The Severing of Sex from Gender
As transgender identities, social spaces and movements have developed over the past 150 years there’s been a sharpening of the confrontation between bourgeois ideological constructions of gender and how gender is defined by ordinary people.
In its crudest form, dominant ideology claims that there is a fixed and necessary connection between one’s biological body (sex) and one’s social being (gender). According to this gender essentialist view women are nurturing, sensitive, emotional, caring and apt mothers not because social environments have created this dominant construction of womanhood, but because of women’s biology.
The history of gender variance across the globe, as Leslie Feinberg documents in Transgender Warriors, is enough to cast doubt on the essentialist view of gender. From two-spirit people of the American First Nations, to cross-dressers such as Thomas Ernest Boulton and Frederick William Park (also known as Stella and Fanny; two cross-dressers who lived…
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so i’m one week in to my new relationship with lexapro, which is cool. before i started, i had a good conversation with my psychologist who got me to try to reframe some of the anxiety-inducing thoughts I was having, which is awesome because those are tricks i already knew, but sometimes you just lose sight of them.
i’m hoping that it’s going to help. i’ve been in this anxiety/depression funk for a couple of months now, and I haven’t really been doing other things that usually help me feel good like exercising. i haven’t been knitting or stitching– i’ve just kind of been sitting around like a bump on a log. exacerbating this is the ankle pain i’ve been in–still waiting on my ortho referral to come all the way through. cascading failures?
when i was in college, i was treated for anxiety & depression. i went on zoloft, and hated it, and eventually stopped going to therapy and taking meds. in the 15 or so years since then, i’ve self-medicated any number of ways– food, alcohol, exercise– but lately none of those things are doing the trick. i’ve been feeling more and more anxious the last few months, nail-biting worse than ever, and I even had a panic attack a couple of weekends ago. this past sunday, my blood pressure bottomed out when i left the gym and I passed out. EMTs responded, and I passed out a second time and they took me to the ER in an ambulance. I presented with a super low heart rate, low BP, and chest pain. I spent the next two days getting a million tests, and they found nothing. They were suspicious of a cardiac issue or a blood clot, but I know what it is is– anxiety.
i reported this increased anxiety to my PCP at my last physical, 3 weeks ago. she referred me to behavioral health, and I’ve seen a psychologist twice and he’s referred me to the psychiatrist for a med evaluation. I’m hoping that we’ll find a good solution for me, but i also know that environmental factors that impact my anxiety aren’t really going to change.
i had a second panic attack– this one was on wednesday. i had taken the day off work to rest after the hospital time (you know, a person doesn’t get quality sleep in those joints) and an emergency staff meeting was called, so I went. And anxiety inducing information was shared in that meeting about some personnel changes, and so when i left, there it went. speeding heart rate, chest tightness, shallow breathing. I went to the restroom and got my life together– once I calmed down, I walked home and chilled until my gf got home from work.
i’m 37 years old. when my mom was 42 or so, she had such a bad panic attack that it ended our vacation; she ended up being treated inpatient in a psych ward after we got home. eventually she got her meds evened out pretty well, but it took a long time. i’m afraid of going to the square dance — zoloft doesn’t work no more, now you’re going on prozac, just kidding here’s cymbalta. no, celexa. xanax! all of that… i’m afraid of getting my hopes up for relief, a stabilizer.
so maybe if you know anything about this stuff and have had a good experience, you can just let me know that it’s okay to be optimistic?
I’m 37. but my dear friend J and I have been talking about the advent of a host of new health issues we’re experiencing in our late 30s, and have started hash tagging our text conversations “thisis40” and now it keeps running through my mind.
a week ago, i clumsily cut the shit outta my dominant hand index finger while cleaning the best damn chef’s knife i’ve ever had the privilege to use. my partner got a Global knife for her birthday, and while it has never failed me in use, i failed myself in its cleaning. the whole thing happened really damn fast and I had to get 3 stitches in a super deep wound. when I went to the ER, the physician’s assistant who treated me (well) was a recent alumnus of the college where I’m employed. he did a great job, and i intend to write a note to the department.
in november 2014, i rolled my ankle and fell to the ground awkwardly while taking out the trash & recycling. I’m an extrovert, so naturally the first thing i did was look around to see if anyone had seen my embarrassing ass over teakettle move, and no one was around. I breathed in and out a few times, assessing the pain level, and then hobbled back inside. rest, ice, compression, elevation like i’ve been taught before– that ankle has been trouble before. i have taken this ankle to PT, it’s been in an air cast, all that. I busted my ass twice walking dogs on ice with this crappy ankle. I stopped wearing my beloved Dansko professional clogs because the weak ankle rolls in those shoes.
i didn’t go to the hospital. i didn’t go to the doctor. it was close to the end of the semester at work and I didn’t make myself a priority, per the usual. (see many examples of untreated colds, bronchial infections, knee pain, mental health struggles, and even a broken organ –the gallbladder– in my adult life that I neglected because i felt that my time wasn’t worth it over my job. i went home to visit friends and family over new years and my mom busted my chops, which I deserved. i swore to return to Massachusetts where i live now and make all the doctor’s and dentist appointments I needed to get back on track with my life.)
