Monthly Archives: September 2012

My Past Work: Miscellaneous Roundup

I posted a few other roundups, but here are some highlights from my other work!

 

When the perpetrators of unpleasant historical events don’t look — or practice religion — like the archetypal God-fearing white American, we’re all too eager to ensure that their trespasses are, to paraphrase the famous slogan, “never forgotten.” Yet we’re happy to forget decades of colonialist military interventions in Latin American countries, the colonialist intentions and white supremacist flavor of the Mexican War and the deportation of countless Mexican-American citizens in the 1930s to free up jobs for white men.

“Stop Censoring History in the Classroom,” January 2012.

 

At first glance, this policy doesn’t seem to be in anybody’s interest. But upon closer inspection, the rapid expansion of prisons does benefit some.

For instance, it can benefit politicians to have prisons in their jurisdictions. Prisoners are counted as being registered in the district where the prison is located, which inflates the official population of those districts, giving some rural areas more districts, and thus more votes and more power; this is known as prison-based gerrymandering.

Primarily, though, the fast-growing prison system benefits corporations, who use the incarcerated as a source of cheap labor.

“Decarcerate PA: Fighting the School-To-Prison-To-Exploited-Labor Pipeline,” January 2012.

 

To those familiar with the realities of poverty and food insecurity in America, that a recipient would feel compelled to explain that food stamps don’t buy a life of luxury seems a bit strange – one would think it obvious that people who receive government assistance aren’t exactly “living large.” But with his remarks about food stamps – particularly food stamps and the African-American community – Gingrich is building on the foundation President Ronald Reagan laid when he invented the “welfare queen.”

The phrase “welfare queen” has decidedly ignoble origins. During his administration, President Reagan often illustrated the need for welfare reformby telling the story of a “Chicago welfare queen” who collected over $150,000 from the government using “eighty names, thirty addresses, twelve Social Security cards, and is collecting veteran’s benefits on four non-existing deceased husbands. And she’s collecting Social Security on her cards. She’s got Medicaid, is getting food stamps, and she is collecting welfare under each of her names.” He continued to refer to this woman as a classic example of welfare abuse in America even after the press corrected him that the woman he was referring to was convicted in 1977 of using two names in order to collect $8,000.

“Gingrich Food Stamp Remarks Reflect Common, Harmful Misconceptions,” February 2012.

 

What would it take to turn the Violence Against Women Act, which enjoyed overwhelming congressional support since Bill Clinton first signed it in 1994 and helped increase reportage of domestic violence by 51 percent, into partisan legislation?

Simply put, not much. The new incarnation of the Violence Against Women Act, sponsored by Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who is on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Michael Crapo (R-Idaho), who is not, passed the Judiciary Committee earlier this month on a party line vote of 10-8. Apparently, expanding visa options for abused immigrants and forbidding domestic violence centers that receive government funding from turning away victims on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity are so controversial that not a single Republican in the Committee could bring himself or herself to reauthorize the Act.

“GOP Opposition to Violence Against Women Act Reprehensible,” February 2012.

 

The participation of fathers in the “child care arrangement” formerly known as “parenting” has been increasing rapidly since women entered the workforce, with 32% of children with working mothers being looked after full-time by their dads in 2010, as opposed to 26% in 2005. The leap from one in four fathers acting as a primary childcare provider to one in three, over the course of only five years, is absolutely significant.

But the Census Bureau undermines the good news by continuing to assign the label of “designated parent” to the woman in the house, for no statistically valid reason. It’s great to study “gender norms” and their evolution over time; it’s irresponsible to actively reinforce them in the process, and the United States’ biggest and most powerful data-collection agency should know better.

“Census Bureau: Mom is Designated ‘Parent,’ Dad is ‘Childcare Arrangement’,” February 2012.

 

Under the “Stand Your Ground Law” in Florida, one is immune from prosecution for use of lethal force under such circumstances as when one “reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.”

To say that Zimmerman is exempt under this law is to say that it is reasonable to believe that an unarmed black teenager walking through a mostly white neighborhood must be about to commit a forcible felony. It’s saying that it’s reasonable to pursue said juvenile with a gun and, when a physical confrontation does or does not ensue — depending on whose witnesses you choose to believe on that point — to shoot him fatally. To allow Zimmerman to go free based on the “Stand Your Ground Law” is to publicly state that a 17-year-old black male, by his very nature, may reasonably be considered a threat so great as to justify the use of lethal force.

