Sunday, February 23, 2014

If you're happy and you know it

I often have nights, or moments when I just get so happy that tears brim in my eyes.

What are these moments you may ask?

Sometimes I'm just sitting on my bed, listening to a good song, and I think about how wonderful life is and the people that have touched mine.

I think about the courageous young man, Warsame, who talked to our class about all of his harrowing experiences and he still joked about "popping a wheelie in the club" (he uses a wheelchair). How can he can find laughter out of all the heartbreak and hard times he has gone through?

I think about my mom and my dad and their efforts to defend me and protect me from any negative emotions. How I got upset about Walgreens not refilling my prescription and both of them were so concerned, so upset. My problem was their problem. That's love.

These little things make me so happy when I think about them all at once.

Emotions fill me up and overwhelm me and sometimes I hate that about myself. I hate that I can escalate one feeling into a hurricane of emotions. But I'm learning that I wouldn't change it. I am not trying to wish it away anymore.

Because I like smiling to myself and feeling loved to the point where I cry and I believe it makes me a better writer.

I wouldn't have been able to write that article about OT without being on zero sleep from my insomnia and without the adrenaline coursing through my veins and the excitement and emotion making waves over me.

This is me. I'm not meant to be level headed and calm, although I have been conditioned to believe that's what I need to be.


But make sure to appreciate them while they are there. I'm appreciating this happiness that has come over me unexpectedly, that is making me feel so thankful.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Don't date an Occupational Therapist (OT)

This is a take off of “Don’t date a girl who travels” and “Don’t date a girl who reads”. I recommend reading one of those first because this will make more sense. 
Obviously there are guy OT’s too, but I wrote this in the same style as the other articles.
DISCLAIMER: I am not an Occupational Therapist yet, so this is written simply from what I know so far.
Alternate titles for this could be "Don't date an OT with an Occupational Science background" or "Don't date an OT from Saint Louis University".

Don’t date an OT because she won’t be impressed with your fancy clothes and cool car. She wants to know what you do. What you care about. She won’t be easily wooed by sweet nothings and empty conversations. She'll see past your clever one-liners and coy smiles. She craves intimacy and substance. She won't be so easily caught because she has found a better reason to fly. 

Don’t date an OT because she’ll talk to everyone she meets for far too long. People on the bus, people next to her on the airplane, people in the waiting room. She’ll spend too much time trying to explain what Occupational Therapy is and what it means to her. She wants to get to know everyone's story. Small talk isn’t her thing and she isn’t afraid to ask important questions that require thoughtful answers. She’ll patiently wait for a response and won’t rush people along even if she's in a hurry. There's always time to listen.

Don’t date an OT because she isn’t afraid to cause a scene. She’ll get in an argument over person first language, or using the “r” word. She’s sweet but she’s strong. She’s an advocate. She’s not easily tamed. She’ll point out places that aren’t accessible for people with disabilities. She might even tell the restaurant owner that the bathrooms couldn’t be accessed for someone in a wheelchair while you’re out at dinner. It might make you feel uncomfortable but she doesn’t care. She’ll tell you if you’re being disrespectful or judgmental because she understands that people are so complex. There are contexts, situations, and angles that we cannot see and do not understand from a simple glance.

Don’t date an OT because she knows how fragile life is and how quickly you can lose something. She knows that disability is a minority group that anyone can join and in an instant your life can change. So she won’t want to hear about how mad you are about your phone breaking or your other frivolous complaints. She knows what is important in life. She has seen people who have lost it all and still have so much to give. She knows that the poorest people in the world are those who only have money. She sees past the materialistic world.

Don’t date an OT because she won’t make room for someone who isn’t as passionate as her. She has so much enthusiasm for her career, for her clients, for her work and if you don’t have something equally as fulfilling you’ll feel left out. She loves what she does and she’ll work too hard. She has fire in her belly that propels her forward in a dizzying tornado of energy. She's a hurricane with a fiercely beating heart who never stops to rest. She won't wait for you. She doesn't wait around for love because she's found it in her career.

