[hardly] Mundane Monday: Mildly Concussed [TMI health issues; bodily functions]

I have a mild concussion. 

It should be the least of my worries; what with the possibly herniated disc. On Thursday I had really bad back pain and tried to sleep it off; by Friday it was worse. My mom came for a visit on Friday evening. I was incapacitated so we called the nursing hotline. Because I had tingling and numbness and because I’d spent an hour on the floor at some point that day, crying, unable to get up (until I finally did force myself to do it, through the pain, which may have injured my back further but godsdammit I had to pee) the nursing hotline suggested that I get medical attention right away, because otherwise my condition would only get worse.

Now. What exactly my condition is I don’t know, for shortly after the call with the nursing hotline we called the ambulance, because I couldn’t get out to the car to get to the hospital, and the paramedics couldn’t get a gurney through the snow of my backyard or into my hobbit hole of a home, and so they doped me up on laughing gas so I could walk, supported, out into the ambulance. The gas made me sound like Darth Vader at a comedy club. I apparently waltzed past 4 firemen in my underwear and didn’t even notice. Mind you, that sort of meh feeling towards modesty wouldn’t have changed without the laughing gas; if I were sober I merely would have made awesome comments about the situation instead of giggling like a mad fool.

And so I was marched into an ambulance and driven to the emerge. at Nanaimo Gen., where I was wheeled in a very uncomfortable wheelchair into the building and then, shortly, into a treatment room. The doctor did a brief brusque physical exam and decided it was muscle strain before instructing a nurse to shoot me up with some painkillers. 

I tried to tell him, as did my mother, that I have 15 years of chronic back pain and it’s possible it’s more than just a muscle strain; that we’d like more tests run. Nothing doing. He wouldn’t even listen. 

I ended up lying down on the table in the treatment room, dozing, trying to forget the pain (which the painkillers had only dulled) while my mom sat in the chair and dozed herself. At some point I knew I had to get up and get to the bathroom or I’d pee myself. The bathroom was only a few feet away from the treatment room and so mom helped me up and helped me walk to the bathroom door…

…at which point my back seized up and I could go no further, and the pain started gripping me harshly, and mom started calling for help and we were steadily ignored until I started screaming, because the pain was so bad, and then a nurse was grabbing me on the underside of my upper arm, on the bat wing, harshly — so harshly I felt sure he would rip off a chunk of my flesh or at least leave a bruise — telling me to shut up because there were other patients.

I don’t know what happened after that, because the next thing I knew I was on the floor, with a major ache in my skull and people all around me yelling.
Continue reading [hardly] Mundane Monday: Mildly Concussed [TMI health issues; bodily functions]

Rape Culture and Fatphobia


Rape seed caught at sunset
This is not the rape I’m talking about. (Image by jimmedia via Flickr.)

“Fat girls should be happy for any attention.”

“Oh, come on, she’s too fat to be raped!”

How many times have you heard or seen the above sentiments, or ones similar to them? How many times have you uttered them, either because you truly believe they’re true or because you’ve internalized hatred of yourself, or both?

I’ve heard and seen these sentiments a lot. I wish I had a quarter for each time, because then I’d have enough quarters for several rolls of quarters, and then I’d use them to beat people. Namely misogynistic fatphobic rape apologists.

Which, by the way, the people who utter these sentiments are.

I get it if you’ve internalized the hatred of yourself. I do. I was there for a long time. But darlin, you’ve got to pull yourself out of that trench. Please believe me when I say that a) rape has nothing to do sex and everything to do with power and b) you are beautiful regardless. And please believe me when I say that continuing to utter those sentiments contributes to rape culture and fat hatred.

This is the insidious thing about oppression: we are trained to be complicit in our own degradation. From birth we are put into this culture that tells us these sentiments, these vicious lies, and parades them about as truth. And with so many years of this being drilled into our heads, it’s understandable we may believe these things about ourselves.

So we utter these same statements and make it easier for the oppressor to keep his great big boot on our faces. We have been well-trained to hate ourselves. We have been well-trained to hate others like ourselves, to question their every move.

