Now What? The Testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford

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​I planned my entire Thursday around Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony. When I went out in the morning to grab something to eat, I listened to Senator Chuck Grassley’s opening remarks on the radio, and I was home in time for Senator Diane Feinstein’s. From that point on, I watched, without interruption.

If I’m being honest, I hadn’t planned on watching Judge Kavanaugh’s, but I thought in the interest of fairness (and a cleared afternoon schedule), I decided that I would watch it live rather than wait for that evening’s analysis. Continue reading

Fandom Meta: Daryl’s Sexuality

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I decided to write this after a discussion with my husband when I first began to watch The Walking Dead. That was in the middle of the fifth season. During the mid-season hiatus, I was able to catch up with four years of episodes on Netflix. Over the years, since the beginning that my husband’s watched, he tried to get me into it by telling me the plot storylines each week. I mostly ignored him. I’m not a fan of zombies. I didn’t expect this to be any different. On the other hand, that didn’t stop me from having a favorite character: Daryl, of course. I am a fan of anyone who does archery, and he is the resident bowman. As a proud Sagittarian, I added him to my personal archer list that includes Robin Hood, Merida, Katniss, and The Avenger’s Hawkeye among others. Consequently, my husband regaled me with stories of Daryl and his brother Merle, even more so after seeing Michael Rooker [the actor who plays Merle] in Guardians of the Galaxy. I knew about the barn. I knew about the bar. I liked and understood Shane’s motivation, which made my husband crazy. I was not a fan of Carol’s, which also made my husband crazy.

What brought me on the meta train, however, was his talking about Daryl and Beth and Carol, and the fan response; the shippers. Who would he get with? Or was he gay? Is Rick more his game?

Continue reading

May 7th

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As today dawned on the fourth anniversary of my friend’s death, I remember how she died. Why she died is never far from my memory of her, inexorably entwined with the sound of her name which is sad because she was much more than her murder.

Why then do I continue to talk about her death on this day in addition to her life? I read something recently that answered just that question.

“Finally, the scariest thing about abuse of any shape or form, is, in my opinion, not the abuse itself, but that if it continues it can begin to feel commonplace and eventually acceptable. Writing this book and knowing it will be discussed around the world is in some way insurance for me that my story will never be thought of as commonplace, never acceptable, and for that I thank my publishers and everyone involved with making it happen from the bottom of my heart.” – Alan Cumming, Not My Father’s Son: A Memoir

Continuing to talk about, continuing to bring her experiences to light lets people suffering now, tolerating now, afraid to get out now that there is help for them now. Regardless of what their family tells them is or isn’t abuse, regardless of what society tells them to put up with, to ignore, regardless and despite that, there are people who will listen; people there to help.

If Brittany’s death means anything, it is a reminder that domestic violence is often hidden from the neighbors. It is often ignored by the people closest to the victim. Victims should not be ashamed or silenced. We need to more reliably hold the abusers accountable and refuse the double standard that puts women in jail for defending themselves and blames them for their own abuse.

In 2013, Patrick Stewart said about his childhood, “I heard police or ambulancemen, standing in our house, say, “She must have provoked him,” or, “Mrs Stewart, it takes two to make a fight.” They had no idea. The truth is my mother did nothing to deserve the violence she endured. She did not provoke my father, and even if she had, violence is an unacceptable way of dealing with conflict. Violence is a choice a man makes and he alone is responsible for it” and that is true. It is never the victim’s fault. We need to stand up and defend and support victims, offer them an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on, and know the resources for assistance, and to offer whatever kind of help we’re willing to provide.

Donate money and time to a battered women’s shelter. Be aware of all the forms that abuse takes: emotional, economical, sexual, verbal, physical.

Four years ago, I received a phone call that made me rethink many things, one of which was my ability to forgive myself for some of my poor reactions and choices in hearing about some of Brittany’s abuse before she was murdered. I wasn’t a close friend of hers; I didn’t witness Brittany’s abuse personally, but I was close enough that I should have supported her more than I did. That is something that I could have done. It was nearly too late when I had.

Why is this about me? This yearly anniversary is my redemption. I can learn from my mistakes and make others aware of the mistakes they may be making by “minding their own business.” It is my reminder to do better and to offer solutions rather than add to the troubles.

National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-273-8255

The Trevor Project  1-866-488-7386

Brittany

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Brittany, age 27 died instantly when she was shot by her ex-husband while she rinsed out a teapot. This was one of many headlines in the days that followed her murder.

That was May 7, 2011, but before she died that day, she was born. Today is that day. She would have been thirty-one today. I knew her only a short time, but in that time she taught me things.

Quietly.

Unintentionally.

For my part, skeptically.

She showed me things about myself, things I didn’t like, things I regret, but I managed to come through them, and I couldn’t have done that without her help in the weeks before she died and for the year after, as I mourned her.

I learned.

Compassion.

Understanding.

Tolerance.

Less judgment.

Help for no reason but to help.

Yes, even if you’re angry.

Cooperation.

Kindness.

She was there when no one else was at a moment that it mattered. One moment, but it was an important one, and it mattered.

And so did she.

