By ScienceGeek on Writing, Depression and Learning How to Handle Attention: A Conversation with Allie Brosh
I used Allie's pain chart during childbirth. It worked really well, especially when I made the joyful discovery that I'm really susceptible to the Happy Gas. I'm lying in the bath, sucking down the gas whenever a contraction hits, and when my husband asks what my pain is like, I say (giggling) 'I see Jesus coming for me, but it's okay. Want some of my gas, JC?'. The midwive is very confused, so my husband is all, 'Uh, there's this website called hyperbole and a half, and there's a pain chart on it and..'
'Oh, I remember that one,' says the midwife. 'OK hun, let me know when the bear's mauling you.'
It was a Bonding Moment.
By Beaks on Writing, Depression and Learning How to Handle Attention: A Conversation with Allie Brosh
@antilamentation I have been reading it slowly to avoid dying of laughter. The slow dog/ helper dog moving story had me laughing so hard I was crying, and that was a re-read!
@alannaofdoom I think your metaphor of turning into the skid is apt and important. Although I'm white, Midwestern, middle class, etc., and like you, most of my inner circle is also white, Midwestern, middle class, etc., my large circle of friends, acquaintances, colleagues is much more diverse (grad school - representing diversity much more than undergrad). And while we do have similar interests and goals, our perspectives of what that looks like are different.
A salient example of this is the hijab. I find it problematic, but I'm not Muslim. I grew up in a culture where it wasn't present. According to the woman who makes the decision, wearing the hijab or not wearing the hijab can both be framed as a feminist act. If I second-guess a woman's decision to wear the hijab, I'm undermining her autonomy, I'm implying that she is incapable of making a reasoned decision. My conception of what is and is not "feminist" is totally grounded in my belief system, which is Western, secular, and comes from a place of economic privilege. My reaction to the hijab is grounded in my discomfort with organized religion, my interpretation of the role of sexuality in people's lives, and the value I place on individuality. Like alannaofdoom, I need to turn into the skid and understand why I'm uncomfortable.
@Lu2 - if you are a white person interested in "inclusiveness" in your blog or your panel or academic conference, you have to stop just putting out general invitations to interested people of color to have them come to you, then be disappointed with a low number of responses. You need to take the responsibility for being educated enough about the voices of WoC in the blogosphere (maybe even having worked with them! fancy that) to already know whom you want to invite.
YES YES YES YES YES this. I mean, I am a white lady and I grew up in a mostly white neighborhood and the majority of my close friends are also white ladies. Okay, that's not a bad thing per se, but it means that I need to consciously seek out other voices and perspectives. And it's on ME to make that effort, because it's not the job of a WoC to, like, altruistically befriend the local waspy chick and educate her. (And also like bluebears says below: it's my job to shut up when people are talking and *listen*, which is something I always remember when I read Flavia's writing in particular, because much of what she writes can make me feel very defensive. I think it's healthy to, I don't know, sort of turn into the skid and examine why it makes me feel defensive. Usually it's pointing out my own privilege, or poking at an assumption I need to question.)
@franceschances I don't really have any solutions, just sort of vague, unformed thoughts that it's a really terribly perpetuated cycle wherein white women have the luxury of being able to think and argue about these issues academically - like, this country's overt and institutionalized racism kept WoC out of the places that other women were able to access because they were white/had money, so the leading voices in the movement became that of white women. And it's hard to devote a lot of mental energy to theory when just living your life is a daily struggle, and after several generations of not being able to indulge in that luxury (which, you know, it absolutely shouldn't be, but there it is) and then feeling marginalized when you do try to participate, I guess it's not really a surprise that a lot of WoC may have feminist feelings but scoff at claiming to be members of a club that doesn't invite them to the meetings.
ETA: Anyone have suggestions for good feminist blogs/books by WoC? I feel shamefully undereducated about non-white perspectives.
@NeverOddOrEven It's a scene from the TV show Oz. I tried to find a video of it but couldn't.
@Lulu22 Yeah but you can follow cues as to whether the person you're talking to would LIKE to be distracted.
When my nephew was in a coma I kept calling my sister in Oz to see how he was doing and she'd give me the briefest/brush-offiest of updates and then ask about the babies, so I figured out pretty quick that she just wanted to hear fun, distracting baby stories instead of talking about her problems. Oddly enough I am the same way, like at some point when awful shit is hapening you just want to think about something else for a bit.
@RK Fire My guess is that they're just trying to keep things "normal" and talk about everyday stuff. A lot of people don't want to talk about their pain/illness all the time. Maybe one person's drone is another person's welcome distraction? But yeah, inviting yourself over and dumping stress on someone who's already in rough shape = not cool.
When I got diagnosed with MS last summer I kept having all these family members call to talk about it, and discovered after 2-3 calls that it really stressed me out because a) I didn't really have a lot of specific information yet, and b) I was working a crazy schedule and just trying to keep my head down and not freak out. I ended up letting my stepmom's call go to voicemail and didn't call back, and my dad started bugging me and told me it really hurt her feelings, and I had to be like "I'm sorry but right now I can't deal with talking about it, she's just going to have to wait." It was actually really hard to decide that my stress over a serious diagnosis >> someone else's feelings about a social interaction.
There's a ton of this in Nursing 101--never overpromise and under deliver. For example, saying, "Don't worry, you'll be fine!" is not good because who knows, that person could be dead tomorrow and that is certainly not a "fine" outcome. But saying, "I'm so sorry you're uncomfortable, how can I help you feel better." is a good way of showing empathy and a desire to help. Small things like house cleaning or warm socks are very appreciated small things for people not feeling well. And if they aren't immunocompromised sometimes touch can be HUGELY helpful--everyone who is touching them is wearing gloves or approaching them in a clinical manner, simply holding their hand (if that's something you know wouldn't make them uncomfortable) can be a huge gesture.