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.


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...

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 -- 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).

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!

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 dōTERRA 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

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Zoya Makes Me Soooo Happy

There's "Stuff Kimmy Likes," and then there's "Stuff That Makes Kimmy REALLY Happy." This post is about one of the most consistent Happy-Makers in my life: Zoya Nail Polish.

Obviously, I haven't blogged in forever, give or take a couple of lifetimes, thanks to my uncooperative brain (which has Chronic Daily Migraine) and having been going through a very long, drawn-out, nasty divorce, but I just got word last week that I am OFFICIALLY and finally divorced, which I do like, and does make me very happy, thus, the mention here, on a blog where I write about things I like. Hopefully, I will feel like blogging more, now that the stress of that is behind me-- we shall see.

But anyway, Zoya. Pretty much everybody who knows me knows that I love Zoya. I mean, I luuuuurve Zoya, and I recommend it to everybody. And not just because I prefer the formula (super-smooth, with no fumes!), or that each collection is more beautifully dazzling than the one before (um, PIXIE DUST), or that they're always coming up with some new, smart way to engage their customers (hi, color spoons). And not even, well, because of this.

The biggest reason, no joke, is the people behind the brand. The people that have developed a loyal, cult-like Zoya following in some really simple ways. First, they created a superior product, of course. But, more importantly, in my book, is that they ENGAGE THEIR CUSTOMERS better than any company I know. (And I'm kind of a marketing junkie, I admit. I pay close attention to this stuff-- especially when it comes to Marketing to Women. Some would even call it "obsessed," which is fine-- I just really like when Marketing to Women is done right!) Zoya does it really right. On Twitter. On Facebook. Go look-- follow them! They create community around their product. They respond to people, they goof off with them, they share their excitement. THAT is probably the key-- they engage like they are excited to do it. And they're not afraid to show they're having fun-- just check out my favorite of their YouTube videos, if you want to see what I mean. That kind of stuff makes me really happy.

So, yeah, I could show you the cuteness of this right here

and all-caps-holler "RUN RIGHT NOW AND SNAG THESE CUTE LITTLE TINY BOTTLES WHILE YOU CAN," because, my gosh, they are so cute and teeny-tiny! But what I really want you to do is pay attention to how your favorite brands interact with you. Then, compare those things to what Zoya does to keep their products interesting, and the many unique ways in which they genuinely engage and include their customers in what they're doing. I'd be willing to bet that, at the very least, nobody will seem to have more fun doing it.

Thanks, Zoya Fairies, for making me happy, particularly, through some very difficult times. With your polish, with your delight, with your creative innovation, and your genuine interest in interacting with your customers, fans, and followers, y'all rock.


** Disclosure ** 
Product samples have been sent to me for consideration by PR.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Migraine Awareness Month #1: My First for the First

Since June is Migraine Awareness Month, I will be joining my fellow Migraine-Surviving Bloggers in the Migraine Awareness Month Blogging Challenge, and make my best effort to blog about Migraines on each day in June, with the intention of raising awareness. Each day, we (the bloggers) will each write about a given topic. To kick off the first of the month, today's topic is my first migraine.

Since they first started around age 5, I don't have a very clear memory of my first migraine attack. What I can tell you is that I can't remember not having them. I do remember what the pain felt like in my little body. It was crushing, and made my head feel gigantic and brutally heavy. I was a skinny kid, and it felt like my head was about five times too big for my body. I felt like a bobblehead, decades before I ever heard the term. (To this day, when the pain is above, say, a 7, I can't hold my head up.) The pressure inside my seemingly enormous head made my eyes ache from the inside, and my sinuses often hurt like crazy. My grandmother, Kaki, used to put Ben-Gay on my sinuses, in hopes of relieving some of that particular pressure. It usually helped a little, until I'd forget, and accidentally rub it in my eye. Ben-Gay is not for the eye area, in case you haven't heard. ;|

I vividly remember the first time I had to go to the emergency room for a migraine attack, though. I was about nine years old, and my Mom had taken my brother and me to the mountains for the weekend. We'd driven to our family's cabin in Mountain City, Georgia, a small town known more for its square-dancing venue than its exceptional, round-the-clock medical care. It was late on Friday night, and my head had been hurting since that afternoon. I couldn't sleep, in spite of Mom's best efforts to comfort me-- a cool washcloth for my forehead, light backrubs, guided body-scan meditations, using her words to transport me to my favorite tranquil spot (on the cool sand under the umbrella on the beach in Destin, Florida) in her soothing voice-- but not a thing could get me to rest enough to sleep. The anxiety from the pain was too much for me to handle, and, as the pain escalated, I eventually became hysterical. As I type this, I can remember exactly what it felt like to lie there in that hard, lumpy bed, sweating to death one minute, but shivering cold the next, trying as hard as I could not to come right out of my skin, screaming bloody murder. I simply could not take it.

Mom got us to the hospital (in our pajamas, as I recall), and I don't remember anything about being there except bright lights and a long needle going into my fanny. I don't know what they gave me, but I remember that it loosened up the migraine's grip. Unfortunately, though, it made me very nauseous. (Looking back, I suspect it was DHE45, which is what I give myself now, via a PICC line in my left arm.) I made it back to the house without getting sick in the car, but I vomited many times in the hours that followed. I can still feel the grit on my knees from the cool, grey-painted hardwood floor of the upstairs bathroom. I napped on that floor in-between bouts of throwing up, and remember the view of the claw-footed bathtub from that vantage point. 

One funny thing always sticks out about that night. At some point, while vomiting, I was shocked by what I was seeing come out. I started hollering, "MOMMMMM!!!! IT'S GREEN!!! I DIDN'T EAT ANYTHING GREEN, BUT IT'S GREEN AND LOOKS JUST LIKE PERT PLUS!!! Y'ALL COME LOOK!" And they did. So, after I was finished with this particular wave of nausea, before flushing the toilet, Mom and my brother and I stood and looked down into that old bowl, perplexed. Mom said, "well, maybe it's bile. But it sure looks like Pert Plus to me. Are you sure you didn't drink some? Where's the shampoo bottle?" Although really gross, the silliness was much-needed.

Since that day, I've never seen the Pert Plus Puke again, after having hundreds of possible opportunities to do so. But I will never forget it, or that night, or that little girl, feeling inexplicably, relentlessly tortured by her own body. It's been over 30 years, and it's still happening. I still don't understand it.

My brother & me. Kaki's house, ~1979.

Pain level right now: 5


National Migraine Awareness Month is initiated by the National Headache Foundation. The Blogger's Challenge is initiated by