Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Body Project (a review in however many parts i feel like)

"The Girl Scouts of America (GSA) was one of the first groups to systematically teach menstruation to girls. By the 1920s, a girl in pursuit of the Health Winner Badge had to learn about the physiology of menstruation and also have a private talk with her troop leader about it. She was also required to tell her leader when she was menstruating, on the grounds that the older woman would help her "overdoing it" and determine an appropriate level of activity*. The leadership f the Girl Scouts recognized the difficulty of asking volunteer troop leaders to position themselves between the natural authority (the mother) and the professional expert (the physician, biology teacher or nurse), but they also knew hat some girls had no one else to turn to for information.AS a result, GSA training materials highlighted information about the hygiene of the female body and utilized the most enlightened strategies for talking to girls about menstruation."

* it is interesting to me that they talk about the "appropriate level" of activity, as, at the time (and now), menstruation is treated as an illness & one must automatically need to rest or withdraw from activity. for myself & many of my fellow menstruateurs energy can vary hugely from one period to the next. some months i just want to crawl in bed, and feel that my legs don't work quite right. other months i'm just fine.

i really enjoy the thoroughness of this book in terms of its selection of materials, it consists of popular pamphlets from different eras and personal diaries and news stories and lots of other miscellanea. i think the contrast between the pamphlets & educational materials and the diaries is really interesting; it shows me what was said it public, or thought to be normal/healthy/righteous and what the actual lived experience of young women and girls was.

i'm sure i'll think of more to say later but YAY GIRL SCOUTS.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

i want to start talking about books i'm reading, maybe if i write them down i will remember to do so... or not?

so these will go here until i remember what i want to say:

i, rigoberta, menchu: an indian woman in guatemala - rigoberta menchu

immigrant women in the land of the dollar - elizabeth ewen

the body project - joan jacobs brumberg

driven to distraction - edward m. hallowell & john j. ratey

women with attention deficit disorder - sari solden

Friday, June 10, 2011

I wonder what it's like to feel safe.

My life is so good now, and just about every day is rich in those things i treasure: knowledge, love, silliness, and compassion.


My ex prided himself on his ability to find anything about anyone; their personal ads, secret blogs, confessions... he could not elicit these things through love & trust, but snooping was his key to the world.

Rarely, but every now & then, i have panic attacks about him. There is nothing i have done that i have not told Sean or my dear friends, but his ability to demean and humiliate me in front of those that love and admire me is still feared. This, even though my friends and family have told me that, even during his best efforts to degrade me, they respected me.

Someday i will feel safe, despite his best efforts. I deserve to feel safe & confident, every day, for the rest of my life.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

just putting this here

me:  i had basically the most grotesque dream and i'm going to make you deal with it
i dreamt i was back in high school (which is grotesque on its own) and was living there
i woke up with blood all over me, it had come out of a huge gouge on my chin, and seeped out of the follicles of hair on my head
sean was finding me new clothes, and i met up with him and we went into a handicap washroom so i could clean up & put on my clothes
and while i was checking the mirror i noticed a hole on the bridge of my nose, and it kind of looked like there was something underneath it, like a zit or something
so, me being me, i squeezed
and out came a tablespoon blob of cool vaseline-like jelly that stung like acid or rubbing alcohol on a cut
but instead of emptying the hole, it made the hole bigger
and it spread down my nose until it split apart, bifurcated open on my face
showing my skull and sinuses and muscle tissue underneath
and i couldn't get it to stick together
so i started crying
and showed sean, and i thought we were both going to vomit, and i cried harder, and tried to get my nose to stick together & be normal again
it upset me so much i woke up and that was my start to day

ADDENDUM: i cannot get the image/sensation of the jelly & subsequent nose-split out of my head and it is BOTHERING ME.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

walkies & bye-byes in the car

spring term i chose... poorly. i mean this in terms of creating a schedule of classes & work, and in terms of structuring a study plan around these items. as a result of choosing poorly, i did poorly and had to have a meeting with both my advisor and the dean of my program. GOOD! TIMES! they were very supportive and helpful, and pointed out several options for the future and observations about the past.

i have been diagnosed with ADD-PI several times through my life, once you're diagnosed, for the purposes of school or work, you have a limited amount of time (usually about three years) that the diagnosis is valid. so, i got re-diagnosed (because ADD is well known for disappearing) last summer but never did anything about it. i figured, hey, if i know i have it i can compensate, right? i'm bright and motivated, that will surely be enough to compensate for a neurological disorder!

i wish text could drip sarcasm.

anyway, i've been having a really rough time of it since i began confronting this issue. i've cried a few times on sean's shoulder, and tried to ask a few friends with ADD about their experiences but haven't really gotten much--or really any--feedback. i feel like i can't talk to anyone who really understands about it. i've been reading Women With Attention Deficit Disorder: Embracing Disorganization at Home and in the Workplace lately and that's been a huge help in starting to look at my life and really see how ADD has affected me. still, it's not easy.

for example, i, unlike almost everyone else i know, have never owned a car. that's pretty unusual, and my cousins have commented on it. i generally brush it off by saying i don't want the hassle (true) and that making myself get around on foot & by public transit is a way of making myself get a bit of exercise (also true). however, a component i have never realized (or allowed myself to realize) is that i am afraid of having further responsibilities--especially financial ones that are due at particular times! i don't think i could manage having a car, making payments for insurance and the car itself, remembering to put in gas, remembering to get it looked at regularly (i can't even get to check-ups for myself, you think i'm going to remember to do that to an inanimate object? HA) and so on.

not owning a car has made me feel inadequate and immature, and i can't say that this revelation really helps. however, having a good book as a guide has helped me re-frame some of this. owning a car would be a huge source of stress for me, and it is really true that using the MBTA to get around helps get me out and active, and i find my ability to choose whether to walk half or all the way home really enjoyable and frequently relaxing. my walkies are a joy to me, and a great way for me to unwind.a car would help me get groceries more easily, and would make the nutrition aspect of self-care a little easier, but frankly getting a zipcar account would do the same thing with about a million times less stress.

i've begun realizing that this disorder, which i thought i compensated for, and that it didn't affect me, is something i have actually structured my life around in both positive and negative ways. i've created habits and ways of living that don't tax my weaknesses and done it entirely unconsciously. on the other hand, i've also maintained comfortably uncomfortable habits because i have been unconscious about the many ways ADD affects me, and if i become aware of them i can do something about them while still maintaining the good, less-stress habits like walkies galore.

i'm trying to write this out somewhere because i don't have someone i feel like i can talk to about this, and i realize with increasing certainty how painful shutting stuff up inside is. i can just spit this out and leave it here for myself--and maybe for someone else struggling with ADD or another complication in their lives as well. i also recently read Opening Up: The Healing Power of Expressing Emotions and found that quite useful as well. in that book i learned that prayer and diary-keeping, because they feel on an emotional level like confessing something to a close friend, are just as useful and therapeutic as a conversation. i'm trying to write more and keep less inside. i'm just kind of tired of maintaining a stressful and dishonest self-identity. it's fucking exhausting being someone i thought i should be when i was, like, twenty.

through this process, books (as always) are my BFF. my college boyfriend (who prided himself on his lack of "snobbery" ie. anti-intellectualism) used to tease me that i my only friends were books (this was especially hilarious as i had no friends at union while i dated him). you know what? they are my oldest friends and my most reliable. i've been reading book after book trying to find things that are reflecting my self and integrating new ideas into how i see myself and feel myself. hopefully after a dozen more tomes i won't feel quite so inadequate & immature.

in the meantime, today is a lovely day for walkies.