Sunday, May 18, 2014

Soapbox Saturday #7

I know it's a Sunday, but for continuity's sake, let's all just pretend that it's still Saturday.

*gets up on soapbox*

Before I begin this week's soapbox, I must first give a trigger warning. This week's rant deals with sensitive issues of the sexual abuse variety. So, if this will upset you please don't read it. Instead, please enjoy this picture of my puppy at the park. He likes the park. Text will start right after so...don't go beyond the photo.

Marco at the park.

Anyway, my friend posted a photo to facebook of a sign on a post saying,

I don't think my shoulder, bra strap, belly button, legs, or back are going to distract any of the male students or faculty. This dress code is telling girls to cover up so that they don't distract males because "boys will be boys". It's hot. Girls are going to wear shorts and tank tops. We should stop teaching women to change so that they don't have to fear men, and start teaching men to respect women. This is simply perpetuating rape culture.

And someone commented on it saying that "women should think about what they wear" because men are "basically predators" and that the way you dress does "invite bedroom thoughts." Basically, she was saying that the way women dress is what causes them to be sexually assaulted. Which is wrong.

No matter how a woman dresses, it is never her fault for being sexually harassed, assaulted, or raped. End of discussion.

I go to the gym and there are plenty of fine, male specimens walking around in tight shirts and short little shorts. My first thought is not, "Huh, how about I force myself sexually upon them without their consent or want." The same woman said that this is because I am not a man. But do you want to know why I don't think about raping the sexually attractive young men at my gym in their revealing, provocative clothing? Because my parents taught me that rape is wrong.

Men are not slaves to their sexual urges. They are not predators. We have grown past our animal instincts. Men do not rape simply because they are men. And women thinking that means two thing; that they have very little respect for the men in their lives and that they view themselves as objects.

And that makes me angry. So very angry. To all of my women friends out there, we are not objects. We deserve respect. We deserve to walk down the street and not be scared that we might be raped. That, I feel, is a basic human right. And believing in the "boys will be boys" idea, only fuels the need for this fear.

We shouldn't be teaching our daughters how not to get raped because we cannot make that decision for the guy. We should be teaching our sons not to rape. And I know that sounds simple, but there seems to be a lot of confusion as to what rape actually is.

Violent, aggressive, and predatory rape has very little to do with what the woman (or man) is wearing and has everything to do with power. The people who commit these acts are in need of professional rehabilitation. Everyday rape, if you will excuse the term, is caused by ignorance. So to make things clear here's a few pointers if you ever find yourself in question about whether or not what you are about to do justifies as rape, here are a couple of pointers.

1. If you and your significant other are in a "sexy" situation and you start to take it a bit further and he or she says "stop", if you keep going...that's rape. Even if they have had sex with you before. You need permission every time.

2. If you two are in the middle of having sex and he or she says "stop" but you keep going, that's rape.

3. If he or she is unconscious and you take advantage of that by having "sexy sexy time" with them, that's rape.

4. If he or she does not say anything and you start the "sexy sexy time" that's rape.

5. If he or she says ANYTHING except "yes" and you have sex with them, that's rape.

6. The aforementioned rules apply if you are having or planning to have sex with a stranger, a boyfriend or girlfriend, or you husband or wife. YES, even if you are married you have absolutely NO right to have sex with your partner if they do not want it.

So there you have it. There are six basic, simple rules to avoid raping someone.

All of this is my way of saying that it's not the victim's fault when they are raped. This way of thinking is wrong and the only way that we will change the way society thinks is by standing up and speaking out.

*gets off soapbox*

Friday, May 16, 2014


So, this week has gone by incredibly fast. Too fast for me to even appreciate what it was. This week, was the last week of term. This week I went to my last lecture, handing in my last essay, and turned in my last piece of course work in my undergraduate career. Unfortunately, I'm not done just yet. My last undergraduate exam is on June 2 and then I will officially be done. Unless I really screw those two exams up, I will graduate in July and leave Aberdeen in August.

It's hard for me to believe that it's almost over and that I won't be here in three months. I'm...sad. And excited. And scared. There are a lot of feelings swimming around in my head right now, but "sad" is definitely the front runner. I knew that it probably wouldn't be forever, but I still can't believe that four years is almost up. How do I move four years of things? How do I leave four years of relationships? I suppose everyone has to do it at some point in their life, but Aberdeen has been my home for four years...I just can't imagine leaving it.

I think maybe it would be easier if I weren't going back to the states. Keeping up friendships across seas is difficult. And I have some good friends here. Friend that I have no intention of losing. I've been going over it in my mind and I honestly don't want to leave because of some of the friends I've made here.

Anyway, enough of all of the reflection. Currently, it is what it is. I will be leaving in August and heading back stateside. Maybe I'll be back in the UK for good some day. I'd like that. But it's not now. Time to look to the future. The friends who are meant to stay friends will.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Soapbox Saturday

It's been a while since I've brought out my soapbox. I've been a little busy with my dissertation and my job and my classes. But I noticed something in the past couple of days that made me want to get out my soapbox and rant at all the drivers out there.

*steps up on the soapbox*

You all realize that it's illegal to go through an intersection when there is no where to go right? I know that the light is green, but if traffic is backed up through the intersection it is illegal to block it. I'm not making this up am I?

You just cause grid locks people! I know in this a fast paced society and we all think that we MUST get to where ever we are going RIGHT NOW, but come on! What good is it going to do for anyone if you sit in the intersection and make it impossible for anyone else to go through? None. That's how much good.

