Welcome my Moonlings to a positive post in which I make you feel better, while also humbly (nose snort) boasting about my accomplishments.
This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while (says every blogger ever). Since January I’ve been writing down 3 things a day that I’m grateful for. Whether that’s having a beer or a lie in. Being grateful for the little moments helped me realise that actually, they are big moments.
My mindset is now that I have the privilege of having a lie-in, the money to afford a beer and the means to be in a PhD programme. I don’t want to take my life for granted and living in the moment is all we have.
It would appear that this mindset has paid off because I realised that even though I’ve accomplished many things off my bucket list, I never truly celebrated them. As usual my ambition and inferiority complex meant I just needed to move onto the next big thing.
We spend so much of our time looking to the future, the next big life stage, but we rarely take the time to appreciate how far we’ve come. So today I want to discuss some of the bigger ones I’ve ticked off my list and actually pat myself on the back for once!
1. Got my masters.
Although I had to do it over two years instead of one, I still managed to get a masters in anthropology and development. This was while working in shift work, full-time, in order to pay for it.
I even won an award for my research and 250euro (see below). I was the only masters student in the PhD Colloquium in which I came second. I got a first(1.1) in my thesis that I wrote in the summer while working full-time in a call centre. That job drained me so much, I often got home at 6 and had to go to bed at 8pm because I was so mentally exhausted.
2. Got a funded PhD
It was September 2014 and I had just started the second year of my classes for my masters in anthropology and development. A PhD student came to sit in the class (it was a small class so you couldn’t miss her). She spoke so eloquently and confidently. Afterwards, we got to chatting and internally I was thinking, “I will never be this accomplished for someone to take me on for a PhD.”
Cut to 2016 I get a mysterious phone call from a man who became my mentor, friend and role model. “I see you started to fill out an application and you haven’t finished it…” (story of my life) “…I’m really impressed with your portfolio and I would like to offer you a PhD scholarship within the Business Management school.”
I am now three years in with one left to go. I have two publications, I presented at a conference in St. Petersburg, and I’m about to embark on my data collection.
3. Got response from publishers.
This may seem silly but I got actual responses from legitimate publishers who liked my 20,000 word draft of my novel. I didn’t want to waste my time finishing it if it wouldn’t have a home at the end. Though it was rejected by some publishers, they responded to it kindly and professionally.
Even though I had to postpone it until after my PhD, I know within my heart that my book will be published someday. If I could tell teenage Jaycee that, she would cry with joy.
See below my vision board I made below Christmas 2018 for the new year and beyond. I’m well on my way to accomplishing what I wanted.
4. Met someone who loves me for ME.
Look at this handsome divil. Honestly, I had tumultuously loves before Le’Boo and that’s what I thought a relationship was. Then I met him and I realised that love can be easy, and you can be loved for every single weird part of you.
5. Started a Youtube channel.
Yes, I have a YouTube channel have you heard? I’ve been watching YouTubers for years now, and I always wanted my own channel but never have the guts.
Cut to last year I was sick of being afraid and I started uploading. I only have 94 subscribers over there, but it’s growing strong. If you want to do something. Do it. There is no better time than now.
It’s better to start late than never even trying.
6. Grew my twitter following to 4500.
The Writing Community on twitter is the best thing I discovered on the internet since memes. Everyone is so supportive. We follow each other, share each other’s accomplishments and commiserate each other’s failures.
If you’re on Twitter and you want to join use the hashtag WritingCommunity and join in the conversation. Follow me over there and once you have writer / author in your bio I’ll follow you back.
What makes a successful blog? It’s simple. Whether you have 1 follower, or you’re lucky like me to have over 600 wonderful followers, write to them. Someone will comment to say they enjoyed reading or felt the same at one stage. I’ve gotten some gorgeous comments here on my blog and made some crazy friends.
8. Finally calling myself a writer.
Yes even though I’ve been writing since I was a small child, I never considered myself a writer. Then I realised. Do you write Jaycee? The answer was yes, I write every day. What is the definition of a writer?
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of the review I would like to thank Steven Colborne from Perfect Chaos for the opportunity to review his book. Though he and I have different perspectives on the nature of God, our philosophical interests are parallel. My background is in anthropology whose parent discipline is philosophy. Therefore I am no stranger to God and his prevalence throughout human culture.
I need to state firmly my own views on the matter. I believe the God that Colborne knows, is one that billions of humans have known, albeit by different names and experience. However, I do not believe God to be a singular being. This is where Colborne and I diverge.
Do not fret however, this will not affect either my ability to see from his perspective or the anthesis.
