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On the Waking Life Debacle.

To be honest, I wanted to write about anything other than Waking Life Espresso today. But, my mind is racked with thoughts of them and I can’t seem to shake all of the nuances of the way I’m feeling. So, that brings me here.

(For those unfamiliar with the Waking Life debacle, a pair of local coffee shop owners have been running a horrible podcast, blog and twitter account that is degrading to women, people of different races, sexual orientation and more. You can read about it here or here.)

Jared and Jacob were people that I considered my friends. At least acquaintances that I valued as human beings and carried what I believed was mutual respect for. I certainly knew that there were differences in the way we viewed dating and to be quite honest with you, I just deemed them unattractive as potential partners and moved on from that. However, as I dove into their podcast and their twitter feed yesterday and discovered more and more of their viewpoints I am overwhelmed with thoughts on the matter. My hope is that this will provide me some relief.

When I first found out and began to read into it, I can’t say that I was surprised. But, I will say that I was shocked. It makes complete sense in some ways for this to be attached to them. In other ways I am amazed that this sort of thinking exists. I’ve surrounded myself with people who are kind and open and non-judgemental so, seeing such disgusting behavior displayed felt unreal to me. Surely, this was a joke.

Then, I heard the podcasts. I listened as people that I knew and have supported financially and promoted via social media berated women in our community, some of which I care for deeply. I listened as they described people with my body type. I listened them call us undisciplined, which was pretty hard to hear as I worked on what was one of my 5 sources of income, on a day where I’d woken up at the crack of dawn to make sure I had time to get everything done that I needed to do. I listened as they said they wished people with bodies like mine would just go ahead and die.

I listened as they minimized women down to a set of numbers that determined how attractive they were on a scale of 1-10. I listened to them describe, in gross detail the way in which they evaluate a woman’s worth. Which, to my surprise, has very little to do with the value they bring to the table mentally. They described how they like to control women and the methods that they use to manipulate them into sleeping with them.

I felt angry.

I wanted to burn their building down. I wanted to put them out of business. I wanted to look them in the eyes and tell them everything they said that hurt me personally.

I did what I knew I could do and I shared and I thought.

On their twitter account, they talk of women leading with their emotions. how weak that is and how frustrating. I didn’t want to give them the gratification of letting this make me feel anything. I pride myself on being a logical being. But, it would be a direct lie if I ignored the feelings involved. A balance of emotion and logic is the ideal in my mind and it’s about time I gave my emotions some space to talk about this.

Here’s what I know:

I’ve spent most of my life coming to grips with my body and allowing myself to feel at ease with my appearance. My self-esteem is not easily shaken. But, as I read through their archives and listened to their voices I was reminded of every time I’ve ever felt less than desirable. Of every time I’ve felt like a worthless human being because I don’t have the body that these men describe as ideal.

I was reminded of all of the times that I’ve felt silenced by the men in my life. All of the times that the football/basketball/baseball wasn’t passed my way simply because I’m a girl. I was reminded of every time I felt like I had to play dumb to make a man attracted to me.

I was reminded that I’m hurt.

That I’ve been hurt this whole time,  but that I’m fucking (sorry granny & papaw) strong.

Women, we are so powerful that men have spent their entire adult lives trying to figure out how to manipulate us enough to be close to us.

While my wounds feel raw and my heart is certainly aching and I’ve probably had a steady set of moist eyes for the last couple of days, I’m reminded of the way I view other people. The way each person holds something special and it’s all about getting to know them enough to see their unique version of beauty. These men may be a very loud subset.
Their insecurities may have manifested in harmful ways. But, that doesn’t affect the value that each of you possess.

In case you’ve forgotten, let me remind you…

You are deeply valuable. Your existence on this Earth is meaningful and I’m glad that you were born. Allowing yourself to live a life that is suited to your dreams can only benefit society.

You are perfect.

We all make mistakes, we all have flaws, but you are exactly as you should be and will be exactly what you need to be.

You are beautiful. You are worthy of love and you are deeply deeply appreciated.

with love,


Kim Forman - September 21, 2015 - 7:39 pm

Thank you for sharing this beautiful post. <3

Cecilia Giselle Payseur - September 21, 2015 - 8:45 pm

Somehow I found this post and I’m so glad I did. It spoke to me in an important way, as it will to many. Thank you for writing… you are wonderful.

Jeff Arrington - September 21, 2015 - 8:54 pm

You have a beautiful soul.. thank you for sharing it.

Diana Valeryevna Mnatsakanyan - September 21, 2015 - 10:07 pm

this is so, so good. thank you for sharing your thoughts and a little of your journey. yes to all of this.

Taleese Morrill - September 21, 2015 - 10:14 pm

I don’t know you personally but I’ve seen you around town from time to time and often feel like we know many of the same people (though, that’s Asheville). Someone posted this on fb and I’m so glad to have to read it. This is lovely and wonderful and what most everyone needs to hear and know much more than we do. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Susannah Kay - September 21, 2015 - 10:43 pm

Thank you <3

Lauren Schumacher Ray - September 21, 2015 - 11:49 pm

Tears reading this. So beautifully sorted. And concise, but expansive. I needed this.

