The personal on the blog

Is it too meta to try to figure out how personal I ought to be on this -- or more meta to try to share my figuring it out in the process? This has always been my resistance to blogging more generally (I once even titled an unfinished project "solipsistic, navel-gazing, and self-reflection" in an attempt to remind myself how absurd the whole process was). But here, in particular, I've worked to keep up a modicum of anonymity. Most who read this are people who know me, and therefore, I do censor myself somewhat. Though the truth is, most who read this, who also know me, are people with whom I'm close and to whom I would say all this and more.

But...occasionally, I share the site with someone who may indirectly be mentioned or criticized, and then I freak out about how my (solipsistic and navel-gazing) comments will be interpreted. (I try only to write nice things, and genuine things, for that matter, about people directly, thinly veiled with acronyms and nicknames.) And lately, because I'm a lazy-ass researcher, I've not been writing about my work directly at all (that is because I have not been working in the fieldworky sense of the word).

So, there has been a fair amount of "personal" stuff on here, even though sometimes it's a bit cryptic, it's not that hard to decipher. I realized I'm a bit relieved that my father never bothers to read this, though I'm sure he would not be terribly disturbed to read about his daughter's "abstinence and diaphragm" contradictions, it still feels a bit unsettling to publicly proclaim this purported birth control method. (Do note the "purported" -- since I've obviously been committed to medical flouting.) It's also weird to announce such things in a public forum. Part of the advice of the writing intensive summer institute I just finished was to put yourself back into the work. It's true that much academic writing is dry and distant. I'm grateful that anthropology allows for the personal, but it's also such a fine line between the personal and oversharing. And fieldwork is not about "you" -- though it's hard sometimes to figure out where "you -- the researcher" and "you -- the human being" begin and end.

I guess this is part of why the blog format appeals to me. It allows me to play a little more with the boundaries, so that there can be "me the human being" a bit more in my work. My work is personal...I think no matter what I do, I will always want to be doing something that has significance to me. I don't really understand the friends and acquaintances whose jobs are just time-fillers. I do understand the allure of good money (sigh), but I know of a number of people who sound like they're just keeping on keeping on. They complain about being boring and they let their jobs get them in terrible moods. I suppose I ought to be more sympathetic.

Still, I'm not sure about what it is I'm trying to accomplish here. I think the August goal will be to document a bit more the process as I careen into the remaining quarter of fieldwork, as it's something I need to do in the non-virtual world, as well. Or maybe I'll just start logging my progress of being allowed to run again. Or my bike itineraries. Or something equally dull -- thereby losing my mini-readership. Perhaps I ought to start a poll -- what should misanthrope hate next?! Maybe I'm not actualizing the populist potential of blogging sufficiently.


Enough with sardonic commentary

I realized I've been awfully negative. Gripe. Gripe. Gripe.

Perhaps the change in my mood is due to triumphing over the FDA and the inane "iPledge" (not to be pregnant, to comply with multiple forms of birth control (perhaps they'd like to simply set up surveillance monitors in my uterus?), and to spend money having my blood tested to verify that I am not an incompetent, untrustworthy slut....ok that's a wee bit over the top, whatever). I rocked the system, and yes, I am quite proud. At one point one of my doctors wanted to prescribe me birth control pills, and I told him, he could prescribe it, but I wouldn't fill it. Is it crazy to want to challenge the system by proving how such a hyper-compliant, semi-hypochondriac fantasizes about giving the feds the proverbial finger? The reality, of course, as S/z pointed out in another context, is that really I exert a lot of energy getting mad at straw men, and really the only person who's exhausted in the process is me. Nobody "wins", though I do generate fuel for blog. Not exactly the most productive use of my energy.

In other, more interesting news (though if you consider the many ways I'm flouting my "abstinence and diaphragm" magical birth control methods and failing to be pregnancy tested when I'm supposed to interesting...well...then....), I'm writing -- or trying to write on absence. It's kind of a harkening back to my philosophy glory days, yet taking it beyond the armchair. How do we write about absence in the context of concrete objects that actually create and generate forms of absence? Perhaps I ought to get tattooed -- "ambiguities, uncertainties, and absence" -- since these are the themes I am finding so fascinating. And, I have to say, personal conversations of old have actually crept in interestingly --- there was a particular word I used in a non-drama drama that is resurfacing in productive ways in my work. Funny to re-appropriate terms and find that their resonance at one point is actually directly related to something much more interesting and complicated than trivialities.

What I'm trying to say is that all these terms and theorizing all come back to the very mundane -- an awful lot like life in its banality. And yet the only thing that makes the banal interesting is to make it complicated. I love circularity, even as it makes me want to hit my head against the wall.

Blame the patient games...

I've written before about the weird female requirements for one of the prescriptions I'm on...I've now found myself caught up in their labyrinthian rules that make it impossible for me to pick up my prescription until I again have a pregnancy test, talk to the doctor, and then answer the quiz online (also known as money and time). Mainly because the pharmacy didn't fill the prescription when I dropped it off, and then failed to contact me when they'd filled it -- I fell out of the 7 day window from my last pregnancy test. I wonder what the male experience with this medication is -- as they don't have to spend the money or the time proving that they're not knocked up with (as one friend called it) "flipper" babies.

What disturbs me is the expense and complication and the power of failure that is laid at the (female) patient's feet. The error occurred when the pharmacy didn't fill the prescription, and I waited a few days to go get the prescription, thereby dropping out of my eligibility window. So whose fault is it? Probably mine...I didn't check immediately, but I also assumed the pharmacy would call me when they filled the prescription. How naive. Again, I am fascinated (in an irritated sort of way) at how economics factor into this, how an entire industry of multiple commercial sites (the testing site, the pharmacy, oh and definitely my posh doctor's office) can coalesce around my one action.

This is a very science studies way of interpreting the situation, but it's important. In fact, it's not just a question of economics (though that's explicitly embedded), it's about entire systems that determine how individuals can access care and medication.

More on this later, as I must go off to write and write -- ostensibly to create a finished document at the end of the week.