The Nausea – A Story of Self

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If you’ve followed my blog, or even if you’re new, I bet you’ve noticed I’m an over achiever and refuse to just settle for something. Well last fall, my heath was no exception.

Most times being an over achiever is good, but other times, well it bites me in the ass. Starting Ghostface Knitter up was really stressful and it’s really hard to turn a hobby into a business.  I started prepping for the Nov 1 launch of GFK in early September.  I would wake up at 5am and work until I had to get ready at 8am.  Then I’d come home at 6pm and work on GFK until midnight. For weeks I did this.  I was motivated, excited and ready.

Then, in late October I started getting nauseous. Like couldn’t eat nauseous.  I had always had bad PMS and for the first week I just chalked it up to the lady game.  But then it progressed.  I was losing weight, not because I was healthy, but because I was only able to eat bread, oatmeal and juice.  I had started a birth control pill to alleviate my PMS symptoms a few months prior – so every MD I saw ruled that out.  I stopped taking it at the end of the first week of feeling like garbage. So it MUST be stress. Everyone was telling me this – and believe me it doesn’t feel good to have people tell you, you are stressed. Dear friends, keep that crap to yourself.  That kind of shit only makes the stress worse, because now you are conscious about it. So the nausea went on for a month – a few days before Thanksgiving I begged for some anti-nausea meds so I could at least eat during the day.  That helped, but only for a few hours after taking the meds, then the nausea would come back. I literally laid down and panted for 2 months.

Then, I finally went and saw and acupuncturist in early December.  I had REALLY been into this when I lived in Chicago, but got out of it when I moved back to Denver – I don’t know why.   If you’ve never been to acupuncture – the needles don’t hurt, they itch sometimes and you basically lay and take a nap (or at least I do).  However, this acupuncturist is skilled in women’s health.  She  listened to me. Told me that it was hormones causing this and the birth control acerbated it.  At this point she was the only one listening and not handing out referrals to expensive Dr’s, tests, and medicine. She also recommend that I see the Doula at her practice who is skilled in abdominal massage.

I started seeing both.  The most upsetting thing to me is that NO ONE in the medical field asks any of the questions about my menstrual cycle like these two did. And you know what? I discovered that PMS is not normal! We are not supposed to be crampy, bloaty, upset, binge eating, craving, and for lack of a better word – crazy.

So after 2 weeks of seeing them, the nausea was gone and it is still is gone!  Why? Because my reproductive health was upset – my uterus is/was tipped, and thus blocking the natural flow of hormones which the birth control made infinitely worse.  And guess what else? NO PMS.

After this, I have renewed my faith in holistic meds and I refuse to be ashamed or upset about sharing my experience.  I would buy a billboard and write ‘LADIES PMS IS WRONG – LEARN MORE ABOUT YOUR BODIES WITH HOLISTIC MEDICINE!’ if I could.

If you’re interested in more about my journey please email me! ghostfaceknitter@gmail.com

Here’s some reading also:

Take Charge of Your Fertility 

Mayan Massage History

Mayan Abdominal Massage Info

Resilience Group with Igloo

A few months ago I saw a tiny little business card for a sustainability group here in Chicago. I was dying for some homies that were into sustainable and economical initiative and decided to inquire. I luckily ended up stumbling upon Igloo – an epic learning cooperative created by my friend and fellow life wizard Kyle King. Anyways, we meet every Sunday in Pilsen here in Chicago. Each week Charlie facilitates an amazing discussion about a certain topic pertaining to our local and global sustainable agendas. We’ve talked about local v. organic, waste water management, zero impact, we have learned about zero scaping, we have canned salsa together, and just had really impressive and well thought conversations about our world pertaining to sustainable initiative.

This past Sunday we actually went to Charlie’s casa and helped harvest his summer garden and plant his fall/winter selections! I love being able to work in the dirt and be a part of a community that allows for me to dabble in urban homesteading even though I don’t have the space in my current apartment.

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M.I.A. – What do little girls dream about?

I often think about what little girls are influenced by. I ponder this, because I remark on how my upbringing and my experiences as a small child helped to form and establish how I feel, react, and process all the things that happen to me as an adult lady. Is it because I spent the majority of my childhood with senior citizens playing cards, doing crafts, and ‘gossiping’ that has shaped me into someone who can shoot the breeze with just about anyone, adapt to most craft styles, and facilitate a desire to have a social life and relationships that go beyond taking shots and fighting over boys? What kind of influence was it on my personality because I was overweight for most of my childhood? I know, as people often remark, that I’m overly kind, pretty attune to my sensitivity, and a fierce observer. Not fitting in (literally) as a child has made me more interesting as an adult, because the status-quo never suited me. In my opinion, I always had to think outside the box and dream up my spin on things, because simply most things didn’t agree with my height/bodyshape/personality etc. I don’t wait for something to become trendy to fall head first into it (come on crochet tissue box covers!), I don’t care if something is ‘cool’ (see any post on this blog haha 😉 ), and most of all I seek out and spend time with the things that bring me joy. Especially in my journey as a sober woman, I have never been more confident and in love with the identity I have.

do you think this young women knew she was going to inspire the person behind this blog?
the young GFK.
‘adult’ GFK.

