Friday, December 24, 2010

I Fucken Hate Xmas Music



Around Xmas, I'm usually a grumpus.

Well.

I guess I more extra grump than my usual run-of-the-mill grumpuslikeness, because if there's one thing in the world I hate more than Nickelback and grapefruit, it's hypocrisy.

And guess what? After dictionary.comming hypocrisy, as I am often wont to do because I cannot abide grammatical errors in real life and therefore cannot abide them on the blogosphere, this 'related searches' list came up:

Related Searches
Christian hypocrisy
Hypocrisy in history
Religious hypocrisy
Hypocrisy in religion
Types of hypocrisy
Quotes about hypocris...
Essay on hypocrisy
A writing on hypocris...
Hypocrisy poems
Hypocrisy affects peo...
Hypocrisy in church
Origin of hypocrisy

...are we noticing a trend here?

It is my personal belief that religion stems from anxieties surrounding love and death, and in this sense, I believe religion is a perfectly logical illogical way to resolve this issue.

What makes it illogical, other than the obvious hundreds-of-species-fitting-on-one-boat-and-not-killing-each-other types of things, is that what people take as the "inerrant word of God" is actually a translation of a translation of a translation of a translation that was edited by a bunch of dudes with clear social and political agendas.

People of color? Let's enslave 'em. (lol Ham seen Noah's weiner XD)
Women? All silence and subjection. (let's turn some bitches into salt)
Poor people? Fuck 'em. (no, srsly, sodom fell cuz of buttsecks...swear)
Animals? OM NOM NOM NOM (NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM)
Masturbation? KILLING BABIES (The expense of spirit in a waste of shame D:)

...this by no means is an exhaustive list.

What grinds my gears about Xmas music, and the holiday more generally, is that a hella ton of Xtians are all DERP A DERRRRR CONSUMER CAPITALIST GREED :D :D :D when Jeebus was faaaaairly explicit in his teachings re: Christian charity.

"You lack one thing; go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." (Mark 10:21)

Okay, I'll grant you that one need not give all worldly possessions to believe in the Christian god. But to systematically deny them basic human rights and dignities doesn't sound overly Christian to me, especially with the goddamn propaganda of right-wing thinktanks decrying people as 'unmotivated looking-for-handout' types without considering their OBSCENE amounts of privilege.

I think I am a little off-topic.

What also pisses the living shit outta me is this "Xmas" business.

KEEP THE CHRIST IN CHRISTMAS D: D: D: OR ELSE NO ONE WILL KNOW WHAT X STANDS FOR D:

MLLLRRRGGHHHH. 'X' HAS BEEN USED FOR FUCKEN SERIOUS EVER TO REPRESENT CHRIST. 'X' IS THE GREEK LETTER FOR CHI, FOR MOTHERFUCKLOVINSAKE.

What I am trying to convey here is that I fucking love Jesus. I think he is the bee's knees. He was a cool dude, and he stood for pretty much most of what I stand for today. It's his fucking followers that I can't stand, who take the Bible so wildly out of context that it makes my head full-on Exorcist twist.

50 points if you got that Buffy reference. I am going to stew in my impotent rage and sleep restlessly to gear up for round two of really awkward familial conversations in which I either surpress righteous feminist rage or get disowned.

Blooooop.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Straight-Up Laughed My Ass of for Twenty Minutes

I texted the question "Why is Nickelback allowed to exist?" to Cha Cha (242-242). Their reply:

"Because some people like it when their ears bleed from crappy music exposure."

I'm in love.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Fuck Capitalism, Too

mlllrghhffp.

Diagnosis: Fibromyalgia

Prognosis: In the US, terrible; if I go abroad, juuuuust fine.

I've been toying of late with the idea of living elsewhere for a couple years--to clear my head, to find myself, to really get at whatever the fuck is up with me. Last time, though, things didn't pan out so well--I did what I basically do at home all day, except with my social, emotional and financial support over three thousand miles away.

I've also toyed with the possibility of taking a semester off. It would be the most important semester, my graduating semester, that things would fuck up so bad, but maybe I'm being responsible for once in my life in admitting that I am not well enough to lose the safety net of college. When I lose this net, I lose my status as full-time student, which is to say that I lose my health benefits.

Benefits.

As in, not rights.

As in, a payment or gift for services rendered.

Because if you're not rendering services in the US, if you're not contributing to unfettered and unregulated free-market capitalism, you're goddamn useless.

The reality of my situation is that I cannot perform simple tasks. I cannot lift things, I cannot sit or stand for long periods of time, I cannot even bend my knees without feeling like my goddamn kneecaps are going to explode.

There goes the food industry, the service industry, and an office job as potential areas of underemployment for me.

Grad school would be an obvious and viable alternative, but if this past semester has taught me anything, it's that when I am severely depressed, or manic, or fibromyalgic, or whatever the fuck it is that I am, I cannot do anything. This, of course, is seen as laziness, as an unwillingness to work, as a blatant disregard of our capitalistic system.

It is seen as everything else but an illness.

Friday, December 10, 2010

I Felt a Funeral in My Brain

Head in the clouds, head in the sky--that is to say, high, though not chemically so. Agitated, mostly--forgetful, late, twitchy, bitchy, avoidant, searching--I'm losing it finally, I think, after all this time. I forget to eat, and if you knew me from how I was before, that was not something She (Me?) did. I was blue-tongued at my comp oral, for no other particular reason than to maintain my irreverent street cred. They asked their questions, unavoidable, and I skirted around most of what they were asking for. Pointed question, they'd ask, to which I'd respond star, circle, triangle, or, more precisely, not. I'd just not respond.

Eyebrows raised.

A pre-comp meeting today: more pointed questions, more confusion at my lack of coherence. Tread softly, because this girl is clearly not okay.

Take a few days, they say. Take a few days before you start narrowing your topic.

Narrow, yes. Too many things I'm trying to accomplish with this comp--four or five comps, to be precise. What is the central question, they ask--a legitimate one. Can I answer, though, on the spot, without crying? Not exactly. So I do not answer, I blink, I stare, blink once more. My eyeliner, it occurs to me, makes me doe-eyed, vulnerable, scared; all true things, but without, I could hide it better. Whatever IT is.

