Saturday, March 19, 2011

40. "The Buddha and The Borderline" by Kiera Van Gelder

Van Gelder, Kiera. The Buddha and the Borderline: My Recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder Through Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Buddhism and Online Dating. Oakland: New Harbinger Publications, Inc., 2010. Print.

236 pages

Reviewed by J. d’Artagnan Love

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), according to the Buddha and the Borderline, is one of the most difficult personality disorders to treat. This is in part because of the nature of the disorder itself, but also because of stigmas and prejudice within the mental health system.

There is much debate about whether the disorder even exists and pat of what Kiera Van Gelder experiences, is the struggle to validate her disease in the medical community. Kiera tells her story in a very intimate and clear way. She describes her pain, her constant shifts in identity, and her unquenchable need for reassurance and validation with accurate attention to detail.

Van Gelder provides her readers with sources and references works throughout the text of her memoir. It truly gives her credibility as a writer and it also offers others reading the book—those who may struggle with BPD or know someone who does—other places to turn. This is one of the greatest aspects of this work. Van Gelder validates for herself and others, that BPD does exist, that is a painful and difficult mental illness, and that there are treatments available that can help.

The problem is that people might have to jump through hundreds of hoops, go through countless unhelpful and even damaging counselors, and group therapies, and psychiatrist, before finding the right kind of treatment, just as Van Gelder does. Because the disorder is so debated within the mental health field, it makes finding treatment and help that much more difficult for those who suffer from BPD.

I found this book to be a beautiful and enlightening portrait of one woman’s struggles and successes in living with Borderline Personality Disorder.

5 darts out of 5
Bookshelf Project Status: KEEP

Sunday, March 6, 2011

39. "GirlSpoken from Pen, Brush, and Tongue" edited by Jessica Hein, Heather Holland, and Carol Kauppi

GirlSpoken from Pen Brush and Tongue. Eds. Jessica Hein, Heather Holland, and Carol Kauppi. Second Story Press, 2008. Print.
216 pages
Reviewed by J. d'Artagnan Love

This book is a collection of essays, poems, and artwork by young women. It captures the complexity of a young woman's life. The book is broken into different sections based on subject.

The writing and poetry is delightful and the artwork is impressive. Girlspoken gives young women and girls a voice and offers a sense of strength and connection to its targeted audience.

The editors are the founders of GirlSpoken which is an organization focused on offering creative workshops for young women and girls. The project lead to the book and it is a great success.

If I had an adolescent niece or other relation, I would absolutely buy her a copy of this book. Below is a poem that was published in GirlSpoken. It is one of the many that spoke to me and tugged on my heartstrings.

A Glimpse
“Despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, I have not yet been able to answer the great question that has never been answered: What does a woman want?” –Sigmund Freud

Let me tell you –

Tongues and crocuses,
books and cunts,
combat boots and tutus.

Climbing the ropes after learning them,
caffeine, someone to drink it with,a lock to keep them out, a key to let them in.

Extra-absorbant pads that don’t feel like pillows,
products for us, made by us,
that let us express ourselves

History told the way we saw it go by,
spaces in places that make the decisions,
and a home without beats, kicks, black eyes or incisions.

Experimenting in bed,
getting on top,
orgasms that lasts forever
(or at least a few minutes).
Occupations and payroll traditionally reserved for men,
the power to have organs,
that aren’t named after them.

Nipple rings and dildos
we wanna drive by our own light,
and do only what feels right.

We wanna be visible, accountable, respectable, and comfortable,
cause we’re handsome and wholesome and random and
and we’re much too complicated
to be summed up in a poem.

--Roshaya Rodness, Age 17

5 darts out of 5