Education and Knowledge

THANK YOU, JERRY

Steve and Gerry announce they are getting divorced in June 2004.  Gerry tells her children she’s gay towards the end of November 2004.  Gerry tells her children that she is transgender at the beginning of June 2012.  Gerry became Jerry.  I’m one of Jerry’s children.  Despite what some conservatives, some researchers and even some children of LGBTQ parents will say.  I am okay.     My Story  I remember the first time I heard about someone having a transgender parent.   I was watching the E! reality show, Dr. 90210, which told the stories of different plastic surgery patients in the Los Angeles area. One particular episode that aired in 2008 would end up serving as a major foreshadowing moment in my life.  I know you’re probably thinking, how in the world did a reality show foreshadow my act...

THE GIRL WHO IS FIGHTING BACK AGAINST THE ADDICTION OF SELF INJURY

  Self-harm is a very taboo subject. I’m sure if you have ever come across someone who has self-harmed in the past or continues to, the first question that enters your mind is ‘why’. The answer to this question is coming from someone who used to use self-harming methods as a way of coping & dealing with my emotional pain. It seems so strange almost to so many people, why would you want to inflict deliberate pain on yourself? It’s all about the mind and the endorphins that the body produces when it gets an injury of some kind. When I was growing up, I did mild self-harm, when I was anxious or upset I’d deliberately cause carpet burns on parts of my body (face, arms, knuckles). I would also deliberately claw my cheeks with my fingernails in anger and upset. Since I’ve become an adul...

NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS

I have always been someone who has planned ridiculously far ahead. And despite my ludicrous planning tendencies, my future never really seems to go the way I plan for it to go.   Sophomore year of high school I was already researching universities I thought I would want to go to. All of them were in Minnesota or New York and I was convinced I knew where I was going to end up.   The summer before my junior year of high school, I was convinced I would play volleyball through my high school career and maybe even continue through college.   Junior year of high school, I knew I wanted to study abroad at some point during my college career. Not only did I know I wanted to study abroad—I also knew I wanted to study abroad in Barcelona, Spain.  During the summer before my senior year of high schoo...

TO WHAT DO YOU OWE YOUR HIGHEST VALUE?

It’s a bizarre things these days to spend hours in the kitchen or stay at home and be a homemaker, just the other day I was casually on the phone to my Grandma and we had a long conversation about recipes, talking about everyday foods we had growing up yet today they are all seen as superfoods. There was always something sprouted, pickled, fresh (herbs/tart cherries) fermented and cultured on the table which were always full of life. I grew up eating lots of fruits and veggies and still do, this was somewhat different to some of my friends and their diets they would snack on junk food instead of celery sticks, even during birthday parties! (Something we all laugh about now). I thought to myself whilst trying to wean out any extra secret information on the telephone, about how much people a...

JUICY CAMPUS QUEEN

Freshman year of college, I was the subject of a contentious feminist debate on my college campus. Remember the website Juicy Campus? (I know…this is going somewhere though) “Who is the biggest ball-busting feminist on campus?” Only one answer, “Meryl Duff,” sat in the replies. Yes, I was browsing Juicy Campus, and yes I found my name in the anonymous reply. My first thought was “Oh my God, people here know me?” and my second thought was “…as a ball-busting feminist?!” Now, after some intense self-reflection as to why I was even looking at the Juicy Campus website, I moved on to how people knew me as a “ball-busting feminist.” Was it “Penis Registration Day” or was it my argument of sexist language in my First Year Seminar? I guess I’ll never know, but I was both proud and slightly incredu...

WHAT IS TEFLON

I’m returning to school at the age of 56, the same year my father retired and moved to a golfing community. You would think that all of the little insecurities that troubled you and held you back in your twenties would be gone. I’m here to tell you, not so much. There are always new and improved anxieties to keep you occupied. When I was trying to pay for my first class of Graduate school this summer my account was put on hold until I had proof of immunizations. Specifically measles, mumps and rubella. I called the on campus health clinic in a panic. “I don’t have any proof,” I explained. “I’m old. My last vaccine was at the age of ten!” This did not deter the maniacally fastidious academic bureaucrat. I could go to a lab for $300.00, she informed me, and have blood drawn to test for titer...

