Last week my counsellor’s homework for me was to come up with a self affirmation. In the past I have avoided these because every time I come up with one I dismiss it as stupid (either as something I know or something I’ll never know). The day before our meeting this week I decided on one that I feel is very important:
I make smart decisions.
For as long as I can remember I have been punished for making my own decisions or told that I am not capable of doing so. If I decided to cut then I would lose a friend, if I did not stop talking to my guy friends then my boyfriend would leave me and (possibly the worst) because I have a mental health diagnosis my brain is “broken” therefore I do not know what I am doing. I know cannot even decide which restaurant Michael and I should eat at because the thought I picking the wrong one and him not enjoying himself terrifies me. I do not want to let others down because I made a bad choice.
I need to realistic with myself and acknowledge that letting down others is a fact of life and also acknowledge that I do make good decisions and I can trust myself. I told my counsellor that I was going to make a list of examples for smart decisions I have made as a reminder.
- I decided to go to university for social work
- I decided to go back to school in September
- I decided to take the director job offer
- I decided to leave or not go back to bad relationships
- I decided to turn my life around
- I decided that rainbows are awesome
- I decided that I love working with kids
- I decided on buy Omen
- I decided that I should dress gothy no matter what
I can make smart decisions
I’m watching a UK documentary on self harm to test myself. At times it’s been hard and I’ve almost cried but then it will fade as the documentary talks about something else more general.
A 20 year old woman who engaged in self harm said in the documentary that for some people self harm is a choice in the sense that it is something they chose to do to cope with stress.
For those of you who have self harmed or do self harm, do you think it’s a choice?
For me, self harm started as a choice. I choose to try cutting and see what happens. Very quickly though, self harm became less of a choice. Nothing helped the same way.
“If even one apple fell up, wouldn’t we have to at least begin to question the laws of physics?”
- Dr. Daniel Dormand, Psychiatrist and author of Dante’s Cure
Mad in America posted an article that shared a trailer for a new documentary by Western Massachusetts Recovering Learning Community called Beyond the Medical Model.
“The film’s message is one of freedom. It is one of the right to tell your own story and choose your own path (including the medical model), or to meander about across many paths as works for you. In order to create equal access to all the paths, we do need to recognize the oppressive ways that the medical model has been and continues to be applied and the legal, financial and other system structures that have become dependent upon it. We need to cut it down to size, so to speak, but we needn’t erase it all together.” -Susan Davidow
On January 22, 1973 the American Supreme Court decided that abortion would become legal, thanks to Roe v. Wade. Canada has had unrestricted abortion access since 1989.
We still have a long way to go in terms to better access and eliminating the stigma around abortion but I am confident we will get there!
Today I celebrate my right to reproductive health and my right to choose!
One more from Outdated: Why Dating is Ruining Your Love Life by Samhita Mukhopadhyay for today! I swear!
Chapter 5 discusses single women. I personally have never been a single woman which is something I have had to analyze because my strong need to be in a relationship is closely linked to why the idea “settling” is so horrible.
Outdated, in a section called “Single Women Are Too Picky”, looks at how stupid self help books are telling women that settling is better than being single. The book specifically referenced is called Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough by Lori Gottlieb. From the brief summary of Gottlieb’s book by Outdated I gather that this book tells women to get out of their own way. lower their standards and accept a guy as is. I know that at times we can all have unrealistic expectations on our partners (media is not helping us with this) but to settle is a horrible thing to do.
If I had settled, for fear of being single, here are a types of guys I would have found myself with:
- Being with a partner who had horrible drug and alcohol habits.
- Being with a partner who controlled essentially all aspects of my live.
- Being with a partner who was emotionally and psychology abusive.
- Being with a partner who was seeing other women.
- Being with a partner who could not support me with my mental health.
- Being with a partner who did not have life aspirations that where similar to my own.
Many of my partner’s told me that I was all they’ll ever get, that they’ll never find anyone who treats me better, that I’m good for nothing. But guess what? I found someone who gives me everything I need plus things I didn’t know I needed.
We should never settle for less! Settling for a person could be extremely dangerous and it would be much better to be alone then to have to listen to someone who says they love you call you names or physically hurt you.
DO NOT SETTLE!
Chapter 3 (Cinderella 2.0: New Era, Same Old Fairytales) ended with something so thought provoking that my friend (who I’ve borrowed the book from) folded down the page to remember. This is the final paragraph and what I want to answer:
“Despite the transnational social, political, religious, and economic implications of weddings, the idea of marriage is a beautiful (albeit unrealistic) one. And marriage is changing. Gender roles are morphing and access to marriage is slowing changing as well. But instead of pushing for a world where women can get married guilt-free, I think, as women, we need to push ourselves and really thinking about why we want to get married, what is still symbolizes, and how much of what we want is based on what we want versus what the fairytale ideal has taught us to want.” -Outdated, Chapter 3, pg. 83
So, why do I want to get married or why do I not want to get married.
I have always thought I would get married (except in low moments when I hate myself and think I’m not worthy which is a whole different mental health and feminist discussion) and I figured I would do so because that’s what people who are “in love” do. I went for the expected traditions head first but as I’ve gotten a little older, as the idea of marriage becomes more real and the more I’ve read this book I’ve begun to question how important marriage is.