“Stand Your Ground” is meant to allow a person to defend himself in places other than his own home; it is not a declaration of open season on anyone that any armed person finds suspicious-looking. It’s all well and good to presume Zimmerman innocent until proven guilty in court. But by failing even to arrest him at the scene of the crime, the Sanford police went well beyond presuming Zimmerman innocent; they actually presumed Trayvon Martin guilty.

“Race Plays An Important Role in Trayvon Martin Case,” April 2012.

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My Past Work: On Body Issues

Bodies! We all have them. Most people find their own to be a source of endless angst, and some people, also known as assholes, also find other people’s to be a source of angst, which they enthusiastically pass along to the body’s owners, and that’s why I have to write all this stuff.

 

 

I’m consistently shocked at how many of my perfectly healthy and beautiful friends have been called fat, have been raked over the coals for negligible or imaginary weight gain or who simply have been skewered with disappointed looks and declarations of “You haven’t lost any weight” when they went home to visit their families. Mothers seem to be the most common culprits, but fathers, grandparents, aunts and uncles can also be guilty.

If this is the type of situation that awaits you at home, go in prepared with a list of affirmations you can use to brush off hurtful comments. If you can tell yourself, “My doctor says I’m healthy” or “I’ve gained muscle this semester,” you can keep rude remarks in perspective.

Remember that critics almost always have their own reasons for tearing you down. Maybe your mom is insecure about her own weight and taking it out on you. Maybe your dad feels weird about how much you’ve grown. These explanations don’t excuse poor behavior; making loved ones feel like crap during the holidays is inexcusable and any adult should know better. But noting the motives behind mean remarks — and how little they have to do with you — makes it easier to identify those remarks for what they are: bulls**t.

“Coping With Eating Anxiety During Thanksgiving,” November 2011.

 

The typical simplified response is that women shave to look attractive to men — but that might not be the case. Many women report that when they go without shaving, they only get grief about it from other women. Their boyfriends, husbands and one-night stands, overall, are totally unfazed.

Still, I’m frequently asked whether or not my boyfriend minds.  He doesn’t — my boyfriend is a great big hippie and prefers  that I not clog landfills with disposable razor waste — but is that really the point? In all the time we’ve been together, no one has ever asked him if I approve of his No-Shave November beard or the goatee he sported when we met. I like the beard just fine, but why am I expected to groom with his interests in mind, and not vice versa?

If my boyfriend has never cared and I don’t own stock in Gillette, why have I shaved since puberty? Until this October, I always insisted that I only did so because I wanted to. Superficially, that was true — aside from my mother, nobody ever told me that I had to shave. And I did — still do — like the look and feel of smooth legs. Yet when I considered going without shaving for more than a week, I was filled with inexplicable anxiety.

“No-Shave November Not Just For Men,” November 2011.

 

You don’t hate fat people, but of course you feel kind of judgmental when you see a fat person shoveling down high-calorie food. It’s like, totally disrespectful to their bodies. Interestingly, when you see someone thin put away three or four slices of pizza, you’re either indifferent or moved to congratulate, even though those four slices of pizza are wreaking the same havoc on their circulatory system they would on a fat person’s. You also don’t have the same gut reaction to people smoking, binge drinking or using energy drinks to pull all-nighters.

You — you the doctor, the school or the government agency — are only concerned about fat people’s health, which is why you evaluate their weight and risk factors based on Body Mass Index. BMI is a meaningless equation easily skewed by height, takes no account of body composition — many serious athletes are obese, according to BMI — and hasn’t been considered a legitimate health measurement in years.

But more reliable ways of determining whether a person is obese are just so much more expensive and time-consuming. Why spring for the latest technology when you’re evaluating whether to put a perfectly healthy person on a diet or deny him or her employment due to vague insurance concerns? It’s not like we’re talking about people’s lives and livelihoods here. Aren’t these all perfectly acceptable casualties in the very noble war on the Obesity Epidemic?

“Fat Shaming Misguided,” December 2011. FUN FACT: I wrote this one in response to the Pitt News running an editorial about how discriminating against fat people in the workplace is totally OK.

 

Though picking at our own flaws is already a year-round occupation for most of us, things really tend to deteriorate in the summer.