Now, that seems like a statement of I’M THE BEST ADULT EVER, which is most certainly is not. Depending on who you ask my status an ‘adult’ is still pending most days. However, I had to reflect upon the morals, integrity, and respect that I posses and credit my own personal code after attending the M.I.A. concert last night at the Riviera Theatre in Chicago.

M.I.A.

Now, do not get me wrong, when I looked around the venue there was a vast breadth of individuals – many with unique/interesting styles, all races, sexual orientations, and shapes/sizes. But, there was something wrong. As I looked at the younger women of the audience (~18-30), I saw nothing impressive. I saw giggly girls following each other around, dressed in ways that made me sad and embarrassed for them. They were mere clones of each other, wandering clones. I overheard empty conversations about Vine videos, if a boy was sexting another girl, gendered/physical name calling for concert maladies like bumping into each other, and worst – apathetic nothings. I’m not meaning this as a judgement, but more rather, as a concern. What is going on with these young women? What are their aspirations? Is it to be a size 0 and have boys sext them whilst they stand in a lycra leotard waiting for a political fugazi to perform at the same time having no individual opinion about the world? I surely hope not.

Is it purely a ‘growing up’ thing? A slow-to-mature issue? I’m hoping, because I am concerned. Where are the young girls who are fighting to be heard and pissed as hell they aren’t being heard properly? I didn’t see any young women like this last night, I only saw giggly girls. The more I am exposed to ‘youth culture’ and to what young women respond to and are expected to live up to the more I am sickened. Role models or not, the objectives of most young women these days revolve around gross self-confidence issues, in my opinion. When I see most young women, especially at bars/clubs, I can only feel disturbed. Where has the self-respect and confidence gone? Will it ever even form? Who will these giggly girls grow up to be? How will they benefit not only the female gender collectively, but the world?

I work with BRILLIANT women in my job – we joke about silly things and I teach them to knit and crochet on lunch breaks – but they are never missing that look of confidence. I know they have desires and dreams that inspire and make me want to be a better woman for this world too. What is missing outside academics? Why are little girls not dreaming up their educations or executive positions at fortune 500 companies? Why are little girls growing up to be giggly girls that hurl vicious words at each other over such shallow and vapid concerns?

Has it always been this way? I can’t say it enough. I’m worried about our world. Our social structures and compassion seem to be breaking down with each new app that is launched. I want women to be inspired to live to their potential. I want to see that brilliant confidence shine in every single little girl’s eyes.

Things need to change – they must. Where can we go and what can we do to begin?

INSPIRE2C

Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls

Feminist.com

Big Sisters

But the basic starting point is to tell any little girls in your life that they matter. That they are brilliant. That they are worthy of everything.

Redefine the meaning of the traditional princess dreams for little girls. Make their dreams inspired by inspiring them to do great and awesome things.

XXX
GFK

Gender Bender

It has been quite some time since I’ve written about gender in a socioeconomic way. Perhaps, it was a natural ‘distancing’ that occurred after I finished my MA thesis and did not immediately jump into another higher education program? Or rather, it was the disgust in being labeled a ‘feminist’ in a vulgar regard, much the same as I would be labeled a tramp or a whore? Anyways, I wanted to share some things that I find to be incredibly interesting regarding gendered economic thought and its place in our culture and society today. Don’t worry I’m not gonna start burning my bra, I’m looking to set fire to the whole damn system.

Gender and economics are something every single woman (AT THE VERY LEAST) should be thinking about, talking about, and getting f&*king PISSED about. Things are dire. In fact, I went my whole higher education without ever hearing the words ‘gender economics’ until I worked on my thesis. WHAT THE F*&k?! The social expectations and economic limitations of being female are absurd. We still live in a world where we are told we MUST look, dress, and appear a specific way in order to be successful, loved, or deemed ‘good.’ There are still some horrifically unequal gendered statistics in our ‘country of equals’ such as pay between genders, active roles in our legislature and congress (<20% are women!), and in economic activity. You can access quite a bit of data and statistics through the United Nations here to look at more gender-biased statistics in our entire world. Further, according to The Economist’s ‘Women’s Economic Opportunity’, the United States is the 15th most ‘opportunistic’ economy for women. Are we not a world leader? Yet economic opportunity for women is less than most of Europe, Australia, and New Zealand in terms of labor involvement, access to finance and education, and legal status. (Oh that’s right there are still parts of the world where women are not even considered legal citizens!) I love this article from the Huffington Post about how US Women can even be considered second-class citizens – especially the preface of “Uh-oh. I’m a woman. With feelings. Am I going to get too emotional? Will there be tears? How is it possible that I can have intelligent, clear, informed thoughts with all of these emotions flowing through me?”

