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(no subject) [May. 17th, 2007|05:25 pm]
I am going off birth control. A couple reasons, first being that it is not serving its stated purpose and I feel irresponsible continuing to count it as a legitimate expense, especially because I do not know what my insurance situation will be after graduation. Also, l have been on it six years, during which my body has changed a fair deal, especially chemically, and I am curious about the effects. Friends who have gone off it have lost weight and felt much more in touch with their bodies. I have no objections to either of these possibilities, although I'm skeptical about the latter. I do want to understand, listen to, and respect my body more than I do now, I do want to feel healthy, to continue the work started in January to lessen pain. One of the most important things I learned in January was that I cannot hate, feel anger towards, or wish to suppress body parts or areas without consequence, and that consequence seems to be an increase in the pain that caused me to feel those particular emotions in the first place. An increase in pain, or constriction, numbness, tension - leading to cold, to loss of agility, to frustration. And more anger. So I have, in large part, stopped feeling that way towards my wrists, my shoulders, my throat. And I've been better for it. But one of the many reasons I love/d birth control was the control it gave me over what my body did and when. I suppressed my period, and I think I'd be just as happy never having it again. I have no sentimental attachment to it, no spiritual respect for it. The Red Tent was a fine junk read, but I don't think the "essence of womanhood" is connected to shed blood. Some years ago I welcomed its arrival as reassurance that the pills were working, but after that first minute of joy at not being pregnant, it was once more a thing to deal with, one more way that my body was in pain. I'm not disgusted by it, not ashamed of it. Just not into it, or anything it has been made to represent.
My body's ability to reproduce is not miraculous, not mystical, and most definitely not anything by which I want to be defined. It is, if anything, a liability, a vulnerability, and a hassle. I do not want to be handmaiden to this society, providing fodder for war or industry. I do not want my worth as a person and as a woman to be determined by willingness to cause another life when I can not ethically justify such an action. Already as a woman, (or maybe just as a person, since no gender identity guarantees immunity) I live with a constant threat of sexual assault. I hate that this has been a factor in my daily actions and choices, but I know that it is. On birth control, there was the quasi-reassurance that, should I be assaulted, at least I wouldn't have to deal with getting access to plan B or an abortion ( and I live in an area where these services are still accessible). Some comfort. But I can't stay on the pill simply out of fear, I can't let that be the deciding factor for this question. So I go off, I try to feel more in my body, but at the same time, I can't imagine feeling anything but negatively toward my ovaries, my uterus. I don't want to embrace them or their function. I feel them as both a weakness and an oppressive force. Because of that perspective, it is hard not to harbor resentment toward them.
And yet, I don't want to harbor resentment. It is a waste of emotional investment and possibly dangerous. If feeling negatively toward my wrists because they "failed" me resulted in an energy blockage that physically reduced blood flow, what damage could I cause by hating parts of my body for making me vulnerable and reducible to a biological function? Aren't I further objectifying these parts by directing my resentment at them, when it is the society in which I live that is the real danger, the society that needs to be dismantled? I don't want to set my body on a course of self-destruction, yet neutrality, let alone positive emotional energy, requires a trust that will be hard to establish.
I have been militarized, partitioned into a war zone, and I view with suspicion that which has been occupied by enemy territory. Stalin welcomed escaped Soviet POWs with a bullet in the head. As a rule, doing the opposite of whatever Stalin did is generally advisable. In this case, I need to remember that acting in a similar manner would not only be inadvisable, it could be suicidal.
My health is my health, whether wrist or uterus or heart.
I want a functioning body, a pain free body, a healthy body.
I want a unified body, a body/mind I that is me that does not inspire war metaphors.
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"Every one of them words rang true and glowed like burning coal" [May. 6th, 2007|03:31 am]
Weaknesses of the INFJ personality type*
May be unaware (and sometimes uncaring) of how they come across to others
May quickly dismiss input from others without really considering it
May apply their judgment more often towards others, rather than towards themselves
With their ability to see an issue from many sides, they may always find others at fault for any problems in their lives
May have unrealistic and/or unreasonable expectations of others
May be intolerant of weaknesses in others
May believe that they're always right
May be obsessive and passionate about details that may be unimportant to the big picture
May be cuttingly derisive and sarcastic towards others
May have an intense and quick temper
May be tense, wound up, have high blood pressure and find it difficult to relax
May hold grudges, and have difficulty forgiving people
May be wishy-washy and unsure how to act in situations that require quick decision making
May have difficulty communicating their thoughts and feelings to others
May see so many tangents everywhere that they can't stay focused on the bottom line or the big picture

So. Stuff to work on. I don't know how much faith is generally put into Meyers-Briggs, but I feel explained in a way that is really helpful for me. Not justified, but also not impossible.

