Screw Homework…Blog Instead.

I am procrastinating, again. I should be doing any number of things. Meteorology homework (which sounds infinitely more awesome than it actually is), trying to make sense of the Church of My Childhood and its treatment of women, reading Steinbeck, watching The Glass Menagerie and writing about how weird it is (I feel like it’s one of those classics that remains a classic merely because we say it is), or even napping.

Nap sounds great. I’ve been awake all of 2.5 hours. 80 mg of caffeine have yet to transform into toothpicks to prop open my eyelids. I blame my meds for my drowsiness, but I think my high-stress lifestyle makes my brain and body perpetually yearn for a break.

Jennifer’s brother is getting married in six days. We’ve been attempting helpfulness, with little result. It will be interesting to see how everything comes together. I’ll get to meet Jennifer’s parents, and his youngest brother. I will then have officially met the immediate family entire. All 7+Jennifer of them. We’re not sure where Jennifer’s brother and sister-in-law-to-be are going to live. Jennifer’s family is lobbying for them to move in with Jennifer. He needs their rent money to help with the mortgage. The Bride wants to move in with her mother, and Groom doesn’t like to stir up contention.

Jennifer and I talked about the possibility of me moving in, depending on what happens with his brother. Last time I moved in with my best friend, it became the end of an 8-year adventure. Jennifer watched us crash and burn from the sidelines, and helped me pick up the pieces of myself when my roommate/former best friend decided I should move out. Jennifer and I don’t want that story to repeat itself. But he needs a roommate if his brother doesn’t stay here, and I stay here more than I stay at my own place. We’ll see what happens. There are more conversations to have before we reach a decision.

Jennifer and I sojourned up to the City this past week to have lunch with a professor. We went to local bar where I ate a wrap, Jennifer ate a burger, and our professor had a salad. Jennifer and I were pleasantly surprised with how relaxed we were while hanging out with this professor, with whom we have become good friends. We’re normally very anxious people.

I have managed to gain upwards of 30 pounds this summer–a situation that is lamentable insofar as it requires me to acquire new clothes. My already-short-and-stocky body is hard enough to clothe as it is. And I leave each store in a depressed and somewhat-emotional state. Until I remember that it could be worse. “First world” problems, I think they call them. Whoever “they” is.

Being in the middle of wedding planning has made me think about whether or not I’ll ever get married. Less thinking about the to-whom portion of that equation, and more of the where and what it will look like. My upbringing made manifest, right there. Being raised in a culture that inundates girls from a young age with the teachings that their worth is predicated on their ability to marry a certain type of man and bear him children results in wedding planning beginning sometime around age 7. At least, that’s how it was in my neighborhood. I’ve got my colors planned out. My menu. Lighting. Playlist. Dancing. Seating arrangements. Multiple venue options. Flowers. Other decorations. I can’t focus on my homework because I’m too busy planning an imaginary wedding.

And on that note, I should probably get some fuel in my system. Maybe that will help me wake up…

Bye for now.

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Thoughts on Ecofeminism…

So…I was required to define “woman” for my gender studies class, this past spring. I had a very difficult time with this definition. Maybe I’ll post it for you, later. Anyway. I have a difficult time defining “woman,” and an even more difficult time with tenets of thought that promote gender essentialism.

Enter ecofeminism, stage left.

I took a literature by women class (can I tell you how infuriating it is to have to take a class like this, because studying literature written by women is not common practice elsewhere?!!?!) during this past spring semester. Woot. We had a unit on ecofeminism, which is a branch? of feminism that I have a difficult time with. I dislike the notion that I am somehow more connected to the earth because I have a uterus. I read a book entitled Refuge by Terry Tempest Williams last fall. She’s an ecofeminist who, in her book, illustrated the ties between her dying mother and local weather phenomena/local treatment of the land. It was a moving narrative. Nevertheless, I still don’t think I’m more in touch with the “natural world” because I have a uterus. (Will I stop being in touch with said world if I get a hysterectomy? Is a woman without a uterus no longer a woman?)

However, I’ve become more inclined to agree with ecofeminists on a few things, over the past few months.

Intersectionality. The idea that systems of oppression cross over and affect people in certain “categories” more than others. For example: while a white heterosexual cisgendered upper class able bodied woman is going to experience oppression for being a woman, her experience is with one particular system. Conversely, a person of color who is queer, a transwoman, impoverished, and differently abled experiences multiple systems of oppression at once. The idea of intersectionality is that the second individual cannot be free from oppression merely by championing the causes of feminism. Rather, all of the systems of oppression must be eradicated in order for freedom to be possible. Different systems of oppression rely on one another. Thus, feminism should be concerned not just about the plight of women, but the plight of queer people, non-cisgendered people, people of color, poor people, differently-abled people, and so on.

