Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Squee

I don't know how much of a lasting change this will be, but I am feeling so much better about everything! It may well be that my workload is dropping off because of Thanksgiving break, or it may be that some really good progress has been made in some of my classes. OR, it could be that Alison Piepmeier likes me! My Western Civ professor likes me too! He even gave me a 100 on my research paper! Or it could be that everything seems to be under control! Probably all of these things are contributing to my relief from this semester's drudgery. Next semester is going to be so awesome, too! Even if I do have to take the second half of Western Civ, I am taking classes that seem genuinely interesting to me. No more brain stuff (tectopulvinar pathway) or ancient philosophy (damn you, stellar parallax)! I just have to make it through exams, and then I am on to better and more brilliant fields. No, not the Elysian fields. I now have my own stack of books to get through that sound fabulously fascinating and will teach me so much about feminist disability studies. And I get to learn under the expert tutelage of Alison! Well, hopefully at least. I won't know for sure about the SURF grant until the end of March, but I will be sure to post about it. The research book stack is something that I see lots of my brilliant friends making use of, and I have always been quite the jealous little bee. I just haven't had a class yet that requires me to even use my brain and my skills together to craft a paper about feminist issues that requires a book stack. But now I do!

Although I am posting this now, I do realize that I will probably be eating my words once finals roll around and I am totally and completely bonkers. Oh well. It will all be over soon.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

How many plagues were there?

First there were roaches. Now there are scabies - maybe-infested couches. I am kind of afraid to ask what comes next. As I type that, I'm thinking: the flu.

Is it possible that I have summoned a season of plagues? Or maybe the office has lost its good luck charm. Poor thing is having a rough time.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Subpar Clones

Oh, buddy. So, Alison Piep. just emailed me an old draft of a SURF grant application so that I could take a look. Of course she sends me the one that she worked on with a student who apparently looks very similar to me (I have been told this repeatedly by several people). Oh, and of course that student's transcript was included: 4.0 GPA. President of this, that, and the other. Honors student. Presented at SEWSA. Generally agreed to be brilliant.

So, this lady pretty much has me beat on most fronts. She even has better hair. I don't want to be compared to that; I can't measure up! I think this is what performance anxiety must feel like.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Mental Health vs. Resume Building

One of the reasons that I have been avoiding posting new blogs is because I am trying to avoid this becoming yet another outlet for whining. Sometimes, whining is all I feel like doing on any given day. Anyway, so much stuff has been happening, so here is a medium-short list:
  1. Alison Piep. and I are applying for a SURF grant this summer to work on her next book. When she asked me, not only did I emit a certain freaky glow and squeal of excitement, but I also wanted to ask her - "Wait a minutes, are you really sure you want to work with me?" I know that I can play the grade game at school; I can be successful without really learning and utilizing the kinds of analyzation  that are actually important skills for later in life. But, am I smart enough to work on and contribute to Alison's work? Who wants to disappoint their own hero? Not me. I have been assured that everything will be fine, but some doubts are more persistent than others.
  2.  I have decided to study abroad during the fall semester of my junior year. In South Africa. Because of their semesters, I'll be leaving in early July, and not returning until the semester ends in November. I found a school with a really cool gender studies program, but also a very interesting history. The University of the Western Cape was built during apartheid for people of color as a tech school. Apparently, the social stratification put in place years ago is still there, and the university has a lot of students who are poor Black Africans. Oh, and did I mention that I would be away from Ashley for SIX MONTHS?
  3. I feel routinely stressed out by this semester. I will almost certainly be making three A-. The work load is so crazy; every time I make a dent in it, it cycles over and the process begins all over again. My weekends are dedicated to cooking and cleaning followed by hours and hours of homework. What else am I supposed to do? My minimum effort takes all of my time and leaves me feeling emotionally exhausted and stressed. I really can't wait for this semester to be over. It doesn't feel good to devote all my energy to school, and have no social life. How exactly should I meet someone if I'm never anywhere except work or my dorm? I think I need to figure out a better balance in my priorities because this is just not working for me.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sophomore Year

Honors Western Civilization is awful. All of you people who told me I would be fine lied. Lies! I have officially cried over Western Civ as of last Friday. I will try to keep status posts coming, but don't expect much people.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Moving in, Getting Settled

I moved in on Friday, in the pouring down rain. That was fun. It wasn't as horrible as the flannel treadmill  bed dream, but still. Also, the rooms were filthy! Everything was really dirty and I mopped for quite a while with my non-toxic all purpose cleaner. Also, there have been no confirmed roach sightings, but . . . I have killed three other bugs in the last 12 hours (Go, me!). And, I'm afraid there was a roach in the kitchen this morning, but it scurried away to fast to really see (ie superfast), and it was pretty small for a roach. Here's to hoping it wasn't.