*from http://www.personalitypage.com/INFJ_per.html
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Pain! And less pain. [Jan. 13th, 2007|10:40 pm]
I'm going to be detoxing for the next couple days. I'm swinging from fever to chills, feeling high to feeling miserable, greedily thirsty to nauseated everywhere. A friend with amazing intuition and healer-training spent three hours today clearing blocked energy. It was probably mostly fairly light rubbing, except that it felt often like an anvil balanced on an egg pressing down on me. But if you've given me a massage, you've seen me react this way. Surprisingly, maybe unsurprisingly, my heart area was the most blocked. Pulling my shoulders inward -> shoulder pain -> blocking circulation in my arms -> wrist pain and freezing hands. For a long time I've described feeling disconnected to my back, separate from it somehow (except when it's in pain.) And now I feel thicker, I feel like it's glued on to me. Soon I might feel like it's part of me. Amazing how the parts of my body which have undergone the most trauma - legs, arms, heart, and back - the parts I've hated for their betrayal and wanted to disown, were the parts that were leaving me. Why should they stay? Or that my desire for invisibility has left me completely unable to recognize what was going on with me until the feeling was so intense that I was whimpering, shaking, and occasionally yelling and swearing. I'd say that I've never been in as much pain as today, but maybe I have. If this was all in me then I've been experiencing this daily, just in more subtle ways. Body trauma. I didn't recognize. I didn't acknowledge. I didn't think bodies were like minds, that they'd break under silence.
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I came across this today [Jan. 9th, 2007|04:00 pm]
"Despotism is never so fearful as when it claims to do good, since it can then excuse its most repulsive acts by their intentions, and there are no longer any limits to the evil it adopts as a remedy. Open crime can triumph for no more than a day: false virtues are what eternally mislead the spirit of a people."
- Marquis de Custine
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Dream [Jan. 6th, 2007|03:31 pm]
Last night I was on a large field with many others. We were forced to be there, forced to be carrying the rolled mats made of logs and branches on which we were to lie, waiting to be killed. I whimpered uncontrollably when I began to understand what was going on. I was sure that I didn't need to wait, that simply lying down would be enough and I would die. But I didn't die, so I was paralyzed but alive when the mats were set on fire. It was only a primer, the fires went out, we were told to flip the mats over and lie down again. Then they were set on fire a second time, the real time, but death was slow. My back became increasingly hot, but I wasn't being burned.

I managed to wake myself enough to get out, wonder where that had come from, and have another, unrelated dream. This morning I realized that the first dream was about collectivization. I've been re-reading Andrey Platonov's The Foundation Pit and am writing a paper about its representation of death. People just lying down to die because they are tired, because they don't see any hope or meaning in living. Peasants waiting in coffins. It should be devastating, and when you think of the earnestness of the characters in their attempts to be meaningful to a system that will only betray and destroy them, it is devastating. But Platonov is so compassionate, and so steady in his compassion, that he doesn't tear you apart, like Dostoevsky does. He creates a slow, steady sadness, a pervasive sadness. And yet there is energy in it, forceful, uncontainable energy. It is energy of the kind that dismantles rather than destroys. His realism, his pessimism, serves not to mock those who are idealistic, but to indict those who betray good faith. There are too few books, and people, who do that.
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(no subject) [Nov. 1st, 2006|04:46 pm]
I think, not in a self-satisfied or boastful way, a lot my family's self-identity is based on the understanding and perception that my ideal parents have rasied ideal children. Such has been related to me many times and such has also been something I have/still maybe do prescribe to. So what happens to this identity if I'm now thinking that my ideal parents, in a situation that would admittedly be difficult for any parents, made a mistake that has negatively affected my life for the last 14 years? A far-reaching, fucking huge mistake. Do I want them to know that I think that? Do I want them to think that way themselves? Would I be hurting them if I tell them? Will I end up hurting them by not expressing this? Will it make any difference?
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De[con]struction [Oct. 25th, 2006|08:13 pm]
I started talking about some of this in therapy today, and saw some connections that I had previously never recognized as being related.
From September 1991 to mid-fall 1992, my fantasy life consisted of smashing, breaking, burning, melting and otherwise destroying the plastic and metal corset-sized prison I wore 23 hours a day in the form of a back brace. Covered in Victorian-style stickers, an early attempt at beautification that later brought forth only embarrassment, that fucking brace, and more precisely, how I would destroy that fucking brace, was prominent in my thoughts. I envisioned a mallet, no doubt the acme-kind that bugs bunny or the road runner always pull out, and taking the mallet to the brace so that the metal columns which ran up to the neck guard would be split apart from the hard plastic, and the plastic would be split into jagged pieces, impossible to reform into the whole. I surrendered the burning - my family told me that plastic would smell horrible and be bad for the environment, although ideally a bonfire would have been a fitting end. I'm sure I had many more scenarios then, when my imagination was more fecund and the object of my rage constricting me daily.

