I survived first term!

and now that my final projects are handed in (a day early even!) I’m back to blogging since school has taken priority for the last few weeks!

after writing for the last few weeks non-stop I don’t know why I’m choosing my first day off to do this post, but here I am!!!

anyway- this is just a really casual update post as i get back into the swing of blogging and posting about ~important~ things.

so. life!

i’ve been busy tutoring (I tutor at the writing centre at uni and LOVE it), writing papers, overthinking (as per usual), having minor crises about irrelevant things, enjoying the cozy winter vibes, wearing flannel every day and lovin it, enjoying being engaged while also obsessing over wedding planning but trying not to because it’s so far away still!!!!! and also been spending a lot of time thinking about the holidays and getting super excited to go to little bvain and see my fam and friends ♥♥♥ like, super excited. i miss every one so very much!!! and it’ll be the first Christmas where Sky gets to spend it with both sides of the fam so I’m excited for everyone to meet her because in case you didn’t know, she’s pretty awesome.

 

i’m really in the swing of like, researching and writing right now, despite just handing in my final assignments, but luckily, i get to continue to do so over the break! i had a meeting with my research advisor and we decided on a direction for my research assistant project. I am going to be studying The Little Mermaid as a disability narrative (in terms of losing her voice and having a “nonstandard body”), so I get to spend my free time reading feminist scholarly work about Ariel’s loss of voice in the story, and other aspects (the story is often related to transgender and queer studies for the same reason..her transformation from mermaid to human)…and also watching all three of the Little Mermaid movies (which, what? there’s three??). For research. I’m just like, what is my life? I am getting paid to do this? What?! I love my job. I love my major!!                        I mean, like, I reworked a bridal magazine to be representative of diverse people and bodies for my feminisms class as my final project and wrote an essay about Emma Swan (kind of a feminist character study) from the tv show Once Upon A Time for my gender & fairy tale film class and I’m just like…this is way too much fun to be school? idk man. academia is pretty cool in some ways and i’m in it for the long haul (despite having a two day crisis over my career path and thinking i should be pursuing journalism. turns out all the reasons i saw for going into journalism can be applied to academia, so thank you, Sky, my love, for that insight and reassurance) and yeah! i’m just super happy with where I’m at right now and where I’m headed.

also not really sure what to do with free time?? i need to go to the doctor and get some cactus spines removed from my finger (pro tip: don’t grab a cactus with ur bare hands. just let the plant fall and the planter break. it’ll be ok) and i would love to venture around the city and take some wintery pics! i haven’t done a lot of photography lately and i’m itching to get back into it. so if ur in the city and want to adventure with me and get some pics taken, let me know!!!

also also!!! The CRA Disability Tax Credit thing was all solved re them denying t1 diabetics the credit so thanks to the national diabetes community for rallying for that and making change!!

also also also!! i made the Dean’s honour list as a student of distinction for the 2016-2017 school year so that’s pretty cool!!

so yeah. things are alright.

hope you all are enjoying the wintery season and have a lovely holiday. i’m sure i will be posting again before the new year!!!

peace out!!

jc. ♥♥

 

 

we do not always look like the heroes you want us to be

I know I said I’d write a post on epilepsy awareness. But this has been pressing on me, so it is taking precedence. Firstly – after having tried to edit this for coherence, I am going to state this: This may read more like a diary entry, of scattered, unorganized thought. But. There have been a lot of things on my mind that I feel need to be expressed, and publicly. So, prepare yourself for some honesty and some disorganization in my writing!

I’ve been doing a lot of reading about disability, from a social perspective, for research purposes. But some of the points are hitting home, and hard.

A concept raised is the “supercrip” or the concept of a person with a disability or other related illness having to have some extraordinary ability to compensate for their disability. It is expressed by Ann Schmiesing, as read in Disability, Deformity, and Disease in the Grimm’s Fairy Tales:

The supercrip…represents overachieving, over-determined, self-enfreakment that distracts from the lived daily reality of most disabled people.

My first reaction was, in capital letters in my notes: “WE DO NOT ALWAYS LOOK LIKE THE HEROES YOU WANT US TO BE.”

I am no different than any one else. I get through each day with one foot in front of the other, one day at a time. I didn’t choose my reality. It doesn’t look like “overcoming” my illnesses to get my happy ending. It looks like living, despite the frustrations, the limitations, the stigmas and every other high and low that comes with being chronically ill. I do not exist to be strong or inspiring to others. I exist for myself.

But still, I don’t know.  This concept of having some sort of compensatory characteristic to make up for my illnesses makes me uneasy. I guess I feel that it’s imposed on me.  I impose it on myself, perhaps, and others (maybe others in a perceived sense…) come to expect it from me. Specifically, I question its relevance to my high standards for myself. The question is this: Do I set my standards so high because I feel the need to compensate in some way, shape or form, for being chronically ill?

Or does this need, or expectation, for myself to be the very best come from somewhere else?

