Profile for Carrie Nelson

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Depression, Suicide & What I Do When I Need To Get Through The Day

Depression, Suicide & What I Do When I Need To Get Through The Day

I have struggled with depression and suicidal ideation for years. My darkest period was as recent as 2013. In fact, there was a day last September when I let my guard down for just a few minutes. It was enough time for me to walk into my kitchen, pick up a large knife, and touch the blade to see how hard I would need to press down to cut through my skin.

Sometimes that’s all it takes. If I hadn’t scared myself and snapped out of that headspace as quickly as I did, I might not be writing this right now. That’s the truth.

I’m not telling you this as a plea for sympathy. I’m telling you this because Robin Williams is dead, and like everyone else on the Internet, I am deeply sad about that. Yes, part of my sadness is because I grew up watching him in “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “Aladdin,” “The Birdcage,” and “Dead Poets Society,” and it’s awful to think of someone as talented as he is gone so soon. But another part of my sadness is because suicide is always heartbreaking. I know people who have committed suicide. I know people who have attempted and considered suicide. I am someone who has considered suicide. It is a serious problem that far too many of us know all too well. Keep reading »

True Story: A Photoshopping Site Stole My Selfie Off Instagram And Gave Me A “Makeover” [UPDATE]

UPDATE, 5:40p.m.: @photoshop_fantasy has issued an apology on their Instagram page, although it appears all the same images are still up :

Hello lovely followers! We want to apologize for the inconveniences this account has caused with the unadvised photoshops. We deleted them and promise to not do these again without permission. What we did was wrong and we are sorry, and we certainly didn’t intend to hurt anyone. Thank you for your comprehension!

UPDATE, 5p.m.: @photoshop_fantasy has finally removed Carrie Nelson’s photo from their Instagram page. 

Last week, the Internet exploded in a debate about women and selfies. Are they feminist? Are they empowering? Are they a “cry for help”? For anyone not up-to-date, Amelia has written a solid summation of the dialogue thusfar.

I feel indifferent toward selfies. I have no problem when friends, acquaintances, or strangers post them, but I rarely share them myself. I’m not much of a photographer, and when I do take photos, I rarely position myself as the subject. But sometimes, I take selfies. Sometimes, when I think I look pretty or silly, or when I just want to express a feeling through my face, I take a selfie and share it online. It’s not part of my everyday life, but it’s an occasional fun indulgence for which I feel no guilt.

This past Sunday was one such day when I felt like taking a selfie. For the past few months, I have been struggling with depression, anxiety, and overcoming trauma, so it is often difficult for me to force myself out of bed, particularly on a cold weekend morning when my bed is so warm and comfy. Without thinking much about it, I snapped a selfie with my iPad. I took a photo of myself in bed, still disheveled from a restless night of sleep. More than anything, I was curious to know what I looked like in that particular moment. What I saw was a face that captured so much of what I have been feeling recently: exhaustion, sadness, and determination. Somehow, I managed to make all of those emotions visible and beautiful, in one snapshot of my face. Plus, the wisps of hair across my forehead added a casual charm that made me feel just a little bit sexy. I opened the photo in Instagram, added the Earlybird filter (perfect for early morning selfies), and captioned the photo “Good morning #bedselfie #sundaymorning #stillsleepy #nomakeup.” I posted the photo to Instagram, without sharing it on any other social networks, and went on with my day. Keep reading »

Frisky Movie Review: “After Tiller” — On Women And The Abortion Providers Who Trust Them

trailer park
after tiller documentary
"What's The Right Thing To Do?"

A few months ago, I chatted with a newly pregnant friend over ice cream. Eventually, after we exhausted the areas of the politics of maternity leave and the excitement of decorating her baby’s room, our conversation turned to reproductive choice. Specifically, we talked about her decision to terminate her pregnancy if she and her husband learned that the fetus had developed a major chromosomal abnormality that would drastically decrease its chances for a viable, healthy life. Although both she and the baby were currently healthy, and tests proved that the likelihood of such abnormalities was negligible, she and her husband chose to keep the option of abortion on the table, in case they truly needed it later in the pregnancy. “I want to be a mother,” she told me, “but I want my child to have the best possible chance at life.”