Jacquie Hammond - September 22, 2015 - 12:45 am

Thank you so much… I was walking around town today looking at the men on the streets thinking “is he like them?” ” is he judging me?”it’d not about them, its about me.

Paige Houghton - September 22, 2015 - 12:47 am

Amazing post.

Robert Fishburne - September 22, 2015 - 1:15 am

See, as a guy, I’m allowed to get emotional. In fact, I’m outright encouraged to embrace anger and lust as my only two emotions. Still haven’t gotten the hang of the latter, but the former? Oh boy did these guys bring out that in me, so I wrote my first-ever hatchet job about it. I’ve probably pimped it enough, but if anyone wants to read let me know. It was very cathartic, and this was before some of the podcast content was revealed.

Michael Rhodes - September 22, 2015 - 4:38 am

The most thoughtful comments on this that I’ve seen. Much love

Pamela Daly - September 22, 2015 - 12:42 pm

Thank you SJ, for your eloquent words. I stopped myself from pouring over all their garbage because I knew it would be too painful and disturbing to take in. I have always struggled with body image, as nearly all women do, but now at the age of 38, I have really been accepting of myself so much more, and, actually, seeing the beauty in my “flaws”. I am so proud of Asheville for how we have risen up and taken a stand here. And by the way, we met at WL a few months ago, and you helped me call AAA when my keys and phone were locked in my car. I could tell how kind of a person you were. Thanks again. You have a beautiful soul.

Thalia Morris - September 22, 2015 - 12:59 pm

Thank you Sarajane. I HAD to see your picture and was shocked as I usally am when I see a beautiful woman who’s struggled with body issues. I’m an “older” reader and during my lifetime I’ve meet very few women without body issues. Your thoughts are powerful and inspiring. Be well~~

Angie Younger - September 22, 2015 - 1:42 pm

Beautifully written.

Fern Webb - September 22, 2015 - 6:30 pm

Beautiful post. Thank you for saying these things.

Greg Miller - September 22, 2015 - 7:08 pm

Thank you SJ. You always share with such authenticity and compassion, even on subjects as raw and difficult as this one. You are very well appreciated.

Sarah E Becker - September 23, 2015 - 2:10 pm

This is so well written and I can totally connect with everything you’ve voiced here.. Thank you for your strength and willingness to speak up about this injustice!

Emma Kaye - September 23, 2015 - 3:12 pm

wow, seriously, with everyone just bashing those guys (and rightfully so) it was so nice to hear someone with a different view and reading this just made my day. thank you for sharing.

Meredith Neale - September 23, 2015 - 11:55 pm

Your comment “Women, we are so powerful that men have spent their entire adults lives trying to figure out how to manipulate us enough to be close to us” was so POWERFUL!
Thank you! What an Important thing to hear whether it’s the first time or just a reminder.
Wonderful article…..I am so grateful you took the time to write this ❤️

Martha Harris - September 24, 2015 - 6:04 am

thank you for speaking what is in my heart. Before reading your blog post, I was so troubled and triggered by the formerly secret content that had been revealed. How many people will be more reluctant to trust in general after learning of the secret lives/characters of these men who presented themselves so differently in person? How many people working on body self-acceptance will be set back by this… By learning that underneath a seemingly safe environment lurked the same hateful body shaming so prevalent in our culture? Your post helps put me back on track in my journey to self-acceptance and to love of self and others exactly as we are.

Sierra Garrett Hollister - September 24, 2015 - 4:09 pm

this is so incredible. thank you for sharing your perspective. and just for the record ~ not only are you beautiful and worthy of love, you are extraordinary <3

Alissa Coddington Hill - September 25, 2015 - 1:24 am

Beautifully written! I’m proud of you sister! Miss and love ❤️

sarajanecase - September 26, 2015 - 4:42 pm

Thank you so much!

sarajanecase - September 26, 2015 - 4:42 pm

Aw, thank you! Same to you!

sarajanecase - September 26, 2015 - 4:43 pm

I have so many of the same thoughts. I keep trying to remind myself that we are so much more than this and that their viewpoints are their problem. Some days I believe it and some days I don’t.

sarajanecase - September 26, 2015 - 4:44 pm

Thank YOU!

sarajanecase - September 26, 2015 - 4:44 pm

Thank you for taking the time to write that! Appreciate you!

sarajanecase - September 26, 2015 - 4:44 pm

Thank you, you beautiful being!

Stu Helm & Chef Joe Scully: AVL Food Fans Podcast Episode 8 – “A Bitter Pill” | stuhelmfoodfan - September 30, 2015 - 8:20 pm

[…] Sarajane is a local writer, blogger, coffee lover, bon vivant, and a fellow Food Fan, and if you haven’t read her blog piece on Waking Life, you can do so by clicking this HERE. […]

Crystal Stephenson - October 5, 2015 - 4:36 am

How absolutely beautifully said. You were a year younger than me in high school, and I always thought you were extraordinarily beautiful….your smile, upbeat personality, and that gorgeous red hair. So nice to have found your blog!

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