Even though I am waging a bug war, I'm really happy to be back in Charleston. And, of course am very excited for classes tomorrow. Did I mention that I don' have a roommate? Did I mention how fabulous it is? Lucky, lucky, me; I call this karma. Anyways. I went to the farmer's market and cooked! YAY! I STARTED A NEW JOINT BLOG (with ashley and hannah)! You should check it out; it links from my profile page. It's called the Dorm Foodie, and is all about food prep in a dorm with lots of cool pictures! Fun times.

Hopefully there will be more posts that are not incredibly rambly in the future. Can't promise that, but I can try.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Status Report

Last night I dreamed about move-in day. Except I wasn't moving in to the nice suite with friends in Rutledge. I was moving into this gigantic suite with 12 (co-ed!) bedrooms and only 2 bathrooms. I went in last to get my room, and they were all taken, so I had to share with this other freaky looking girl. There were three beds, and the one in the middle was on an inclined treadmill instead of a bed frame. And everything was covered in red plaid flannel. It was pretty horrible.

Woke up this morning and checked Cougartrail just to make sure everything was pansies. I seriously cannot wait to get back. Limbo is wearing extremely thin.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Hello, Purple Dinosaur

You know how sometimes everything is just so perfectly planned (up in your head), and then you make a split second decision that deviates from the plan? I tend to do this a lot. Mainly this happens because I feel the need to overplan all the little details of my life. Also this happens because I am cheap, but I still want things.

I intended to buy a Babland vibe when I went back to school so that I could keep the whole shebang away from my mom/family who are all incredibly nosy. But then Babeland had a sale. And so I just did it . . . I bought the lovely vibe that I had been eyeballing and had it delivered to my house. I told my mom it was a present for her so that she wouldn't open it. When it got to me, I opened the box and hid it in my closet. My mom looked for it the next day when I went to work, but thank-you-baby-jesus! did not have any luck finding it.

Here she is.
So, I'm sure you want the juicy details now. I bought the G-Ki made by a company called Je Joue (French for I play). It's purple and waterproof and silicone and adjustable and so, so nice. It pulses and buzzes, not silently but not too terribly loud either. Even the box was beautiful. I haven't used it much because my bedroom is very close to my parents'. However, the trial runs were very successful, and I am quite pleased with my spur of the moment purchase. It makes me feel a sense of take-charge power. It makes me feel good (haha....) about owning my own sexual desires. Last year this time, I could barely talk about masturbation nevermind imagine myself owning one of these, and now I do. So, yay for empowerment.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Jessica the Friendliest

Lax. I know. I really did have intentions of posting regularly over the summer, but somehow it just isn't happening. Oh well. I'll at least fill you in on my job for the summer; I work at Ross Dress for Less.

I go by Jessica there because I thought I'd create an alter ego to further perpetrate the idea that this time and space is limbo until I go back to real life as Amber. Unfortunately I had no idea how many people think it's acceptable to shorten Jessica to Jessie. I'm pretty sure that I visibly cringe every time someone does that. Jessie. Jessie?! Jessie plays softball, has a severe country (southern) accent, long dirty blond hair, and enjoys the comforts of Crocs. So not me.

Anyhow, sometimes I'm on the cash register, and sometimes I do markdowns. I've done the fitting room once, and nearly died of boredom. Also, the fitting room has to answer to phone when it rings and the following is Ross' idea of an appropriate greeting: "Hello, this is Ross on Woodruff Road where we deliver the treasures every day. This is Jessica speaking; how can I help you?" DELIVER THE TREASURES??? Yeah, ok.

Also, yesterday, Ross decided that I was the friendliest associate they had, and so I have a new name tag that says Friendliest! at the top. Yippee. I'm not sure whether this is a compliment to me or a testament to how low Ross' standards of friendliness are. And now I have to wear this tag for the next month until I leave and return to life as Amber.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Crash Pad

Let's talk about porn. Or, at least, let me tell you about the porn that I bought and watched recently. I bought The Crash Pad Season 1 from Babeland because it was on sale and queer and came highly recommended by Sugarbutch Chronicles. It was fabulous. Really. The first two scenes were amazing. Dylan Ryan and Trucker Cash are actually partners in real life, so their interactions were really hot, but also super duper sweet. Like, in the outtake Trucker kissed Dylan's knee, and I just about keeled over from the GAH - hot moment. And not to mention all the others who were gigglers, ticklers, and/or squirters and all around adorably kinky. I loved this film a lot.