I am relieved that, for my friend’s sake, this is probably not a choice on which she will need to act. In all likelihood, her baby will be healthy and safe. But in case a difficult decision needs to be made, it is critical that such options exist for parents to consider. I thought about our conversation when I saw Martha Shane and Lana Wilson’s new documentary, “After Tiller,” an official selection of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Like my friend, the majority of the women featured in are women who want to be mothers. They want to have healthy, happy children, and they want to provide their children with the best lives possible. Yet, when faced with the reality that their babies will not have the lives for which they planned, the mothers choose the option that they believe will demonstrate the greatest display of love and dignity. “After Tiller” shares these stories through the perspectives of the mothers seeking third-trimester abortions and the doctors providing them. Keep reading »

True Story: My Weekend With Exodus International, “Ex-Gay” Organization

I'm A Bisexual
Carrie is an out and proud bisexual. Read More »
Be Sex Positive!
Eight ways to be positive you're sex positive. Read More »
Ex-Gay Ministry Shuts Down
Today's Lady News photo
Exodus International shuts down and apologizes. Read More »
ex-gays exodus international

On Wednesday afternoon, the president of Exodus International, one of the largest “ex-gay” organizations in the world, issued an apology to the LGBT community. “I cannot apologize for my beliefs about marriage,” Exodus President Alan Chamber wrote in a sincerely worded letter. “But I do not have any desire to fight you on your beliefs or the rights that you seek. My beliefs about these things will never again interfere with God’s command to love my neighbor as I love myself.” Hours later, Chambers announced that Exodus would be closing its doors permanently, after 37 years in operation. I felt two distinct reactions to this news: relief for LGBT people who have felt attacked and abused by the social and political messages perpetuated by Exodus, and hope for what this change means for both gay and “ex-gay” people alike.

I have some first-hand experience with Exodus – not as a participant, but as an observer. In November 2007, I attended the organization’s North Atlantic Regional Conference in upstate New York. At the time, I was producing a short documentary film, “Just As I Am,” which explored the “ex-gay” movement through two opposing perspectives: an active Exodus ministry leader, and an ex-”ex-gay” minister who belonged to Exodus in the 1980s. BK, the ministry leader, was going to the conference to lead the music during the worship services, so she brought me along. Keep reading »

The Soapbox: Roger Ebert Might Not Have Been A Feminist, But I’ll Miss Him Anyway

RIP Roger Ebert
The film critic has passed away at the age of 70. Read More »
Their Love Story
Roger had many romantic things to say about his relationship with wife Chaz. Read More »
Roger's Voice
The critic lost his voice to cancer, but was able to speak thanks to technology. Read More »
roger ebert feminist

When I was in middle school, I was required to create a diorama illustrating a hypothetical synagogue sanctuary (as you do, at Jewish day school). All I remember about my project is that I glued a picture of Gene Siskel to one of the walls. My teacher rightly called this out for being inappropriately idolatrous, but in the moment, I’d thought that I’d been paying appropriate reverence to an important man. After all, Siskel was Jewish, he had just recently passed away, and, until his death, I watched him and Roger Ebert weekly on television. I loved movies and knew I wanted to be a filmmaker, so I valued the words of Siskel and Ebert as highly as any of the words I was reading in school. These men cultivated my already-growing passion for cinema, and I’m certain that their enthusiasm was a contributing factor in my eventual interest in writing and film criticism.

In the years that followed, I’ve paid attention to Ebert’s ever-expanding body of work, and though I knew of his illness, I was shocked and saddened by his passing last week. I’ve now read plenty of articles praising him for his accomplishments and successes, and I can’t disagree with anything that’s been said. His writing was prolific, his persona was friendly, and he made the general public give a damn about film criticism. His absence will be felt by all who love movies.

Where I begin to disagree with the accolades, however, is the claim that Ebert was a feminist. Keep reading »

Frisky Rant: Slut Shaming Doesn’t Have A Silver Lining

2013 Oscar Noms
Who'll take home this year's most coveted awards? Read More »
On Slutshaming
It's about controlling women through guilt and shame. Read More »
Types Of Sluts
There's more than one, you know. Read More »

When I sat down to watch “Silver Linings Playbook,” I had high hopes. Friends whose opinions I respect loved the film and praise for her performance has made Jennifer Lawrence a front-runner for Best Actress in this year’s Oscar race. I’ve loved Lawrence since “Winter’s Bone” and I’m constantly amazed by her ability to play incredibly tough, independent, strong-willed protagonists.

But “Silver Linings Playbook” left me with an uneasy feeling, and it wasn’t because of the film’s flawed grasp of mental illness or its contrived and formulaic plot. It had everything to do with the treatment of Lawrence’s character. My first reaction to the film when it ended was: “What was with all the slut shaming?” [Spoilers after the jump!] Keep reading »

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