Esophageal spasms

I’m having cricopharyngeal spasms.

That’s when muscles around the esophagus spasm and it feels like there’s a knot in my chest. Exactly like the feeling of having to burp but not being able to.

It’s very uncomfortable and I’m pretty sure it’s stress related.

Maybe Now, We’ll Take Electronic Voting Hacking Seriously? — Mike the Mad Biologist

Resharing this great post about cyberhacking and electronic voting. If you’re not concerned yet, you should be.

This column by Bruce Scheier raises a very good point about the November elections (boldface mine): Even more important, we need to secure our election systems before autumn. If Putin’s government has already used a cyberattack to attempt to help Trump win, there’s no reason to believe he won’t do it again — especially now […]

via Maybe Now, We’ll Take Electronic Voting Hacking Seriously? — Mike the Mad Biologist

I’m becoming a militant feminist

And I’m not even sorry about it.

Y’all, I hate to say this… but lately I really hate men. So much so.

(Yes, I know, not all men. Not all white people… I’m white anyways. Not all straight people. Not all cismen. Not all anyone. Just in general. Moving on.)

I (accidentally) sent this tweet around to a few friends:

WhatsApp Image 2016-07-28 at 10.51.25 PM

I thought it was funny, and I thought the handful of feminist ladies I was trying to send it to would appreciate it, but instead I sent it to my climbing friends, and it wound up blowing wayyyy out of proportion. One white guy said, “why does it have to be about race?” and another started saying how ridiculous it is to shame someone for their political view. When really, the tweet is calling out people who are using their vote to send a message instead of see it as an active participation in a system.

It blew way out of proportion.

And now I’m thinking no men really get it, they just feel personally attacked for some supposed privilege someone else is imposing on them (one even asked “but what does ‘more privileged’ even mean”… essentially asking what da fuq is privilege even…) so they get all up in arms about being attacked and dont actually want to have a conversation.

Well I hate to RNC (aka fear monger) over here but the real response to the “bernie or bust”ers I want to send…

Screen Shot 2016-07-29 at 12.17.43 AM

First off, that’s what a multiparty system gets you: empowered extremists. Secondly. notice that the second and third parties add up to more than the first party. Thirdly, LOOK AT ALL DEM WHITE MEN.

It does seem to blind people to discussions regarding privilege to feel attacked for their own privilege. They have to make it about themselves. Yeah yeah we get it your life is hard. Let’s move on from how this is personally about you. Stop with the white guilt. With the male guilt. Guilt doesn’t do anything to accomplish anything; guilt is still making it about you. So move through the guilt phase and actually LISTEN.

Because when it comes down to it, having Trump in the presidency would be disaster. But not for cis straight white men. For the rest of us. So when your minority friends panic fucking listen. Shut your mouth and listen.

Which brings me to everyone’s need to talk instead of listen. Also, lately there have just been so many examples, from the national stage to the local (i.e. a subway car) that my girlfriend and I have witnessed, where men just cry out for attention. Even Trevor Noah (a presumably straight/cis male) calls Trump out for it:

 

I’m becoming a militant feminist and not even sorry about it.

To be better

483a6e2bdaaba978ea2d460452c04c7b

Even as I post less, my posts have been getting briefer and more straightforward. I came to two realizations today:

  1. I procrastinate because I still think I’m uncreative and that I should have come up with better ideas at this point.
    Solution: to realize that all grad students have to grind, that hard work begets creativity, that only after one really immerses oneself in a topic will ideas flow. Also, I totally have ideas. I just need to not be afraid of authority, and to have greater confidence in myself. Also, I have changed many things about myself this year so I think I’m proving myself a worthy person.
  2. My anxiety in my current relationship is worrying about getting stuck: ending up with someone who doesn’t want to challenge themselves, who doesn’t want to improve and grow with me. However I get a very good feeling about my current relationship, it’s been challenging me certainly, and I also have to keep in mind that I struggle on the self-improvement front as well. We’re all human.
    Solution: To not impose my goals on someone else, but rather to identify and work together toward our mutual values.

Overall I have to keep reminding myself of my own power and validity in the world, both in relationships and in my career.

Just some brief thoughts.

For better communication

It is Monday morning. I’m experiencing background anxiety but overall feel good, I woke up before 11 today so that was great (9 am, heyyy!) and I have a to-do list already and everything.

Anyways I spent all of Saturday in a training session on how to do “motivational interviewing” in order to be a peer mentor, which really is an exercise in how to be compassionate and how to help people feel empowered to change things they want to change.

