Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Rocco, Sam, Ivy and Kayleigh Response


I really enjoyed reading this the VICE article. Although it is written to address an issue for men in the UK, there is clear if not exact parallels to the American experience as well. This is what hetero white men should be writing about!! I found it really interesting that the author touched of the parallel between PTSD and masculinity. "Born six years after D-Day, my dad grew up like so many baby-boomers, with a father whose deep emotional repression left him unable to love, let alone talk about any of his feelings. It's a hereditary condition-men raised by men unable to communicate emotionally, the symptoms of what we now know as PTSD becoming synonymous with masculinity. This is wildly fucked up when you stop to consider it." The group described in the Atlantic article on teaching positive masculinity was a great addition to this idea that we need to do something about the current state of masculinity. This piece addresses "seven norms of the Western masculinity ideology: Avoidance of Femininity, Fear and Hatred of Homosexuals, Self-Reliance, Aggression, Achievement/Status, Non-Relational Attitudes Toward Sex, and Restrictive Emotionality." This type of taking agency for masculinity and the violence it perpetuates is exactly what men need to be doing to fight sexism. It always baffles me how we encourage females to take self defense classes, travel in groups, ect. instead of confronting the root of the problem: the way masculinity objectifies women. 


I found the idea of 'literary medicine' absolutely fascinating, and I found the idea of writing as healing from medical trauma, especially brain injury, to be even more interesting. This kind of trauma, which intersects the emotional and the physical, isn't something we've talked much about in class. One of my best friends and roommates' brother went into a coma after a car accident that put him in rehabilitation for five years. He had to learn how to do basically everything all over again. One of his biggest complaints after the fact was not having enough support from all the doctors and medical attention he got regrading his mental health and emotional state after the accident. He suffered a very particular trauma, in which he was the supposed passenger in the car accident and was abandoned by the driver at the scene. However because, despite scarring for a passenger-side seatbelt, he was found unconscious in the driver's seat with alcohol in his system, he was also charged with DUI and put through the court system. I wonder how someone in this situation way emotionally neglected by medical professionals, which speaks to the empathy (or lack of) in doctors discussed in the New York Times article. After many year at trying to get his life back, my friend's brother has been able to secure himself a job for the first time at the age of 33.

The opening paragraph of the Moran article made me think instantly about the things we obsess over as writers. I've talked about this a lot in Jaime's classes, this idea that if there is something we feel the need or desire to write about, we will, and probably come back to it, possibly time and time again. I love the line "If I could frame the experience, I could somehow control it." I think about how so many of us seem so uncomfortable with a lack or loss of control in our lives. Writing is such an important tool to have and teach in this way, as many alternatives to coping with loss of control are often detrimental, such as drug use and eating disorders. 
The article on death was another example of why it's never a good idea to suppress or deny emotion, as well as how our society values doing just that. I had never thought about it in terms of death, but it made a lot of sense. Part of me has this feeling that if we were to become involved in death, face our mortality, we would become even more aware of how precious and fragile life is and more unsatisfied with the capitalist obsession with production that is placed upon us (see example about returning to work 3 days after spouse dies). I feel as if there have also got to be some major long-term physical effects on suppressing such intense emotional response to an occurrence such as death. 

Right now I am participating in the Occupy PRW event, and we had a teach-in tonight during which I thought a lot about the unconscious. One female POC was speaking on the idea of why an occupy movement comes across as so foreign and perhaps bizarre to us, especially in every day conversation. She asked the group to use their time at the event to occupy our minds with what it is that makes us uncomfortable in claiming this space and what learned beliefs/values hold us back from more radical movement and protest. I thought about all the things I have unconsciously internalized in my 21 years, how much unlearning I have had to do to be in the position I am in now. I thought about the parents that raised me, the religion I was brought up to believe, ect. Once again, I would suggest the movie Waking Life if you haven't seen it already, as it goes into the relationship between the unconscious and the dream state.
As far as this all relating to Writing and Healing, I was curious as to whether or not you had even considered exploring the idea of a dream journal and dream analyzation as a means of healing. I saw a therapist in Ithaca for some time who offered dream analysis for patients with reoccurring dreams and that sort of thing. I think researching more on how writing, healing and the unconscious might all be connected would be well worth your time. 

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