I've been reading Madness by Marya Hornbacher, author of Wasted, and as I read, I sit in abject horror. Is this what I will become? Bipolar runs in my family, courses through our veins, makes us mad, makes us invincible, but incapacitates. This is where I am now, and I am terrified. I always knew I was atypical, and maybe it's just the confluence of my life crashing down upon me that's finally making me crack, but the degree to which I am maddened by all these goddamn feelings makes me suspect that maybe, just maybe, I have inherited much more than anyone could have ever guessed.

Could not have happened at a more convenient time.

Monday, November 29, 2010

clear vision

Pretty much implied that I'm a drug addicted psychic cat lady in the intro of my comp:

"Whether it was the copious amounts of Mountain Dew I'd ingested, painkillers I'd popped like M&Ms, or the contented, soft purring of my kitty in my lap, I had a moment of clairvoyance where I decided that it doesn't have to be this way."

Goddammit.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Is it what we need, and will we ever succeed?



Omfgggg I drank too much Mountain Dew again. As in, I can actually hear the HFCS giving me diabeetus as I write this.

Meh.

So the whole reason I'm writing now is because I'm trying to comp and I'm all LALALALANOTCOMPING which is alarming since it's due on Monday, which means I will have to go to Staples on Sunday and get it bound so I can turn it in on time.

Coherent?

MOUNTAIN DEWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW

And I was just thinking today, or rather, have been thinking for quite some time now, that I don't have a future. Or not so much that I don't have a future, but that I have so many options for a future that Brain shuts down and says timeforanap. I shut down partially because I am overwhelmed by the amount of loans I have--pretty much every flavor under the sun. Could be that I'll pay $58,000 on a $9,000 private loan because the state of Ohio for some reason does not have their shit together. Unlikely, sure, but the fact that such an unfathomable sum is even in EXISTENCE freaks me the shit out--I live my life in fives and ones, so even twenty dollars makes me feel like I'm a fucken millionaire.

And then, I think, wow, it's really incredible that I even have an opportunity to be in this much debt. Because the truth is, I charge more money on a single cup of goddamn coffee to my credit card than some people in so called "third-world" countries make in a week.

This astounds me.

Frightens me.

Makes me want to crawl in a hole and die from all my goddamn privilege.

A good friend once told me (pretty recently, actually) that I can't and should not beat myself up for this, because it's totally counterproductive.

And she said a lot of other things that make sense, like usual.

It's nice to have friends that are so logical. Clear-headed, especially when I can't be.

Won't be.

I'm an atypical depressive, that's for damn sure, and I hate it, hate it so much sometimes, but in some ways--in a lot of ways--I'm really lucky and grateful for it.

Maybe the reason I feel like I don't have a future is because my future is other people. Other people like me, other people not like me, other people I love, hate, am ambivalent towards. Ghandi said to be the change you want to see in the world, but I think that's only half right. All well and good in theory, sure, but to really change the world, I think, you've got to realize that you can't change the world, that idealism is damaging, that monumental gains lead to inevitably monumental backlash. To "change the world," I would argue, would mean to leave an impression on someone's heart, however large or small, without expectations of "change" in return. Paradoxically, to change the world, we must stop trying to change the world.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Subversion

Fall, 2008; I get signed into a class that will change the course of my life.

Spring, 2009; Things fall apart. Hard.

Fall, 2009; I find my voice. Things come together.

Spring, 2010; I learn the hard way that you can't run away from your problems, not even thousands of miles away.

Fall, 2010; I hit instuitutional brick wall after brick wall after brick wall, becoming increasingly disillusioned with higher education's ability to effect real change in the world.

Everything here is interrelated; I don't believe in God and I don't believe in fate, but it's funny how the universe aligns in ways to bring you to places of extreme clairvoyance as well as disillusionment. Subversion is a topic much discussed in my English classes, especially regarding women; it was not until recently that I realized that subversion as an intellectual construct means nothing if it can't be applied to real life. A newfound friend presented to me an opportunity to enact subversion rather than discuss it--what follows is an excerpt from a senior comprehensive project in English:

It’s a question I get asked often, by family members, friends, coworkers, acquaintances—just what exactly do I plan on doing with English if not teaching high school? (Women’s Studies? Women’s…Studies? What do you need to go studying women for, you are one.) Sometimes I simply respond with law or grad school, but more often than not, I extol the virtues of an English education—critical thinking! analytical writing! the ability to historically contextualize! mad research skills!—and yet, as I look back on my experience as an English major, I feel an incredible and inescapable sense of disillusionment. And it’s not to say I don’t see the value in critical thinking, analytical writing, and all things particularly English; it is in these skills that I was able to find my voice as a thinker and writer.
I believe it was in my junior year that the culmination of my life experience converged with my academic training and I found my true voice; a voice, it just so happens, of an irreverent smart-ass. Being an irreverent smart-ass is integral to my identity as a feminist, a thinker, and a writer—it is the way that I cope with a world that is increasingly inhospitable to the egalitarian values I try to live by.
Because it was my life experience that sparked an interest in learning from and engaging with other feminists and academics before me, I feel—I know, rather—that my social location informs every facet of my being—the way I speak, think, and write—how I resist and exist. Through the difficult times in my life, I have turned to memoirs because I sincerely believe in the ability of personal narratives to transform and change lives; it seemed only fitting that I culminate my college experience with the memoirs women who had, in many ways, saved my life. Yet in talking to other Women’s Studies and English students, I realized that what I envisioned my project being did not fit into the categories of "poised and learned"—rather, it would be visceral and experiential. Because of this, and despite the better judgment of those two-comp compers before me, I decided to comp separately in Women’s Studies and English. This separation between “high art” and personal narrative is, at best, superficial and at worst, dangerous; I believe this is the crux of my critique of the English comp requirements. We need to begin living our lives in a place beyond intellect and into new ways of thinking about the world and our place within it, because theory will only carry us so far; we must learn to embrace experience—real, messy, complicated experience—if English majors are truly going to transform the world.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

It Could Be the Copious Amounts of Mountain Dew I've Ingested,



but I am freaking out. The recent gains (or losses, depending on how you look at it) of Republicans in the Senate & House have made me realize how tenuous my rights as a woman and human being are. Economic realities coupled with the fact that grad school wants me to have three years' relevant work experience suggest the very real possibility that I will be underemployed and uninsured in one year's time--an alarming prospect considering I already struggle with medical bills even though I'm "adequately" insured.