After all, nothing feels less sexy than sweating through all of your clothes. Maybe you love the pool or beach, and you’re feeling the pressure to get a “bikini body.” Maybe you’re home for the summer and your parents are critical of your body, or trying to pressure you to fad diet with them. Maybe you normally hide your insecurities behind layers of baggy clothing, and find yourself dismayed now that the temperature passed 90 degrees and it’s basically too hot to justify wearing anything at all. Or maybe you feel intimidated by those occasional perfect days, when the breeze and temperature are just right and everyone around you seems to have stepped out of an episode of MTV’s “Beautiful People Doing Stuff” — that’s a real show, right? — especially in Schenley Plaza.

“Avoid Social Pressures to ‘Get In Shape’ This Summer,” July 2012.


My Past Work: On Reproductive Justice

Between my column and the blog I maintained as an intern for the Women’s Law Project, I wrote A LOT about reproductive justice. Here’s a roundup!

 

 

Fact 1: Abortion providers in Pennsylvania already comply with up to four different sets of guidelines, and all the facilities currently in operation have been praised for their high standards of safety and care.

Fact 2: Facilities that perform other minor surgeries such as oral surgery, foot surgery and laser eye surgery are not required to comply with ASF guidelines.

Fact 3: ASF guidelines are cumbersome, expensive and largely irrelevant to patient safety in abortion cases. SB 732 would require freestanding abortion clinics to as much as quadruple the size of their operating rooms and install hospital-grade elevators capable of lifting a small car, with no proven safety gains to justify these expensive measures. Some clinics would have to relocate to comply with additional zoning requirements. And although every licensed clinic has a registered nurse present when abortions are being performed, SB 732 would require that an RN be in attendance “at all hours when patients are present.” This means that all abortion care facilities, many of which only perform abortions one or two days per week, would have to hire an RN to oversee the regular gynecological exams, STD testing and birth-control consultations that constitute more than 90 percent of the services they provide.

Fact 4: Because no public funds can be used for abortion, the cost of hiring a full-time RN and installing a hospital-grade elevator cannot be reimbursed by Medicaid.

“Proposed Abortion Regulations Endanger Women,” October 2011

 

Karnamaya Mongar didn’t die because the elevators in Gosnell’s clinic were too small. She died because the regulations already in place were ignored.  If the cost of a safe, legal abortion increases or the number of safe providers decreases as a result of SB 732, stories like Mongar’s will become a lot more common in our state. Making abortion harder to access for all women is, to paraphrase David Bowie, like fighting fire with gasoline. These regulations are a backdoor tactic to severely limit abortion care, a hypocritical and disingenuous response to the atrocities allegedly committed by Dr. Gosnell.

“In Remembrance: Illegal Abortion Kills” October 2011.

 

These new guidelines encourage ob-gyns to do the following: ask patients about their gender open-endedly on their patient intake forms rather than requiring they check “male” or “female,” to post LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination policies visibly in their offices, and train staff to handle transgender patients professionally and with compassion.  ACOG says that physicians must be prepared to offer gender-nonconforming patients the same basic preventive services as their cisgendered patients (those who identify as the gender they were assigned at birth), such as STD testing and cancer screenings.

This is a huge, much-needed victory in LGBT health and wellness. In October 2010, the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force released the results of the largest survey of transgender people on healthcare discrimination to date, and the results were dismal.

“American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: Time to Treat Trans Patients Right,” January 2012.

 

Religious institutions that oppose premarital sex may declare that they don’t want to pay for a woman’s sexual immorality, but unless Catholic hospitals refuse to cover prenatal care if the pregnant employee is not married to the father of her child — needless to say, probably not what Jesus would do — they’re paying for it anyway. Because prenatal healthcare — to say nothing of the astronomical costs of a hospital birth — is hundreds of times more expensive than birth control, refusing to cover the latter ultimately costs your insurance company, and anyone whose taxes subsidize it, a great deal more money. According to the Guttmacher Institute, unintended pregnancies cost U.S. taxpayers $11.1 billion dollars a year, and that’s only factoring in public insurance costs for prenatal and first-year infant care.

“Religious Views Shouldn’t Exempt Hospitals From Insurance Mandate,” February 2012.

