International Women's Day 2016!

Lovelies! Today is International Women's Day! 108 years ago, 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights. To commemorate this activism, National Women's Day spread through the country, and in 1910 it became International Women's Day at a Summit in Copenhagen. Read here for more amazing history.

InternationalWomensDay-landscape

As I read through the history, and the calls to action for this year's theme: #PledgeforParity, tears rush to my eyes. I think about my own personal history: my sisters, my friends, Bryn Mawr, even my childhood AmericanGirl magazines. I think about how I just bought a house. I think about how goddamn lucky I am to be born the person that I am. I am a white, educated, well off American. Yes there was hard work, but mostly, a tremendous amount of luck. I think about how to use these privileges. I've been poised in society in a position of power. So it's my responsibility to use that power to make a difference. To speak and know that I'll be heard on issues of the less privileged. To shut up and listen to activists from those groups. To use my checkbook and give money.  To use my home to host events. To further the justice quotient in our world.

I've got a tattoo on my back that's big and not very elegant. It's a lantern surrounded by roses, all wreathed in two sheaves of wheat. It was the first I ever got. My sister Sarah and I walked up and down South Street in Philadelphia with a mock up and $300 in my pocket. I asked each shop what they'd charge for my design, and said yes to the first dude who said $300. Not the best approach to getting a permanent drawing on my body, but I still love the fervor and passion I had.

This tattoo, which will forever be just on the other side of my heart, stands for Bread and Roses. At Bryn Mawr, each of our four holidays is closed with a Step Sing. Yes, nearly grown college women sit on the ground or on the stairs and sing. Lustily, raucously, and tearfully, we sing. Funny parodies of pop songs, old fashioned jabs at Haverford, traditional rondels in Greek, and a short tune dedicated to making a difference.

As we go marching, marching in the beauty of the day, A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill lofts gray, Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses, For the people hear us singing: "Bread and roses! Bread and roses!"

As we go marching, marching, we battle too for men, For they are women's children, and we mother them again. Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes; Hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread, but give us roses!

As we go marching, marching, unnumbered women dead Go crying through our singing their ancient cry for bread. Small art and love and beauty their drudging spirits knew. Yes, it is bread we fight for—but we fight for roses, too!

As we go marching, marching, we bring the greater days. The rising of the women means the rising of the race. No more the drudge and idler—ten that toil where one reposes, But a sharing of life's glories: Bread and roses! Bread and roses!

~~ here's a video of the '07 graduates signing it at graduation

This song is a call for the just distribution of resources yes, but also a call for just distribution of beauty and joy. Too many people are worn down in the hard grind of surviving, especially women and girls. It's a call for nolite te bastardes carborundorum. A call for parity. And I, in my relative privileged security, am bound to fight for the roses.

So, every day, I try. Try to smile and listen. To hug. To treat others like full beings. To advocate. I also try to remember I can't do it alone. So I surround myself with gloriously mad formidable women. The women who have been in my life in the past and are in my life now are some of my dearest relationships. More important to me than past loves, most of my family, and certainly more important than professional contacts. My girl gang. So happy day dearests. Love you all!

Life Update - I'm Buying a House!

What's going on right now? Where have I been, and for goodness sake, why haven't I been posting? Well... I'm buying a house!

A real, front door, back door, 2 bedroom, 2 bath, converted garage house! And in a beautiful twist of kismet, it's about 2 blocks from the high school I attended in freshman and sophomore year, the high school that I loved dearly, and felt accepted and challenged at. It's got bright blue doors, big windows, and lovely light brown floors. And in about two weeks, it will be all mine.

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It will be a home for hosting: friends, dinners, workshops, crafts, games. A home for love, laughter, and silliness. A home for listening, tears and tea. Early mornings, lazy brunches and late nights.

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Randall and I will fill it with ourselves, our hopes, our MarioKart and of course, so many flowers. So many lovely plans brewing, so much smiling happens as I picture the near (and far) future. I've got a massive spreadsheet where I keep track of ideas (favorites include: "plant a mini orchard in back yard - pomegranate, fig, citrus, maybe a peach or two" and "paint quilt mural in craft room???") and the blessedly few maintenance needs.

