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Unkept : promises, secrets, and perils within dietetic education and practice Gingras, Jacqueline Rochelle 2006

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- U N K E P T -Promises, Secrets, and Perils within Dietetic Education and Practice by JACQUELINE ROCHELLE GINGRAS BSc, The University of British Columbia, 1995 MSc, The University of Alberta, 1998 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Curriculum and Instruction) THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA February 2006 © Jacqueline Rochelle Gingras, February 2006 Abstract This research is concerned with dietitians' experiences of education and practice, which together constitute dietitian identity. The author, herself a dietitian and dietetic educator, recruited twelve female dietitians to participate in individual interviews and collaborative workshops where they shared their ' experiences and reflections on the themes of the research. This dissertation is arranged in three panels to achieve multiple perspectives on the research findings. The first panel explores the potential of using reflexive autoethnography as a research method. The second panel enacts an autoethnographic tale emphasizing the complexities of dietetic education and practice. The third panel is an academic rendering of the research that posits a theory of dietitian performativity. Arranging the findings as a textual triptych protracts the complex interplay of the research themes. In particular, participants enter the profession sustained by promises of being able to make a difference in the lives of others with respect to nutritional health. Dietetic practice comes to be understood as performative through a series of uncontested, repetitive acts. In the mode of dietitian performativity, dietitians' lived realities are sometimes found to be discontinuous from promises of professionalism. Dietetic education, while not considered solely responsible for generating these promises, might operate to sustain or amplify their effects. Dietitians' passion for dietetics is open to question when performativities are found discrepant from promises. Profoundly melancholic expressions are associated with dietitians' inability to engage in liberatory practice, despite believing such practices were achievable. Melancholia instigated dietitians' desire to leave the profession. An imagined, embodied curriculum depicting what might result if dietetic students, educators, and practitioners acknowledge the relationality, emotionality, and promises of their profession is offered in response. The author calls for a renegotiation of what counts as knowledge in dietetic education through the asking of "Who am I?" In posing this question, the dietitian engages in a reflexive turn towards self-recognition such that 'doing' (performativity) emerges from 'being' (identity) and potentially nutrition discourse expands. Dietitian performativity initiated through critical social discourse begs the question of what it means to be human while endeavouring to embrace the joys, complexities, and contradictions that are dietetic education and practice. Table of Contents Abstract ii Acknowledgements v Dedication vi Introduction 1 Panel I - The Privilege and Responsibility of Autoethnography 4 The Phenomenology of Choice 8 Autoethnographic Privilege 10 Autoethnographic Responsibility 13 Autoethnographic Fiction 15 Autoethnographic Ethics 18 Conclusion : 21 Panel II - Longing for Recognition 23 Prologue 23 Chapter One 31 Chapter Two 49 Chapter Three • 6 9 Chapter Four 87 Chapter Five „ 1 0 7 Chapter Six 1 3 1 Chapter Seven 153 Chapter Eight 1 7 6 Chapter Nine 1 8 7 Chapter Ten 210 Chapter Eleven 230 Chapter Twelve 245 iii Course Outline 254 Course Glossary 255 Epilogue 257 Panel III - The Passion and Melancholia of Performing Dietitian 259 Introduction 259 Methods 260 Results 262 Dietitian Performativity 262 Promises of Professionalism 266 Hopes for Dietetic Education 267 Desire to Leave • 269 Discussion 271 Dietitian Discourse Initiates Identity 272 Promising Passion and Melancholia 273 Agency in Not Choosing to Leave • 275 Implications and Possibilities 276 Relevance to Practice 278 Postscript 280 0 Bibliography 282 Appendices 288 Appendix 1: Ethics Approval 288 Appendix 2: Consent Form 289 iv Acknowledgements There are so many people I wish to acknowledge for their contributions and support. My sister dietitians for expressing emphatically your passion and melancholia, for leaping into conversations so willingly, and for telling stories of your life through which I came to learn of myself...thank you. Our time together was a gift. Gwen Chapman, Karen Meyer, and Cynthia Nicol, my virtuous and intrepid committee members, I offer my thanks to you for inspiring me with your own stories, for sharing your thoughtful responses to my writing, and for questioning me on what it was I intended to accomplish with this dissertation - until I felt convinced of it myself. It has been my special privilege to walk with you on this journey. "All aboard! Do you have your ticket?" Thank you Annie, Chris, Barbara, Jacyntha, and Kadi, my fearless co-inspirators who opened spaces for daring performativities without us ever having to leave the academy. David, I appreciate you urging me onwards, truly and virtually, from your office in the Arizona sunshine. Lace, how lucky of me to have met you. Thank you for your positive regard, your poetry, and unflagging support. And Lucy, my chthonic thirteenth participant, a wide-open heartfelt thanks for sharing your poetic gifts and your charming ways of disrupting dietetic practice. You inspire me to believe that dietetics can be more just, just more. I look forward to finding words together that spell out such possibilities. Natasha, my dear friend, my gratitude to you for introducing me to matcha lattes and salsa dancing that sustained me along with your precious gift of friendship. My family, that you never expected me to leave school (never?) and that you found something of interest in this writing helped me to keep going when things got difficult. To my mother, especially, I could not have survived the trek had it not been for your delicious cooking, last-minute child-caring, and other miscellaneous gifts of love and forgiveness. One Sunday afternoon, just as I was contemplating my final attempt at finishing this dissertation and truly doubting I could do it, the phone rang and it was Donna Patterson. Thank you, Donna for changing my mind and then for offering to edit my work. During the last few days of this dissertation, I became an auntie again with the arrival of Caitlin, a sister to Luke. Such ecstasy to welcome you, Caitlin. Miracles of natality are all around us! Evyn, thank you for being so patient with your Mumma while she was writing this story. You are so incredible, and clever, and funny, oh, so funny. Let's go play! And finally, to my steadfast darling partner's hard for me to find the language to tell you of my appreciation for your love, insight, and support. It's a relief in many ways to know I have the rest of my life to try. I offer this dissertation in honour of your strength, courage, intelligence, and grace. v Dedication for Kelly and for Evyn for always Introduction This dissertation might be best described as composed of three parts or panels, a textual triptych. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, triptych arises from the Greek triptyches meaning three folds or layers. A triptych consists of three painted or carved panels hinged together so that the two outer panels can be folded in to protect the more crucial image in the centre. The subject of the side panels is usually supplementary to that of the centre. Each panel can be accepted on its own merits or viewed together. The same is true here. In "Panel I - The Privilege and Responsibility of Autoethnography," I describe how I came to dietetics and then I elaborate on the circumstances that compelled me to begin this study. I speak in first person, describing for readers how I discovered autoethnography as a suitable research method. In choosing autoethnography, I felt compelled to learn of its history, its critiques, and its ethics. I immersed myself in autoethnographic exemplars and theorizing on autoethnography. Often the two were inseparable. This panel was written after panel two, inspired by questions that the second panel evoked for readers. In "Panel II - Longing for Recognition," I endeavour to enact autoethnography, to bring it alive through a storying called autofiction. Here you will notice my voice shift to the third person. The landscape readers enter changes from that in panel one. I still appear in this story, but I assume an omnipresent perspective when I become a character named Jacqui. In deciding not only to speak for myself, I endeavoured to offer voice through others. This tale takes up where my personal story left off in panel one. I begin panel two by sharing an intimate family moment, that of announcing my pregnancy to my Grandmother. Our daughter coming into the world speaks to the heart of who I am and the discord my lesbian identity arouses for some. Also in the prologue, I introduce Tess, a fledgling dietetic educator determined to share with her students and sister dietitians her alternative views on dietetic education and practice through an embodied pedagogy and social theory literature. Does she succeed? Meg and Dani, two of Tess' students, struggle in different ways with the critique Tess introduces to them via class discussions, activities, and critical social theory. 1 In relationship, they grapple with their dietetic identity, emotions, and epistemologies. What do they learn? Tess' friends, Ariana,1 Gabrielle, and Jacqui, all dietitians themselves decide to come together to explore the idea of a facilitated support group. They are guided by a psychologist, Carly, to acknowledge the difficulty of their work and the importance of their friendship to their healing process. What is in need of healing? These characters are based on and inspired by my research participants, my academic colleagues, my friends, my family, and my imagination. Most of these people are provided with pseudonyms to protect their identity and preserve their anonymity while some retain their given names. Those whose real names are used have read the excerpts in which they appear and have agreed to be represented as such. I endeavour to show these characters "embedded in the complexities of lived moments of struggle...attempting to preserve or restore the continuity and coherence of life's unity in the face of unexpected blows of fate that call one's meanings and values into question" (Ellis & Bochner, 2000, p. 744). I've recreated characters' lives by making choices about dialogue, language, imagery, metaphor, narration, and conflict to illustrate implicitly the research themes. The scene for each chapter is set initially in Tess' classroom. The twelve chapters following the prologue correspond to the twelve lessons of an imaginary dietetic course, "NUTR 430: Orientations to Dietetic Practice," offered over the span of a fall semester. A course outline and glossary are provided as supporting documents. After each class, scenes shift to a variety of locations and involve each of the characters mentioned above. The symbol"-" is meant to indicate to the reader when these changes occur. I offer panel two as the centrepiece from which an imaginary of dietetic education and practice might emerge. I hope it will inspire readers to ask, "What if this were true? What then?" This panel was composed first. In "Panel III - The Passion and Melancholy of Performing Dietitian," I provide a manuscript-style variation 1 Ariana is credited as the author of three poems in this dissertation: "In Celebration," "Strain," and "One Owner." These poems were actually written by Lucy Aphramor who has granted permission for the poetry to appear as represented. 2 on the research in a voice most akin to conventional social science. This panel provides a more explicit view of the theoretical interpretations I've brought to the research, specifically a theory of dietitian performativity as constituted through dietetic education and practice. This piece appears on Tess' reading list so her students might consider the implications of such research in the context of their class. This panel was composed last. The impulse for this work arose from my desire to understand the connections between what I know as dietetic education and the complex world in which it is situated and constituted. From the start, I was concerned with discovering ways to represent this research unconventionally. I searched "for alternative ways to push and move the already constituted towards new discursive practices" (Sondergaard, 2005, p. 298). During the research process, I learned of myself through the Other. I engaged with the Other assured that relationships form the crucible of my learning. My actions are premised on reciprocity, mutuality, and respect. Most of all, any knowing I claim exists in the dynamic embeddedness of these relationships. I believe that this research, like all pieces of writing, is a work of translation in the way Hrjinian (2000) describes translation as an epistemological project that "scrutinizes the nature of knowing and the way in which any particular knowing is circumstantially embedded" (p. 296). It is my hope that my translation provokes further dialogue on the subject of dietetic education and practice. It is my hope that this work provokes dialogue that places the subject of dietetic education and practice in translation and leaves it there unsettled. My translation may or may not be disputed by those represented here. 3 Panel I - The Pr iv i lege and Responsib i l i ty of Autoethnography Why do you never find anything written about that idiosyncratic thought you advert to, about your fascination with something no one else understands? Because it is up to you. There is something you find interesting, for a reason hard to explain. It is hard to explain because you have never read it on any page; there you begin. You were made and set here to give voice to this, your own astonishment. (Dillard, 1989, p. 67-68) I am a dietitian. I was trained in a positivist tradition to consider food as nutrition, as a substance to be quantified in the pursuit of health. I was trained to consider people seeking my knowledge as rational, autonomous, predictable, and decontextualized from their actual lives. I was trained to calculate and inform - too much fat, drink skim milk; too little protein, eat skinless chicken breast; too little calcium, eat yogurt; too little iron, eat beef; too much coffee, drink water. Imagine me, calculator in hand, acting certain, but distracted from the human being seeking my expertise. Imagine me simply telling people what they should and should not consume. Soon, my lovely distraction was interrupted. People were saying things to me that I was not expecting to hear. My training did not prepare me for comments such as, "I feel an immense sense of power after eating all I want and throwing up afterwards." My training did not prepare me for comments such as, "Eating slowly and minding my hunger cues brings back memories of childhood sexual abuse. I have to eat fast. That's why I'm fat." My training did not prepare me for comments such as, "What gives you the right to tell me what to eat?" My training did not prepare me for comments such as, "I hate my body! I won't eat that. It has too much fat. I'm overwhelmed. I don't want to be here. I want to die!" I soon realized that no amount of nutritional science was going to help me respond to these people, to their pain. I needed to venture across paradigmatic borders. I studied feminism. I continued to wake up to other realities. This process of waking involved a dilemma of another sort. If I was not prepared for such comments from patients and clients and the education of dietitians is relatively standard across Canada, it was likely that other dietitians were feeling similarly unprepared in their experience of nutrition counseling practice. If dietitians were unprepared for these decidedly awkward situations, how were they responding? I heard stories from clients that suggested my dietitian colleagues were not responding well. People told me they 4 were surprised to be in my office since they had promised themselves they would never again see a dietitian after the last time. It was such a shaming, humiliating experience for them. My colleagues and I were struggling to do the right thing, but we were unprepared to address such issues and for the sheer complexity of our work. In confusion and curiosity, I was compelled to return to university to research dietitians' experience of their education. Through the experience of consuming texts written by critical pedagogues, I became aware education could and possibly should look and feel different than it does. I began to think about how the experience of being a student of critical feminist nutrition pedagogy might have reflexively initiated me into the profession of dietetic practice. I talked to my colleagues, my research participants, and realized that they indeed were stressed, many of them fantasized daily about leaving the profession. Some of them thrashed through a "living death," depression, and "crisis of identity." I had never heard or read of others' such experiences in dietetics. It was a strangely comforting realization that I was not alone. My decision of "what" and "who" to study was an easy one for me. I learned that in seeking to know the other, we seek to know ourselves. I chose to study dietitians' experience because it was my experience. I chose to implicate dietetic education because I am a dietetic educator. I teach undergraduate dietetic students. I mentor dietetic students. I spend time with young women trying to decide if dietetics is the right profession for them. I support new graduates in their attempts to navigate the complex world of entrepreneurship. I supervise residents in a four-month long program of advanced learning and practice. I facilitate workshops for my dietetic colleagues on issues related to size acceptance, eating disorders, and identity. And through all of these commitments, I also learn. I am a dietetic educator. I take this role seriously. I am ethically obligated to examine my practices. I can learn to do things better. This is why I returned to begin my doctoral studies. And as Crawford and colleagues (1992) observe, "In Order to see ourselves as able to change the structures, we must first acknowledge our complicity in our own subordination, that is, that there are benefits as well as costs in maintaining the status quo" (p. 196). I too, have a story to tell. Minh-ha (1989) says, "Let me tell you a story. For all I have is a story" (p. 119). My professional work is 5 not as straightforward as I expected it might be when I entered dietetics. I remember myself as a young woman trying to decide what to do with my life. I was always fascinated with discovery and had done well academically in life sciences. But my body told a different story. I struggled with Chron's disease, an autoimmune disorder, from the time I was seventeen. I sought mainstream and alternative medical help to deal with my condition; a debilitating, painful gastrointestinal disease for which there is no certain cause or cure. I became interested in my nutritional health through working with a naturopath. In addition to an intense regime of steroids, I tried 'natural' approaches to deal with the diarrhea, gas, bloating, cramping, constipation, and unrelenting pain. I remember my naturopathic doctor asking me what I did for relaxation and play. I had no response. Although his prescribed treatment of slippery elm bark, charcoal tablets, homeopathic tinctures, and whole foods sparked my curiosity for how my body could be healed by what I ate, eventually my intestinal ulcers became so severe that the lining of my gut was perforated - tiny little pin pricks where ruthless intestinal ulcers had eaten through my flesh. I was succumbing to the disease. I developed a high fever and had to undergo an emergency operation to remove part of my intestine. That should have been the first clue that feeling whole, healthy, and happy was not just about what food I put in my mouth. After my operation, my pain miraculously disappeared. I was instructed to eat nutritious food, be active, and get plenty rest. I was gifted with a second chance and quickly realized that when my life became unbalanced, my digestion and my body became unbalanced. I had to be careful. And, I wanted to help others learn how to be careful, so I chose nutrition. And I remember thinking before I started in dietetics that once I learned about nutrition, it would be so much easier to control my weight. My perspective at that time was naive. I was seduced by the promise that nutritional expertise equated corporeal domination. I dreamed of not having to struggle to calculate the exact number of calories and nutrients I needed to stay thin. I would learn to master my body by becoming a dietitian. The more I learned about nutrition, the more self-obsessed I became about my weight. As it turned out, beginning my undergraduate program helped me to learn something far more important than the caloric value of food. I learned that even smart women end up making bad choices. It was in the middle of my undergraduate program that I left my husband, a man who instilled in me through his speech and actions how my value as a woman was undeniably connected to my shape. I remember him threatening to leave me if I ever gained weight and consistently remarking on the attractiveness of other women's bodies. These were incredibly painful and demeaning lessons. I learned how to compare myself to other women and to compete with them for his attention. My efforts to control my nutritional intake and expenditure were really efforts to ease the pain of being objectified, not only by him, but also by a vast social order. And even to this day I continue to bump up against that hard, unrelenting edge of power and domination, but instead of necessarily personalizing those confrontations, I use what I learned of feminism and femininity to challenge and revise my view of the world. The decision of "how" to tell my story was not as easy. My poststructural tendencies have me wary of traditional social science representation that manifests itself as a reflection of the real. Gergen and Gergen (2002) explain the realist posture as restricting dialogue and alienating readers from conversation, both of which I want to avoid with this work. Instead, I prefer and intend to assemble a text that acknowledges the following: We cannot escape discourse. We can move within discourse, find fissures, ruptures and contradictions to move with or against. We can...turn up and down, interrupt or leave alone - in the search for alternative ways to push and move the already constituted towards new discursive practices (Sondergaard, 2005, p. 298). John Law (2004) extends the question of representation even further by asking readers to reconsider 'knowing' as a metaphor, since "almost certainly we will need to think hard about our relations with whatever it is we know, and ask how far the process of knowing it also brings it into being" (p. 3). He offers social scientists this question: If much of the world is vague, diffuse or unspecific, slippery, emotional, ephemeral, elusive or indistinct, changes like a kaleidoscope, or doesn't really have much of a pattern at all, then where does this leave social science? (p. 2) 7 For some, this might be a disquieting question. Inspired by Law (2004) to release my desire for certainty and my expectation that as a social scientist I would arrive at stable conclusions and special insights about the way things really are in dietetic education, I began a search for alternative ways to push and move the already constituted. On the recommendation of my committee, I looked to autoethnography. I chose autoethnography, reflexive autoethnography, as my primary method. I embarked on a research process, all the while taking field notes, attending to the emotional dimension of my conversations, writing poetry, and listening to the stories my colleagues shared. In choosing autoethnography, I do not deny its critiques, but realize these critiques arise from specific, typically modernist beliefs about the world. Here at the outset of my work I would like to respond to these critiques as contained within my address of four autoethnographic movements: (1) the privilege granted social scientists by way of an autoethnographic tradition, (2) the responsibility of autoethnographers to feminism, politics, and social change, (3) the blurred lines between autoethnography and fiction, and (4) the ethics of autoethnographic writing. These autoethnographic movements came into play through conversations among committee members, colleagues, and myself. I explore these aspects of autoethnography as a means for situating and positioning my dissertation within a larger tradition of qualitative inquiry. Before addressing these four autoethnographic movements, however, let me elaborate on my process of coming to choose autoethnography. The Phenomeno logy of Cho i ce As I moved through the process of developing my research ideas, I grappled with the questions of how, as a feminist scholar, I might engage with present phenomena in such a manner as to offer transformative alternatives and to reorganize my view of the world in which the phenomena are produced? These questions are predicated on the assertion that research can and should be political and that researchers have the privilege and ethical responsibility to attend to dimensions of social justice. What might be involved in choosing methods with a decidedly political impulse? Foucault (1977) understands that "power produces; it produces reality; it produces domains of objects and rituals of truth" (p. 194). Power further complicates any desire for transformative alternatives since power is also exerted on the scholar. Davies (2000) elaborates on power being "not a thing or an essence that can be 8 described, but a complex set of relations amongst people and in the relations between people and knowledge systems - or patterns of discourse" (p. 18). My question of method is not to be taken separately from power. If my research intention is political and relational, involving language and knowledge, I must also recognize power, in its myriad forms. 1 realize that I can not write of educational phenomena without acknowledging how power produces, constricts, and extorts reality. If I choose to write about lived experiences, I can only hope to write from a perspective of what I attempt to make real. Through the entire process, power bears down on me. In reading others' texts, in (mis)representing those texts, in hearing what I should know, I am subject to power. Power is written into and through me. I cannot escape power, nor do I try. In choosing to write of myself as a cultured-gendered performative, as a white, educated, lesbian, non-disabled female dietitian, I choose to write autoethnographically. In choosing autoethnography, I brandish power. I make visible the invisible, unscrutinized experience of a (dietetic) culture from my position inside that culture.2 As Jose Limon says (as quoted in Behar, 2003), "However 'liberating' a narrative discourse we propose to write, it is one always intimate with power, and many of our 'informants,' 'subjects,' 'consultants,' 'teachers,' and 'friends' know it" (p. 247). And perhaps because of this intimate knowing, autoethnography is not a method I am permitted to engage within certain academic locations. From such positions, autoethnography remains forbidden. One might infer that if autoethnography is undesirable in such locations, my experience is also unacceptable. I assume one would be correct. I admit that my making this autoethnographic choice, deliberately and thoughtfully, is condoned through privilege. My autoethnographic choice is in play only because of the creative risks taken by those who have made public their work before me (Deck, 1990; Ellis, 1995, 1997, 1998, 2004; Ellis & Bochner, 2000; Hayano, 1979; Lionnet, 1989; Reed-Danahay, 1997; Richardson, 1997).These scholars, among others, permit me 2 Although not the first to coin the term, Ellis and Bochner (2000) define autoethnography as "an autobiographical genre of writing and research that displays multiple layers of consciousness, connecting the personal to the cultural" (p. 739). 