I get behind on “Doctor Who” — being cable-less will do that to you — but this week’s episode was being widely touted as one of the best in years, so of course I had to make it a priority to watch. When “Doctor Who” is good, it’s really, really good; it is at heart a celebration of humanity, and as much as The Doctor’s companions can be cast as his accessories, he’s often also their foil, the vehicle by which they have the opportunity to express their humanness.
I’m not too cool to admit that I’ve taken life lessons from “Doctor Who” — I abide by John Green’s definition of “nerdiness” as “unironic enthusiasm about the miracle of human consciousness.” (I’m also not so pretentious that I consider my opinion on it invalid despite the fact that, no, I haven’t watched the original series, so there.) I named my blog for a quote from “The Power of Three.” I have “Allons-y!” tattooed on my leg. I think one of the show’s strengths is its zeal for adventure and discovery, not just in terms of travel to distant places, but in terms of introspection and self-discovery: see “The God Complex,” or really any regeneration. The show’s protagonist has to find out over and over who he really is. Keep reading »
When I got to my friend’s place for my self-defense lessons last week, he told me we were going to do basic self-defense techniques and toward the end, simulated assaults. The simulated assaults were walk-bys: We would walk across the room in opposite directions and he would either do nothing, or he’d very suddenly grab my throat and wrist. The purpose was to train me to react quickly and correctly if it were to happen to me in real life.
But it had happened to me in real life, and after the first or second walk-by, I wound up having visceral, vivid flashbacks to my former partner putting me in arm locks and finger locks, pinning me, kicking me, putting his hand over my mouth, pushing my head into the floor or the bed. I hyperventilated and cried, and my friend hugged me and helped me calm down. He also didn’t let me stop, because the things I experience will upset me sometimes and I still have to know how to handle it, especially when physical danger is involved.
Which brings me to trigger warnings. Keep reading »
Here are two things I never expected to be told in the same breath: “You’re so skinny! This will look cute on you,” and “I’m pretty sure you’re lying about that time your dad molested you.”
Nine months ago, I confronted my father about sexually abusing me as a child. Since then, my communication with my family has been limited, and it caught me off-guard when, just two weeks ago, my aunt invited me to meet her for lunch. I impulsively agreed, and initially, we started on the right note. After a few minutes of polite pleasantries, she handed me a gift bag. Inside, I found a hand-me-down Ann Taylor blazer with the tags still on (“I love the pattern, but it just doesn’t fit me”) and a copy of Meredith Maran’s My Lie: A True Story of False Memory (“I learned so much from this book. It’s amazing how unreliable our memories are, don’t you think?”). Never before had I felt so flattered and insulted all at once. Keep reading »
Soldiers returning from combat get diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. So do people who live in violent war zones. And, apparently, models. At least according to former model Jennifer Sky, who says her years as teen model led to panic attacks and an anxiety disorder.
Sky started her modeling career young — at 15 — and was thrust into a strange and unfamiliar place when her modeling agency sent her to Japan unchaperoned and unaided. She lived a similar life in New York, where she was sent next, sharing a loft apartment with five other teenage girls, who were all expected to book jobs, feed and care for themselves without any adult supervision. After two years of this, Sky booked the cover of Sassy magazine’s 1994 prom issue. It would be her last modeling gig. She quit because, she told New York mag’s The Cut, she no longer recognized herself: Keep reading »
I consider myself a fairly patient person. I grew up in a house with four siblings and three pets—I can put up with a lot. But if you want to set my foot tapping and my eyes rolling, just start complaining about your life.
Recently, for example, I caught up with an old friend. Last I talked to her was several months ago, and things weren’t going great—she wasn’t happy in her job, wasn’t thrilled to be single and felt an overall uneasiness about her life. I felt her pain, and was ready to listen, encourage, and lend a shoulder to cry on. But when we talked again, and I started the conversation with a simple, “How are you?” her immediate response was, “Meh.” What followed was a string of complaints reminiscent of our previous conversation—nothing had changed, and it seemed she hadn’t tried to make it.
You hate your job, but aren’t even looking for a new one? You want to meet men, but refuse to join an online dating site? You’re upset with your weight, but won’t change your diet and exercise? I can’t help you. Only you can. Keep reading »
Desperation, depression — and an overwhelming feeling of desertion — are the dangerous components that have contributed to the rising tide of suicide and mental health problems in the military. Just this week it was announced that for the sixth year in a row, suicide among members of the armed forces is on the rise. Mental health has been a growing problem in the military, as waves of soldiers continue to return from Afghanistan and Iraq in much worse shape than they left. New statistics reveal that for the second year in a row, more soldiers have killed themselves than been killed in active duty. July 2012 was the worst month for military suicides to date, with 39 self-inflicted deaths reported. That’s up from 24 the month before. Suicide is now the leading cause of death among soldiers.
Keep reading »