Sunday, August 27, 2006

My Constitution of Self-Awareness-8.27.06

In the name of myself, Alisha ????????, I hereby lay forth my new constitution. Out of fear of never committing to a centered, healthy well-being, I am declaring some ground rules. It is expected that each day, I adhere to these rules. Failure to commit can result in the continuance of a damaged self.

1. Each morning I awake, I shall practice yoga. Learning how center my mind, body, and spirit shall lead to a healthier lifestyle. As a beginner, it is okay to explore various techniques and videos. I commit to seeking out more information on the practice of yoga.

2. Following yoga, I shall take time to sit and eat breakfast. A healthy mind cannot work without a healthy body (and vice versa).

3. In order to feel confident in my everyday activities/work, I commit to showering and wearing comfortable clothes. I hereby swear not to wear sweats everday as doing so has historically coincided with my depression.

4. During my everday work/activities, I commit to having an open-mind, open-heart, and open eyes; being aware of my surroundings and never taking anything too personally. In addition, I commit to remaining aware of my thoughts and feelings throughout the day. In doing so, I will continue to learn more about who I am and what I love.

5. I commit to eating both lunch and dinner and having a snack when needed. In addition, I will portion my meals according to what every human needs, including carbs, meat (or something equivalent), dairy, fruit, and vegetables. Furthermore, I will eat healthy snacks in between meals; doing so will keep me from binge eating during meals. In fear of being too strict with eating habits, I shall allow myself to enjoy treats when having a healthy craving. This involves paying attention to myself, enabling myself to distinguish between a normal craving for sweets and an unhealthy craving for a bunch of shit food :)

6. I commit to working out at least 4 times a week (preferably 5). If unable to do so (due to unavoidable injuries), I commit to walking or hiking around campus for at least a 1/2 hour each day.

7. Each day, I shall finish my assigned homework without freaking out about the abundance of reading. Breath.

8. I shall go to bed at a reasonable hour, sleeping for 8 hours each night. Exceptions can be made when large projects are due (which is bound to happen).

9. I commit to taking this constitution seriously but not too seriously. This requires paying attention to myself, taking note of what I need in order to maintain a healthy, centered lifestyle.

10. Finally, I commit to exploring further various activities that I may consider a form of playtime. As of this moment, I am exploring my artistic abilities. I commit to improving those abilities and using art as a form of expressing or purging my feelings. Crochet is a new possibility. Reading books outside of my required coursework (preferably books that can be read for self-help books or textbooks) shall also be considered. This commitment is subject to change according to how I feel.

I, Alisha ????????, on this day, 8.27.06, shall hereby uphold the constitution of self-awareness. I understand that amendments can be made in order to improve my well-being. Amendments can only be made after facing the truth, listening to myself, and determining that the amendment is the best way to improve my mind, body, and spirit.

~Alisha ?????????~

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Self-Defense course- - False sense of security?

I've been trying to think of how to respond to everyone who has commented while I've been on sabbatical. Thank you ALL for all of your comments! I needed a I took a few, a few hundred/thousand.

Yesterday I started a class called Personal Defense for Women. I decided to take a PE course this semester, in hopes that it will keep me active and take my mind off of all the intense/heavy courses I'm taking. I'd rather take something like yoga or hiking but this is the only one that fits into my schedule. I have my reservations about self-defense courses...

I think it is impossible to predict how one might respond in a situation that forces them to defend themselves. Training people to "be prepared" for an attack places a large responsibility on that person. It is quite contradictory to preach that "if you've had a previous attack, it wasn't your fault, it was out of your control" while emphasizing that this training will help you next time. What if it doesn't help? What if you forget everything? What if you freeze? Now is it your fault? You were trained. While this comment may be a bit radical, it is reasonable to inquire.

Furthermore, I think self-defense courses create a false sense of security. The dialogue increases your confidence, which in turn can lead to a decreased sense of awareness...letting your guard down.

I feel that this training just reinforces the idea that it is up to the victim to protect themselves, rather than placing responsibility on the offender.

Not only this, it also emphasizes the focus on the stereotypical stranger rape/attack that only happens in back alleys or when walking alone. Because of this, the course is missing a HUGE portion of attacks that occur, those done by acquaintances after a period of manipulation/control. How does one prepare for these situations?

I understand that I may be a bit too critical. I am sure that the course will increase my confidence in myself, hopefully allowing me to freely reject the idiot guy in the bar who insists on grabbing my attention. We'll see. I'm keeping an openmind and will report back throughout the course of the semester.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

I need a minute...