THE DEATH OF HARAMBE DEMONSTRATES AMERICA’S ENGRAINED HYPOCRISY

Last year, the country broke out in rage when the 17-year-old silverback gorilla, Harambe, was killed. Cincinnati zoo officials were forced to make the difficult decision to kill Harambe after a 3-year-old boy crawled into the enclosure and fell into a 12-foot-long moat. Harambe drug the boy through the moat and inadvertently risked ending the boy’s life. The encounter lasted 10 minutes before the decision was made to kill Harambe and save the little boy. This incident obviously shows a severe lack of responsibility of the zoo and a degree of negligence of the parents, but more importantly, it shows the extreme hypocrisy of the American people. First of all, many people responded to this violent tragedy and parent’s reckless behavior with violent and thoughtless remarks. There ...

BREAKING FREE FROM THE PHRASE “BECAUSE I AM A WOMAN, AND I WAS BY MYSELF”

Have you ever been telling a story about an event in your life and used the sentence, “I didn’t do that thing because I was alone and I’m a woman”? Recently I went on a day trip by myself. My husband was working and I didn’t want to stay cooped up inside all day, so I went on a little adventure. While traveling alone that day, something happened that shook me up just a little. I was driving through the mountains and stopping at each lookout point to take pictures, when I came to one that had two cars with four young men standing nearby. They were taking pictures and posing with an American flag and a Trump flag. Here’s the point in the story where I use the phrase, “Because I was alone, and a woman, I chose to stay in my car until they were done.” However, after making eye contact with one...

7 REASONS WHY REJECTION ISN’T AS BAD AS YOU THINK

As someone who’s attempting to break into the creative industry, let’s face it: rejection is inevitable. In fact, it was a recent rejection that motivated me to write this piece because quite frankly, I’m a tad cheesed off from reading the carefully constructed and ever so punitive let-you-down-gently expression, “we regret to inform you… blah…blah…unsuccessful…blah…”  These words are like being slapped in the face with a cold damp dirty dishcloth. “LIFE’S SO UNFAIR,” you whine. Of course it is. So pull yourself together. Step 1: Have a cup of tea and maybe a chocolate biscuit—wait—DEFINITELY a chocolate biscuit. Step 2: Yell the following four formidable letters aloud: N E X T! Because ultimately, it’s how we deal with rejection that determines our future. Whether it’s a relationship gone...

PERCEPTION IS REALITY: LESSONS LEARNED AS A SOCIAL MEDIA INTERN

I am a millennial. There is a societal belief that because of the year in which I was born it is my job to understand social media. There is also a societal belief that all I care about is social media. And while the negative connotation associated with both beliefs is unwelcomed, those statements are not exactly wrong. Technically, it is my job to understand social media. And yes, I do care a lot about social media, but not in the way some individuals might think. Instagram has over 500 million active monthly users, and those users have shared over 40 billion photos since the start of the social media giant. There is no shortage of individuals creating, sharing and “#regram-ing” content, which makes one wonder, how and when did a feed full of sunrises, cat videos and avocado toast become ...

MAKING SENSE OF TERROR

It’s about the denial of safe space, the unnerving sense they might hit any place at any time… ◇ Our idea of terrorism is composed from the perspective of victims, government, and media based on what makes sense to us: the “sane” and “normal” people. However, the painful yet much needed to be addressed issue is: How do we make sense of those who commit these horrendous acts of violence? ◇ Many will dismiss this question, because they will not wish to engage with any sort of understanding of people who bomb innocent civilians—I recognise that—it’s far easier to brand violent persons as psychopaths. Nevertheless, demonising will not wash the stain of terrorism from our public spaces or our own minds. ◇ The majority who commit acts of barbarity are not mentally ill. Often, they are lured into...

IT’S TIME FOR PORN TO CHANGE

There are an infinite number of issues to address in this day and age, and an infinite number of ways to make a difference. But, hear me out. What if we looked at the subjects of gender norms, stereotypes, relationships, social constructs, self-love etc… through the lens of the adult film industry? Porn is so easily accessible (thanks to the internet) and unfortunately it perpetuates stereotypes, unhealthy sexual habits and unrealistic expectations about sex. Furthermore, the pornography industry is dominated by “the male gaze”  (study up on that too) and men in general. How many times have you watched porn and felt empowered? I believe many young adults have subconsciously formed skewed perceptions of sex based on what they see in adult films. Where does that leave us? &...

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