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Archive for the ‘In the Body’ Category

So this past summer I made a very important purchase, an investment.

I bought myself a Diva Cup.

When I told my mother this she literally replied with “¿De que carajo es una Diva Cup?” – literal translation: What the f**ck is a Diva Cup. She was still confused when I explained it to her, no longer about what it actually is but why I would even want to use it. She said it sounded “dirty” and “gross”. She wasn’t mean about it but I could hear the judgement in her voice. It made her uncomfortable and I understand that. I’m not going to lie, her reaction hurt my feelings and I felt defensive. Yet her response is exactly what I expected to hear.

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(Talk of Menstrual Blood to come!)

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I was reading the news the other day and came across an article that got me so angry. A man had been using the medical condition of epilepsy to get out of paying for his expensive meals. Luckily he got caught but his punishment is a very small punishment; a slap on the hand if you will.

The reason why this story got me so riled was because of the fact that my mother has been living with epilepsy for 26 years.She has to deal with the repercussions of her disability daily. For someone to mock and mimic an invisible disability is a despicable act. She has had to recently stop driving because her seizures have gotten so bad. Her seizures have taken a toll on her memory slightly so the small task of reminiscing becomes a difficult task of the realization that her disability is becoming more and more relevant each time we talk.

The man who decided it is acceptable to skip out on paying for a meal by faking a seizure makes me sick. It is disgusting and I wish he could understand epilepsy more in depth; this disability is no joking matter. Since he used the disability to his benefit, it makes me worried for my mother. If she has a seizure in the grocery store, restaurant, and any other public place, will people be less likely to help her if they think she is faking. I hope that if people see someone having a seizure they can recognize it and stay by that persons side until they come out of it. I hope that this mans acts did not make people want to turn a cold shoulder to a person actually having a seizure.

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I was recently perusing the world wide webs when I came across an article entitled “7 Things To Look At When You Feel Bad About Your Body“. I encourage everyone to go read it now. Right this minute and then come back here…Go ahead…I’ll wait… (Warning: Contains bodies, in various forms and fashions)

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Every morning I make the same breakfast sandwich: two eggs and cheddar cheese between two slices of toasted bread. As a kid I never ate breakfast, but as an adult I look forward to it. Breakfast not only tastes good, it also gives me energy I need to start my day.

Today isn’t like the other days. On any other day, I would wash down my breakfast with a glass of milk. Today I feel brave, defiant; today, I feel like taking a risk.

Before making my breakfast sandwich, I open the fridge and peer inside. I could have milk, with its comforting pH of almost 7. It’s not much different from water, which in its purest form is a perfect 7. Courage, or maybe stupidity for all I know, floods me as I reach past the milk and pull out a bottle of orange juice.

‘Yes,’ I think to myself, ‘This will work.’

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The guy I went to prom with called me a waste the day I came out to him. He looked me in the eye and said this with a smile on his face as if it what he were proud of what he just said. This wasn’t the last time something like this had ever been said to me. On multiple occasions I have been called “selfish”, “unfair”, and “a waste” by a number of men because of my sexual orientation. And on every one of these occasions I ask them all the same question, “Why?”. (more…)

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The Oxygen Network will be presenting a show entitled “I’m Having Their Baby” on July 23rd, 2012. The show highlights women who will be giving their children up for adoption. The adoptive parents include gay couples, infertile couples, etc. The interesting part is that we see the story from both sides. Oxygen shows us what the birth mother experiences along with the adoptive parents. I believe that it will be interesting to see how the families of both sides feel regarding the adoptions.

I believe that this is a show unlike any other on television at this time. Adoption is rarely discussed, especially from both points of view. Since abortion is such a charged topic, adoption seems to follow. Women who chose to give up their children are looked down upon at times, depending on their situations. Sometimes, society feels better about a woman choosing to give their child up for adoption that abort the pregnancy, but sometimes the situation is reversed. It is even more interesting that adopting a child is seen as a noble cause or creating a family, but giving a child up is looked down upon. Isn’t what a woman does with what is inside her body up to her?

I definitely see birthing a baby to give to someone else as an interesting body project. Anyway, I’m looking forward to this show! Will anyone else watch with me?

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According to a “recent study,” conducted by a company that maintains an online self-diagnostic tool and then misinterpreted by some website on the internet, “1 in 4 British women has misdiagnosed themselves on the Internet.”  Mind you, this wasn’t just posted on any old internet, it was posted on the Internet, so it’s totally legit, guys.  I believe it.  (By the way, Jezebel has some commentary that, while not problem-free, tickles the funny bone.)

This blog needs more color, so here's a rainbow.

Regardless, it raises some important questions about the role of diagnosis and self-diagnosis.  When overused or used irresponsibly, self-diagnosis on the internet can lead to a lot of unnecessary worry.  It’s an especially big problem in a culture that does not openly discuss bodies or illness, making it difficult to determine what is “normal” and “abnormal” for a body to do.  Female bodies, disabled bodies, older bodies, trans bodies, and non-white bodies, in particular, are susceptible to this kind of worry.  If your body was never “normal” to begin with, how can you possibly know if something is wrong?  If your body has always been strange or mysterious or untrustworthy, when does it cross the line from weird to dangerous, or sick?

I don’t have exact answers to these questions.  I do know, however, that since the majority of people cannot afford to see a doctor every time their body aches or something leaks, and since most female, aging, disabled, trans, and non-white bodies (to name a few) are not given serious consideration in the doctor’s office, the internet is an important diagnostic tool.  Several years ago, for reasons I can’t remember, I found a diagnosis for myself on the internet, and it was a major turning point.  As far as I knew, this was the way that I had always been, but at that time, I started to realize that it wasn’t the way that I would always have to be. It didn’t change my anxiety, but just having a name for it allowed me two conceptualize the phobia and my personality as two separate things.

These people stared at this x-ray for hours before realizing that it was blank.

When I later filled out an inventory or questionnaire, I hit every one of the symptoms.  But I never would have known that these were symptoms without coming across that page on the internet.  How could a doctor have possibly diagnosed me if I never expressed that anything was wrong?

Of course, my story might be unusual, and it might be somewhat unique due to my class privilege.  Still, I maintain that the internet should have a place in diagnosis, since no doctor can ever know a person’s body better than the person themself.  What do you think?  Does self-diagnosis cause more harm than good?  How can the internet be used or changed to improve diagnosis and available medical information?

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