I think I might die, sometimes, and that frightens me.

I am heartened, though, that my response is fright and not passive acquiescence.

It means I still have a will to live, a will to fight.

Get ready, privileged bastards, because hell hath no fury like a woman denied healthcare because of a preexisting vagina.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Disheartening

Sigh. Is what I feel like.

Tired.
Drained.
Listless.

I want so badly for things to change--for myself, for my friends, for the world. I imagine a world with freedom to and freedom from and it's so beautiful it almost hurts. Does. It does hurt, because I see all that is wrong and I see that there are structures in places, insurances and assurances that it will never change.

And I don't know how to live in that world. This world.

I don't know how to navigate between my privileges and oppressions, I don't know how to end structural violences, and I don't believe that changing myself will change the world.

Not anymore.

It was naive of me to think I would change the world--it is naive of me to think I can change the American healthcare system and attitudes towards it.

What hurts the most, I think, isn't the outside opposition--nameless, faceless conservative values voters. It's the people I love and respect, the ones I regard so highly and try to model myself after, that are complicit within a system not conducive to feminist and egalitarian values.

Radical in theory, liberal in practice--this is the mantra I have to live by if I'm to survive.

I wish, I wish, I wish it wasn't this way.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Planned Parenthood Choice Essay Contest--An Excerpt


It was a Sunday that I was forwarded an email detailing this contest, and it wasn’t until today, Wednesday, that I really stopped to consider the question of why I’m pro choice. Question? Not a question so much as a reason. A journey, even—like most things intersectional, my presuppositions have constantly been challenged and I have to allow for fluidity while still holding onto my core values. I suppose it’s taken me this long to formulate my answer because I see choice as a given; it’s been an inherent right for the women of my generation, and I quite honestly take this right for granted most days, even in the face of those rights being slowly chipped away by the anti-abortion movement and its proponents. It is my own experience within academic feminism (granted, at an undergraduate level), there is a tendency to get so caught up in the overly theoretical that the real lived experiences of women, men, and gender queers fall by the wayside. I distinctly remember that upon claiming a feminist identity, a pro choice ideology was attached to it—not as an afterthought, but as a granted that I never gave much thought or consideration to. It actually wasn’t until my junior year that I took a seminar on Transnational Feminisms that challenged both the pro choice label as a granted as well as the limitedness of the choice/life binary.

I look back almost ashamedly on my reaction to having my junior seminar on Transnational Feminisms (there had been a faculty change, and I was under the impression we’d be learning about LGBTQQ studies). I had not the faintest interest in the texts as I poured over them in the college bookstore—nor had I the faintest idea of how much the texts and the class itself would transform, challenge and reinforce my feminist ideals and my views on abortion. We began the class with Andrea Smith’s Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide. Within her text, she deconstructs the life/choice binary; from interviews she conducted with American Indian women, she gleaned that although the sample of women overwhelmingly supported the right for women to have an abortion, they identified as “pro life.” This completely challenged my presuppositions about choice and life, but even then, I still had much difficulty in trying to define and put into words my philosophy about abortion. I began to read up on pro life feminism, and to my astonishment, I found Feminists for Life, a group whose philosophy is that “women deserve better,” and that as feminists, women should “refuse to choose.” Rhetorically, their philosophies are powerful, and to their credit, they do provide women with prenatal resources. However, there is much that is problematic: taking quotes from first-wave feminist thinkers like Mary Wollstonecraft and Susan B. Anthony out of context; ignoring the realities of class, race, ability, sexual orientation and identity; not respecting the rights of women to choose what happens to their bodies. I found that I was not satisfied with this organization’s brand of feminism; it too closely resembled the rhetoric of anti-feminists and the well-oiled anti-abortion machine.

Disillusioned with Feminists for Life, I turned to Jennifer Baumgardner’s Abortion and Life, a book based on her “I Had an Abortion” project. Baumgardner argues that it’s possible to be genuinely and actively pro life and still be a feminist, but not at the expense of denying other women agency over their own bodies and destinies. It is with this particular definition, I feel, that I identify; I am pro choice because I am pro life. I am pro people who are already alive who desire to have autonomy over their bodies; I am pro social programs that support women who do desire to have children, who otherwise would have an abortion out of economic necessity; I am pro healthcare as a human right; I am pro educating young people about the natural processes of their bodies; I am pro masturbation and sexual autonomy; I am pro adoption, gay or otherwise; I am pro birth control pill, condoms, rhythm method; ultimately, I am pro sexual freedom and bodily integrity (antirape). In essence, I am pro choice because I am pro women’s bodies, journeys, and freedoms.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Life in Ten

Assignment: Write furiously, for ten minutes only, about your life.