I am lucky to live in a country that recognizes common law partnerships. I do not have to wait for marriages to receive such benefits as my partner’s health insurance. When you tell an institution that you are living in a common law relationship no one bats an eye. When I do not see the “common law spouse/partner” on a form I am usually shocked (this form is forcing me to be “single” and not acknowledging the effort and commitment I have put into my relationship) but this doesn’t happen too often. So again, the question is why would I want to get married?
I think it would come down to the symbolism of the ceremony. I hate symbolism (it taunted me in high school English) because in the case of marriage it’s done to show people something I don’t care if they see and that is long term commitment to my partner. I personally (and Michael and I have talked about this recently) have no problem with not getting married, exchanging rings as a personal sign of commitment and then that’s it. I am not against marriage or weddings but like Outdated has been saying, it is the expectation.
I want kids. That is the pressing matter for me and that is the part of my life I am more excited about. Not being married should not mean I can’t go down that road with my partner free from stares.
In the end I will get married when it is financially possible and I am glad that I explored why or why not this is something I would want to do. Within the ceremony I have already decided on changes that would be more suited to my feminist values.
Some examples: my Father will not give me away, my family will. I will not be introduced at the reception (or at any point) as Mrs. (insert my partners full name)…I will always be me and I don’t even know if I’ll change my last name! I will also have an officiant who marries same-sex couples (which will be easy to find in Ontario).
I now turn it over to you! Readers, why would you want to get married? Why did you get married? Why would you not want to be married? Also share with me any other awesomeness that you may have
Well, that’s easy. Every time I decided to stay with a controlling ex-partner instead of leaving!
I haven’t really been thinking about anything a lot lately. I think about many things all are fairly dominant in my mind. I did in my 2nd year of university write an op’ed piece on abortion access in Canada which got me an alright mark but a 5/5 for passion!
I can write a little about that I guess.
Ireland: Savita Halappanavar, 31 years old and 17 weeks pregnant, died after experiencing a miscarriage and septicemia. Savita and her husband requested a termination of the pregnancy, which would have ended the agony she was experiencing, but they were told by doctors, “This is a Catholic country.” There is now a huge backlash against the Irish government to allow legal abortions to save the life of the mother.
I am lucky that we do not have this issue in Canada. Abortion is legal in Canada. I know where at least two clinics are in Toronto that will provide the service to women (one of them is NOT Planned Parenthood by the way). I will say it again though, I am lucky. Not every major city or every province/territory has access to abortion clinics.
I find is odd that despite the legal nature of abortions in Canada women and couples are still resorting to drastic measures to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. A year ago, a 14 year old girl from Prince Edward Island (PEI) put herself through 2 weeks of horrible self harm in an attempt to terminate her pregnancy. She ingested toxic chemicals, threw herself down stairs, rammed her stomach into tables and got drunk. PEI does not have an abortion clinic or a hospital that provides the service. The girls and women of PEI have to travel to another province to get the service which then costs money (ie: transportation).
Although legal in Canada, abortions are faced with the same moral beliefs as we’ve seen around the world. Dr. Henry Morgentaler, the first doctor to open an abortion clinic in Canada, during an opening of a clinic in Toronto was attacked by man with garden shears. A Winnipeg abortion provider was shot in his home 15 years ago and has written a memoir on the experience, “They Shoot Doctors Don’t They?” These personal threats and attacks of violence have driven many aspiring doctors to not pursue providing this important aspect of Canadian healthcare! This is leading to a shortage of providers across the country.
Abortion is funded mostly by provincial healthcare, especially if performed in a hospital. This means that every woman who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of the country has access to free abortions. This is still unfortunate because women from the USA who may be looking for abortion and come to Canada will expect to pay over $300 for the procedure (and the prices vary depending how far along in the pregnancy you are). I’m not even including the cost of coming and staying in this country for the procedure.
Overall, if Canada recognizes that abortion is a legal right of a woman then it needs to show it more! As it stands right now I could get illegal drugs easier than I could get a legal abortion. If it is legal then it should not be so difficult to get! If it is legal people should stop discriminating against the women and doctors who chose that path!
I always feel stupid when I need to make certain decisions and I can’t. It’s not even that I can’t it’s that I become so overwhelmed with choosing that I would rather be dead.
I have a decision to make, I don’t want to make it, I wish I was dead. This makes me feel weak.
I see it as a win-win situation. Everyone “wins” because they all lose me and I “win” because I don’t have to experience the consequences and regret of making this decision.
Totally stupid logic but this is something I have often felt. I can handle hurting myself but I can’t handle hurting other people and that is what makes certain decisions very difficult to do. I don’t want to let people down. This is how I can end up in horrible situations for long periods of time.
I’m tempted to take a bunch of Seroquel and sleep. I have stuff to do today but some of it is facing the decision and I’d rather avoid it. A coma would be better but I can’t always get what I want.
I guess the uplifting part of this is knowing I need to do what is right for me. I am what is important.
No, I’m not feeling that last sentence at all….
Took one Seroquel to hopefully avoid taking all the remaining pills. I hope I can still go to work. I find that if I’m engaged in an activity I’m more awake so I should be ok as long as no one wants to have a heart to heart with me.
Fuck, I probably shouldn’t have done this. No, I can function. I got this.
I’m going to go now.