Over a month ago (and probably a bit longer than that), I woke up in the middle of the night from the loud sound of a thud. I reached over and felt my night table to see what fell. It was my phone. I didn't want to find it later so I looked over the side of my bed and saw it on the floor. Immediately I bent over to pick it up and somehow in my slightly awake state, after scooping it up in my hands, I raised my head to hit the steel arm of a treadmill.
It's a sturdy treadmill.
My whole vision went black and I doubled over. Then I saw stars and tried to sit back in bed. I started crying audibly, the pain was tremendous. It was the worst head pain I've ever experienced. I tried to calm down and wish the pain away but it was terrible.
Then I did what I probably shouldn't have done and went to sleep.
Lucky for me I woke up. Then I realized there was something wrong with my vision. In my left eye there was a large, flashing square. I tried to blink it away but it continued. I rubbed my eyes, I shook my head, I blinked again but nothing would make it leave. It was horribly distracting. It made it difficult to even look at a monitor and unfortunately I spend most of the day doing that.
Eventually it got smaller and smaller until I had believed it went away. Then one day, something came back. In my left eye, in just the periphery there was a spot of constant flashing. As if the scene was being replaced over and over.
I was forced to finally call my doctor. I sent up an appointment immediately and visited her. She took a look but realized she couldn't see the problem. So she sent me to an optometrist to dilate my pupil and get a closer look. I made the appointment for the same day. The optometrist did a number of tests to try and get a clear idea of what was happening. Then he sat down with me and admitted that he needed a second opinion. So he's sending me to an opthamologist.
I do have some good news, I think. The optometrist said he didn't see any retinal tearing or detachment. So that's something. However, he was uncertain because I was experiencing persistent, pervasive symptoms. He did suggest as an alternative that it might be that my vitreous (liquid-y, gel-like substance covering eye) was pulling slightly at my eye. It's kind of like when you rub your eyelids and you see spots of light (phosphene).
Of course I'm a little freaked out. It's the whole reason I avoided talking to a doctor for a long time. I know that's the opposite of what you're "supposed to do" but I don't want to be an alarmist. Trust me when I say that I'm anxious enough for 1000 people (or maybe more). Luckily I do apply occam's razor, so I can use logic to reason with myself. Usually whatever symptoms I experience can be rationally explained but this was one of those times I was better off seeing a doctor.
I think there's a lesson in that somewhere. Visit your doctor if symptoms persist (I sound like a pharmaceutical ad on television). Or maybe it's more along the lines like, never take anything for granted. I truly didn't realize how important my vision was to me until I had this strange periphery flashing. I already wear glasses (gasp) and I guess I didn't appreciate how easily our bodies can change and leave us unprepared. I find everyday I'm more and more grateful for everything I'm able to experience with my relatively healthy body.
Edit: I saw the opthamologist and he said my eye looked healthy. Apparently it really should go away on its own. That's probably not something a doctor should say to someone like me since I avoid visiting a doctor . . .but. . . my eye is "okay". That's good news. The only bad news is that my eye still flashes. I hope it goes away soon. Seriously? There was nothing they could do? Oy!
For most people female and feminine are synonymous, just like male and masculine. However there is a distinct difference. Sex and gender are not the same thing.
Sex refers to the genitalia of a person making them male, female or inter-sex (discussed later). Gender is completely different yet it is continually used as though it meant the same thing. Many words are used incorrectly. People often say cement when they mean concrete. Cement is an ingredient in concrete while concrete is the finished product. Similarly, weight is inappropriately used on health forms when they actually mean mass.
Gender is not sex. Gender is a social construction. This means that gender is something simply made-up to describe an archaic belief known as biological predetermination.
Biological predetermination is the belief that women are inherently feminine and men are inherently masculine. This goes hand in hand with the idea that men like women and vice versa. It is widely accepted despite its fallacies. Most people think that women are naturally nurturing, compassionate and giving, making them excellent mothers. Just like they also believe men are naturally brave, aggressive and lascivious, making them excellent in business. Oddly enough, this set of beliefs is common and unquestioned. However it is false. I'm sure that in your own life you have met women who are "masculine" and men who are "feminine". If such qualities were natural then why doesn't everyone fit in? The simple answer, they're not natural. Believing in biological predetermination would also mean subscribing to the belief that homosexuality is a disease. It's not. Some guys like guys, some girls like girls and some people like both. This is naturally occurring and doesn't fit in with this little "theory".