Next, about the expectations of gender on both male and females in our economy. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that youth culture and adults are fed all sorts of information regarding physical standards and therefore influence beauty consumption. I stumbled upon a documentary during my thesis research that inspired me to make a difference and be a difference in this. Miss Representation is an eye-opening look at media/advertising and its effect on culture and economics. Honestly, it’s baffling that we are influenced so much by companies and their products – literally most of these companies do not even care about the consumer or want to add value to their lives – it’s purely for profit. I would highly recommend checking this documentary out on Netflix instant video right now too.

The creator of this ‘movement’ via Miss Representation is Jennifer Newsom and she branched out to include changing views and expectations on many gender based instances. You can see her current project Curating Change here. It is worth a look as it deals with many of the changing gender roles our culture sees today – from “Mr. Moms to the faces of masculinity”.

Honestly, gender is a taboo topic in our culture. While it can be said that sexual-orientation gender advocates are seeing progress, the overall goal of gender equality is failing. In fact, it is a joke. It’s sad to me that our culture degrades anyone who does not fit into the ‘typical’ model that has been stereotyped and forced on so many individuals. Further, to even question the system young/old men and women are laughed at. I am a feminist. I can proudly say that and in doing so does come the negative backlash from BOTH women and men alike. I personally demonstrate my hatred for gendered stereotypes, by not only crafting and baking (traditionally female hobbies), but pursuing my advanced education in Economics and working in Economics academically. Believe me, I have never been ‘among equals’ as the boys love to say in my professional and academic career – and you know what they are right – I AM above the standards and I am motivated and enraged enough to start making some social and cultural changes. Not just in my consumption, but in my way of life. (Hell I already am a ‘sober outcast’ I might as well make that outlier status mean something powerful.) People, especially women, should be livid about what is expected of us. Burning bras might be laughable now, but I can understand how tempting it would be to lash out at a majority society that just laughs off any sort of change to status quo.

There is a popular saying floating around and one that saw each time I visited my advisor’s office while working on my graduate degree, that says “If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention.” I couldn’t agree more. Without diverging too far from the subject of gendered economics, this is a statement that rings true in our entire culture. From the production processes of all of our consumer goods, to our basic thoughts as a consumer driven society – things are really ‘messed up.’ I’ll candidly state that I fear for our economic system, our morality or lack thereof as a people, and the overall health of our planet. I am educated enough on our current economic system to objectively, mathematically, and appropriately find the flaws and the dependencies it is effing based on. I fear so much sometimes, that it keeps me awake – pondering where we are heading. I sometimes wish I was naive about economics, finance, and the general health of our entire monetary system. Would I do things differently if I didn’t have my bug-out bag prepped and didn’t spend a good 5 hours each week worrying where I would go if something happened to a city in which I am virtually alone? It’s intense to think of the ‘what-ifs’ and to begin to prepare establishes some kind of relief, but in so far as just facilitating more anxiety and more situations to ‘be prepared for.’ (Coming soon boys and girls, GFK’s how to prep for the apocalypse every Friday! am I joking? Maybe. I’m not sure.) I digress, when are people including myself going to start being the change and the difference? When will we all realize that we are ones in control? Literally, we are the power.

We are the power.

GFK

Ghostface GOALS.

What are your goals and dreams for the future? You can share to us your dream house, dream workplace, or even your bucketlist before you turn 25!

Well since I am over 25, I’ll just ignore that part of today’s October Challenge prompt. I can tell you some dreams for my future though. In no particular order:

1. Be the authentic me – always. Never compromise myself again – for anyone.

2. Get a little professional with GHOSTFACEKNITTER. Meaning gain 5x more followers by next year for example – that sounds like a challenge to me – CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!

3. Be tattooed by the greats – by as many well known and unknown artists around the world. Valerie Vargas, Dan Smith, Grime, Jher, Tim Lehi, Walter McDonald, DestroyTroy, Mario Desa, Alexander Grim, Liam Alvy, Jordan Teear, Danielle Rose…. Here are some photos of a few of these amazing artists.