They had tried to get me used to it in small doses. As soon as my back was healed enough from the surgery, the brace was on for a couple hours. Then some more. The first night was much sooner than I had expected, and also impossible. The instant I tried to lie down I shot back upright, feeling like I was choking. I am not sure if I slept at all that time. But I got used to it, I started sleeping, started falling into the routine. The only hour I had free was for a bath. Every day I had to take a bath. But my parents read to me, and after the bath when they went to get the brace and my pajamas I would hide under my towel pretending to be a rock, giggling when they gamely asked "where is Karen? I guess I'll wait by this rock..."

I don't know if I was angry about it. I mean, obviously I must have been angry, but I was self-effacing, tried to pass it away as nothing, or as something cool. I'd tell classmates that they could punch me in my stomach - I didn't feel anything. I once broke through a red rover line against much older boys. I don't think I was ever teased about it, I have that to be thankful for.

And when the time came, when all the doctors decided that it was safe to be free, I was so ready for my mallet. And my parents - they said it was up to me, but that it would be best to return it to the hospital, where it could be used as a teaching device. So I did.

FUCK ME. FUCK THEM. FUCK THAT FUCKING BRACE, THOSE DOCTORS, THAT HOSPITAL. What the fuck can a used brace covered with faded and half scratched-off Victorian-style stickers teach any medical resident? I hope they learned something fucking brilliant. I hope it changed their fucking lives. Because this is what it taught me: You should not express anger. Even within the safe confines of an inanimate object, that is not the right, the charitable, the good thing to do. Even when for a year this has been what you are looking forward to, what has entertained you as you sat on the sidelines of the gym class, watched your friends sledding from the windows of your house, and shivered in the embrace of hard plastic against your 9-year old body. Even when absolutely no living thing would have been harmed.

It might have been one thing if I learned to let go. I think, though, I just learned to give up.

And throughout my life I have been terrified of angry people. Not even "angry" people - I have been terrified of people expressing anger. And is it incredibly surprising that I withdraw, that I didn't know until recently that being assertive did not mean the same thing as being aggressive, that I have difficulty, or at least, I say that I have difficulty, articulating my feelings? That I spent a long time feeling invisible, and wanted to become even more so?

Five weeks ago after getting news that negatively affected a group I'm in and to which I'm very dedicated, I went to the kitchen, got a paper bag, got a plate, put the plate in the bag, asked a friend in the group to come out with me, stood in the driveway, and hurled the bag-covered-plate onto the pavement. I luxuriated in the sound of it shattering, though it lasted less than a second. I was angry, I continued to be angry (though mostly: upset, disappointed, and stressed), but I felt good breaking that plate. And I did it in probably the most responsible, well-thought out manner possible.

I can be a good person and break shit.
I can break shit.

I wish I had known that 14 years ago.
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What do you hear in these sounds [Sep. 29th, 2006|06:45 pm]
And I wake up and I ask myself what state I'm in
And I say well I'm lucky, cause I am like East Berlin
I had this wall and what I knew of the free world
Was that I could see their fireworks
And I could hear their radio
And I thought that if we met, I would only start confessing
And they'd know that I was scared
They'd would know that I was guessing
But the wall came down and there they stood before me
With their stumbling and their mumbling
And their calling out just like me...and...
- Dar Williams
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From the airport in paris [Aug. 23rd, 2006|04:04 am]
I was expecting, that maybe if I didn't go to sleep, this day wouldn't come. If you don't go to sleep, how can morning turn to day and evening and night and then again a new morning, a new day? You haven't allowed for the secret time when the calendar changes to go by unnoticed, you don't allow it to be secret, how then can it keep going, opening up it's secret? I haven't written here all summer despite plans otherwise, but time never gave me the right moment. And now... now time is completely non-sensical. How do I talk about this summer, about these last seven short short weeks in Russia? What can one say about finding, in a foreign country, in a foreign language, the strongest and most искреный friendship I have known?

Constant announcements about outlawed liquids are not helping me write. Sometime, in some quiet place, I will write more about this.
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Only in Russia... [Jul. 13th, 2006|11:26 am]
would the woman from whom I am buying vegetables on the street draw and share conclusions about my marital status.

K - How much are the cucumbers?
W - 30 rubles.
K - And they're fresh?
W - Still in the ground this morning.
K - Okay, I'll take them. (Fumble in bag to find wallet)
W - What about strawberries? Take the strawberries, make preserves. Just one bag of cucumbers? Take two.
K - No thanks, this is all I need.
W - Oh, you're single, yes?
K - (Glare)
W - Have them in health.
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