6 Things To Read While I Get Over Writer’s Block

This photo is what comes up when you Google Image Search “writer’s block”.

So I have writer’s block. That’s a lie, I’ve been writing a lot. My journal is hella packed with lyrical meditations on my feels. But in terms of polished essays and pop culture reviews, or wacky interviews about my vagina with ex-boyfriends, I am fried, dudes. Ella got nothin’.

But that’s okay! Because the rest of the world has plenty to say, and holy shit have I read a lot of amazing pieces in the past few weeks. In the interest of signal-boosting the work of other badasses doing cool shit, I’m keeping a running tab of posts worth promoting. Below are some of my recent favorites on sexuality, health and activism. ENJOY.

1. The Color Change Condoms Aren’t Real, But the STI Concern Trolling Is — I thought about writing something in response to the color change condoms, but then I got tired and cranky. Thankfully, Rebecca Hiles crushes it. She just crushes it, guys.

More than once, I saw someone praising these kids for creating something that would allow people to know if they were infected (after the fact). They talked about how it was so great that people who were irresponsible would be held accountable for their ways. In reality, it is more likely that people would be less likely to use condoms if they haven’t been tested and are concerned about their status. The “we’re so concerned that people are passing on STIs knowingly” bullshit is just that. Bullshit.”

2. Unpopular Opinion: I’m Not Excited About STI-Detecting Color-Changing Condoms — My personal herpes hero Sarit Luban brings some much needed herpes perspective to the same issue and I sent her an applause GIF after reading this piece because THANK YOU.

That’s what we’ve missed amidst the smart condom buzz: status awareness isn’t as simple as knowing who not to have sex with. It’s about having the information we need to make the right decisions for ourselves. People have chosen to be with me, herpes and all, first and foremost because they dig who I am — and because they’ve felt they can trust me. It’s a deeper kind of safety. While an unexpectedly yellow condom might’ve freaked someone out, an honest, two-way conversation about our bodies and our boundaries never has.”

3. HIV-Positive, Unapologetic and Fabulous — I want to get drinks with Tyler Curry, he sounds amazing. Tyler, hit me up.

I didn’t realize I was supposed to bow my head and slowly abscond to the local HIV support group in silence while the violins played. No, absolutely not. I had found a way back to myself. I could, again, claim the face in the mirror as my own. The bratty nuances and cocky tendencies that I had admittedly occupied became authentic again. Quite simply, I found a way to like myself once more.  If, indeed, my life was “fabulous” before (and I am not quite sure if it was), I stand firm in the assertion that it was just as “fabulous” now.”

4. Outrage culture changed the world: “PC” critics are wrong. Marriage equality happened because activists used shame and rage — This is a super long headline but I’ll forgive it because Arthur Chu is brilliant as always. Change happens when people get angry, when they bare their teeth, when they howl at injustice. It doesn’t come from being nice and waiting your turn for progress. Hear hear.

Anger got us here. Outrage got us here. And yes, public shaming got us here: drawing a line in the sand and making it clear that the status quo was not OK, was not tolerable because it had been tolerated long enough.”

5. On Depression, Need and Difficult Things — I want to dip myself in a bubblebath of Malin James’s words. She’s amazing. This is powerful.

Depression made me who I am. It put me on different paths than I might otherwise have taken. It made me grow in crooked, creative ways. I don’t know who I’d be if depression hadn’t forced me to struggle with myself but, in the end, I like who I’ve become…most of the time.”

6. Confessions of a Bad Feminist — Have you watched Roxane Gay’s TED Talk yet? What the hell is wrong with you?!

You don’t want to be that rebel woman until you realize that you very much are that woman and cannot imagine being anyone else.”

Happy three day weekend, everyone! See you soon with some new content, hopefully, definitely, yes.

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Ella Dawson is a sex and culture critic and a digital strategist. She drinks too much Diet Coke.

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