Kill It. Cut It. Use It. – Making Ethical Choices

Sitting here, thinking I really ought to update my blog, yet at the same time not really knowing what I want to write about. I’ve got that feeling where you know there is a lot of stuff buzzing around your brain, yet you can’t quite be still enough to figure out what it is. Thoughts and emotions doing this strange little dance, a bit too quick to really figure it out. So I think I’ll just write whatever comes to mind, and we’ll see where that gets us. [If anywhere!]

Have settled into my new place reasonably well by now. Still hate the shared space, I mean, there’s no getting away from the fact that the bathroom and kitchen are both minging. But I feel OK in my room, don’t actually mind the small size of it much at all.

Bought myself a small fridge the other week, because the ones in the kitchen are kind of icky and way too small for five people. And if my landlord won’t supply us with adequate fridges, I’m just gonna get my own. [It’s rated A for energy efficiency, so I don’t feel too bad about the extra electricity, since it’s about as ‘green’ as they come]. Also, being fully vegetarian, I just really don’t like the idea of my stuff sharing a shelf with meat based food. Having been vegetarian for quite a few years by now I’m a bit funny about keeping my food separate from meaty stuff. I also have my own pots, pans and crockery which have never been used for meat. This isn’t a bid to keep kosher; I just prefer things this way. I’ve no problem going to people’s house and eating from dishes that have been used for meat, I regularly get vegetarian food from places where they also do non-vegetarian food, but at home I prefer to keep things separate. There’s no logic to it, I’m the first to admit that, but it’s how I like it, so why not?

Been watching “Kill It, Cut It, Use It” on BBC iPlayer this week. For those of you who haven’t seen it it’s a series about how animal by-products are used in things we use every day. I personally think that to a large degree it’s better to use waste products from the meat industry, rather than to just chuck it, and have found it really interesting to learn about how there are animal products in just about everything. I was never a vegetarian because I felt that it’s wrong to kill animals [although I’m all for treating animals with respect] so I’ve no real problem using washing powders, cosmetics etc which contain ingredients derived from animal by-products. That said, if I have one hand cream which states “suitable for vegetarians” and one which doesn’t say either way, I’m much more likely to go for the former. Again, no logic – but it works for me.

What I do take issue with are products made from things where the primary reason for killing the animal was to get the “by-product”. Think ivory and fur etc. Or cosmetics which have been tested on animals. [Still undecided on how I feel about medicines which have been animal tested]. And although my knowledge and understanding of these processes is undeniably limited I do try to make ethical choices when shopping.

There are lots and lots of things that I don’t know about, and reading ingredient listings often feels like trying to read a foreign language – especially with the industry being very very good at masking ingredients – but I try. I try to educate myself, try to do what I can to make good choices, and I guess that’s all I can really do.

At J-Prep someone crowned me “eco-warrior princess” because I would always carry my empty bottles and cans back home with me, to make sure they went in the recycling bin in my borough [it’s a very good borough for recycling compared to the one where my shul is], and although my classmates would give me a bit of friendly stick about it, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I know that what I do won’t change the world, but maybe, just maybe it makes a tiny little bit of difference, just the same.

And if you think I’m a bit OTT – well, you should see my sister!


Clip from “Kill It, Cut It, Use It”

Swines, Revenge & Telephone Therapy – An Entry About Isolation

I’m a strict vegetarian. Or at least I used to be.
Now I’m not so sure. I went down with swine flue last Friday, and right now I’m seriously contemplating settling the score with the blasted pigs by eating as much pork as I possibly can.
You give me flu?? I eat you!
Forget Babe – I want revenge..

That said, I do feel better now. Even able to sit by my beloved computer again.

I was in complete isolation, stuck in my room, for seven (yes, 7!!) long days, and as much as I enjoy my own company, it’s not quite the same when you haven’t a choice in the matter. Especially when you’re too bloody weak to even hold a book to read, and too headachy to watch telly or listen to music to pass the time. Also it didn’t help that I was stressing out, knowing that I’d have to ask to have the deadline for the assignment I’ve been working on moved, since there’s no way I could have sut up for long enough to do it. I hate not being on schedule.

So, what did I do in my state of complete incapacity? Well, a clue is that I can now list all twenty-seven hairline cracks in the paint on my ceiling.. Information I never thought I’d have.

Apart from that I spent a reasonable amount of time on the phone. I’d lie down with the phone resting on my shoulder and just talk to anyone who happened to be home to answer the phone. (My poor friends and family have had to put up with enough crazy S-talk to last them a lifetime.. I’m surprised that they haven’t barred my number yet.) I also checked my email, Facebook and Twitter about every six and a half minutes.. Thank God (and Dev!) for my iPod Touch. Small mobile devices rock when you’re not able to sit up, I’m telling you.
Talk about a window to the world.

Was meant to see A. on Tuesday, but as I was in quarantine I obviously couldn’t go. Instead we had our session over the phone. A first for me, and – I’m guessing – possibly for A., too. It was ok, but also quite different to a normal session; like most people, my concept of telephone conversations is that both parties speak roughly the same amount (and in the case of my sisters both parties speak as much as the other, at the same time…).

This is not the case in a therapy situation. So, naturally, ‘translating’ a face-to-face session, with silences, interpretations and general thinking time, into a telephone call presents something of a challenge. Also, there’s the additional test of having to judge the other’s reaction purely by listening for slight changes in the voice at the other end of the line. Not quite as easy as it is in a face-to-face situation. Needless to say this changes the nature of the entire session. Whilst it’s difficult to not have the person’s subtle non-verbal response immediately available to you, it also, in some ways, makes things easier.

For example, I spent a good deal of time in this session talking about a chance meeting I had with D. (my former counsellor) the previous week. It was a pretty important thing to me, and so, in my head, it had been my plan to bring this up regardless, but – as I discovered – not being able to see A.’s little shifts made it both harder and easier to do so.

As a general I feel quite embarrassed talking about D. with A.; I worry that she will understand whatever I say as some sort of thinly veiled criticism, or as an indication that I wish she’d do things more like the way D. did, which isn’t actually the case. Now, in the consultation room I can judge by A.’s facial expression whether or not she seems to be getting this or not. Over the phone.. Well, those type of clues are taken away from you, and in essence you’re flying in the dark. With the consequence that you end up talking in a different way.

I’m glad I had the phone session with A. I think I needed it. Especially since A. was away for what would have been our Friday-session, and I wanted to talk about her going away before she actually went. But, with regards to some of the other things we talked about (including what I said about meeting with D.), I do feel that I’ll need to come back to it. To, in a sense, ensure that I was understood in the way I had meant.

So, my conclusion is this: phone sessions are good, since you might be able to say things you may have otherwise hesitated to say. But, equally, phone sessions can lead you to say more than what you would have been able to say in a normal session, and so any material brought up will likely need to be revisited and looked at again at a later time.

In short, face-to-face therapy feels more real.
And is scarier.

Much, much scarier.