The Newsletter by WOMEN about WOMEN and for WOMEN

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The new look of The Virago!

If you’ve seen our site recently, we have a new look! After a ton of online time and guidance from Lynda Wallis, we have updated the look and the content. Thank you, Lynda for spending hours with me hashing through ideas! We are on the next step towards the vision of the future for The Virago.

For Writers!

To the writers of The Virago; you are part of a community with great women writers. Many writers are just starting out here, others have been blogging for years. The Virago gives space for you to express yourself.

the Virago has separated the blogs into the topics…

I’ve been blogging for almost 3 years on Medium. My only other experience is my lifetime of private journaling. I’m still journaling and you can find my writing in my personal publication Up Close and Personal. My current project is 365 Days of Writing, journaling daily about life.

I also write about about women’s issues in our society, which include stories about my personal life and how we as women live our lives in this world. I’m also editor of The Virago, a women’s publication I developed this year.

Here are my all-time most-read stories:

Conversations With a Gaslighter

Woundology: Stop Using Your Past to Define Your…

You can do better, even if it means being by yourself

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Photo by Gemma Chua-Tran on Unsplash

My heart breaks for the women trapped in toxic relationships and the world of domestic abuse. Tears come to my eyes when I read stories from women who feel trapped. I want to hug them. I want to cry with them. I want to yell at the top of my lungs “you’re so much better than an abusive relationship!”

I hate to tell you this, but I must: these men do not love you. It’s not because you’re unlovable, but because they don’t know how to love someone. They don’t know what a healthy relationship looks like, and they will never be in a healthy relationship with you, no matter how hard you try to make it better. …

What I remember about his last days

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Photo by Mandy Henry on Unsplash

Readers please note: this story describes a violent suicide. If you or someone you love needs help, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

I knew he was going to kill himself. We all knew. Papa was 83 years old, and he’d been talking about it for a while. He’d lost my grandmother ten years prior, after a long bout of colon cancer. Towards the end, his whole world revolved around taking care of her. When she became too much care for him, he sent her to the hospital, where she died. He was alone for the first time in 48 years.

We worried about him living alone, but he got himself a dog, a beautiful Golden Retriever he named Duke. He walked that dog every morning to the park and back. In the afternoons, he and Duke would sit out in his backyard garden next to the birdbath, enjoying the sunshine. …

Why has the Republican party placated an overt pathological narcissist?

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Photo by Marco Oriolesi on Unsplash

I’m not a political writer. I don’t have the education or desire to understand the intricacies of the American political process. The entire system leaves a bad taste in my mouth. However, I have been pushed, as many of us have, into the workings of U.S. politics and have seen how completely fucked up it is.

My leanings have always been moderate liberal. Born and raised on the West Coast and in my little Portland bubble, I haven’t had to deal with a lot of the racist, misogynist, and hypocritically religious views held by the far right.

However, from the time Trump decided to run for office, until two days before he’s to be ousted, I’ve felt like I’m reliving an abusive relationship. The narcissism is so blatant, I’m perplexed by how many people in this country have sacrificed their principles to appease one man. I can go even further and say their selfishness has allowed an escalation into possible civil war. …

The Newsletter by WOMEN about WOMEN and for WOMEN

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Credit: Library of Congress/Getty Images

Hello Virago Followers,

Today is the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr, which is celebrated on the third Monday of January — this year his birthday is being celebrated on January 18th. His birthday became a National Holiday by an act of Congress in 1983. Many consider it a day to serve your community.

MLK Jr. was the leader for the civil rights movement in the 1950’s and 1960’s. He inspired millions and encouraged greater equality.

However, there are many unsung heroes; women activists of the era, who were at the forefront of the civil rights struggle, but their stories are rarely heard. …

Nothing has changed since I was a young woman

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Photo by Noah Buscher on Unsplash

In a perfect world, I’d like to believe that when women become of adult age, they’re encouraged to enjoy their sexuality. These young women would be strong and resolved on what they’d want or didn’t want from a partner, a date, or even a one-night stand.

In this Utopia, women could explore intimacy without being shamed, badgered, manipulated, coerced, or forced against their will.

But we don’t live in Utopia. We live in a world that is patriarchal and hell-bent against women having any power.

As women, we have been ingrained to live as second, to cater to men and their needs. We’ve been socialized to be nice and kind; we’ve been taught to be accommodating; and we’ve been taught to reject our wants and needs when a man is there demanding our attention. We have certainly been conditioned to reject our intuition, to turn a blind eye to our self-interest when we notice red flags. We’ve been trained by society to be ritualistic in self-awareness and self-preservation: don’t walk alone in the middle of the night, don’t jog outside with ear buds, carry pepper spray, don’t get on an elevator alone with a man, watch what you wear, and don’t make eye contact with a stranger. …

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

For the past several years, I’ve used a more creative way to make my New Years Resolutions.

Before COVID hit us, I’d hold vision board parties with my friends at the beginning of the year.

I have boxes of magazines that I keep in storage, along with scissors, stick glue, and cardboard. I tempt my friends with a little wine and some great girlfriend time.

In past years I’d have as many as thirty people. Other years my get-togethers were more intimate with as little as five friends.

It doesn’t matter the number; any time a group of women get together and start working on their goals, it’s empowering. …

The Newsletter by WOMEN about WOMEN and for WOMEN

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Photo by Kristina Evstifeeva on Unsplash

Hello Virago Readers and Writers,

What a week we’ve already had in 2021, and not in a good way. I suppose many were like me, peeled to their screens last Wednesday, watching the news unfold at the Capitol. I’m holding my breath and waiting for January 20th and transfer of power in the United States Administration. I pray that our current leadership will lay low until then.

On a lighter note, I wanted to let y’all know I have fun writing these newsletters; the process forces me to research women’s history and pay attention to news events. The newsletter also helps me stay more in touch with the writers of The Virago. Reading every published article helps to understand the writer. …

It wasn’t what I expected

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Photo by Martin on Unsplash

December 31st, 2020, the last day of the year, was a regular day in my new normal.

My day was a remembrance of the early part of 2020 before the shit hit the fan.

I did my morning animal chores. I let my chickens out at daybreak and collected one egg because one of my chickens is an early riser; I expected more eggs later. Then I took care of my dog’s needs, making sure she had her bathroom break, and gave her one cup of doggie food for breakfast.

I drove to work with masked face and disinfected hands. I typed and made phone calls and moved through my busy but otherwise uneventful workday.

My evening, however, was the sum of the entire year.

I arrived home at 5 O’clock. I greeted my dog and looked in on my ladies; my chickens, like all chickens, rise and sleep by the daylight. …


Michelle Jaqua

Advocate for Women / Editor of The Virago

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