*I will refer to God through Male pronouns throughout as so intended in Colborne’s book*
For work such as this, there is no need for worries of spoilers, as rather it is less a narrative and more philosophical. However, I implore you to read the work in-depth as my musings on the subject may be contrary to the views of others. Even that of Colborne himself. However, as he says in his work, this is how God wanted it. Some knowing of his existence, and those of us waiting in the wing for divine interaction.
So Colborne introduces himself first and his story was not an easy one to read. In his contemporary life, he has discovered a type of stasis, however, with illnesses inherent to him, he proclaims this may be taken away at any time. Such is the will of God.
It is also important to me that you do not mistake Steven for a man of blind faith, who have never known anything else. From reading his blog alone you would know this, and in his introduction, he explains his deep interest with all things spiritual since his teens.
In Part 1 we are introduced to the nature of God. Which can be summoned up by His omnipresence. He states his case quite clearly through the lens of scientific endeavours:
“Even scientists, who are very successful in describing how things happen, generally agree that they cannot say why things happen.”
The argument here for Colborne is linked with the philosophical paradigm of determinism. God is all there is, we are a part of God, however, he exists outside of us. Therefore he is all-powerful and knows how our lives will play out.
In Part 2 we are guided through the human experience, in which Colborne is certain is curated by God. Why he is certain of this is simple. We are used to experiencing things in a certain way, through a certain set of laws.
When something outside of these perceptions happened, rather than chalking them down to anomalies or mistakes, Colborne assures the reader that this is through the desire of God. It is because God is a higher being, that we cannot experience everything he does. In certain cases, he allows us a small window into his nature. Colborne asks that rather than dismiss these anomalous experiences we should accept them as God’s outer life.
Scientist have grappled for centuries with the concept of ‘thought’. Where does ‘thought’ come from? How does it arise? Now with modern science researchers have pinpointed the moment the brain sends the signals to, for example, move an arm. They have not, however, pinpointed the decision or the why.
Colborne makes it quite simple, this is God’s will. He is managing our every movement.
“If we consider the nature of God, particularly His attribute of omnipresence, it makes sense that He is controlling our conscious experiences because His being permeates every atom in existence and every cell of our bodies.”
For someone who has studied anthropology and humankind so closely, I cannot help but agree with Colborne to an extent. Although humans have spread ourselves across the planet, we have things that are so unique to us as a species that it appears wherever we are. The concept of God is universal and in favour of Colborne’s argument, this may be God’s own way of showing himself to us.
In our modern world, the war between science and religion has gotten us nowhere. I have often been an advocate for the inter-disciplinary cooperation of scientists and theologians. For many centuries now, scientists have been doing the work philosophers in ancient Greece once had the pleasure of.
Now more than ever we need to listen to, and read about experiences had by human beings such as Steven Colborne. In my opinion, his belief in God is not a dirty secret or an unfortunate quirk. There are many people I love who both believe in God and many who do not. With all the varieties in between.
There is no denying that Colborne has done his homework, and he entertains the philosophies of those who would be considered his opposite. In Part 4 he discusses the American Philosopher Sam Harris, who is a prominent figure surrounding materialism and free will. Harris believes that all we are is physical, and this matter is calling the shots. Whereas of course, Colborne argues this is nonsensical. How can inanimate matter create the diverse realms of thought that humans enjoy?
“How something that is purely material could create awareness of the kind that human beings experience is an area of ceaseless confusion for neuroscientists.”
There is also the espousal of the major world religions, (not discounting the thousands of others he would not have had time to mention). Colborne is not dismissing your version of God. His simple truth is this. God is omnipresent and God is our creator (at birth and each and every moment of our lives).
Colborne wants what I think is lacking in the Christian faiths (among others) of the day. A modern church were a scientific debate is not only welcomed but part of the general practice of religion. A church of God which has thrown off the shackles of the cruelness of human doctrines, and allow only love to flow. An inter-faith dialogue, a safe place for everyone, in which to look at God from all unique perspectives and experiences of the human condition.
There is room for everyone in the debate so I would ask for the comments to be respectful, and I implore you to read this book. There is more benefit here than you realise.
Conclusions & Further readings
For my own piece of mind I would like to point out that while Colborne believes that God creates all human art, I feel that our crazy, beautiful, individual minds produce these things. Also my disposition is to always push back against determinism, however, God may have made me that way.
For those of you who are intensely religious, I mean neither disrespect or dismissal. If there is kindness in your intent, there is room for you in this debate. In reading Colborne’s book I experienced nothing but due considerations for all faiths.
Finally, I deeply respect Steven Colborne, for all he’s achieved even through pain and adversity. Although we don’t always agree, I cannot dispute that his arguments are not only well thought out, but well researched.
