rethinking the hustle

Lately, I’ve been trying to prioritize my mental and physical well-being, because I know, returning to my office job for the summer is going to be draining. I’m not made for sitting at a desk for 8 hours and doing the same repetitive tasks all week (but hey, I filled my phone with philosophy, culture, and political podcasts, so maybe I’ll be engaging my brain a bit!). This prioritization also comes from wanting to get a hold on my anxiety, in hope of managing my pseudo-seizures better in the upcoming months than I have in the past few. I’ve even started to wean myself off coffee! So yeah, I’m serious about it.

I woke up this morning with the intention of doing a “run-through” of my early morning pre-work routine so I feel prepared for getting back into the swing of things tomorrow. But, that went out the window, considering I, first of all, slept in. I tried to recoup by at least getting in a morning yoga session, but everytime I changed positions I got light-headed and there was a dull pressure in my head. So that went out the window too. I felt a little frustrated at my inability to stick to my planned routine, but I took the yoga instructor’s mantra to heart, “do what feels good”, and decided to attempt practicing an intuitive, slow day.

This wasn’t only prompted from my failure to make it through early morning exercise – I have also been feeling very listless lately, and have tried to solve this with my signature over-the-top to-do lists. This of course, didn’t help me feel any less listless, and it definitely failed to make me feel productive, despite the fact that I was making my way through each task and checking it off. I wasn’t present though, really, just lost somewhere in my anxious thoughts and letting them get the best of me. It wasn’t until I forced myself to sit down, to work with my hands, to make, in this case, a collage, that I finally was able to feel calm and content. This realization of how still I felt after engaging in art-making was an encouraging reason to try and emphasize and value the same sort of feeling today.

I decided to leave all notions of efficiency and productivity for my return to my job tomorrow, and instead, allowed myself today to slow down, reset, and let myself do whatever I felt like doing in the moment, instead of adhering to a list of items.

I had a shower. Got dressed. Did my hair, just because. I noticed the dishes needed to be done. I also noticed Sky had left some body butter out for me so I could use it to make a body scrub I’ve been meaning to make. So I did that. I didn’t even follow a recipe as I usually would – just threw in ingredients I thought would smell good and feel refreshing. However, while doing so, I had the thought – “hey, I could make a little business making homemade body and skin care products!”, and I was bothered that this thought interrupted the simple act of mixing products together and perfecting the perfume, of testing the product…I was bothered that every time I make something and enjoy doing it, my automatic thought goes to how it could be profitable. Sure – it would be nice to make money doing something like that, or as a maker of any product or art, really – but why do these simple things only feel worthwhile if there is a chance they could be profitable? Why can’t I just make things for the sake of making them? Write for the sake of writing – not to be published? Stop making game plans for starting a “side hustle” and just enjoy what free time I do have? Stop this whole idea that something has to be measured by a specific standard of success, usually, monetary profit, to be meaningful, to be useful, to be a good way to spend my time.

I’ve been trying to resist this kind of mindset in all areas of my life. Part of it has been pursuing art. Part of it has been deciding to take an extra semester to finish my degree, because I can, and I don’t need to put so much pressure on myself. It’s hard for me to stick to – I’ve never actively chosen to take less than a full-course load – but I know the extra time will allow me to throw myself into all the opportunities I am afforded and excited about because I’m a student. It will allow me time to rest. It will allow me time to make connections. Most of all, it will slow things down, because I’m happy where I’m at in university and I love my life as a student, and I want to live this way for a little bit longer.

I’m trying to listen to myself, to re-evaluate priorities, to emphasize slow living, the value of intuition, to calm my mind and decrease my stress level, and hopefully, in time, see the result of less anxiety and fewer pseudo-seizures, migraines, and days where I’m depleted of all energy.

Today, I feel pretty content. Happy. And I hope I can keep building practices that maximize my mental well-being, so I don’t feel so lost in worries and what ifs all the time. So I can set aside time to just be still, and calm. We’ll see how I manage, starting tomorrow, with 3 spring courses and a full time job…..

xoxo jc.

