Making for Others

I always find that when I am doing for others, rather than myself, I am in a much better place mentally and emotionally. So in this dark and cold February, I have decided to start making sewn goods for others. I have long been in touch with the Sarcoma Alliance, and decided to make some quilts, table runners and mug rugs for those who belong to the Facebook group. I want to make things for the homeless in local shelters – until I started my job in Albany, I had NO idea how many homeless people there are out there. I live in a cold and dark place in the winter, and am brainstorming things to make for those less fortunate. I also am in touch with a hospice where I work – a quilt may bring comfort to those who are in their last months or weeks.

And of course, animals. I am starting a Minky/fleece blanket to send to a local dog shelter as we speak. I would like to send quilts, but they are hard to take care of in a bigger facility. I am happy to take any suggestions you may have on other things to make for those who are in a bad place, or are less fortunate than we are.

Advertisements

Anxiety – Life Stealer

img_3961

Anxiety sucks. I think i’ve had anxiety since I was 8 years old. ADD too, but I was always really athletic, so both were under control until college, when I stopped working out and playing sports. I started smoking, and until I quit when I was in my 40s, I didn’t realize how much nicotine helped with my ADD. When I quit drinking in my 50s, I realized how I have been medicating my anxiety. 

Exercise helps, but some days I feel like I would have to run 10 miles to get rid of my anxiety, so I don’t start. art and my spirituality help, but I still have the anxiety.  I don’t take anything addictive and had a bad experience getting off something that I took every day, so I just deal. It robs your life. My comfort zone is small – home, a few family places, work when I’m used to it. I can’t tell you how many art shows I’ve signed up for that I’ve bailed on. The fear of the unknown cranks up my anxiety and the idea of all the work needed to get there is overwhelming due to my ADD. Those were the times before quitting everything that I would smoke to get tasks done and drink to soothe the anxiety. Now, some days getting to 2 or 3 places is overwhelming.  I push myself to do most things. I don’t do big parties or large gatherings anymore, and weddings? Forget about it. Unless I can dance where we are going. Then I really enjoy it. 

The internet is bad for me cause it gives the illusion of a life without actually having one.  I think I just have to force myself to get some exercise every day. Wondering how to get started.

To The Men Out There: I Have a Daughter/Wife/Sister

I hear over and over again from men who are trying to be empathetic and compassionate about women being harassed or assaulted or raped, “I get it. I have a sister/daughter/wife.”

I never thought about this until recently, but this statement, as well meaning as it is, diminishes the individuality of a woman as a person. It implies that they only reason a man can understand and care about a woman under attack is because they love someone who is an appendage to them. If they didn’t have a sister/daughter/wife, it implies, they wouldn’t care about a random woman who isn’t loved by a man.

To make us nothing more than an appendage to a man diminishes us. So I would ask any caring man: please think of us as an individual. Please care if we are abused because we are a PERSON who deserves respect and consideration as an individual, not just as someone’s sister/daughter/wife. I know it is well-meaning, but it adds to the view that woman are just worthy if we have a connection to a man. And I don’t think most men who say this mean it that way.

Peace.

Who is a Feminist? And who decides?

My daughter and I have a running argument. She believes that, within reason, any decision a woman makes is a feminist decision, as she is taking control of her life and her destiny. I disagree. I think any decision a woman makes that objectifies her, or belittles her, or degrades her, is a valid decision, and she has every right to make that decision. But that doesn’t make the decision a feminist decision.

Take Stormy Daniels. She is a porn star who has sex on screen for money. Her body, her choice. I have no issue with is, and it’s not mine to have, regardless. But is her choice a feminist choice? I don’t think it is. But still, I think her choice is more of a feminist choice than the one the aforementioned Meghan Markle made. She, lauded as a great feminist and humanitarian (although I don’t see evidence of either) made a choice to give up her life, her vote, and her voice. I think that is her choice to make, as well. But again, is it a feminist choice? I don’t think so.

Examining some female characters in TV world, why does everyone laud Shonda Rhimes as some great feminist, creating shows that highlight the strength of women? Is it because the women have as much sex as the men? Is this considered feminist nowadays? Then why does every character in Grey’s Anatomy hook up with a more powerful male, depending on them to help them get ahead and get them out of trouble? Meredith was with Derek, her boss, who gave her opportunities others didn’t have and got her out of serious trouble when she crossed lines. Even, literally, being her Prince Charming, fishing her out of the sea, dead and blue, and getting her to where she will be brought back to life. Sigh. How romantic.

