For Anyone Who’s Curious About Mild Brain Injury

•September 16, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I am stressed.  I need to write about it just to get it out.

I know I’m intelligent, and people expect me to be able to handle 18 hours of course work.  Also, because I’m intelligent, people do not understand that I have brain damage!

Despite my having explained myself to my friends a million times, they still don’t seem to understand that cognitive functioning involves a lot more than intelligence.  I think my friends think I’m making excuses for not having a “real job”, or I’m being a whiner, or I’m lazy, but my ability to handle the stress associated with multi-tasking does not work as well as other people’s, and this is beyond my control!  And it sucks that people can’t empathize!

Like I said, my intelligence is not damaged–or at least, it’s not that damaged–but the part of my brain that is designed to handle the stress of multi-tasking got scratched against my skull when my Blazer flipped over in 2003.  Other parts of it got scratched too, but I would definitely say that my ability to handle stress in multi-tasking is the most serious challenge I face when I compare myself now to the way I was before the accident.

Before 2003, I juggled a million things: honors classes, the speech team, piano lessons, saxophone, choir, drama (wow, how were my parents surprised when I came out of the closet?!), writing for the school newspaper, and a bunch of other less salient but nonetheless time-consuming activities, and it was easy and I still got good grades!  Now, juggling significantly fewer responsibilities causes significantly more stress.

Having 18 hours of course work creates a lot of tasks and a lot of stress for anybody.  A lot of people who I know can handle it, and even work outside jobs.  They expect me to be able to be like them.  I can’t.  Today I feel like I’m on the verge of shutting down as I’ve done a few times in the past.

When I say “shutting down,” I mean if I can’t manage the stress of my tasks, I wind up refusing to get out of bed in the mornings, leave the house, shower, the whole nine yards for weeks or maybe even months, and I lose control of the ability to care about the consequences of those decisions.

The first time this happened was in 2003, right after the accident.  I went to a couple shrinks whose beloved DSM betrayed them and me, and they ended up treating me for something I didn’t have.  The following spring, 2004, it happened again.  I was able to hide it from my parents for awhile, but eventually they figured it out and I was sent to a bunch more shrinks.  The next year, 2005, it happened again.  I quit showing up to class and failed them all.  I quit showing up to work and got fired.  I was shut down though, and I didn’t care until reality kicked back in several months later.

Last spring, compounded by depression over a loss in my life, it almost happened again, but I prevented it by being aware of the danger and reducing my involvement in speech.  Some people started treating me differently, presumably because of my lack of involvement, but I think it was the best decision I could have made because I managed to stay at least partially functioning and get through the semester without any severe consequences, and I’m actually proud of myself, despite the way spring 2009 may have ended up looking on paper.

The past few days, I have been feeling the urge to stop caring.  I’ve been resisting it successfully, but–and I know this sounds strange–actively resisting the urge to shut down creates even more stress.  I need a break to feel relaxed, but there isn’t time for it.

I’m hoping that taking a few minutes to bitch about it on my blog will help reduce the stress just by getting it out.  Also, having the empathy of my friends would help, but I can tell that some of them don’t even understand why I’m that stressed in the first place, and I really don’t feel like explaining my brain damage to people over and over again.  If they don’t get it by now, they obviously don’t care to, or can’t, and I don’t need them to.  It’d be nice if they did, though.


Read This Even If You Are Uninterested in Video Games: Xbox 360’s Project Natal Is Big News for EVERYBODY!!

•June 14, 2009 • Leave a Comment

When I first saw this video, I thought it was an April Fool’s joke. It’s not:

“This is a pivotal moment that will carry with it a wave of change, the ripples of which will reach far beyond video games.” -Steven Spielberg

This technology is so revolutionary and f-ing futuristic that it’s scary! There is not a single conspiracy theory on earth to which I subscribe, but come on now! Like Big Brother isn’t on the other end of that thing? That being said, I want one.

Honestly, the implications of this are vast.  I’m going to e-mail my speech team about this.

On How Men Might Include Themselves in Feminist Discussion

•June 12, 2009 • 4 Comments

This is a reponse to a comment I received on a blog I posted for my feminist theory class.

