Gender is – some personal reflections

By Emy: https://oneemy.wordpress.com/

It has been over a year now since I changed my name and asked those around me to refer to me in neutral terms. However this year of visibility is but a scratch of my experiences over the years. Gender in definition, much like my experience of it, is boundless, polymorphic.

Gender is power. This is what I have come to learn. It may enslave us or set us free. And though I have been publicly non-binary for a year now – still I swing between ensnarement and relief.

My perception of our world is grounded in its construction, or more precisely; in the knowledge of our construction of it. When I first read Judith Butler’s ideas on gender, they resonated deeply (gender is a social construction – not some imposed and objective truth). Yet I made no effort to share this truth with those around me, and certainly no effort to share the validation it provided my own identity. Around the same time, when the term non-binary entered my sphere, I was reluctant to validate it. Bitter with my own ineptitude to express myself, I instead convinced myself that this was just one more pre-constructed category to place oneself into.

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Not another F*ing Christmas? Reflecting on childhood memories

By Halima; https://halimasnoussi.wordpress.com/

When we think about healing we often envision a great big light at the end of an uphill ride full of sunshine and smiles. The truth is healing is more like a rollercoaster. Full of ups riddled in anticipation and excitement and crushing, stomach tightening and frightening downs, such as is life. Healing comes in fully accepting and embracing all these moments as they are.

Winter isn’t an easy time for many of us. For those healing from trauma and abuse, it’s also a time where grief tends to sneak back in.

Winter and all its celebrations are a constant yearly reminder of all that we lost as children and now as adults. Because let’s be honest, time does not heal all wounds. The wound that is left by the grief of being in survival Self only grows deeper the longer it is left to be. Because it’s not just the childhood that we lost. It’s all the moments as adults where we couldn’t be ourselves that are still stolen from us.

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The November Diaries (TND) – Day 7 – seasonal and other triggers for depression symptoms

By Bel; https://thepostgradvagabond.wordpress.com/

Though this post is labeled as Day 7 of TND, today is actually Thursday, November 18, 2021. I completely fell off the momentum of TND and skipped nearly two weeks of blogging! For shame, Bel! Lots to catch you up on, so I won’t even try, for this post. But there have been many recent developments in my life that I’m excited to share at a later date.

Anyway, it’s 10:16pm right now and approaching my bedtime. Aiming for before 11pm, these days… I know, you can call me Grandma Bel. So gonna keep this post short, sweet, and real.

Today and yesterday were both meh, mood-wise. I think this recent dip in mental state might be attributed to winter weather, shorter days, less sunlight. Seasonal depression is the technical term, and I’m beginning to think I have it (like many others). Another potential cause of my low moods is that I was triggered after watching the sports documentary, Over the Limit, yesterday. The film follows Russian rhythmic gymnast, Margarita Mamun, in the months leading up to the 2016 Olympic Games, which she ended up winning. It’s a film about Rita’s journey, and what stands out is the abuse she faces– verbal, emotional, psychological– at the hands of her coaches. Watching what she was subjected to brought me back to my own gymnastics days; my 10 years in the sport left me emotionally and psychologically traumatized. Nearly a decade after retirement, I’m still dealing with the fallout of my gymnastics days, battling what I call my “gymnastics demons”, and working through these demons with extensive therapy and journaling and meditation. Some days are better than others, and the past couple days were mere low points in the never-ending up-down cycle of my mental states.

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Why leaving teaching was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made

By Claudia: https://lifeofcloud.net/

In case you are unaware, back in Canada I was a Special Education teacher. It was a role I passionately poured myself into, and I did it for 9 years. When I first moved to France, I did English teaching here, too, and then took a post as a Special Education assistant teacher at a private school. At which point COVID hit.

COVID was a kind of blessing in disguise, because I had to search for alternative means of income. I knew and had spoken about how teaching didn’t feel as though it was for me anymore, for a few years already. I even had decided prior to leaving Canada that I would search for “something else to do, more closely related to books or writing”, because I was feeling the drain of education emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. 

This was felt even more strongly in France, as I realized that teachers are truly not valued or respected members of society. Even in Canada, I was seeing how everyone began turning on teachers. Considering I had felt the drain of the profession before, I knew it was going to mount post-COVID. 

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