The answer?

I honestly don’t know. I think it’s a thing that is pushed on a lot of us, from many different sources, both systemically and individually. I don’t want to start talking about capitalism, or the education system, or social media, or whatever… I mean. It’s all there. We all live through the experience of feeling like we aren’t enough – feeling like we have to be everything at once and above all, productive and successful in measurable means, and somehow, we are always failing. Or so we think.

It’s a toxic thing.

But. Let me stop rambling. I am thinking about a lot, and I am trying to lay bits and pieces of it down here. For your understanding, your consideration, and for my own.

I guess – the takeaway point from this, the reason I am posting it publicly, is that I want able-bodied, “healthy”, people to understand this: disabled people, or those who are chronically ill, or otherwise not able-bodied, do not exist for your inspiration. We do not have to “overcome” our health complications to be happy, or to be successful. We do not owe it to society to be successful or productive in a manner that is valuable and measurable within capitalism. We should not have to be “supercrips” to be accepted. We should not have to compensate for the circumstances of our body that are out of our control. We should not have to change ourselves to meet society’s abled-bodied standard to be accepted. Society should change to be accommodating and accessible to people of all abilities. We do not have to throw ourselves into our passions or pursuits to cope with the struggles of our lived reality.

We are enough as we are. And we do not have to be inspirational, or strong, or constantly challenge our boundaries to be acceptable; to be valid in our identity.

We are not always “okay”. We are allowed to not be okay.

I’m tired of the facade.

I am not always strong. Not in the way you think I am.

I am not inspirational.

I am always tired. I am often frustrated.

But I am always enough.

 

 

love & spoons,

jc.

 

 

 

 

I’m a research assistant!

I just returned from a meeting with one of my professors which left me beaming the whole walk home. This is because I have been approved for a position working with her as a research assistant. I am super excited and grateful for the opportunity! Basically, she will be mentoring me to write, or possibly co-write, a paper about fairy tales and media, with the goal of having it published or presenting it at a conference. There are a couple other classes I am in where we are encouraged to submit our work to journals or for conferences, so we will see what happens in the end!

Considering we are rooting the research in women & gender studies, and that I am planning on studying disability in grad school, we narrowed down my topic to be disability representation in fairy tales. She said that not a lot of work has been done on this topic, so it’s exciting that I might get to be at the forefront of academic study on the subject!

She armed me with a list of books, articles and scholars to check out for background research and to familiarize myself with what has already been done. I immediately picked up all the books from the library and am so eager to start reading that I can barely focus on all the other assignments I have due this upcoming week! But yeah, hopefully after some reading, I’ll have a better idea of what specifically I’d like to study and write about.

It’s also really wild to me that I’m only in my third year of university and I have opportunities like this! I think a large part of this is thanks to being at a relatively small university. I’m not certain something like this would have been so easy to come by were I still at U of M.

And did I mention this a paid position? That’s pretty cool too.

Honestly, I am so excited! I feel like I can’t express it enough. I’m heading down a path that I’m super passionate about and it’s so cool to be starting my journey to becoming a published academic, and to be working with a professor that has such extensive knowledge on fairy tales and is fun to work with too. I mean, her office is full of books about women & gender studies, fairy tales, and pictures of cats, so I think we will get along pretty well. She also teaches two of the classes I am in right now, so it’s nice that we are already familiar with each other.

I will definitely post some more updates once I’m a little further along on this project and kind of know where I’m headed!

I’m also writing a paper for one of her classes on the tv show Once Upon a Time (which I’ve def been obsessed with for the last few years), where I am going to do a character study of Emma Swan, and explore whether she really is a feminist figure or if she falls somewhere along the lines of conventional Disney princess/strong-independent-female-cliché. Also very excited about this!

yeah, so, as I said to my mom when this position first came to my attention: this is what dreams are made of. (hahaaha).

 

anyways, back to studying I guess!!

thanks for enduring my overly enthusiastic rambling

& all the best,

JC. ♥

 

 

 

rings! photos! family!

So, since I didn’t manage to get a post published yesterday (busy Thanksgiving weekend!), here is my sort of catch-all update post before I go back to writing pre-scheduled posts on specific topics!

LIFE UPDATE: Most who know me personally will already know this – but within the past week, Sky and I got engaged! It was a mutual proposal, however we both proposed on different days (let’s be honest – it was as basically as soon as we had the ring), in the comfort of our own apartment and so many happy tears were shed. I am so excited to be on this journey with her and while we are currently just enjoying our engagement, I will be sure to share details as we decide on wedding related things as they come up! We have a late summer/fall wedding in mind, however not for a few years! I am so incredibly happy to have found Sky, and to get to spend my life with her. We are thinking of doing a winter engagement shoot, however, for now, enjoy a few pictures we took ourselves!