When I was born, I had been two weeks late—I was induced because I’m a jackass and I am on time for nothing. My mother was nineteen, on the edge of twenty, and my father was 30-something. 34? I don’t remember. I was loved when I was born, there’s a real advantage in that. My mother tells me that when I was being walked down the hall to get my weight or whatever it is they do with newborns, my father giggled the whole way down. Like all things, that was impermanent. He was a product of a shitty home life, which he was so generous as to bestow upon me in my early development. His father, in his sophomore year (I believe…) of high school, was sent overseas to fight in World War II. He was in some secret ops that was behind the storming of Normandy, and it is clear from the way he speaks about and in the things he doesn’t say that he was deeply affected—his entire class went, and maybe three returned. That does things to people. It did things to his children—my grandfather was not a good guy for the longest time. Abusive, mean, an alcoholic—this is my legacy. My father’s legacy. When she was five, my mother’s mom died of breast cancer at the tender age of 32 (I think…); growing up without that figure has affected my mother deeply, especially since my grandfather failed at a great many things. I was brought into a world that in so many ways was broken—though I suppose my birth was a band-aid of sorts; I have brought much joy into the world, probably the same amount of sorrow I’ve carried into it as well. So, yay balance? A childhood marked in insecurities, anxiety and pain—father’s suicide at the age of five, trips to rape crisis centers, holes in the wall before that, screaming, crying, attempted murder. All-around fuckupedness. Lot of repression. I carry this. I carry this every day; I’m not normal. I try. I try so hard. A long way I’ve come—at fifteen I tried to die, it got so bad. Everything was bad and no one was helping, no one was listening. It was a desperate time. I’m less desperate now, but it seems I surround myself with the unwell—I think I am trying to fix them. I am trying to fix all that I can’t or won’t fix in myself. It really kills me sometimes. But there is joy, too. Much happiness. Much learning. Allegheny saved me, I think. In a lot of ways. Time, too. Time heals most things, in my experience. Is heal the right word? Manageable. Time makes things manageable. If the personal is political, much of my personal is painful—the painful is political. Pain and politics. I think that’s what keeps me going when I want to give up again; I cling to anger and I cling to hate, and this is what keeps me fighting. Always fighting. A ceasefire would be dangerous to my health. It’s fortunate that I’m so stubborn sometimes; I realize that my experience is the result of so many intersecting forms of oppression, and if I give up, IT wins. Whatever IT is—I think it might be everything and it might be nothing. IT just IS. And here I am, I am not going anywhere. My life is a battlefield. I. Will. Fight. IT.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Fuck the Buddha, My Pain is Political (!)

That is offensive to an entire religion but I don't even care. How am I expected to take seriously a man of privilege who one day up and leaves his family, especially when, in the style of the Bible, he names his child Fetter because he weighs the Buddha down as an earthly burden? What in the flying FUCK?

Collectively, I have had only four class periods of Buddhism and Mindfulness, but I find myself resenting its teachings and fighting its philosophies every step of the way. Through the use of useless metaphors like onions and arrow removals, I am learning that we are nothing. Zip, nada. We're constantly changing and impermanent, la dee da I like to abandon my family because as a male I'm privileged enough to do so la dee da. I spent the entirety of middle school and high school thinking I was nothing, sir, and I am never going back to that, thankyouverylittle.


Another useless metaphor is used to explain that we have no identity. Oh but wait, our identity is fluid, like a river or other moving body of water! Cause we are impermanent, hurr derr. Naturally, however, we have our own personalities (?).

Ack. My emphatic disagreement on this front stems from the feminist philosophy on identity politics--that is, our personal identity, experiences and beliefs inform how we engage (or don't engage) socially and politically. And you know, I think it is all well and good to be personally enlightened or whatnot--you big slut, good for you!--but how in the HELL is personal enlightment going to help the socically, politically and economically disenfranchised? Compassion stems from personal well-being and inner peace, but if you're not working on an instituional level to bring about social change, that compassion is doing jack shit for the whole of humanity. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

I am all over the place here because I am tired, in pain, and extremely frustrated. And wouldn't you know, all my pain is stemming from my social location as female, lower middle class and young? Yet my pain (or suffering, as Buddhists call it) is entirely political--it gives me fire, the will to fight. Inner peace, I fear, would lead to complacency, and that is something that the rest of the world cannot afford. I may well die of stress-related diseases if whatever-the-fuck's-wrong-with-me doesn't kill me first, but goddamnit, I will go down fighting.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Patience

Right now, this is me:



I am a bezerk Megatron, bent on the destruction of everyone and everything that pisses me off. These days, that includes but is not limited to: people who support Pat Toomey, the Republican nominee for PA's third district who wants to drill [baby, drill] Lake Erie for oil JUST when it's starting to not look like complete shite; Lake Erie Dental, who still refuses to give me my crown to be cemented by another dentist on account of Sambuchino is a shady asshole who probably root canal'd the wrong tooth; "pro-life"rs who don't see murder of abortion providers as a conflict of ideology; family members who think it's perfectly okay that I'm in serious health care debt because otherwise, I'd become one of the "lazy, unmotivated, and looking for a handout" people they fear most (re: the poor and of color); and finally, Christians who have no concept of the bible as allegory nor of christ as a poor-loving, handout-giving socialist. All these people fill me with uncontrollable bezerk Megatron rage which can be ANYTHING but healthy. As children, we're taught patience is a virtue--as a uterus-haver, was and am still taught that patience is an eternally feminine quality. Naturally, this bezerk Megatron pisses me off as well.

Patience in and of itself isn't necessarily a bad thing; in fact, not flipping a shit over menial every day happenings is a pretty good way to avoid high blood pressure and serious stress-related illness later on in life. But the way in which we're socialized--girls specifically--to cling to the supposed righteousness of patience is complete and utter patriarchal bullshit. Statistically, women are far more prone to stress-related illnesses like Generalized Anxiety and mood disorders like Depression. Christ forbid I discount the biological, but the way in which girls are socialized to solve their problems--aka avoidance, repression, and anything else not direct and assertive--are obviously reflected in American social codes and mores.

Take my dentist, for example--bogart[t?]ing my crown despite several attempts on my part to get him to send it to a different dentist for over two weeks now because, according to the secretary, "he really doesn't want to do that." Now, can you EVEN IMAGINE that being done to middle-aged man, let alone someone who wielded a penis in general? I surely cannot. Despite calls I have made to my congresswoman, senator, District Attorney, insurance company and free legal services, I have yet to have an untemporary crown in my mouth.

Unnacceptable.

I have had this dental pain not two weeks after I had a cavity filled by Scambo, which happened to be on 23 December 2009. Oh, and the reasoning behind my decision to get crowned elsewhere? Lake Erie Dental is facing insurance fraud charges on at least 17 accounts relating to the quality of the crowns used in root canals. Apparently, this douchebag is using substandard materials while charging primo bucks for top-of-the-line porcelain. Oh, and my favorite part? Upon examination by a different, markedly less shady dentist, it turns out that the tooth right behind the one that was root canal'd--the one that had been bothering me all throughout my duration in the UK--needs canal'd. It is my belief that Scambo extracted the wrong tooth in the hopes of making more money--which, according to consumer reports I've read online, has happened to more than just me.