Medusa head by Valerie Vargas
Medusa head by Valerie Vargas
Grime Hand Skull
Grime Hand Skull
By Jher (Mr. 451)
By Jher (Mr. 451) If you live in Denver please go see him
Walter's Facemelting awesomeness.
Walter‘s Facemelting awesomeness.
Alexander Grim. It's just so epic I can't look away. I also tried to source it back this was the farthest.
Alexander Grim. It’s just so epic I can’t look away. I also tried to source it back this was the farthest.

In the books for 2013: Dusty Neal at Black Anvil, Alisha Rice at Th’ink Tank Tattoo, and Ajarn Bpom Monk in Thailand. (You can check out that link to see the actual Monk tattooing with bamboo shoots.)

Dusty Neal
Dusty Neal
WIP sleeve by Ms. Alisha Rice
WIP sleeve by Ms. Alisha Rice
Ajarn Bpom Sak Yant Tattoo Master
Ajarn Bpom Sak Yant Tattoo Master

4. Meet as many crafters/knitters as I can. I seriously love meeting other craft artists. I get along with them and I just have so much fun being able to seriously ask another person if I should hoard yarn now or risk waiting for a sale?

5. Here’s the one I just can’t let go of: Get my PhD. What’s that you say? Dr. Ghostfaceknitter has a nice ring? I know. It’s something I have always thought about whether jokingly or not. It would require the most time and dedication of anything I have ever pursued – but most things that are worth having require that don’t they?

6.Travel! On deck in 2013 alone: Des Moines for knitting at MIDWEST KNITFEST with Jen at MakeXdo. Thailand to visit my MINI ME. Denver for the holidays to celebrate OG style.

7. I just really can’t stress NEVER COMPROMISING AGAIN.

I’m excited I switched gears in my life – actually I got on an entirely different road – and am able to get the most out of me and in doing so, give back to others. I’m stoked to be a part of this blogging world, knitting/crafting communities, helping with the Elders, loving life, loving my family and friends, and for the first time in YEARS loving me.

xxxxx
future Dr. GFK.
*drop mic out*

My Favorite Word: DO.

Okay let’s get one thing straight.… My days of false promises and polite agreements are OVER. Put up or shut up. As Royal Tenebaum said; “I’m not talking about dance lessons. I’m talking about putting a brick through the other guy’s windshield. I’m talking about taking it out and chopping it up.”

I’m talking about DO. Forget ‘I’m gonna.’ That phrase is bull. Anyone who says that to me without a plan wasted mine and their own time. Do I sound angry? I AM. There’s only one life that we are living. You have to DO.

Let’s look at some examples of DO.

You wanna dive into some new hobbies? Do it!
You wanna dive into some new hobbies? Do it!
You wanna ask Santa for a new city and a new life? DO it!
You wanna ask Santa for a new city and a new life? DO it!
You wanna take a nap? Do it!
You wanna take a nap? Do it!
You wanna have a fun weekend with your blood? Do it!
You wanna have a fun weekend with your blood? Do it!
You wanna win friends and influence people? Do it!
You wanna win friends and influence people? Do it!
You wanna put up photos of the people you miss? Do it! (Besides a false promiser never painted over those holes so cover eeet up!)
You wanna put up photos of the people you miss? Do it! (Besides a false promiser never painted over those holes so cover eeet up!)
You wanna finally give up drinking and eat right? Do it!
You wanna finally give up drinking and eat right? Do it! But first maybe wipe off last night’s makeup unlike me….

I know we all DO things on our own time/schedules. I know some times are hard, believe me. I spent YEARS saying ‘I wanna/I’m gonna/Someday/When this happens…..etc etc.’ Now that I’m finally a DO-er I’m only upset because I spent so much time FIDDLIN‘. We all walk our own paths, we make our own lives, but what I want you to know is that time is finite – what are you gonna see when you look over your life at some point? A list of DO’s checked off and the awesome memories behind them? Or a bunch of crusty old “I’m gonna’s” that are as stale as that paper you wrote them on? I’m not saying fill your life of tasks – hell if you wanna just put on your list of DO’s ‘relax’ – DO it.

Take it out and Chop it UP folks. Make yourself proud. DO.

My Thesis: Read it all!

With my Top Five Post earlier and mentioning my thesis journey I realized I never made my paper available to any curious readers. Just remember this is MY ORIGINAL WORK. If you steal from it or use it in a way that is not just reading it for leisure/curiosity/seeing if I can write/write without an attitude – NOT COOL. As Liam Neeson said in Taken “I will find you.” Okay that being said….

Here it is in it’s entirety. The Organic Beauty Industry: A Gendered Economic Review

Can you believe this goofball has a MA?
Can you believe this goofball has a MA?