disorder/disordered

January 31, 2011

Last semester everyone could tell when I was upset because I wouldn’t eat. I’d skip breakfast and lunch, and force down a few bites at dinner, because everyone was watching me. I lost something like twenty-five pounds in about a month and a half. I was always hungry, but eating made me nauseous.

Now I eat constantly. I’ve swung the other direction on the scale of eating weirdness. I’m never hungry. I can’t remember really what hunger feels like.

I remember being able to eat “normally”- you know, eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full. Eat things you want, things you like. Don’t force down food, and don’t restrict it, either. I don’t have an eating disorder by any means, but I am so, so far from eating like a normal, sane human being. “Disordered eating” is the phrase.

I’m better now than I have been. There were times when I’d refuse to eat unless others were eating too. I was ravenous but I couldn’t eat if anyone was watching me. I can do that now, eat by myself.

I’ve got a long way to go, but at least now I can eat.

You probably already know this, but Mulan is fantastic. Mulan is better than Superman or Hercules, because she’s human- she’s a human girl with a larger-than-average capacity for courage. She doesn’t have any superpowers. Everything she does, she achieves through hard work and personal strength.

One of the things she does is to basically punch gender essentialism in the face. At the beginning of the movie she is forced into performing femininity, which she does very, very badly. It does not come easily to her! She can look the part, but she can’t play the role. Femininity is not a thing which every girl can/should/needs to achieve. And this is a thing we’re learning from a Disney movie. Wow.

Mulan goes on, supported by a seriously awesome song, to succeed at traditionally masculine pursuits- all the arts of war. Which is fantastic, in a fuck-the-patriarchy-I’m-doing-what-I-want kind of way, but if that was all that happened, that would be pretty unsatisfying. Because that would leave us back at square one: masculinity awesome, femininity weak and useless.

But remember that song, that seriously awesome song that underscores the training montage? It comes back, the same song, except this time Our Heroes are dressing up as women in order to sneak into the palace. They try knocking the doors down, but it doesn’t work. Masculinity isn’t the answer to every problem. Femininity is equally valid, and not only that, it’s a useful tool for men just as well as women.

I dressed up as Mulan for Halloween one year, when I was a kid. Everyone dressed up as Mulan that year. My friends all had the pretty dress. I, however, dressed as Mulan in her soldier uniform. That was the Mulan I wanted to be- the one who punched gender essentialism in the face and refused to conform to a femininity she didn’t feel.

That same year, my two best friends were dressed up as Hercules and Superman. They got into an argument over which of them was stronger. I jumped in and said I didn’t know which of them was stronger, but Mulan was definitely the smartest. That was so important to me, that she was smart. I was smart, but- all adults excluded- that seemed to be a terrible thing, a thing that earned me mocking and bullying. Except Mulan was smart, and Mulan was wonderful, so maybe my being smart wasn’t such a bad thing after all.

My friends agreed, by the way. Mulan is better.

tremors

January 11, 2011

My antidepressants make me tremble uncontrollably. So my handwriting is a mess. I’m worried about an acting class I’m taking which will, in all likelihood, demand a stillness I can’t achieve. People are constantly asking me if I’m cold.

At first I thought it was just anxiety. Nerves. Because I had a lot of that, before coming back. Anxiety. I was scared about seeing my friends. (I was scared they wouldn’t want to be my friends anymore.) I was scared about classes. (My grades were not awesome last semester. Depression does not exactly encourage strong academic performance.) And I am deathly terrified that my depression will return.

So switching up the meds is scary. I don’t want to plunge into another bout of depression. But this trembling, it’s beginning to get to me.

first day of classes

January 11, 2011

Today I learned that bacteria caused the Twilight phenomenon.

Which is to say: vampire myths, particularly in America, have their genesis in tuberculosis. Victims of “consumption” grew weak and pale and slowly died, their life drained away. Victims of vampires….grow weak and pale from blood loss and slowly die, their life drained away.

Conclusion from the first session of Biology and Society: we can blame the existence of Twilight on bacteria. It’s as good a target as any. Now all we need are some antibiotics.

resolved

January 1, 2011

  • to lean less on my friends and more on myself
  • to actually do the things I actually want to do
  • to do all of my schoolwork and attend all of my classes
  • to wear whatever I want regardless of what people might think