Recent Must Reads: A Weekly Roundup

The first time I recall “going out of body,” I was 7 years old. I didn’t “make” it happen. I didn’t tell myself to do it. I had been lying on a bed when a teenage boy I didn’t know began molesting me. The next thing I knew, I was hovering on the ceiling, watching events from a high perch, not understanding at first that the girl “down there” was me. I tried to tell “her” to get up and run, to kick and scream, to shout “Bloody Murder” as her mother had taught her, but she wouldn’t move, and I became disgusted with her.

These out of body episodes lasted throughout my teenage years and into adulthood when I entered a relationship with an abusive man. In the years when I worked with therapists, we talked about my history of sexual abuse, domestic violence and rape. We discussed their impact on my chronic depression and anxiety, and hyper-vigilance. But I don’t recall ever hearing the term “Dissociative Identity Disorder” until a number of years ago in a fiction writing workshop, when the facilitator offered hand outs on mental health/illness conditions.

The point of the exercise was to choose a “disorder” you might apply to a character. In our brief discussion, it became clear to me how “ordinary” so many mental health diagnoses are. All of us in the group could identify ourselves or other people we knew as dealing with issues of Anxiety, Depression, PTSD, eating disorders, bipolar, schizophrenia, OCD etc. The exchange made me feel less alone. I’d been writing about my Out of Body Experiences for some time, since it was the basis of what is now my memoir, The Out of Body Girl. But I’d never realized until then that the condition was an actual diagnosis, which meant many people experienced it. In my mind I had always seen it as a coping mechanism, which of course it is, but I hadn’t yet classified it as a mental disorder.

I bring this up because September is National Suicide Awareness Month. With that in mind, I decided to share a story from The Mighty which was published earlier this year. he article crossed my Facebook feed today and felt important to include. We live in times where mental health/illness issues are being discussed more openly, but still can carry strong stigma. It’s certainly understandable why people keep these conditions secret: our jobs, our personal safety can depend upon it. I feel fortunate that I am in a position where I can discuss my own diagnoses freely. I know my own personal “signs” /symptoms that alert me to seek help. I’ve considered suicide more times than I can count…..and always the suicidal thoughts have come in regard to the physical and sexual violence I’ve experienced.

So, please, if you or anyone you know needs help, share the following information:

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741. If you or a loved one is affected by sexual abuse or assault and need help, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area. (from The Mighty)

Other articles this week focus on the White House doxxing America; the latest repeal proposition on Obamacare; the impact of not hiring Native actors for Native roles; and a scholarly article that discusses disabilities.

Lastly, I’ve chosen three pieces on Hilary Clinton and the current discussion of her new book, What Happened. Many stories in the media have denounced the book and suggest Hilary simply “get over it.” Take a look at these pieces for insights on the importance and necessity of Hilary’s book and her lasting legacy.

So, for these stories and more, Please Read On! Your comments are always welcome!

  1. Clinton, who at the time was working on her quick, raw, postelection memoir, What Happened, has been heeding that last bit of her own advice. What Happened is 100 percent more candid than anything she has previously expressed in 25 years in national politics. But what makes it unusual and unusually valuable — what sent its early critics into apoplexy even before its publication — is that in it, Hillary Clinton is expressing anger, something she was not free to do during the election, even as her opponents, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, were admired for their ability to channel the rage of their supporters.
“Hillary Clinton Is Finally Expressing Some Righteous Anger. Why Does That Make Everyone Else So Mad?”/ by Rebecca Traister/ The Cut/ September 15, 2017


2. Disability and illness have the power to extract us from linear, progressive time with its normative life stages and cast us into a wormhole of backward and forward acceleration, jerky stops and starts, tedious intervals and abrupt endings. Some of us contend with the impairments of old age while still young; some of us are treated like children no matter how old we get. The medical language of illness tries to reimpose the linear, speaking in terms of the chronic, the progressive, and the terminal, of relapses and stages. But we who occupy the bodies of crip time know that we are never linear, and we rage silently—or not so silently—at the calm straightforwardness of those who live in the sheltered space of normative time.
“Six Ways of Looking at Crip Time”/ by Ellen Samuels/ Disabilities Studies Quarterly/ Summer 2017


3. But, the Trump administration is showing that for dissenters, democratic principles don’t necessarily apply. Between his campaign trail, where he regularly reminisced about the “good old days” when protestors used to be carried out in stretchers, and the recent doxxing episode, we’ve seen how the administration seeks to make examples of those who dare to assert their resistance.
“The White House is Doxxing America”/ by Kathi Valeii/ DAME/ September 18, 2017


4. But some of those caught in the box made by rows of officers said police overstepped their bounds, using excessive force and chemical spray on people who were not protesting, including residents trying to get home and members of the media. As police closed in from all sides, they struck their batons in unison on the pavement, in a cadence march.
“As Arrests are Made, Protesters Question the Tactics used by St. Louis Police”/ by Doug Moore/ St. Louis Post-Dispatch/ September 19, 2017


5. After the riots, Marsha and her friend Sylvia Rivera (another Trans activist) founded STAR (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries), and they used every penny they had to set up a halfway house for runaway LGBT youth. Seriously, EVERYTHING they made went into clothing and food for the “children” they supported. They were utterly selfless. They were still often homeless and went without themselves to help their kids. Marsha became known as the “Queen Mother” of the house.
“Celebrating The Life And Legacy Of Marsha P. Johnson, Badass Of Stonewall”/ by F Yeah History/ BUST/ September 18, 2017