 

 

wrapping up third year + looking ahead!

hi!

i’ve been gone. but i’m here. and i’m officially done third year! as of, like a week ago, but yeah! it’s pretty bittersweet, honestly, because i don’t want my university experience to be over. it feels like it’s just picking up. that’s probably partially why i want to go to grad school – i love being in university!

so yeah, some highlights from this academic year are

  • changing majors and pursuing women’s and gender studies
  • getting to be a research assistant!
  • working as a writing tutor
  • getting into the honours program
  • being recognized for academic achievement in the previous year
  • diving into new territory and loving it (re feminist art!!!)
  • getting published both with our own writing centre blog and others at different universities!
  • building connections, community & getting more involved on campus
  • confidence boosting seminar presentations!
  • presenting my artwork at the WGS/Disability Studies Feminist Colloquium
  • getting a job with one of my profs to create/promote her art studio as a feminist space for art, community building etc on campus! (stoked about this!)
  • figuring out where my research interests really lay/finding new and exciting ideas to explore

and idk! i’ve learned a ton this year, not just about topics in class, but about myself as a person, and i’ve grown so much and i’ve really seen my thought process transform and it’s exciting. and at times exhausting, but so rewarding. i also feel like i know what i’m about and where i’m headed, but at the same time, i don’t have any super concrete plans, but have learned to be okay with that because i’m super happy with where i’m at right now, and if i keep making intuitive choices, i’m sure i’ll end up where i want to be.

that being said, my academic goals, and interests, have shifted a bit, so i may not end up doing my MA in disability studies! but i will still definitely be working with disability issues…but maybe through a cultural studies program or something similar!

 

so yeah – looking ahead! things i’m excited for this summer:

  • concert roadtrips (seeing Vance Joy, Passenger…possibly July Talk again and many others if we can make it work!!)
  • camping trips with Sky!!
  • seeing my fam
  • second round of sending my chapbook to contests/publishers (fingers crossed!!)
  • getting caught up on course credits
  • having a full-time job!
  • having time to read (hopefully) (also – send me your book recs!!!)
  • planning re the art studio!
  • lazy days by the lake
  • reunions with friends
  • dresses and sandals and not wearing layers
  • pursuing creative endeavors (currently in the brainstorming process for my next project!)
  • more time for snappin photos!
  • spontaneous weekend expeditions
  • SUNSHINE AND FLOWERS
  • LAZY SUNNY SUNDAYS
  • saving & planning for a new tattoo
  • ice cream 24/7

and so many cool things to follow in the fall so yeah!

 

things are good. hope they are with you too!

 

jc. ♥

 

(in)visible illness

 

 

 

ARTIST’S STATEMENT:

Taking inspiration from Jo Spence’s self-representative photography collection, Narratives of Disease (cw: nudity), I wanted to provide insight to my relationship to and with chronic illness using both photography and my body as materials to present my lived experience. Through these photographs, I illustrate six specific themes or emotions that are most prevalent in my life with illness. My intention with this collection is to both respond to Spence’s work, regarding her artistic expression of what it truly is to live with illness, outside of the objective language of medical environments, and to portray the complexities of my own journey as a chronically ill individual. Specifically, I hope to demonstrate the ways my so-called invisible illness marks me, both physically and emotionally; to resist the objectification of medical and other social institutions; to make meaning of my experience, both for myself and to connect with others who face similar experiences; and to ultimately, narrate my disease, in a way that allows others to understand the often arduous reality – both physically and psychologically –  of living in a chronically ill body.

art & illness

There are several artists I’ve paid special attention to in one of my (arts-based learning) classes. I feel like Karolyn Gehrig needs to be mentioned, along with her #HospitalGlam project, because the idea behind it, of making invisible illness visible, has been something I’ve wanted to work with for a long time. Here is more on her & #HospitalGlam (http://hospitalglam.tumblr.com/)! So check that out if you’re interested! It’s an awesome project and so empowering.

However, for my major project, I’ve decided to take my inspiration from Jo Spence. She was a photographer, feminist, writer, organizer and broadcaster. In particular, I am looking at and responding to her collection Narratives of Disease (click to see her collection – NSFW/nudity warning though!).

Spence captioned the collection as such:

“How do we begin to speak about what it is like to live with cancer? How do we find a language to express ourselves? What are we able to say if we turn to the medical language of tumours, drugs, and surgical procedures: a language which is crucial to medical professionals in helping to diagnose and treat cancer but which can only speak of people as mechanical objects? Can we make use of the non medical language of bodies which is obsessed with the idealism of youth and beauty?”

