Monthly Archives: August 2016

Hillary As President

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you will know that I have very little respect for Secretary Clinton as a politician (I choose to make no judgement of her personal life, as that is between her and the Divine).  And no, I’m not thinking that way because of any supposed “smear campaign” by conservatives.  On and off for my entire life, this woman has had an impact on our political scene.  Because she has had that impact, I have watched her political life unfold. But, because I cannot stomach Trump’s politics or ethics, I have to figure out a way to stomach voting for her while still holding to my principles.

From day one, this woman has either been subtly groomed (or has placed herself in the right positions) for political leadership and power.  While she is not to blame for the direction her parents chose for her, she took that direction and has utilized it her whole life, which to my mind is questionable.

I do not deny that she did some very good work in relation to children and women’s rights.  Nor that she has done a number of other good works.

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Socially Approved Abuse

via I got heckled onstage for being fat. And it sucked. | City Pages

I am so damned sick of the idiots in the world who think it is perfectly fine to speak about someone else’s body.  To judge that body to be good and worthwhile or evil and worthless.

I’m sick of the obese people who exacerbate the problem in order to somehow “fit in” or “be approved of” by society.

I’m sick of the assholes in our world worshiping at the altar of female androgeny and in essence saying that the more a woman looks like a pre-pubescent the sexier she is.  That, my friends, is pedophilia even if you try to excuse it.

I’m sick of the judgement given to people who cannot gain weight who are also abused for their “obviously shallow view of themselves.” And, yes, yelling at a woman to “eat a cheeseburger for fuck’s sake” is just as abusive as calling the next woman a “whale.” None of us are innocent here.  I too have used the cheeseburger line on smaller women, and it was just as abusive when I did it.  I strive to NOT do it anymore, and to point it out when someone else does it.

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Penny Dreadful, Part 2

One of the thrusts of this series as a whole is exploring the line that separates man from beast.  This is a fairly obvious theme in Season 1.  It also is a main theme that runs through both the “pulp fiction” (dime novels, penny dreadfuls, and other short and lurid fictions that were popularized in the latter portion of the Victorian era) and the so-called Victorian “literature” of the age.

For me, this kind of thing actually goes back further, to the morality plays of medieval times which hoped to teach virtue to the lower classes.  There has always been an attempt by authors to wish to “raise the mind of the poor from the level of beasts to the height of moral rectitude.”

Yet in the latter part of Victoria’s reign in the British Empire, it was quite obvious that the rich in those countries – especially Britain – considered anyone not like themselves to be nothing better than beasts.  The pulp fiction then served as escapist entertainment, keeping the poor and the different “in their place.”

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Heart’s Desire

Often, when I am reading, I will come across assorted  quotes that just hit me in the heart.  It doesn’t matter if it is a book I’ve reread a million times or not.  And yes, I reread books all the time.

Why? Because you are never the same person from moment to moment, let alone from day to day or year to year.  So, when you reread a certain book — particularly if it is a book or series in which the author has made his or her characters LIVE and BREATHE — it can have an entirely different impact on you than it did the first (or even the tenth) time you read it.

I have probably reread the Vorkosigan saga at least a good twenty (20) times.  Sometimes I’m struck by the choices of the main character (Miles Naismith Vorkosigan), sometimes by his father’s choices (Aral Vorkosigan), sometimes by how his mother (Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan) not only thinks but acts.

No matter who strikes me the most at each rereading, it is the very essence of living by one’s principles that is overall what this series is about.  A particular character can abandon his or her principles, but even then in the series they are offered ways to redeem those principles and regain their honor and integrity.  Much like real life.

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Struggling With Executive Function Issues

I have been searching online quite a bit for general “tips and tricks” for supporting my day-to-day functioning with diagnosed cognitive issues in executive functioning. In my case, the primary issues are time tracking issues including poor deadline matching and poor planning assessment; deficits primarily in short-term memory, with some conceptual issues; issues with multitasking; and poor analytical processes.

