Kiss5Tigers

The 5 Tigers represent the big things in life. This blog is about facing them.


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Can I Do This?

Last Monday, I facilitated a group.

On Monday afternoons, I attend the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance support group, because I have bipolar II, which I’ve mentioned before.  I’ve been going for about 3 years now.  I’ve worked through the book more than once.  I know the answers, haha, as if I could know the right answers to mental health when it’s different for everyone.

The regular facilitator was having a hard day and asked me if I would lead.  None of this is surprising, since he is a peer and the group could be led by any peer.  I said yes, and I was happy to do this favor for him.

It went surprisingly well.  We worked our way through 2 pages in the book.  That may not be much but it included some conversation and it was the end of a section.  Didn’t make sense to start a new section with only 15 minutes left.  The group appreciated the chance to chat during the session.  It was a little more active than the usual facilitator likes, but we have different philosophies.  He is trying to get through the book, whereas I use the book as a jumping-off point.  Nothing wrong with either one, just different.

At the same time, I have been hearing about women who lead seminars to help other women.  I think I could lead one about vision boards and creating goals.  It would be maybe 3 hours, give or take.  Part of it would be about setting goals, where do you want to be in, say, 5 years?  Or indeed, ever?  Part of it would be making the actual vision board.  And part of it would be about sharing our dreams and visions.  I think I could manage about 10 women, and they would have to bring their own scissors since I don’t own that many pairs.  Glue and magazines I’ve got, scissors not so much.

So I am looking for goal setting exercises.  They are surprisingly hard to find.  There are a lot of sites devoted to professional development and goal setting in that regard but really almost nothing about personal goal setting.  The principles must be the same however so I just need to tweak them.  Of course I would need to tweak them in any case to make them my own.  I’m about being inspired by other people, not stealing their work.

I believe I can do this.  It seems very do-able.  It also doesn’t overlap the government job so there should be no conflict of interest.  The first one or two would be free while I get my feet under me, then I would have to start charging.  I wonder if I could even do it monthly.

Words of encouragement and suggestions only, please.  I have enough nay-sayers in my own head as it is.  I could stand some support around this idea.


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The Bechdel Test

Back in the 80’s when I was in college, I ran across a cartoonist named Alison Bechdel.  Since I am also an Allison and there aren’t so very many famous people who share my name, I picked up some of her work.  The name of her strip was Dykes to Watch Out For so even though I enjoyed a lot of it, well, I’m not a lesbian so parts of it went right over my head and I lost track of her.

Turns out, Ms Bechdel made some observations about how women appear in movies.  She and some friends devised a short test for determining which movies presented the most well-rounded female characters.  And it’s quite short, just 3 questions:

1.  Does the movie have at least 2 female characters?

2.  Do they have an actual conversation with each other?

3.  Do they talk about something other than a man who interests both of them?

So, for example, The Fifth Element has several strong female characters, Leelu Dallas and the Diva.  However they don’t talk to each other so the movie fails the test.  Star Wars has only one consistent female character, so that fails too.

Pitch Perfect is about a group of female college students who enter an a capella singing competition.  The team, named the “Barden Bellas” is composed of something like 8 women (question 1), they have conversations with each other throughout the movie (question 2) and they don’t share a love interest so there is very little discussion of men (question 3).  So this movie passes the test.  And I enjoyed it very much.

Of course it isn’t a sci-fi movie so I continue looking for something that includes ALL my entertainment preferences, but then sci-fi is generally a boys game so that’s no surprise.

Maybe one day I’ll get around to scripting the movie I want to see . . .

In any case, Ms Bechdel has managed to create a simple guideline for thinking about the way women are presented in movies, and I appreciate it.