Get to know the babes behind the blog! Today, we introduce you to Marisa, our Editor-in-Chief who writes columns in between wrangling the other writers and setting the themes and tone of the blog overall. She firmly believes that Single is Not a Dirty Word, loves living alone, and endorses the power of keeping a journal.
Much Ado About Marisa
Name: Marisa (which rhymes with Theresa, not Melissa, for the record)
Occupation: self-employed as a Writing Coach for individuals and businesses, with the occasional freelance gig
Family: Divorced; child-free by choice and intending to stay that way; the proud older sister of an extremely talented musician, and mama to a 5-year-old lab mix named Balto
Favorite exercise & fitness activities
Like many of my SIOSisters, I enjoy pole dance fitness and yoga most of all. Ever since I first tried pole in 2011, you can’t pay me to get on a treadmill or elliptical anymore. (I ran one 5K in 2008 and that was IT. Done. No more.) I am a “slowgini” – I like slow and low-intensity exercises like yoga and weight lifting, and cardio makes me crabby. I also like hiking and biking outdoors, and trying new things like rock climbing, archery, aerial silks, and belly dance.
Favorite foods & cuisines
I am half Swiss, so I’m obligated to love cheese; the other half is English, so naturally, I also love tea. One unique meal I ate growing up is Raclette, a Swiss dish of melted cheese, potatoes, and assorted garnishes and spices. I’m really not a very picky eater at all (some exceptions: olives, cottage cheese, and anything “squishy” like calamari) and will try almost anything once. My dad makes the best ribs on the planet; I generally eat semi-vegetarian but will always make an exception for those ribs, especially with a side of my mom’s coleslaw.
Favorite outfits to bring out your Sexy
My style is “Consignment Store Chic.” I am all about those clearance racks, thrift stores, and outlets, and I’ve found some amazing steals. I wear a lot of blue and purple to best highlight my red hair and blue eyes, and I’m also a fan of crazy prints and patterned tights. The entire left side of my closet is full of maxi dresses.
In 2014 I had breast reduction surgery; before that, my wardrobe choices were very limited by my chest size, and it was hard to feel sexy no matter what I wore. Post-surgery, I’ve had to completely relearn how to dress myself. When I really want to pump up the sexy, I look for an outfit that fits me perfectly and, ideally, showcases my legs. I can also pull off a masculine look with button-ups, vests, and bowties, and a shaggy fauxhawk. Depends on my mood!
What are you passionate about?
We Sagittarians are a passionate breed. First and foremost, I am a writer, and while I write all kinds of things to pay the bills, my real forte is fiction. I believe strongly in the power of words, the importance of literacy, and the value of finding your voice. I teach group creative writing classes at Women Writing for (a) Change, an organization dedicated to providing women a safe and non-competitive environment to explore and express themselves in writing.
Women’s issues and gender equality are important to me, as is the LGBTQ movement and the plight of gay and trans* youth in particular. But I’m a covert feminist – you’re more likely to find me initiating provocative conversations in private, or simply living my values, than marching on a picket line. I’m also a proponent of animal rescues and shelters, and I strongly oppose breed-specific legislation.
What do you do to relax?
I’m no stranger to the Netflix binge, but I do at least try to use my free time a little more productively than that. I like to get out of town when I can, even for a day trip, and love exploring new places. When I get the itch, I like to paint or draw. I’m a science nerd, so I love museums, zoos, and aquariums, and hiking on nature trails, especially in the woods. But I’m an introvert at heart, so when I’m all social’d out, I usually relax at home with a good book, a hot bath, and a playlist of chill electronica.
What does the “Strong is Our Sexy” philosophy mean to you?
Essentially, Strong is Our Sexy means that what matters most for women is what we do, not what we look like doing it. You can be Strong in any area of your life – your wellness, your career, your family, your friendships, your romantic relationships, your politics, and your passions.
A sexy woman is well-rounded. To borrow the words of author Brene Brown, she dares greatly. She knows what she wants and she goes after it, even when (especially when) others around her tell her she can’t or shouldn’t. She learns from her setbacks and uses those lessons to reach new heights, then turns around and passes them on to other women to support them on their own journeys. She doesn’t hesitate to ask for help and stand on her sisters’ shoulders when she needs it. And if her hair is out of place, her makeup gets smudged, her pants don’t fit, or her skin sags and scars along the way, she still wears it proudly.
This is what I aspire to be, and I’m working on it every day.
Read more of Marisa’s articles here, and write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.