9 the opportunity to explicate power autoethnographically and I choose to do so. Autoethnographic writers are encouraged to explore a variety of representational mediums. Mary and Kenneth Gergen (2002) describe the relational potential when the self as ethnographic exemplar becomes free from the traditional conventions of writing: "One's unique voicing - filled with colloquialisms, reverberations from multiple relationships, and emotional expressiveness - is honoured" (p. 14). Crawford and colleagues (1992) politicize the autoethnographic process by insisting that researchers should refuse to engage with patriarchal structures and the accompanying rules, but instead find "alternative ways of doing things, including alternative, women-centred ways of doing research..." (p. 196-197). Performing autoethnographically reduces the distance between researchers and participants by initiating relationships. Autoethnographers are summoned to acknowledge the telling history of their tradition and extend the gesture with sensitivity, humility, and reciprocity. One way to answer the question of how we might engage with phenomena so as to offer transformative possibilities is to perform autoethnographically. In the writing that follows I explore notions of autoethnographic privilege and responsibility, fiction and ethics in the context of my own academic journey. My journey might be aptly described as a succession of border crossings; the experience of pleasure and tension with sometimes inadvertent, sometimes deliberate excursions beyond structure. My journey is also infused with the exuberance of learning and the relationships that sustain and complexify learning. To know of me is to know of these things. Here I explore the process of choosing to perform autoethnographically, a deeply political, moral choice with inherent personal risks, but at the same time a choice to which I remain obliged given my concern with offering transformative possibilities to reorganize my view of the world. Autoethnographic Privilege Autoethnographies assume a diverse array of forms including personal essays, poetry, fiction, novels, journals, social science prose, and short stories (Ellis & Bochner, 2000). Autoethnographic research 10 brings together feminism, biography, cultural studies, personal experience, narrative inquiry, and autobiography. Diverse strands of personal theorizing when "woven together with other critical projects can bring light to codified, ritualized, and often unquestioned practices" (Wear, 1997, p. 6). Research on dietetic identity, education, and practice is scarce such that these practices have remained largely unquestioned. It seems appropriate autoethnography be used to explore themes of dietetic identity, education, and practice on these grounds. Of the range of approaches to autoethnography, reflexive autoethnography whereby the researcher uses her "own experiences in the culture reflexively to bend back on self and look more deeply at self-other interactions" is most clearly suited to this study of the culture of dietetics (Ellis & Bochner, 2000, p. 740). Reflexive ethnography is an especially apt approach considering dietetics is a site of multiple and complex subjectivities - mostly non-disabled, heterosexual, thin female bodies, subordinate^  positioned in medical hierarchies, sustained by corporeal/cultural expressions, and complicated by infinite food politics. This is a feminist endeavour. As Reinharz (1992) suggests, to begin with a woman's personal experience is an assurance that the researcher will be starting from the standpoint of women. Autoethnography opposes the essentializations of any group by simultaneously trying to understand the tensions within and between the researcher, the research process, and the issues being researched as a means to expose the power relationships within a culture (Berry, 2005). This is a moral, ethical undertaking and understatedly, highly delicate work. How each of us chooses to represent these experiences is the challenge. Do we follow others' rules or do we make up our own? "Do we...have the guts to say, 'You may not like it, but here I am'?" (Krieger, 1991, p. 244). Autoethnography offers one response, a relational response to this crisis of representation. Mary and Ken Gergen (2002) remind me that in the matter of representation there is no one best way since applying a criterion to the matrix constrains the potential of my relationships to be many and varied. Whatever method I choose, there still exists a desire to evaluate the ethics and effectiveness of its representational forms. Autoethnography is a response to the crisis of representation, but not the only one, thus the evidence I quote comes from a variety of sources including memoir, life writing, and autobiography. 11 In speaking of autoethnographic criteria, Bochner (2000) explains the frustration of applying universal criterion for determining the good and correct purposes when researchers are confronted by the plurality of the field. Should criteria be applied to autoethnography and if so, what criteria might be most meaningful? Bochner (2000) wonders if criteria are a means of containing and constricting researchers' desire for freedom such that possibilities become limited and creative energy is stifled. Some might respond to autoethnography by asking, "How can this be true?" Instead Bochner (2000) suggests we ask, "What if this were true? What then?" (p. 267). These claims against what makes for 'good' autoethnography reveal another critique related to the absence of hypotheses, data analyses, findings, and theory from autoethnographic research. Currently, autoethnographic inquiry may have the ability to make alien discourses more intelligible, but it does little to generate new conceptual resources or increases vocabularies for social action (Gergen & Gergen, 2002). How might autoethnographers generate theory capable of forging new forms of social practice? This question is predicated on one's theoretical investment. If relationships are privileged as crucibles of meaning, "as the fundamental matrix from which human meaning is born," then "theory emerges by implication" (Gergen & Gergen, 2002, p. 27). It is not that autoethnography exceeds standards, but that the means for assessing the fruitfulness of this work should avoid thwarting subjectivity in favour of rationality. This is the privilege I have been granted as an autoethnographic scholar; to find language to "help the reader or listener to understand and feel the phenomena under scrutiny" (Bochner, 2000, p. 270). When asked how readers are to comprehend the complexity of lived experiences, Coles (1989) concluded that theories and or systems of action are inadequate. For readers to comprehend the complexity of lived experiences only a story will do. My responsibility to offer multiple interpretations, to invite the reader to engage and feel the phenomena, and to story arises from the privilege of a carefully wrought autoethnographic tradition. It appears that autoethnography is beginning to recover from the theoretical anxiety brought about by the postmodern critique, but this critique is far from resolved (Brown & Dobrin, 2004). Continuing to offer autoethnographic exemplars often means we come face to face with the power of exclusion, the fear of erotic knowledge, and the theoretical critique. Despite this resistance, autoethnographers have been granted the "right reasons to write" (Cixous, 1991, p. 8). How might we write that privilege into responsible action? Is it possible to write autoethnographically and at the same time politically? Autoethnographic Responsibility To tell one's life is to assume responsibility for that life. (Kierkegaard as quoted by Frank, 1997, p. xii) In this dissertation, I have endeavoured to offer pedagogic testimony through the creation of a feminist, reflexive autoethnography. Much of my desire to enter this process arises from a sense of responsibility to my own vocation; I feel obliged to witness and interrogate my practice. My hope for this dissertation is to "challenge the guiding assumptions of the [dietetics] culture, to foster reconsideration of that which is 'taken for granted,' and to thereby furnish new alternatives for social action [through dietetic education]," (Gergen, 1982, p. 136). As Smith (1993) asserts, autoethnography can be an effective means for "talking back" to those discourses that have been historically assigned and disrupting guiding assumptions. Writing this autoethnography has afforded me a sense of empowerment as a means for resisting the dominant canonical discourses of nutritional science. More importantly though, my subjectivity has shifted through the writing process itself. Cixous (1991) describes this shifting process by saying "How what affects me comes into language, comes out fully worded, I don't know. I 'feel' it, but it is a mystery itself, which language is unlikely to let through. This mode of passivity is our way - really an active way - of getting to know things by letting ourselves be known by them" (56-57). And I have become known to myself despite myself - an autotheoretical autoepisiotomy. Lather (1991) points out that all research represents forms of knowledge and discourse that are inventions about the researchers themselves, which elicit the question "How do practices to discover the truth about ourselves impact on our lives?" (p. 167). Autoethnography is one way of discovering truths and in the process, much is revealed about how this discovery influences the writer's life. It permits space for reflexivity. "Synergetic knowledge making admits the unruly, private, and ideological dimensions of personal theorizing, theorizing that turns back on itself by analyzing its own production" (Wear, 1997, p. 13 8). My desire is that this work be an inquiry grounded in who I am, a living inquiry, an "epistemology of insiderness" (Reinharz, 1992, p. 261). Minh-ha (1989) reminds me of my feminist responsibility when she asserts "If feminism is set forth as a demystifying force, then it will have to question thoroughly the belief in its own identity" (p. 96). My feminism beckons me to question the belief in my own identity, to demystify, and to foreground the process as it emerges even when it gets unruly. Autoethographic work is personal, political, and once shared enters a social dimension; an in-between conversation "where claims against political order are made in the name of justice" (Forche, 1993, p. 31). Indeed, as Markussen (2005) elaborates through her social and cultural exploration of performativity as a mode of achieving transformation, "research needs to enter public space, academic or otherwise - a space that is 'public in the sense of accessible, available to memory, and sustained through collective activity'" (p. 330). This act of making visible the invisible is transformative in and of itself. Studying "diverse women's lives as sources of their research epistemologies leads me to consider how a field's previous epistemological weavings may shift and change, or simply come undone, as new and divergent lives come to spin its intellectual core" (Neumann & Peterson, 1997, p. 3). As I inquire into alternative ways of understanding myself and my practice, it remains my responsibility to resist the tendency towards positivism and mastery and instead to share stories and be open to shifting epistemologies. I've found this process of resistance to be most laborious, admitting that perhaps my positivistic tendencies are sometimes too powerful, too embedded to disrupt. The reader may sense overwhelmingly the tension arising from my struggle. I am called to remember that "the reflexive qualities of human communication should not be bracketed in the name of science" (Ellis & Bochner, 2000, p. 743). I imagine myself snapping positivistic brackets across my knee like brittle kindling in preparation to light a firestorm that incites a truly powerful paradigm shift. Sometimes the wood is too wet to burn. 14 Autoethnographic Fict ion Storytelling: her words set into motion the forces that lie dormant in things and beings. (Minh-ha, 1989, p. 147) Fiction is one of many ways in which autoethnography can be represented. What does fiction offer autoethnography? What does autoethnography want from fiction? Reinharz (1992) quoting Pope in her feminist analysis of fiction found that "fictional portraits of women have value...because they provide a source of identity and validity for the woman who is struggling with debilitating and alien cultural assumptions about herself...The reader sees herself as not alone in her experiences" (p. 154). Reinharz (1992) continues to explain that "fiction is understood as a political text in both the social and personal domains" (p. 154). As a political text, fiction affords power, "the power to do things, to resist, to deconstruct, to write, to create, to imagine, to laugh, to move people to tears, to experience puissance" (Davies, 2000, p. 19). I appreciate the power of fiction and I acknowledge that power is fiction, a "dramatic fiction" (Davies, 2000, p. 19). Since I'm exploring the intersections of power, discourse, and knowledge, my feminism calls for fiction. The fictive aspects of my work are analogous to "autofiction" a term coined by Lecarme and Lecarme (as quoted by Yamade, 2005) to describe "an unleashed autobiography" (p. 268). Hybridizing autoethnography and fiction enables reconfigurations of the self while simultaneously dismantling and reconstructing the self so that subjectivity and Otherness always coexist. Autofiction relies on imagination, which nourishes dietetic practice (Berenbaum, 2005). An impoverished imagination glorifies the status quo by silencing and repressing vulnerable texts (Gingras, 2005). I've been encouraged to "think outside the box, to take risks, to challenge the status quo" (Berenbaum, 2005, p. 196). Choosing to create an autofictional representation of my doctoral research on dietitians' experience of their education is my response to Berenbaum's invitation to nourish dietetic practice and to respond to my research participants' appeal that their practical wisdom will be translated into a political text. My desire is to create a frame bold enough to permit my participants' stories to be heard while at the same time spark the reader's imagination. Bochner (2000) says this is true also for autoethnographers in that they want to produce innovate, evocative texts that attempt to sustain imaginative impulses not destroy them. What if 15 this were true? What then? In what I've interpreted as a call for reflexive autoethnography and a concern for how reality is (mis)represented, Markussen (2005) invites researchers into a process of "transforming the traditional backstage of research - its process of making - into its performative possibility" (p. 341). Markussen politicizes her invitation suggesting, Such openness increases the ability to enact shifts in the phenomenon being studied, and thus also sharpens the transformative power of feminism. Refusing an enactment of the outcomes of research as 'after the fact', such transformative modes of relating seem to be called for in order to develop effective ways of engaging with the present (p. 330-331). Feminist researchers experimenting with voice are developing effective, if not "messy" ways of engaging with present phenomena. Jackson (2003) suggests, "The various deployments, critiques, and reconfigurations of voice in feminist research are circular, interconnected, and deterritorializing" (p. 693). Various lines of articulation in relationship with each other, autoethnography and fiction for example, manifest a rhizovocality which makes possible political deterritorialization (Jackson, 2003). Deleuze and Guattari (1987) originally offered an image of the rhizome as a system of tuberous root-like structures that had no origin, but instead multiple underground non-linear interconnections. In considering the process of creating autoethnography, consider the image of the rhizome and the autoethnographic voices represented as rhizovocal - multiplicitous, transgressive, unruly. Law (2004) contends it is this textured, creative process that "cannot be disassociated from whatever is being made, word by word" (p. 12). We permit what emerges then as an autoethnographic "method assemblage" whereby social scientific processes become unravelled and disrupted and social scientists find ways of living uncertainly without fixity, conclusion, or finality. With regards to fictive feminist realities, "literature and history once were/still are stories: this does not necessarily mean that the space they form is undifferentiated, but that this space can articulate on a 16 different set of principles, one which maybe said to stand outside the hierarchical realm of facts" (Minh-ha, 1989, p. 121). We might consider the 'truth' of a story be measured outside of objective fact, but inside its tendency to evoke. "Thinking true means thinking in conformity with a certain scientific discourse produced by certain institutions" (Minh-ha, 1989, p. 124). Given the tendency to "think true" as institutionalized discourse, feminists interested in challenging certain scientific discourse might adopt autoethnographic fictions (feeling true, less thinking true) as political and disruptive storytellings capable of refreshing, regenerating, and enlarging the notion of dietitian performativity. Consider how the reading of autoethnographic fiction generates reaction amongst its readers. Markussen (2005) uses her experience of reading Judith Butler as an example: In opening herself up to this deeply problematic situation, [Judith Butler] aims at nothing less than 'reorganizing' the world. One may see this as a naive aim, or.. .one may pay attention to what happens to oneself in reading her proposals. Did not something shift in how I see the problematic of transsexuality? Clearly, the resistance against Butler's thinking also speaks of its power to actually enact transformations in the minds of her readers, and perhaps beyond, (p. 332) For autoethnographic fiction and autoethnography to offer a transformative potential, I believe reader response is crucial. How might we attend to what happens in response to reading autoethnography, in response to feeling true? Perhaps feminist autoethnographers engaged in fiction writing may calibrate the transformative potential of their work through the resistance it evokes. Markussen (2005) states an "effective engagement with the present needs to proceed from a recognition of the coproduction of research and reality, needs to refuse the notion that reality already happened" (p. 341-342). When we consider the constituting force of language, of the writer's powerful ability to wield language in a manner that constructs a particular view of reality, we can acknowledge that all research texts are fictions or what Strathern (1987) identifies as "persuasive fictions" (p. 251). Admitting scholarly work to be persuasive fiction "forces a recognition of the rhetorical features in any piece of scholarly writing" (Sparkes, 1995, p. 160). Fiction brings forth recognition and in doing so might be considered pedagogical. Coles (1989) 17 remarks that one keeps learning by teaching fiction since reader responses have their own "startling, suggestive power" (p. xix). Reader response enables a fictive text its pedagogical power. It is my desire that this autofictive text elicits a dynamic, polyvocal array of responses so that it lives up to its pedagogical potential. It already has. In drafting the text and attending to my reviewers' responses, I've already become acutely aware of their startling, suggestive power. I have learned plenty. Resistance to the autoethnographic work may well be another criterion to apply to when assessing the scholarly capacity of autoethnographic fiction. What did the writing elicit in others? How are others' responses fictionalized according to particular perspectives on reality, language, and power? What did the writing elicit in the self? How does this merging of elicitations, this dialogic conversation, enlarge the phenomena under consideration? What are my ongoing reflexive gestures able to offer the work of a feminist social science? Autoethnographic Ethics What is the autoethnographer's ethical duty to her research co-participants, her family, her colleagues, and herself? Armstrong (2005) talks of the triangulated responsibility she experiences to her "created artifact," to her family and all others with whom she is in relation, and finally to her reader "who trusts the writer's integrity to both tell, as closely as possible, what the writer believes is 'true' or 'real'" (p. 1-2). These responsibilities require ongoing decision-making as the autoethnography emerges since ethical matters are not context free and practical action always requires interpretive judgment. Mattingly (2005) describes ethical judgment as that which is based on Aristotle's philosophy and arises through a historically situated narrative such that "stories are the source of an essential source of wisdom about the good life and practical action" (p. 465). Armstrong (2005) elaborates that It is within both this performative act of re-creating the lives of the writer and her relationships, as well as the aesthetic choices of language, image, metaphor, narrative structure, and other strategic devices that the writer must make an ongoing series of ethical choices (p. 7). These decisions infuse autoethnographic fiction with a compelling, relational texture, which is not to underestimate their complexity or rhizovocality. Autoethnographers attempt to avoid self-censorship when describing the contradictions and the emotional pain of their lives. Through autoethnographic exemplars, autoethnographers write as truthfully about the complexities of their worlds as possible, not necessarily to resolve complications, tragedy, or pain, but instead to initiate the process of personal recovery and in some instances to come out of shame (hooks, 2003). I believe this healing process is an important feature of constructive social movements, engaged pedagogy, and personal theorizing. Ellis (2002) describes this as "good" autoethnography - that which moves us towards the Other, turns us towards praxis, veers us inward to engaged social critique, and persists in demonstrating how we might participate in a public healing process. The classroom is one place where we might give space for such healing. Autoethnography asks of readers to attend to the writing life in open and dialogic ways. Buss (2002) claims "the form needs readers who enter a text with an attitude...that does not seek to appropriate, judge or colonize but that mandates that readers risk their own vulnerabilities in reading" (p. 189). Readers will naturally make their own decisions as to the ethics of a piece of writing. This is a 'reciprocity of necessity' as Frank (2005) elaborates in his Bakhtinian call to dialogic research since the autoethnographic research leaves research participants "unfinalized" and does claim the research report as a "final statement of who the research participants are, but as one move in a continuing dialogue through which those participants will continue to form themselves, as they continue to become who they may not yet be" (p. 967). Anything else is "an ethical failing of responsibility." Frank describes how professionals are taught that in order to be recognized as credible and "to sustain the privilege of the profession, they must utter the definitive, finalizing word, about those who fall within their purview, whether these are patients, students, defendants, clients, or research participants" (p. 967). Based on my experiences and the stories I've heard from colleagues, what Frank suggests is also true for dietitians. A call for ethical autoethnographic fiction and a call for dialogic interpretations of such text is a call away from finalizing notions of what it means to be professional. It is a call away from expert monologues, which tragically cause those who are "finalized to come to expect to be spoken of in this way...and forget 19 to notice the falseness of the approach" (Frank, 2005, p. 967). Also, it is a call away from seeing research texts as disconnected from the process through which they were created since this perspective "often leads to a mystification or obstruction of the complexities and messiness of field work.. .and erasing the subjectivities of researchers" (McRobbie as quoted in Gonick, 2003, p. 22). Invariably, the meaning of stories entangled together in a rhizovocal autoethnographic fiction is dependent on perpetual generation; "one story calls forth another" and the present story holds the potential for continual "revision and redistribution in future stories" (Frank, 2005, p. 967). Autoethnographic fiction resists a last word and openly participates, or perhaps more accurately, openly instigates an ongoing reconstitution of discourse well into the future. In writing my autoethnography, I sought to tell my story and at the same time engage in a broader discussion about how my educational experience has been constituted by power, discourse, and knowledge. I wanted to be truthful to the tension brought on by contradictions in my philosophical beliefs, what I experience in the flux between structuralism and post-structuralism. I consider these contradictions as truthful and necessary experiences in my ontological journey. As I wrote, I reflexively addressed and integrated my own biases, motivations, agendas, and ambitions (Armstrong, 2005), but I hoped those did not overshadow entirely the motivations of others. Along with "poetic truths," I maintained the possibility for counterstories to emerge as other readers engage with the text. The only way to 'know' how these interpretations may generate as yet unknowable, rhizomatic narratives is to be attuned to them in moments yet to occur. I didn't want to imply I have this research settled or that I'm settled by this research. If you read that into this work, you read the remnants of my determinism, my authority, my desire for certainty, and my longing for recognition. I attempted to vanish all traces of these attributes that I consider suspect and unbecoming. I failed, of course, since to succeed would only place me in double bind; the hypocrisy of exchanging one set of absolutes for another, of judging, and dichotomizing. I was being true and feeling true to my incompleteness. I am as unfinalized by this writing as is the question of its ethics. Autoethnographers cannot expect their work to meet with universal approval, yet ethical scrutiny is warranted when writing about subjects rendered vulnerable through gender, class, and ability (Couser, 20 2004). The autoethnographer's needs are to be weighed against the interests and rights of those I write about. In spite of these ethical considerations, Couser (2004) would like life writing, of which autoethnography is a species, to be "deregulated, liberated from excessive control" and diversified through "more kinds of lives represented and more kinds of representation" (p. 200-201). There is a distinction to be made between a layperson's life writing and similar writing in the professions, which are subject to systematic and procedural safeguards i.e. confidentiality and anonymity. Of course even with these safeguards in place there are no guarantees "against the possibility of painful self-recognition" such that the protection of participants may depend as much on "the ethos of particular...writers as on their application of ethical principle and their adherence to professional practices" of which self-reflexivity is a constituent (Couser, 2004, p. 201). I am reminded here of my autoethnographic responsibility. A joint policy statement developed by the Tri-Council, a Canadian consortium of university research funding agencies, reinforces the importance of research as that which respects human dignity by not viewing these individuals as simply means to a morally indefensible end (CIHR, NSERC, & SSHRC, 1998, with 2000, 2003, 2005 amendments). It is hoped that autoethnographers and others attend to these ethical standards with sensitivity and thoughtfulness by taking these standards up in the spirit by which they were intended. By coming together with research co-participants, we were mutually affected through what Visweswaran (1994) calls an "hermeneutics of vulnerability" (p. 32). I hope that readers will similarly feel the narrative reverberations, the desire for recognition, and the response for which these conversations call out. Conclusion Here I have outlined the privilege of the autoethnographic tradition as a means of inspiring a responsible engagement for further autoethnographic representation. I have offered my own life story as a textual strategy with autoethnographic potential, a response to the crises of representation that caused me to know myself through the Other. My feminist standpoint verified the concerns of my experience. Since autoethnography is concerned with social action, it has something to offer feminism. Along with creating tension by challenging dominant methodological perspectives,, autoethnographic fictions often provoke 21 shifts in writers and readers to consider their subjectivity as fluid and dynamic, one of several antecedents for social reorganization and transformative alternatives. Scrutinizing persuasive fiction for elements of reality and response opens scholars to a method assemblage of disruptive capacity. This is the capacity for change. This is the future of autoethnographic fiction. 