Happy Birthday, Brittany. I know your spirit is soaring; I can hear the flutter in the air.

Recs – A Collection of Articles

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I’ve been saving these and thought this snowy week when many are snowbound was a perfect time to share them:

These 48 Trans Women and Men Changed the World

LGBTQ Children in Catholic Families: A Deacon’s View on Holy Family Sunday

8 Ways to Get Rid of Paper Clutter

9 Lists to Keep Updated, And Keep Handy

52 Things, Ideas for Writers 2015

The Playboy Conversation: Patton Oswalt and Wil Wheaton

A Writer’s Toolbox

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck

Wartime Secrets of the Female Codebreakers of Bletchley Park

Transgender Man has Private Audience with Pope Francis

Most Important Thing on TV this year is this Super Bowl PSA

Simeon, Anna, and Phil and The Many Facets of the Second of February

SCOTUS Decides Vaccine Debate (110 Years Ago)

BDSM? Or Abuse?

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As I recently said on my Facebook, I try not to pass judgment on people’s likes and dislikes, especially when it comes to books, music or movies. However, Fifty Shades of Grey crosses the line from problematic to dangerous.

What worries me about Fifty Shades is the amount of young people who want to try something new sexually but aren’t experienced enough to realize what’s abuse and what’s normal BDSM play. They go into relationships with a superficial idea of a curiosity and what they want to try out, but don’t always know how to stop something they might not like.

These are two links I found today that are worth reading and keeping archived for future reference, especially if you’re a parent or close relative of a young person starting out on their intimate relationships. This also holds true for more experienced people who are confused by what’s okay for them and how they can say no when they mean no.

Fifty Shades of Grey in its own words describing why it’s glorified abuse

A chart showing the difference between abuse and BDSM

You Clean Up Good – 8 Hygiene Tricks for People with Body Issues

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This was written by a friend of mine, and he’s given me permission to share it with you.

For whatever reason that you find it hard to clean up (one of my sporadic issues (I do have more than one) is that I have a water phobia, and the act of getting in the shower is just too much sometimes, and to be honest, that is minor compared to others’ reactions), these eight tricks and tips might be helpful.

PTSD, traumatic memories, abuse, scars, eating disorders, phobias, delusions, anxiety, body image issues, gender or other dysmorphia…there are plenty of reasons that for some people, naked is HARD.  And forced to confront your naked body directly enough to clean it is HARDER.  But life doesn’t have a lot of room for people who struggle with basic hygiene, and even if you don’t deal with other people, there is a point where if you don’t clean yourself, you become at risk for skin infections and other issues, so I thought I’d offer a few tips, some from personal experience, some from my therapist because this is a thing I’ve struggled with myself:

  1. Love your products.For me, it’s LUSH stuff.  I love the way that shit smells, the way it feels, the textures, the colors, everything.  Even the company policies and marketing.  I want to smell like that and put it all over me.  If you’re already struggling, you don’t need to be gagging on the smell or shuddering from the texture of dollar store body wash.  If there’s any way you can afford it or find free samples or anything, use whatever products you love most.
  2. Distance yourself.If touching your body bothers you, use a loofa, a puff, or a brush instead of your bare hand or a thin cloth or mitt.
  3. Turn the lights off and cover the mirrors.It may seem silly, but sometimes just not seeing can help.  If you can’t do it in the dark or if total dark freaks you out, try a candle (outside the shower) or nightlight. Mirrors should be self explanatory, especially because bathroom light is often very unflattering.
  4. Don’t tempt yourself.If you have a history of or urges towards self harm, don’t have razors, scrubs, or harsh sponges/scrubbers in the shower or in easy reach after.
  5. Distract yourself.Get a waterproof case for your phone.  Sing in the shower.  Draw on the wall with soap crayons.  Draw on YOU with soap crayons.  Have an audiobook.  Use the time to drill yourself on trivia, prep for a test, or work on that thing you’re writing.  Try to remember the alphabet backwards in another language.
  6. Ink up.If you can and are so inclined, consider getting one or more tattoos.  They can give you a real sense of positive ownership of your body, and you can focus on the art and its meaning when you see yourself naked rather than paying attention to the canvas.
  7. Set a timer.  Things are often a billion times more endurable if you know when they’ll end, having to rush can sometimes help keep you from dwelling on emotions, and it helps prevent zoning out and getting the shitty surprise when the hot water runs out.
  8. Make it necessary.  Paint on yourself or sharpie on yourself.  Pour on something with a gross texture like lube or vegetable oil.  Put paint in your hair.  The focus on getting ____ off can help, and it makes it harder to keep finding reasons to not.

Sometimes, though it’s not going to happen.  So consider a dry shampoo or dry body wash, a quick change of clothes, some extra deodorant, a spritz of body spray, some powder, and try again tomorrow.  You’re not a failure because today didn’t happen, and succeeding tomorrow is not lessened by today.

And if you do it, reward yourself.  You deserve it.  You did the thing and it was a hard thing, and that’s awesome.

 

Source: Andrew Blake (http://andythanfiction.tumblr.com/post/92761622197/you-clean-up-good-8-hygiene-tricks-for-people-with)