Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Carpe Diem Tan Renga Wednesday: Such a Cold Night

Image by Robson Machado from Pixabay

lying down
with quilts over the head
such a cold night
I spent many nights like this
in a trailer with no heat


The Hokku stanza was written by Matsuo Basho (1644 - 1694). The Ageku stanza was written by me. It is autobiographical.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Come as you Are Party: The Harms of Organized Religion


“I wonder if this is what binds many of us who de-converted, across denominations, across varying beliefs; what it is that allows us to easily understand each other’s experiences — we were given an understanding of the ourselves that said that we did not belong to ourselves, that to live rightly we should relinquish any sense of our autonomy, any idea that we could judge our own beliefs for ourselves. We sacrificed our internal understanding for an external belief system on the sole grounds that we were told that this was the truth of existence. Which means that the very act of de-converting is done with an understanding that we are seen as betrayers, as committing the ultimate rebellion: a rebellion against God himself. A rebellion against truth, reality, reason, morality, and goodness.”
— When You’re Taught Autonomy is a Lie, on somaticstrength (via speakingwhentheworldsleeps)
The entire article is worth reading.
Reblogging again to quote:
While the modern world celebrates and elevates autonomy, biblical Christianity points to individualism as the seat of all human evil.

I don’t know if people outside of controlling religious environments realize that this was a foundational message for many of us. That when we talk about the messages our faith gave us, we’re not just talking about things some fellow Christian told us, but rather the very beliefs that we were given — the things we were told was the absolute truth about ourselves, and about the world.

I was taught that I did not belong to myself. I belonged to God, and I should give up any sense that I had autonomy, or a right to my own opinions or perspective. “The world” was sinful because it believed in such concepts as “self identity” as “personal rights” as “the ability to determine what works for you based on yourself and your own experiences.”
This is EXACTLY why I left, not only religious communities but also… I don’t want to say “radical feminist” circles, but circles influenced enough by them to assert that what matters is your social group (MAN vs WOMAN) and not yourself, and used “choice feminist” as an insult.

I do want choices.
Because I belong to ME.
radical feminism criticizes our society for forcing men and women into different heirarchical roles, with women at the bottom. This doesn’t mean feminists are trying to take your choice away and tell you the only thing you can care about is whether you’re a man or a woman.
It’s good to be able to distinguish a movement’s critiques of the current state of things from the goal the movement is working toward. (similar to “but how can you be against racism if you keep claiming being black makes someone oppressed??” The answer is “to fight for a better situation you have to be able to explain what’s wrong with the current situation”)
Radical feminism and Atheism go hand in hand for me. Radical feminists also recognize the dangers of eschewing individualism. They’re gender critical because, like religion, gender has been used as a groupthink brainwashing tool, to segregate society for no good reason. “Female brains only do this, male brains only do this,” as if you can assume that about billions of people planetwide.
Radfems disagree with “choice feminism” not because we think we can control every woman’s choices. That’s not the goal. There is just such a thing as too much individualism. Power in this world is set up to benefit the few and screw the many, and if you’re one of the many, the unfair systems in place to keep the powerful powerful affect you, whether you want to believe it or not.
Sex-based oppression still exists, and unfortunately, most women can’t make decisions in this world without living their lives around that.
I am an agnostic who was raised Catholic and left the church when I was eighteen. I got involved with New Age thinking for many years and discovered that New Agers and many people who call themselves Pagan are just as rigid and judgmental as Christians. Now I keep my spiritual beliefs pretty close to the chest and see organized religion as far more harmful than helpful.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Blow Your Stack Saturday: Borderline Personality Disorder and Misogyny