In light of all that's happened, I've decided to be less patient when dealing with those that piss me off. It's a fine line to walk, I suppose, because I can be a bit of an incendiary individual; however, I'm not going to take other people's shit lying down anymore. Where I once was polite with the Lake Erie Dental staff, I refuse to be any longer--those bastards had a hand in this and they just don't deserve my patience. Especially not after seven months of pain, six weeks of permanenent crownlessness, and countless hours of phone calls, transfers, and being on hold.

I've had it with this motherfucking patience with this motherfucking dentist.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Feminists for Life: Refuse to Choose?


In the time of my life before Andrea Smith's Conquest and Jennifer Baumgardner's Abortion and Life, I was one of those 'Against abortion? Then don't have one' bumper sticker-havers that was INYOFACE about my prochoicenss. I've mellowed some since then--to the extent that I'm willing to have a civil conversation or only slightly heated Facebook debate about the issue of life v choice. But really, life v choice isn't what's at hand here--at least not in its traditional political sense. No, what's at stake is the bodies of women--itself a random happenstance of biology--bodily integrity itself. I went through their site and Youtubed their videos, coming to the conclusion that it's about fifty-fifty for trite and legitimacy. Italicized are direct quotes from their official Youtube channel; below are my comments.

Abortion is a reflection that we have not met the needs of women.

Acutally, I absolutely agree. Abortion is a product of social problems, NOT the cause. American women face systematic discrimination in terms of birth control; anti-choice pharmacists are not held accountable for "running out" of contraception, nor are birth control methods easily accessible or affordable. Though I don't get the vibe that the Fems4Lyf were going quite in this direction with the quote, but adoption is often not a viable choice for women--prenatal care is hella expensive (just like any other health care in America without upper midde class insurance), and legal action can be taken against women who give up their babies to adoption if they do not have regular check ups. Bull. Shit. This is where CPCs, or "crisis" pregnancy centers (I use the quotes ironically because I do not believe a natural process of women's bodies constitutes an emergency) come in handy, because they do indeed provide women with care, physically and otherwise. My beef with them, however, comes in that they deliberately lie and give women misinformation about abortion, usually from studies done circa the 1970s that have since been disproven several times over (abortion does NOT cause breast cancer. SERIOUSLY. STOP.).

Almost half of all abortions are performed on college-age women.

I technically can neither affirm nor disprove this as they fail to cite their source, but considering that a lack of citation often denotes a crock o' opinionated-rather-than-factually-based bullshit, I'm gonna just go ahead and say women from all walks of life choose abortion. AND THAT MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT AND OTHER FIRST-WAVE FEMINISTS WERE NOT NECESSARILY PRO-LIFE, AS SUCH A POLITICAL CONCEPT DID NOT EXIST DURING THEIR TIME. Plz to stop decontextualizing history to put cherries in yer bowl of non-argument. Kthnxbai.

Without housing, daycare, or maternity coverage, it doesn't feel like I have much of a choice.

Again, I absolutely agree. So what are Feminists for Life as an organization doing to aid women who desire to keep their children? To tell you the truth, I have no idea--their website tells me jack doo except how to purchase bumper stickers and other "covetable stuff." And no, I didn't make the "covetable stuff" part up, they legit have a trademark symbol after it. [Barf.] I can find out how to book speakers--woo hoo! That will solve the problem of the feminization of poverty and the myth of everyone being middle class!

Women deserve better.

You know what? Women do deserve better. They deserve not to be lied to; they deserve health without wealth*; they deserve the right to move within public space wearing whatever they damn well please without threats to their bodily integrity. Most of all, they deserve to be heard--our stories and lives are personally and politically valid, and whether we self-identify as feminist, pro choice or pro life, we deserve a space to be heard. It is only through honest and open discussion that these contentious topics are resolved. And you know, I'm not even sure if that's the right word, resolved...come to terms, perhaps? In current polical framing, I'm pro choice, but within my own conceptions of the implications of abortion, I feel I'm pro life--I'm pro people who are already alive and are struggling to be seen, heard and validated in a society that so belittles them socially and politically. I'm pro universal healthcare and pro public funds for education beyond high schoool, because the most effective way to prevent poverty is through health and education. Most of all, I'm pro choice in the most literal sense of the word: "preferential determination between things proposed; selection, election (OED choice n.1a)."

*In the sense that health is a human right and you shouldn't have to take wealth to have access to basic services. Didn't want to muck up that alliterative brilliance with this explanation. :)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Bewbz and Brahz

Fun fact: something like 90% of American women are wearing the wrong bra size.

Quick poll: who cares?

A couple years ago, that would have been a resounding "Not I." I had smaller, proportional breasts that didn't call unwanted attention to myself**, and besides that, I wore nothing more revealing than parka-esque tee shirts. But wouldn't you know, boobs grow 'till your early twenties.

Ass. Hole.

The star star I put re: not wanting to call attention to myself is something that, as a cisgendered female feminist (mouthful, lawl), I have strugged quite a bit with. I personally prefer to have smaller breasts because a) they're a fucken nuisance when you're trying to lay on your stomach to read and b) I HATE having attention drawn to my body for any reason. Unfortunately, being that the UK is epically less humid than the US, this summer has hit me like a shit ton of bricks, forcing me to bust out the dreaded tank top. And I'm using 'bust out' in the most literal sense.

Since I have copious amounts of free time, I thought a lot on this bust and outing. I felt oh so enlightened because I now knew what it was like on the other side--boobage spilling out of regularly cut v necks and, well, everything else in my summer wardrobe that isn't a tee shirt. As of this writing, the ladies are spilling out of this cute little grey dress I just purchased; I'm not deterred from wearing it because of this fact, but I am hyperaware of how people perceive me as I walk through public (re: not for women) space.

Am I sending the wrong message?

Does this make me look like a slut?