As I mentioned in the preamble my anthropology background implores me to mention Sir James Fraser’s, “The Golden Bough.”
Recently I received the new Audible original series by Scarlet Curtis called “To The Woman,” in which women read open letters to other women. One of the letters was heartbreaking, spoken to her mother who had recently passed away. I was driving home from work at the time and I sobbed openly in traffic while people stared. I’m newly moved out of my family home to live with my partner and this letter hit me where none other could have.
So this is an open letter to the woman who raised me, the mother that everyone should have, and my humble tribute to her today, on her 55th birthday. Mama, I love you more than these words could ever convey, and it’s you that made me this way. So if you are feeling down about your age today, just know no matter where I stray, I’m your little girl from May.
Most people find their first big love when they are older, and that’s their partner. How lucky was I that from the day I was born, I already had one of my big loves. As I grew you loved me, and I loved you too. How fortunate for us to have one another. I don’t have to worry about sounding conceited because I know how much you adore me, it’s a fracture of my adoration of and for you.
Although you didn’t have it easy, money was never ample, the times were tough and the climate was tougher. In a world where being a mother and a wife was not celebrated as it is now, you were expected to bear children and be happy about it. Not only did you do this with grace and love, never for one moment making us feel like we weren’t your priority, but you instilled in me my own worth.
The women I am today is a fragment of the woman you’ve been all your life. Your resilience, beauty, and elegance astound me. Your laughter and humour have filled me up when I was emptier then wine bottles after we’ve been at them.
I’m telling you this because when I heard that woman, crying for her mummy, I cried for mine. I wanted to squeeze you and tell you how wonderful you are, how beautiful you are, and how perfect you are in all your imperfections.
Here I am Mama, begging for you to recognise your worth because in my eyes you’re everything, you’re all I’ve ever wanted to be. Fierce little woman. Forgive me for any time I’ve hurt you, you broke your body for me, and I unaware tore you asunder. You let me go my own way, but I’ll always find my way back to you.
My first big love, my Mama. Thank you, and happy birthday.
“I love you.”
“I know.”* I hear you whisper.*
*This is from The Empire Strikes Back, in case any of you troglodytes didn’t know.
Hello Moonlings, I’ve been thinking (what Thinking Moon has been thinking? What a novel concept) about the goals we set ourselves and whether or not they are achievable. We often set ourselves arbitrary goals of losing weight, exercising more, saving money and so forth. Yet we rarely remember to set up the necessary infrastructure needed in order to fulfill this.
For me, I achieved the main goal I set out for myself at the beginning of 2018. I blogged for 1 year straight. January to January. I didn’t achieve it simply because I enjoy writing or that I had a lot to say. I achieved it because I made a plan for myself.
At the outset, I blogged once a week on a Friday with planned blogs until the end of the year. Eventually, I gathered a small audience. When I finally seen people were reading I felt they deserved more so I started my ‘Fun Tuesdays‘ category in September of last year.
This taught me that I had the ability to be consistent once I planned to be. I hope that makes sense. Now at the beginning of 2019, I was able to give myself even more goals because I planned them into my daily life. I’m learning Portuguese, meditation, and every day something new to improve my blog.
I’ve also made myself a vision board which I’ve already mentioned. Not only is this a really fun activity, but it’s also great for focusing your mind on your goals. I used canvas, watercolours, and glued pictures to it when it dried.
Around this time until the end of January, we all start giving up on our goals and dreams. It’s too cold(shout out to Irish weather), you miss the comfort of the couch rather than having a walk, and getting up earlier isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Really though the issue is allowing time for our changes and giving ourselves at least 3 weeks of consistency to allow old habits to die allowing new habits to form.
Anyways if you’re still not convinced or unsure and looking for help here is a video by a YouTuber I’m very fond of called Madeliene Olivia. She is a lifestyle blogger who is a minimalist and a vegan. If you are looking for help with your goals she has really practical advice about how to organise them.
I wish you peace, happiness and success Moonlings.
Music is so wonderful. There are albums that I’m obsessed with and I’ve been listening to for over 10+ years. However, I indulge in new music every now and again. For fellow music lovers, I’ve ranked my top 10 albums of 2018.
Before we begin, let me know about your favourite albums/bops from this year in the comments. Also is there any new music coming in 2019 that you’re so excited for? I want to know, please!
10. Biosphere – “The Hilvarenbeek Recordings.”
One of my most beloved ambient electronica albums is by ‘Biosphere’. He is a Norwegian artist called Geir Jenssen. He creates incredulously atmospheric, chilling albums through sampling and loops. His album ‘Substrata‘ will always be my favourite of his, but he really delivered with his 2018 album, “The Hilvarenbeek Recordings.” It quickly became an anthem for my writing and studying this year.