Those things are super hokey (“row with your O.A.R.S.!” “remember your D.A.R.N. C.A.T.s.!”),  and I doubt learning a bunch of acronyms will help ANYONE carry out a natural but deliberately honest and empathetic conversation and endear themselves to the speaker/client/friend. I’m not gonna think “Okay, I’m giving information, so I should E-P-E right about now…” in the middle of a convo.

BUT with practice maybe those guidelines end up making for better conversations.

Here’s an example. My family is trying to get my dad to lose weight. Who isn’t, dad weight loss is all the rage. So I tried the “I’ll do it with you!” tack. And the praising-every-step tack. And the commiserating-at–how-hard-it-is-to-lose-weight tack. And then the my-mom-yelling-at-him-for-drinking-so-much-beer tack. (I did less yelling than she did, but more passive-aggressive suggestions).

None of it is effective. He’s in a lot of denial about a lot of his behaviors, is defensive and not open to suggestions, and is in denial about THAT. That’s why MI might provide a good toolset for talking to him: not with the goal of motivating him to change, but with the goal of understanding where he’s at better and what’s working/what isn’t.

There are times where tough love is necessary. Or where the listener is too close to the speaker to be impartial and make the conversation all about the speaker. But for those other times, maybe this is kinda nice. I’d like to look for ways to make this practice natural so that I can work on communication skills in general and hopefully feel better able to connect with people, peer counselor or otherwise. And what it really does is make me take a step back and remember that certain statements that I *think* are coming from a place of empathy, might not be; and that there are better ways of embodying and expressing empathy.

Hokiness aside, it’s really helpful!

Also this video:

Moving forward

I know just the things to do to recalibrate my stressed out mind!

  • Eat! Sometimes when I start getting anxious I have to remind myself to eat, or to not take for granted the emptiness in my stomach. This makes anxiety worse, obvi. It also makes my blood pressure really low, almost low enough to keep me from donating blood today. Food is important.
  • Remind myself I do want to help myself, and that I can help myself. Any insecurity or worry I have, I’m in control. I can move past it.
  • Remember to be grateful. I have a wonderful girlfriend, I am not in debt, I have a lovely family, I am a smart wonderful tomboy-femme bisexual with the capability to do anything I set my mind to. I have lovely friends. I can donate blood. I am strong. I am healthy.

A gratitude practice is definitely missing from my life. I forget sometimes how wonderful it feels to be alive, and if I forget that I can mistake passing time for waiting to die. More on gratitude to come.

Anxiety and tidying

Anxiety has been ramping up today. Usually when that happens I just have to clean a bunch of things, toss stuff I don’t use, organize and rearrange and pare down all my things so I feel like I have some semblance of control over my life. It’s a pretty stupid habit when I work from home.

A few weeks ago I cleaned out all my drawers, tossed a bunch of old cosmetics and any little dodads that had no home, consolidated my makeup. I got rid of all my toxic nail polishes because nontoxic fingers are important in relationships (even though it probably doesn’t make a difference, really, once they’re dry). I put a bunch of stuff like a jewelry box from my ex on the communal laundry room table, that mythical table from which all unwanted goods magically disappear.

Getting rid of stuff and organizing stuff makes me feel like I have my life in order. Everyone does, that’s the whole reason Marie Kondo’s book took off like it did: we all want to FEEL like our lives are in control, that we’re doing something positive for ourselves, without ACTUALLY implementing changes, right? And she makes it this positive feel-goody thing about “sparking joy” and making it a “special occasion” because that’s how you trick yourself into cleaning, right? Pretty genius actually, to capitalize on the fact that people want to feel better about ourselves without accepting more responsibility, and then going out and buying a whole bunch of new shit to replace our old shit that we just got rid of. I mean I’m gonna go out and buy a whole bunch of nontoxic nailpolish of course in queer-me-friendly shades like gray, blue, green, and brown.

But I won’t do that thing of “throw anything out that’s old or broken” because what… our culture is wasteful enough. My goal is to stop buying shit, not buy more shit, to fix the shit that’s broken and be able to find the shit that’s old because it is well-organized. And also to procrastinate by shifting all my shit around. To give myself the sense that I’m being productive. Obvi. Damn, that Kondo is a genius. This is totally worth my time.

Also, I definitely shoulda done this BEFORE moving. Like, that’s super obvious.

But I wasn’t stressed then. I’m stressed now.

(Note, I haven’t actually read the book. That would take too much time. But I’ve heard enough tidbits from it repeated around the internet that I feel entitled to reference it.)