I was compelled by its description alone, not to mention the piece itself. I was compelled by the photographs, by the unfolding of a story, a life, a struggle, told through only six photos with single word captions.  Her idea of not being able to express her experience with language resonated with me, and I decided I wanted to work with the themes and artistry she employed in this collection. There’s a lot to unpack in her work.

Her images really tell a story, of living with illness, and knowing, that because of the illness, she becomes an object in the medical setting. It explores the objectification of women regarding beauty standards and how illness physically marks the body and our life experience, and renders us as something completely apart from these beauty ideals.

A few things stuck with me, and translated into a focus for my artistic response, or remix project…

  • pain of illness as emotional and physical (this is a big one for me, in medical environments! no one ever checks in my mental health, just my physical symptoms and medicine dosages etc….)
  • body as a material site of struggle and resistance
  • meaning making of chronic illness through art
  • using art to describe a narrative of illness
  • physical ideals of beauty versus reality of a chronically ill body

Soon – my own narrative of disease start to emerge, from abstract concepts to the planning of the photographs I would take. The process involved a lot of questions though, questions like what words or themes are prevalent in my journey with illness? How do I express these?  How do I make sense of pain, specifically, with my diagnosis of diabetes… How do I make sense of both the physical and emotional pain that comes with it, and transform it into an act of resistance, as Spence has? Is there any way to transform it into something positive? How do I communicate what it is like to live with a chronic illness, how do I represent the complexities of my experience in a way that allows others to come to understand it as well?

This was only the start of my thought process, and now, as I finish planning for the shoot that I will be doing tomorrow…I feel like maybe I’ve found some answers. And of course, more questions. And I know the process of actually making artwork will bring new insights and maybe even more questions yet!

Already, I have felt how thinking about these ideas, thinking about my own experience of illness,  and how to turn this experience into art, has transformed the way I think. I don’t always see my necessary medical self-care as a burden, but as something worthy of art – and this has totally reframed the way I understand myself as chronically ill but also how I relate to my illness. It’s been really exciting and uplifting.

I’m not going to say much more… as I’ll probably share my collection of images when I have completed this project, but I will say that planning the shoot was a lot more than just logistics. It has been a process of finding six words that encompass my life with chronic illness. But even moreso, it has been a process, a challenging process, to figure out how to bring these emotions and experiences into being: how do I represent the complexities, all the intricacies, with one photograph? How does it go from being an idea to being a collection that is honest, authentic and vulnerable? I have rolled through every possibility time and time again in my head, and come up with what I hope will be photos that do express all of these things. I know my ideas will change and transform during the photoshoot, and that’s awesome and exciting too. I’m excited to see the results of this process, of what I will learn and how I will grow, and of course, to have the finished product and to share it with others.

I know this has been a long, rather involved post, but I thought blogging would be a good way to both reflect on this process and also tell you about it, so you have some context when I share it.

I’ll leave you with a sneak peak of what’s to come – my working title, project description and the title of each photograph as it stands right now:

Along the lines of Jo Spence’s work, Narratives of Disease, where she uses six nude photos, each titled with one word related to her journey with breast cancer, I would like to choose six emotions to tell of my experience with chronic illness, through photography. As Spence puts it, this photography is a way of challenging and expressing what it is to live with illness, in an environment saturated with medical language and objectification – both in medical settings, and as women in public spaces. I would like to address my experience with chronic illnesses as a whole, but also specifically focus in on the way diabetes marks my body, and my way of being, in ways that are often invisible to others, but brought to light through my photo series.

The series will be titled (in)Visible Illness, and will consist of six photos: submission, defeat, haunted, guilt, glorified, and finally, hope. 

Looking forward to tomorrow and sharing my work with you all 🙂

 

jc. ♥

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.

 

 

 

 

DIABETES AWARENESS MONTH: Part 1

Coincidentally enough, November is both Diabetes Awareness Month and Epilepsy Awareness Month – and I happen to have both conditions!
So I’m going to dedicate two posts this month to Diabetes Awareness Month, and two to Epilepsy Awareness Month.

First of all- shout out to JDRF and Diabetes Canada for being awesome organizations that do amazing and important advocacy work, educate, fund-raise, and provide me and my fellow T1Ds opportunities to connect  (T-ONE-D program) while learning super helpful info for managing this disease.