 But, real quick, let me hash out my feelings about porn. Here's what I think: most porn is awful. These are women (mostly, but men also) who come from some kind of background where they are currently being/have been oppressed in some way e.g. mentally (past/current abuse, maybe addictions-drugs?), physically (unwilling girls/women, rape???), or socially (poverty, family history, etc.). I know that there are plenty of people who these generalizations are not at all true. I absolutely believe that people can love to make porn and be good partners and parents and members of society. But, mainstream stuff by and large? I feel like I  cannot trust the industry to use only workers who are truly giving consent. And, also, I feel terrible that some people who make porn do it for the money, out of desperation because they've gotta pay up rent next week/feed their kid/ pay bills, whatever. I feel like that situation becomes more about exploitation of people in poverty than any kind of statement on empowering sexuality.

I can't enjoy watching something where I feel like I need to constantly analyze the actors' motives; Does she like that? Is she enjoying this? I bought The Crash Pad because this is queer feminist porn. I trust that these people wanted to do this film, and are enjoying themselves. And let me tell you, it makes a big difference to know that I am watching real consent, real sex, real (hopefully happy) people, and real orgasms.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Where the number of posts = my age.

Hi, all. Thanks for all the support and love from last post. I had forgotten how living with my bi-polar mother is a constant balancing act. Anyways. Here are some lists for general enjoyment.

Books I've Been Reading:
1. The Fat Studies Reader, Esther Rothblum and Sondra Solovay
2. Like Me, Chely Wright
3. Out Law, Lisa Keen
4. Half the Sky, Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

TV I've Caught Up On:
1. The Vicar of Dibley
2. 30 Rock
3. Skins
4. Arrested Development

Awesome Bands Touring This Summer Close (ish) to me:
1. Tegan & Sara
2. Mirah
3. Arcade Fire

And, in closing, I feel like adding that my trip to the Ob-gyn was very nice. I like my doctor, a sensible lady who agreed that I might have PCOS= polycystic ovarian syndrome. A doctor at CofC referred me there because she thought I was fat and hairy with abnormal periods, and that this, indeed, was problematic. So I looked PCOS up, and thought, well, ok. Maybe I could have this. So I went to the Ob-gyn and got checked out and had blood drawn to check things like glucose and insulin and follicle stimulating hormone and all that jazz. And guess what? Everything came back totally normal. Nothing is wrong with me! I am perfect all on my own, as much as my fat and hair and 40-50 day period cycle might upset some health professionals. So there!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

My Achy Breaky Heart

Before coming home, I had decided that I had zero intention of coming out to my parents, my brother, or any other family here. I knew that the emotional stress was more than I wanted to tackle while living here for the next 3 1/2 months before school begins again, especially when I am still financially dependent and vulnerable.

Some quick background on my family: largely republican/conservative views, Southern Baptist, and suburban middle class values. My brother is the family jock who has a girlfriend and popularity for being the good ol' boy (aka douchebag extraordinaire a lot). My dad is the most relaxed, but still holds strong religious views. My dad would most likely be the most accepting because he has said that gay men are horrible, but he doesn't much mind lesbians. The logic defies reasoning, but whatever . . . And then we have my mom. My mom might feel liberally about some things like women's rights and abortion. But her feelings about lesbians and gays can be summed up as: it's ok for some theoretical people to be gay as long as she doesn't have to see PDA, and as long as it's not her kids who have been attacked by The Gay because God says it's wrong and dirty.

In high school, my mom occasionally accused me of being a lesbian because I never brought boys home/ talked about any/ hung out with any. This made me immediately defensive and deny the accusations. I know my mom hoped that I would (and I quote) "meet Prince Charming" in college, but instead she and my dad think I am gay-er than ever, and this is technically true. A few days ago, my mom point-blank asked me if I was "like that." She won't even say the word lesbian. This was kinda my worst nightmare. I mean, what am I supposed to say? How do I diffuse this situation and keep some integrity?

I just kept saying, I'm not answering that or talking about this, but for the record don't think there is anything wrong with it. She wanted to know if my friends were lesbians, and thinks that I have fallen into the wrong crowd in college with all the man-hating lesbian feminists. The next morning we were going to the Ob-Gyn for an appointment (info about this coming eventually), and in the waiting room began questioning me again. She was mean and hurtful; she told me she hoped that she dies before she ever has to see me with another girl.

We were in a fucking waiting room, before my very first gyno exam. I was already nervous. Adding in the stress about my mom flipping out about my sexuality and being embarassed about that plus being tired from going to a concert the night before . . . it's no wonder that my blood pressure was high. I just felt really desperate and lost and alone in that doctor's office. And angry. I felt/feel so angry about the whole situation. Yes, I am a lesbian and I love women. Get the fuck over it; this is me, who I am, who I want to be.

Oddly enough, after my appointment was over (it took 2 hours of mostly waiting) she had calmed down and didn't mention a thing about it, like it never happened. Later on that night before I went to bed, she said, "You are determined to break my heart." And I said, "What about mine? What about my heart?" She didn't answer.