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It truly feels like everything is fitting beautifully into place, and I've consciously chosen to not second guess it. Starting April 1st, this will be our official home, and can't wait to welcome each of you into it.

 

 

An Announcement, A Poll & A Giveaway!

Friends, I'm going to share a secret with you, one that only a few folks know.

I've figured out what I want to do with my long-term career.

This idea has been sitting in my heart for a long time, glowing on and off, scaring me with its intensity, warming me with its truth.

ET with glowing heart

It's scary to share because well, what if people don't like it? Don't get it? This idea is so close to my heart, that I'm very much identifying with it. If they don't like the idea, do they like me? Which, I recognize, isn't a very healthy response. But it's the truth.

So here goes:

I, Katie Kronbergs, am creating an organization that hosts and coordinates empowering events and workshops for women in Austin, Central Texas, and online. Topics would include (but definitely aren't limited to) career/life goals, self awareness, stress management, healthy relationships, finances, body image, and advocating for yourself. Name? A Road of Your Own Events

Through volunteering with GENaustin, I realized there was a huge opportunity to create something similar, but for adult women. This was my jumping off point. My wellness workshop last year really brought it home, and showed me that I could do this successfully AND that there is a huge need for an organization like this. Each event will have expert speakers, concrete takeaways, and a fun and supportive environment. Eventually, I'd love to get a physical event space.

I've already decided on my second event (the Wellness Workshop being the first), taking place this Friday night: Moon Church! The New Moon is a reminder to let go of the past and rebirth your passions, so we'll be gathering this upcoming New Moon for a night of introspection, intention setting, and releasing past pains and stresses. Attendees will be outside in the night air, enjoying exercises, drawing tarot cards, making yummy custom bath salt soaks, burning things, and talking till our hearts are full.

moon church event cover (1)

If you haven't already been invited, and would like to join us, please leave a comment! I will get you the address location asap.

For future events, I want to make sure that I'm offering the kind of workshops that you folks want and need, so please answer the poll below!

[polldaddy poll=9021746]

Finally, as a thank you for voting in the poll and for supporting me in this new endeavor, I want to give one of you an awesome set of goodies: the newest edition of Vagina :: The Zine (Austin based bad ass feminist zine), a postcard of a super tough vintage tattoo lady, Magic Garden: Fantastic Flowers to Color (because coloring is really soothing) and a super cute squirrel pencil sharpener! To win, just leave a comment below. Thank you friends!

giveaway gifts

much love,

ktk

Yeah, I Read My Horoscope

aroyo blog header (1) You might not think to look at me, but I can be surprisingly 'woo-woo'. By that, I mean I read tarot cards (currently, just for myself and for friends), keep an eye on current moon phases, and wore a rose quartz necklace when I was going through my heartache last summer. I'm writing a tarot based 'cross worlds' fiction novel. I even say 'hi' to the little things I can't quite see out of the corners of my eyes. It's probably bits of my own hair or bugs. But it might be fairies, and I'm not taking the risk of pissing them off. Piskies seem crazy annoying if they don't like you. I tend to blame C.S. Lewis and Marion Zimmer Bradley for these tendencies, as I read the Narnia and Mists of Avalon books at very impressionable ages, and from then on, I've never ceased checking the backs of my wardrobes (it'll be there one day goddammit) or trying to 'summon the power of the earth'.

Water sprite/priestess costume in 9th grade!

I've also recently started paying attention to my horoscopes. Chani Nicholas in particular. In the past, I dismissed them. This is silly. How can a system created by the ancient Greeks have any bearing on my day to day life? I still have those thoughts. In fact, I do not believe that horoscopes or tarot cards tell the future. Oracles and prophesies only come to a very select few folks throughout history, and I'm pretty sure none of them work at The Austin Chronicle. (But if so, please introduce me!) I've heard similar dismissals from other people: Of course folks like horoscopes and tarot, card readers and astrologists only tell you what you want to hear! My answer? Well, duh. You do hear what you want to hear. But the magic happens when you add an extra question. I ask myself 'Why is this what I wanted to hear? Why is x the first thing I thought of?" When I ask myself that question, it transforms my card spread or my horoscope into a deeply introspective tool. Each reading becomes my own personal therapy session.

