Thursday, April 25, 2013

Brief Life Update

   I haven't been posting much lately... and really, my posting frequency has gone down steadily over this past year despite every intention for it to be the opposite of that (although at least from my own self-assessment I do believe the quality of the content has improved). I've given a few reasons here and there. They were honest, but they weren't the whole story. The whole story is that I have a predisposition toward a commonly misunderstood mental illness called depression. You've all heard of it, and I'm sure some of my readers have experienced it. It is different for each person in the way that it manifests. For me, this decade since my first major depressive episode have been spent being constantly on guard against the natural slant of my own mind.

   Recently, it would seem that I let my guard down a tad too much... It's back. And I am seeking treatment. No need to worry. But, I am still finding it incredibly difficult to engage in the activities that normally bring me joy and fulfillment. This includes my writing. For that I am sorry.

  I will push through. And I will write when and where I can. This topic in particular is near and dear to my heart and I long to share this experience I'm going through with the world around me, because it's important. Not because it's me, but because it's so, so many other people too. People who on top of their internal suffering, fear an unnecessary negative stigma that may increase their already existing paralysis enough to prevent them from getting help. Or from admitting, even to themselves, that they need, it.

   So I'll do my best to be painfully honest through this ordeal. I'll do my best to resist the overwhelming urge to sit in silence. Because depression is a disease that feeds itself with it's self-created desire to stay sick. And I'm not going to give it that fuel.

Much love to you all,

Monday, April 8, 2013

Schizophrenic Style: Midwest Irreverence

   It is finally spring here in the Midwest! ...or maybe it'll snow three days from now. Who knows? But either way these last few days have been beautiful and yesterday I felt recovered enough after having the head cold from hell, that I actually spent a good amount of time outdoors. I figured though, that since nothing is really green yet and there are still a few crumpled leaves lying around here and there that managed to not decompose entirely underneath all that snow... I could wear some of my best fall weather gear with even less guilt than I normally feel (which is pretty much none).

   Recently I became the proud owner of this gorgeous pair of Jefferey Campbell Damsels by way of a lucky Ebay win and one missing spike. I've been drooling over the Lita and Damsel collections for months and months but just couldn't justify the price tag, so when I saw a listing for a barely damaged floor model pair I had to snatch them up. This is the first time I've had a chance to get some photos of them with my real camera... it feels a little ridiculous gushing over them this way in type, but sometimes there are just things, material possessions... silly stuff like in this case shoes, that just make you feel giddy without some deep meaningful explanation. These are very much that way for me. I've got no reasons, just very happy feet.

   We went for a little walk around my in-laws neighborhood and let Bastian try out some of his new toy cars he got in his Easter basket from them earlier that morning. We had him in his coat for good measure since we've all been pretty under the weather, but it wasn't really necessary. After our walk and mini outfit shoot I sat on their front porch working on my Bible study homework for our evening group and I honestly got a bit overheated in the direct sunlight and had to shift to a shadier position on the swing/bench. A nice change of pace.

   Speaking of the intentional taking of outfit photos... I've slowly over time become more comfortable with this concept. The last time we did this on a visit to my in-laws I was actually embarrassed to admit out loud exactly why we were going for a walk. Bastian was younger and harder to bring along for these sorts of endeavors but it was really nice out and I felt that while we needed to provide an explanation for why we weren't bringing him along for a few fun moments in the sun, I still couldn't bring myself to say "we're really only going out to photograph my outfit". It felt silly... frivolous and honestly a bit vain. I never think that of other women crafting together their own editorial like content for their blogs or what-have you... but I've always been afraid that someone would think that of me. "What is this crazy woman doing walking with her family down the sidewalk wearing 6.5 inch boots covered in spikes, striking poses instead of playing with her kid? How selfish!"

   I've come to terms with this a bit more over time, and while I still feel a little self conscious when someone passes us on foot on the same side of the street I am better able to shrug it off. The truth is, I spend the majority of my time being a pretty serious and intense person. I put a lot of thought into my parenting, my writing, my marriage, just about every aspect of my life. Fashion is an outlet that I can feel expressive and somewhat artistic without having to over think things. If someone happens by and sees only the snapshot of my life in which my husband is taking snapshots of me like some crazies on the street, and they make a snap judgement? Well then that's not really my problem is it? Refusing be seen enjoying fashion in an attempt to be taken more seriously as a human being, as a woman, doesn't really do anything to dispel the myth that all women with a love for clothes and makeup are inherently shallow, now does it? Hiding isn't helping anyone.

   Besides... moments like these on our walks happen just as frequently as the mock glamor shot pose moments. In the midst of the "selfishness" of asking the husband to aim that camera at me, we laugh together as a family. And we get more precious family "outtakes" than serious outfit post fodder anyways. And on the bonus.... the husband is getting pretty amazing at this photo taking thing isn't he?

Friday, April 5, 2013

How Rape Culture Affects My Writing

    I've been making notes to myself on the different directions I want to delve into on the topic of my last post. That topic of course being rape culture. There are so many tangents and components and underlying issues, some that even seem entirely unrelated, that all need tackling. And it seems as though I've overwhelmed myself by starting/promising a series without first drafting an outline of any kind. So, while I do plan to continue on in writing up well thought out posts on the subject that go a little deeper into many of the individual yet not easily untangled aspects, right now I am simply going to write a bit off the cuff... about why I haven't written anything since that post.

   There are of course the seemingly important daily life reasons. Distractions. Laundry piled Every. Where. Seriously everywhere. Boxes that still need unpacking. Meals that need to be made. The kid and I getting sick. My parents having to put their cat, whom I lived with for many years, to sleep. Easter and the production I was a part of for our church service (that I got to learn and perform a bit of sign language for). And of course the crazy day before any holiday craziness in which I decide last minute that it is absolutely necessary to learn a brand new (and always time consuming) baking skill. This time it was decorating cookies using homemade royal icing. Unfortunately I didn't get any good pictures before they were devoured.

   Then there are the more sincere reasons. The fact that my last post was fueled by a level of anger the likes of which cannot be safely maintained for any length of time without some kind of major fallout. There's my general lack of motivation I've been battling for several months... and then there's my fear. The fear of the potential backlash a woman speaking out on these topics can and does all too often receive. A big part of the fury that resulted in my last post was as a direct result of the horrible things people were saying to and about women on the internet in response to the Steubenville case and others like it. The lengths to which some people will go to intimidate and belittle women for any number of "offenses".

   It's a scary world to live in as a woman. And I can't even imagine what it must be like for the millions of women who have it so much worse than me... Women who live in parts of the world where the threat against them is much more urgent and pressing. Being a moment to moment issue rather than a day to day thing in which my biggest concerns are being hyper aware of my surroundings when walking to my car that I own through a mostly deserted parking garage, some extremely uncomfortable leering and the occasional worry that if I hit that publish button on that blog I wrote on my laptop in the comfort of my home, it just might be the day that something I wrote goes viral... only instead of accolades and a widened reader base I will have an inbox filled with death and rape threats from men hiding behind the anonymity of the internet. As so many female bloggers have had happen to them. This is one of those things that I believe escapes the understanding or acknowledgement of even some of the best men out there... the fact that while they may fear criticism when sharing an opinion they almost never have to worry about someone dismissing everything they say as invalid solely on how they dress or the mere existence of whatever gender specific body parts they happen to have.

   So, there you have it. I'm overwhelmed and afraid. But I also feel deeply called to this task... and however long it may take, I will write about this. But I will also write about other things as well, as the desire or inspirations hit me... 

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