By the way, I didn't mean this as a Oh, poor me post look at my horrible family. I just really needed to vent and write it down.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Glasses

 Guess what friends, readers, and general blog-o-sphere? I got my very first pair of glasses yesterday! I went to get my eyes checked, and discovered that I have astigmatism in both eyes which affects my vision both up close and at a distance, but is most noticeable up close. So, I got a prescription for lenses that I am supposed to wear for reading, essentially. However, I would like to note for the record that I did not fake the test. Because I know that someone will accuse me of stooping to low measures, but I didn't. So, with my eyes all wide and wonky, I dragged my mom around town to a total of 4, yes 4, stores before I settled on a pair of black RayBans.

I looked at a lot of colored frames and bigger, funkier square frames and also mom-ish square frames, but I just couldn't resist the pull of the simple, sexy black frames. And now, admire the pictures.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Vegetarian, Vegan, and Me

I have been a vegetarian for 4 years, since I was a first year in high school. I actually tried being vegan for about a month, but eating at Whole Foods all the time is expensive. Plus my parents think that meat is pretty essential. And, ok, I really, really missed cheese and milk.

I just finished reading Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals. Foer is one of my favorite fiction authors; his books are amazing. This book, Eating Animals, is his first non-fiction work, and it's been out for a few months. So, before beginning the book, I assumed that this would be fairly straightforward; I would pat myself on the back for being vegetarian and sparing all those animals I might have eaten. Wrong. Foer's fact based reports and accounts of the harsh realities of animal welfare in both the meat producing and dairy industries are abysmal, and furthermore unacceptable.

Just because I am vegetarian does not mean that I do not participate in factory farming. The eggs I consume come from animals tortured by factory farming where they are deprived of normal animal behaviors, food, water, sunlight, and humane treatment. Additionally, the eggs that I eat are produced by birds who are deeply unhealthy; chickens today have been genetically bred into Frankensteins of the avian world, along with all the other factory farmed animals: turkeys, pigs, and cows. To eat today is to support factory farming and the evils of a system that single handedly produces more environmental sludge than all others factors. This includes cars and other modes of transportation. That's huge!

Me "reading" the book whilst sunbathing.
I do not want to support factory farming. But, I do not want to be vegan; I love cheese and ice cream and omelettes and tasty baked goods. However, am I willing to participate in factory farming just because it tastes good? No. No, it's wrong. Morally, ethically, it's wrong to buy animal products produced at the expense of animals who are tortured. With 99% of animal products coming from factory farmed animals, the good options of farms practicing decent animal husbandry are few and far between.

For right now, I am willing to drink soy milk, and at the very least reduce the amount of other dairy that I eat until I can find sources that value animal welfare. I need to do more research on Whole Foods' dairy products because I don't know how strict their standards are in comparison to the a regular grocery store. Ideally I would be able to find local farmers in Greenville and Charleston, but I don't know if that's going to happen. I'm not excited to be spending more money, but I am willing to do what is right in regards to food choices, I think.

Monday, May 10, 2010

First Year Wrap-Up

Insead of blog-stalking, here's me being creepy in person.
It's hard to believe that I am home after all that happened in Charleston. Last summer I discovered feminism, blog-obsessed over Alison Piepmeier, and felt really cray-cray about moving to college and making friends and being successful in classes.

And then I got to Charleston where everything just dropped into place. I fell in love with friends and professors and farmer's markets and glasses and the city. I did so many things this year: clubs, plays, extracurriculars. I earned a job as an undergraduate assistant next year. I made a 3.9 GPA. I also tried for so many different opportunities that I didn't get. But I tried, and that act, in and of itself, is a lot more than I felt prepared to do last summer. My first year was really, really fabulous. That is just the most accurate description. I grew so much this year, and I'm so much happier with the person I've become.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Whole Lesbian Sex Book, review

Research really rocks my socks. Actually, though, Felice Newman's The Whole Lesbian Sex Book is fantastic. I like her short and sweet writing style; she presents a lot of information in an easily digestible and factual manner that makes reading all 300 packed pages fun.

I learned lots of new info about safer sex practices for lesbians, an abundance of kink DIY, and appreciated the illustrations featuring women of varying color, size, and gender roles. This book covers everything from anatomy to health to masturbation to relationships of all sorts to a slew of sex acts. It seems like the lesbian reader that all lesbians should probably read at some point.

I especially like reading things and changing my mind and abandoning preconceived notions. Here, the author manages to make things like fisting sound really romantic with the right partner. Fisting has always seemed unnecessarily violent to me, but obviously it doesn't have to be. Rimming, on the other hand - grosses me the hell out. I totally think it's a valid and acceptable way to play with a partner. But. I can't turn off the part of my brain that shudders out a succession of Yuck, yuck, and double yuck.