Overall, I've never felt connected to my Scorpio sign.  In the standard definitions, we're described pretty negatively: Machiavellian despots, power hungry, jealous, manipulative and full of forceful determination. That didn't feel like me. But yesterday morning, I read a post on Little Red Tarot talking about the Cups suite in Tarot. The author focuses on the water symbolism in a way I hadn't heard before:

"As someone with a lot of water in my birth chart and as a creature who grew up in coastal cultures, I’m always surprised by the overemphasis in tarot of water’s “wishy-washiness” and lack of ability to set boundaries or be tough. If you have ever been bowled over by a crashing wave and feel the force of our ocean planet slam you down into the sand, you have experienced the fierce strength of water.

Water is formless and therefore has the freedom to make many forms, whether that be the hammering might of a waterfall, the soft gurgling of a brook or hot, angry tears. [author's emphasis] Now, there are certainly moments when cup cards come up because someone has become too diffusive and need to set up firmer boundaries in their life, but they also appear to signify stagnation (where the emotions are not flowing and being released with ease) as well as emotional intelligence and strength."

I immediately thought of myself as a Scorpio (a water sign), and the notion of emotional mutability. Yes, formlessness! I thought. That is so me. Which pulled me up short. Why is that what's resonating with me? Why is that the word I latched onto? I think it's because, right now, I don't know which way my life is flowing professionally. Yes, I'm studying. Yes, I'm dreaming about possibilities. But I can see myself in so many different fields and paths. Like the water that molds itself into any crevasse, I picture myself easily sliding into different potential lives. Which tells me that I need to work on focusing in on what I really want.

All that from water imagery.

And that is the beauty of 'oracle' style practices. You get presented with these deeply meaningful symbols, and see what 'sticks'. These archetypes: the Empress (mother), Water (emotions), Hierophant (hierarchy and 'the Man') etc., are symbols for what's going on in my life and how I feel about myself. It's the semiotics of the self. These supposedly woo-woo practices give me tangible tools to self reflect. 

Often, these oracle practices are presented as traditionally feminine. I try to stay away from 'Essentialist Feminism' (pretty rampant in the Mists of Avalon to be honest), so I'm not going to say that tarot and horoscopes are for women, while psychiatry and other hard sciences are for the dude bros. What I do believe though, is that we're culturally conditioned to view hard science as 'Masculine' and the ideal, and to reject introspection based on feelings and storytelling as being 'Feminine'. So, there's something deliciously transgressive in turning away from the scientific/rational approach when I reflect on my life. When I do a reading and feel that rebellious frissant, I put each tarot card down with glee, silently chanting hey ho hey ho the patriarchy's got to go! It's a rejection of the dominant culture, and more importantly, might one day open the door for me into a land where:

"Instantly she joined hands with two of the Maenades - fierce, madcap girls - who whirled her round in a merry dance and helped her take off some of the unnecessary and uncomfortable clothes that she was wearing... Everyone was awake, everyone was laughing, flutes were playing, cymbals clashing." pg 277

Hopefully I'll see y'all there.

Currently...

inspired by this product from rukristin... Watching: All the Star Wars! My partner Randall got the Google Play bundle that's got all 6 films and loads of special features. We've had many comfy geek out evenings during our crazy rain/flooding this past week.

Reading: As always, I'm reading too many books all at once. Wait, scratch that, it's never too many. I'm working my way through Hausfrau (written by my mom's friend), An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth, and still (still!) intermittently plugging away at The Luminaries. However, I just finished Deborah Harkness's All Souls trilogy on the recommendation of my sister. I'd second it. It's a set of thoroughly entertaining supernatural fiction: A Discovery of Witches is the first one.

Listening: RabioLab - La Mancha Screwjob. Listening as Jad and Robert "pierce the spandex-ed heart of professional wrestling, and travel 400 years into the past to unmask our obsession with authenticity and our desire to walk the line between reality and fantasy." Terrific background sounds while I work on ...