But if you absolutely MUST go through the intersection and sit and wait in the middle of it because for some reason it will get you to your destination a WHOLE F***ING MINUTE FASTER do me a favor and don't park in the middle of a cross walk.

I understand that you can see and that you would never ever think about thinking about what's best for other people, but just for a moment...try. I know it's hard, but try to think about what it's like if you don't have the ability to process visual information. It's not easy to get around a car parked in the middle of a cross walk when you have the legal right of way to cross when you can't see the car. That's when you become a safety hazard. And we don't want that do we?

So do everyone a favor and just wait to go through the intersection when you have the ability to go ALL the way through. You won't make me want to kick your car repetitively when I have to go all the way around you.

*gets off of soapbox*

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Procrastination Station

I'm trying very hard to write my dissertation, but it's slow going. My brain appears to turn itself off around 3 in the afternoon. It's due in exactly one month! And I just can't seem to get the juices going. I know I won't get anything done if I don't get started, and I have started, but I can't seem to get past this one paragraph.


I honestly keep thinking of how much of a hassle it'll be if I don't graduate and have to stay on for another semester in terms of visa and accommodation and that is what is keeping me going at this point. My brain may think that it's time to be done, but I know deep, deep down that I'll hate past Erin if future Erin has to deal with not graduating this summer.

I suppose that's as good as any motivation.

Anywho, perhaps in the next couple of weeks I'll get around to posting up pictures of my visit to the Highland Wildlife Park in Aviemore.

Monday, March 3, 2014

EDA Week 2014: Sock It To Eating Disorders #7

*I wanted to write this on Sunday but I was without internet access during the times I was able to write it. So, here it is just a day late...I guess two since it's past midnight now.*
My socks today are no socks at all! Bare feet for me! Ok, I actually did wear socks today. But hey, what do you want from me? I live in Aberdeen where raining cats and dogs is a warm, summer day. Just go along with me for the sake of the point I am going to try to make.

The reason I decided that today my feet should be completely revealed is because that is what this whole week has been working towards. I sort of laid my cards on the table on day one when I told my story, but today is all about fully coming out of hiding. It is about revealing something naked, true, and ugly (ok, not ugly but you all have to admit that feet are pretty weird!).

Eating Disorders are not pretty. They are something so purely ugly, that we as a society, don't want to look at them. We don't want to acknowledge that they really exist. I've actually had someone very close to me before tell me that I was faking for attention and that everyone has insecurities. And they were right. Everyone does have insecurities, but not everyone looks at their 99 pound body and thinks "You are fat! Fatty fat, fat, fat!" It's because we don't like looking at them that we get ignorance. It's because we don't look at them that it took me years to realize that normal people don't think that about themselves every waking moment of the day.

Eating Disorders are like anything we don't like to think about happening to us or people close to us like your child dying, or getting lung cancer from smoking, or being raped. Those things happen to other people, they don't happen to me. Those are all really extreme examples, but you hear it all the time.

Well, children die. A majority of people who smoke will get cancer. Heck, most people will get cancer. Over 80,000 women got raped in the UK alone last year. People have eating disorders.

And it sucks!

The world sucks. Life sucks! But it's only when we realize that it does suck that we can start to make it better. It's only when realize that other people are going through similar sucky situations that the world seems to like throwing us into, that we can begin to empathize. And when we begin to empathize, to step into another person's shoes and try to feel what it is to live a day in their life, that's when the world begins to become a better place because that's when we realize that other people are human beings just like us.

Now, I'm not at all comparing my recovery with someone losing their child. I can't even begin to imagine what that pain feels like. But I do follow a couple of children cancer foundations on Facebook so I do think about it a lot. And I try and empathize with those parents. At that moment, I don't care what their political views are or what way they put the toilet roll on the rack (under people! under! geez!) because they are a human being who is hurting and I will always try to make other human beings feel better. Because if we all just started trying to help others through the pain of life maybe, just maybe, life would suck so much.

So look at my bare feet! They are real! Look at my eating disorder! It is real.

Eating disorders are something that I don't think you ever fully recover from. I still actively remind myself to eat. I still struggle with body image. I still sometimes think it's pleasant to feel hungry. I'm battling with it still. But some days are good. And on those bad days I know I have people on my side.

I don't want anymore deaths caused by eating disorders. And that's why I chose to write this week. The more we look at the ugly truth, the more prepared we are to deal with it. The more willing we are to be on each others' sides.

So this is me at the end of Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2014 saying I am recovering from Anorexia Nervosa. And, while I'm not proud of ever having an eating disorder, I am proud of where I am today.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

EDA Week 2014: Sock it to Eating Disorders #6

My socks today have California poppies on them. 

Poppies are perennials. Perennials have always, at least to me, signified recovery. They live, they die, and then they come back again. Same plant, just different. 

Recovery is hard. 

When I had the realization that something was wrong, actually wrong, I was scared. Once you realize that something is wrong you know that everything is going to change. Because everything is your choice now. 

I certainly didn't know what to do right away. I actually tried to ignore the niggling  feeling that what I was experiencing wasn't normal. But eventually I came to accept it and deal with it. And that was the beginning of the end. 

Once I started recovery, I started on my way to my "rebirth". 

I am me. I still have the basic same personality. I still have the same likes and dislikes. But I can deal better now. I am the same, but I am different too.

It's definitely hard to explain and I don't know if I've done a very good job of it. But basically, I like flowers. They remind me a lot of what life is and how fleeting it is. And they remind me of what I've gone through.