Newman quotes a lot of lesbians in the book talking about their own lives and lovers and preferences. Some of the people sound amazing: proud and beautiful and intractably sexual. I am really attracted to people like that, people who seem to have real passion.

The only down side to reading this book was the mini-pity party I felt like throwing my sad, single self.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Dyke Life, Review

Because I am one of those people who like to research their new ideas, my wandering of the queer shelf at the local library resulted in an anthology called Dyke Life, edited by Karla Jay. I was really excited about this book because it promised the telling of a new story, against heteronormativity, a story where lesbians share their intimate lifestyle choices.

In reading this book, however, I felt really angry. The book was written in 1995, but so few of the changes these authors anticipated have come to pass. Yes, some states have allowed same sex marriage. Yes, some businesses are supportive of their LGBT employees. But everywhere, and especially here in South Carolina, it is always a fight. In a state where employers are not required to justify firing an employee, those LGBT folks may be fired immediately with absolutely no repercussions for the employer, just because they are living their life as they see fit.

I'm pretty sure that my college, perhaps because it is public, doesn't support benefits for LGBT faculty's families. Additionally, the city (which is the most liberal city in the state) as well as the college are also not in support of an LGBTQ minor. Although, according to the local newspaper, 12% of the student body identifies as LGBTQ which equals 1200 students. This is nearly twice the number of black students on this mainly female, mainly white campus.

As a lesbian living on this campus, I feel angry about the lack of LGBTQ representation on this campus. While the Office of Institutional Diversity holds panel discussions about minorities on this campus, there is one minority that is routinely left out of the discussion. While I am here for the next few years, I want to change that. I want to talk about it. I want to be seen. I want to be heard.

If you want to read Dyke Life, please do. The essays are insightful into the struggles of lesbians throughout their life, particularly the concerns of older lesbians like caregiving, parenting, and health.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Fairwell, Fair Bullet

Previously this year, I won my very first vibrator similar to the one pictured. Somewhat nervously I took it home and soon had it buzzing away.
I thought that a vibrator would put twinkle lights in front of my eyes in a hot second, but that wasn't really the case. According to some women's experience, sure, but not me. I found the vibrating was a little jarring at first- not bad, but different.

I felt a smidgen disappointed that the vibrator didn't result in a bigger O than usual because I do see a lot of media portraying the vibrator as the end all, be all savior of women's orgasms. That's not a fair or accurate representation.

However, what I did love about my vibe was the sheer possession of a sex toy. It felt like I was breaking taboos and also one of those ladies who is experimental and passionate and in charge of their sexuality. And now that I've broken it beyond repair, I feel really sad. Damn electrical wires. It was one way of neatly solving my What to do with this when I go home this summer so my mom doesn't find it? dilemma. Still.  Maybe I'll save up this summer for a fancy new vibe from Babes in Toyland.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: Review

Courtney Martin may well be a genius. I loved this book. The issues that she tackles are central to all young women, not just those who are among a privileged few. If you get a change to read this book, please do. I cried when I read it, and could not stop thinking about Martin’s insight in relation to myself.

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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Mayday, Mayday!

A short, theatrical production of: Tantrums on the High Seas

Scene: A small, lonely ship is floundering around in storm conditions on black seas.

FakeMate 1 to Group: Group! Let's sail on to the far, far seas. I have heard tales of lustrous, rich color - the likes of which would lighten my shriveled, dry heart!

Group: mumble, mumble. I don't know about this. That does sounds nice though.

*collective imagining of lustrous, rich seas*

Group: Okay! Who's telling Napoleon?

FakeMate 1: I'll do it! I am up for the task of corralling her into the mast, and talking some sense into her. She'll see good reason to change our course.

*FakeMate 1 takes Napoleon up into the mast to "scout the course," and have the talk.*

 Napoleon: For the LOVE OF PETE - what is wrong with you people? Are you crazed, saltwater drinking, neuron exploded loonies? That water is shark infested! We'll be eaten alive!

FakeMate 1: Don't be dramatic.

Napoleon: I WON'T do it. I won't go. I'd rather have heterosexual intercourse and watch penis puppetry!

*Napoleon executes a neat dive off the mast straight into the deep, black water.*

FakeMate1: Ahoy! Woman overboard!

Napoleon
Group: Ooooo. Ahhhh. A 9.5 for a clean presentation!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Hoodwinks (and highjinks)

So, today is April Fool's Day, which used to be a favorite holiday of mine. No one ever suspects me of being particularly mischievous - just sweet and silly. Which I am, sometimes, but not always. Perhaps I am a mistress (? not sure about the connotations here, haha) of delusion. So, pranks were always lots of fun for me, but now I just take myself too seriously for the old baking soda in the altoids tin trick.