Life is too diverse to fit into neat little categories. That is the truth of the matter. Not every man will identify with being masculine just like not every woman thinks she's feminine. Yet we live in a society that likes labels. So we've found terms to describe things in relation to what we assume to be fact. Transgender is a term people use to describe themselves when they identify with the gender that's not typically associated with their sex. For example, a man might behave and dress like a woman and choose to call himself "transgendered" but that doesn't mean he's homosexual. Sexual identity and gender identity are not always synonymous. Transsexual describes an individual that identifies with the other sex and may or may not have an operation to make the transition. Sexual and gender identities are flexible.
As noted earlier, I mentioned something referred to as "inter-sex". The world is not a clean dualism. Things are not simply black and white, male or female, masucline or feminine. Nature is more complex than that. Inter-sex is the third sex. Someone may be born male, female or inter-sex.
Inter-sex is when you cannot distinguish the genitalia or chromosomes to be either male or female. This is not the same as hermaphrodite. It seems unlikely but it does happen in one baby in every 2000. In nations like Canada when a baby is born inter-sex, public healthcare will pay for the procedure to "correct" the baby's genitalia. This means that the doctor and sometimes the parents will make the decision to either have a boy or a girl. This sort of decision will impact that child's life forever and I fear it is made too cavalierly. Often the child will grow up identifying with a sex not their own and have corrective surgery. Why can't the baby grow up as they are? It is too much to ask for people to accept a third sex?
I hope that someday the world will be open to the unique differences and similarities that make us human.
*For Canadian residents, if you're interested in a documentary about inter-sex I recommend watching InterSEXion by CBC.
I have been exercising continuously for 6 weeks now. At the beginning of September I purchased a home treadmill in order to help with my goal of losing weight. I use it at least 3 times a week (more when I have the time). Right now I'm experiencing the phenomenon of putting on weight. It's very demotivating. For much longer I've been doing my best to improve my diet by eating less and eating healthier choices (sometimes I make an exception). So after a lot of reading I've discovered that some people put on weight before they take it off but it's usually muscle. Muscle is denser than fat and so makes you think you've put on weight. What a cruel world we live in.
Lucky for me I never check the scale so I'm not obsessed with obviously misinforming numbers. I do look in the mirror though and I can tell when there are differences in my body. If the only thing I was experiencing was weight gain I would be concerned but there's something else. I'm starting to feel healthier. I'm not really sure how to explain it but I'm starting to feel a little better when I exercise. Not only that but my muscles feel like they're becoming a little tighter and a little more effective. I can actually feel my muscles, I know that they're there somewhere.
I've always been strong. I've never had a problem lifting heavy things so I knew I had muscle. In fact I'm sure that with my body type I could be a professional weightlifter but unfortunately it's made it hard to keep weight off. I have a fat protein efficient metabolism, meaning my body more efficiently stores fat. People with this metabolic type store fat and muscle all over their body. Now apparently cardio exercise is the toughest one I can pick for my body type but I know it's what I want and need.
Although weight loss was my initial motivator, I find running is good for other things as well. Not only does it make me feel healthier but the resulting endorphins make me feel happy and relaxed afterward. That's a big positive for me since I tend to worry. Running can really feel great. I used to run more often when I was in university. I would have to make it across campus in less than 10 minutes so I was practically forced to run. Now that I spend even more time at a desk writing I needed a way to keep in shape. The best part about running is the feeling. Sometimes when I used to run I would feel like I'm flying, like the world would disappear. I'm looking forward to feeling that again.
For everyone else out there, be it someone looking to lose weight or in the process of losing weight, just know that there's someone else out there too going through the same thing. For the people who have never had a weight problem, try not to judge. You don't know what that person has been through or tried. Besides, someone's weight doesn't determine what they're like as a person. Just remember that.
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