If you’re looking for music to work to, I recommend any of his stuff. Other great albums include “Departed Glories,” “Patashnik,” “Substrata,” and, “Man With A Movie Camera.”
9. Scotty Sire – “Ruin Your Party.”
Viner turned YouTuber turned musician Scotty Sire surprised me this year. While there have been many attempts by YouTubers to transition to music I think Sire really pulled it off. Genuinely I was a fan of his self-deprecating humour, as the sad man in David Dobrik’s vlogs. Somehow he translated this very well to music.
Not only can he sing and rap, but he also’s a pretty decent songwriter. The best parts of his personality shine through. This is not novelty music, it harkens of real modern pop. Notable tracks that really caught my attention were:
“American Love.” – Elijah Blake & Myles Parrish.
“Take Me Away.”
“Get Better.” – The Weekend Riot.
8. Louis Cole – “Time.”
While Louis Cole is better known for his work with ‘Knower’, (and silly music videos), you can’t deny his solo musical chops. This recommendation from Le’Boo quickly became one of my favourite albums to listen to while reading or chilling out.
His groovy style and high voice is soothing in an unexpected way.
If you’re into music videos you should check out some of Cole’s they’re pretty strange, albeit attractive. Like a train wreck, you can’t look away. Notable tracks:
“When You’re Ugly.” With – Genevieve Artadi
7. Vulpeck – “Hill Climber.”
Look if you haven’t heard of Vulpeck yet… haha you thought I was going to go full hipster, didn’t you? Acting.
No seriously though yet another recommendation from my musician “I went to jazz school,” Le’Boo. I couldn’t pretend to dislike them if I tried. Their inexplicable rhythms, lyrics, and grooves actually vibrate into your organs. The resulting dancing is a side effect of their brilliance.
I’ve seen them in Dublin twice and both times came out exhausted yet elated from singing and dancing. Stand out tracks you ask? All of them. If I had to choose a couple I suppose:
“Half of the way”
“It Gets Funkier.” With – (That’s right) Louis Cole.
Also if you are a Christmas music fan, they have one of the best Christmas songs out there.
6. Fall Out Boy – “Mania.”
I’m a huge Fall Out Boy stan (that’s what the kids are saying right?). Ever since I picked up a copy of “From Under The Cork Tree,” in 2005 I’ve followed their evolution as better pop punk than Blink 182, superior lyrics to Greenday and musical chops The Ramones might raise their eyebrows at.
This is just another fantastic album, like their last and the one before that. It spawned 5 singles and all those songs were great. They appeal to my inner ansty teenager that still refuses to give up hope of becoming a rock star.
“I lived so much life I think God’s gonna have to kill me twice.”
5. Christina Aguilera – “Liberation.”
There was Britney Spears, and there was Christina Aguilera. People took sides, it was a whole big thing. In fact, some people like to compare it to the Blur / Oasis fiasco of the 1990s. It wasn’t like that. One of them had a message, the other just wanted to be a pop star.
Aguilera comes back swinging with singles like “Fall In Line” featuring Demi Lovato, soothing tunes such as “Twice,” and mooning love songs like “Unless It’s With You.”
This was a great album, arguably better than Ariana Grande’s “Sweetner” (yes I did listen to it for fairness) even though the latter did better commercially. If you want to hear some fresh Aguilera give this album a chance.
4. MGMT – “Little Dark Age.”
In 2007 I listened to “Oracular Spectacular” over and over again. I then promptly forgot all about MGMT until their album “Little Dark Age” appeared on the lists of 2018’s best albums. Right between “EVERYTHING IS LOVE”by The Carters, and “Scorpion,” by Drake I almost missed it. Thinking to myself what harm could it do, and how charming the cover was I gave it a spin.
(Well no I didn’t I don’t have a record player sadly, I just went to Spotify).
The album blew me away. The soothing tones of the ’80s incorporated with the unique vocals both harkened back to their 2007 album, yet detached from it too. A difficult task to say the least. I danced around the kitchen to “One Thing Left To Try,” like a maniac.
“Me and Michael.”
“One thing Left To Try.”
3. The Crystal Method – “The Trip Home.”
Whatever happens, do not drive while listening to this album. It will cause speeding and possible death. Electronic music is one of my fever highs and The Crystal Method have been sweet sweet providers of that for a long time.
I can’t pick out standouts. This album has a coherence that demands you listen, and you will have no choice. They have a way of grabbing you by the proverbial cojones and bringing you along on their crazy ride with them.