 

According to the Family Research Council (an ultra-conservative group that actively opposes abortiondivorce,LGBT rights, and embryonic stem-cell research), “eight in ten pregnancy resource centers report that ‘abortion-minded’ women decide to keep their babies after seeing ultrasound images,” and “[a]ccording to an executive director of an Iowa pregnancy resource center, 90 percent of women who see their baby by ultrasound choose life.” Americans United for Life insists that “medical evidence indicates that women feel bonded to their children after seeing them on the ultrasound screen” – as evidence, they refer to a 1983 study that reported exactly two cases of women, around three months pregnant, feeling bonded with their fetuses after viewing ultrasounds.

Now, almost thirty years later, assistant medical professor Tracy Weitz is conducting a more comprehensive study – interviewing twenty abortion-seeking women in two states and surveying ultrasound clinicians about their practices – to determine whether ultrasound advocates’ claims are accurate. And while research is far from over, preliminary results suggest that women consistently choosing to carry their pregnancies to term after viewing the ultrasound image is less documented phenomenon, and more pro-life fantasy.

“Ongoing Study: Mandatory Ultrasounds Have Very Little Impact on Abortion Decision,” March 2012.

 

I don’t think a woman should have to decide whether to keep taking a birth control pill that gives her terrible side effects, because it’s the only brand whose copay she can afford. I don’t think a woman should have to decide whether to enroll in a birth control study and rely on a pill that isn’t on the market yet, not because the compensation is great, but because it’s the only way to get contraception for free.

I don’t think a woman who lives with Pre-Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder should have to choose whether to suffer every month because the pill that gives her fewer periods has a higher co-pay than she can afford on her part-time salary, and I don’t think a woman should have to decide, when money is tight, whether it’d be smarter to go a week without her birth control or without her thyroid medication.

“One Less Tough Decision: What Birth Control Without Co-Pays Means For College Women,” August 2012

 

With the majority of Republican lawmakers apparently supporting an across-the-board abortion ban undaunted by the plight of rape or incest victims, it is worth asking exactly why so many of them are calling for Todd Akin to drop out of his Senate race.

I’m glad that the majority of GOP lawmakers are willing to believe the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology when it reports that “among adult women, an estimated 32,101 pregnancies result from rape each year.” But if they accept those statistics, they have to accept that what they’re advocating is 32,101 women every year involuntarily carrying a rape-conceived pregnancy to term. And frankly, I wish they’d act a little more embarrassed about that.

“Pro-life Platform Hurts ‘Legitimate Rape’ Survivors,” September 2012


Today’s Column Is About Self-Esteem

I was going to refrain from mentioning this column aside from burying it at the very bottom of the Mental Health round-up because it was honestly not my favorite. Also, the title makes it sound like I am just instructing people to like themselves, when what I really meant to do was deconstruct the reasons we continue choosing not to.

But I got a lot of positive feedback, including from a very tough professor, so I’m going to make it a Special Feature anyway. Here we go.

I’m not quoting the whole thing, because the Pitt News is losing money and that makes me sad, so I don’t want to steal a page view from them. Please click through!

 

Something really frightening happened yesterday when I looked in the mirror.

In fact, it’s been happening for weeks. More often than not, for almost a month now, I’ve looked in the mirror and felt … basically alright about what I saw.

Getting comfortable with my own appearance is something I’ve been working toward, with no small amount of struggle, for years. And now that I seem to be arriving at my goal, the emotion I feel is less triumph than fear. Where do I get off feeling good about how I look? Who gave me permission to go around thinking I’m some sort of hot property? What kind of conceited jerk am I turning into?

On Why Hating Yourself Is A Bad Decision, Basically


My Past Work: On Relationships and Sex

I might not have realized my dream of turning my unfortunate last name into a brilliantly punny Love Bites column, but I have written a couple things on the subject. Here they are.

Note: a few of these round-ups will contain repeats and crossovers. So for example, the ‘Managing Romance and Mental Illness’ column appears in both this and the mental health round-up, because who knows, maybe somebody reading this is ravenous to hear what I have to say about relationships but thinks I am an idiot on the subject of therapy. Or maybe you are interested in my mental health writing but want to pretend that I never wrote anything about sex at all because, for example, you are my boyfriend’s mother. That is understandable! So here we go.

 

Human sexuality is as diverse as human beings. Some people enjoy group sex, some people want to have sex only with their spouses and some people never want to have sex at all. And yet, prescriptive sex writing usually assumes — ludicrously — that a gay man in a monogamous relationship benefits from the same suggestions as a straight, single woman browsing casual encounters on Craigslist.

“Forget Sex Advice,” February 2012.