22 Panel II - Long ing for Recogn i t ion All seeing is hooded with looking at the other...the subject seeks to see herself.3 Prologue Jacqui and her Grandma sat side by side in two generous recliners watching The Wheel of Fortune or The Wheel as it was called in her family. At seven o'clock, when The Wheel was on at Grandma's, she was not to be disturbed. Despite knowing this, Jacqui insisted on sharing her big news. "Grandma?" Jacqui paused, her heart beating wildly. A hard swallow. "I'm pregnant." Jacqui's throat was dry with nervousness. She didn't take her eyes off Pat and Vanna. Grandma leaned forward in her recliner, her head turned towards Jacqui. Her crocheting fell into her lap. "Oh, Jacqui...what, how did this happen?" It didn't take much to guess Grandma was not thrilled, the ramifications of such news surely coming to her in waves. "Well, Kelly and I chose a donor and I was inseminated about two months ago. It worked the first time." Jacqui tried to evoke a celebratory tone, but words caught and stumbled across her parched tongue. "Oh, my goodness. What did your mother say?" Grandma got right to the point. "She was pretty surprised. I think dad was excited, though." Jacqui began to feel queasy. "That's OK, dear. It'll be alright. Everything will work out. This was meant to be and God loves all children. Don't ever forget that." 3Phelan, 1993, p. 16 23 "I'm sure he does, Grandma. I'm sure he does." Jacqui stared at the TV. In her head she thought, "I'd like to solve the puzzle, Pat." Jacqui remembered exactly when she finally decided she wanted to have a baby. It was the very moment she held her newborn nephew in her arms. September 3, 2002. When he started to cry, something in her heart melted, cracked, and spilled into her body. She found herself utterly surprised by her response. Who was this little boy who moved her so deeply? Who was this little baby, his cry piercing her rigid armour so immediately? He was only his tiny, fragile self. Jacqui watched wide-eyed as his mother gently took him from her and held him close to ease his crying. Jacqui had no choice but to let the astonished tears cascade down her face. There was no hiding the force with which baby Luke captured her spirit, her imagination, and her belief that maybe she, too, could be a mother. Less than one year later, Jacqui and her female partner, Kelly, had decided on an anonymous donor, subjected themselves to physical and emotional tests of parental suitability, and gone forward with the first insemination. They had purchased enough sperm for six tries. One was all they needed. Even with all they had to arrange to become pregnant, Jacqui was still surprised when she saw the pregnancy test show positive. It was completely surreal. The next months would pass by uneventfully, but then morning sickness. It put Jacqui into a fog-like distress. Oranges, grapefruit, and popsicles were most of what she could eat. The progress on her doctoral research ground to a maddening halt. Her body grew rounder and more awkward. The reality of a changing life began to sink in for her. Kelly had already started buying the smallest baby outfits imaginable and searching for a reputable, inclusive midwife. Together they were learning to become parents. Announcing the joyful news to Jacqui's parents was another adventure. Jacqui's mother, who had just gotten over the shock of Jacqui's coming out four years earlier, responded, "Well, you're determined to pull me into the 21st century, aren't you?" 24 At a visit to their therapist soon after, Jacqui and Kelly were reassured that when the baby arrived, all the current disappointments, turmoil, and grieving would be forgotten. "Babies have a way of pulling people into the present moment," she said. "Trust me." Mercifully, she was right. Evyn's birth was a wondrous miracle. She arrived in their arms with a flourish. Perfect baby. Perfect joy. Jacqui's sister, Suzanne, worked with Kelly through the long labour, through Jacqui's groaning and vociferous complaining right to the moment of delivery. Photos show the sheer happiness and relief forever written into their smiles. Suzanne was named Evyn's guardian. When grandparents and great-grandparents finally met Evyn, there was no mention of their original fears, no sign of it anywhere on their faces, just pure happiness. All of their agony about bringing this child into a same-sex parent family seemed to vanish. But Jacqui remembered. Even though she moved past her naive excitement, she carried their initial response in her cells, in her heart's memory. She knew her life was different, yet she still wanted to show the world that she deserved a place in it. Maybe that explained her desire for a doctorate. "Life," she told her mother, "there's no master plan. I just follow my passion." She knew that was not as disciplined as her mother would have preferred. She tried not to let that bother her. She never stopped trying. Jacqui and Kelly's community of friends, gay and straight, welcomed Evyn's birth announcement with ardent joy. Love and congratulations rushed in from all around them. Jacqui's close friend, Tess was one of the first to meet Evyn after she arrived home from the hospital. Tess and her daughter, Zoe had phoned shortly after they had arrived home, asking if they could come over for the briefest of visits. Nine-year old Zoe was smitten, gingerly offering her finger for Evyn to grasp as Tess cradled her close. "She's so delicate. Look how she puts her thumb between her two fingers. Cool. My teacher says that's a sign of shyness." So many signs baby Evyn was showing the world. As her world asked, "Who are you?" she responded. "Evyn Shona Stalker-Gingras." Jacqui practiced her name; her voice brimmed with pride and 25 bewilderment. Watching Kelly and Evyn start a tradition of slow dancing to George Michael before bed, Jacqui wondered to herself, 'Is this our child? How did this happen?' Soon after Evyn was born, Jacqui found poetry writing its way through her. One look... we are ploughed under by it. Our love for you brings us to fall on our knees. Tears of joy catch wet in our throats. We are startled by our love for you. Your presence... pulls us more fully into life. We stumble, staggered by salted currents motioning the sand beneath our feet. Hot waves of maternal desire rise up, blushing our cheeks. We are overcome. We are undone by our love for you. One turn... a caress, longing, familiar sweet baby girl you unlock a dark, mystic chamber long nameless in our heads. Your mothers gaze through lavender mists, 26 waking dreams, tenderly, wanton. You beckon us into the swirl of natality with our love for you. After three blissful months of the three of them luxuriating in the process of getting to know each other and travelling across Canada to introduce Evyn to Kelly's family, Jacqui returned to her research. Pulling together a submission for the ethics review board and finalizing plans for interviews and workshops were accomplished while Evyn napped. Much was accomplished during those sleeps. Evyn would be rocking in her swing, Sarah McLachlan's Afterglow soothing her to sleep, and Jacqui typing away on the computer. Evyn was bound to be well-accustomed to the sound of a computer keyboard. A few months into the New Year, Dr. Alice Taylor, a nutrition professor at the university where Jacqui was doing her research emailed her and asked if she would be interested in teaching an undergraduate course. "Your supervisor put your name forward since you are doing research on dietetic education. Are you available? The course starts in the fall. I've just been granted a research leave and need to find a replacement instructor. It is only two credits. A two-hour class, once a week. Tuesdays." Alice's request carried a note of urgency. Jacqui hesitated. She was just entering the data collection and analysis phase of her research and she didn't have much extra time to plan a course. Kelly was also working hard to finish her degree and, of course, there was Evyn to care for as well. Jacqui had hoped she would be writing in the fall during the time the course was to be offered. Yet, she was eager to teach. She loved teaching. And to put some of her pedagogical and curricular theory into practice in the dietetic classroom would be incredibly exciting. "How much time would be involved in planning the course?" Jacqui asked. "It's already planned. There is a text, course outline, syllabus. It's done. I've taught it for seven years, so there is nothing you need to do but step into the classroom." Alice sounded insistent in her desire to have somebody relieve her of the course. 27 "OK. Could you send me the course materials by email and I'll have a look and get back to you by the end of the week with a decision either way." Jacqui felt uneasy not telling Alice of her other obligations, but she needed to be sure. "Great. Wonderful!" Alice's enthusiasm made it seem like Jacqui had already agreed. When Jacqui looked at the course outline and syllabus, her heart sank. Much of what was expected of the students enrolled in Nutrition 430, Orientations to Dietetic Practice was to prepare and deliver a PowerPoint presentation based on theories underlying effective communication. There was nothing about critical social theory, feminism, or sociology - all what Jacqui believed to be fundamental learning in students' orientation to dietetic practice. Jacqui regretted the timing of Alice's offer, but if she were to agree to teach the course, she would want to work to modify the entire syllabus beforehand and it just wasn't possible given her research and parental commitments. Before she called Alice to let her know, she phoned Tess. There was no answer on Tess' office phone, so she left a message. "Hi, Tess. It's me. I just got a call from a prof in nutrition who needs a sessional for a course this fall. I really wish I could do it, but I just don't have the time. Baby, job, PhD! You know how it is! Anyway, would you be interested? Call me." Tess was definitely interested although her life was incredibly full, too. Tess had completed her masters in adult education over five years ago and had wanted to become involved in bringing her knowledge into the dietetics classroom, but more than by just being an occasional guest speaker. She wanted to teach a course of her own. Before confirming with Jacqui, Tess talked with her clinical supervisor asking if it would be possible to start after lunch on Tuesdays and work later while she was teaching. Despite knowing she would be overloaded for the duration of the term, it was an opportunity not to be missed. Jacqui had been in touch with Alice and she was expecting Tess' call when it came later that same week. 28 "Hello Dr. Taylor." Tess was surprised to find herself more than a little nervous. "Hi, Tess. Please, Alice is fine. I hear you might be interested in taking over NUTR 430 for me. That would be great." "Well, yes, Jacqui shared the course information with me. I do have one question. How open would you be to some changes to the syllabus?" Tess held her breath while she waited for Alice to respond. "Uh, I don't see a problem with that. As long as you touch on what you think are objectives that will prepare them for, how do they say it in the standards manual, 'essential knowledge and skills relating to professional practice,' I'd be fine with your changes. Maybe you can send me a draft of what you have in mind a couple of months before the course starts, too." Tess wondered if Alice had actually memorized the professional standards manual. She was becoming more and more intimidated. "And what can I expect for remuneration?" "Right, the current rate is about five thousand dollars, but you could expect a more official quote from the Associate Dean if we're going to move forward with your appointment." Alice is cool and perfunctory, realizing now that she is very close to confirming Tess' participation. Tess knew she could use that extra money since her husband mentioned last week that he might be laid off for the summer. "How many students are typically enrolled?" Tess felt obliged to ask one more question before accepting. She didn't want Alice to think it was only about money. "All of the fourth year students are required to take the class, so there will be 25 registered. It's quite a nice size, actually." Tess could hear Alice smile in response to Tess' question. She knew it was a fait accompli. "Well, that sounds reasonable. Uh, I guess I'll do it." 29 "Great! I'll have our Associate Dean draw up the paperwork. You should receive it within the week. Let's talk more after you've signed the contract." "Sounds good. OK, talk to you then." As Tess hung up, she felt a mixture of excitement and panic. What was she getting herself into? Thankfully, Jacqui had agreed to spend some time with her to revise the reading list. Tess took a deep breath and thought to herself, "An adventure, my dear. You can do it." Finally, an opportunity to blend her practical knowledge with professional practice theory. The months slipped by as they do. Tess and Jacqui met in June to create a revised and updated reading list and syllabus. They talked about the potential for this course to reach beyond the classroom walls, believing as bell hooks does that knowledge and critical thought done in the classroom should inform our habits of being and ways of living outside the classroom.4 Teaching to transgress. Tess made arrangements for the readings to be available at the bookstore for the students to purchase. Finally, the first day of class arrived. Tess was unusually calm. 'Think of it as an adventure...' 4 (hooks, 1994, p. 194) 30 Chapter One There is both sadness and adventure ahead, and there is pain to pay for the somnambulant beliefs in our own dominion.5 Week 1: September 7 Dani slipped into class, quickly taking her seat near the back, always close to the door. Her long dark hair messily swept up and held precariously with a simple clip. Dani traveled light these days, probably a habit of spending the entire summer at her parents' beachside house. Her skin and rhythm both kissed by the sun's easy warmth. Coming back to school was a difficult transition and a nine o'clock start didn't make it any easier. Settling into her unyielding plastic seat, Dani took a long drink of her warm coffee, no milk, no sugar and looked to the front of the room. A new semester was about to begin. "Good morning, everyone! Welcome. How was your summer?" Asked too quickly, a question not really intending an answer. "This is Nutrition 430 - Orientations to Dietetic Practice. I'm Dr. Taylor. I'm usually the instructor for this course, but since I'm starting a research leave this month, I've arranged for someone else to be with you this term. Before we begin, I just need to check, did everyone get a copy of the course reader at the bookstore?" Alice quickly scanned the room of fresh-faced young women as they all nodded, yes. She expected as much. Dietetic students were typically very well organized, ready in ways that often surprised her. "Great. OK. As I mentioned, I'm not going to be with you this term, so allow me to introduce you to Tess Leung. She'll be sharing with you some of her experiences along with what looks like a pretty...interesting syllabus." Alice paused, looked over to Tess, and smiled. Even though Tess shared her reading list with Alice months ago, Tess was sure that Alice hadn't actually read any of her selections. Alice continued 5 (Jardine, 1998, p. 135) 31 with her introduction. "We're very lucky that Tess is able to be with you this term since she brings experience from community health and clinical practice. Tess is very active in our profession and I would add that she is dedicated to dietetic education. She has a Masters degree in Adult Ed from this very university, right Tess?" Tess smiled as she nodded in agreement. Her calm demeanour a sharp contrast to Alice's frenetic intensity. Dani expected that Tess' bemused expression suggested more. Dani shifted in her chair. Alice continued, speaking even more quickly. "Well, I'll let Tess say more about all that. I have to go, so I wish you all a great term." As Alice left the room, everyone took a much-needed breath, and all eyes shifted to Tess, standing next to the overhead projector. She was wearing a dramatic flowing dress, coloured in greens and blues. Tight around her neck was a dramatic string of large round red beads, like the ones Frida Kahlo wore. Dani had always secretly loved such beads and wished that she was bold enough to pull off wearing them around her slender neck. Tess' curly grey hair was erupting erratically from all over her head, her eyes sparkled and danced amidst the fine lines of her face. Laugh lines, Dani's mom called them. Dani recalled watching her mom applying a mass of creams and lotions to keep those lines at bay. Dani was brought up under the impression that laugh lines were undesirable, that the process of aging was to be defied. Clearly Tess wasn't living under similar tyrannies. Underneath the layered folds of Tess' flowing silks was a mature body, a woman's body, limbered by yoga and strengthened by gardening, ripened by childbirth. As she began to speak, Dani found herself leaning forward, focussed, strangely drawn to her, something about Tess. "Good morning. Hello. Well, we have a very full term together, so I'm just going to jump right in with some introductory remarks." Tess took a breath and stepped forward, shifting into her performance of university instructor. "I feel compelled to tell you that our profession, the dietetics profession, is dying." Tess' voice was soothing even though her words were not. She paused. "Quite an outrageous statement, I know and 32 one that I'm not sure I believe is true. But, if it is true, if our profession is dying or experiencing what one of my colleagues calls a "living death," what should we be doing to revive and reconnect our profession to its life sustaining vision?" Tess spoke slowly, measured tones of logic mixed with dramatic flare. Dani was transfixed, but not obviously. Tess continued. "OK. Maybe you're a cynic, or better, a pragmatist. You're wondering how you came to be admitted into a dietetics program if the profession itself is dying. What's in store for you? An important question, indeed. I can only say that perhaps it's a matter of economics, perhaps it's another matter entirely. Whatever the reason, it's not for me to judge. I feel obligated to tell you, though, more than one of my colleagues has shared with me the opinion that our profession is dying." Dani was vexed. What a peculiar way to begin a class. Was this some sort of Problem-Based Learning case that Tess was setting up for the students? Where was she going with this? Dani tried to make up her mind about Tess, always placing people in one of three categories - respect, contempt, or indifference. It was an immediate, mostly subconscious process of sorting, of ordering her world. Tess wasn't easily contained, though. This troubled Dani, caused her unrest. "So, I'm here among other things to get your help." Tess paused. "Well, I'm concerned and since you have such a unique perspective, not terribly jaded by our profession's history, your ideas and energy are crucial. In your fourth year, you can see the light. You've worked hard to be here. I expect you're hopeful. If the profession is worth saving, we need optimists mapping our course. Of course, you would not be in this class if you were not exceptionally bright, resourceful, and capable. Look around you. Who do you see? As is the case in other dietetic programs, you are surrounded by women." Tess stopped as the students looked around at each other. "Is there diversity represented among you through culture, age, body size, class? This is what I intend to explore with you in our collective attempt to determine whether our profession is truly dying. But, before we go further, I'm curious, why did you choose dietetics? What do you believe the promise of this profession to be?" 33 Meg, seated near the front, wasn't sure she understood the question. The promise of dietetics? What promise? She looked around the room and wondered what others were thinking. Impatient with silence, she put up her hand and asked Tess to clarify her question. Tess complied. "When you think of yourselves in 5, 10, 20 years having been a dietitian for that entire time, what do you think your life will be like? What will dietetics have provided for you?" Meg with a far-off look on her face imagined her life in 5 years. She conjured a vivid image. She hoped to one day be working in a downtown eastside clinic supporting those with few material possessions to eat healthy. It was her dream. It was the only reason she chose dietetics. Dani dreamed another image. Dani saw herself on TV, sharing the latest nutrition information with her loyal audience. She'd be wearing tailored suits and her nails would be perfectly manicured. She'd speak intelligently and respond with ease to any nutrition question asked. When she wasn't hosting her popular morning TV show, she would work with athletes and the entertainment industry - high-powered people with glamorous lives who needed her advice. She would have a luxurious downtown office and she would be well known, well respected, and well off. Tess expected silence in response to her question. She was sure no one has asked these students such a question before. She tried to remember to be gentle with them, to ease into the process. It was their first class together and much was at stake to set a tone that supported eager participation in future sessions. She invited students to take out a piece of paper and pen and for the next three minutes describe the image of their dietitian selves in the future. She reminded them that they would be asked to share their writing and if they felt comfortable doing so, she hoped that they would share since it made their time together that much more interesting to her and toothers. She started timing and the silence changed into something less burdensome, less formidable. Some students actually started writing, others stared out windows, and others checked life inscribed by Palm Pilots. One young woman named Candice with long red hair took out her phone and started intently pushing buttons. Beep, beep...beeeep. Electronic signals to tell callers she was temporarily not available. She slid the phone back into her exceptionally small, exceptionally pink leather bag and smiled meekly at Tess. Then, even she picked up her pen and started 34 to write. The clock ticked on and Tess permitted her mind to drift. Oh, the blush of the first class, much like a first kiss, slightly awkward, leaning in this way, bumping, jostling, leaning that way. Eager, willing. The anticipation of it all, a vision of flow and ease met with the reality of false starts, tension, groping for something familiar to anchor herself. It had been a very long time since Tess' first kiss and yet, she could still feel the rush of excitement for it, the desire to be right for these young women. After three and a half minutes, Tess looked expectantly out to the group and asked if anyone would like to share their thoughts. The briefest of pauses then, "Uh, I will," Meg carefully offered sitting in the front row. Tess could see she had written a great deal. Who was this young, earnest woman wearing a tangle of brilliantly coloured cotton scarves around her neck and hair? All this a fine contrast to her simple, t-shirt and jeans, a hole worn through at the knee. The discourse of Meg's appearance suggested that she had been places, had seen things that not everyone had seen, her scarves flamboyant markers of her travels. The thin cotton T and loose-fitting jeans suggested modesty, not given to excess, not given to consumption read by the others' choice in clothes. "Uh, I'm Meg, yeah, hi. Yeah, in five years I'm working in the Downtown Eastside, where I now volunteer with the Union Gospel Mission. You know, the people who provide turkey dinners at Thanksgiving? That's what I do. People down there need our help. Their lives are hard and I see myself helping them, helping to make things easier, providing better access to a safe supply of nutritious food." Tess heard the text of nutrition policy documents. She wondered if Meg had read those papers given the script she was reciting. Tess pondered the political nature of changing existing food policies and her mind greyed with the enormity and challenge that she predicts for Meg's future. She can only feel that way given her previous experiences as a member of her community's food security task force. It seemed like so long ago they initiated the process to ensure "better access to a safe supply of nutritious food" and yet, nothing had really changed. Tess had spent'months developing a "local foods" food guide to assist in raising the profile of the cost of food and the challenge for people on limited incomes. She, along with her group had been presented an award of recognition for their efforts. Always the one to shift the focus off herself and onto issues, Tess asked her colleagues heading her provincial dietetics association to feature 35 the food guide in an upcoming newsletter and sign off on a press release to the media about her award. They refused, saying the topic was too controversial. That experience stung Tess for a long, long time. She could only now talk about it without a flare of frustration gnawing at her gut. And, ever the pragmatist, Tess realized that the work still needed to be done. Meg's dedication was faintly, briefly inspiring. "How long have you been volunteering with the Mission, Meg?" Tess ventured, setting a precedent for respectful interactions, telling students she sincerely cared about what they said, that she cared about them. "Uh, this is my third year. I want to keep going. I'm getting to know some of the people down there. Everyone is really nice. I really like it." t e s s started to feel like Meg was trying to convince her of something, something of her identity was tied up in what Meg was saying, tied up like the scarves around her - bright, dynamic, honest. Tess marked the moment, once again smiling and meaning it. "Thanks so much, Meg. Anyone else?" Tess invited, smoothly connecting with each student. Her eyes laid to rest on Dani in the back corner. Tess suddenly noticed that Dani had been watching her quite intently the entire time, not bothering to write. Tess' eyebrows raised slightly in surprise and Dani was shaken from her reverie. She leaned back in her chair, wishing she could disappear, wanting to disappear into her vision of the future, wishing herself there without all this nonsense of school, wishing to make it, proving to everyone that she could make it. "Some of you may have a clear vision without having to write it down," Tess guessed. "Please share it with us." Dani waded in, signalling to Tess that she would take her up on her offer to speak by image, not by text. "I see myself sharing nutrition advice on TV, to reach the widest possible audience." Tess knew there was much Dani was leaving out of this scenario and she knew this all too well because she'd seen it play out in almost every student and dietetic intern she had spent time with. The desire for visibility, for recognition. She recognized Dani's dream was more rooted in familial expectations than about her actually wanting to influence the public to eat better - that effect, improbable as it was, would be an added bonus. Tess needed to be cautious with her remarks to Dani, especially given the ubiquity of the fantasy. Why do so many women seek out dietetics as a means for being seen and heard? Hadn't they realized the contradictions in taking that path, with food work being the common domain of women and ostensibly invisible? Tess realized an opportunity to teach was manifest in Dani's vision. She seized it. "That is truly fascinating, Dani. What you are saying, if I interpret you correctly, is that people on TV have influence, powerful influence over TV viewers and if our profession is to survive, to increase our profile, the more dietitians on TV sharing useful information about nutrition and food, the better for everyone. I wonder why that is, why is it that by our mere presence on TV, we are given instant credibility? Does anyone have a sense of why this is the case?" Dani was taken off guard by Tess' enthusiasm. It was difficult for her to think straight and almost impossible for her to manage a response to Tess' questions. It seemed obvious to Dani that since it was so difficult to get on TV, that anyone appearing to have secured such a prestigious spot must have something important to say. Hadn't Tess watched other dietitians on TV? Didn't she get it? Meg's voice interrupted Dani's thoughts. "I think it has something to do with the letters, RD, Registered Dietitian. I don't know." "Are there people on TV talking about nutrition, healthy eating, that aren't RD's?" Tess was getting into it. "Yeah, lots of people, but some of their advice is weird, non-scientific," Dani wanted to step in and defend her position even though she wasn't exactly clear where the conversation was going. "OK. So, maybe it's not that being on TV leads to credibility, it's more about a professional designation. What do the letters, RD signify to you?" 37 Dani was immediately irritated. How did they get on this topic? What was the relevance? Her vexation flaunted by the tone of her response, "It says that someone got an education in the science of food and nutrition and that their knowledge is superior to those who did not get that proper education. That's why we're here. RD says something to everybody about the kind of education, the kind of training we get, you know, a scientific nutrition education." "Again, very interesting, Dani. A perfect segue into your reading for next week - Kim Travers' "Do You Teach Them How to Budget?" This is a challenging article and we will revisit it near the end of the term. With this first reading, please prepare a one-page written response to the question, 'What does this text say that provokes you?' On the other side of the same page, please make a list of words that you had to look up in the dictionary. Yes, it's that type of article! We will start our next class with your responses to that particular question and any others you might have about the chapter. I think we should create an online glossary, too. Online would be best. I think WebCT has some of these capabilities. I'll look into that. Oh, and I will expect you to hand your one-pager in to me at the end of our next class. I promise to return it on the 21s t. This will count as your first reader response submission." Tess checked her watch and noticed they were almost out of time. "Alright, that's enough for today. Feel free to email me with your questions and I'll see you next week." Tess gathered up her papers and waited for all the students to file out. She felt satisfied with how the class went and looked forward to meeting with Jacqui at the teashop for a debriefing. As she turned out the lights and closed the door, her thoughts took flight, a theory of flight.6 Tess was swept up in the romance of teaching, the possibilities as they spun out in front of her, and the tensions that awaited. She felt certain that being there was the right decision. 