When the album is over, you’ll feel a mixture of fatigue, euphoria, and a little hungover.
2. A Perfect Circle – “Eat The Elephant.”
This was a gift this year I’d been waiting for since “Emotive” in 2004. Yes, that long of a hiatus. Then they came back with this gem. There was divisiveness with this album among fans, yet I loved every drop of it.
The musical side of the album has a distinctive eerieness to it (like the original Doom 3D game) coupled with precision production. It very nearly took my number one spot.
While the whole album was, in my opinion, one great song after another, “Get The Lead Out,” will be one of my favourite’s for the rest of time. I implore you to listen to that song, if not the whole album.
1. Janelle Monáe – “Dirty Computer.”
I mentioned this album earlier this year in a post about female musicians I adore which you can read here. Regarding our girl Monáe I said the following:
I stand by what I said, except listen to “American” because that song really draws the album to an almighty crashing close.
I went to Iceland in 2016 with my parents and Le Boo. While driving around we listened to Björk a lot. Her voice and music style makes more sense to me now I’ve seen the landscape of her homeland. It’s incredibly beautiful, but also quite alien. I can only imagine living there before the industrial revolution.
It’s desolate and lonely fields of lava coupled with intense coastlines feels genuinely out of this world. It was the trip of a lifetime. We went to the Blue Lagoon, and I’d paid my ticket in advance to swim in it.
That never happened. While my parents and Le Boo were swimming in the Blue Lagoon’s naturally heated water, I was in the bathroom of the facility. Crying as quietly as I could in a stall, while my body panicked so fiercely it felt as though I was going to die. For days afterward I was exhausted, and couldn’t enjoy the holiday as well.
When I got back to Ireland, instead of being able to sleep the night before I returned to work, I tossed and turned. My stomach was sick, and I vomited at one stage. When Le Boo was getting ready for work in the morning he was surprised when I didn’t get up. I informed him as soon as my GP’s office was open at 8am I was going to make an appointment with her.
He was extremely supportive by the way and still is to this day.
I sobbed in my primary care physician consulting room, which was a new experience for me. I told her how I was feeling, and how there had to be something wrong. She suggested I quit one of my jobs (which I never had to do before, I have like 3 jobs now) and try some anti-depressants.
I then found a counselor recommended by a friend. She kindly informed me I had a mental breakdown after many years of suppressing pain and illness.
It’s been two years since that breakdown.
Let me make something very clear. At the time of the breakdown I was with Le Boo, and that is an extremely loving relationship. My parents, brother, and friends are all phenomenal people. I had managed to get a scholarship for my Ph.D. which was what I had always wanted, and my career was finally moving in the direction I wanted.
You think you get what you want and your mental illness will just dissolve. There isn’t a chance of that. What might happen is finally recognise if your internal monologue is healthy. If your relationship with yourself is kind. The road to discovery this may be tough but I found journaling helped. I included a colour chart I use at the beginning of this post. It has been indispensable to understanding and processing my emotions.
What I discuss on this blog is not revolutionary. It’s not ground-breaking in itself. Except for those suffering from cycles of anxiety followed by depression. When someone with other chronic illnesses discusses their symptoms, tt makes you realise you are not alone in your disease. Although it wants you to feel as though you are.
The community of people I’ve surrounded myself with on this site has been eye-opening. Those suffering from an array of mental illnesses from bi-polar to PTSD to social anxiety, and many more. They describe moments of pain, and they share their load. Hopefully making it a bit lighter.
Share your pain, listen to your emotions, and finally be kind to yourself first. Otherwise, you won’t have anything left to give to others.
Wicca. Noun. “A religion influenced by pre-Christian beliefs and practices of western Europe that affirms the existence of supernatural power (such as magic) and of both male and female deities who inhere in nature and that emphasizes ritual observance of seasonal and life cycles.”[i]
Although I don’t follow an organised religion, I’ve always felt there was a spiritual gap in my life. I envy my friend’s meditative connection to a higher power when they pray. When I’m struggling with my mental illnesses, I know the ability to focus my mind would give me peace. Yet meditation is not an easy skill to learn as I’ve struggled with it for many years. However, those practising Wicca take this training as the due course in their craft.
“Be aware…that disciplines are ineffective unless a routine is established because the unconscious is attuned to patterns and will respond easily once the pattern of a conscious routine is rhythmic.”[ii]
In my local Vincent De Paul, I came across a book on Witchcraft, and absentmindedly bought it as research for one of my projects. In reading it a revelationary paradigm was cracked. Not only due to its descriptive worth, but it’s connections to female power struggles throughout history. While the modern Wicca has both male and female practitioners, it’s roots are in paganism and witchcraft. Both known for their charged feminine figures.
