welcome to any other name

feminism isn't about making women strong. women are already strong. it's about changing the way the world perceives that strength. - g.d. anderson

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as women, we, and those in our lives, refer to our psychological distresses ‘by any other name’. any other name but what they may actually be: if we’re offended, we are sensitive; if we don’t let someone in, we are a bitch; if we say no, we are selfish or a prude. if we are opinionated, we are bossy and loud.

it is all too often that we won't address what may be going on beyond this language. an important element of this, which i've just detailed, is our external selves, our selves in another’s eye. this thought, that we are unreasonable or over-reactive, is damaging, and contributes to a second prong of perception: the lens through which we view ourselves.

i personally suffer with my mental health, and I know I’m not alone. I also know that frequently my mood is attributed to pms; my nearly-chronic exhaustion and my crying spells are attributed to always unnecessarily stressing myself out or just being plain overemotional; my disordered relationship with food is just my being superficially concerned about my weight. and it’s not just others who pass these judgments. these are some I am quick to pass on myself. and that kind of criticism is easy to become unproductive. 

so here’s another aspect: how do I let myself let go a little bit (without judging myself for it) and have fun? how do I make myself, and important people in my life, understand that it’s ok for a woman to care about her intellect, her friends and family, and her career and successes, all while caring about the way she presents herself to the world? she should be able to protect her mental and physical health, and in the process, have the chance to identify how it is she feels, what it is she wants to say. it shouldn't seem wrong to have the need to be understood.  

on my worst days, when I’m feeling depressed and unable to get out of bed, or my autoimmune-related inflammations or my endometriosis is acting up, sometimes the best thing to do is put on a favorite dress, draw on a cat-eye, give my friends a hug, and get my day started. but that's not easy. especially when i'm told that my hardships aren't legitimate. i'm told that if i'm crying, i am hysterical.

welcome to ‘any other name’, a project I’m really excited about. I wanted to start this site as a resource for ladies to address mental health, and as a forum for us to openly discuss issues surrounding other aspects of our health and to practice radical self-care. i also want this to be a place for learning and growth. therefore, i hope that my posts ("thoughts") will not be the focus. rather, the conversations i have will be.

I need to openly acknowledge right here in this first post that I, coming from my own, pretty limited, cultural background, am only able to speak for myself and from my own perspective. so I welcome any insight that may be useful for me and the scope of my project. therefore, please do not hesitate to contact me with any suggestions or concerns, etc.. there’s even a really handy “contact” link at the bottom of the page, which took me a while to figure out how to include, because technology, but i gladly welcome your feedback! i hope i can establish this site as a safe space.

-r