6(Rukeyser, 1935) 38 It was the summer of 2002, the first summer of Jacqui's doctorate and she had adventured into a seminar taught by Dr. Rishma Dunlop, a recent doctorate in Language and Literacy Education, now teaching at York University. Women, Writing, and Imagination: Curriculum as Aesthetic Text. Jacqui was intrigued, tempted by theorizing on women, with women. Rishma's description of the course woke something deep inside her - a strange mix of women and pedagogy, women and theory, women and aesthetics - all foreign geographies. They were to read Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own.7 Lazy days before the course started, Jacqui read voraciously, carrying the tattered little book with her everywhere. It was the very first time she had read a course text (literary text at that) before the course had even started. It was to be a summer of firsts. They started in a chilly, windowless room. Rishma promised her students that she would try to find them another space, more aesthetically compelling. Jacqui instantly trusted and relied on her to find that space to nurture their writing imaginations. Introductions - all women - all brimming with the sense of something special about to unfold - their intuitions speaking strongly, confident, and sure. Rishma distributed reams of readings from Lorde, de Salvo, LeGuin, Griffin, Rich. Mysterious female texts that she imbibed. During class, Jacqui drifted away imagining women writing, alone at their desks, wind billowing long cotton curtains, starring into gardens, watching their children play, happy, luxuriating in their thoughts and their feelings, writing their lives. Jacqui returned to fiery conversations of the erotic as power. She was suddenly jarred by the insistence that the erotic had a place in academia. The chapter before her was from Audre Lorde's Sister Outsider-the aim of each thing we do is to make our lives and the lives of our children richer and more possible. Within the celebration of the erotic in all our endeavors, my work becomes a conscious decision - a longed-for bed that I enter gratefully and from which I rise up empowered.8 There was essential recognition and admiration for what Lorde evoked with those words. At once, anything was possible, 7(Woolf, 1991) 8 (Lorde, 1984) 39 richer and more possible. Rishma guided them through the personal and the political, the erotic and the repressed. They responded emotionally and eagerly to her invitations to write poetry, while they wrestled with the praxis of collaboration. They told the truth about their lives and worlds split open. A choreopoem was born of Adrienne Rich's inspiration, each of them starting their stanza with "Somewhere a woman is writing a poem." The process was excruciatingly complex, selves born unto text and voice, autobiographies. On the last day of class, they taped themselves reading, polyphonic. Tears blurred their words, blurred their speaking - defiantly erotic, gently evocative. Months later, their choreopoem was accepted for publication in an online educational journal and a small group of them, including Rishma, presented their collective work at an international education conference. Jacqui felt thrilled with the acknowledgement of her writing. Those fearful internal vixens attempting to silence her were themselves quieted as she sat at her desk, curtains blowing, writing and writing, her creative longing brimming to the surface. And she was not alone. Somewhere a woman was also writing a poem. Jacqui's final project for Rishma's class was to be a personal essay taking into consideration her relationship and educational development as a woman in response to the work and influence of another woman. Like many others, she wrote about her mother. She poured on pages the subjective experience of coming out as a lesbian, although the category still felt discomfited. An auto-episiotomy, bloody and painful, but this was the writing that saved her from her shame. For the first time, she began to understand Lorde when she said once we know to which we are capable of feeling that sense of satisfaction and completion, we can then observe which of our various life endeavors bring us closest to that fullness. From then on Jacqui was attached to the notion of her academic work as erotic, passionate, disruptive, and beautiful. Staying attached involved deep feelings of fear, risk and like Lorde, she considered that our erotic knowledge empowers us and that poetic musings can save lives, and it is a grave responsibility not to settle for the convenient, the shoddy, the conventionally expected, nor the merely safe. 40 Jacqui woke with a start and sat up immediately. Her daughter, Evyn was crying out. She felt milk falling from her nipple onto her bare thigh and instinctively reached towards her breast to stem the flow. There was no milk. She was not leaking. These were phantom drops. She hadn't breastfed Evyn for several months. All her milk was gone. Her insolent thoughts tricked her into believing she should still be feeding her child. She stopped too soon, only six months. When asked by friends, family, and strangers, "Are you still breastfeeding?" she would sheepishly admit, "No" and they would reply, "Oh, well, six months will give her a good start at least." It was most difficult to admit to her dietitian colleagues. Jacqui was well versed on the professional nutrition discourse insisting breastfeeding is best for a least one year. And it wasn't as if she intended on stopping after six months. It just happened. Jacqui herself had always thought mothers would be doing their best for their children if they breastfed. Period. It was their responsibility to that child. How judgemental and decontextualized! Until she had Evyn, her beliefs had been pointedly absolute. Recent research by her sister dietitians had reinforced these views. Now she was condemned by that discourse, a familiar guilt rooted through her gut, adamant, gripping tightly the vulnerable tissues of her heart. She lived with this feeling daily, her mother-guilt born of reductionist views on mothering. She stood up and padded quietly to Evyn's room. It was 3:30 am. Kelly was fixing Evyn's bottle in the kitchen downstairs, clearly more attuned to her cries, waking first. Jacqui stood beside Evyn's crib, lowered the rail, and bent way down, her mouth on Evyn's cheek. "It's OK, baby girl. Mommy loves you. Your milk is coming." Jacqui started to sing in whispers. Evyn immediately stopped crying to hear her better. There's a wee baby moon, floating on her back, with her silvery little toes in the air. And she's all by herself in the deep blue sky, 41 but wee baby moon doesn't care.9 Jacqui tasted Evyn's tears on her lips. Evyn grabbed a handful of her hair and pulled her closer, demanding more whisper-singing. The itsy bitsy spider climbed up the water.. .spout. Down came the rain and washed the spider.. .out. Out came the sun and dried up all the rain and the itsy bitsy spider crawled up the spout again. Evyn smelled sweetly of sleep, yeasty cereal, and fresh air. Jacqui could never get enough of her smell, of her. Her sturdy body was still until Kelly entered the room. She fully flexed in anticipation of her warm formula, pushing Jacqui away. Jacqui left the room quietly, so not to distract them from their routine, and slipped gratefully back into their bed. In only a few hours she had to get up and dash off to school where she was trying to finish her dissertation. Sleep beckoned and Jacqui succumbed long before Evyn finished her milky, nourishing articulations in Mommy's loving arms. The tea shop was full, loud with students as Jacqui watched Tess manoeuvre to meet her in the far corner. "Hi, what are you having?" Jacqui asked, standing to greet Tess with a generous hug, full-bodied, just like her Grandma taught her. "Oh, good hug! Um, peppermint tea, please." "I'll be right back." Tess sat and sighed. The first class was always richly intense, just getting a sense of the students, their (Sho-Mo and the Monkey Bunch, 2004) 42 expectations, giving them enough to flavour the remainder of the term, but not too much as to reveal all the surprises. Tess likened it to a game, a performance, where everything was measured, yet within those confines was the possibility for play and artful communication of myriad interpretations. She envied other instructors who planned each class to the last detail, faithful to carefully worded learning objectives, mapping each step of their path through a four-month course. She had tried to be more like them, especially since she thought that was what was expected of her, but she always eventually slid off track, giving in to the flow of learning, as it emerged to her and the students, often unpredictable, but always exhilarating. Funny, when she did open up and let go, she felt alive, more connected to everything around her - a lesson to be sure. Jacqui approached with tea, carefully placing it on the table for Tess. A waft of steaming mint cleared their minds for conversation. "Well, how was it? Details!" Jacqui leaned forward eager to hear all about the first session. "Well, it was what you might expect; all women, young, prepared, probably prepared for something completely different, but prepared!" The two women laughed, a sign that they were speaking a common language, a familiar refrain of educational experiences that were markedly predictable. Wiesel would describe their shared educational experience as one emphasizing theories instead of values, concepts rather than human beings, abstraction rather than consciousness, answers instead of questions, ideology and efficiency rather than conscience.™ They've been there and they laughed, nervously and knowingly -they didn't want to go there again. "What did you get into?" Jacqui asked. "Well, I shared with them the possibility that our profession is dying. I remember reading that in your 1 0 (Wiesel, 1990) 43 research transcripts. Then I asked them to consider the 'promise of our profession.'" Tess was clearly excited by what had transpired. "I just hope they are able to trust that we are going somewhere - that the process will unfold in due time." "I'm sure they are having some doubts, a healthy scepticism! You are inviting them into a darkness, unknown, uncharted waters. What's Alice like to work with?" "Alice is very high energy, very rushed, very busy. I don't envy her. It seems like she has a lot going on. I guess she is submitting her application for tenure this year. God, that process sounds intense. Are you sure you want that for yourself?" Jacqui wondered the exact same thing, misgivings about life as a faculty member. The academy can be very unforgiving, especially for women with children. Aware and undaunted, she thought it was the next step for her, the next challenge in her career. Being political and idealistic, Jacqui thought that with enough academic diversity, a critical mass would embrace multiple ways of being professor. Sometimes that dream seemed like empty, romantic rhetoric in the face of a faceless institutional process. "I know," Jacqui's voice softened. "Why would I deliberately step into such politics, knowing what I know? Maybe, despite wanting it now, it won't happen. You know, not getting short-listed for one job already and now maybe two, I can feel myself speaking about other possibilities, maybe working with community organizations or developing my private practice more fully. I don't know. Last year, when my friend David got a job at the University of Arizona, something shifted for me - I saw what he accomplished, what an exciting turn his life took and I thought, I want that! It was a very energizing time, helped me get my comps finished, actually. Now, I don't know. It is hard to be a student in Education without a discipline, or actually, with too many disciplines. It's hard for me to slot myself into job descriptions - am I a sociologist, educator, nutritionist, activist. Ha! Funny, talking about my identity as I work to explore, illuminate the identity of my dietitian friends. How ironic!" she laughed. Tess looked at her with empathy, she wanted Jacqui to be happy, but she knew the reality of her life - complicated, ambitious, resisting categorization. 44 "Hey, did I tell you the good news? My first book chapter was finally published!11 I just received a copy of it in the mail." Typically modest and withholding, Jacqui shared with Tess a small piece of what made her feel good, accomplished. "Oh, how wonderful! What book? Show me. I want to read it. Maybe I can use it in the class." Tess was sincerely thrilled. "I'll show you next time we meet. It's great to see my work in print. It's like someone has affirmed that my thoughts count. I count." Jacqui could hear those familiar themes from her research rising up into her consciousness again - the desire to be recognized, probably not specific to dietitians, but these themes had nevertheless materialized as significant and common among participants in her research; She guessed they were all striving for some sense of being seen, being heard. "You sound like Sally Field when she won her Oscar. You like me, you really like me!" "Oh, God! I do, don't I?" Jacqui didn't like to admit her own desire for recognition, at least now, after years of working through herself, her emotional tenderness; she was able to be present and humble while acknowledging her accomplishments. It was a process ever unfolding. "Oh, that reminds me, I want to bring up this notion of identity in class next week, but I'm not sure how. One of the students, when asked to share her vision of herself as dietitian in five years told us she wanted to be on TV, sharing nutrition advice with the masses. It was actually great that she mentioned it because we were able to get into a discussion about what counts as 'sound, nutrition information' and who counts as 'nutrition expert.' At least that's where I would like us to go. I think the question I want to ask is, 'How does your identity influence your vision of self as professional?' What do you think? Does any of this make sense?" 11 (Gingras, 2004) 45 Jacqui leaned forward, excited and thankful that the topic had shifted. "What about a stream of consciousness writing activity where they respond to the question, 'Who are you?' or maybe you can 'construct' the identity of a registered dietitian with their input, their suggestions. Draw a chalk outline on the board and ask them to fill it in with words, phrases, images. Could be really interesting. Take a digital photo - I'd love to see what you come up with." "Yeah, me too!" Tess sounded somewhat disbelieving. "Don't forget, Alice wants me to talk about my practice experience so students get a better idea of what they are getting into. That's the whole point of me being there." "We talked about this before though, the sense of how our professional lives would be different if we had been invited to explore who we were as people, as women, before entering the profession. And how later on, it was really hard to reconcile the discontinuities, the discrepancies that we experienced. I wonder how the profession might shift if we would put more emphasis on self as interconnected, on the realities of professionalism, focussed on feminist theory early on? Reminds me of that book by Judith Duerk.12 She writes poetry interwoven with her lived experience as a facilitator of a woman's group. She repeats the line, 'how would our lives be different if...' then she goes on to imagine just what might be different. Hey, maybe you could do that in class, too!" Jacqui suddenly noticed herself taking up too much space and she stopped with a start. Often, when she got really excited, eager for connection, she was met with only silence, the slow open of a vast, dark space between her and Other. It was a very lonely experience. She hoped that wasn't happening right then between Tess and her. "Well, I don't know, Jacq. Sounds like I might be biting off more than I can chew with this one." Jacqui sensed Tess' overwhelm. She dialled her enthusiasm back. 1 2 (Duerk, 1999) 46 "I think whatever you decide to do will be amazing. The last thing I want to imply is that what you already have planned isn't going to be brilliant and provocative. It will be, you will be, you always are." "Yeah, I know that. I know. I've got such a great opportunity here with these students. I don't want to waste it." Tess' strain written into the line of her brow softened. She took the last sip of her tea and looked up, directly at Jacqui. "I should go. I'm expected at work in half an hour. Traffic can be brutal." "Yeah, me too. Gotta get back to my writing." As Tess flung her shawl around her shoulders, she asked, "How's it going, your writing?" "Oh, not bad. Maybe you can help me with the editing! Actually, I would like your feedback on a couple things. If you're up to it we could chat while Zoe is at riding lessons one Saturday." They stood, shuffled their chairs out of the way, and hugged. Jacqui could smell Tess' citrus shampoo, her bergamot lotion, she took a deep breath, lingering. They disengaged, smiling. "I'll email you later with a good date to meet at the stables. Hey, can you make a copy of your chapter for me to read?" "Uh, yeah, if you want." Jacqui made a mental note as she watched Tess leave, small regret intruding around the edges of her consciousness - she must be more attentive to Tess, even though she gave an aura of selflessness and wisdom, she needed time to be heard, too. Jacqui wondered who comforted Tess in the dark moments, who shouldered her through uncertainty and misgivings. She felt a warm wave of gratitude at simply knowing Tess and being able to share her true self with this incredible friend. There were not many like Tess in Jacqui's life, for a good reason. Jacqui's thoughts quickly turned to her writing - a research reverie. She was working through transcripts from her research workshops. At three different times, participants came together to discuss themes related to Jacqui's research. At the first workshop, she remembered how one of the participants, Angela described donning a "cloak of dietetic education" as a means for staying out of connection with others. 47 She talked about how appealing "legitimate knowledge" was to her when she was young and how that drew her into the dietetic profession. Jacqui remembered the nods from the other participants as Angela shared her reflections. Angela explained that her efforts since then had been to shed that cloak, to work at self-connection, to learn who she was as a means to help others shed their own protective garb. In the moment of silence after Angela spoke, Jacqui decided to describe her own work with women struggling with food and body. Starting hesitantly, she took a risk to be authentic and vulnerable. Jacqui described those times in her work, those intermittently joyful moments of intense connection so much so that her heart felt like it might explode. Was it also compassion or expansiveness? Perhaps. Those were the silent sacred moments of her work that Jacqui rarely attempted to language since to do so would ultimately diminish the experience. Jacqui feared she would be misunderstood. Even in that moment of sharing with her colleagues, Jacqui felt that familiar radiance in her chest. She was in connection with her sister dietitians because she risked enough to share her own vulnerability. Corine broke the silence by wisely asking the group, "How many have been on the receiving end of that type of experience Jacqui described?" The tape in Jacqui's mind still echoed the quiet response Yasma offered, "I would say I was." She continued to tell her story. "When Jacqui was describing her experience I could just remember the interview Jacqui and I had a few weeks ago for her research and how she was feeling with whatl had to go through. I could just feel I was bonding with her. She was really feeling of what I was going through. She was really caring. I was on the receiving end. Yeah, I could feel that." Jacqui was taken by surprise to hear Yasma remember their time together. It was true. Jacqui had been deeply touched by Yasma's story of "accomplishing the Canadian experience," her tale of what happened when she moved to Canada from Iran in what amounted to cultural assimilation in Jacqui's view. Jacqui was disappointed in herself for her silent complicity in the process. She felt profound sadness and pain to pay for the somnambulant beliefs in her own dominion. She told Yasma how touched she was by her story. And now, to know Yasma had been moved that way, that her heart too might explode to be heard in that way, made Jacqui tingle. She realized that this research would change her irrevocably. She was coming to know herself through dietitian Others. There was adventure ahead. 4 8 Chapter Two The old pedagogies will no longer do in the face of the ecologies of flesh and bone and breath and the Earth's dear heart, torn.13 Week 2: September 14 "Hey, Dani!" Meg offered an upbeat greeting to Dani as she entered the class. "Wow, you're here early!" Dani was still struggling to get her bearings and it had been over a week since the term began. Why did it seem so challenging for her? She wanted to get things under control, in order. She vowed that she wouldn't go out again tonight and instead try to catch up on her reading. She had barely finished the paper that Tess had asked them to read for today's class and she really wasn't sure she understood it at all, especially it's relevance to her future career as a dietitian. How long was this charade, this colossal waste of her time going to continue before she would complain to Dr. Taylor about Tess and her approach to teaching? One more week, tops. "Uh, yeah, I guess I'm a morning person. Always have been," Meg admitted. "Oh, yeah, right. I'm just going to grab a seat. Talk to you later." Dani retreated to her customary seat in the back, by the door. Meg observed it was like Dani needed that seat, had to sit there. Meg was slightly intrigued with Dani, slightly intimidated. She wondered what Dani thought of her and she wasn't used to really caring what others thought. It seemed futile. It was still a few minutes before nine and students were trickling in to the classroom. Tess had arrived at eight o'clock so she might have some privacy before class began to focus on her lesson plan and to centre herself. 13(Jardine, 1998, p. 135) 49 Jacqui had recently shared her theories on guest lecturing as marginalized use of women's professional knowledge. Guest speakers were very common in the dietetics curriculum, probably as a result of the complaints from practitioners that new graduates were unprepared for the experience of being a dietitian. These graduates were very well prepared, theoretically, but less so experientially. A simple remedy, invite the practitioners into the classroom to share with students what their work was really like and how it related to the textbooks or not. Tess felt honoured to be asked to work with dietetic students, her way of giving something back to the profession. Tess could always decline the invitations, but she actually really enjoyed the interactions with students, the satisfaction it gave her to be teaching. Tess didn't share Jacqui's opinion and had never felt marginalized by the faculty members who had invited her to speak. Plus, she had always wanted to be a teacher, but was never able to secure a teaching position after she finished her masters degree. Sfie remembered her father saying something derogatory about teaching, encouraging her instead to apply to medical school. Tess could not bear the thought of medicine, so much pressure, so little time for family life, for other creative pursuits. Instead of doing what was colloquially called 'pre-med,' but really amounted to a science degree, Tess chose dietetics, assuring her father that she would apply to medicine when she finished her degree. She never did. She considered dietetics a compromise, one made secretly, without her father's consent. At the time she had really no idea what the practice of dietetics was all about. It was funny to her that many of her dietitian friends started out in much the same way, accidentally choosing dietetics because of its scientific legitimacy, because of their interest in food and health, but not truly understanding what dietetic practice would have in store for them. She was determined to explore this very dilemma with the students today, as she had started during the first class. She hoped that her centring ritual had shifted the energy in the room to allow her clarity of vision, for without well-fashioned lesson plans, clarity of vision was her most prized teaching asset. "Good morning, everyone. Let's get started. A couple things to get to today. As promised during our last class, we are going to continue our conversation about 'the promise of our profession' and get into 50 Travers' paper and then you can hand in your reader responses to me at the end of class. Can someone start us off with one of their responses?" Silence. Tess waited, idly arranging papers in front of her, trying not to intimidate the students into speech, but not wanting to appear too distracted, off-handed, or disinterested. "Yeah, the paper, the budget paper, it was really impossible to understand," a small voice uttered from Tess' left. It was the red-haired student, Candice. Then, as if on cue, several other voices blurred together in agreement. Obviously, a very good place to begin. "I agree," admitted Tess. "It is a very difficult text and Dr. Travers, now Dr. Raine this piece of writing, Dr. Raine has something very important to offer us." "Yeah, but if we can't understand her, what's the point?" Stacy moaned. "Troubling clarity," Tess mused. "There is a point to troubling clarity. Let me ask you this. When someone asks you what you're studying in school and you say nutrition, is it not common for that person to start asking you all sorts of nutrition-related questions like, 'What should I eat to lose weight? Are carbs really that bad for me? Is organic better?' This happens to me. Anyway, my point is that people already believe they know what you do and what you know when you say 'nutrition' or 'dietetics.' Dietetic knowledge, because it relates to food and eating, everyday, common behaviours, is assumed to be uncomplicated, simple. Everybody is already a nutrition expert because of their access to nutrition information through media and also because everybody is already an eater. If you haven't already had this experience, do a little experiment. Ask your friends and family what it is they think dietitians do and see how they respond. OK. So, how does any of what I'm saying relate to Travers' article? Well, when difficult language is used to explain a theory or a phenomenon, readers must read it differently; they are called to engage more closely, things are not as they appear. The astute reader will recognize that Travers has used a rhetorical 51 device called irony. She discusses the way nutrition discourse, the language professionals use to talk about nutrition, excludes some recipients of that nutrition information because it is connected to an ideology of individualism and expertise. In the same way, she has excluded some of her readers from the knowledge she attempts to share. I don't know if this was intentional, but it has a very profound impact when we come to see it in a different light." Silence. "So, is there anyone willing to attempt to summarize what the article was about, adding to what I've already said?" A longer silence. Meg took up the challenge. "My roommate is in sociology and she is studying Foucault and stuff, so I asked her to decipher some passages for me and she said the author is putting down the way dietitians are trained, that the training is a problem because they, ...we learn facts and not how to apply those facts in real-life situations." "Do you agree with your roommate?" "Uh, sorta. In some classes it's all about memorizing stuff, at least it has been up until now. I think some of our third and fourth year classes will be different. But really, I'm not a dietitian yet, so I don't really know for sure. What do you think?" Meg felt secure and on steady ground with her opinions and question. She has always wondered why she had to take organic chemistry and physics. She was eager to get on with the community nutrition courses and she loved problem-based