As a feminist I hunger to understand the lore of the feminine, and that which is interwoven into my body. It was comforting to discover that our pagan ancestors used their awareness of the heavens to not only influences the outer world but their inner worlds. To them inner peace begat outer peace.
“Discovering the sublime silence at the center of your being and activating that center.”[iii]
Of course, as Halloween approaches, (my favourite time of the year), that which is chilling surfaces. Yet it is my duty to remind you that although dark magic exists and was practised as a religion throughout the ages, those that called themselves witches were persecuted out of fear. Not as a result of any true evil. Women were murdered for their independence, for displaying fortitude, and simply for their feminine energies.
Wicca was born in the 20th century out of the ashes of witchcraft and paganism. It can be practised alone or as the member of a coven. It’s the way of the Goddess, to live beyond the ego, to firmly grasp your senses, so you are their ruler. “Awareness is the ability to literally read the feelings in the air…awareness means control of one’s undertakings.”[iv] Wicca is not about changing the outside world to your every whim. It’s changing how you process your inner world so your journey in life may be more mindful, enjoyable, and rich.
There is something about music that stirs me primally. It disturbs me how it can cascade through my mind. Only when I listen to music, do I tap into parts of myself which are reserved for the divine. This is uncontrollable. I compare it to drinking a glass of good whiskey.
Normally I go look for the science of it all, try and understand parts of my brain that causes this. Not today.
Today I admit music’s true power. It’s human magic and cannot be explained purely by science. Our language doesn’t have a chance against this allurement and the feelings conjured.
Although I know I am someone who feels deeply, and could simply be overly sensitive to most human experiences, I cannot deny the truth in it. Music is a balm.
Like a drug, it’s effect is heady. A simple lyric, drum beat, or refrain can cause my heart to beat faster, my head to feel light, and my hands to tingle.
We are listening to other’s love, sorrow, pain, anger. Our bodies are trained to hear this for better or for worse.
It is a chasm I grateful leap into at every possible chance, my sweet prince.
Remember, I don’t even need to name individual songs/albums/artists, because you’re already thinking of the one.
Inspired by: My Sweet Prince – Placebo (1998 – Without You I’m Nothing)
I’m going to make everything really awkward for a bit so buckle up. Last week I was very ill. It was spent alternating between crying and feelings of numbness. Immediately after that week, I had 24 hours of pain in my abdomen. Thinking I was constipated or something (despite the large amount of fibre in my diet) I proceeded to eat plenty of beans and bowel friendly food.
I wake up on Tuesday morning and boom. Period in my pants. Less than 25 days since the beginning of my last one. So, in order to make myself feel better, I apply makeup and do my hair. Less than a year ago. This would not have been the case.
By the way, this blog post was not planned. I actually have my blog posts planned until pretty much 2019. (I haven’t necessarily written them, but there you go). Also if you don’t feel like reading all this today, I have a link to my Youtube video below explaining everything.
I want to talk about: Premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Now although I have not been diagnosed with this, it would appear that I have many of the symptoms, especially in regards to depression.
I’ve been keeping a journal just monitoring my general well-being and moods. It appears that the week before my period, my depression is heightened. I’ve always had some form of depression and was only recently diagnosed in 2016 / 2017. I will be bringing this evidence to a gynecologist as soon as I can.
When you think you’re doing everything right by eating well, maintaining healthy relationships, working in a job you love, you feel like depressive episodes shouldn’t be too frequent. For me though it’s always bubbling under the surface. The symptoms are as real as any other disease and there is no definitive cure. So if my period is making it worse, well then I’m going to try everything in my power to, A) find ways to alleviate the pain, and B) build a better internal dialogue with myself.
Women are often ridiculed, “Oh don’t get so offended, you must just have your period.” Which, besides deserving zero response, is not fair. If our internal workings are really affecting some of us so deeply, shouldn’t we at least be allowed talk about it like adults?
It’s been 15 years since the beginning of my period and the realisation of its effect on my life has only recently clicked. When I said earlier that less than a year ago, I wouldn’t have bothered with makeup and hair to make myself feel better, I’m being honest. The general feeling during my period was self-blame. You shouldn’t feel sad, just get on with things, stop being such a baby.
This is not ok. Remember, if you are suffering from depression, regardless of how it is caused or exacerbated, repeat this to yourself. “It’s not my fault.” That’s like saying your auto-immune disease is your fault or the symptoms from the flu is your fault. It’s crazy and it’s pointless.
