Sunday, June 8, 2014

I like solutions to difficult problems. Like misogyny.

Well, I do NOT like misogyny. But HOORAY! I've come across list of five worthwhile (and simple) things that be done to help end it! 
Recently, the ‪#‎YesAllWomen‬ Twitter hashtag got a lot of women sharing their experiences with the harsh realities of misogyny, including myself. It also put a lot of people on the bitter defensive, which I experienced first-hand in only some the replies I received, but witnessed in countless vicious attacks on other women who shared their truths and thoughts, as I had done. (And whether you are a Twitter user or not, I would encourage you to go read some of the #YesAllWomen tweets.)"
The following piece is a very eloquent response to these recent discussions, and I invite you all to read it, and share it, if you feel so compelled. Unfortunately, ‪#‎Misogyny‬ is a far more important issue than most realize, and it is not ever going to just magically fix itself for the young girls we know now, nor for those in future generations, to be able to grow up feeling safe and protected in our society. We need a solution, WAY sooner than later, because, y'all, if you're not horrified, you're not paying attention, and/or you may think it doesn't matter (or wish it didn't), and it DOES. Because, guys reading this? Consider this ONE aspect of this problem. The women you know? We haven't grown up feeling anywhere nearly as safe as you-- and if you doubt that at all, you ask them what they have to fear that you don't, and never will. It's time for us all to start being honest about this stuff, and talking about it. Read on to hear how we can do just that.
Peace and love. Peace and LOVE. --kdr


"There have been a lot of articles written this past week about misogyny, harassment, sexual assault, and violence towards women. The responses to those articles are often as enlightening as the articles themselves: Hey, not all men are bad! That guy was just crazy. Stop pounding us over the head with this! I'm not disrespectful to the women I know, what more do you want from me?
If your response to an article about misogyny is a knee-jerk urge to defend yourself, to argue that you are not part of the problem, I'd suggest taking some time to make sure you understand what the problem really is. Not just a minute. Do some research. Do some hard thinking. Once you've done that, if your conscience is clear, great! Consider going a step further to determine if there's anything more you can do to be part of the solution.
Here are some things anyone can do:
1) Let go of the idea that there are regular people and there are monsters. People who do monstrous things *are* regular people. They're someone's friend, someone's cousin, someone's child, or someone's parent. When we 'other' them we give them space to operate. We run the risk of not seeing what's right in front of us, or of seeing it but trying to explain it away, diminishing it, because someone we care about couldn't possibly be a monster. This is one reason you hear stories of boys whose friends or coach or whole town rally around them after they've raped. I ate lunch with him yesterday, I've laughed with him, he helped me get through my parents' divorce, he's a team player. There must be some explanation, some reason - he's not a monster.
There are no monsters.
2) Tell the people you know who have been sexually assaulted that you recognize the enormity of the wrong that has been done to them. If you know the person who did the wrong, don't make excuses, try to explain it away, or muse about what could have caused it. Just acknowledge that it was 100% wrong and that it is tremendously, life-changingly serious. Reach out, bring it up. Don't leave a person to carry the weight of it alone.
If you're thinking, "I don't know anyone who has been sexually assaulted", the sad reality is that it's statistically very improbable. Are you someone a person would feel comfortable sharing that information with? Work to be.
3) Encourage dialogue about misogyny. Initiate it and participate in it. Don't shut it down or change the subject or verbally flail about in indignation.
If you're tired of hearing about misogyny, imagine how tiring it is for women to be perpetually wary. Think it's unnecessary for women to be perpetually wary? Remember, it's statistically likely that you know someone who has been assaulted. That's because it's statistically likely that a woman *will be* assaulted.
Listen. Talk. Share information. Be willing to be wrong sometimes so you can learn to do right.
4) Pay active attention.
When you're watching tv, hear the coach who deprecatingly calls his players 'ladies'.
When you're walking down the street, see the man leaning on the building who stares at a woman the entire time she's within his field of view.
When you're hanging out with young parents, notice when one of them tells his or her son not to cry like a girl or that something he wants to play with is for girls.
When you're visiting family for a holiday, note that the first thing people usually say to a young girl is something about her appearance. (I like your dress! You look beautiful today!)
When you're shopping for a book, remember that publishers still change authors' names so they won't sound too feminine.
When you're playing a video game, observe the different roles, power, and plot lines given to female and male characters.
When you're hanging out with a group of men, recognize when they joke about all women, complain about all women, or rate women's appearances.
When you're watching a movie, consciously think about whether it revolves around men's stories, men's wants, men's dreams.
There's a barrage of misogyny all around us. If you're not seeing it, hearing it, noticing it, recognizing it, thinking about it, then you are part of it, and it is part of you.
5) Speak up.
Say, "I can't believe people are still making jokes like that."
Say, "Why wouldn't he want to be like a girl?"
Say, "I'm not ok with what you're doing."
Say, "Where are the women in this movie?"
Say, "The way you're looking at that woman seems to be making her uncomfortable."
Say, "That's not funny."
Say, "Why isn't the guy ever locked up in a tower?"
Say, "Don't be an asshole."
Sometimes you might say the wrong thing. Sometimes you'll feel embarrassment or fear. Sometimes someone will get annoyed or angry with you. Speak up anyway. What you ignore, you condone."