Maybe not everyone has these feelings, and perhaps I'm just hyperaware because it's not something I've ever had to deal with. But I know from professional dealings that large breasted friends of mine have experienced that the realms of boobs and professionalism are mutually exclusive. Which is fucking ridiculous, because boobs are pouches of fat that contain ducts to feed infants.

THERE IS NOTHING SEXY ABOUT EDIBLE POUCHES OF DUCT.

I would love it if I could one day live in a world where women wouldn't get harassed in the street or fired for work "unprofessionalism" on account of biology.

And don't even get me started on the breastfeeding in public "controversy."

Friday, July 2, 2010

Inexplicable Self


I awoke this morning feeling not like P. Diddy, but myself. The self I have always wanted to be and the self that I am sometimes, the self I want others to know and love and the self that all too often is lost in translation. The self I'm describing is just that; it's me. Perhaps this is a convoluted explanation, but for me, waking up feeling like me again is a BFD (big fucken deal).

My last few posts feel very 10th grade emo throwback to me, so I just wanted to quick update that I'm feeling like myself again and I know I continue to be myself again with a little help from my friends. Whom I love and hold so very dearly. =D

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Proz[ac] n' Conz

It wasn't supposed to be this way.

3,000 miles from ED, depression, academic pressure, everything and everyone I knew.

It was supposed to be a break.

Turns out, no amount of miles can save you from yourself. It's a myth, you know; they tell you that new places and new faces are a fresh start. They'e not. You're just more alone than ever because you don't have the same faces to feel lonely with.

And now, a passage from Elizabeth Wurtzel's "Prozac Nation:"

The brief relief of seeing other people when I leave my room turns into a desperate need to be alone, and then being alone turns into a terrible fear that I will have no friends, I will be alone in this world and in my life. ... I thought it was all going to stop at Harvard. I thought it was just a matter of getting away from the physical site of so much of my depression. Instead it was even worse.

But was it really that much worse? I can certainly attest that having a break from my life was something I needed at that point, but was the break needed from myself or from other people? Sometimes I feel so oppressed by the people around me that I can't breathe, yet it is these selfsame people I cling to in the hopes that they'll love me and never leave me.

Some days I feel I'm completely off my rocker, and other days I am fine--dandy, even. I guess I thought that going to a foreign country for five months would automatically transform me, and that I wouldn't have to do any work to fix whatever it is that's wrong with me. I've stopped the Prozac, it never seemed to help much anyway. The only real affect I feel thus far is that I am much more animated, more uppity and pissoffable.

I'm a work in progress, and I just hope that I haven't used up all my chances of really fitting into a community.



Also I think I've lost my blogging edge from the entire lack of Allegheny College-level writing for the past six months. D:

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Hate the Game, Not the Player

Been reconsidering my hatred of Snow White of late, and have decided to hate the movie itself instead of the character. After all, what kind of feminist would I be if I hated a woman who had no other choice but to be stupid, defenseless and vapid if that's what she was created to be?

As of this writing, I am on chapter two of Naomi Wolf's The Beauty Myth entitled "Culture." Only about two pages in, but thus far I have learned some and reconsidered much; like my friend Kirsten has attempted to tell me time and time again, my hatred of her is unreasonable. Wolf discusses the tradition of beauty in the novels of women writers, often citing the characters of Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte to prove her point. "Women's writing," Wolf argues, "is full to the point f heartbreak with the injustices doe by beauty--its presence as well as its absence" (60). The tradition as Wolf describes it pits beauties against the "subtle": vapid Jane Fairfax against Emma in Austen's Emma; frivolous, blond Rosamond Vincy against "nun-like" Dorothea Casaubon in George Elliot's Middlemrch; "remarkably pretty" Isabella Crawford against self-effacing Fanny Price in Austen's Mansfield Park; fashionable, soulless Isabella Thorpe against Catherine Morland, unsure of herself "where the beauty of her own sex is concerned" in Austen's Northanger Abbey; the prodigious cleavage of Blanche Ingram against Jane's spirited personality in Bronte's Jane Eyre (list borrowed from page 60 of the 1991 version of The Beauty Myth).

Wolf goes on to discuss the socialization of young Western children via the myths of Pandora and Prometheus, which now comes in comic-book form for third grade American children:

It teaches that a great man risks all for intellectual daring, for progress and for the public good. But as a future woman, the little girl learns that the most beautiful woman in the world was man-made, and that her intellectual daring brougt the first sickness and death onto men. (61)


Exhibit A: Intellectual daring: ur doin it wrong

I'm grateful to have been born in the time period I did, because I don't think I could fucking handle this bitch being my Disney idol. I grew up idolizing Belle, Ariel, Pocahontas and Jasmine--all having their faults, sure (chief of which being the unlikelihood that they'd survive with a three inch waist), but ultimately these women followed their hearts and PERSUED things rather than sitting docilely, waiting for a penis to solve all their problems. Wolf mentions a female character fro Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles, but since I've never read it I'll just cut to the chase: a girl learns that stories happen to "beautiful" women, whether they are interesting of not. Case in point:


Exhibit B: Do you wanna share my apple pie?

Wolf goes on to say that "interesting or not, stories do not happen to women who are not 'beautiful'" (61). Jane Eyre and a few choice others aside, she's right--even the women of Disney who are motivated go-getters are ALWAYS attractive (which is how you can differentiate them from the villainous women, because nine times out of ten they're wearing a hell of a lot of purple eyeshadow). We've finally got our first black princess, which I was stoked about and I loved the movie, but we're still a long way--she's very light and has mostly caucasian features. Oh, and heterosexual, but I don't see that changing any time soon.

If it were up to me, and it's not, I'd revamp the entire Disney franchise by empowering women to be single or to be in relationships, be they hetero or queer, and mix n' match princes and princesses of different races. Oh my GOD, would I freak patriarchal social conservatives the fuck out.


Exhibit C: OMGWTFBBQ

Monday, May 31, 2010

An Excerpt from My WS 580 Final Paper

I should preface this by saying that I finished the bulk of this in a 36-hour no-sleep marathon in the library with Sarah. Not necessarily because I'm a procrastinating asshole (which, admittedly, was part of the problem) but because my other English junior seminar paper consumed my entire finals life. What I'm posting is basically just my intro, which ended up being four pages because a) I needed to take up space and b) I like talking about myself. Enjoy!