Last night I watched North Country with my mom. Such a great movie. It really taps into what it is like to be a female (and a male for that matter) in a culture that ignores/perpetuates violence against women and children (both male and female). It is based on a true story of a group of women who filed, and won, the first Class Action Sexual Harassment case in history; changing the sexual harassment policies around the country. Riveting. I recommend seeing the movie. You really learn to appreciate the women who have come before us, paving pathways. I do warn, however, that in an effort to make the movie realistic, there are many triggers. So be prepared.

Anyway, after watching it, I had to de-stress a little before going to bed. So I got out my lovely sketchbook, drawing a crazy piece of work. Then I went to bed. Couldn't sleep. I kept thinking about how much I have wanted to say on this blog but don't have the time to write. I only have time to check my comments at work. Now that I'm in Albany, I'm spending time with mom (which is important!) and the computer is in her room. So can't write late at night when I usually do. Anyway...while I was thinking about all the craziness in my life, and how I'm slipping into my old, workaholic habits, I got out of bed to write this...

There's a lot going on right now.

I need a minute.

A minute to run.

To run and hide.

I need to run and hide.

It's okay. It's just for a minute.

I'll fight back tomorrow.

I'm tired today.

I need a minute.

To run and hide...

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Speaking out takes on different forms...

I did it again. I made myself so busy that I have no time to stop and think. Feel. Breathe. Cry. Breathe. Sleep.

On a positive note: at least I am stopping myself in shorter intervals, recognizing what I'm doing to myself before it gets waaaaay out of control. But I'm tired. I feel like I'm never going to come out on top. Never going to heal.

This past weekend I got to meet Nika and see Lisa again (at Speak Out Rochester). It was great. I love being surrounded by my fellow warriors. They have so much strength and courage. It gives me hope.

I spent the last couple months planning for the clothesline project at the Speak Out. Oh how I wish we did not wait until 8pm the night before to start hanging the shirts. I was there until 430am and still did not finish what I would have liked to do. This girl had to sleep and be back by 730. Oh good lord. So I did. I've never been to anything like a Speak Out. It's great that Maggie brought this event to Rochester. I could see people transforming their lives right before my eyes. Incredible.

I wussed out of most of the participation. Clearly I am not as far healed as I had hoped. Damn. I was listening to my fellow warriors speak. Whoa. What strength they all have. I, on the other hand, was nauseous. I have a HUGE problem with holding everything in. HUGE problem. I can't let it all out. Especially not in front of people. So...I didn't. Instead I got nauseous and avoided the speak out area for the rest of the day. I decided to play in the adult play room with Lisa and some other warriors. That was great. I wouldn't have survived the Speak Out without actually speaking out in some form or another. So I made a box. I'll have to take a picture of it sometime. It represents how I feel inside. Dark. Stuck. Sad. Angry. Frustrated. Pissed off. Lonely. One part of the box shows my longing for a better future. Hope for brighter days. Efforts to make things better. It was great to get that all of my chest. BUT it didn't do it all. I was not only stressed and nauseous, I was frickin exhausted. I pulled an all nighter (kind of) and then stayed after to take down until about 7pm. Phew. Damn.

I went home and crashed. Frustrated that I was so tired because it was my last night in Rochester. I'm home with mom now till I go to California. When my roommate came home that night...I let it all out. (sort of) I wouldn't let myself cry...but I talked about how hard it was at the speak out. I got it out. I decided to draw as well. I needed something to purge my feelings. I'm pretty proud of the drawing I did. I'll take a pic of that sometime too.

Lesson of the weekend...

After seeing all of the warriors, varying in age, race, sex and gender...I realized just how long the journey to heal is. It never ends. It's lifelong. (note: this is actually a positive thing to learn folks!!!). It's a process. A long one. I have high hopes for a magical cure. Instant potatoes. Five minute rice please. But that's not how it goes. I saw many people who have been very successful in their lifetime. They broke down. They purged. They spoke out. And they will continue to be successful in their life. You have good days and bad days. It's all about integrating this really shitty experience into your life, into who you are. It helped to see all the strength in these people who were crying, talking, singing, healing.

Express yourself. (even madonna says to).

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Creepy men...

While arriving at work everyday I have been greeted by the creepy cleaning man. How do I know he's creepy?

You know that stare that some men give. The stare that screams, ooooo baby come to papa. Yah, that stare. This man has checked me out from yards and yards away. Staring at me while I'm walking towards the building (the entire time). Uh Hello....I can see you, you fuck. This guy's a bit different in that he actually utters some friendly words (unlike the real assholes who stare women down and howl at them).

