, kayla, brennah, annemarie, bri, mia, and christopher. for spending time with me. for sharing your stories. for reading your poetry. for laughing with me. for not letting fear/anxiety keep you from experiencing moments like these. i will cherish the memory forever.

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take care,

 
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