On one hand, many of the attentional issues can be temporarily overcome with intense concentration (such as when I take tests).  These attentional issues include word finding, word deafness (a mild form, not a full aphasia – yet consistently, the word I hear as opposed to the word spoken by someone is heard as either simple profanity, or as a more obscene concept than intended), compromised motor skills (clumsy to the point of tripping over air sometimes), and issues with phonemes as a articulation disorder (more than simple spoonerisms, which also happen quite often, this is more of a verbal dyslexia).

While temporarily overcoming this issue is helpful, it has also caused some issues with discussing my cognitive issues with assorted medical professionals.  I have what is amusingly called White Coat SyndromeIn my case, again, this is not a pure phobia.  Yes, my blood pressure will often rise when dealing with a new doctor, and sometimes with specific specialty professionals.  But, it is almost better described as a “chip on my shoulder.” I routinely have this discussion with my therapist, because it is a very strong emotional response when dealing with medical professionals, psychiatric professionals and even worse with dental professionals. Continue reading

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Assessment Reports, Emotional Reactions

I have received the assessment reports on my more recent battery of tests regarding my persistent cognitive issues. To sum up the background, I have noted a significant cognitive loss since leaving my ex-husband. My sister has gone through a similar situation, dealing with her autonomic disorder and the emotional backlash of suppressing her own stress.

There are many issues I’ve experienced during my entire life, that have become more pronounced over the last few years. A simple example of this would be that I randomly smell what amounts to “phantom odors.”  I also struggle with word finding issues, word deafness issues, and a more than normal amount of what can be easiest described as inadvertent spoonerisms These symptoms come and go randomly, sometimes happening often enough for a specialist to be concerned, while other times not happening at all. In fact, everything except the random phantom odors seems to be more prevalent if I am relaxed and/or in a state of some security, while if I am anxious or nervous or even over-tired, they are less likely to occur. This supports what the neurologist’s assessment prior to any organic testing, that it is an “attentional issue” (not that I have ADD/ADHD, but simply that something is taking attention away from my speech when I am more secure/safe. This, in all probability, is that my chronic pain takes up more of my attention when I feel safe, while when I am uncomfortable or nervous I am hyper-aware of my communication.

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Penny Dreadful, Part I

I plan to write a number of these, based on some of my feelings and insights from watching Penny Dreadful.

Some of the posts will discuss specific points and speeches in the scripts.  So, if you are like me and are to a certain extent “binge watching” on Netflix or Hulu or Amazon, you may wish to wait to read these posts.

If you are not, and have no interest in doing so, let me give you a summary of the story in this first post.  I will try to make sure in the next posts that I place any “spoilers” after the “read more” link.

The series is set in the latter part of the 19th century, approximately around 1890 or so.  For the most part, this was a time when the metaphoric apple-cart was overthrown and a number of colonizing empires ruled the world, including Britain, France, Russia, Germany and the United States.

It was also a time when mankind understood that the world was so much more than just the land around them.  The common man (as opposed to the rich and powerful) finally realized that there were so many other people around, and sadly often learned to treat those who were “other” with disdain, abuse and cast them as sub-human.  You can’t completely blame them, because their assorted aristocracies had for centuries treated them as sub-human.  It was the only way they knew how to act to someone different than themselves.  It is far too easy to stand from our supposed “post-colonialism” era, and tell ourselves that we are better than they.  Are we? Really?  We still have much of the same attitudes about people who are “different” or somehow “other” than ourselves.  We still are dealing with that broken and abusive superiority complex, as we decide that certain other groups are sub-human or inhuman at all, whether they are Native Americans, African Americans, Muslims, LGBTQ or any other label we want to set up as being the cause of  all our misery and sorrow.

But, I digress.

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The Power of Rejection

For a large portion of my life, I have considered rejection to be an absolute horror.  The therapists I’ve seen over the years have all at some time during our time together asked me why I have in the past given those who reject me tears and days worth of self-flagellation, even if the person was truly only a blip on life’s radar.