learning, even though she is one of the few who would actually admit it. "My experience is that I was not prepared for the type of work that I'm currently doing. Now is this because what I'm doing is specialized practice? Perhaps. I've spoken with new grads and most of them 52 say that they are well prepared for their work as clinicians. We might consider that there are different spheres of practice, like entry-level, advanced, non-traditional. So is it possible for a four-year undergrad degree and one-year internship to prepare someone for all spheres of practice? Well, I don't think so, nor should it. However, the story doesn't necessarily end there." Tess paused. The students were quiet, but seemed to be paying attention. Then an intrepid student sitting at the back of the room asked, "What does 'discourse' mean? Why doesn't Travers just use the word 'language' instead?" "Good question. Does anyone have a response to that?" Meg flips through her highlighted copy of Travers' paper and points to a passage, "On page 214, she says, discourse is 'the system of language and conventions that make the knowledge of a particular discipline possible.' So, I guess what she's trying to say is that discourse is a special type of language, a disciplinary language. Yeah, she's using discourse, too." "Exactly, Meg. Your roommate would probably call it sociological discourse, but every discipline has their own discourse - it makes possible a field of knowledge, to paraphrase Foucault. It is also important to emphasize, as Travers does a little further down that same page, discourse determines 'what "counts" as valid knowledge within the discipline.' Dani, I remember what you said last week about your image of yourself in five years and how that took our conversation to a similar theme of 'what counts' for valid nutrition information on TV. My point in bringing this up again is to permit us to consider and reflect on our own use of nutrition discourse as ideological. How would you define the term, ideological?" Heads down, silence. "Um, if I'm interpreting this moment of silence correctly, I struggle with defining ideological, too, yet it might be helpful to note that ideologies are all around us. Let's start with a definition." Tess notices polite smiles cross students' mouths. She continues, turning around, picking up a piece of chalk, referring to 53 notes in hand, and writing on the blackboard. "An ideology is a) a systematic body of concepts especially about human life or culture, b) a manner or the content of thinking characteristic of an individual, group, or culture, c) the integrated assertions, theories and aims that constitute a sociopolitical program. Travers points out that ideology, discourse, and power are related." Tess reads from Travers' text, "At the top of page 215, she writes, 'It is the ideological, and hence, seldom questioned, dimension of discourse that contributes to its power in social organization.' Let's try to extend this concept to our own lives. As Registered Dietitians, RD's, we are being educated to use a specific language regarding food, a language we are learning in our biochemistry, physiology, and clinical nutrition courses. I think we agree that the language we are using is nutrition discourse and we have a pretty good idea about what 'counts' as knowledge in our field. We construct knowledge claims by reading scientific journal articles and either adopting or rejecting the ideas that they offer. Since we use mostly scientific journal articles to construct our nutrition knowledge base, our discourse is ideological. Because we are educated professionals identifiable by the initials RD, 'a privileged class' of health professionals, as Travers puts it, we use our discourse to represent our very specialized nutrition knowledge and to distinguish ourselves from those whose discourse, whose knowledge is different, which in turn gives us power among those who might not understand our discourse. So, who are we trying to distinguish ourselves and our knowledge from?" "Naturopaths." "Chiropractors." "Nurses." "Pharmacists." "Nutritionists." "Herbalists." Students seemed to be clear about who they were not. Tess nodded as the list grew. Candice elaborated, excited to be contributing to a discussion she finally understood, "My mother's friend was talking yesterday about the acupuncture treatment she is getting for her migraines and how the so-called doctor 54 started telling her what foods she should eliminate from her diet. She basically can't eat anything. The guy is a freak, a quack. He barely speaks English. I don't understand how people like that can practice in Canada. Tess felt something sharp turn in her gut, a little terror chilled her heart, and she felt the need to put her hand on the desk to steady herself. She was instantly uncomfortable with how quickly students had come to understand and speak the practice of ideological domination. She felt disquieted by power-over, more hegemonic than ideologic, more pejorative than emancipatory. Dani noticed Tess' smile slowly disappear and sensed something was about to shift. The classroom grew quiet after starting with a burst of noise and energy. "Does anyone else find this discussion ironic?" Tess asked quietly. "We need to stop here for a moment." Tess paused, closed her eyes, and took a deep breath. The students waited, concerned. "It is very important to recognize that what I'm about to say next is not personal, but contextual. It isn't about who you are, it's about what was said," Tess gestured to Candice. "And we are to proceed with great care." Tess had the students' rapt attention and for all the wrong reasons. She wished she could go back and start the discussion another way. "I'm going to take responsibility for setting up your responses. I wish I could redo that, but I can't. Let's move forward from here. I feel a little overwhelmed by the words just spoken, but I think we can all agree they are a powerful example of ideological discourse that has the power to discriminate. There are very good reasons some of us hold these beliefs about others. We must explore how it happens that we hold these beliefs about people who are different and this seems like a really good time to venture into that awkward space." Tess chose her words carefully, attempting to be with her mixed feelings and be with the students at the same time. She had never experienced such a discussion before, but had prepared for it in theory. She wondered if this was what they meant by praxis. "When we believe we are different from others, it becomes quite easy to make others wrong, especially if we believe that we are better. I think that's what nutrition discourse and ideology create - the potential for discrimination. I would like to hear from others. What did you hear? How are you feeling about this discussion?" Tess made the offer thinking that it will be almost impossible to stimulate dialogue at this point, with the tone of the class as it was. She waited and hoped. Marci took up Tess' invitation. "Uh, that was sorta hard to hear. My parents don't really speak English very well either. They're not doctors or acupuncturists or anything like that, but they don't speak English. I only speak Cantonese at home. Sometimes I don't feel welcome in Canada and to hear that comment kinda confirms my belief that Canada isn't as great as everyone believes it to be. Sometimes I wish my family had never moved here." Tess wanted desperately to keep this from getting too personal, to find a way to detach the students and herself from further trauma. "I really appreciate you sharing that, Marci. And, again I want to say that it is important to consider what conditions are necessary for discrimination to occur so we might learn from our mistakes and avoid hurtful comments in the future. Does anyone else have anything to say at this point?" Meg looked down at her notebook as she spoke. "As hard as it is for me to admit, I've had those same thoughts about other people who claim they are nutrition professionals. Up until now, I haven't realized how ugly my thoughts were. I don't want to think like that anymore. It is not very inclusive. It's not who I am. "Yes, it's hard to see ourselves in less than flattering ways. However, if the comment hadn't been spoken, we would have missed this opportunity for seeing things differently. I would like to leave this important topic for the time being, but I ask that you maybe do some writing about this experience and what it has brought up for you." Tess sensed that the students were relieved to be moving out of that uncomfortable space. Tess wondered if she moved along too soon, but she was relieved too. 5 6 "What do you think the author intends us to do with the information she has presented in this paper?" Tess heard her voice speak words, but it was like she was watching herself from above. She felt tense in her jaw and shoulders. Her breathing was shallow and her heart raced. She wondered if this counted as embodied curriculum. She knew the old pedagogies would no longer do in the face of flesh and bone and breath. At stake was a transformative healing of their Earth's torn heart. "Well, since I couldn't understand it, I felt kinda helpless when I finished reading it. I have no idea what she wants me to do," Candace accused. "Yeah, me neither!" Another echo of dissent. Dani had an idea. "Maybe that's her point. When nutritionists try to teach low-income moms how to budget their money better, it just leads those moms to feel helpless and probably guilty. If they really don't have enough money, it makes no sense to teach them how to budget it better. I think that's Travers' point, right? The moms might already know how to budget, but the expert comes in and tells them by implication that they aren't doing it right." "What you are describing, Dani, is an ideology of individual responsibility. It's an individual's responsibility to acquire the skills, say budgeting even though possessing those skills will not ultimately help them feed 9their children or themselves any more healthfully. Indeed, the moms might know how to budget, but they aren't provided enough money to make a budget relevant. So what if the information that the expert shares is not useful or if it's something that the individual has heard before and tried with limited success? What then?" "Well, that person might get really disillusioned, angry. I don't know." Dani responded. "So, while that single mom is busy trying to budget her money, she still has to feed her babies, clean the house, go to work, arrange for babysitters, wash the dishes, cook food, do laundry, pay the bills, shop for 57 food, feed her babies, clean the house, and so on. You get the picture. Realistically, budgeting is not the best use of her time! And, I would add that it's unethical of those who claim to want to help her to suggest that she should learn to budget better in the first place." Tess experienced the brunt of the reality, like a slap to the face, this teaching people to budget when their lives were inextricably difficult and it was through no fault of their own that the money they did receive was inadequate to cover the most basic costs of living. "Let's stop for a moment and imagine. I would like you to respectfully step into this woman's life, as fully as you can. Please take out a piece of paper, a pen and write a letter to me, assuming I'm the one that is encouraging you to budget your money better, telling you to do it for your own good. Tell me how you feel about everything. Be honest with me. I think I deserve to know. You have two kids, one is turning two, running all around, getting into things, and the other is only 6 months, still very much needing your full attention, just about sitting up on her own. You are exhausted, still trying to breastfeed because you know that is best for your baby, but you can't get enough rest to replenish your body's supply of milk. Your boss is starting to get really put out by your frequent absences and late arrivals to work, which can't be helped because the daycare that your two-year old attends opens at 8:30 am and you are expected to be at work at 8:00. Your mother helps out when she can, but she is not very reliable since she has health problems of her own. Your husband left you 14 months ago and you are in the process of divorce, not to mention the legal process of trying to collect child support. You are feeling alone, burdened, and there doesn't seem to be any support. Now here you are, sitting with me, and all I can suggest is that you simply must budget your money more carefully. What is your response?" "Jane, I'm worried. I'm feeling at a loss for words." Jacqui sat in her office, on the hard chair. Jane, a young woman seeking nutrition therapy support sat uncomfortably at the edge of the cozy sofa. She was terrifyingly thin. Jacqui had sat with her each week for the last three months, watching her slowly deteriorate, watching her disappear before her very eyes. Today, the brutal reality of her starvation was looming like death above and around them. Jacqui was not only at a loss for words, she was struggling to stay grounded. She was working as hard as she ever worked to stay connected to Jane in this moment. These were terrifying moments. Jacqui didn't know what to do. She didn't have a clue what to do. "I know. Me too," Jane whispered in reply. Her skin pulled tight across her cheekbones, her clothes hanging off her, many sizes too large now. Her body was small, fragile. Jacqui could see that even in the short time that she'd worked with Jane, her body had changed dramatically. 'Oh, my God!' repeated over and over in her mind. "The doctor at the hospital says that I'm 'an urgent case.' I guess I should be relieved by that, but it sucks to hear it. I just want to get better, but I can't do it on my own. It is too hard." Jane looked down, dejected. "Are you still going to classes?" "Yeah, it gets me away from the house, from my mom and dad's fighting and constant watching. School is getting harder for me, though. The other day,'a woman in one of my classes, told me that I should try eating something cause I'm getting too thin. I don't even know her. I felt totally ashamed. Don't people get it? I'm trying, but the voice in my head is too loud. I can't let myself eat. How many others are watching me, noticing my body? I can't bear the thought of eating with-anyone right now. I feel too exposed." "When do you feel most supported, comforted, peaceful?" Jacqui grasped for anything. Jane didn't answer her right away. By the furrow across her brow, Jacqui guessed that she was concentrating, trying to think of the last time. Maybe Jacqui shouldn't have asked her that question. What if she never felt comforted or supported? How might that realization affect her mood, her state of mind, her ability to take care of herself? "Um, well, I guess when I'm with Rachel I feel a little better." Rachel was her closest friend and the 59 woman that drove her to all her appointments and sat with her while she attempted to eat the little she was able to eat those days; "Is Rachel here today?" "Yeah, she's waiting for me in the car." "How would you feel if I invited Rachel in for a moment so we can all talk together?" "Uh, OK. I mean, if she wants to. Should I go get her?" "Yeah, let's go see if she wants to join us." Jacqui was guided at this point by intuition. After weeks of working diligently on meal plans and exploring Jane's barriers to healing her relationship with food, Jacqui was willing to try something different. Jacqui had never done this before, but she thought working outside the box might help in that instance. Jacqui didn't think she had a lot of time at this point. This was what fear looked like. Jane and Rachel entered the counselling office together. "Hi, I'm Jacqui. Please come in, have a seat. Thanks so much for joining us." Jacqui motioned Rachel to sit beside Jane on the couch and closed the door gently behind them. Getting up to close the door gave Jacqui a few extra seconds to figure out what she was going to say. She took her time sitting down. She still didn't know what to say. Silence. Rachel and Jane smiled at each other. It was a new experience for them, too. "Jane, what is it about your time with Rachel that you find comforting, supportive?" "Well, you know, she is my closest friend, not judging me. I can be most myself with her." 60 "Rachel, what do you see going on with Jane? Is it OK if I ask her this, Jane? Are you OK with this?" "Yeah, I'm OK. I don't have any secrets from Rachel." "Well, Jane comes from a pretty intense family. At my house, things are different, very different. I can kinda understand how hard it is for Jane to be at home. Her mom is pretty intense. It's chaotic, not the best environment." Rachel spoke in faltering sentences, carefully watching Jane's face for clues about what and what not to tell Jacqui, and not entirely convinced that it was OK to open up about such matters. "How much time are the two of you able to spend together these days?" Jacqui asked. "Well, maybe two nights a week. I'm going there after our session. I'll stay the night and then I have to go home and get ready for school. I wish it was more, don't you?" Jane looked over to Rachel. Rachel nodded. "It could be more, you know. Why don't you stay Sunday night, too? We could figure something out." Rachel's voice pleaded. They both knew that Jane staying an extra night would not make her better, but it was a little thread of something, a little thread to hang onto. "Maybe." Jane was noncommittal. As much as she hated going home, she was needed there and believed that she should be there to take care of her 9-year-old brother. He had been acting erratically lately, too. The school called her house yesterday, leaving a message for her parents that Brandon had not shown up for class. "Yeah, I'll tell them. Thanks for calling." Jane tried to sound responsible, but just like everything else, she was barely keeping it together. This was the first time the school had called, but Jane knew it wouldn't be the last. Brandon's life was starting to unravel, hers was already well underway. Jane was consumed with fear that her mom would not be there to take care of him, that she might pass out and that her cigarette would start a fire or worse, that she would be driving him around town while drunk. She felt instantly sick at the thought. Jacqui noticed her face blanched. 61 "Jane, where did you just go?" Jacqui asked gently. She saw sweeps of panic and tension cross Jane's face. Jane's emotions were in some ways that much easier to read these days. There was no place for them to hide, no soft recesses, no luxury of fading into the background. Jane's eyes met Jacqui's and she tasted her despair. "I'm worried about Brandon. I need to be home for him, but I can't. He needs me. He's just a little boy. I feel like I'm failing him, too. How did this happen to me?" Jane looked down, bereft. Jacqui felt overwhelmed and waves of compassion washed over her. This was so hard. "Jane, what is it that you need right now? Jacqui asked. She could see Jane's tears falling down gaunt cheeks. The three of them sat Very still. Jane didn't answer. She despaired without words, Rachel's arm protectively around her shoulder. "Take a breath,, Jane. Tell us what you are feeling." Jane swiped away a tear from her face and looked at Rachel then at Jacqui. "I'm feeling overwhelmed with it all. I need some time away." Rachel piped up. "Why don't we go get Brandon and bring him over to my place, too?" Jane lifted her head, looking hopeful. "Hmmm. Yeah, that would be cool." She checked her watch. "He's just finishing his tutoring session. We could pick him up before he gets on the bus for home." Jacqui sensed Jane's hope and felt relieved. "Maybe you could treat Brandon to dinner?" Jane smiled. "Maybe, Jacqui. Maybe." Jacqui could feel the tension shift and she thought for at least this moment, Jane would be OK. At least that's what she hoped. A slight chill was in the air that Saturday morning as Jacqui walked to meet with colleagues to discuss the 6 2 possibility of group supervision. Clinical supervision was a common practice in the mental health fields, often mandated. The supervisor assumed a variety of roles including teacher, counsellor, and consultant. Those seeking supervision were generally willing to reflect on their desire to learn skills and knowledge, explore personal dynamics and reactions to clients, and discuss ideas and questions on a collegial level. The idea of meeting to share professional practice issues came out of her research conversations with colleagues. Jacqui remembered Doris sharing how she envied her mental health colleagues having that kind of peer support, while Valerie added with a smile, "Maybe there's a new career path for you, Jacqui. Facilitating supervision groups for dietitians." Jacqui was more interested in being a recipient of supervision given her own challenges in practice. A colleague asked Jacqui, "Why is it called 'supervision?' Seems rather hierarchical, doesn't it?" It did seem hierarchical and Jacqui believed traditional modes of supervision to be disempowering on many levels. Having an experience of a different sort with a wonderful therapist during her days co-facilitating support groups for women with a counsellor friend, she was justifiably convinced all clinical supervision didn't have to be demeaning and unproductive. Maybe just changing the name 'supervision' was all that was needed. Maybe 'facilitated professional support groups' would be a better choice instead. At the outset of each supervision meeting, any immediate needs of the counsellor (e.g., crisis situations) or the supervisor (e.g., ethical dilemmas or client welfare) become a priority.14 These are all things the group needed to consider before actually engaging in supervision. Jacqui believed that supervision activities depended on trust, a respect for professionalism, an awareness that not everything can or must be measured, and the reality that in promoting supervision with all its inherent contentiousness, that as professionals they were called to walk on a knife edge.15 Her understanding of their need for this particular support was a means for confronting the complexity of ongoing life in their everyday dietetic practice. Supervision was after all, a meeting of two (or more) people, a shared possibility for each of 1 4 (Pearson, 2001) 1 5 (Launer, 2004) 63 them.16 Jacqui opened the door to her office, which she had offered as a meeting space for the group. The aesthetics of intricate Indian wall hangings, brilliantly coloured pillows, large fronds of greenery, and a lively arrangement of reeds in a square glass vase on a low table immediately brought to mind vivid memories of all the clients she had worked with over the years. Clients...the word to her was more than troublesome given its association with consumption and consumerism and, of course, capitalism, patriarchy...where did it end? Instead, she preferred to speak the words 'women' or 'men' to describe those that sought her nutrition therapy services. Sometimes, she still slipped, even with the sound of the word breaking at the back of her throat, she uttered 'client' to then hear herself disclaim and explain. Language burdened. Tess was next to arrive. As usual, flamboyant in ocean blues, prismatic violets, a spectrum of turquoise beads lighting her throat and greening her eyes. Jacqui and Tess greeted each other with a hug. "Would you like some tea? Madagascar Vanilla Roiboos or Honeybush Peach?" Jacqui asked. "Yum, I'll try the peach," Tess answered as she settled into a luxuriously comfortable couch, a spot where so many women sat before her, spilling their impossibly painful life stories. Could a couch contain the gravity of their stories, those told and those yet to come? "How was your week?" Jacqui asked from the bathroom where she was filling the kettle. "How is the teaching going?" She was aware they hadn't spoken since Tess' first class. "Yeah, it's going. We got into some pretty heavy stuff last class. Of course, I always wish I could go back and re-speak my responses. We were talking about the 'Do We Teach Them How To Budget' article by Kim Raine and our conversation on language led to a conversation on difference, which actually led to a really discriminatory remark about who should be 'allowed' to practice dietetics in Canada." 1 6 (Coles, 1989, p. 8) 64 "Oh, God, what did you do?" Jacqui returned from starting the tea and was sitting in a low slung, golden upholstered chair, the one she typically used. It is clearly a comfort for her, taking her place, in her office, as an authority. She made a dashing mental note to sit elsewhere next time. "Well, I didn't do anything right away. I was in shock! I think I remember taking a deep breath and closing my eyes for a moment. That must have freaked out the students." "Well, it probably did get their attention. While you were taking a breath, they were holding theirs." Jacqui wished she could be centred in those moments of praxis when everything she had read and theorized came into being, those rare moments of luminosity, ripe with possibilities for learning. "Damn, I wish I could remember to be more still and meditative in those moments. My emotions tend to get the better of me." Jacqui imagined her emotions as cunning little people, trying to trick her somehow into pedagological missteps. "I think that happened to me, too. After only a few comments from students, I took the opportunity to move on to another subject. It was like I was running away a little bit. What should I do? Maybe say something about it at the next class?" "I might, after having more time to reflect and maybe write something down for myself to refer to while speaking so I can say as much or as little as I need to say. But listen to me, easy to take this role when I'm not standing there at the front. There is an amazing article by Renee Norman and Carl Leggo about such experiences in the class. I'll email you the PDF version." "That would be helpful, thanks." Tess smiled and just then the kettle clicked off signalling the water was ready. Jacqui stood with a sigh, back aching from spending far too much time at the computer writing, and returned to the bathroom to make a cup of Roiboos for herself and Honeybush for Tess. She had been thinking about what happened to her this week and wondered if the group would permit her some time to share her feelings and thoughts about it with them. Spending time reflecting had not lightened the experience for her and she hoped sharing it with trusted friends would help ease the hurt. 65 "Oh, I think I hear Ariana and Gabrielle." Tess got up to greet them and Jacqui ran the tap to boil more water for tea. "Nobody said it was easy..." Chris Martin, lead-singer for Coldplay sang out to Jacqui's conference audience. She had The Scientist" turned up loud. "No one said would be this hard. Oh, take me back to the start." Jacqui first heard The Scientist in one of her graduate classes, a course called Living Interpretations: A Hermeneutical Inquiry. She remembered how the words tremored inside her, speaking directly to her ongoing trials as a dietitian, as a nutrition scientist, wishing things to be different, more human and beautiful. Since that very first time the song lingered and continued to inspire her. She decided to offer it to her research participants as a means for understanding their own experience of dietetic identity. That conference session was an opportunity to share that experience with sister and fellow qualitative researchers. She had never played a song during a conference presentation before and wondered how people would respond. After the song ended, Jacqui invited those in attendance to share with her what they thought the song meant, to perform a hermeneutics on the text of song lyrics. A studious looking woman who sat close to the front, put up her hand to start. "You know, I've never heard this song before and the context you provided has me slightly distracted, but I was very moved by it. Something, I'm not quite sure what, but is he trying to say something about anorexia?" "Hmm, interesting. I've never thought of that before." It was vaguely surprising to Jacqui given her work-1 7 (Martin, 2002) 6 6 with women who struggled with eating disturbances. "Have you seen the video?" asked an older man dressed in a suit and tie, British accent, white hair and glasses perched on the end of his nose. "Yes, I have." Jacqui wondered what brought him to a conference on qualitative methods, her stereotypes in full bloom. "It certainly changes the meaning for me. He wants to get back to the start to prevent his girlfriend from getting killed in a car accident. It's very eerie, powerful." The way he stated his version of the meaning suggested that there was only one. Jacqui offered that even for those who had seen the video, there were still multiple ways to interpret the visual and lyrical texts. The discussion was lively, but like most conference sessions, over too quickly, just scratching surfaces of curiosity. Several people approached Jacqui after she finished to share their email addresses with her. "We should talk," one young woman said, leaning in close, conspiratorially, wild red hair cascading down her back, "I'm at the University of Victoria. My work in the School of Child and Youth Care is strikingly similar to what you describe in dietetics. Here is my card. Would you like to come to our conference next spring?" Tess read from her paperback copy of Mary Catherine Bateson's Composing a Life. It was late and she couldn't sleep. Her husband, Michael laid beside her, snoring loudly, oblivious to her insomnia. She looked over at him, seeing their darling 10-year old daughter in his full lips and finely carved nose -mementos of her face in his. Her thoughts oddly careened to her life without them and she shuddered. Why do her thoughts overpower her that way? So pessimistic and suspicious, those annoying thoughts. She shook her head for clarity and returned to reading. 