I Write Letters

I’ve been receiving quite a few emails from the DCCC asking for donations lately. The most recent was sent quoting the decision to sign the Lilly Ledbetter act. The implication is that because they did that, I should be moved to support them, because I’m a woman. Honestly it only made me mad, because I’ve seen very little sign since that this administration cares about women. So I sent them a letter, and I decided to share it here as well. If anyone else feels the same feel free to use it.

DCCC,

If you truly want the support of women, I would suggest doing more than signing one act. All across the country there is a wave of anti-choice activists trying to make Roe v. Wade symbolic only; by removing our ability to access birth control, family planning services, and basic health care. Planned Parenthood is being defunded state by state. This is a huge increase from just a few years before. The president claims to be pro-choice, and claims to support women. If this is true then maybe he should speak up in support of half the country’s rights. One good example is the recent decision on EC for women younger than 17.

While I will not support Republicans because of their outright hostility to women, I also cannot support a president who refuses to defend half his country. My rights have been ignored or used as bargaining chips. Apathy is not enough to move me to support, and I will not do so until I have seen some sign that this administration also supports me.

Depression Experiment the First

So I’ve had some time to work on this idea of experimenting with my depression, and I’m back from the field to report my findings! Non-scientific science-ho!

Finding the first: Nothing is simple.

That seems disgustingly trite when it’s written down. But let’s back up. I’ve got reason to type that.

I had a couple theories of what would make me better. One of them was fairly simple in theory: Being around other people would distract me and make it harder to feel bad. And I got the perfect opportunity to try it out, since by coincidence, a couple of friends came to stay with me for a few days.

On the first day it was great. I had actually gotten things done that day (cleaning the apartment pre-visitors) so I felt good about that progress. And they were only here for a couple hours before it was bed time. So I felt good, didn’t have down time to feel awful, and it seemed like the idea was a success.

Then the second day was good. I felt bad that I didn’t get enough done while they were there. I also managed to find new ways to beat myself up. Like feeling like I was a bad hostess, because we all sat around on our computers that evening. When we had games and conversation and things the night before! But I also couldn’t let myself fall apart while they were around, so I ended up functioning pretty well.

By the third day I was ready to burst. Even though I hadn’t consciously thought about it, I was suppressing the way I felt so I could appear to be fully functioning while my friends were around. And turns out I can’t do that without being totally stressed! So I got cranky and impatient. Which made me feel bad. Which made me crankier. You can see the cycle starting here, I’m sure.

We went to a party that night, which alternated between bad and great. I would start feeling awesome! I chatted with people and had some good food and enjoyed (finally!) being out of the house. And then I would feel separated from everyone, like I was just observing while everyone else enjoyed themselves. I felt invisible and inconsequential. I had to make a conscious effort to rejoin them, to say or do anything. And then it would pass and things would be better.

So on the whole I’m not sure if this ‘be around people’ thing is bad advice or good advice. Was it my introvert nature combining with the depression to pull me under? Or was it all the depression, cutting me off from things that normally make me feel good? I honestly can’t say.

If anyone else has tried this, did it help you? Do you experience similar things? Do you think being an extrovert or an introvert helps or harms you dealing with these issues?

Beating the Illness

Today a friend texted me, and I listened while she reflected my own thoughts back at me. She’s going through a bout of depression just as a new one is settling its weight over top of me. It was rather uncanny, really. Here was another person telling me the things I’ve been to smushed and worn down to articulate. Somehow, it was helpful enough to motivate me.

Generally doing work that I can point to helps me pull out of the spiral before it’s too bad. But somehow that’s not working this time. So we’re working on it together, which is helping. And I’m going to use the scientific approach and see if that does something.

I’ve decided, partially based on advice from my amazing partner, that I’m going to start thinking of the depression as an illness and not…whatever else I had been thinking of it as. An unruly and cruel creature maybe? I’m not sure. Either way, I’m going to structure my days as if I were sick.

That means not pushing myself. And taking frequent breaks. And being happy to get anything done, rather than haranguing myself for getting not enough done. That will be hardest, I think. I’m very good at putting myself down when I’m like this, so that one will take some getting used to.

I know a lot of people struggle with this. And I know that hearing other people’s stories can be helpful. So I’m putting this here, and hoping that someone can learn from what I’m doing. And hoping that recording it will help me, because I’ve never done that before either. It’ll be a learning experience, which at the very least will be interesting. And if anyone else has their own stories, feel free to share.

 

The Folly of Women Only Spaces Online

A link I found on Feministing today got my brain going this morning, and I’m glad I have a blog now, since I can finally write it all out. The post was called ‘Why The Washington Post’s new lady blog is wrong for women’, and I couldn’t agree more. Go read it first, then we’ll chat some more.

The first time I noticed this trend (creating spaces specifically for women instead of just adding more women in general) was with TED. Now, I love the TED talks. As in, I would spend all day watching them if I had just an ounce less willpower. But then they decided they needed to make a space for women. And I saw people talking about it like it was something awesome. Like, look at this nice gesture! Aren’t they being great? And I was thinking, no. No they’re not being great.

Because making a space for one specific sub-group can get wierd. It can easily turn into an excuse to move that group out of your normal space, to somewhere that people have to search out to find them. Before, if they wanted a woman speaker then they just put her in. Done! Diversity for TED and exposure for a sub-group. A win-win.

But now I wonder if there isn’t a subconcious shuffling going on. Where a woman speaker gets moved off into this little TED Women section, and then if you want to see that it’s harder to find it. You have to know that section is there, and you have to be actively checking it. And I wonder if there won’t be less women on TED’s main section. You know, where most of the exposure is.

So when I see these things I have to wonder. Are these people, the newspapers and the blogs, are they just not thinking it through? Do they think they’re helping? Because Jessica has it completely right. If you want to show equality, just add more people to your main site. It feels a bit like those old time-y dinner parties, where the men went into one room to talk about important things, and the women went somewhere else. How about just letting us join you, instead of moving us aside?

New Year’s Aspirations

I don’t really like the idea of resolutions. Yes, goal setting is good, but they just seem to turn into ways for my sneaky jerk brain to beat me up later. Like, why didn’t you do this? Didn’t you resolve to do this? Are you some kind of quitter? It turns into another way to feel bad later on.

So I’m changing my thinking. Instead of a goal which I am setting and Must! Reach! I’m aspiring to things. Think of it like a mission statement. It’s something I can judge my actions against without getting all knotty and tangled up in ‘should’ and then later on ‘didn’t’. Because aspirations are something to strive for, ways you try to better yourself. But none of us can be perfect, so the active striving is the important part.

So here’s my aspirations:

  1. Put myself out there
  2. Focus on improving my skill sets
  3. Pause for reflection more often

In the spirit of these I’ll be doing a couple of things, one of which is blogging more. Another is trying some of this structured procrastination.  Hopefully it’ll keep my jerk brain from getting on my case too much, especially since another of the things I’m doing is trying to work with or around my depression issues more. BTW, I love that comic, because it so accurately and humorously describes the spiral I get into.

Does anyone else have aspirations rather than goals? Why not share them? The more the merrier!