Tricking myself though, is altogether a different story. Sometimes (lots of times) I have a very fanciful imagination. Reality is a whole other ballgame though. For example, I always imagine myself to be at least 5'5," and quite suave, especially when I wear my sexy imaginary glasses and suit combo with a french blue blouse. . . which though hard to admit, is not exactly the case. I still pretend though.

Point being - tonight was Take Back the Night at my school. And based on my feminist perusals, I built up this expectation of Take Back the Night as this beautiful, lady love and power fest, where we eschewed the "power" that some men think they have over our bodies. I was ready to stamp/stomp and dance to riot grrrl tunes, get all teary and angry at the same time, and celebrate feminism in all it's We Are Womyn- Hear Us Roar glory. And, I also thought it would be dark. The setting was an important aspect.

To give credit where it's due - it wasn't bad. It just . . . wasn't everything I thought it might be. I'm sure that one day, when I am living in some exotic feminist mecca/ lesbian locale, I will get that experience. And I can't wait.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Submission for CofC's Look Book

From a young age, I have struggled with the idea that my life would be better if I was thinner. If I was a little bit thinner, I would have had more friends, better grades, rad boyfriends. In middle school, that was all I really wanted. I just thought that if I could lose a bit more weight, everything would be more fun.

By high school feeling insecure about how I looked meant that I just didn’t want to deal with it anymore. I went through a lot of phases in high school between caring and not caring about what my body looked like, or if anyone else liked it, or even if I cared if anyone else liked it. I gained weight, lost weight, became a vegetarian, felt depressed a lot. Ultimately, I still thought that the key to success was somehow integrally tied to being thin.

Now, as a college first year, I’ve read feminist literature and body-acceptance books, and I’ve cultivated a new identity for myself as a powerful, feminist woman. I feel happier and more satisfied with school and learning and friends than I have in a long time. This campus is a good place to be.

Except those times when I feel down about myself. I worry that people will see me as just the fat girl. Or that, because of that people think that I am lazy or a bad person with far reaching and infectious character flaws. Or that because of how I look, I can’t or won’t be appreciated as beautiful or sexy or lovely or delicious.

Then, when I see all these pretty, thin, white girls eating salads in the cafeteria, I feel bad about my veggie burger and fries. I don’t want to feel that way, but after years and years of feeling guilty and ashamed about my body, it’s SO HARD to think differently. I mean when I got the diet talk for the first time in the second grade, I felt like my world was falling apart. Before, it was always, “Look how smart Amber is.” But now, Oh, Oh – I’m not right? I don’t look like the other little girls? What should I do? Exercise, diet, eat less, less, less. I remember fainting in the third grade because I was so goddamned good at dieting. Ridiculous.

For right now, I love my body for what it does for me every day, every minute. I’m here and alive and soaking up the spring sunshine. There are things about me that I love: my hair (I have really nice hair). I love my face, my hands, my boobs (although this is relatively new), the shape of my body. I am in a really good space and feeling the love your body energy. But, there are still days when I am convinced that if I just wasn’t so fucking huge, the possibilities would be endless . . .

Friday, March 26, 2010

MoonCup Review

For all who haven't heard the news: I really, really like my MoonCup.

Both of the issues I had concerns about yesterday were no problemo. The biggest hurdle was the trust issue- Do I really trust that the MoonCup won't leak all over the place and leave me with big red splotches somewhere undesirable? And the answer is yes.

The worst part is probably the size of the MoonCup. Going in folded feels fine, but coming out fully expanded is a little uncomfortable. Totally managable though.

And, something totally unexpected happened. I really like the collection of menstrual fluid and emptying out process. It feels productive. Using a tampon, or pad even, made me feel like I was cleaning. I used cotton to clean up my vagina, and then felt obligated to hide it away in the garbage, bundled in wrappers or toilet paper or the little boxes in the stall. The MoonCup doesn't feel that way to me; I'm going to have to agree with Micah (see comments on: My Peeper's Sick) and say that I feel liberated. I feel a lot happier with my bleeding vagina now.

The MoonCup has

1. made me feel excited about my period for the first time in years.
2. hopefully made having a period be a more positive experience in the future.
3. downsized the number of tampons that would have ended up in a landfill somewhere

Please check out the MoonCup if you are looking for alternative period products.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

My Peeper's Sick!

I started my period last night, and just put the MoonCup in for the first time. I can't really feel it in my vagina. Which is good. Like with a tampon though, the stem/string stays outside the vagina. I can feel the little stem thing, and it's not uncomfortable- it's just there . . . I think it will be like a bandaid, where the sensation stops being felt after habituation. (woo psych 103)

Things I am unsure about:
1. wearing it to yoga today. I don't think I need to elaborate on that one.
2. emptying it in the dorm bathroom. Not sure how much privacy I can expect at any time.