-- posted on Facebook by Rue Kream, May 31, 2014, 4:40pm.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Migraine & Headache Awareness Month Photo Challenge, Day 4: pain

Migraine & Headache Awareness Month continues, as does the daily Photo Challenge. I have to keep reminding myself that, in participating in this challenge, 1) it's called a "challenge" for a reason, and 2) I'm "taking one for the team," for the purpose of spreading awareness, which is very important to me. So, if I'm committed to shining light on my illness, I have to share the grizzlier parts of my day-to-day, and that's that. But you wouldn't believe how I stall when I'm ready to send a photo out. (Notice, I'm a day behind-- not because I missed a day, but because of the stalling!) The Cringe-Factor is off the charts, so I pretty much hate it, and it's only Day 4. (Adding it to the Discuss In Therapy list...) But whatever. I'm not quitting, so let's just get on with it.




Today's prompt is "pain," and it's one of the grizzlier ones. I mean, how do I open the door and show just anybody who wants to look the reality of the pain that has come with my having Chronic Daily Migraine for ten years, and "Just Chronic" (ha) for the decades before that?! ("Here are my scars and other open wounds, if anybody might wanna take a look at em...") It feels incredibly daunting. And gross. And I don't want to. 

But, the truth is, it's often unspeakable. Sometimes, it's so bad that I find myself holding my breath, because even the slowest, least detectable movement of air through my system makes it worse. Not often, but enough to know it well. On a daily basis, though, no matter the severity, if there's pain, it's pretty soul-crushing. Profoundly disappointing. A rotten, daily betrayal by my own body. My pain is a bully, hiding in the bushes, waiting to beat me to a pulp, and drag me into a dark basement, so he can do it again, whenever he feels like it. A nightmare. A saboteur. An enemy I'm forced to live with, and take with me everywhere. But I do, and I have, and I will, and I cling to my faith that, even at its worst, all is as it should be, and that there is a lesson in each moment I endure it. 

I hate the way all of those descriptions sound, because they have such a heavy, poisonous energy wrapped up in them, but I know that to tell it without it would be a lie. The way I look at the world is through a lens of gratitude, which is making it really difficult to fight the urge to write a paragraph that balances out all that dark, negative stuff with a list of blessings. I know that's the lesson here, though. I know I have to let them just hang there, and stay there, and let them just be what they are.

Pain is a cruel, cruel monster. A horror. 

That's enough. I did it. Thanks for reading.

--Kimmy

If you suffer from migraines, or you'd like to know more about it, and how it affects real, live people, feel free to check out and/or subscribe to my Migraine list on Twitter: Migraine Tweeps & Resources on Twitter. As always, thank you for your interest.