Christina Yang used Burke for similar reasons, although at least she helped Burke too. But when he left, she fell apart. Joe Wilson is with Alex, her boss, who, again, gives her breaks and helps her when she gets in any kind of trouble. Callie marries George; she is the more powerful one, but she is absolutely a mess when he leaves. Lexie ends up with Mark Sloan. The strong female, Addison, is rejected by Derek for a much younger, more naive and adoring woman. Miranda Bailey, strong and in control, is given a nervous breakdown. And don’t get me started on the crazy sister, Amelia Shepherd. She is simply a basket case.  The only females relatively unscathed by men or Shonda are Arizona, who is a lesbian, and April Kepner, who had her own host of issues, but at least didn’t depend on men to protect her.

So again, why is Rhonda hailed as a great feminist writer? I think she plays into the most destructive patterns in society: that women are weak; we need men, or princes, to save us; we let emotion get in the way of work; we fall apart easily. I think Rhonda has added to the idea that feminism is having as much sex as we want and nothing to do with being valued for our skills, rather than our appearances: our faces, our ages, our bodies. Is that wrong of me to make that judgment? I don’t think so. We all need to examine this idea and the ramifications of treating girls like princesses or dolls and how it manifests in adulthood.

Feminism, 2018 Style???

I sometimes used read about the royals in England. I find them an interesting sociological study. It is an oddity, an anachronistic family and “Firm,” as they supposedly call themselves, who live off the largess of the British taxpayers. They are secretive and mostly silent. Their worst nightmare is to become celebrities, to seem worried about popularity, all the while worrying about popularity. I don’t think anyone would ever call the women in the royal family “feminists,” even the Queen, who has been in her position for over 60 years. They can’t speak out about topics they are interested in. They have to stick to non-political, noncontroversial topics. They bow and curtsy to those “above” them. That’s why I was surprised when Meghan Markle, a woman who calls herself a feminist, married into the family.

 

Now love her or hate her, Meghan Markle had a full life before meeting Prince Harry. She had a career, steady, not a high voltage acting career, but it seemed to pay the bills. She had a marriage behind her and had just ended a live-in relationship. She had some humanitarian interests, although not the deep interests her very devoted fans (rabid?) claim she had. Most of what she did seemed performed to be showcased on her blog or her Instagram account. But she did have a full life, with a career, friends, some interests and passions.

So why would a woman who went to an excellent university, and had a full life, give it all up for a relationship with a man she only knew for one year, a trans-Atlantic affair, a poorly educated man whose very existence speaks to heredity and privilege being the only important qualifications for his standing in society? It doesn’t make sense.

You can talk about the idea that Meghan seems to have thirsted for fame her entire life, since she was an 11 year old girl, and Harry gave that worldwide fame to her. Fair enough. But what did she give up? Meghan can never again speak freely about any topic that interests her. She has to follow Kate and William when walking, and curtsy to Harry’s nephews and nieces. Is this a choice a feminist would make? I’m not talking about a feminist deciding to stay home and raise her kids. That is seen as a valid choice for any woman. I’m talking about giving up your life, subjugating your life to the will of the Queen, who can tell you exactly what events you will do and what topics you can discuss. How is this a feminist choice?

And even more interestingly, Meghan’s (rabid) fans are on sites such as celebitchy.com, praising Meghan for holding a pen at a meeting, while saying the most nasty, condescending, mocking things about her sister-in-law Kate at the same time, all the while praising Meghan’s feminist cred, and claiming to be feminists themselves. Really? Is this how feminists talk about one another?? Wrinkled skin? Paunchy jaws? Wiglets and wigs? A bad mother? The hypocrisy of Meghan’s fans is almost cultlike, and really startling. It got me thinking about feminism and what it means and how it manifests.

This is the first in a series of how we view feminism today. Are we hypocrites when we call ourselves feminists and criticize choices other women make? Is there a definition of feminism. I would like to examine who are considered feminists and why? Public people in politics, the entertainment industry, even characters on television who are called feminists, but who don’t seem to act that way. I

I would love your (respectful) feedback and for you to join the conversation.

I Quit Drinking 8 Years Ago

I quit drinking any alcohol 8 years ago on August 12, 2010. I wasn’t a staggering around “drunk,” but I had an unhealthy relationship with alcohol and it had the potential to get worse. I totally missed my quit day this year. I quit smoking on May 12, 2004 for some of the same reasons.
Not all people who quit drinking are what we call “drunks.” We have a ton of misconceptions around drug and alcohol abuse. But alcohol has a powerful negative effect on the body – worse than any other drug. It ages you, ruins your skin, rots your organs, it is horribly toxic. I never regret stopping and I will never drink another alcoholic drink again. That is the way that worked for me, to say, “I will never drink again. It does NOTHING good for me.” A day at a time gave me too much wiggle room and no one should judge how you quit, if you do. We are all totally different creatures.
Since stopping, I found my creativity, my spirituality and my soul. Life is tough for sensitive people – it is, no lie. Alcohol acts as a film between people and the pain of the world, a temporary balm. But there are better ways to deal with the pain of living that bring great joy, as well.
spectacle 3
If you need help, please reach out. I am always happy to share what works for me.