Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Not to be confused with gigging frogs. For all my non-knitting friends, this means that point where you have been happily clicking away on that knitting project, perhaps for hours and then you look down and realize something is just not right. After counting rows and stitches, recounting rows and stitches, you realize this is not a simple fix, you cannot simply unknit a few rows and this is something that crochet hook will never repair. You bemoan the fact that you have not utilized the life line. There it is, the issue at hand, perhaps a gaping hole, or twisted stitches. The decision is yours. 

Do you continue on as if nothing has gone wrong? Or... do you decide to (gulp) frog?  You hear the every increasing loudness of the "rip it, rip it, rip it, rip it" froggy chorus and you have the decision of your life ahead of you... Are you prepared to tear out rows and rows of your meditative knitting?  

Knitting has helped me to put my life together when it was unraveling and now that I have worked on this UFO (unfinished object) for years, I see the dropped stitches, the miscalculated rows. part of me kept knitting along unaware. I have measured and contemplated long and hard. Finally, I have mustered the courage and I am frogging with determination knowing that I each time I start over, I understand the pattern better.  

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

At a recent NOW meeting, a new member was unclear about what the actual medical procedure for an abortion was like. Another member offered part of her personal experience and then stated that this was the first time she had actually spoken about her own experience publicly. Even though we are empowered feminists, we still have difficulty discussing our personal stories. Society continues to or revisits that those of us who choose or have chosen abortion are somehow less than. I think now more than ever it is time for us to speak-out.

The first abortion speak-out took place during the pre-Roe v. Wade era, when abortion was illegal in the United States. Each state had its own laws about reproductive matters (sounds eerily familiar?). It was rare if not unheard of to hear any woman speak publicly about her experience with illegal abortion. In February of 1969, Redstockings, the radical feminist group founding in New York “disrupted” a New York legislative hearing about abortion. Four years after the 1969 abortion speak-out, the Roe v. Wade decision altered the landscape by repealing most abortion laws then in effect and striking down restrictions on abortion during the first trimester of pregnancy.

And today, it is becoming rare for women to speak-out about their legal abortions. As more and more states enact laws that make access to legal abortions increasingly more difficult and more disinformation is spread as fact, it is important that we hear the real stories of real women who have chosen to seek an abortion, whether it was after or pre-Roe v Wade. I encourage you to contact me with our story, which I will share on my blog and Austin NOW’s website, I know there are other sites out there dedicated to women’s stories and this will be another avenue for our voices but encourage each and everyone to put their story out there so we are heard. 

Email your story to me (stargaia64@gmail.com), indicate if you want your story to appear with your name, a nom de plume or posted anonymously. Or if you blog, I (and the Austin NOW site), will be sure to indicate your story is a cross-post. To get the speak-out started, I will post my story in a day or two. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012


By now everyone has read that depression can physically hurt, it can be exhausting, it can cause insomnia, and a multitude of other uncomfortable verbs. Depression is… we don’t ask for it. I know that I am no alone in this. We, the depressives, are actually a rather big club, but we don’t advertise very often. Membership comes at a great cost to us and to our loved ones. Our loved ones feel helpless even when we explain there is literally nothing they can do to make it better. The most they can do is acknowledge that depression exists, and let us know they are there for us if we need them. We can be reminded to eat, sleep or get up, or take our meds; but ultimately, we are the ones who have to make it better by doing what works for each of us in the moment.

Over the years I have learned that my depression is mostly triggered by situations and seasons.  I don’t know if I am the only one, but I can recognize when I am on the road to a depressive period. There is that defining moment after struggling to stay balanced when I know that I have temporarily lost my battle with biochemistry. My mouth goes dry and I taste silvery, wrinkled, tinfoil. Really, no matter what I eat or drink, I return to the taste of chewing gum wrapper only worse metal. I wonder if I’m the only one.

The situations vary for me but the seasonal depression is well, seasonal, and as a result, more predictable. I actually start brushing up on my coping skills when everyone is pulling out their boxes of holiday decorations. While everyone is getting into that holiday spirit (or pretending to be) I am doing whatever I can to wake up each day. My seasonal depression can be sneaky. It might arrive before Thanksgiving, but always before my birthday in December and sticks around well into January. I get the fun of a summer depression too, around the death date of my best friend, which coincides with one of the hottest months in Texas.

On the more normal side, if there is such a thing as normal symptoms for depression, I become narcoleptic, never able to get enough sleep in an effort to just shut it all out. On the flip side, I might have a bout of disturbed sleep, waking up and unable to really go back to sleep, unable to stop the wheels from spinning. Staring at the alarm clock dreading the moments knowing I should be sleeping since I actually have to function during the day instead of pulling the sheets over my head.

So what works for me when I’m in the darkest depths of depression? I read, I write and I take not too warm baths or showers, and now I try to share what it is like to be a depressive. I think that speaking out about it helps me have power over it.  Most people never recognize my depression because I work hard to cope.  I leave my depression outside when I enter work and I literally put a smile on my face because it really does bring calm energy. I mindfully walk, type and breathe. I focus on the fact that the best thing I have ever done in my life needs his Mom and the reason I somehow live through those lonely moments of depression in a crowded room. I know each day my son will make me smile, even through the deepest depths of any depressive day. To see that sparkle in his eyes and to hear his laugh is truly magical healing.

P.S. I read a blog entry by one of my fav bloggers, Jenny Lawson aka The bloggess, about depression: http://thebloggess.com/2012/01/the-fight-goes-on/). She has a Silver Ribbon and is raising funds for charity by offering pendants and buttons with the message, “Never Give Up”.