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Migraine & Headache Awareness Month Photo Challenge, Day 3: sleep



Today's prompt for the Migraine & Headache Awareness Month Photo Challenge is "sleep," and, boy, howdy, do I ever need some. My photo was inspired by "the lengths I would go to" (yes, that gets me singing "Losing My Religion," too, which is an incredibly beautiful song, so hey, yeah, you're welcome.) -- you just don't know the drugs I've taken, the accessories I've worn, the lotions and potions I put on my body, OH my goodness, mercy, please, just to get some good, restful sleep. Nothing's doin' it for me, though. Close... but no cigahhh.

It's been weeks, and I need it, y'all. I just really, really do.

If you'd like to know more about Migraine, and how it affects real, live people, feel free to check out and/or subscribe to my Migraine list on Twitter: Migraine Tweeps & Resources on Twitter. Thanks for your interest.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Migraine & Headache Awareness Month Photo Challenge, Day 2: alone, lonely

Migraine & Headache Awareness Month Photo Challenge, Day 2: alone, lonely


For the record, I really hate sharing this private stuff, but I made a commitment to being willing to be vulnerable for the sake of Migraine Awareness, so I'm doing it. 




Migraine & Headache Awareness Month Photo Challenge, Day 2: alone, lonely. I just dug this out of my trash can in my bedroom. When I have unusual severe pain, I leave a note, in case anybody needs to know if anything unusual had happened before I'd fallen asleep. #MHAM #MHAMPC


If you'd like to know more about Migraine, and how it affects real, live people, feel free to check out and/or subscribe to my Migraine list on Twitter: Migraine Tweeps & Resources on Twitter. Thanks for your interest.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

June is Migraine & Headache Awareness Month!

Woohoo! It's our MONTH! YAY. Let's talk about headaches. Although it's not my favorite topic in the world, it's one that affects me every day, so it is very important to me. This month, I intend to participate in the Migraine & Headache Awareness Month Photo Challenge, which is intended to give you a peek inside what it's like, in my case, to live with Chronic Daily Migraine. Each day, I will post a photo inspired by an assigned theme. Having seen the scheduled prompts, I know that it will be an interesting collection of pictures, and I have made a commitment to myself to best serve the Migraine community by being as truthful as possible. No sugar coating it. (But it won't all be grizzly, as you'll see today.)

Let's begin, shall we? 


Photo Challenge, Day 1: comfort, peace, coping




Here are some explanations of what's in the picture, since this is really about raising awareness, and not promoting vague, themed photos...

comfort: 
Those are my NAP blankets, sleep mask, and my "Soft Friend," as Warner (my nephew) calls them. Also, my Kindle will read to me, which makes me very happy. So will the Audible app, for books purchased on Audible.com -- The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay does absolute wonders for getting my mind away from my brain, if that makes sense. Sometimes, especially during the marathon attacks, which last 10 or more hours, it's hard to get my thoughts on something other than what's going on in my body (and how I feel about it).

peace: 
meditation, whether on my own, or guided by Andrew Johnson's apps (represented by the t-shirt, bottom-right). My Mom taught me how to do a body scan when I was very young, so that is my go-to, when things start to get rough. I'm lucky to be able to hear her voice in my head when I do it, too-- one more point for comfort!

coping: 
Sprite for the nausea. Baby ones (in the little glass bottles). Chewable Vitamin C when I'm dehydrated, but don't want to drink another drop-- chewing one somehow makes forcing water down easier. Pringles for the salt cravings I get about an hour after having vomited. (Or whenever-- I love me some Pringles.) My favorite dƍTERRA oils-- I always have my bedside diffuser running, in order to help keep me as calm, stress-free, and positive-minded as possible. (Wild Orange and Bergamot are my favorite, scent-wise) and I put a drop of Frankincense on the roof of my mouth at the onset of an attack. Occasionally, it helps the migraine start to break itself up, but it always helps me begin to settle down, if I start to get hysterical from the pain.

Tomorrow, "Photo Challenge, Day 2: alone, lonely." Yay... ;p