 

Try to discuss any issues likely to arise before they actually come up. For example, if there will be complications with sex — if you have an eating disorder or body image problem that will make taking your clothes off traumatic, if you’ve been a victim of sexual abuse in the past or if you’re on psychiatric medication with sexual side effects — it’s best to mention it before things get hot and heavy. If you have social anxiety, let your partner know before he expects you to meet his friends.

“Managing Romance and Mental Illness,” February 2012.

 

in real life, jealousy isn’t cute. If your best female friend vehemently and mysteriously loathes every woman you go out with, it’s not a sign that you need to stop chasing after the wrong ones and notice what’s right in front of you — it’s a sign you need to ditch that friend. And in the real world, if your boyfriend is driven mad with jealousy every time he sees you smiling and laughing with another man, you have a serious problem.

But what do you do if you have a jealous partner who isn’t abusive, making rules for you or exploding at every turn, but just can’t shake the fear that every ex, every cute co-worker and every smiling barista is going to be the person who lures you away? Or worse — what if you’re that partner?

“Coping With Romantic Jealousy,” April 2012.


My Past Work: On Mental Health

This was my originally intended ‘beat,’ though I’ve branched out in a lot of directions since beginning. Columns are in chronological order!

 

I was diagnosed with clinical depression the summer after my freshman year, although it was estimated I’d been depressed since early high school. My pretreatment years were peppered with unsuccessful, hesitant and plainly half-assed attempts to reach out for help.  I had — both alternately and simultaneously — convinced myself that A) Nothing was wrong with me, B) Taking advantage of the Counseling Center would be diverting resources from people who really needed them, and C) I wouldn’t feel depressed if I could just stop being such a worthless human being.

Unsurprisingly, none of these convictions brought me much solace — but they did prevent me from getting help until it was well-past urgent. And if these thoughts sounded a little too familiar to you, then you might want to read this closely.

“Getting Help Part 1 – Understanding,” September 2011.

 

Friends, if your therapist does not respect your gender identity, GTFO. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200 — say goodbye, write a scathing review in the office suggestions box, and move on.

“Getting Help Part 2 – Therapy,” October 2011.

 

Some people feel that mental illness is first and foremost a disease, a physical imbalance of brain chemicals that requires medical treatment just like any other illness. To these people, saying you want to treat your depression without medication is like saying you want to treat your pneumonia with diet and exercise. On the other end of the spectrum, some people believe that meds are a cop-out, a quick fix or a brainwashing tool to “correct” divergent thinkers. Or they believe that psychiatry is a pseudoscience and a corporate scam, and the treatments don’t work and can’t be trusted. These people use the phrase “Big Pharma” a lot.

If you belong to either one of these groups, you don’t need to be reading this to decide whether to consider medication — you’ve already made up your mind. But if you’re not one of those people, chances are you know them. They are perfectly entitled to have strong feelings about this subject — but they are not entitled to influence your decision.

“Getting Help Part 3 – Should You Take Meds?,” October 2011.

 

Meds are no substitute for therapy, self care and reflection. Your antidepressants might make living feel more bearable, but they won’t give you self-esteem. Your anxiety meds might quell your panic attacks, but they won’t magically transform you into someone who feels OK in situations involving large crowds. Those are things that often take months or years of work. My life didn’t become as good as it is now after just a few weeks on Paxil. But I’m not sure I would have worked so hard for those years if Paxil hadn’t brought a reprieve from the periodic two-week episodes during which it was a superhuman struggle to stop crying and leave my dorm.

“Getting Help Part 3.5 – Debunking Myths About Meds,” October 2011.

 

If you have a loved one who suffers from an eating disorder — or who you suspect does — do not try to force him or her to eat. Do not draw attention to his weight, even to fuss about how thin he is getting. Do not harp on what she eats or doesn’t eat. Don’t be offended if that person passes on your famous apple pie.

In short, don’t badger — feeling scrutinized can trigger eating-disordered behaviors even in people who are in recovery. Attempting to practice tough love is guaranteed to do more harm than good. The best thing you can do for a family member affected by an eating disorder is to find out what his or her safe foods are, make sure those foods are available and then steer the dinner-table conversation toward anything and everything that isn’t body size or food.

“Coping With Eating Anxiety During Thanksgiving,” November 2011.