If anything I’m going to continue to make people uncomfortable and talk period talk. Especially if I spend up to a week beforehand alternating between crying uncontrollably and feeling completely numb.
The mad part? A lot of friends and family will read this, who were with me last week, and they will be super confused because I didn’t let any of this out in front of them. Which is just exhausting, let me tell you. I’m always exhausted.
“It does appear to be mocking you with its eyeballs.” – Willow
“Its nose hole is sad and full of self-loathing.” – Oz
Screenshot of the Episode:
There’s a party at the frat house, and they’ve painted some creepy symbol on the floor. How have they not realised by now? Do not draw symbols, from ancient texts books, on your floor, when you live on the Hellmouth. The gang gets stuck in the party house as it manifests their fears. To make matters worse some in-fighting causes fractures. Meanwhile Xander’s invisible. Halloween is never quiet for the Scoobies.
“Creatures of the night shy away from Halloween, they find it much too crass.” – Giles. Famous last words…
I would just like to mention this is the fourth episode I have randomly selected. The kicker? I selected Season 4, Episode 4. “Number 4 is the number of stability, order, and completion of justice.”[i]
This season threw Buffy for a loop. Her roommate turned out to be a soul-sucking demon (literally not figuratively), a vampire called Sunday breaks her ‘class-protector’ award, she gets yelled at by professor, and she sleeps with a guy who never calls her back. By the time we get to this episode Buffy’s mood is downright morose.
“I was just thinking about the life of a pumpkin. Grow up in the sun, happily entwined with others. Then someone comes along, cuts you open, and rips your guts out.” – Buffy
Now while I’m sure this declaration has a lot to do with Parker Abrams, there is some subtext here. College can be an exceptionally tough transition, and while Willow is flourishing in the academic life, Buffy is barely treading water. Her metaphorical ‘guts’ can be equated with her identify. When you are in high school, you have certain ideas about who you are and the structure of reality.
Upon venturing out into the world, many of us need to completely overhaul our aspirations and vision of self. Of course, this is not a pleasant experience for all. This season we see an unemployed Giles, Xander still living with his parents in the basement, Anya wanting to be around Xander while barely putting up with the rest of the group, and Buffy struggling to understand her place in the world. It’s no surprise she can’t deal:
“Taking a holiday from dealing. Happily vacationing in the land of not coping.” – Buffy
Even Giles is acting very un-Giles-like. She finds him dressed in a sombrero and poncho, embracing Halloween. His proclamation of, “it’s alive,” when he shows her his Frankenstein Monster decoration throws her off completely. While this may be one of my favourite scenes, (I love when Giles gets to show his playful side), it stuns Buffy who is searching for the stability Giles has always offered her.
Her mother tries to quell her fears, saying she will always be there for her. (This is heart-wrenching knowing that Joyce dies in the following season). Still, Buffy’s abandonment issues reign throughout this episode and the series. While at the conclusion of the episode we see some bravery from Buffy regarding her issues with Parker, there are still dangers lurking in the outside world which she will have to face sooner or later.
For Xander, not much has changed. He is blindly ambling through life, and his relationship with Anya, I feel, blossoms out of loneliness. Xander feels like he’s being left out. Everyone else is at college and he’s in his parent’s basement. These feelings leave him with a propensity to accept that which is in front of him.
Xander: “Well that’s the funny thing about me, I tend to hear the actual words people say and accept them at face value.”
Anya: “That’s stupid.”
Xander: “I can accept that.”
Willow has decided to reinvent herself, away from her strict parents. She has a boyfriend, the dark arts, and a place of learning where she excels. She embraces the college experience.
“Then again what is college for if not experimenting?” – Willow
This newfound self-allows her to question Buffy’s ‘authority.’ She argues that Buffy is not automatically the boss because she is the Slayer. In fact, this argument will rear its ugly head throughout the show, notably in Season 7 when Buffy is kicked out of her own house in place of Faith. Willow has begun experimenting with magic in a big way. This allows her to tap into power she’s never felt before. She feels embolden to challenge Buffy’s authority as ipso facto leader of the group.
“I’m not your sidekick!” – Willow.
While she believes she is displaying strength, it’s really just a manifestation of her perpetual jealousy for Buffy. Even though she may have internal misgivings about this jealousy. It must be said that long before Willow discovered her power, she was jealous of the attention Xander gave to Buffy. Willow was too shy to protest, and she wanted Buffy’s friendship more than anything. According to Field (2013), Willow’s anger is mixed with her fear that she will always be irrelevant, no matter how much she perceives herself to change.