It’s funny.

Sitting here in the library, over caffeinated, sleep-deprived and futile in my attempts to write an eloquent introduction, I think about all the ways I shouldn’t, by most logical standards, be here. A product of the multiple oppressions of gender, class and ability, I have experienced my fair share and more of the cold, harsh reality of living in a white supremacist, capitalist patriarchy. Having never really had a sense of security in my formative years, I spent a great deal of my adolescence alienated from my peers, depressed and anxious, always searching for something I could never quite put a name to. Fast-forward some odd years, and I’ve matriculated into high school—I’ve got a fairly stable social life, and I flourish academically. Yet there was always that oppressive sadness and knowledge that I was very different from my peers. At the risk of over-sharing, when I said that by most logical standards I shouldn’t be here, I also meant that in my sophomore year of high school, I attempted suicide. I had been in therapy for about a year with the childhood psychologist I seen when my father died when I finally decided that I couldn’t go on like I had been for a good portion of my life, just going through the motions and doing my best to live up to the standards others set for me.

To this day, I have never forgotten the moments leading up to my decision to end my life—I haven’t forgotten them because they were something I have felt ever since I can remember. All the therapy, mood-altering drugs, friendships and familial support in the world couldn’t help me at that low point in my life. I had meticulously kept journals from that year in an attempt to better understand what it was exactly that lead me to the point of no return, and what I realize now that I didn’t know then is that there are an inordinate and unfortunate amount of people who have suffered and continue to suffer from the same systems of oppression that I do. Though I was chock-full of experience, I had no means to articulate them constructively to better understand myself. My introduction to feminism and feminist theory has quite honestly and literally been life-saving for me. Because it was my life experience that sparked an interest in learning from and engaging with other feminists before me, I feel—I know, rather—that my social location informs every facet of my being—the way I speak, think, and write—how I resist and exist. Though I will fully admit I’m biased in my cracker-ass whiteness and fondness for the sixties and seventies (feminist movements and otherwise), I disagree with the current shift of feminist theory from identity politics to politics of difference and decolonized solidarity.

Over the course of the semester, my thoughts, opinions and preconceptions have been constantly challenged by theories of so-called “third world” feminist thinkers. Be it general disinterest in things not directly related to my existence or unwillingness to open myself up to any additional feminist heartaches , I hadn’t the remotest interest in transnational feminisms pre-WOMST 580. Yet because of the way I have been constantly bombarded with my own complicity in the white capitalist patriarchy and have been forced to reflect upon and challenge my own dearly held feminist ideals, I don’t know that I’ve ever been as sincere, devoted or grounded in my feminist beliefs as I am because of this class. Though I continue to struggle on several levels with the transnational feminist paradigms of understanding and challenging the multiple systems of oppression, I know that it is helping me to construct a much more fluid feminist identity that will grow and evolve as I further my education and life experience under white capitalist patriarchy.

Despite my belief that having my entire world flip-turned upside-down strengthened my commitment to a feminist agenda and politic, my engagement (or lack thereof) left something to be desired with some of the theorist’s use of language. As an English major, I’m all for subversive use of language and reclaiming one’s own identity through a particular word or style of writing, but when it becomes inaccessible even to students of feminist theory, I’d argue that it’s gone too far. For all the talk of decolonizing theory and practicing solidarity, I saw almost no attempt on the part of Chandra Talpade Mohanty to actualize her theories. For the life of me, I cannot understand why someone supposedly so committed to the cause of “third world” women would write in such a way that the women themselves wouldn’t understand (plus there’s the whole issue of being published within academia’s masculinized publishing frameworks that are a part of the systematic oppression of everyone who is not a white heterosexual mid-to-upper class male).

Because I tend to lean towards the tangential when it comes to things I disagree with, for the purposes of this essay I’m going to specifically focus on the works of Mohanty and the theorists that she draws upon. I realize that this limits the scope of my essay in several ways, but Mohanty’s work was the one I reacted the most strongly to and rather than just dismiss her as just another full-of-herself academic diva, I’d like to really engage with her theories and understand why it is that I’m so drawn to and opposed to her style of writing and why I resist some aspects of her theory. As a brief overview, I’m going to begin with an overview of the state of feminism in the nineties, followed by my own personal views on the state of feminism now and the direction I see it going in. Then I’ll be discussing an article of Mohanty’s that centers around identity politics, in addition to her engagement with her contemporaries, and vice versa. Finally, I’d like to propose some activist applications of theory in addition to reclaiming the politics of identity and experience as inherent steps to the path of feminist theory.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Shit List Revisited: Chad Kroeger

Exhibit A: In 2007, USA Today reported that "few bands inspire such intense hatred as Nickelback."

Well played, USA Today. Well played.

Exhibit B: In 2010, membership in a Facebook group entitled "Can this pickle get more fans than Nickleback?" rose to 1.5 million Facebook fans. The pickle did indeed garner more support, adulation and fandom than the group itself.

Exhibit C: When posited the question, "Have we got any Nickelback fans in Portugal?," Kroeger's noggin was met with the wrath of a thousand pissed off Portuguese plus a rock.

Exhibit D:

Friday, May 28, 2010

Girl Power

I am unashamedly and unabashedly a fan of the Spice Girls. Prefeminist prepubescent me soaked up that commercialized message of Girl Power (!) like you wouldn't believe. I had the dolls (two of them, anyway), the unofficial fan books, the purse, mini figurines, diary (complete with the inscription 'if you're anyone other than my family, GET OUT!' and their cassette tape (side note: I fucken miss those tapes).

'Course now I realize that 'strength and courage and wonderbra' doesn't have the most enlightening feminist message; still, their message of female empowerment really spoke to the alienated, awkward and friendless me and inspired me to aspire to things greater than marriage and motherhood (side note: not knocking these, just was never sure they were for me). I also refused to wear anything other than platform shoes, which lead to foot problems...but that's a different story.