Making: ... a 'home sweet home' cross stitch hanging! The pattern is from Emma Congdon's etsy shop: Stitchrovia, and I'm really enjoying it.

Feeling: Inspired with introspective creativity. Randall is all moved in, and the house is settled. My desk and my newly expanded craft space (photos soon!) are super welcoming. I've been working on the cross stitch, planning my next quilt, doing tarot readings for myself, and obviously writing more.

Planning: A new education opportunity! I've decided to enroll in UT's Non-Profit Management Graduate Certificate Program next month. It's pretty much everything that I'd hoped to learn from the Master's degree in Ireland that I didn't finish: fundraising, volunteer management, creating a board of directors, grant writing, capital campaigns, and leadership strategies. It's online, and will take about 3 months, so I'll need to carve out time around work and friends for studying. Come the end of summer - I will be able to help you or your contacts with your non-profit! I'm so jazzed!

Loving: The home that R and I have made. He moved into the house that I've been renting for the past 2 years, and we shuffled a few of the rooms around. It feels so welcoming and cozy, and full of love. Makes my heart happy.

Prisma Visions Tarot Deck Cups Suite

100!

This is my 100th post! 100 articles about my struggles, thoughts, and hopes - DANG. A Road of Your Own has traveled from the humble beginnings when I thought this blog was going to be a chronicle of my favorite roads in town, to life hack projects, to shared grief, to rules to live by, and even to a community workshop. These days, I feel like I'm finally finding the right voice. I've got confidence in sharing my vulnerabilities and dreams; and I sincerely hope that I've helped you find that same confidence. Thank you so much to everyone who has stuck by A Road of Your Own and supported me; it would've been a far more boring journey without you guys. Here's to 100 more rich, love filled, scary/exciting explorations of our shared soul beauty!

grateful face!

much love,

ktk

Tattoos

I have three tattoos, and the most recent one was finished today.  Getting a tattoo is a strange experience.  You trust the person tattooing you implicitly, yet they are hurting you over and over and over again.  And it does really hurts.  Sometimes, it's just an annoying sun burn/knee scrape manageable pain level, and sometimes its a bone rattling, scorpion stinging, curling iron burning right on the edge pain; and you feel like jerking away, and crying out and smacking the artist.  But you know you can't, or your body will be permanently jacked up.  And the whole time you're paying for this. So why then? There a few reasons for me; some are meaningful, some banal and some are even a little shameful.

  1. I already had two, and once you have one, it's very easy to get more.
  2. I want a visual reminder of the lessons and truths that each tattoo means for me.
  3. It's cool in Austin to have tattoos.
  4. They make me feel tough, and I like being the feminist with the big arm tattoo.
  5. I want to commemorate the person I am at this moment.

I got the work from Billy Baca at Bijou Studio, and I'm in love with the tattoo.  The colors are rich and soft, the lines varied, and the composition is pleasing.    Here are a few photos, and bear in mind, I'm still a bit bloody and raw, so the red will be going away!  Also, the flowers between the two succulents are a little bit more prominent in person, and aren't quite as muted as it seems in the first photo.

Thanks for reading dearests, -kt-

Welcome

"A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction."  -Virginia Woolf I have grown up mapping my life.  Travels, roads, journeys, and geography have been a perpetual metaphor of mine.  Locations are how I remember events, routes are how I express changes, and successfully keeping a city map in my head is how I feel mastery over my life.  I revel in atlases.  If I don't have a path to follow I become physically ill.  I crave maps.

As I get closer to 30 with no perceptible goal on the near horizon, I'm restless and fretful.  Hopefully this will be a place to explore my life maps, outer travels and inner geography.

In this blog, I imagine you'll find 3 different kinds of posts: physical, philosophical and introspective.  I'll explore the physical roads, trips and types of transportation around me, the philosophical/theoretical ideas of motion and mapping, and how they impact on me and where and how I want to travel through life.   They'll probably overlap from time to time.  I've a naturally serious disposition, but hopefully I'll be able to share some silliness in the midst of the introspection!

A woman must have a map and road of her own if she is to write herself.