T1D Q & A:

Also shout out to my friend Lily who came up with some questions she thought people might have about diabetes, so I could do this style of blog post!

       1. What is the difference between the two types?

I’m going to link to Diabetes Canada’s page on this, so click here for more info! However, I’ll do my best to answer this as well.

There are actually several types of diabetes, but the most common are Type 1 Diabetes and Type 2. Basically, type 1 occurs when your immune cells mistakenly identify the cells that produce insulin as “bad” cells and thus, destroy them, leaving type 1 diabetics completely unable to produce insulin. The trigger that causes this auto-immune reaction is still unidentified, and therefore, there is no cure! Type 1 diabetics are completely dependent on insulin injections to keep themselves healthy and well.

Type 2 Diabetes, I do not know as much about, as I do not live with it, however it differs from Type 1 in that the body still produces insulin, but it is sluggish to metabolize it or does not use it as effectively as it should. Type 2 Diabetics closely watch their diet, take oral medication, and sometimes, insulin, to manage their disease.  There a lot of factors regarding the cause of type two, such as genetics, lifestyle factors and more! Neither disease simply results from eating too much sugar, as many are led to believe.

Please follow the link I provided if you want more info!

     2. How do you treat type one?

Mainly, insulin therapy. But there is a lot to it, and many options when it comes to insulin regimes. I personally use an insulin pump (and no, it doesn’t “do all the work for me”), others use pens to inject their insulin, or the classic syringe. But insulin therapy consists of a lot more than just injections.

Treating type one consists of counting and calculating the number of carbs in everything you eat, giving insulin accordingly for everything, calculating dosages for your “background insulin” or the little spurts of insulin (or long acting doses in larger quantities) you take to mimic your pancreas, taking your blood sugar (at least 5 times a day), recording it, and evaluating patterns and trends and adjusting insulin dosages accordingly, accounting for activity level, sickness, stress, emotions, hormones, and so much more! It consists of treating low blood sugars, high blood sugars (both of which are awful and annoying and ultimately frustrating), visiting an endocrinologist about every three months, and basically, factoring your diabetes and blood sugar level into everything you do!

      3. How do you handle a chronic illness on top of being in uni?

Ah man. Honestly, half the time I don’t know myself. Somehow I make it work. When it really comes down to it, it is all about prioritization. Using the days where I am feeling well to be productive, resting when I need to, putting my health above everything else, being honest with my professors and classmates about my conditions and utilizing any accommodations available are all things I do to make sure I can keep up to school. Usually, when things get chaotic, it’s often a game of figuring out which classes I can afford to miss to both get my upcoming assignments done while still maintaining enough energy to attend those that I need to. It’s a balancing act, and a tough one at that. There’s always a point where it gets to be too much, and usually, after a bit of a breakdown, (haha), I re-evaluate this balancing act and figure out which activities I can afford to cut, or need to, to maintain both my physical and mental health!

      4. Does it affect your relationships in ways you didn’t think it would?

Not really, I guess? Like, maybe the start of relationships and stuff – I’m always worried about how people might react to finding out that I have diabetes, and what sort of questions or misconceptions they will throw at me. But everyone in my life has been extremely supportive and understanding, and for the most part, it hasn’t been as issue.

I do feel, sometimes though, feel like a burden, or feel guilty, for say, cancelling plans, or being extra exhausted because of my illnesses, or for complaining too much when I’m burnt-out…and this sometimes does affect my relationships negatively, because I feel like there’s just a bit of a divide between me and my “healthy” friends and family, based on the differences of our lived experiences and what it is actually like to be chronically ill. So yeah, I mean, sometimes it means I miss out on things, or disappoint people, or myself, but overall, everyone has been great, and I really am so unbelievably fortunate to be surrounded by such awesome people.

       5. What do you wish the world understood about type one diabetes and the people who live with it? 

Oh man! There is so much I could say to this. But to sum it up rather quickly, I wish that people understood that diabetes is a) not caused by eating too much sugar, b) a really complex disease to manage and deal with, both psychologically and physically, and because of this, is extremely tiresome, c) (in the case of type 1) has no cure, and d) affects every aspect of our lives in someway! it is overwhelming at the best of times.

 

If you made it through this all, thank you.

go hug a diabetic and spread some awareness for this deeply misunderstood disease!!

peace out

xoxo 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. ♥

 

 

 

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