67 Because women were traditionally taught to emphasize service, their choices may be unintelligible and therefore deeply suspect. I have been struck by how terribly hard women worked as students and later on in their careers, and how often work is unappreciated when the motive behind it is not understood. Women were worn down or burnt out.)S Tess thought immediately of the dietetics profession and how the experience of burnout was prevalent for her and her colleagues. She wondered how this experience of burnout contributed to some of her most creative and intelligent dietetic colleagues deciding to leave the profession. Her thoughts returned to one of her friends, Gabrielle. They used to work together at a downtown hospital. During a recent chat at a networking event, Gabi mentioned that her work was getting more difficult. There was conflict between the dietitians and the managers about needing to justify the services that dietitians provided. More recently, Gabi was struggling with being asked to do research on the effectiveness of a weight-loss drug using money from the drug's manufacturer. Gabi, typically upbeat and positive, seemed downtrodden. It astounded Tess to hear Gabi talk about leaving dietetics. Tess decided her next class with the dietetic undergrads would be a good time to raise this topic of professional burnout and ask them what they could do to prevent such an occurrence as a way of sustaining the profession. She could share a story with them of an imaginary dietitian that had a breakdown mid-career and decided to leave the profession. She'd give Gabi a pseudonym. Amy. She decided to phone Gabi tomorrow and get her permission to adapt the classroom story from her own life. She thought it would probably be a composite life, a combination of Gabi's story with others'. She began to think of the abundance of stories told to her by real women, her dietitian colleagues really struggling to keep their professional lives together. Life imitating art, art imitating life. She was excited by this idea and in anticipation, found sleep even more elusive. She continued reading, composing her life. (Bateson, 1989) 68 Chapter Three Week 3: September 21 "Hello everyone. Please take your seats. I have a story to tell you and I need your advice." Tess decided to leave the discussion of that day's articles for later. The students assembled themselves, disciplined in rows of desks. Their eyes on Tess as she disrupted them once again from the usual way to start a class. Stories aren't often, if ever presented as pedagogical tools for dietetic practice. What would she think of next? "OK, I want to tell you about Amy. She has worked in a hospital for seven years as a dietitian, not long. She started out as casual, taking shifts in surgery, diabetes, outpatients, and medicine. We met for tea recently and she's having a really hard time at work. She gave me permission to share her story with you as a way to prepare you for the realities of your chosen career. Remember when I mentioned during our first class about Marjorie DeVault's notion of the promise of professionalism?" Several heads nodded in recollection. "As I share this story with you, I would like you to think about two things: what is the promise of professionalism and how you might support Amy in her current situation. Are you ready for Amy's story?" Feet shuffled, bodies stirred, but all eyes were trained in normalizing ways on Tess. They were ready. "Amy is not happy at work. She spends most of her day in a cardiovascular rehab program, working with people who have recently had heart attacks, counselling them on what's called heart healthy eating. She believes strongly in a health-centred approach compared to a weight-centred approach. This means her philosophy is based on the science that says you don't have to lose weight necessarily to be healthy -that it's more about being active and nourishing yourself with a variety of foods. Who here has heard about the health-centred approach?" Tess noticed quite a few hands go up. "Oh! How did you hear about it?" 69 "My friend is in Human Kinetics and they had a guest lecture by Jacqui Gingras, I think she's coming to our class later this term. Anyway, she told me that Jacqui was coming to talk to their class and I decided to go, too. I was a bit surprised that I hadn't heard anything about that in our program, and Jacqui was pretty pumped about it. Someone even said she was too biased, you know. Anyway..." "Well, she certainly does hold her views very strongly and she doesn't come by those beliefs frivolously. She makes a sound judgment based on the evidence. Just like Amy, actually." Tess was slightly amused by this student's assessment of Jacqui's seminar. She would pass it on when they met later. "OK, back to Amy who is incredibly diligent with the evidence, believes strongly that dietitians need an arsenal of evidence as she puts it, to be respected in our current health care environment. So she makes a practice of scouring the literature for evidence to support the health-centred model and she found a great deal of evidence. So you might think, 'Great!' she has the evidence, she promotes this with her boss, the medical director of the cardiac program, and they all start working from this philosophy. Wrong." Tess paused with a sip of her tea, quickly assessed where the students were with her story and convinced they were also present, she continued. "So, she brings in a stack of journal articles, I mean like 50 or so articles and puts them on her director's desk, a highly qualified physician, and begins to share with her what she has learned. 'We need to stop promoting weight loss and start promoting metabolic fitness,' she says. The doctor disagrees. Amy-says,. 'We both took an oath to do no harm and there is harm when you do that and it is also harmful to the core of your being.'" Tess remembered those exact words told to her by Gabi. She remembered the look of astonishment on Gabi's face when she shared with Tess the story of the physician who simply crossed her arms and asked, incredulously, 'Are you trying to tell me that I should not be encouraging my patients to lose weight?' Tess remembered the knot growing in her stomach as Gabi's story unfolded. Tess had never liked conflict and Gabi's exchange with the physician was almost too much to bear. Tess wasn't even there, but the story was written on Tess' body, scribed into her gut. "Did I mention that Amy is one courageous, persevering woman?" The students laughed, already knowing 70 that to question the long-standing practices of a senior physician was a risky endeavour. Tess vaguely wondered how they learned this, how they 'got' the joke. She realized that this knowledge for these students was social capital - they got further knowing who had power in society, in medical hierarchies. They were smart, perceptive women. Had the dietetic curriculum reinforced this knowledge? Tess made yet another mental note to ask Jacqui.' "Amy is not deterred by the director's disbelief. She invites her to look at the evidence, to look past the fact that large people don't conform to society's ideal. The evidence tells us we are not good at promoting weight loss and not only are we not good at it, we make people worse. She asserts that practice would never be acceptable in any other medical situation. So, Amy tells me that the director just could not change her approach. She insists on promoting weight loss because she believes that if her patients lose weight, they will get better. To this admonition Amy responds, and I love this part, 'You're assuming that if people have more reasons than anyone else to lose weight, they are going to be more successful and that's just not what the evidence supports.' Amy tells me that the patients the physician refers to her for weight-loss counselling feel so guilty. They say, 'Like my doctor tells me if I don't lose weight, I'm going to have another heart attack or stroke.' Fear does not work. So Amy and the medical director have a fundamental difference of professional opinion. Now, the plot thickens. Recently, the cardiac program just accepted funding from Roche, producers of Xenical to conduct research on whether taking Xencial to lose weight helps reduce risk of cardiac problems. OK, let me stop for a moment. Who can tell me about Xenical?" The line of story-telling monologue was broken and it took just a moment for the students to adjust to the shift. "Uh, yeah, isn't that the fat-blocking drug that prevents fat from being absorbed so the total number of calories is less because the fat goes right through?" offered Marci. "Yes, precisely. Marci, thank you for that. And what are the physical side effects to such a drug?" There was more to the story that Tess wanted to expose. Marci responded again, "Well, uh, it's kinda nasty. Um, what do they call it, uh, anal leakage, fecal 71 urgency, liquid stools. That's gross!" She laughed nervously along with other students not yet as comfortable with such graphic bowel talk, the purview of clinical dietetic practice. "Yeah, that's definitely gross. And did you know that the drug, Xenical, was only tested for two years before it was approved for use in Canada? As a dietitian, what would you need to counsel someone to add to their diet if they were taking Xenical?" "Oh, yeah, they have to take extra fat soluble vitamins to replace what is not absorbed because the fat is not absorbed." It was clear Marci had done some extra research into the topic of weight-loss pharmaceuticals. "By a show of hands, how many of you would expect Amy to be against such research?" The entire class put up their hands. "Right you are. That's what we call a no-brainer. So, in addition to Amy's boss continuing to promote weight loss and insisting that Amy simply do her job and advise these patients on how to lower their caloric intake to lose weight, Amy is being told she must counsel the research participants on how to eat healthy while they are in the study. It's a double-blind, placebo controlled study, so Amy and the participants don't actually know at this point if they are getting the Xenical or not. OK, so obviously on many levels, Amy feels caught in a highly contentious ethical dilemma. She doesn't want to go to work anymore. She is stressed to the max. She has started having nightmares, she does all kinds of things to delay going to bed, she has a chronic migraine and aching back, and she is increasingly cynical about the kind of work she is doing and is capable of doing. Now, this is where you come in. What do you think she should do? What kind of advice do you have for Amy? What can you ask her to prevent her from leaving the profession or leaving the job. I want you to start with some basic ideas, write down your immediate thoughts, make some notes, and spend some time over the next week thinking about your response. Also, use the readings from Travers, Austin, and DeVault. You will have to read ahead for DeVault, but she speaks specifically to this situation of inner conflict. I will expect you to hand in a one page 72 explanation and decision for Amy at the start of next class. I'll count it as one of your reader responses. And, since we aren't going to have time to talk about Austin's article today, we'll start there next time. Does anyone have any questions?" Tess noticed a couple of students who needed to ask her for more information. Candice asked, "Does Amy have kids?" "No." Dani asked, "Does she have any other job prospects?" "No, not currently, but do you think maybe she should start looking?" Tess smiled and surprisingly Dani smiled back. Her question was facetious and didn't promote the seriousness that her story implied. She tried to redress her sarcastic humour. "Remember, there are consequences to leaving a hospital position. You lose your seniority, your benefits, and your holiday pay. And there aren't that many jobs in clinical dietetics at the moment. So, think carefully if you're feeling compelled to encourage Amy to abandon the entire enterprise. And also think about where you are at in this stage of your career. What I mean by that is consider the promise of dietetics, whatever you imagine that to be for you at this time in your life, in your education and your familiarity with the profession. Put yourself in Amy's situation. Consider the big picture as much as you can." Tess paused again. The students took her up on her advice to make some notes and began to pack up their belongings. She finished a little early and had put them a week behind in their readings, but she hoped it wasn't in vain. She hoped that story-telling of issues of professional conflict would help the students in the long run. Jacqui was at home, doing dishes again. There was no end to household chores when a baby arrived. 73 What is it about a baby that makes household chores so unrelenting? The phone rang and Jacqui quickly stripped off her yellow gloves to answer it, a welcomed distraction. It was Ariana. "Hi, Jacqui. I just came across this article and had to phone you immediately." Ariana sounded a bit breathless. "Wow, I thought I was the only one who got that excited about journal articles. What's it about?" "It is from nursing, of course. They have done so much wonderful writing on the process and theory of nursing practice. I wish dietetics had such a voluminous pool of literature to draw from, but as it is, we go to the nurses." "Yeah, I attribute it to the large number of nurses compared to dietitians, but I think it might be more than just numbers. There seems to be a culture of inquiry present in nursing that is completely absent in dietetics. We need to change that. Really, only one dietetic journal in Canada!" Ariana could barely contain herself, "I know and this article is so wicked and disruptive! It talks about nurse-on-nurse aggression. Nurse-on-nurse aggression, can you believe it? I thought of you instantly because of what you told me is coming up in your research about competition between dietitians. And in the article they point to nursing undergraduate education as, let me find it here, ' of the mechanisms that reinforces this position...' and I believe the author is referring here to medical hegemony, uncritical acceptance of dominant groups within health care." "How interesting. I love it! Hey, if the nurses feel oppressed, what do dietitians feel as even further down the medical hierarchy? What's the reference? I clearly need to read this article. Maybe Tess would like to include it in her syllabus." 74 "I'll email you an electronic version. It's by Freshwater.19 There's one more bit I want to read to you, I just love it. '...if the education is controlled by the powerful and limited to the curricula that support their values, little conflict occurs. However, it would seem that conflict does occur, although not necessarily overtly. The conflict that arises manifests itself in other ways, often as internalized self-deprecation, self-harm and horizontal violence...' Isn't that provocative?" "It most surely is. I can't wait to read it. Thanks so much, Ariana. It feels good to know that you're looking out for the juicy theory for my dissertation - my sister dietetic theorist!" "Oh, it's mutual, Jacqui. I should go. I know you are busy. Peg and I are just getting ready to head to the market. I love Saturday mornings with her." "I envy you. Evyn is napping right now, but we are just trying to keep our head above water. Kelly has dropped off the laundry and I'm doing dishes. How dull!" "Oh, but you have an incredible daughter who you get to be with every morning. How decadent!" "Yes, yes, you're right. She is very decadent. Talk to you soon." Gabrielle took a sip of her tea and nestled herself deep into the couch in Jacqui's office. She had been looking forward to the idea of supervision ever since receiving Jacqui's email last week. It wouldn't matter why she was coming to Jacqui's office, she loved the thought of sitting and talking over matters of dietetic practice with her colleagues, her friends. Gabrielle looked around the room at the women she so admired. Tess, glorious in aubergine, a graceful force in their profession. Ariana, a self-proclaimed dietetic theorist (Freshwater, 2000) 75 poet, her British accent only adding to her mystique and allure. Jacqui, activist, dietitian, therapist, and now mother - her heart swelling with joy in her latest subjectivity. Gabrielle loved these women and was blessed to have them in her life. This latest adventure of therapy together was a gift to know them better -a gift she was ready to embrace. "Welcome, everyone!" Jacqui started. "Shall we begin with a check in and then get on to the matter of supervision and how we want it to look?" "Sounds good to me. I'll start." Gabrielle made her eagerness known with her instant response. "I'm just so happy to be here with you. Work has been really difficult and I've been wondering again if I'm just not cut out for this job. Seven years I've been wondering! The timing for this group is perfect. I'm prepared to be inspired by you!" The women laughed, knowing that it was not a passive experience for Gabrielle, but a hearty, mutual festival of inspiration for all. "OK, me next." Ariana chimed in with her lyrical voice. "This past week has been exceedingly trying. My good friend, Jenny, has just passed away from breast cancer. It took her too fast. We're all devastated. The service was Sunday and I read some poetry for the occasion. It was incredibly hard. I'm emotionally battered at the moment. Not sure what use I'll be here today, but it is so comforting to be in your presence." Ariana's tiny frame was weary, propped up in the corner of the couch next to Gabrielle. Her eyes said more about the despair of her friend's passing. There was momentary silence in the room as the women contemplated the gravity of Ariana's experience. "It sounds awful, Ariana. How old was Jenny?" "She was just 44. Such a fantastic person - funny, loyal. We used to run together, with grey geese chasing us down as we went through the park. I'll never forget those geese - totally wicked, those geese. I wrote a poem to remember our running together." "I would love to hear your poem. You don't by chance have it with you?" 76 "Well, I do. Jenny's sister wanted it printed on the, what would you call it, some kind of programme for the memorial service. I have a copy here." Ariana reached into her bedraggled knapsack and pulled out a purple leather-bound journal. The way her hands caressed the smooth leather indicated her love and tenderness of the words that resided there. Inside she had carefully sheaved the leaflet. Gabi closed her eyes and leaned back as Ariana began to read. "It's called 'In Celebration.' In celebration of the runner I am thundering in your ears In celebration of the runner I am racing through your veins In celebration of the runner I am pulsing from the day's full-blooded sun to ruddy up your gaunt cheeks In celebration of the runner I am stinging your eyes alive to the tone-still bliss-lone depths of the conifered forest In celebration of the runner I am matching your hatched sobs, tight chest anxious for spare air I am footloose among you I am pacing the hard parts I am throbbing on your temple I am the sweat of your furrowed brow my brine is the brine of the tears that runnel your renegade face I am just on your shoulder 77 / am coursing, cruising, cramping, leaping, I charge you now to keep in step with all I relayed of life's exhilaration I give you simply my strong willed heart endurance love." "That's beautiful, Ariana. I want your poetry to grace my funeral service. You're so incredibly gifted." Jacqui was emphatic in her support for Ariana's work. She dreamed of her poetry daring to be as evocative. "Thank you...everyone. I'm going to miss her so much. Such a beautiful spirit, that woman." Ariana carefully, tenderly replaced the leaflet in her journal. She wished someone else to speak. There was another quiet pause as the women contemplated their luck at still being alive. In Ariana's sharing, their lives took an instant perspective. "I feel we honour Jenny's memory by being here today and taking risks together. I sense she would have been so in favour of our gathering." Tess, ever-ready with language bridges and connections, shared her sentiment to the smiling nods of the three other women. "As some of you know, I'm currently teaching an undergrad class of dietetic students and much has arisen already about my place in this profession and how we prepare new dietitians for their work. It has called everything into question again for me. I hope that I can share more as this group evolves, but I will leave it at that for now." "I guess it's my turn." Jacqui didn't like being last. She felt burdened with having to carry and close the circle. "I have great hopes for our work together. I need this time with you in so many ways. I've been working hard to finish my dissertation and applying for faculty jobs and the emotions and stress and the 78 tension is running very high." She emphasized the word 'very' but she didn't need to since the mere acknowledgement of emotion and tension was rare for Jacqui. "Sometimes I feel like I just need to walk out of my office and keep on walking, not looking back, not stopping until I get home and can feel the loving arms of my baby girl around my neck. Evyn is pulling me home in every moment. I want to be there with her and Kelly all the time." With these last words Jacqui's voice broke. She was surprised by this spilling of overwhelm and hadn't intended to cry, but the tears burst forward, insistent and hot on her cheeks. Sheepish she looked down and started to sob. Tess hesitated then gently placed her hand on Jacqui's back, murmuring a soft encouragement to just allow the tears their place. Jacqui had no choice and she realized the enormous strain she had been managing the last few months. "You and Kelly are taking on so much. It's totally understandable that you would feel overwhelmed, Jacq." Gabrielle offered her support. "Yeah, I know it's a lot and it will be much better when Kelly's term is over. She just has these last three classes to finish and then she graduates. That will be amazing - an incredible accomplishment for her and for our family. I'm so proud of her..." the tears returned, but this time they were accompanied by a smile since there was more joy than sorrow in her expression and the emphasis was neatly displaced to someone else. Tess, Gabrielle, and Ariana nodded sympathetically in a display of support, but also of relief. It was sometimes difficult to know what to do and what to say in those moments. "Oh, God! Get it together, woman!" Jacqui admonished as she sniffed and reached for a handful of Kleenex to blow her nose. "This is not how I imagined starting our group together. I would like it if we could move on and talk about how we want our supervision to look." Jacqui straightened her back and moved closer to the edge of her chair, obviously not wanting to get so comfortable again as to permit more outbursts. The other women adjusted, too, falling into more familiar task-oriented roles, aligning. "What do you think of having an actual therapist facilitate this for us?" Jacqui asked, setting a tone and a direction. 79 "Hmm, I never considered inviting a therapist in to our group. It would be a new experience for me. Do you have someone in mind?" Gabrielle had always been open to new perspectives so her response was of no surprise to Jacqui. "Yeah, I have a couple women in mind that I respect and admire as compassionate and skilled therapists. I believe they both have experience facilitating supervision for other counsellors. I could give them a call to see if they would be interested. What do you two think about that?" Tess seemed pensive and hesitated. Ariana volunteered, "I think the potential to get into some meaningful stuff would be there with a therapist facilitating the process. I'm game." Ariana looked to Tess. "How much would it cost us?" Tess asked. "Yes, it will cost us something. I'm guessing around 100 to 150 dollars a session, probably sessions will last an hour or an hour and a half. So for each of us, between 25 to 40 bucks." Jacqui knew that Tess and Michael were struggling financially since he was laid off last fall. She reminded herself to be patient and gentle with Tess as they ventured into unfamiliar territory. "That seems reasonable. I might even be able to get it covered through work if the therapist is a Registered Psychologist. That would be helpful." Tess still had her part-time job at the cancer agency on the Westside to rely on, although the work she had done there was taking its toll. Tess shared with Jacqui recently that it wasn't the emotional toll of working with people who had cancer and who were very likely to die, it was the toll of working with administrators who didn't understand or value her work and her desire to do qualitative research on the experience of living with changed health status. One of her bosses, whom she thought would be supportive of her starting a small project, said to her as he leaned back in his enormous leather chair, "Look around, dear woman. You don't really think that qualitative research in nutrition is going to pull in the kind of money to build research facilities, hire scientists, and accumulate necessary technology, do you?" Clearly a redundant and highly patronizing question. It wasn't the first time Tess thought about leaving, but she didn't really feel she had a choice. The money 80 was excellent and she needed that stability, especially with her daughter, Zoe beginning to show more of an interest in equestrian. Riding lessons were expensive, but the wild joy on Zoe's face when she mounted those beautiful, enormous beasts was worth every penny. "One of them is Registered. I will contact her first. Her name is Carly. So I will email you with the details when I hear back from her. Excellent! I'm really looking forward to seeing what happens." "Jacq, before we finish can you tell us a little bit more about what you think might happen?" Apparently Gabrielle's enthusiasm was also shaded by practicality. Tess and Ariana nodded in agreement with Gabrielle's question. They all wanted more information to set their minds at ease and Jacqui obliged. "Well, from my experience with supervision when I worked at Wellspring a few years ago, the supervisor created a space for us to discuss issues of professional concern - so what was difficult or challenging us in our work, which at the time was facilitating support groups for women who identified as struggling with eating and body image issues. In our group there was a male physician, a psychologist, a counsellor, and me. The supervisor, Lesley, came in the first time bringing several ordinary objects with her. If I remember correctly, she brought a wine glass, a little mouse ornament, a child's toy, a feather, a polished rock paperweight, and some other things. I think a candle, too. Anyway, she placed all these objects on a table in the middle of our circle and asked that we each pick an object that somehow spoke to our experience of our work in these support groups. So we took turns speaking to the association between the object we chose and our story. That was probably the best session we had with Lesley because as you know, things blew up at Wellspring. Right around the same time we started supervision, we found out that the physician had slept with one of his patients and although he had been disciplined by his college, none of us really felt safe working with him in that capacity any longer. Actually, it was our very next session together that all of this came out into the open. There was so much emotion and pain and trauma. We didn't give Lesley much of a chance to supervise us. We were a wounded group. So, OK, maybe that's not the best example of supervision!" Jacqui realized that her awful experience could ruin the possibility for an incredible and generative opportunity. 