Continue reading Rape Culture and Fatphobia

Why I’m pro-life.

Fetus at 8 weeks after fertilization 3D Pregna...
This is not a person. Got it?

You’re probably reading this post because you think I’m going to blog about how immoral it is for uterus-bearing people to have any sort of determination over their own lives, because I think that a fetus’ life matters more than a grown person’s.

I’m not. That’s not what pro-life means. That’s what people in the anti-choice movement, who have co-opted the term pro-life, mean when they rant about abortion being “murder” and hold up their signs with the pictures of the dead fetuses in an effort to scare people to their way of thinking.

I’m pro-life because I believe that every person has the right to a healthy life. I believe that having a right to a healthy life includes the right to determine one’s own reproductive health.

This doesn’t just mean that I believe that abortions should be offered free and on demand without apology. I do believe that abortions should be offered free and on demand, without apology. But that’s not all I believe.

The “right to choose” isn’t much of a right if you don’t have the ability. It’s very easy to talk about it as “pro-choice” if you’re middle-class, white, or Canadian (with all the free health care, I mean). But, you know, the legal right to get an abortion isn’t going to stop a 13 year old from stabbing herself in the uterus with a pencil if she doesn’t know abortions are available, or if they indeed, are not available anywhere near her.

I see this argument a lot. “Feminists shouldn’t complain because abortion is a legal right, and that has nothing to do with this 13 year old’s choice to stab herself with a pencil!”

This argument is fucking bullshit.

Fetus in utero, between fifth and sixth months.
Still not a person.

The right to choose doesn’t just stop at the legislation that allows abortion. It includes the amount of abortion clinics in a given area, the coverage of abortion costs by insurance providers, availability of aftercare services for people who have just had an abortion, and availability of information regarding abortion services to people who might not know otherwise (poor people, teenagers, etc). The right to choose includes pre- and post-natal care for mothers* of all income and age brackets, information on the risks of both carrying a child to term and abortion, funding for pregnancy and childcare medical services, daycare, and a comprehensive system for adoption that doesn’t let kids fall through the cracks. The legal right to choose means precisely jack and shit if abortion options and abortion funding are not in place across the board. The legal right to choose means precisely jack and shit if pregnancy and childcare services and funding are not in place across the board.

And they’re not.

Continue reading Why I’m pro-life.

Mundane Monday: holy crap house showing already!

As you may or may not know, I am moving soon – at the end of October, to be precise. I just got home from Vancouver last night to find a note on my door: “First house showing at 6:30pm on Monday, is that okay?”

Well, of course it’s okay, because I may be out of town again on Wednesday through Sunday and I sort of wish to be a good tenant in these last two months. (My landlady is awesome and I’m pretty sad about moving, honestly, but finances require it.)

However, this means I must clean! my house! Shock! Horror! Windex!

Ok, so my house isn’t that messy…for me. I’m a messy person. “Not that messy” for me means “Typhoon hit it” for a normal person.

So today I shall clean clean clean clean until I’m dizzy from the fumes! Also I shall go to the post office and pick up my package, and mayhap get some boxes from somewhere so I can start packing.

And then I shall spend the evening working on my publishing business as well as editing/revising Bellica some more so I can get the ARC ready by the 10th of October.

I swear, I really need a personal assistant to help me organize my day. My partner does okay at it, but then he distracts me with…um…things, and I get nothing done. Note to self: do not use romantic partners as personal assistants; the two positions do not lend themselves well to each other.

Heh heh. Position.

I am a terrorist.

September 11, 2001 attacks in New York City: V...
The Twin Towers falling: as bad as abortion. (Image via Wikipedia)

Or I would be, if I had ever had an abortion.

Perhaps that’s not what Matt Emerson meant when he compared a woman’s right to choose to the events of 9/11, 2001, but that’s certainly how it read (and remember kiddies, intent is not magic).

Emerson is talking specifically about abortions that remove one twin, or one or two triplets, and leave one fetus intact. He says that such abortions mean we’re in the future hypothesized in Brave New World, because human life has no value.