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Male Appropriation

I have collected a number of songs on YouTube to remind me that I can fight this fight.  That I can recall and recreate who I am.

I had picked up Home Free’s cover of Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5 which is also the name of the film that starred Dolly Parton, Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda.  I did that because I enjoy Home Free’s music, and I remember the film with fondness.

But, every time I listen to Home Free’s version, it has been bothering me.  It’s not a huge anger, but an annoyance.  And I’ve been trying to figure out why it annoys me.  It’s taken  most of a week, and some research, but I finally understand what the problem is.

This particular film is one of many in the 80s that attempted to use satirical humor to create an awareness of the kinds of things women in the workforce were experiencing not only every day, but multiple times every day.

Other similar films include:

  • Private Benjamin (1980) starring Goldie Hawn, which deals with the stereotypical struggles women were dealing with at the time regarding being a woman in the armed forces.

    She then followed up in the 90s, focusing on other stereotypes of women, with

    Death Becomes Her dealing with the constant expectation of society that a woman must go to ridiculous lengths to somehow need to “keep her beauty”, and
    The First Wives’ Club focusing on the stereotype that men sometimes “trade up” by replacing an aging wife with a “younger model.”
  • She-Devil (1989) starring Roseanne Barr, which similarly to “The First Wives’ Club” deals with concept of replacing a wife who has “lost her looks” because she’s given her all to raise their children. The “other woman” wants to only deal with the husband, ignoring that he too has a responsibility to those children. It includes the ex-wife choosing to find herself, which from his standpoint means that she is somehow “evil” because she refuses to be his doormat anymore.

As much as Home Free’s version is inclusive of every person who has been exploited by the world’s über-corporations, it ignores the power of the original.  The film and the song were inseparable.

  • Sadly, we still live in a world where women are less likely to be promoted.
  • We still live in a world where women aren’t paid the exact same salary as a man doing the exact same job, even if she has more education and experience than that man.
  • We still live in a world where it is acceptable to sexually harass a female employee, but it has to be more subtle than it was in the 1980s to give the man the protection of  “reasonable doubt.”
  • We still live in a world where women are more likely to treat each other cruelly simply by believing the lies a womanizing male co-worker say about any very attractive female co-worker.

I don’t believe that Home Free went out of their way to appropriate the song.  I realistically think it was entirely not part of their ideas.  I believe they simply wanted to honor Dolly Parton by the cover, similarly to their cover of John Denver’s “Thank God, I’m A Country Boy.”

It is important to understand where a particular song comes from, and what it originally spoke about.  I was raised on folk music, myself.  Each and every song has a history, giving a snapshot of what life was like at the time it was written and initially performed.  As much as I understand we have far too much exploitation of both the middle class and the lower class, we cannot ignore the fact that women are still exploited far more than men are.

 

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Recycling Personas

All of us create personas, masks which allow us to keep everyone else from seeing our soft, vulnerable insides.  Some are useful, healthy even.  Some are not.  But we all develop them as we grow.  Each experience, each relationship, each interaction with another thinking, feeling being helps to put another layer on the mask.

I’ve built quite a few over the years, some of them fine or even beautiful, others monstrous.  I used to call one the “Sociopath”, but the reality is that it is more the “Ice Queen”. It’s that part of myself that I have hidden the most.  It came out quite often in my marriage, because it got created as I was slowly letting my ethics, my guiding principles and my true self be eroded on a daily basis.  It was the only way I could function.  But it meant giving up far too many parts of me.  It meant giving up my honor and my integrity.  It sucked out much of my compassion, my empathy for my fellow human beings.  It was hard, lacking in regret or shame and far too often easy to hide behind.  Emotions, while hiding behind this mask, were only ways to manipulate others.  It is a part of myself that I am systematically destroying piece by piece.  As I recover my honor, my ethics, my guiding principles and rebuilding my true self, I am able to leave her behind in the dust.  I have learned from her, but I will not allow myself to be her ever again.

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