81 "Of course, our experience will be entirely different!" "Of course!" Ariana exclaimed. "I couldn't bear the thought of finding out you had a relationship with a client, Jacqui! Especially since you wrote that paper on trust. That would be shattering. If that's a premonition of what's to come, count me out!" "OK, let me assure you I'm not sleeping with any of my clients and I never will. I wish I'd never mentioned that. What a fiasco!" Jacqui laughed nervously, regretting her unscripted rendition of a very trying time for her professionally. She had just finished her Masters degree in Edmonton, returned to Vancouver to set up her practice and not four months later found herself embroiled in a very thorny, ethical debacle. She was attempting to compose a life imbued by integrity, honest hard work, and the truth of her convictions that by simply providing nutrition knowledge, her work as a dietitian was incomplete. Her association with the physician in question became untenable. She chose to leave even though she had worked hard to promote Wellspring and had been richly acknowledged for her efforts. One month, after a deluge of media attention intended to raise the community profile of Wellspring and of course, Jacqui's own special brand of nutrition therapy, the physician offered her an all-expense paid trip to Whistler including tickets for two to attend the opening gala, Crush, at Cornucopia, Whistler's renowned food and wine extravaganza. She accepted, taking along her lover at the time and having a magnificently decadent weekend - superior wines paired expertly with gorgeously plated delicacies, luscious desserts, port, dancing, white lights, rapturous sex. All of her senses imbibed with ecstatic abandon, but also her understanding that if she worked hard, she would be rewarded. It was a heady time, leaving Jacqui filled most of all with a sense of her own power and a growing awareness of her unlimited appetite for more. All of these events together culminated in a tortuous decision to leave Wellspring. But it was for her, the right decision and she never looked back. Tess leaned across the passenger seat of her modest Toyota Corolla and picked up her ringing cell phone. She checked the number before answering, a habit she acquired from being on a casual list early 82 on in her career. It was Zoe calling from home. "Hello darling. What's up?" "Mom, can Ben and Julia come over for a movie tonight? We've already checked with their parents and with Dad and they said it's OK. Please, Mom." Zoe was thorough for a 10-year old. "What time?" "Well, we could get a pizza and then start the movie. 7:00?" Tess became aware she shouldn't be talking on the phone and driving at the same time when she heard a honk from the driver behind her. The light had turned green. "Oh, give me a break!" "Mom, come on! Why not?" Zoe thought Tess was talking to her and instantly became defensive. Tess noticed this becoming more and more of an immediate response with Zoe. Was this impending teen rebellion? Tess mourned Zoe's seriousness and defiance. She used to be so much more light-hearted and easy-going. "No, Zoe, not you. Oh, God! Sorry, sweetheart. I was talking to another driver." "Well, what's the point, Mom? They can't hear you." "Yeah, thanks, Zoe. I never thought of that! What movie are you planning on getting? Will Dad be home?" "Yes, Mom, I've already checked with Dad. I just told you that. Geez, Mom, pay attention. Maybe you shouldn't be driving and talking at the same time." "Zoe, so full of brilliant ideas today, aren't you? The movie party sounds great. Save me a piece of pizza, OK. And, what movie are you getting?" 83 "Cool, thanks Mom. See ya!" Tess heard Zoe' yell to her friends even before hanging up. She desperately missed time with her two favourite people when she had to work late and now it seemed like they were picking up the pieces in her absence. She began to wonder why Zoe didn't tell her what movie they were watching and then her phone rang again, suspending her worry. "Oh, for God's sake, leave me alone!" Tess screamed. Not a Zen moment, indicative of her strain. It was Jacqui that time. "Hey, Tess. How's it going?" She sounded relaxed, with time to spare. Tess didn't have the same luxury. "I'm not doing too well right at the moment. I just screamed at another driver and then again at the phone. I'm running late for my shift at the cancer agency. All this driving is going to be the death of me." Tess didn't intend to unload her tension on Jacqui. It just happened. Jacqui sensed that a long conversation with Tess at this point was out of the question. She got to the point. "I hear ya. I know you are incredibly busy, but something just happened and I would really like to get your advice about what I should do. Maybe we could meet again for tea after your class on Tuesday." There was a brief pause, which Jacqui interpreted as Tess attempting to find a way to decline. "Only for 15 or 20 minutes. I would really appreciate it, Tess." "Yeah, sure, yeah, sorry. I was just kinda distracted. Oh, God, I should really pull over. This is getting ridiculous!" "No, no, that's OK, Tess. Let's talk later. I'll call you tomorrow while Evyn is napping, say late morning." "Oh, that would be great. And, yes, let's meet on Wednesday. I will need to debrief the class, so that will be perfect. Same place?" "Yes, same place. Great! Thanks, Tess. Drive safe." Jacqui was immensely relieved to be able to connect 84 with someone about a response she received on an article she submitted to the Dietitians of Canada (DC) Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research, an incident that had her once again wondering what to do. In the Canadian dietetics profession, Jacqui was known as a bit of a troublemaker, or what poststructural educational theorist, Patti Lather, called, an "outsider-within."20 She had taken up the issue of her professional organization's acceptance of funding from weight-loss pharmaceutical companies with tenacity and zeal. Her activist inclinations had elicited a range of (non)responses from the organization ranging from "You are the only one to have indicated a concern" to the latest "Your paper is too opinionated and we have decided not to send it out for further review." These responses indicated the absolute inertia of organizational change and only fuelled Jacqui's desire for more elaborate and sustained actions. During a 2003 summer course on the Hermeneutics of Pedagogy with Drs. Munir Vellani and Karen Meyer, Jacqui wrote a paper on the issue of trust, exploring it from educational, relational, and virtue theory. She claimed that nutrition counsellors couldn't be trusted if the organization to which they belong were engaged in conflict of issue activities. She named the organization and the pharmaceutical companies involved. Having pursued other venues for change, she had abandoned tact and spoke directly to the issues, unrepentant. Given the nature of the topic and the specificity to Canadian dietitians, she considered it a relevant article for review in the Canadian Journal for Dietetic Practice and Research. She was wrong. Several weeks after submitting the article for review, she received an email from the editor stating that her article was not suitable for publication and thus, had not been sent to reviewers. Jacqui was surprisingly (Lather, 1991) 8 5 stunned by this foreclosing of professional debate, what she considered an act of gate keeping by the editor. After a few weeks of reflecting on the implications of the rejection, Jacqui emailed the editor and asked her to elaborate on what it was about the paper specifically that precluded it from anonymous peer review. It was as if the editor had been awaiting the invitation to say more. What followed was a lengthy detailed response of the article's transgressions and failures. Accusations from the editor about the article being too personally opinionated and referencing too many sources seemed contradictory. The paper was also too long and difficult to read. Furthermore, there was no explicit concluding 'relevance to practice' section. For these reasons and more, the editor felt justified at returning the manuscript, without review. The process stung Jacqui immeasurably. She shared the latest reply with Tess. Jacqui needed to reconcile the continued obstructions manifested by people in the organization. She needed advice on how to proceed. 86 C h a p t e r F o u r We live in skittering times, when the old reliables of our own invention are beginning to crack.2 Week 4: September 28 Dani walked in the back door to the classroom just in time to get the last seat at the back. Her almost late arrival was becoming routine, hard to break. Tess was writing on the board. Three words; consumerism, commodification, complicit. She finished writing, her script large and fluid across the board, then she turned towards the students. "Good morning. OK, we need some time at the end of class to talk about your first assignment and we need time to talk about S. Bryn Austin's paper. Is there anything else to add to today's agenda?" Tess looked around the class while taking a drink of her latte. Meg put up her hand and Tess abbreviated her sip, with a nod to Meg to speak. "Yeah, have you got the WebCT glossary thing set up? I haven't been able to find it." Meg was one of the few students who had even considered looking. She was highly motivated to do well in the class, feeling the need to impress Tess since hearing her comments about Meg's work on the Eastside. "Right, thanks for reminding me. I've asked someone to get that set up for me with a function that permits each of us to add words and phrases to our glossary. It should be finished by this afternoon. I hope. Again, my intention with the glossary is to help us acquire the language to read these papers. OK, so speaking of the papers, I would like to hear from each of you one word that describes your response to Austin's paper. Pull out your copy of the chapter and take a moment and when you are ready, start us off. One word." Tess gestured to the front of the class, to the student who sat on Tess' far right. (Jardine, 1998, p. 135) 87 After a couple of minutes of paper shuffling, chairs scratched the floor, whispered remarks, came quiet. One by one, a stream of words surfaced. "Complicated, dense, difficult, challenging, ...uh, confusing, interesting, ...twisted, um, exposing, jargony, amazing, random, exaggerated, unbelievable, distorted, deceptive, ...misleading, pretentious, intriguing, incredible, weird, um, excessive, alarmist, bloated, brilliant," Tess looked to Dani who would be the last to speak. "Brutal," Dani's eyes met Tess' conveying clearly her disdain for the second week in a row. "Uh, OK, great. Great words. One question, what is meant by 'random?'" Marci responded, "Yeah, that's like strange or weird, like totally unexpected. Like, I found the article came out of the blue, you know." A small smile played across Tess' face as she watched several other students nod in agreement with the explanation. "Alright then. I get it. You loved the article and you want more of the same!" The tension broke with Tess' laughter and that of many of the young women. "I promise you, the reading shifts a little after this week, but in the meantime, let's get into Austin's premise or thesis for this chapter, which is...anyone?" Tess waited. "The whole desire and restraint thing was pretty interesting, for sure. I've never thought of low-fat yogurt quite like that before, but more from a health perspective, not economics." Meg was quick to fill the quiet spaces. "Yes, it's a clever analysis of the diet food industry. I would suggest that the thesis, Austin's main concept, her argument is directly associated with the example you gave, Meg. What do others' think?" 88 "I think what she's getting at is that food industry can create a food product based on health claims and then convince nutritionists to help market that product. She kinda makes the nutritionists out to be sorta dumb. What's the word...yeah, she makes them into unwitting accomplices of the diet industry." Dani's contribution was right on the mark. "Yes, Dani. So consumers interested in choosing healthy foods need to acquire a discourse, there's that word again, a nutrition discourse, so they can understand what 'low-fat' actually means and they can therefore choose foods that nutritionists have told them are healthy. They wouldn't buy low-fat foods, if the nutritionists and the marketers hadn't told them low-fat was beneficial for their health. Now, a momentary aside. Who has read Gary Taubes' article in Science called, The Soft Science of Dietary Fat?221 highly recommend it to all of you. I will put a PDF version on WebCT for you if you have a moment, but it won't be part of the official course reading, if you know what I mean." The students glanced at each other and smiled at Tess' innuendo. "The point I'm attempting to make here is that the ubiquitous low-fat equals healthy eating message has a sordid history. Austin goes so far as to say, 'the insistence on specific values...does invoke the assumed authority of scientific precision in a situation where there is none.' And, The stalking of dietary fat in public health promotion has been pursued with a zeal well beyond that justified by the field's own scientific research.' I want you to really think about what that means for you as nutrition professionals. You need to know that the low-fat health promotion message arose more out of politics and economics than out of what we claim as value-neutral scientific evidence. The story with low-fat foods produced by the diet industry is similar. We'd like to believe that low-fat is about benefiting populations, but it is also benefiting corporations in colossal ways. This is significant." Tess took a break to take in a little more caffeine and to give the students a moment to consider what she was saying. Tess also heard herself sounding slightly evangelical to borrow from how a student described Austin's article. Tess knew the dangers of lecturing. She needed to step back and find a way to (Taubes, 2001) 89 encourage the students to engage their own imagination. "OK, these words that I have up on the board. Why do you think I chose these words as key to this article? Take three minutes and write or draw what you see are the connections between the words as they relate to what Austin has written." When three minutes was up, Candice asked Tess if she could share a drawing of how the words interrelated. Tess enthusiastically invited her to the front of the class to reproduce her drawing on the board. She drew two circles, interconnected. Inside each circle, she wrote the words 'consumerism' and 'health promotion.' In the space where the two circles intersected, she neatly wrote, 'commodification of health.' ' ' ""v", : 'fication of consumerism : promotion health "Oh, how very clever! Could you share with us a few remarks of explanation for such an rendering?" Tess was genuinely impressed with this students' graphic representation and wished more students would offer such visual responses to the text. Perhaps in time. Candice obliged. "Well, the way I understand what this Austin person is trying to say is when consumerism meets health promotion, health is commodified. You can't have commodification without consumerism." "Uh-huh. Does anyone have another interpretations or questions?" Tess was interested in having the students interact more with each other. "Yeah, so where would you put the word 'complicit?' Dani desired completion, thoroughness. 90 "Um, OK, what about this?" Candice added to her drawing with a flourish. consumerism commodi-fication of "You are complicit if you participate in the commodification of health," Candice stated intrepidly. "So, if I recommend to someone to eat low-fat so they reduce their risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, I'm complicit? Is that what you are saying?" Dani had taken exception to how Austin had labelled a majority of the nutrition profession. Her worldview was beginning to shake. Tess remained quiet. "Well, yeah, that's the point of the article. It was Austin's idea, not mine, Dani." Candice put down the chalk and took her seat, determined not to further engage Dani and sounding a little annoyed at Dani's question. "Well, we can still promote low-fat foods that aren't produced by the diet industry, right. We're not complicit then, right? I don't even believe in dieting, but I do believe in healthy eating." Dani compromised. "I've started to think that what we call healthy eating is really just dieting and that we are trying to convince ourselves that we don't promote diets, but we do. If diet didn't have such a bad rap, we would just use the word, diet. Look, our name has the word diet right there - dietitians." Meg had named the predicament that dietitians found themselves in when attempting to promote their work and their profession when 'diet' was considered at cross-purposes to efforts of health promotion and disease prevention. 91 "Conditions of consciousness - that's the phrase in Austin's article," Meg continued by drawing her textual arsenal, gathering momentum. She clutched her exorbitantly highlighted chapter in her fist. Tess almost expected her to start waving it as a manifesto might be brandished at a political rally. "Consumers wouldn't even know about low-calorie, low-salt, low-fat foods if dietitians and nutritionists hadn't used social marketing to spread the word. This really frustrates me because I work with people who don't have access to enough food and they hear that they shouldn't eat too much of this and too much of that and it's maddening because it confuses and complicates their lives even more. I think it's about time that someone told the truth about how our actions are not always in favour of the big picture. Like Austin says, ...uh, yeah, right here, page 166, 'Critics have pointed out the tendency to decontextualize health, ignoring significant social and economic forces shaping patterns of risk, and to focus instead on individual responsibility.' I believe that not everyone has the same choice when it comes to their health. So what are we doing? What are we going to do?" This question stopped the discussion cold since students had now become somewhat aware of their predicament, their belatedness and were making decisions about how to act or whether to act; paralysis or polis. Tess remembered vaguely something Jacqui told her about Hannah Arendt. She would have to ask her about the paradox of natality again.23 She intuited that this was the moment for her students. She decided it was time for her to speak. The class would end in five minutes. "OK. This has been an incredible discussion inspired by Austin's wildly dense, complicated article. Random. I like that word you used earlier. Random. Chaotic and random." Tess stared for a brief moment out the window and murmured, "It's all chaotic and random," then as if snapping out of her reverie, returned her focus to the students. "OK, please take out a piece of paper and write on the top of the page, 'Somewhere a dietitian is not complicit...'" Tess turned to the board, having erased her three words, writes the phrase in signature Tess script. (Levinson, 2001) 92 "I would like you to imagine, no, draft a manifesto for a dietitian professional who chooses not to be complicit. What is her practice like? Who does she associate with? What kind of work does she do? Of course, this will require you to define what you mean by complicit and of course, there may be differences in each of our definitions. I would like us to start our next class by sharing these responses and then, as usual, I would like you to hand them in to me. And, yes, I have your last responses here for you to pick up when you leave." Immediately, the students took Tess' cue and began to pack up. "Don't forget to prepare for your discussion on Liquori's article and we will for sure talk about the first assignment, which is due the week after next. I hope all of you will have at least connected with a practicing dietitian in the community, doesn't matter what area of practice, and set up a time for a brief conversation about their work. I will be happy to answer any of your questions. Until then..." With that the class collectively gathered themselves and moved quickly on to their next obligations. Tess collected her papers, erased the board, and then found a chair to sit down in. She was exhilarated and exhausted. Things were moving too fast. Several members of Jacqui's academic community were gathered in a small seminar room to hear a well-established professor from their Faculty talk about their doctorate degrees as vocational training. He described a preferential 24-month doctorate as the most efficient route to that first job: September to April: May to July: August: September to June: July: Take six courses, introduce yourself to faculty, read widely, write papers, submit manuscripts for publication Write comprehensive exams Write research proposal Defend comps and proposal, submit comp papers for publication, begin researching and writing, apply and interview for academic positions Defend dissertation, submit manuscripts for publication 93 September: Start in first academic position When he suggested that students do their research by day and their analysis and writing by night, Jacqui laughed a little too long and too loud. Who was teaching the courses? Who was raising the children? Who was organizing the political rallies? Jacqui quickly realized that he wasn't trying to be funny. She was socialized by his stare, trained by the deeply puzzled look he gave her over the rim of his glasses. She realized that her experience of being a doctoral student was vastly different from what he envisioned and she began to wonder about student lives as decontextualized and unencumbered. She didn't know many students who fit his description. Perhaps the vision of the 24-month doctorate was unrealistic, unattainable. Given the dismal completion rate of doctoral students in their Faculty, perhaps his vision of the 24-month doctorate was actually a barrier to some who perceive the expectations as impossible and blamed themselves for not being able to get through. Or was it much worse for all of them. Pelias reflected critically on a 'successful' doctoral program as that which "is designed to teach future scholars how little they know."24 She was reminded of other conversations between peers about alternative ways of being in research and luxuriated in the throng of potentials that unfold when, to borrow from Emily Dickinson, the possible's slow fuse is lit, by the Imagination. These were the conversations that sustained her, that energized, and uplifted, prepared her to face her computer screen each day, refreshed and excited about her work. These were the conversations that required mention in the 24-month vision, which ironically then extended the vision to the more realistic and human, 48-month version. These were the conversations that ignited her passion for academic life and that gave her hope for a different future. These were vitally important conversations and she might not have gotten through if it weren't for those conversations with brilliant, provocative peers from her academic community. Not every encounter was easy for her, however. On one such occasion her work, her own academic (Pelias, 2004, p. 131) 94 writing, was judged as unreadable, dense, and theoretically incomprehensible. Jacqui sat alone in her office after receiving a barrage of strongly critical comments about her writing, work she thought was already made more palatable through a series of merciless edits. "It's too confusing. I did not understand any of it. Perhaps you should write an introductory paper to explain these ideas first." At times in the academy there was an unwillingness to extend knowledge, a judgement of what counts as knowledge, and a fierce defending of existing knowledge boundaries. She felt uneasy as the sharp edges of those boundaries pushed up against her body like a jagged knife, threatening to slice her open. She responded to the comments with a nod, a smile, her thoughts whirling in antithesis. "No, I refuse to simplify this work further. We must step out of our comfort zone. We must contend with new possibilities. Don't talk about my work this way." It seemed she was trying to protect her writing like a mother might protect a defenseless child? The work was not defenceless, though. It spoke for itself. She remembered what Ronald Pelias said about the process of peer-review in a book chapter he co-authored with Elyse Pineau, "Insiders believe they can write your article better than you can. They enjoy telling you this at regular intervals. Outsiders do not understand what you have written. They also enjoy telling you this. You listen. Sometimes it is very helpful. You do not enjoy it."25 Jacqui attempted to protect herself, her desire for recognition, her belief that all had not yet been done. She thought about what Claudia Mills said about writers not deliberately seeking out difficult, stormy, heart wrenching relationships in order to write about them, but finding themselves in these situations and writing their way out of the pain and perplexity.26 "I appreciate your comments," was all she could say. As she was reconsidering her text, Butler's words flooded her consciousness. While we continue to try to change the world, we remain deeply tied by desire and the need for recognition to the world as it is.27 Jacqui's hurt was in response to feeling that knife edge, knowing panic, the fear of being different, marked as deviant, pretending not to care, and still continuing to desire sameness, to be made visible to those (Pelias, 2004, p. 125) (Mills, 2004, p. 103) (Butler, 1999b) 95 deranging her ideas, to have her writing and her work seen by them. Jacqui knew much of her reaction was tied to her own contradictory belief, however deeply buried inside her that what she was doing was inappropriate. That her work couldn't endure the impossible standards she set even for herself. While Jacqui wrestled with affiliation, with having to choose the untenable between comprehension and transgression, she heard in the far distance, a voice that offered respite, a solitary voice that urged to her, 'Your work matters. I learned something. Keep writing.' Despite that plaintive voice encouraging her onward, Jacqui spent the rest of the day in the bookstore drinking coffee, eating brownies, and reading fashion magazines, desperate to comfort herself, desperate to escape. "Ariana! Hi! Oh, my goodness, this is a surprise. I wasn't expecting you. Come in." Jacqui enthusiastically greeted Ariana at her door with a warm embrace. "Well, you know, I was in the neighbourhood, as they say. Are you busy?" "Uh, no, not really. I mean, yeah, I'm working on my writing. I seem to get good spurts while Evyn sleeps. Kelly is doing laundry. I don't think I'll ever not be busy again. Come in. I'll make some tea." Ariana wondered if she shouldn't intrude, but having just talked with Tess last night, she was a little concerned about Jacqui's emotional state and wanted to offer some support, even if it did interrupt the writing process. "Tea would be lovely." Ariana stepped into the living room, littered with toys of every possible type. "Oh, God, excuse this mess! I just can't keep up to that girl. Every night I put the toys away and every morning, well, you can see what happens. My perfectionist tendencies are taking a beating. Do you think it's time to just give in?" 96 "My parents were of the type to never let me play with any abandon in the house, so I think you should let her run wild. Who cares? Really, is there enough time in the day for all of it and what are you teaching her when she comes downstairs every morning to see it all clean? That's just setting an unreal expectation." "Hmm, maybe. I do know that I'm driving myself crazy living the delusion that I can do it all. I don't want to do it all anymore. It is exhausting." Jacqui filled the kettle and turned on the stove before she pulled up a chair to join Ariana at the kitchen table. Ariana took a seat and noticed the piles of paper that covered Jacqui's computer desk. It filled her with overwhelm and tension knowing what it all represented - hours and hours of intellectual and emotional labour. It was no wonder Jacqui broke down during their meeting a few weeks ago. Jacqui noticed Ariana staring at her desk and felt immediately self-conscious. It had been Jacqui's mantra, professionally and personally, that finding balance in life was a healing endeavour. Noticing Ariana's appraisal of her desk and her deep involvement in her dissertation brought up feelings of vulnerability for Jacqui. "I'm a little worried about you, Jacq. What are you doing to take care of yourself these days?" Ariana got right to the point. "Uh, yeah, not much. Some walking with Evyn in her stroller, but it's been really hard lately. Life has become just a little chaotic." "Yeah, seems that way. I am truly concerned. I spoke with Tess about it last night." "Oh, great. And what did she have to say?" Jacqui looked down, sheepish. "No too much. Her life is pretty intense right now, too. It's not healthy. Maybe she's projecting her imbalance onto you, but it doesn't matter. I'm worried that you are going to make real on your promise to leave dietetics and that would be devastating." 97 "Oh, come on! Is that what you're here for? I guess I better not tell you what happened at school yesterday, then. Just one more reason to abandon the whole enterprise. It just feels like I'm smashing my head against a wall. Why do I do it? Why am I so invested in dietetics? Why do I bother?" The kettle began to whistle and Jacqui noisily pushed her chair back across the tiled floor. She felt aggressive, exposed in her emotions and Ariana didn't respond, sensing a moment of quiet was necessary. Jacqui silently, deep in her thoughts, put together a pot of tea and placed it with two cups on the table. She turned away, retrieved the milk and the sugar bowl then sat down, that time making an attempt to lift her chair. Quietly. "Ariana, yesterday I made a pledge to myself. I made a promise to stop smashing my head against that particular wall. I will not do it." "I understand," Ariana said in a very soft voice, a voice that was underpinned by determination and resolve. "I've been thinking that, too. You mustn't leave the profession, though. The profession needs you -we need you." "Oh, that is very kind and encouraging, Ariana, but sometimes, lots of times, I feel very alone and unsupported in my work. That's what I'm really tired of, that feeling of being different, deviant. Deviant dietitian. Do you think we should start a Dietitians of Canada Network?" Jacqui was only partly kidding. "Yeah. Good idea!" Ariana noticed Jacqui's use of humour to distract them from her vulnerability. "Jacq, what happened yesterday?" Ariana chose to ignore the quip. As Jacqui shared her experience, Ariana sipped her hot tea and said nothing, she just listened and occasionally nodded. Finally, when she detected that Jacqui was nearing the end of her story, Ariana suggested, "What about turning the gaze back on to the dietetic profession itself by publishing outside of dietetics?" 