 

There are countless words in the English language. You could say you were crushed, trampled or flattened by your OChem test, and that the corporations taxpayers bailed out are parasitizing the middle class. The only reason to choose the ham-fisted rape metaphor over more appropriate phrasing is to elicit the maximum shock reaction. And since we live in a country where a woman is sexually assaulted every two minutes, according to the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Crime Victimization Survey, your unfettered shock-rocking comes at the price of an overwhelming likelihood that a survivor of sexual violence is going to overhear you, or see your poorly-worded protest sign and feel like complete crap. Is it worth it?

“Be Considerate, Watch Your Triggering Language,” January 2012.

 

People, whether they’re mentally healthy or not, are weird and difficult and frustrating, and all relationships take a hell of a lot of work. Dating someone who has depressive episodes, panic attacks or rapid cycles is challenging — but so is dating someone who’s flat broke and can rarely afford to go out on dates, someone who lives several hours away from you, someone who eats meat when you’re a vegan, whose family you don’t get along with or who is horribly allergic to your beloved pet. People 30 years older than us usually have to factor in a prospective partner’s children. So it’s ridiculous to imagine that something like a mood disorder is an insurmountable obstacle to romantic fulfillment for either partner.

“Managing Romance and Mental Illness,” February 2012.

 

The conversation should be private. This shouldn’t need to be said, but it’s critical.

I struggled with self-harm toward the end of my senior year of high school. Unlike most, I rarely tried to conceal my injuries, unless I was at home with my family. At school, I didn’t expect anybody to notice, and anyway, it was hot out.

Needless to say, this didn’t quite work out. More than one person realized that I appeared to have been attacked by the world’s most methodical cat, and more than one person asked me, loudly and in front of an entire classroom, what the hell I did to myself.

I lied to every one of those people, and I didn’t feel bad about it either. I rationalized that if these concerned souls had wanted an honest answer, they would have pulled me aside and asked about my injuries privately instead of singling me out in front of a group.

“How To Initiate An Intervention,” March 2012.

 

Let’s be real: Although a lot of kids really miss their parents when they go away to college, a lot of kids really, really don’t. That many students actually consider “getting away from my family” a primary draw of college life is perhaps the worst-kept secret of freshman year.

Take me, for example. Blogger Holly Pervocracy once said that 98 percent of her relationship with her mother “was good and loving and selfless and, if anything, too generous. The other 2 percent was pretty ugly.” Although Holly’s’s relationship with her mother was much more tumultuous than my relationship with my parents ever was, that sentiment spoke to me. It’s not that I don’t love my parents to pieces — I do, and they love me back. But while love is more than enough to prevent you from physically killing your family, it is, in my experience, not enough to make a household peaceful. For my father and I — both intensely opinionated, occasionally short-fused people who are so far across the political spectrum from one another that we have to pay long-distance fees to talk about the election — all the love in the world isn’t always enough to stop us from getting into shouting matches when the news is on.

“Expect Drastic Change In Relationship With Parents During First Year,” May 2012.

 

The swinging pendulum of recovery and relapse leads me to imagine mental illness, like herpes, as a virus that remains in the body even when symptoms aren’t being displayed. To speak for myself, I would like to wean myself off my antidepressants within the next three years. There is a strong chance that I will find myself choosing to go back on them later in life when the symptoms will likely reappear.

This is not to say that treatment is futile — on the contrary, regarding mental illness as a lifelong, sometimes-dormant condition is a great way to keep yourself vigilant against future outbreaks and allow yourself to fight relapses before they eat away at too much of your progress.

“A Study in Stigma: How Mental Illness is like Herpes,” August 2012.

 

As an adult, hating yourself is a choice. That doesn’t mean I think you can snap out of it just like that; drinking is still a choice if you’re an alcoholic, but I don’t believe it’s fair to expect an addict to just wake up one morning and stop drinking without any qualified help and support. Staying in an abusive relationship is a choice, but with things like children’s safety or the ability to pay the rent on the line, it’s hardly as simple as “Why don’t you just leave?”

Self-loathing is a choice that I, in particular, continued to make for most of my life, and stopped making only very recently. And now that I’ve broken the cycle, I can see a lot of the reasons I made that choice.

“Why Do We Choose To Dislike Ourselves?” September 2012.


So this blogging thing is going splendidly so far. It’s been about ten minutes, I can’t find the link to my own ‘about’ page on my own blog, and I agonized way more than any human being ought to about which pre-made theme to pick. If anyone is reading this, I hope you will bear with me.