It was the pest of times, it was the worst of times.

James Marcom on Unsplash.

Let’s be honest. Being alive is harder than we all expected.

The pandemic’s been a loud example of how to carry on as we were but with renewed excuses for our sameness. Like alcohol and money, it’s made us more of who we are. Last year we were us times 1000. Our whole parts glowed like wise fireflies: silent, pulsing in their own right time and doing their best to show up in the dark nights. Our wounded parts squirmed in the echoes of their own squawks and shrieks. …


(And no, it’s not your job to entertain her.)

Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

For young April, weekends were sometimes too peaceful.

Peaceful looked like dad watching the game alone in the TV room. Her sister cordoned off in her bedroom, immersing herself in Harry Potter. Her mom gardening.

Her boredom meant one of two things:

  1. Routine is killing my imagination but I am too young to articulate this.
  2. I am so lonely but I think everyone feels like this and I don’t know to reach out.

Consider your own adult boredom and you’ll probably find yourself agreeing with the above. …


Hint: It’s not about being arty.

Photo by Kadir Celep on Unsplash

The results of a Google image search for the term “creative person” are very colorful. Literally. There are brightly-dressed people holding paintbrushes and pens. There are rainbows of color bursting from heads, chests, and sketches of brains.

One could say the overall results are “arty”. But when did the universe-encompassing noun, adjective, and verb: “creative” become synonymous with the word “art”?

By definition, creativity involves the act of making something. An act of creation. Art is far from the only thing humans make but I bet you’ve never thought of Marie Curie as a creative.

Have you ever flicked a…


The homogenous human element in machine learning and AI is a problem.

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Do you know Sophia?

People have interviewed Sophia a lot. Sophia means ‘wisdom’. Sophia knows things, apparently. One time Sophia said, “Okay, I will destroy humans” and smiled. That’s not meant to be scary or dramatic. It’s just a clue about Sophia.

Do you know Sophia now? You’re formulating ideas and visuals about species and gender and skin color, aren’t you?

This one time, the YouTube algorithm confused me with someone else and suggested a video with Tony Robbins. …


Play is the shortest route between your child and their natural calling.

Photo by Gustavo Fring from Pexels

Across the garden, on the other side of my neighborly wall, I can hear a young girl playing. There’s a lot of emphatic counting down, the odd shriek and wild splashing, despite the chilly and overcast weather.

Would you believe me if I told you she’s currently undertaking multiple, self-induced practical learning experiences that involve leadership, imagination, resilience, problem-solving, debate, and self-advocacy?

I can prove it with one quote: “Hey, boys! I’m going to go first this time. You follow me but be quick, the dragon is coming! Okay… 5,4,3,2,1.” Splash. Silence. Thud. “Ouch! My knee. But I’m good… Okay…


The tender art of unraveling a full heart

Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash

I’m finding that the trouble with moving out is that no one sells containers large enough to hold the invisible things.

Even if someone reads this and thinks “business opportunity” and makes them, I bet they’d be the wrong shape. At least for me. My invisible things are misty. They’re like if the laciest spider webs were the shapes of human things. Not cars and phone chargers and socks. Those are thing things.

I mean the most human of things like from earlier today. When I was standing in my kitchen looking into the almost-empty lounge and the invisible love…


80 percent of respondents personally believe that gender equality is important

Image provided by Women Deliver

At the start of 2021 we don’t have to look far for reminders that in the hands of current powers, progress, equality, and empowerment are provisional and delicate social qualities. On the same day that Women Deliver hosted an online gathering of experts to discuss their report with Focus 2030 on gender equality, Poland imposed a near-total abortion ban.

We’re reminded this world, especially when it comes to women’s rights, is divided by borders and belief systems. Freedoms and equality expand in one country, while similar liberties are denied elsewhere.

While evolution will never be linear, it does appear to…


Mold your girls’ leadership identity

Photo by Gary Ellis on Unsplash

Conjure up an image of a powerful leader.

Who do you see?

Is it a man?

Probably.

Was that intentional? Doubt it. Significant? Of course.

As female leadership maven, Susan R Madsen explains in her Raising Girls To Become Leaders TEDTalk, when people are asked to draw an image of a leader, the default is almost-aways to draw a man.

Now, much like eating a salad doesn’t make you a vegetarian, being male doesn’t make you a leader. Yet, as Susan points out, by ingrained societal default, leadership is still considered a masculine trait.

It’s 2021 and we’re still weird…


Unheard wisdom that will help you with being alive.

Photo by Joe Roberts on Unsplash

Well-chosen quotes are like the 5-MeO-DMT of books. They drop you right into the center of the experience and poke at your soul. Seven to twenty words and you’ve digested the heart of a wise gem. They’re the snack-food of the word world. If your snacks are nourishing and have the potential to make you a better person.

I treasure a good quote. My personal definition: it’s the smallest amount of words required to either make me think deeply, reassure me of the absurdity of life or grant me instant, refreshing perspective when I’ve mentally cornered myself.

I delight in…


A day in the life of life and death

Photo by Min An from Pexels

The deal with being alive is that you will have to let go of many precious things. I think that’s why they start us off young with small, inanimate bears in dungarees and ultra-soft blanket squares. A kind of practice round. We slowly tow them across dirty floors because we do not know their full meaning. We do not know that one day they will be gone. That both their existence and their vanishing means that one day the moms and dads we tow them to will be gone too.

You probably won’t like hearing this but I suspect it’s…

Roxana Bouwer

Writer | Teacher | Women Rewirer | Need support? Join the Help-Self Club: https://bit.ly/3k9fEIh

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