Ecofeminism argues that the way we treat the environment intersects with how we treat other people. And until we learn to treat our world with respect, and to not act as though we dominate non-human lifeforms, as though our wants are superior to the needs of other organisms–until we learn to rectify the way in which we interact with the world around us, we cannot fully be free of racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, povery, ableism, and other institutions of oppression. I’m starting to agree.

I think the same culture that teaches little boys that they have dominion over women teaches them that they have dominion over the world around them. The same culture that teaches men that it is okay to ignore a sex partner when they aren’t consenting and go ahead because their satisfaction is the most important also teaches them that it is acceptable to raze the land and build shopping malls or suburbs. And the same culture that teaches men to solve their problems with aggression and physical violence because it’s “manly” also teaches them to kill for sport.

Intersectionality.

*cogs in the brain clicking into place*

Cleansing.

All I used to care about was being pretty. I work hard in school because school feels like sanctuary. I work hard at my job because it feels good to see how Jennifer and I can transform a building in a few hours, with the help of some garbage bags and some multi-purpose cleaners. I work hard to keep my relationships strong because I don’t know how to give any less than everything to the people I love. But, despite these things, it has been the case for many years that I am unhappy–and I trace that unhappiness back to a desire to be pretty. I have always struggled with my self-image. I have gone from pill-popping to cutting to bingeing, trying to find ways to drown out my brain as it screams “YOU’LL NEVER BE PRETTY!” I have let people treat me unkindly because I felt that I somehow deserved it. I have begged for their forgiveness after they have hurt me, because all I wanted was for someone to think that I am pretty.

Of course, wanting to be pretty is the form that a much larger problem has taken. But, that is a story for another time.

I decided, a handful of months ago, that I was done obsessing with pretty. That what I needed was to like — and maybe, one day, love — myself, as is. I stopped wearing makeup all the time. I embraced my naturally-frizzy hair. I wore clothes that felt comfortable, which meant a lot of black t-shirts. I looked at myself. I started to learn what I look like, what I feel like, and I started to fall in love.

Hooray! During this time, I also gained a LOT (try…50-ish pounds) of weight. And I didn’t really notice, because I was busy loving my body. I stopped talking and thinking in negative terms about my body, and that included not obsessing over how much I weighed. I didn’t realize how much weight I had gained until a few days ago.

So, then, I found myself at an impasse. I had stopped worrying about what I was eating, how active I was being, how much I weighed, what my pants size was, because I had associated those things with all the rest of the negative talk about my body. But these were things that needed to be addressed–not because smaller numbers would equal beauty, but because regardless of what those numbers were (are) I was (am) unhealthy.

And that needed to change.

So, yesterday, I went grocery shopping. Bought good food. Today, I worked out for the first time in almost nine months. I am sticky and sweaty, but I am strangely happy.

I am learning to adopt good habits for my physical betterment. And I am doing them not because they will make me pretty, but because they will make me healthy. And even if I end up not losing weight, I want to know that my lifestyle is beneficial to my physical and mental health.

So, I am cleansing. I have surprised myself with how beneficial purging my mind of negative-self-talk has been to my self-image. I am now purging my lifestyle of negative habits that have been detrimental to my health, thus far. I am replacing them with positive habits, like I replaced my negative-self-talk with the positive type.

Because cleansing is less about washing off the badness and more about nourishment and goodness.

Here goes…

Tattoo.

Words I would have permanently etched into my skin:

receive truth: let it come from whence it may (joseph smith)

sweet dreams and flying machines (james taylor)

so it goes (kurt vonnegut)

give in to love or live in fear (jonathan larson)

aggression begets aggression (ani difranco)

the glory of god is intelligence, or light and truth (doctrine and covenants 93:36)

this “real,” it’s impossible…if possible (silversun pickups)

let’s unwrite these pages and replace them with our own words (rise against)

i never learned to count my blessings; i choose instead to dwell in my disasters (ray lamontagne)

it’s the hurt i hide that fuels the fire inside me (ray lamontagne)

Defenseless under the night

Our world in stupor lies;

Yet, dotted everywhere,

Ironic points of light

Flash out wherever the Just

Exchange their messages:

May I, composed like them

Of Eros and of dust,

Beleaguered by the same

Negation and despair,

Show an affirming flame.