I’ve spent the last couple weeks brushing up on my photography skills, only a few months after seriously considering selling my camera. I didn’t, luckily, since I now I have caught quite the photography bug. I took pictures of Sky with her engagement ring, and then with my sister, Alexa, and am very happy with how they turned out! I have found myself itching to take more pictures, researching techniques, obsessing over established photographers, and wondering if this is something I could one day do professionally. For now, I am just going to enjoy taking pictures for myself, friends and family, build my portfolio, and maybe attend some workshops! I’m having a ton of fun with the whole process, and I’m looking forward to learning more and improving. I’m doing a shoot with my friend and her boyfriend in a week or two and hopefully that goes well too 🙂

 

Overall, this weekend was a very exciting one, a very happy one, and I am so thankful for the life I have and the beautiful people in it. It was amazing to feel so supported by our friends and family when Sky and I announced our engagement, and the mutual excitement was contagious. It was great to see my family this weekend, to return to my childhood home and to bask in the familiarity of the chaos that is our reunions, their witty jokes, sibling banter, to enjoy each other’s company, to capture candid moments; to laugh and smile and love and feel so loved in return.

Sky and I also hosted our first Thanksgiving dinner with her family, and it was so lovely to be able to have her family over at our place and to host our first dinner! Sky did an amazing job cooking and there were many laughs, memories, and wedding ideas shared.

 

Now to use reading week to my advantage and get ahead on my assignments! and to write a few more blog posts to be posted at later dates!

love,

JC.

the life of WGS major

is the life of a student constantly defending their chosen discipline of study and fighting off the stereotype that they are an angry, hairy-legged lesbian (I mean I am… some days… most days?? but not the point…)

*WGS: women’s and gender studies 

But in all seriousness – it means so much more to me. I am thoroughly in love with my education. My professors are amazing and inspiring, and my readings each week offer new perspectives and critiques for me to consider and I am constantly challenged to not only think differently, but to live differently. Honestly, women’s and gender studies is making me a better person.

However amazing and transforming it may be though, it is also tough. Classes that seek to push you to analyze and critique every aspect of the society you grew up in and are currently living essentially ask you to question all you’ve ever known. And yes, it’s a good thing, because awareness is the first step in creating social change.

Yet, I find it very intense. I often get stuck in a thought spiral of introspection and self-reflexivity. This is usually a process that happens after every class, and sometimes, it is hard to dig my way out of that mindset. It’s a productive way to think, at first, in small doses – because I do reflect on where I can better myself – but it is also overwhelming when I can’t find my way out of that questioning.

My mind, after class, resembles something of a chaotic school of fish, each thought erratically zig-zagging, so fast I can’t even track it. I want to stick my hand in the water, grab a fish, grapple with it and shout who are you and what do you want from me? Maybe this metaphor makes no sense. I’m trying to articulate what is a very complicated headspace, and probably failing. But just writing this out is just as well.

I would like to digress from the very small, negative aspect of my major though. Because really, it isn’t negative, but how I handle it sometimes is. I am thankful that I leave class with a brain buzzing with questions. Learning to curve and control this, to draw boundaries for my own thinking, my overthinking, is something I am working on.

I am so excited by my academic career. Every minute in class solidifies where my passions and interests are and that this, academia, is what I want to pursue in life, if not just for the next several years. My professors bring fresh, energizing, and liberating ideas and perspectives to the class and provide a great foundation to build my own critical thinking from.

I have a lot of ideas, a lot of opinions, and having an education founded in feminism is teaching me that I am not the only one experiencing the issues I do; to question the status quo; to value experience as knowledge; to understand that life and oppression is never as simple as it appears; and best of all, that seeking to question, to understand, and create dialogue is how change is made and ideas are transformed to be inclusive, holistic and considerate of the diverse world we live in.

Feminism gives me hope. My education gives me hope. It gives me hope that as I arm myself with knowledge and awareness, I will be able to competently address bigger issues and work to revolutionize the world around me.

I’m sorry for all the cheese – but I finally feel like I’ve found my place, my “calling”, my career, and it feels pretty damn good.

Best,

JC

welcome

Hello & Welcome ;

After many failed ideas and attempts at starting a blog, I recently have been re-inspired (with a touch of anger-fueled motivation) to put myself out into the blog-o-sphere. I’m centering my blog around my life as a university student, a feminist, a chronically ill individual, a lesbian, and ultimately, a writer.

Previously, I had thought I had to have a very narrow focus on my blog to write it. Maybe, this is the case, if I were creating this blog as a business endeavor. I am not. I am here to share my life and its complexities; my failures, my successes, my insights and to connect with others sharing similar experiences. I decided a strict theme blog isn’t for me. I want to share what I am passionate about, and I want to write about my life, with an emphasis on intersectionality and my personal experience as a person with many faces to their identity.

If you care to follow along, expect posts related to everything previously mentioned (feminism, academics, writing, disability, LGBTQIA+ issues etc) and what makes my life uniquely my own.

New posts once a week, every Monday!

To learn more about me, please visit my about page.

Best,

JC