Inspired by this post by Caitlin at Fit and Feminist.
1. I found VaginaPagina.
(The link, by the way, is not explicit, though it may not be safe for everyone’s work.)
It’s a community focusing on sexual health and wellness, but it’s also been a really supportive online place for me for the last several years. Among other benefits, it’s a place that’s helped me to become confident in articulating the fuckedupedness of victim blaming, rape, and rape culture — as well as a community that’s helped me become a more assertive medical patient.
2. I’ve become a more assertive medical patient.
I’m sure that what some providers wonder if I don’t mean “pain in the ass,” but I’ve become a lot more active in voicing my health-related concerns. That is, I’ve started bringing with me a symptom/treatment diary with me to medical appointments, so providers could see how endo pain affects my life, which methods I’ve already tried, and the results each has given me. This has helped me become a lot more insistent — and successful — when explaining to providers that: 1) my pain is real and severe; 2) I don’t want to try the same ineffective techniques over and over. Yes, in part, that does mean I’ve played around with some different ineffective techniques, but at least they were more my choice — and I’ve not been traveling in the same pain loop.
3. I found (more) effective pain medication.
It still has its issues with functionality, and it pisses me off to no end how people get all alarmist anytime I mention my love for my opiate prescription. When it’s that or fighting the immediate urge to gouge out my uterus with a grapefruit spoon, the narcotics are fucking better for my health.
It makes the list both for helping me manage PTSD and physical pain, as well as a path to more general physical fitness. Super bonus points since it lets me multi-task, which means I’m more likely to: a) it it into my schedule; b) appropriately modify for various physical and mental health goals and needs. Which means it is something I can stick with.
5. I turned off the TV and put down the ladymags.
In both, there’s a very narrow range of body types presented — not just as beautiful but even as realistic. In other words, I found that generally doesn’t bother me too much to have someone thinner and prettier than I am to portray some standard of exceptional beauty. It does, however, bother me to see nearly every positively portrayed model or actress — including those labeled as full-figured, plus-size, or curvy — as thinner and prettier (more airbrushed) than I am. And it does bother me to see the vast majority of people who look like me either construed as deliberately stupid, ugly, lazy, or entirely headless. To view such small snippets of truth in isolation, out of context, is tantamount to lies — and it’s not healthy for me to believe lies.
6. I started running with my partner.
In addition to the health benefits of running alone, running with my partner is a chance for companionship and bonding — as well as giving us both the health benefits of running. Plus, it means I have an excuse to purchase awesome ridiculous shoes.
7. I let myself be a “badder” teacher.
Basically, it boils down to this: I take time for me. Planning exciting, creative lessons is wonderful but also time consuming. Volunteering for extracurricular activities is super. And I still do all of those, but I now do so in this context: At the end of the day, it is not lessons plans or gradings or extra obligations that teach my students. I teach my students — and I’m far more effective when I’m sufficiently healthy and refreshed to give them my best.