Apparently the only human life that should have value is life that hasn’t even been born yet, life that hasn’t taken breath, life that hasn’t experienced what the world is like, life that hasn’t lived. Certainly more value should be applied to a fetus than the living, breathing, thinking woman* carrying that fetus. Obviously she’s as bad as a terrorist if she aborts one fetus out of two because she can’t give the same standard of care to each child. How selfish. Destroying our American values.

Continue reading I am a terrorist.

Mundane Monday: I am a thrift store queen

I would like to show you what I picked up today at Talize, a Value Village-like thrift store in Delta (where my boyfriend lives).

Picture taken with my phone, so excuse the quality please. That is a 1952 Singer sewing machine, in working order, attached to a table. It needs a few touch ups and some cleaning, but by and large it works perfectly.

Eight dollars. That’s right. Eight dollars.

This brings my sewing machine roster up to 3 — another Singer in a table, though much newer, and a…Pfaff, I think, I can’t recall, that has been broken for 3 years. I suck at getting things done and fixed.

However, I am extremely excited with this purchase because it is the older Singers that are better for heavy duty fabrics, like leather or denim, or many layers (which is what broke the motor on my Pfaff). For now it’s staying as a bedside table in my boyfriend’s room, but once I move over here into my own place it’ll take up its spot in the craft corner.

Costuming will be so much fun with this thing.

Stop Calling It “Chick Lit”

“Truth”. Image via Wikipedia

Seriously, just stop.

Just because a book is written with a female main character and the focus of the plot is on her life does not make it “literature that only chicks want to read, hurrr”. Just because it’s fluffy does not make it “chick lit”. Just because it appeals to women does not relegate it to this oft-overlooked, oft-disparaged corner of the literature world.

The truth is it appeals to men as well. The truth is it may be fluffy, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hold some deep truths in it. That doesn’t mean it can’t speak to someone on a deeper level.

Every time you call it chick lit, you are telling a little boy who likes to play with make-up and dolls that he’s less of a person. Every time you call it chick lit, you are telling women their issues don’t matter and will never be taken seriously in the “real world”, ie the world of men’s literature. Every time you call it chick lit you are making the enjoyment of it a guilty pleasure, a sin that shouldn’t be committed by the intellectual elite. It’s misogynistic and ableist.

I have a copy of The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella. I thought it was a great book and I’m not ashamed of liking it. I look forward to reading some of her other works. It is classified as chick lit. Why? Because the main character is a woman who leaves her job and discovers her true self in a simpler life style? Because there’s a romance with a hot gardener? Because she becomes a stronger person by the end of the book and stands up for herself and her new life?*

Oh, no, we can’t have those pesky womenfolk feeling better about themselves. Can’t have them taking strength from literature. Better name those types of books as “chick lit”, better genre-ize them so they’re not real literature, which of course involves hunting and rape and men referring to an abortion as just “letting a little air in”. Otherwise women might think their voices matter, might think their issues matter, might take matters into their own hands, get fed up, and start a revolution. We certainly can’t have that. What a tragedy.

What a tragedy, indeed.

It’s a tragedy that books by women get pushed aside because they’re by women. It’s a tragedy that women still use initials as pen names so people won’t pass over their works, and that they are still advised to do so. It’s a tragedy that those of us who do not use initials have to work twice as hard to get our work looked at, or have to submit to genre-fication in order to get published.

The Undomestic Goddess is mainstream literature. By which I mean it’s set in the here and now and deals with modern-day characters, and there are no fantastical or science-fiction-y elements to it.

Mainstream literature is real fucking literature, regardless the gender of the main character or the author.

Writing has been a boys’ club for far too long. It’s time for that to change, and it’s not going to unless we stop saying “chick lit”.

*Unless it’s by D.H. Lawrence, in which case the same basic plot is real literature.

Why words like “overweight” bother me.

Juan Carreño de Miranda‎'s
Image via Wikipedia

If you’ve been paying attention the past several years, you’ll know we have an “obesity epidemic” on our hands.

Well, that’s what they like to call it. I don’t, because it makes it seem like we fat people are the disease. The way we get treated by most people, you’d think we were.