Pat Milhoff writes, “… I think the question is how do we reach out to today’s young men? For example, how could a Women’s Studies Program attract more men? How can second wave feminists learn to communicate with today’s young males without sounding strident or shrill. Equality is the goal and I think many men and women are surprised to find the wage gap still exists, court decisions like Ledbetter and Hulteen are still made, and equality is still a goal.
That’s my two cents and you can keep the change until we see real change…”

How can second wave feminists learn to communicate with today’s young males without sounding strident or shrill?  This is pretty rude, and I’m sorry for that, but it’s my honest reaction.

I know some second wave feminists who have yet to let go of their anger.  Anger causes otherwise intelligent people to sound strident.  Phrases like “you can keep the change until we see real change” are pretty strident, wouldn’t you say?  I’m just picking at that comment because I feel that it is one example of a larger issue that we need to address.

I think such comments come from a place of anger or resentment.  I understand that resentment, myself.  Gay people get bitch-slapped by society all the time.  Trust me, I get it, I get angry too.  But anger isn’t helpful in diplomacy. 

Christine Cox puts it very well in her comment on my post.  “men… are forced to comply with the system just as we [women] are.”  I know it’s easy to be angry, but we CAN’T make men feel like villians, or we (men) will simply view us (feminists) as enemies.  I gather from my own experience that a lot of young women actually feel the same way as what (I’m guessing) a majority of young men feel: feminists are man-hating bitches.

Next, I have to disagree with the implication that “real change” has not occured.  I have to disagree with it STRONGLY.  Let’s look at this by analogizing women to homosexuals.  Like I said, the queer community gets bitch-slapped by society on a regular basis.  Still, I’d rather be living in 2009 than before Stonewall.  There has been incredible progress for gay rights since Stonewall, and yes, there is still a LOT of room for improvement, but the need for further change doesn’t negate the change that has already occured. 

Coming back to women’s issues, take a look at June Cleaver and Lucy Ricardo, then take a look at Roseanne and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  These media representations show very clearly the change that has occured since the mid-twentieth century.  I believe that anyone who takes a few moments to reflect can identify a number of ways in which change has occured.

So, what can a Women’s Studies program do to attract men?  I can think of a few ideas.  First, in Psychology of Women, I’m learning a bit about marketing strategies.  While marketing frequently relies on stereotyping, such stereotypes are nonetheless effective.  If you want to reach out to men as a group, how about creating some flyers that look masculine and are obviously aimed at young men?  Or, young men stereotypically view feminists as bitches.  How about a marketing campaign that makes a joke out of it?  “Feminist Thought: It’s Not Just for Bitches Anymore”  You could even use that strategy to invite men to read up on Jo Freeman.  Or, how about a campaign that says, “Women prefer to date enlightened men.  Come to our meeting.”  Stereotypes are based on truth, and they are useful in marketing.  Reach out.

Those are my thoughts for now.  I might have more later.  Check back.


•June 12, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Welcome to my blog!  Before I post any of my own, I’m probably going to poke around other people’s blogs for awhile.  That’s probably how you got here. 🙂  As long as you’re here, let me tell you about myself and why you should come back and read my future posts.

I named this blog “Weird Perspectives” because that’s exactly what I have.  I am interested in most things sociological, and I constantly interpret the world around me from sociological perspectives. 

I’m liberal, but I have no more interest in the Democratic party than I have in Republicans.  I am interested in politics though.

I was raised in the upper middle class, white, and male.  Thank God I’m also gay or I might have never had the opportunity to see the world from the perspective of the powerless.  My experiences as a gay man could fill pages and pages, and each of them has helped me to see the experiences of my youth (upper middle class, white, and male) through a clearer and much more critical lens.

I am a libra, and as the horoscopes say, I was born with a unique ability to see, interpret, understand, and communicate the merit on all sides of conflicting arguments.  This skill–combined with my sociological background–has given me great insight into issues of gender, race, class, religion, sexuality, and all the other fun issues that complicate our journey toward a more perfect society.

Some day, I hope to help.  And that’s why I’m blogging.  Come back soon, and enjoy some weird perspectives!