love how bpd is the new trendy hysteria diagnosis so instead of teaching traumatized young women how to heal themselves, we slap on a relatively meaningless diagnosis until they fully internalize that their issues (i.e. not responding to trauma appropriately in a quiet, subdued, “female” way) are  ingrained flaws they can absolutely never overcome 
It’s an actual mental illness tho
it’s a response to trauma. i think it’s more helpful to look at it through that angle (as ptsd or c-ptsd) because healing from that trauma is at the forefront of treatment, as opposed to a bpd diagnosis where a personality disorder is by definition inflexible and unchanging and the focus of treatment is to just treat the side-effects or harmful behavior patterns
As someone who is studying and working in the field of mental health, I have a few thoughts about this.
First, the DSM-5 is not gospel. Criteria is always changing and some mental illnesses have been removed completely. All a diagnostic label does is describe a set of symptoms.
An overwhelming majority of people diagnosed with BPD are women. As @tervbangs mentioned, many of them have suffered trauma (unfortunately, child sex abuse is a common history among people diagnosed with BPD). Men and women respond to trauma differently. If a man experiences trauma, his set of symptoms is often more in line with a PTSD diagnoses and he is more likely to receive treatment for his trauma. However, since women respond to trauma differently, this trauma is often missed completely and they are diagnosed with BPD instead.
BPD diagnoses often don’t help women. Again I’m echoing @tervbangs, but people can recover from trauma with treatment, but personality disorders are seen as a life-sentence and untreatable. There is an enormous amount of stigma surrounding BPD and many mental health professionals avoid women diagnosed with BPD entirely. Slapping a woman with a BPD diagnoses often results in a game of “hot potato” where the client is bounced from professional to professional. Many people in the field believe that a) women with BPD can’t be helped or b) they’re manipulative, vindictive individuals and are some how responsible for their symptoms.
With proper treatment of trauma, many women initially diagnosed with BPD will no longer meet the criteria. However, the diagnostic label will follow them for the rest of their lives even when it doesn’t apply anymore.
I have had the pleasure of working under counsellors who argue that the BPD diagnoses should be eliminated entirely and instead a sub-category of PTSD should be instated. I 100% agree and believe this would lead to a better outcome for women living with trauma.
Someone give me a real scientific study on the links between the trauma of growing up female, the inherent sexism of psychiatry, and the use of BPD Dxs against women!!!!!! It absolutely is sexism against traumatized women and girls. How dare we be emotional, and lash out in response to trauma instesd of being good quiet girls? Boys with the same “symptoms” arent Dxd with a personality disorder. Theyre shrugged off because boys are supposed to lash out, be moody, and fuck everyone in sight.
They’ll tell you reassuringly “bpd is the only personality disorder that you aren’t born with” but can’t put together that maybe it’s because we’ve been traumatized that we act the way we do, that maybe our self destructive behavior is a result of being made powerless, that our impulsivity is a result of being conditioned to expect small erratic bursts of chaos and pain for seemingly no reason at all, that we don’t have a definite sense of self because we haven’t been able to be anything but surviving for a decade or more, that we can’t visualize a future because we were too busy just trying to visualize the day when you escape.
I don’t yet know how to properly articulate or substantiate this but I’m firmly of the opinion that men recover from PTSD more quickly than women because their traumas are different. They drive too fast down main street because they’re still driving like a pipe bomb is gna flip their car if they dawdle for even a second; a thunderclap sends them rolling off their bed and scrambling for their body armor at three in the morning. But they can get past that. They learn that they’re no longer in danger.
What do women learn, when we come forward about our trauma?
“Are you sure it was…”
“Why didn’t you leave?”
“You’re overreacting”
“I know him he wouldn’t do that”
“What did you say that made him so angry”
“No it didn’t”
“You’re lying”
“You must be imagining it”
“You’re trying to ruin his life”
“Attention whore”
We learn we can’t trust grown-ups. There are no good ones who will help us. We learn no one wants to help us. So we must deserve it then. So we just survive because if we kill ourselves we might fail and then we’ll get in even more trouble. So we endure. Kind of. And if we break, then we must have deserved that too.
It’s totally the modern hysteria, which doesn’t mean that there aren’t people who really suffer from it.
Personal experience/rant…
I have type 2 bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and ADD. Having a diagnosis helped me find ways to cope with the manifestations of these conditions, but health care professionals tend to be unwilling to research the why behind them. It’s easier to try and medicate a patient into a semblance of normalcy.
I feel like my borderline personality disorder manifested from feeling like I was unheard and unloved in my childhood. At this point in my life, I tend to only form very superficial relationships with people for fear that they will abandon me and I tend not to trust people’s motivations.
I agree with feministvenus that the BPD diagnosis should be eradicated and BPD should instead be made a subtype of PTSD because that's what it is.
Making BPD a subtype of PTSD would also remove it from the "personality disorder" stigma. There are people who claim that BPD is "the little sister of antisocial personality disorder," which it isn't. People with BPD generally know that something's wrong with their behaviors. People with antisocial personality disorder do not.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Sly Speaks + Fat Friday + Friday Flashback: Diet Culture Rhetoric Is Not Poetry

This poignant gem was originally published on 17 January 2010 on my now-retired poetry blog.

life It would be far easier to diet if I didn't like food.

This, apparently, was the entire-ass poem.

A year later, I would finally take the long-needed step of ditching diet culture for good.

That is a terrible statement, let alone being a terrible poem. 

It isn't even a poem, it's a blurb. A very stupid and brainwashed blurb. It's a tweet that shouldn't have been tweeted. It is a lot of things, none of them good. A poem it is not. 

The Chili Bean Tanka is a better poem, and it is not a good poem. In fact, it is close to Vogon poetry in its poetic injustice.

It goes a little bit something like this.

I ate the chili
between the beans and the spice
digestive horror
beneath the cover of night
noxious eruptions take place

As I mentioned previously, I struggled over the holidays. My abusive partner ED (Eating Disorder) reared his ugly head and I relapsed into my old restrictive eating and self-loathing patterns. Which, by the way, never made me thin, they just fucked my metabolism over and made me hate myself even more. 

However, reading this micro-poem that should not be, I could see where I'd been myopic in my criticism of a poet whose book I reviewed recently. I gave the book overall high praise, but I stated that her "poem" which read as follows, and I quote:

love ends but calories are forever

was not so much a poem as unfortunate diet culture rhetoric, and I wouldn't want to read it as a tweet, let alone in a book of poetry.

Given the unseemly evidence above, that critique was hypocritical of me.

However, there is a lesson to be learned.

Next time you think publishing a pithy pearl of poignant perspicacity such as this...

Go to the kitchen and grab yourself a snack. Or at least have something to drink. Your blood sugar may be low because if you think that's worth publishing, you obviously haven't been thinking clearly. Step out for a breath of air and clear your head of the Diet Culture nonsense. You've obviously bitten off more of it than you can chew.

That being said, Words Written in the Dark is, overall, a thoughtful and thought-provoking volume of modern poetry, and I recommend it highly.

Fat and Ornery
Image copyright Open Clipart Vectors

Sly and Snarky
Image copyright juliahenze

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Friday, January 10, 2020

Detransition: The Elephant in the Room. Part One

Detransition: The Elephant in the Room.
I like it. This elephant needs to be fed and cared for so that it may grow strong. It may be the best chance of combating the current trans cult groupthink.

If the Shoe Fits

"A prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant is unfit to be the ruler of FREE people." 
--Thomas Jefferson