(w.h. auden)

the best thing you’ve ever done for me is to help me take my life less seriously — it’s only life, after all (indigo girls)

i want to be more than a pretty girl (ani difranco)

five-hundred-twenty-five-thousand-six-hundred minutes (jonathan larson)

in the night…fears and misgivings wax strong, but out in the sunlight there is, for a time, cessation even of the terror of death (theodore dreiser)

you do not have to be good (mary oliver)

tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? (mary oliver)

white hot and passionate is the only thing to be (roald dahl)

do not regret growing older. it is a privilege denied to many. (bottlecap)

words are sacred. they deserve your respect. if you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little. (tom stoppard)

there may be more beautiful times, but this one is ours (jean-paul sartre)

you alone are enough. you have nothing to prove to anybody (maya angelou)

Biopsy Her Brain.

Snippets from Inside My Brain:

Irony is Mormon University’s prized pizzeria serving *red* creme soda. Red, the color of communists and heathen universities. Maybe it’s the pizzeria’s way of acknowledging its roots.

Said pizzeria also serves “green” ranch. Might just be me, but I think it’s a bad thing when your dairy products turn green. *shrugs…proceeds to drench salad in ranch anyway*

I keep eating. I think I want some mint oreo ice cream.

If I were to get a tattoo right now this very second, I would either tattoo words of Joseph Smith’s or from Doctrine and Covenants (so…words of Joseph Smith’s) onto my skin.

Jennifer came up with a funny tattoo idea. I’m always writing things on my left wrist. He said I should get a tattoo on my wrist that looks like a notepad with the label “Notes” written at the top. Teehee. Maybe…

I’m afraid of needles, so worrying about me and the tattoos is needless.

Ha.

I’m reading Sister Carrie and I was hoping it was going to be something more along the lines of Stephen King goes to a convent and less along the lines of glorifying middle-class white people problems at the beginning of the 20th century. I miss British Modernism.

If I had my way, I would wear boxers and a tank top to work. I clean my own space in that attire…why can’t I get paid to clean someone else’s in the same outfit?

I think I may have misused “irony.” Bad English major.

The weather is pretty, today. Stormy. Tut tut, looks like rain.

This is my idea of summer.

Psych.

There are so many things I could do, if only people did not expect me to do them. Once something becomes an expectation, I fall short. I’m doomed to forever be the one who disappoints the ones she cares about most.

It’s funny how you can be around the ones you love and still feel alone. Sometimes I feel like a piece of furniture. Something you know is there and expect always will be, so there is no need to pay it any special attention.

I am hungry for something and I am not sure what.

Some days, not even your prescribed cocktail of psychotropic medications can keep all the demons at bay. Some days, you can’t get out of bed. So you don’t. And everyone is disappointed that you couldn’t be something more stable than yourself.

I am learning that I need to allow myself bad days. So I do. I am learning that it is okay to have good days. I am still waiting for those to come around.

I am trying to remember how to love me, since I cannot expect others to do the things I cannot do myself. It’s a slow process. I don’t love me; just Jennifer. Jennifer loves me the way you love something that will always be there. I want to be loved the way you love something with an expiration date. Intensely. Consciously. That isn’t Jennifer. Nor is it me.

I think I could get better if people would just stop expecting things from me. And by people, I mean myself. If I could just stop expecting so much, always feeling like I’ve failed before I’ve even begun.

I psych myself out.

Antsy.

Different from anxious. Anxious is something I feel all the time. Anxious, the term used to characterize the state of feeling anxiety. Antsy. Sounds like ants. Hate ants. Ants make me squirm. When I’m antsy, I squirm. Can’t sit still. Right now, I can’t sit still.

Because I have zero confidence in my ability to get my shtuff together.

Shtuff needing to get together:

1. Incompletes. 3 of them. Something about Gothic fiction and Freud; something about working class fiction and Foucault; something about Shakespeare, somehow.

2. Studying. For the GRE. And registering for it, as well. Soon. I haven’t taken math in ages. My vocabulary is limited. I used to be so good at taking tests.

3. Jobs. New ones. I need a new one. Work weekends, or something. Or from home. Taking 21 credits in the fall, and there is no time to work.

4. Therapy. Have to call someone, make an appointment. Essential part of getting better. Hate new therapists. Where do I go?

5. Homework. For this semester. I’m doing so much research for a paper I’m writing in the fall, and I need to do homework for right now.

6. Grad school. Have to get in. Someplace. Preferably UBC. Have to get my gpa up. Have to have a writing sample. Have to find 2 more people to write glowing letters of recommendation. Who? No idea. None.

7. Topic. Have to pick a paper topic. First Mormons and the ERA. Then Mormons and Female Ordination. Now? Just…lost. So lost.

8. Calm. Calm down. Can’t think straight. So antsy.

9. Healthy. Have to get it. Soon. No time to cook. No energy to exercise. But have to do something. Have to break patterns.

10. Ice cream. Fixes everything. *moves to #1 on the list*

Happy Sunday?