Don't date an OT because there is never an easy answer to give her. She knows that "life is not a problem to be solved but a reality to be experienced". She knows things can't be quantified. She knows that the simple answer is usually not the right answer. She knows that life is so complex and it'll frustrate you to hear her explain theories and explanations about transactionalism and the holistic approach. You can't feed her an easy response. She looks for intelligent conversations and debates that might end in confusion with no clear answer in sight.

Don’t date an OT because she will see the good in everything. So much so it might get annoying. She’s optimistic about change and has faith that everyone has the potential to achieve what they want from life. She knows that even though the world is a broken place, it is so beautiful and full of promise. She truly believes she will make the world a better place. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Can't strengthen girls by bashing some

So I saw this tweet tonight and it made me really mad. I had recently read an article about "thigh gaps" over on wordpress. The girl, Catherine, does a good job of explaining what a "thigh gap" is, and how our culture distorts beauty. She does not put down people with thigh gaps, but this tweet really does. I understand that there is a backlash against being skinny, and I definitely understand that the media and our culture needs to expand the image of the ideal woman on TV, in movies, in magazines etc, etc. But that does not mean that skinny girls need to be put down, be called ugly, gross, or "not real women".

"Real women have curves"is another phrase that has circulated the web and one that is meant to uplift girls with bigger boobs and bigger butts. And good for that! Girls with big boobs and butts are beautiful, they're awesome, but so are girls with flat chests and no butts. With medium boobs and medium butts, with fake boobs and fake butts. With muscular thighs and thin ones.

This does not mean I endorse any of the girls who praise being thin, who post pictures of skinny girls and put "this is my ideal weight" or "she is my thinspiration". I don't agree with the phrase "nothing feels as good as skinny feels" or any of that bullshit. I don't believe that girls should be photoshopped, edited, or starve themselves to look like the models on the runway. I believe in being healthy. And sometimes healthy girls are skinny. Sometimes they have thigh gaps. Sometimes they have health conditions that prevent them from gaining weight. Sometimes they have high metabolisms and no matter how much they eat they can't gain weight. Sometimes they have anxiety and can't eat because they are too nervous, or throw up because they have panic attacks. Sometimes it's in their genetics and they have the chest of a little boy and the butt to match.

It hurts me when I see things like this. When people call me "frail". When they accuse me of being anorexic or tell me I'm not eating enough. When they assume that because I'm thin that I agree with everything that "thin" people believe in. No. I don't. I believe that as long as you are mentally and physically aiming for health, that your weight doesn't matter. It's a stupid number. And everyone should stop making girls of different weights feel bad because they don't match up. Everyone should mind their own damn business!

The thigh gap is not beautiful in itself, but I still believe the girl who belongs to the legs on the left is beautiful. Both pictures are beautiful and we should not try to put down the one girl to make the other girl feel better. That's like saying one girl's dress is hideous to make the other girl feel beautiful. No. Compliment each girl separately and preferably not on their appearance. Because everyone is SO much more than what the scale tells them, or the size of their nose, or the wideness of their shoulders.

Our media should widen their scope of beauty. But not by bashing some people. We will just continue this vicious cycle of girls feeling inadequate if we tell them that one ideal is okay and the other is not. Often I feel myself wishing I had curves, that I didn't feel like a pole, or a lanky jumble of limbs. And the truth is that I shouldn't be worrying about that at all. I understand that there are many more outlets that praise me for being skinny than those that praise girls for being curvy, but why don't we just abandon that approach all together.

I don't covet my thigh gap. I don't look for compliments on my stomach or my small wrists. We all need to find love for ourselves beyond our bodies. We won't have them for that long anyways. We are so easily breakable, we will age, we will wrinkle. And if we keep reinforcing physical ideals instead of intellectual and emotional, we will just keep making girls feel shitty about things that they can't control and leave them with more problems to deal with as they realize they can never match up.

So "you know what's stupid tbh"? Judging people. Comparing people. Putting people down for their physical appearance. Assuming things without getting to know someone. Reinforcing physical beauty above INTERNAL beauty.

So please think before you comment on someone's appearance. Actual scratch that. Don't comment on their physical appearance. Tell them something that will make them realize they are more than a picture.