He finally gathered his balls and introduced himself to me the other day. I like friendly people who actually take the time to get to know you a bit, rather than googling at you. Only, this is when it turned weird. He asked what I am studying this summer (I work at the college and do research there). I told him. Then went on my way.

Later that day I see him again. No surprise there. He always seems to be on a smoke break. Again, from yards and yards away, he stares. He even re-adjusts himself into that 'cool guy' position (probably unaware that I am smart enough to recognize his foolishness). He proceeds to ask me if we can do lunch sometime. Ummm, no. You're probably 45 years old and you work here. I'm a 22 year old student. Not gonna happen buddy. But I avoided the question. Why in the hell don't I have the freaking ovaries to say, "uh, don't you think that's inappropriate?"

Instead I say that I'm not going to be around. He says, I'll come find you next semester. I gotta be kidding.

I hate that I can be so strong, so blunt, so straightforward. But when it comes to these creeps I freeze. What the hell? I'm smart enough to recognize these creeps, but too timid to hold my own.

I've since avoided entering the building near the smoke break table. I shouldn't have to do this. But I am.

Another Moment

I had a moment. The moment that forced me to want to make a change. These moments come and go. I often make changes after these moments, until I gradually fall back into my lovely little hiding place. One of my biggest moments was after Angela Shelton came to the area. I refused to work more than one job this summer and I promised to get back into my old routine of working out. I worked one job, volunteered as a Rape Crisis Advocate and designed and implimented my own research study. Working out has been sporadic. Why can't I stay committed? Well that's easy...too much pain came rushing forward.

So I had another moment. This week I had the chance to see how some police officers treat victims during their 'investigation.' I can't go into detail. What is important is that it made me sick to see the level of insensitivity that still exists in law enforcement. (not all of them are assholes, but that is said with hope. I've only ever seen the assholes). Anyway, it made me sick. It was a moment. A moment that forced me to commit to another change.

I've been advised by many to get into Yoga or some kind of energy work that teaches you how to center your mind, body, and breathing. I've been considering it, putting it off because of the lack of money. However, after this interview, I splurged. I went out and bought a video on Power Yoga. I'm considering investing in the Yoga Journal magazine to learn more about it. I'm committing to it.

The video says to view the whole tape in full before trying it. So I did. I attempted to do some of the poses to see what it is like. It was odd. I focused on my breathing. Inhale..........Exhale.........Inhale...........Exhale. Wow. You would not believe the power behind that moment. I immediately had tears in my eyes. For the first time in over a month, I slowed myself down, emotions pushed through.

Following the video I read through the yoga journal. It was so peaceful. I was exhausted. So I went to bed. That two minutes of Yoga helped me relax. I can't wait to do the whole video!

I hope this moment that I just had, this burst of energy to make a change, will last this time. It's so hard to make it last. Up and down. Up and down. Round and Round. Stop the damn spinning Alisha!

Monday, July 24, 2006

First loves...

First's said you never forget your first love. How do you move on? How do you love again? For me, the energy it takes and the trust it takes to put into a relationship before I open up...comes once in a lifetime. And that already happened. How do I do it again?

I recently saw my ex's parents. These are people I grew up with. We were neighbors from when I was age 5 till about 11. I'm still very close with the family. I was so excited to see them that I literally was shaking...nervous/excited shaking. They would be the perfect in-laws. Not only that...everything about them, the way they talk, laugh, every mannerism, reminds me of him. *sigh*

It's pretty much drilled in our heads that you most likely never stay with your first love (or what you think is your first love) but you never forget them either. It's a unique kind of love. You remember everything good about the person. From their smell to the texture of their skin. From their eyes, nose, and hands to every shape of their muscles and crease in their skin. Sensual....

I'm pretty sure I know the answer. You can't truly love someone until you love yourself. Or at least that's what they say. I believe it. To an extent. I loved my ex whole heartedly...but I was soooo far from loving myself at the time. If only he were here I'm healing. Would it have lasted if it started now? *breathe* Who knows??

How do you love yourself completely when a part of what you would love about yourself is having the ability to fall in love...again. Do you fall in love again and then love the fact that you were able to do so....thus transfering that energy into loving yourself, working on yourself? Or do you love yourself, heal yourself, work on yourself...and then have the ability to fall in love again? I'm assuming the latter is the correct answer...and the most dismal.