More information TBA later.

Friday, March 19, 2010

My big O moment - Ellen Style

Follow up from the last post. Finally, finally the blinders covering my eyes have been removed. I had a heart to heart with a friend, where we pillow-talked out our feelings. And, I sort of just blurted out:

You-know-why-in-the-hell-would-I-be-soo-attracted-to-lesbianlifestyle/erotica-if-I-wasn't-a-lesbian?

My eyebrows kinda furrowed, and I stopped rubbing her back, and she turned around to face me, and we looked each other in the eye. And I said, "I think I'm a lesbian!" Then she is laughing at me and hugging me, and she insists that she's known since October after we had only known each other for a month! Her partner calls, and she's known since September!

My response: "What, what? I didn't . . . Why didn't you tell me?! That could have saved me a lot of work!"

This is a really important revelation for me because my parents/family would be seriously unsupportive. So I have an identity, but it has to be a secret identity . . . Lots of complex things to think about. But, I am glad to have this issue resolved in my brain. Now, all these doubts and worries and indecision can simmer down because I can finally claim my own identity as a big ole lezzy.

On a related note, check out this story- Stuff Lesbians Like Part 88: Being surprised that people already knew you were a lesbian before you came out

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

This Modern Love, Oh Buddy.

Uh oh. I've kinda dived off the deep end into the swimming pool of relentless curiosity bordering on obsessive interest in this blog: http://www.sugarbutch.net/. I was bored and on feministing and randomly clicked the link to this blog. And then I fell in love. Hardcore, dudettes.

The blog is written by a feminist, lesbian, kinky, queer, butch woman who lives in Brooklyn. She writes about things that she's doing in her career, in her home life, her feelings and personal experiences with masculinity and feminity and gender bending and how to think about all of that within a feminist perspective. She also writes really interesting (and deliciously dirty) sex stories and product reviews of sex toys. Technically, this is a sex blog.

Woo! Bout time I (the thinking about sex therapy as a career enthusiast) stumble on a sex blog. I am in love (lust?) with the whole shebang. And then, I found all these links . . . THERE IS A WHOLE WORLD OF LESBIAN BLOGGING!

I know, right? This is intensely exciting for me. Apparently I just missed the voting, but The Lesbian Lounge has an annual lesbian blog awards voting process, and they just recently announced the winners of "The Lezzys": http://thelesbianlifestyle.com/the-lezzies/. There are SO MANY ridiculously rad blogs on this list. I feel like I can't stop reading (which is unfortunate as I am supposed to be studying for biology so that I can guilt-free celebrate a friend's birthday. Maybe I'll skip my 8 o'clock class that morning...).

I am just so exstatically pleased as punch about my find. I feel like I found seriously cool stuff here. And it has recently spawned deep thoughts that hey! - maybe I would LOVE to do an independent study on something like this, looking at gender and power dynamics in lesbian relationships or lesbians and kink or something super jazzy.

(Oh, and just for funsies, check out this site, all my future grad student friends: http://www.brysons.net/generator/index.cgi. I found it through http://www.gracethespot.com/; they are so fucking hilarious. I was having a lot of fun there. It gives you a fancy dissertation title based on an author and a work.)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Act Like A Lady, Think Like An Ass

So, for Girls' Night In at CofC, the book discussion is about Steve Harvey's Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man. Obviously, I knew I was going to have issues with the book from the beginning, just based on the title which while catchy is ridiculous.

So, aside from the few and far between points that did make sense (like, making sure that you choose a life partner who has similar goals in life i.e. don't marry the wanna be, but jobless, producer who you support while you climb the corporate ladder just because he's good in bed. gee thanks.) I have come to the conclusion that Steve Harvey is an ass who insidiously works under the guise of helping women, when really he only furthers and supports Cleaver-ville ideas and standards.

The real outrage began on pg 27 when Harvey felt prepared to make sweeping generalizations about why exactly it is that men have "a whole host of pathologies" ranging from drug and alcohol abuse to leaving women with the burden of caring for their kids. The answer is because a man feels like he can't provide for his family, "so he flees to escape the horrible feelings of inadequacy." Really, Steve Harvey, really?

These insulting and just wrong generalizations, particularly about gender occur time and time again in the book. Men are portrayed (unoriginally) as simple, noncommunicative, sport/sex/beer enthusiasts, aggressive, and controlling by biological nature. Women by contrast are nurturing, dainty, religious, helpless around the house except for their cooking/cleaning duties, in need of "stuff", and also someone to come to our rescue and defend our honor. Apparently, a sign of real love is that, "Once he says he cares about you, you are a prized possession to him, he will do anything to protect that prized possession"(31). Even if we overlook the comma splice, this is all kinds of fucked up. This is a book marketed to WOMEN! and he has the audacity to write that kind of shit about how we should want to be reduced to things for the love of man. Jesus. I know; deep breath people - it gets worse.

