not a pretty girl

a new person with each new experience

Saturday, October 29, 2005

charting your cycle

Last week a group of women and a few token men sat in a lamp lit room on cushions snacking on tea and biscuits and listened to the adventures in menstration, a two women team reading from zines and telling stories of menstration. Your rag, the time of the month, your friend or your period, what ever you happen to say seems to be a mystery to most and a tabboo for many. The event itself was great, but the best part like usual is the discussions in the pub. Thats when the horror stories come out, the phlisophical discussion on to have or not to have the period and the support on our experiences of PMS. And from what I shared and heard there needs to be support groups for our partners almost more then ourselves!!

From my cultural studies feminist mind the most interesting part was the critique of mentration ads over the years. The pertrayal of menstration as something to hide to be ashamed about. Years of advertising that sell products that poisen our bodies and continiuosly tell us that there is something wrong with our bodies something we should be ashamed of and that we should subordinatly bow down to the men in our lives who don't want anything to do with our smells, moods and undaintness.

The duo had made this charts to keep track of your cycle. I never use to pay much attention to these things. But over the years I have begun a much closer relationship with my body, for the first time I have started to keep track of my period and I love it. The idea that you can start understanding the way to feel and can predict the upheaval. For someone who doens't have a 28 day cycle its intrigueing to see the pattern I do have. The women were saying that although your one year cycle might seem all over the place; if you were to chart your cycle for a few years there might be a bigger pattern out there.

So stories of keepers, reusable pads, leaking and mentrual blood art have filtered there way into daily conversations and I say its about time. Its not new for women to talk amonst themselves, yet we often filter our dialogue in groups with men. Yet if we are to reach equality I say that something that is this normal with such regularity among half the population we should be talking and talking loud, till the men in our lives are sharing stories in the adventures of menstration by proxy.

man is the new middle east

Men are the original terrorist it would seem. The fear tactics used to protect women from this dark stranger in the alleys or even from the cunning, good looking manipulative man on the streets in the day resembles the paranoia during war times gone past or newer anti-terrorist propaganda. The idea that we need to be on guard 24 hours day and walk around in a constant state of fear places the women as a constant victim as a week vulnerable entity that needs to be in fear of her life and existence. Someone who needs to look around every corner, just counting down to that moment when the ‘predator’ will smell her weakness and attack.

This is not to take away from so many women’s experience of violence but to rather look at where the sexual violent power dynamic lies. It’s in the home, in among friends and partners. This is again not to say that women should be walking around in a state of fear waiting for the moment for there loving partner to turn around and rape then. It’s more to say that we shouldn’t fall into the role of victim walking down the street or at our parties and safety tip for women lists is as damaging to women’s self of self and feminism as the violence that women experience.

The following email is beign forwarded around, of course it was generated in the states the place were fear tatics replace rationla thinking at all levels. It would be like consulting wilderness survival guide to figure out how to deal with paper cuts. So check it out your self . . . very scary

Safety tips for Women

We can now add to the list of victims the retired 77 yr. old TCU professor from Ft Worth whose body was found last week in Oklahoma—and the 11 yr. old in Sarasota, FL. Because of these recent abductions in daylight hours, refresh yourself of these things to do in an emergency situation...This is for you, and for you to share with your wife, your children, everyone you know.

After reading these 9 crucial tips, forward them to someone you care about. It never hurts to be careful in this crazy world we live in.

1. Tip from Tae Kwon Do: The elbow is the strongest point on your body. If you are close enough to use it, do!

2. Learned this from a tourist guide in New Orleans. If a robber asks for your wallet and/or purse, DO NOT HAND IT TO HIM. Toss it away from you....chances are that he is more interested in your wallet and/or purse than you, and he will go for the wallet/purse. RUN LIKE MAD IN THE OTHER DIRECTION!

3. If you are ever thrown into the trunk of a car, kick out the back tail lights and stick your arm out the hole and start waving like crazy. The driver won't see you, but everybody else will. This has saved lives.

4. Women have a tendency to get into their cars after shopping, eating, working, etc., and just sit (doing their checkbook, or making a list, etc. DON'T DO THIS!) The predator will be watching ou, and this is the perfect opportunity for him to get in on the passenger side, put a gun to your head, and tell you where to go. AS SOON AS YOU GET INTO YOUR CAR, LOCK THE DOORS AND LEAVE.

a. If someone is in the car with a gun to your head DO NOT DRIVE OFF, repeat: DO NOT DRIVE OFF! Instead gun the engine and speed into anything, wrecking the car. Your Air Bag will save you. If the person is in the back seat they will get the worst of it. As soon as the car crashes bail out and run. It is better than having them find your
body in a remote location.

5. A few notes about getting into your car in a parking lot, or parking garage:

A.) Be aware: look around you, look into your car, at the passenger side floor, and in the back seat.
B.) If you are parked next to a big van, enter your car from the passenger door. Most serial killers attack their victims by pulling them into their vans while the women are attempting to get into their cars.
C.) Look at the car parked on the driver's side of your vehicle, and the passenger side. If a male is sitting alone in the seat nearest your car, you may want to walk back into the mall, or work, and get a guard/policeman to walk you back out.

IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY. (And better paranoid than dead.)

6. ALWAYS take the elevator instead of the stairs. (Stairwells are horrible places to be alone and the perfect crime spot. This is especially true at NIGHT!)

7. If the predator has a gun and you are not under his control, ALWAYS RUN! The predator will only hit you (a running target) 4 in 100 times; And even then, it most likely WILL NOT be a vital organ. RUN, Preferably ! in a zig -zag pattern!

8. As women, we are always trying to be sympathetic: STOP. It may get you raped, or killed. Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was a good-looking, well educated man, who ALWAYS played on the sympathies of unsuspecting women. He walked with a cane, or a limp, and often asked "for help" into his vehicle or with his vehicle, which is when he
abducted his next victim.

************* Here it is *******

9. Another Safety Point: Someone just told me that her friend heard a crying baby on her porch the night before last, and she called the police because it was late and she thought it was weird. The police told her "Whatever you do, DO NOT open the door." The lady then said that it sounded like the baby had crawled near a window, and she was worried that it would crawl to the street and get run over. The policeman said, "We already have a unit on the way, whatever you do, DO NOT open the door." He told her that they think a serial killer has a baby's cry recorded and uses it to coax women out of their homes thinking that someone dropped off a baby. He said they have not verified it, but have had several calls by women saying that they hear baby's cries outside their doors when they're home alone at night.

Please pass this on and DO NOT open the door for a crying baby

----This e-mail should probably be taken seriously because the Crying Baby theory was mentioned on America's Most Wanted this past Saturday when they profiled the serial killer in Louisiana. I'd like you to forward this to all the women you know. It may save a life. A candle is not dimmed by lighting another candle. I was going to send this to the ladies only, but guys, if you love your mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, etc., you may want to pass it onto them, as well. Send this to any woman you know that may need to be reminded that the world we live in has a lot of crazies in it and it's better to be safe than sorry.

Friday, October 28, 2005

A day of fitness

My years living in Ireland have caught up to me, chipper food and pints are a bad combination. I noticed this year the full summer pasted before I realised it had really began. Being a Canadian we believe in a few things, tolerance, layering and seasons. You realise summer is coming and with out consciously thinking about it your foods change, your intake lowers and you disregard your hibernation meal styles for fruit and little else. Living in Ireland has kept me on a constant hibernation diet for the full 12 months. And my physical activity although includes daily biking and the occasional rock climb and swim is actually restricted to running from the cops on the occasional direct action.

The thing is I use to be so fit, in my high school year book this one girl Stephanie wrote to the most athletic person I know. And although my concentrations have been side tracked by politics I still have goals of doing triathlons at some stage of my life. At the rate I was going I was going to have to become a born again athlete in my fifties for that goal to be realised.

So yesterday I took the dreaded first step and went to the gym. There is this gym across the street from my gaff that I have been eyeing the past nine months of living here and now with only three months left to go on the lease I am a proud owner of a St. Catherine’s health club membership.

I put on my surf pants I bought for Thailand and my space invaders t-shirt and I was good to go. I walked into the gym with confidence and looked around with the air of gym knowledge I walked straight towards this piece of machinery that I have never used before and jumped right on. The equipment is the strangest thing that they have at gyms, its kinda like you are cross-country skiing but you can go back and forth. Everything was going ok, I put in my weight, age, length of time and choose the cross training program.

Everything was fine till three mins in when it says peddle backwards. What how do I do that? I stop and awkwardly move my legs in a way that becomes a smooth backwards motion but wait how do I keep my feet attached to the peddles. they keep sliding back, at least when I was going forward they would slide to the stopper in front but this is madness nothing to stop my feet from sliding off this thing, I put all my weight on the peddles hoping that that pressure will keep them in one spot. Then I start to notice I'm sweating; good its working, the calories are flying off I'm getting fit.

But damn it I'm sweating all over this crazy machine and don't have a towel to wipe it off. It had been years since I had been at one of these places and I have forgotten the etiquette of the gym. I see a sign that says sweat towels are mandatory and that they are on sale at reception, but alas I have no cash so I leave traces of my sweat an the hang rails of all the equipment.

Next is the running machine, these things have always scared me, I mean how do you get on and how do you get off. I start slowly hoping to just be cool and not fall on my face. I notice this clip attached to the hand rail. It seems that you clip in on your t and if you fall it will pull out the clip that causes an emergency stop. This safety device seems more dangerous then falling yourself. The string is long so you have to be nearly off the thing before the emergency stop and then with the sudden change in speed you are sure to fall on your face, I put it on anyways and see what the deal is. Twenty mins later I’m well into this running thing, watching Sponge Bob on TV and doing an eleven min mile. In my excitement my pumping arms accidentally hit the control panel and the whole thing shuts down thinking I just fell. The look on my face when I stumble to halt must have been classic.

A gym disaster I am, but its been two days now and who knows where this health surge could lead.