I've been considering the evolution of feminist consciousness throughout my life (not to be confused with the evolution of dance: similar, but less gyrating) as I've been considering senior comp topics for next spring. I've also been reading some old-school (read: 90s) feminist texts, and Susan J. Douglas' Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female with the Mass Media has enriched my understanding of self as it relates to popular culture and society, not to mention legitimizing my vitriolic hatred of the "Be passive, be dumb, be a martyr, keep your mouth shut, and learn how to make Spam-and-Velveeta croquettes" ethos of the 50s (quote taken from Where the Girls Are).

In chapter entitled "Why the Shirelles Mattered," Douglas discusses at length girl groups I have never heard of, excepting The Supremes. I guess I probably would have appreciated the chapter more if I had any fucken idea who she was talking about, but one quote in particular stood out to me: "Girl group music gave us an unprecedented opportunity to try on different, often conflicting, personas." Douglas really hits the nail on the head here, which transcends the thirty-plus year difference between [insert band I've never heard of] and The Spice Girls, TLC, Salt-N-Pepa, SWV and Destiny's Child. These women walked the line between hypersexuality and propriety, commodification and conquering, exploitation and empowerment much like women in America and other developed countries today troll the lines of double-standards. Which is bullshit, I'll grant you, but at least there are women in the entertainment industry who can be agents of change and social progress while still being gorgeous, silly and sexy.

Future post: going gaga for GaGa.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

You're Never as Alone as You Feel You Are; or, A Lesson in Blogger Creepin'

It's funny.

What should have been a six-month period of adventure and self-discovery turned out to be a drastic reclusion (pretty sure I just made that word up) into myself; my anxiety, my self-loathing, my apathy, my complete and utter untogetherness.

(I guess it's only funny if you appreciate self-deprecating ironic humor.)

A series of events brought me here, spurred upon by my genetics, family history, and penchance for angsty dispositions--a complete and utter desire to remove me from myself in order to gain some much-needed perspective. Perspective did I gain, and in my typical perspective-getting state: fatigued, lonely, bored, longing.

(Apologies for ineloquence; it is four in the morning and my body is tired but my mind cannot rest until it is satisfactorily purged goddamn I sound pretentious.)

Per the creation of this post, I am maddeningly convinced that doing two separate comps is a good idea, as I want the opportunity to focus solely on a topic that has and continues to plague my existence: mental illness. More specifically, women and illness, and how it gets pathologized and even romanticized as a kind of creative rite of passage. Sexton, Plath, Dickens--all tortured and brilliant and tragic. Wurtzel, Baumgardner and Hornbacher--these women have saved my life; they continue to save lives--their stories are my story, their pain is tangible, their message unwavering: you are never as alone as you feel you are.

Through some recent and inadvertent creeping, I came upon the blog of someone I'm acquainted with who struggles with illness and disorder. My heart eagerly devoured her every word, and if I ever have the chance I'll write brave and inspiring on her arms.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

In Light of the Arizona Immigration Law SB1070

Leviticus 19:33-34

33 'When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him.
34 The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Irreverence


I'll admit that I'm just about the last person in the world to be criticizing the incivility of political discourses--pretty much, I'm one of those people that uses the old "I hate Republicans" line as a valid argument against conservative social policy.

Is this wrong? Absolutely.

Do I care? Ehh.

My experiences abroad have only reinforced my stances on "controversial" (I hate that word) issues like gay marriage, abortion and health care--fairly unapologetically. Brits I've talked to don't understand--like, literally, they fucking don't comprehend--how the US, being as world powery as we are, does not provide a public health care option for its citizens. And abortion? Well, it's better to nip that shit in the bud rather than burden taxpayers with even more unwanted children.

And see? The previous sentence, what with the nipping of buds (come to think of it, is the word I'm looking for 'butt?' I'd always thought it was bud, but that doesn't seem to make sense...) and children as economic liabilities/burdens, it's no wonder I attempt to block this blog from family members and my more conservative friends. I speak to them in a different way, a more respectful and civil way (or attempt to, at least)--but after a well-thought and well-articulated argument is rebutted by "ZOMG IT'S MURDER," I feel I have to blog in my real life voice or else I'd go batshit crazy. Writing is how I deal; I choose to blog rather than journal because yes, I DO want people to read this and engage with me.

I fucking want attention and space to be heard in. 'Cause nice little girls, they're seen and not heard...well, fuck that. I'm going to swear and be irreverent and blog about uncomfortable topics because that's who I am.

Yet, there's a kind of hypocrisy in this, as I expect others to cater to MY beliefs when they constantly bombard my Facebook news feed with biblical quotes along the lines of "'Women are inferior and should be subjugated as such' --God."

If everyone would just think in a socially progressive way like I do, I wouldn't be in this dilemma. :(

Then again, I guess I'd have nothing to sing about...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

all in all is all we all are


Creeper mode has been on extreme lately, and I've stumbled upon quite a lot of blogs I didn't know existed. What's particularly interesting for me is that I'm not as alone as I often feel I am in my anxieties and insecurities, nor am I alone in putting on a certain face so as not to worry friends, family, coworkers or perfect strangers.

I guess what I'm saying is, I don't know people as well as I think I do--but I know exactly how they feel and I wish I could reach out to them in real life how they've reach out to me via the interwebs.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

In Transition

Per my last blog, it's become wildly apparent to me that my life is a series of identity crises. I feel like I'm always defining myself and being defined by the actions of others, and what's really made me so homesick lately is that I don't have people to be defined by here.

So here I am, in transition, trying to figure out who the hell I am and coming to terms with who I've been.

It's scary, it's exciting, and it's happening right now. I'm looking forward to the person I'm becoming.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

nothing to win and nothing left to lose


Holy fucking balls am I homesick.

Been thinking a lot about my motivation to come here in the first place, and have deduced it's because of my family. Two-foldly: firstly, to make them proud; secondly, to prove that I'm not my father. Turns out, your problems remain the same despite geographical relocation. Bollocks.

I feel I've wasted time and resources on several fronts. It's true that I've learned some, seen sights and absorbed culture. Hell, I even asked a German boy to dance at a traditional Scottish ceilidh.

I've been in a pretty consistent rut and I don't know what the fuck to do about it.