Although she may challenges Buffy’s right to authority, she will never quite break through it. This is explained by Kawal (2003) essay when an interesting point about Buffy’s heroism is made:
“…Buffy’s heroic and saintly actions aren’t one-time events. It’s not as if she just went and saved a kitten from a tree one day and appeared as a hero in the local paper. Instead, her entire life is devoted to protecting others-she risks her life and sacrifices her own interests night after night, year after year.”[ii]
This is what makes’ Buffy’s right to be the ‘Boss’ apparent to others, but strangely not to Willow. Even with all Willow’s intelligence and support of Buffy, she seems to forget about Buffy’s sacrifices. Instead, her reaction to lean into childish jealousies makes her seem petty. I guess we’re all human.
Another dimension to Willow’s objections may be viewed as not singularly egotistical, but emulating Buffy’s version of right and wrong. In Shroud’s (2003) essay Buffy’s actions are equated with the Kantian morality:
“The Kantian vision of morality is a system of individual agents pursuing their goals, the ideal version of this plan also involves individual agents continuously struggling to order their lives and their actions through maxims based not on inclination, but instead on the moral law.”[iii]
It stands to reason that because Buffy is the leader. Therefore, Willow is attempting to universalize Buffy’s sense of morality. However, this is not possible for ‘lay people’ such as Willow or Xander, as according to Shroud:
“…if Buffy retreats from the role of the slayer, the results will be disastrous for the community – innocent lives will perish…”
Buffy has obligations which Willow does not. Buffy struggles to relate to her friends, but she’ll never be truly like them. Her friends reach-out, in an attempt to meet her in the middle, but a middle-ground can never be reached. This decent within the group is often seen among the females, who tend to have the most power. Anya: vengeance Demon, Willow: powerful witch, Faith: Fellow Slayer. Standing passively during this argument is Xander and Oz.
So when Buffy suggests she separate from the group by sending the Scoobies home (which she has done frequently in the past), Willow more than objects:
Willow: “It’s not your decision.”
Buffy: “Gotta disagree with you there.”
Willow: “Oh of course you do!”
This is course is all happening while Xander is invisible. He does not know this yet, so his words of reason and resilience fall on deaf ears. Willow becomes snappy almost to the point of bitterness:
“Being the Slayer doesn’t automatically make you boss, you’re as lost as the rest of us.” – Willow
This foreshadows Willow’s eventual demise into evil. We have seen Buffy loses Angel, but she did not rage towards evil. Whereas Willow will blame Tara’s death for the inexcusable. Willow’s outward sweet demur hides a dark disquiet within which she does not address. In fact, she blatantly ignores the dangers:
“I can handle the dark forces as well as anyone else. It’s not that hard.” – Willow
Oz, on the other hand, is well on the way to addressing his literal inner demons. We see him cowering the bathtub quaking, repeating, “you’re not gonna change,” over and over.
Earlier in the episode we see he’s already having trouble understanding his wolf-like nature:
“I know what it’s like having access to power you can’t control. When I start to wolf out, I touch something, deep, dark. It’s not fun.” – Oz
Finally, I’d like to reflect on this interesting perspective from Daspit (2003) on the Buffyverse. He equates the shifting of a person’s internal knowledge within the lives of the characters during this season; as a reflection on how the world shifted into ‘postmodernity’ in the late 20th and early 21st century. He describes Buffy’s experience as follows:
“As Buffy struggles to make sense of life after high school, viewers are invited to witness the transitional dissonance of shifting views of knowledge and education and to see themselves on the developing terrain of postmodernity.”[iv]
However, ‘this end of history’[v] and a ‘complete cosmology’ was experienced in the late 20th and early 21st century. Where the postmodern age allowed for the confrontation of the status quo. “In other words, postmodernity challenges many taken-for-granted assumptions of the classical Western mindset.”[vi] However, it’s seems as though the pendulum has swung back to the premodern thought. Especially in the case of the United States of America. It’s frightening to consider the Trump-Presidency-Era as a throwback to the premodern idea of a fully-formed ‘cosmology.’ Where America was ‘great,’ and certain modern developments are inherently wrong/evil.
Look, in my opinion, fear is important, but it’s how we deal with fear, that’s what really separates the conservatives from the liberals. (Don’t get too excited, that’s a joke. Mostly). We should make friends with our fears, it will help us be more self-reflective. Otherwise, we might end up invisible, being chased by green entities, as a werewolf, alone underground. Ok? Buffy isn’t afraid of being alone, she’s afraid that her fighting won’t get her anywhere.
But do you want to know the truth?
(You’re going to get it anyway.)
She does get somewhere, and we all will too. Fight the good fight, because you don’t want to get to the end, and realise you don’t have any battle scars to speak of.