I don’t mind the descriptor “fat”. In fact I embrace it. It’s completely devoid of any negative or positive denotation — all it means is that I have an abundance of adipose tissue on my frame. That’s it. Simple, to the point, accurate. I am fat.

However, the connotations associated with the word — well, that’s another story. Here’s the skinny (pardon the pun) on denotation vs. connotation, in case you’re not aware: denotation is what a word actually means. Connotation is what people think it means. And because what people think as a whole shapes our society and thus, our language, connotation will quickly become denotation.

That’s why pejorative words are pejorative. They get used as an insult long enough and soon that’s all they are, regardless the actual denotations of the words themselves.

Connotations are completely valid ways of understanding the definitions of words — words mean things, and they don’t exist in a vacuum, separate from society. However, as I am a member of certain groups that are constantly marginalized and referred to in pejorative ways, I’m very invested in the idea of reclaiming pejorative words to remove the negative connotations.

Continue reading Why words like “overweight” bother me.

30 in 30: Day 12 (in which I pick apart Anne McCaffrey’s “feminism” and tell you why ten year olds really should not read her books (or my posts, truthfully))

A book or series of books you’ve read more than five times

Ugh. I really really really wish I could say The Black Jewels Trilogy for this one, but unfortunately I keep on losing my copy of that one and haven’t replaced enough times to have read it more than five times (I have read it four times). So in the interest of full disclosure…Freedom’s Landing, by Anne McCaffrey.

Don’t judge me! I was young! I did it for the money sex scene!

To be fair, though, Freedom’s Landing is a pretty good book, even if it is a prime example of some of Ms McCaffrey’s Favorite Tropes (that sounds like it should be a holiday dish of some sort: Favorite Tropes! Made of tears and repetition!).

She does ease up on the RACE A GOOD, RACE B EVIL (because A is for Aryan and B is for Black, see?) thing a little bit, but then puts all the blame on RACE C (for…cookies. They are a NEVER food!). To wit: book starts off with the Catteni established as the Bad Guys (with the exception of one, Zanial, who’s “good” even though he did try to rape the main character within the first 10 or so pages of the book) and the Terrans, Rugarians, Deski, and…some other alien races I’m forgetting the names of being the Good Guys. Catteni go around subjugating planets and taking slaves. One of the uses for slaves: making them colonize less-than-friendly planets for the Catteni, who will then move in and take advantage of all the slaves’ hard work. Apparently this works very well for them, and is important, as it is the basis of the entire book.

So, Kris Bjornsen and her fellow slaves get dropped on this planet…along with Zanial (it’s her fault she’s there, by the way, because when he made a move to grab her and rip her clothing off, she hit him over the head with a blunt object and then went to toss him in a deserted street of the main town of Barevi, only to get gassed because of the slave riots), whose life she saves by convincing the self-established leader of the slave-colonizers that Z would be useful.

By the end of the book it’s revealed that the Catteni are being controlled by a greater, EVILLER race, the Eosi (so I suppose they’d be Race E), who possess Catteni and make them do really gross things (like vote Republican). It is also revealed that Zanial has an amazing cock.

Because oh yes. Kris falls in love with him. And they totally do it. And it’s actually pretty hot, granted, but perhaps not the best thing for an impressionable 10 year old to be reading. Not because of the sex scene — I’m fully sex positive, and think kids can learn about sex and know about it a lot earlier than we give them credit for  — but because of the relationship dynamic.

Continue reading 30 in 30: Day 12 (in which I pick apart Anne McCaffrey’s “feminism” and tell you why ten year olds really should not read her books (or my posts, truthfully))

30 in 30: Day 02 (in which I’m actually pretty serious about The Fifth Sacred Thing)

Day 02 – A book or series you wish more people were reading and talking about

I’ve been putting off writing this post, because I was playing World of Warcraft. (You thought I was going to say something thoughtful or poignant, didn’t you? Silly. You should know by now.)

Truth is, there are a lot of books that I wish more people were reading and talking about — they range from actual literature to my own to feminist theory. The one I settled on is a piece of fiction.

Continue reading 30 in 30: Day 02 (in which I’m actually pretty serious about The Fifth Sacred Thing)