I think one of the most hurtful chapters is the called "Strong, Independent - and Lonely- Women." Harvey taps into the fear that strong, powerful women are always going to be lonely unless they stoop down to stroke some schmuck's ego and make him feel like a real man. All we have to do is put our finger in our mouth and simper a little, and Hup, our man is going to be doing things for us like we're Cleopatra. Give me a break. He goes on to say that women have forgotten how to be girls. Considering that he has never been one in the first place, I thought this was a gutsy move. He suggests ways for girls to behave on dates and around the house in order to cater to giving their man that feeling of Professing, Providing, and Protecting their love. Total Bullshit. There's no reason for me to be rude to a man because I make more money, but I don't need to protect and coddle his ego either. I'm proud to make more money, you Douche; the least you could do is be happy for me.

I really lost my crackers over his suggestions that 1) Women should withhold sex for 90 days to see if a man is serious about them, which is all part of getting some standards (151) 2) Women should withhold sex for no longer than a week, exceptions made for pregnancy, otherwise it's their fault if their men cheats (104) 3) that if a woman doesn't take a man's last name, she isn't really committed to the relationship, "You can hyphenate it if you want to, but that last name really needs to be the same as your man's. And if you're not committed to that, then why don't you just go marry your daddy?" (219).

What a douche! But I didn't expect much else from the book, honestly. What I am really disappointed in is people like Oprah and Aretha Franklin who have recc'd this book. I can't believe these strong, powerhouse women are in support of a book that is so clearly in a word: awful. This book is hurtful and harmful, and Harvey just wants to convey that if you aren't in a good relationship that it's your fault and you should just work harder, do better, do it Right the next time, which is exactly the kind of message that women get all the time.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Pigeon type Ponderings

So, I'm taking a yoga class because part of the college experience is stretching beyond comfort levels and trying new things. And so even though I would never really characterize myself as athletic or graceful or bendy or thin - all things that come to mind when I think of yoga- I decided to take the class.

I'm glad that I did because I wound up learning a lot of new things about myself and my body, and I can literally feel myself getting stronger and becoming less sore with each session. I have struggled with feeling insecure about my performance versus other students who may or may not look like yoga Barbie/Ken. It's hard to move past that even though rationally I know that fat people, short people, and people who have all different kinds of Mass Media induced short comings can all do yoga. Yoga is for everyone.

Anyways - to the point. We've had to do a pose called the Crane before, which is a balancing pose that I was particularly shaky with. I laughed with friends, and said that it was ok because really, with this body type I looked more like a beaver anyways. (Which in retrospect is even funnier because "beaver" can be slang for vagina. Perhaps my subconcious was reflecting more on the Vagina Monologues than I thought. ha.)

In class today though we learned a new pose called the Pigeon - and guess what? I was really good at it. The instructor walked by and said, "I think you've found your pose." I thought this was great and even apt because according to Wikipedia, "Pigeons and doves are stout-bodied birds with short necks." They're also vegetarian. This is so me!

Here's the bird:                                                            
                     
And here's the pose:

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Dear (online blog style) Diary...

When I was little, I thought diaries were the coolest things ever. I had a plethora of puppies and Lisa Frank and voice activated, password encrypted secret keepers, none of which I ever actually used. The most I could ever bring myself to fill were the first few pages.

Most of my entries from a second grade diary recently (ish) rescued from the attic says things like, "Today was really great. I had alot of fun. I learned new things at school. My brother is a brat." While these entries are hilarious to me today, I never wrote more because I didn't feel like I had anything interesting to say. I don't think that I ever felt very interesting - which is silly.

So here goes. Today I bought a MoonCup; it's an enviromentally friendly "feminine hygiene product." I like that it's made by a woman, and that it's really cheaper than buying boxes and boxes of tampons. Plus, I've been reading Cunt by inga muscio, and well, I guess I was inspired to find a "cuntlovin'" product. Also, my school just finished putting on the 2010 Vagina Monologues. Something about the Angry Vagina's distaste for "wads of dry fucking cotton" just seemed to stick. I'm excited to test it out; several of my friends are interested in the verdict.

My second grade self would be bowled over that I just wrote a diary entry and put it somewhere everyone can see. She would also be mortified by all the period talk, and bad language, and frankness. I'm kinda glad that I ditched the chronic shyness awhile ago.

Ok, so I haven't figured out this link business yet, but here's the website: http://www.mooncup.com/