6. “What Happened,” though hardly an Augustinian confession, is much closer to the bone than anything Clinton has ever published. She knows that the voice of the vanquished isn’t always welcome, but she remains defiant: “There were plenty of people hoping that I, too, would just disappear,” she acknowledges. “But here I am.”
“Hillary Clinton Looks Back in Anger”/ by David Remnick/ The New Yorker/ September 25, 2017


7. It is troubling to see roles meant for Native women being given to those who are not Native, especially when that character is the victim of violence. One in three Native women are survivors of sexual assault, and while it hasn’t been publicized until recently, there is an epidemic of missing and murdered Native women on this continent. Just a few weeks ago, a young Native woman in North Dakota who was eight months pregnant went missing and her remains were later discovered in a nearby river. Her child had been ripped from her womb and taken by her alleged killers. Her story is not uncommon. Right now there are thousands of missing Native women and others whose murder cases remain unsolved. Not selecting a Native woman to embody the bravery of these women is a disgrace. This particular story reminds me of my mother Sally, who was killed by a drunk driver in front of my house. She died in a ditch and was eight months pregnant with a baby girl, who also died. I was 8 years old.
“‘Suicide Squad’s Adam Beach On Why Casting Of Others For Native American Roles Is So Hurtful”/ by Adam Beach/ Deadline/ September 14, 2017


8. An important, often overlooked, facet of economic inequality in the United States is that it is a product of historical and present-day forms of racism—labor, housing and other policies and practices—that have systematically disadvantaged racial/ethnic minorities in their pursuit of economic opportunities. One result of these historical and ongoing forces is a vast and persistent economic disparity between Black and White families in the United States, of which Americans seem largely unaware. The present research documented both the pervasiveness and magnitude of this general lack of awareness and relevant socio-structural correlates and began to explore the psychological processes and motives that promote or undermine awareness and/or acknowledgment of societal racial economic inequality.
“Study Finds White People Wildly Overestimate Racial Economic Equality”/ by Kenrya Rankin/ Colorlines/ September 19, 2017


9. “Who is the genizaro?” asks Virgil Trujillo, a ranch manager in Abiquiu. “We know who the Apache are, the Comanche, the Lakota. We know all this. Who’s the genizaro? See, in our history that was suppressed. Spanish people and white people came in. [They said] ‘bad Indian, bad Indian.’ “
“Descendants Of Native American Slaves In New Mexico Emerge From Obscurity”/ by John Burnett/ NPR/ December 29, 2016


10. When looking at a spider’s web can you point to the 8th spun web, or the 108th? There are those who claim this astounding ability — those who take full credit for crafting, spin by spin, a better life than ours, a life without aid. If you had help paying for college, if someone bought you your first car, if you had health insurance growing up, if your mom never cried over $17, you were lucky. The Hail Mary toss of birth landed you in a family that could put you on a soccer team and buy cleats as your foot grew. And someone was home to help you with your math and give you a gummy vitamin each morning. That’s called aid, by the way. And not all kids get it, but all kids should.
“Ketchup Sandwiches and Other Things Stupid Poor People Eat”/ by Anastasia Basil/ Think Progress/ September 8, 2017


11. But Graham-Cassidy would forbid states from using any parts of those grants on insurance plans that covered abortion in any cases other than rape, incest, or a life-threatening medical emergency. States that currently allow insurance coverage of abortion—including states such as California, Massachusetts, and New York, which require all insurance providers that cover maternity care to also cover abortion care—would be hampered by the rules of the grants. If they wanted to use the block grants to subsidize parts of their health care programs, they would have to limit abortion coverage to those parts that didn’t include federal money.
“The GOP’s Latest Obamacare Repeal Proposal Finds New Ways to Be Disastrous for Women’s Health”/ by Christina Cauterucci/ Slate/ September 20, 2017


12. It takes strength and resilience to work through trauma. It takes courage to keep breathing when it feels like everything is falling down around you. One day you will wake up and realize you have had more good days than bad days over the past week. It’s a messy, scary, bittersweet, sometimes beautiful, sometimes ugly, ride – but it’s your ride. It’s OK to feel. It’s OK to have bad days. And most importantly, it’s OK to heal.
“What’s Happening When Dissociative Identity Disorder Surfaces in an Adult”/ by Grace Manheim-Loftis/ The Mighty/ March 1, 2017


13. After Al Smith’s loss in 1928, it took the Democrats 32 years to nominate another Catholic. The path from Clinton’s defeat to the first female president is likely to be shorter. It’s perhaps no coincidence that there’s already a historically strong crop of likely women contenders for the Democratic nomination, including senators Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, and Kirsten Gillibrand. Sooner or later, America will have a female president, and she will be properly grateful to Clinton for helping clear the path. That’s a significant legacy that no loss, however devastating, can ever tarnish.
“Hilary Clinton’s Legacy is Huge and Lasting”/ by Jeet Heer/ New Republic/ September 14, 2017


Joyce Hayden left her university teaching job two years ago in order to pursue her own artistic work. An assemblage artist, painter, and writer, Joyce is currently in the process of acquiring an agent to represent her memoir, The Out of Body Girl, which describes her 8 year relationship with a charismatic gambler and the dangerous road that eventually led to her freedom. Her chapbook of poems, Lost Handprint, is forthcoming from Dandelion Review. A freelance editor and writing coach, Joyce’s writing services and a selection of her artwork can be found at her website Joyce is available for commission art work, including celebration shrines for loved ones and pets.

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