so i did. i scheduled a physical and an annual gyno exam and a dental cleaning/check up. i went to the dentist first. the cleaning went great–the hygienist complimented my brushing but encouraged a little more flossing. the dentist had crappy news– i have two little cavities he needs to fill, and a bottom tooth needs a crown sometime in the next year. this made me feel terrible, as if it were connected to my worth as a person. i am no stranger to this feeling; when i was in college, i drank a lot of sugary soda at work (waiting tables in Dansko clogs, natch) and i got hella cavities. i had one side filling come out 5 or so years ago, and the tooth ended up needing to be extracted. i actually fell into a depression over needing to have a tooth pulled–I felt that I had failed as a person, disappointed my parents– I cried in the dentist’s office when he told me. my dentist in Ohio has known me my entire life– i grew up next door to his parents and they were an extra set of grandparents to me as they totally adopted my 21 year old parents when they moved in. my dentist told me about his own vacant tooth spot, assuring me that even sometimes a dentist has a tooth extracted because dentists are not superheroes who can fix everything perfectly. the extraction was horrible– painful and scary, the sounds of my own body cracking haunted my dreams, and I developed a dry socket despite doing everything i was told. I was in really bad pain for a few weeks, and finally it subsided and i was left with this hole in my mouth that my tongue still finds its way to, curiously searching.
later the same day, because i was trying to be efficient, i went in for my physical. (my partner has a car, i do not, and she allows me to use it–but i have to drive her to work to have the car on a weekday so i try to consolidate trips.) last year, when i had to have my gallbladder removed because she was lazy and stopped working thus making me sicker than i have ever been in my adult life, i dealt with an aging thing I hadn’t anticipated. my surgeon was a few years younger than i am. like i said, i’m 37 now, and a surgeon in her early 30s wasn’t surprising… just surprising to me. she did a great job and I felt better LITERALLY IMMEDIATELY upon waking up from the anesthesia, which if you’ve ever had anesthesia, you know is a pretty big deal. So yeah, that younger-doctor thing happened and i dealt with it because i was so zen! so hip! “Her knowledge is SUPER UP TO DATE” i said, not even trying to mask my freakedoutedness to anyone who would listen.
also, my surgeon was pretty cute. #weird
okay, so I digress which is what brings you here anyway, right? you know i don’t stay on topic. tuesday i went in for a physical. my primary care physician is a DO, and I’m fine with seeing a physician’s assistant for basic things, so i went with the sooner appointment rather than the appointment with my doctor. Sidebar: what’s the diff between MD and DO?
The PA was also a relatively recent grad of the college where I work, and I felt instant rapport with her. She was quick yet thorough which I appreciated, and set me up with a million referrals to all the things I need. Ankle problems? ORTHO. Go get an x-ray before you leave here today! Anxiety issues again? PSYCH. Referral sent–they’ll call. You’ve never had a body scan in the dermatologist’s office?! You’re so fair skinned, she said. Referral given. Already all of these offices have contacted me to schedule my next step appointments, which is great. I saw a rheumatologist this morning because they’ve been helping out with Ortho referrals, and I found out there’s a 3mm probably benign tumor in my ankle. WTF, mate?
So I decided I better not start googling this, and so I’m not. I’m back to waiting for a meeting with Ortho, which means I need a MRI or a CT scan on the ankle. #Thisis40?
I get a call yesterday afternoon. My LDL cholesterol is elevated. She wants me on a low fat diet. Um, I had my gallbladder out a year ago. I’ve been a Weight Watcher since Sept 2012. My diet can’t go much lower fat, but okay. I’ll see what I can do. The bad ankle has kept me out of the gym a lot since I injured it. Not exercising impacts my mood, which when joining forces with my anxiety and all of this “what’s going on medically” feelings is making me pretty grumpy! When I feel grumpy, all I want is sugar to pick me up and of course, it actually doesn’t make me feel better. Sugar makes me feel cruddy.
So now I’m trying to figure out how to cut way back on sugar too.
How is it that I’m an adult and have no idea how my body works or what to feed myself to be healthy & happy? Geez. I live in the most technologically advanced time, completely surrounded by information, and I have no ideas.
Let me know if you do.
y’all, i don’t know if people read blogs anymore. all the blogs I used to read aren’t really on my radar anymore because of the death of my one true love, Google Reader.
I haven’t been writing. And I’ve been beating myself up in my mind almost every day, feeling like a jerk because I love to write and I haven’t been doing it.
so here–this is what i’ve been up to.
i’m no longer living in my hometown of cincinnati, ohio, usa — me and my gf are in western massachusetts, usa which we really love. great hiking, lots of queer folks, beautiful scenery, and we both have jobs we like.
i went home to cincinnati for about 12 days and I spent most of it with family, and nursing a cold, and eating everything I miss except I missed a couple of places. I really didn’t get to see a lot of people I love but they know I love them, yeah?
2015 should be good. we have some great concerts coming up– Sleater-Kinney in Boston, St. Vincent in Providence, and Neutral Milk Hotel at the Mass MoCA in North Adams. We’re hoping to do a vacation to Washington DC because Kat hasn’t ever been to the big historical sites and we have friends I’d love to visit.
I’ve gotta find some volunteer action here– I’m going to sign up to volunteer at a local animal shelter. My parents are custodians to my beloved cat, Hillary Rodham Clinton, because I’m not allowed to have pets in my current housing situation. I miss being around cats & dogs, and so I’m excited to maybe walk shelter dogs.
I need to get a passport. We’re so close to Montreal and I know Kat would love love love to go there. She’s been there before and I haven’t.
I promise to keep writing here, even if no one is reading it.
recently, i put myself out there and applied to a promotion at work after a bunch of people I like & respect encouraged me to do so; and i didn’t get it. and i’m feeling really embarrassed and disappointed and angry about it.
how do you manage feelings like that without engaging in destructive behavior or communication?