98 "Hmmm, that's an interesting idea, but what about the argument that the only way dietetic practice will be affected will be for the dietitians to read about it in one of their own journals?" "Yes, that is the argument, but that is based on the assumption of arrogance, that every dietitian receives her or his knowledge from that journal. I would wonder how much of dietetic practice is revolutionized by reading an article in the Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research. It is just such a narrow view on what counts as dietetic knowledge and even more, I find those articles quite uninteresting. What you need to do is to publish outside of dietetics and create a critical literature that is taken up by others. There will be some dietitians that also read outside their professional circles. Eventually, the profession will be moved to acknowledge its shortcomings." Ariana was undaunted in her argument towards broadening the scope of dietetic practice. "It just bothers me deeply the extreme arrogance of it. Not to mention the gate-keeping of the peer review process itself. Those with power prevent different ideas from being heard because those readings subvert the dominant ideology and detractors are kept silent because they won't take the risks, which reinforces the dominant views by default. It is quite sophisticated, really." Ariana paused, took another sip of tea, and offered in a softer voice, "Have you considered writing poetry in response?" Jacqui instinctively thought back to her graduate courses with Dr. Rishma Dunlop and her discovery of poetry as a means for articulating her most personal thoughts and feelings. Jacqui received inspiration from Richardson's insistence that poetry commends itself to multiple and open readings in ways conventional sociological prose does not.28 And Heiddeger. In the age of the world's night, the abyss of the world must be experienced and endured.29 Rishma's own words echoed an urging, a beckoning to shift into the abyss between language and silence, science and art. Jacqui looked over and read the quote that was taped to the edge of her computer monitor, always there, a steady reminder: (Richardson, 1992, p. 126) (Hieddeger, 1971, p. 92) 99 All art begins in the locations where certainty ends. Poetry begins here, deeply rooted in the ambiguities, blood rememberings, human obsessions and desires that cannot embody ethics, but may be capable of measures of truth...the place in which a poem begins, this is a dark margin, ambiguous, born of the imagination...30 Ariana herself was a gifted poet who often shared her love of words with Jacqui. Jacqui turned her attention away from the computer and back to Ariana to reply, "Hmmm, maybe. I have to admit that the option of publishing elsewhere kinda feels like giving in, but I have to admit, my creative energies are being strangled in the process of creating an article for dietitians that meets with the approval of not only my so-called peers in nutrition, but also the journal editors. Maybe I just need to be better at the political game, more clever." "Yeah, maybe there's some truth to that, but that's also called blaming the proverbial victim. You and I both recognize the structures at play here. You don't have a dietetics knowledge preserved for decades at a time without devising some protective measures. If there is one thing you can do it's explore alternate publications and contribute to a larger dialogue, which in reality is going to be read by more people. Then those who have an awareness of a dietetics in disarray will begin to question the profession, urging dietetics to reinscribe themselves. Because right now, others in the allied healthcare fields, as they call 1 them, look with disdain on dietetics as fragmented and insignificant. Why do you think our dietitian colleagues are so intent on professional recognition? Because they don't get it from their peers and they were promised that they would by those recruiting them into dietetics. Even Dietetians of Canada markets us as "an essential part of a balanced eating plan," right? Remember that poster we just had mailed to us. What did it say?" "Right, yeah, oh, I have a copy of that here somewhere." Jacqui reached across to one of her stacks of paper and pulled out a page that unfolded to poster size. "Yeah, OK, 'You can trust Registered Dietitians (Dunlop, 2002) 100 to give you good advice on nutrition. Their university training has given them the technical knowledge needed to master this most complex science.' What do you think of that?" Ariana's response was swift. "That's just incredible essentialist, medicalizing discourse. And, it also positions non-dietitians as incompetent and Other, alien to those in the know. Are dietitians trying to increase troubled eating to ensure jobs? Technical knowledge? How insecure is this? Is empathy technical? Technically, what are they implying about the usefulness of knowledge that is acquired elsewhere? Can non-dietitians contribute to nutrition? What happened to an empowering approach? Patient autonomy?" Ariana was riled. She showed no sign of stopping. "Master...hmmm,.let's make sure the poster is manned while we're at it...images of conquering, disciplining, bringing down to size, dissecting mystery, elitism, astigmatism, ostracism. It should read, Trust a dietitian to know about attrition.' I find it completely insulting, so narrow. My point is, when we shift the,gaze, the dietetic profession comes under the scrutiny of various knowledges and perspectives and it cannot escape that gaze, it cannot ignore it any longer. And, I'm quite serious about the poetry, too." Ariana took a long sip of tea, both hands curled around the cup. She hadn't intended on getting so worked up about the poster and Jacqui's experiences, but she also felt a fire raging within. Her desire for dietitians to become more sensitive to others' trauma, disability, and discrimination gave her an analogous experience to Jacqui's. Hers was one of being dismissed and silenced. Ariana often described the feeling of being misunderstood and receiving blank stares from her colleagues when she said things, as 'the personal is political.' Ariana and Jacqui shared the experience of exclusion from their profession and through reciprocal performatives they were sustained - they needed each other, they understood each other. They knew they were not alone. Jacqui got to school early, intent on accomplishing as much as possible. She opened her email and was pleased to discover a poem from Ariana. Jacqui had taken up Ariana's invitation to issue a poetic utterance and the creative process had lifted the dark, lingering distress. Both poems were there now, on Jacqui's computer screen, poetic sisters, subject to each other. As usual, Jacqui was drawn up by 101 Ariana's creativity, when the right word can leave you breathless as Rishma said. Ariana's poetry was all this and more - an evocative incantation. ' Strain I took my tree and I shook out its roots and even-emeried its bark in places then when it resembled a symbol I put this potted garland centre stage, full glare before the penned-up gardeners and something dropped ah! I had not glossed over threadveins or cropped the thriving shadows or lop -ped the straggling tips ruthlessly I did not prune the unsmooth but imagine -1 polished the knots to a feature and let the haggling ivy reflect on from its frightening triangles I made everything mentionable and mercilessly something dropped 102 a kernel, its scratchy tenacity thirsty for a hungrier shore and I walked away impressing the firm dirt with my purpose into the brusque grain of aloneliness thinking densely of the way the plentiful roots writhe with aliveness and treasuring also the rustle of the one leaf that stirred searchingly Wonderinging something about autumn the peculiar dead of things the heaviness of it all the wonder worn by rhythms ringing of trees takes us to a jutting edge and there we stand abreast of nature then we hear her whispers "its who we are" right there at our side, wondering "what brought us here?" lips wrap smiles, hearts spark "its who we are" these differences our queerness opaque histories blank as stares empty canvases sheets of unblinking whiteness gaze upon each other speaking voluminous silences guessing at desire just fragments of our longing languages of water well known to us seep through bones of our being etch the salt of our breath we taste the bitterness the peculiar dead of things its who we are no sense to know know the words words to songs songs of science melodic stings of betrayal injurious speech words as blades marking what counts marking our flesh twisting our tongues toning us down down down into the roots of that autumn alive with courage, irreverent roots gritted black loving that dirt loving wildly that dirt with all her heart all while wondering why... the peculiar dead of things Having received Ariana's gift, Jacqui was feeling open to return to her own writing. The workshop transcripts were compelling. Jacqui had asked participants to bring artefacts of their dietetic education to share with the group; objects that symbolized their memories of some aspect of their educational experience. During the first workshop, Renny had shared with the group a quilted jacket she had been working on, but had never finished. She quit working on it when her father became gravely ill, just before he died. She had just returned working on the project, but wanted to share with the group a part she had sewn years ago. Renny described it as an orthogonal design. She spoke of herself as a very linear thinker and her design reflected that quality; there was no integration. Every aspect of herself was separate. She then spoke of her Portuguese heritage saying, "I had a very clear sense in my mind that I was Canadian, but I have never felt Canadian even though I was born in this country. This was a purposeful attempt to acknowledge that yes, I am Canadian and I have value and I deserve to be here." She then shared how at the time she was working on defining herself, she was also struggling with an anxiety disorder and how proud she was to talk about it in the group since she didn't discuss it for so many years. When she turned the jacket over, she revealed a beautiful flourishing tree, which she described as her attempt to honour 105 her roots. Corine remarked, "It's unfinished because it's your life." After a moment of silence, Angela remarked to Renny, "I totally teared up when you were doing that. I find it incredibly moving when people just go to those depths and share part of who they are with others. I find that very powerful. I thank you." Renny responded, "You're welcome. And you know, I had an experience of depression and my anxiety and all that was mixed in and I felt really uncomfortable talking to people because nobody knew I was depressed. I just disappeared from work one day and I was gone for six months. I played it really well. I didn't even know I was in trouble. I was very high functioning, there were no overt signs, it was all internalized. One thing that came out my conversation with Jacqui about my anxiety, telling my colleagues, and Jacqui said this, 'What a gift!' I realized after Jacqui and I talked that by sharing my experience with others, I've given them permission to talk about it and by not doing so I saw myself as part of the problem. So, now I tell people. It has really liberated me in many ways." Jacqui was astounded that a colleague could just disappear for six months without warning. In listening to the tapes of that session over and over, Jacqui began to understand how they indeed lived in skittering times and how the old reliables of their invention were beginning to crack. Jacqui could hear Renny's echo, "My well was so dry it was starting to crack. I had to leave for my own survival." Jacqui wondered how many of her colleagues struggled through periods of disintegration, silence, and depression as their reliables skittered and cracked. Their only option to vanish and disappear. What was to become of them? 106 Chapter Five Our essays are borne up and sung in throats and written in blood and etched on skin, then fading, falling, making soils rich and fertile again.^ Week 5: October 5 "OK, before we launch into Liquori, hmmm, launching into Liquori, that's quite an image, I would like to create some time for your responses to 'Somewhere a dietitian is not complicit.' Are there any brave souls who took up my invitation?" Dani observed Tess to be all business this morning. No introductory remarks, no ramblings. She appreciated the absence of small talk. That kind of conversation just made her impatient. Out of the corner of her eye, Dani saw Meg put up her hand. Dani noticed a feeling of irritation crease across the back of her skull. Meg was becoming a little too overbearing in this class and it was beginning to really grind Dani's last nerve. "OK. I have something, but I'm not a poet." "It's OK, Meg. We are not here to judge your artistry. Please go ahead. No disclaimers." "Alright, yeah, last week I was talking to a dietitian who works in our community, she had immigrated recently to Canada and she was telling me about the process to become a dietitian in Canada. It really, well, it's pretty incredible. She was a trained dietitian, supervising other dietitians in a hospital in Iran and all that and then when she got here, she actually had to go back to school to prove to the College that she was competent. Anyway, I wrote this about her experience and well, anyway, here it is. (Jardine, 1998, p. 136) 107 Somewhere a dietitian is not complicit. you took me by surprise coming to dietetics accidentally your father wanting a doctor you desired different together apart I am undone by your story you share my surprise coming to find an altered experience of what we call Canadian criteria shifted under you ungrounded, but undeterred you speak to me of your process inside I flinch deeply saddened weary a mirror appears before me I am silent, in a far off place I am complicit you persist through the black and blue of it unjustified unmarked untenable unappreciated your story unwritten a diplomat you claim "I aim to politicize" such a noble response I fall short, inadequate still your light shines and shines your singing laughter rings through the narrow cobbled streets joyful free finding yourself here despite shining your light determined to be you." The room fell silent, everyone taking in Meg's poetic narrative. Finally Tess spoke, "Yes, Meg, you are a poet." Meg looked down then around at the others in the room, tentative to their responses. They were unequipped for a reply. The silence was interpreted a thousand ways. "Meg, can you say a little bit more about your response to finding out about the process to become a, what we call, Canadian dietitian? I'm guessing from your poem, you didn't realize what was involved?" "Uh, no. I really had no idea that there was so much involved. I could see that she was passionate about her work and tried to put the experience in a positive light. Apparently, she met some really amazing 109 people who helped her through the process and even though she said it was incredibly hard, she had no regrets or resentment. I couldn't believe it. I would never have been able to get through all that. I don't know what I would have done. The worst part is that the steps were not really described to her very well before she came and so each time she finished something, she had to go through something else that she wasn't expecting. It cost a lot of money. A lot. It makes me feel kinda gross to know that's what the profession will force people to do. I don't know." "Does anyone else know about the process that Meg is talking about?" Several students shook their heads. It made sense to Tess that they wouldn't be aware of the immigration process given they were so focussed on struggling to keep up with academic expectations, volunteer activities, and a variety of part-time jobs. Their worlds were full, too full to take on another's struggle, especially struggles that originated outside their nation's borders. "I think it might be a good idea to expand on this a bit here. If I miss anything, Meg, just fill in the gaps. OK, so from what I know of it, if you are trained as a dietitian in another country and wish to come to Canada, the federal government is quite encouraging. They tell you that jobs are available in your field and that you just need to have some money to carry you through the transition time. Before you come, you check your credentials with the International Credential Evaluation Services, if I remember correctly, to see if your degree is equivalent to that conferred to a Canadian graduate. The next step is to have Dietitians of Canada then assess your qualifications after which they make recommendations for academic updating or the like." Meg interrupted Tess. "Yeah, Yasma had her degree assessed as equivalent to a Canadian degree, but Dietitians of Canada made her take four courses when she moved to Canada. She was supposed to go through the provincial regulating body, but they didn't have any guidance for her. I don't know. Even though she had a degree, an internship based on the American system, and had been practicing for three years as, ...uh, what did she call it, uh...something like sole charge dietitian, with 25 people under her, you know, she had to take community nutrition, food quality production, and biochemistry all over again. Like, the university where she wanted to take her courses wouldn't even let her into one course. They said they didn't want to give her someone else's spot and they couldn't deal with one more student, they wouldn't make an exception. Can you believe that? In a foods course? Whatever. So she had to take it by distance ed and pay American dollars, double what she would've paid at a Canadian university. I just don't get it. I don't get it. She says it's a problem with the government before the provincial dietetics body. They gave her the impression it would be a lot easier than it was. Yasma said Canadian dietetics did their best trying to turn her away, but she was very persistent. I don't know that I would've been able to do what she did." "Well, I think that's the point, Meg. I realize that all of you had to work very hard to get into this program and you should be commended for your efforts. What we're talking about here is something a little different." Tess didn't want the students to feel guilty. She knew that guilt often precludes action and growth, and probably learning, too. She simply wanted to raise their consciousness about structures that affect their international colleagues' entrance into Canada and practice of dietetics; processes that affect them all by determining how diverse the profession becomes and how different knowledges are valued. She knew that there were not many practicing dietitians trained outside of Canada, but she hoped that would change with time. Tess even heard about a recent research application by the School of Nutrition at Ryerson University in Toronto to examine the process of what they affectionately call 'the Canadian experience' for international dietitians wishing to move to Canada. For a short time, there had been a program to provide assistance to internationally trained dietitians at a local college, but she had since heard this program was discontinued and she did not know why. Meg's comments reminded her of a book that Ariana loaned Tess when they met for their inaugural supervision group a few weeks ago. Tess decided to mention it to the class. "Coincidently, I'm reading a book that relates to this topic. It's called A Knowing Organization. I actually have it here." Tess reached into her large sisal bag, a gift from a friend who recently visited Kenya. She flipped the paperback book open and thumbed through the pages to find what she was looking for. "OK, where is it, yes, 'a knowing organization engages in continuous learning and unlearning of assumptions, norms, and mindsets that are no longer valid, plus mobilizes the knowledge and expertise of its members to induce innovation and 111 creativity.'32 Given the process our professional organization has deemed necessary to sanction immigrant dietitians, would you say that organization is a knowing organization? Well, that's what I would call a redundant question and I shouldn't have asked it, but maybe a better question is: what process would a knowing organization offer in the welcoming of dietitians from other parts of the world to work in Canada?" Dani decided to share her views since she couldn't be bothered to write a response. "It is important not to allow dietitians with substandard knowledge to practice in Canada, so the organization needs to guard against this." Tess noticed Dani's use of the word 'guard' as she offered another question to the class. "What do you imagine it feels like for the woman that Meg describes to us in her poem? How do you think this process has affected her?" "She probably feels pretty happy now that she's here and all." Dani stood firm. "Yeah, it sounds like the poet is more troubled by the experience than this Yasma person." Candice offered to fuel the debate. She added, "Why didn't she stay in France?" "She didn't come from France, actually." Meg's voice trailed off as she looked down at her poem and remembered briefly what it was like to write it over the weekend, returning to it over and over again as she attempted to learn the biochemistry of lipid metabolism. The poem tempted her like a plate of freshly baked cookies. She became more than a little obsessed by it, seduced by it, and moved by Yasma's telling of her experience coming to Canada. Yasma's story distracted her, rooted in her pulse. Meg was fully bothered by the story and hadn't until then given the process of immigration much consideration. Her mentor at a Downtown Eastside Health Unit had suggested Meg interview Yasma for her course (Choo, 1998, p. 4-5) 112 assignment..Over coffee with Yasma something shifted for Meg and the coincident invitation from Tess to write about complicity offered Meg a reprieve, a poetic reprieve. To sit in class and hear her peers take up such topics as organizational racism in glib, cavalier ways, misunderstanding her, unsettled Meg even more, but she didn't have the language to respond. She was still ,in the moment of becoming poet. Tess was distracted by the conversation. She didn't intend to spend so much time on poems. She didn't really expect the students to respond to her invitation and for Meg to bring up the topic of immigration and professionalism, it was derailing her intention to talk about Toni Liquori's paper. Then she realized that the paper and the poem were indeed related. Her mind spun to make real the segue. "OK, this may seem a little abrupt, but I was just thinking about Liquori's paper.and the way in which she describes the social organization of nutrition professionals. I would like to see if we can connect this topic of a 'knowing organization,' immigration, and the social organization of nutrition professionals." The students visibly groaned and shifted in their chairs desperate to leave, desperate for the class to be over. Tess' question asked their minds and imaginations to bend in ways they were unprepared and unwilling to accommodate. Tess felt the resistance, but she ignored it temporarily as she turned to write the three concepts on the board then circled them with a flourish. "OK, who wants to take a try at this?" No response. "Alright, OK. Please take out a piece of paper and draw three circles on it like I have drawn on the board. Label each of the circles. OK, now let's try to find the connections and contradictions here that have been raised by the poem, the article, and the quote from The Knowing Organization.' I'll give you some time right now to speculate on this so find a couple people to talk to and let's see what we come up with. I'll write the quote from the book up on the board for you." 113 As Tess turned to write the quote on the board, students milled around and dutifully reformed in small groups. Amidst the noise of moving chairs they began to talk. "I don't get it." "What's the point?" "Will this be on the midterm, do you think?" "Are you going to the Odyssey tomorrow night?" Some even began drawing on their pages. When Tess turned back to the students, she took all of it in, breathed deeply, and decided to sit down with one of the smaller, quieter groups, as a pedagogue participant. "Hi." Tess felt a little awkward sitting with the students. She sensed their unease with having her there. The discomfort quickly disappeared with the first comment from one of the students. "Well, I'm a little more, but not much... I understand this article, I think." Marci, who wore simple wire-rimmed glasses, her straight dark bangs falling over her eyes, initiated the conversation. Tess smiled at the student's earnestness. "I would love to hear what you think this article is about and then we can go from there." Marci continued. "Uh, yeah. Jump in anytime guys, help me out here. OK, I get that the author compares two types of knowledge, you know like, scientific and experiential. And I get that the scientific stuff is done by men and the experiential is done by women and the scientific is valued more because it is objective. I get that much." "And how would you classify the types of courses you have taken in your dietetics degree?" Tess was impressed and wanted to know more. Another student responded, "Oh, that's easy. The science courses for sure. Although NUTR 430 has thrown a twist in that for sure." Everyone in the group laughed at this remark and the truth of it, how the clean sweep of scientific, abstract knowledge offered in the majority of dietetics courses has been disrupted by discourse analysis, economics, and the sociology of gender and work. 114 "Don't forget to include our community nutrition course. It seems to look more at the bigger picture, too." Candice sat with her arms and legs crossed still sceptical. Marci was undaunted. "Yeah, I guess. Anyway. That knowing organization quote...I'm thinking about the connection between the quote and the article. So, the part about unlearning of assumptions that are no longer valid.!.1 don't see that happening in the organization paper, uh, the food matters paper. She draws it like there is no connection or overlap between the lumps in the model, you know, no innovation or creativity between the scientists and the women sharing nutrition information. So I see those two as not really connected." Tess followed along intently, "Oh, you mean you don't see a connection between what is described as a 'knowing organization' and the social organization of nutrition professionals. I get it. Yes." "I kinda get from the description of the Canadian experience process that it's sorta negative. Like, you can't work here if you didn't go to school here. We don't believe you can do it right. You can't do it as good as us. Anyway, like if the system in France, OK, I know she didn't work in France, but if the education system in France is based on the education system in America, what's the big deal. Isn't the Canadian system basically the same as the American system?" Sammi, a typically quiet student offered an insightful observation. "Uh, it's still about what counts, but really it's also about who counts because of the knowledge that they possess or not. Get my point?" Tess wondered briefly how the other groups were doing, noticing that she was distracted by her shifting attention to the conversations coming from other parts of the room. She couldn't really decipher anything coherent, so she just trusted that it was what it was. She would get a better sense when they reconvened. She wanted to pay attention to what was happening in her own group. "Yeah, my assumption is that someone trained in...I don't know, wherever, Thailand, needs a certain 115 amount of retraining. So, how do I determine that's wrong?" Marci was testing out her understanding. "How did you come to believe that to be true in the first place?" Tess quickly interjected, forgetting her intention to be more of an observer, not trying to impose her beliefs, keenly aware of her power to obstruct. She leaned back, hoping to give the other students in her group the sign that she didn't want to take over. Signs could be misinterpreted, however. Tess' question was met with silence. 'Be patient,' a small voice said in Tess' head. 'Just be patient.' Tess breathed. The breathing helped Tess to clear the psychic space to consider other possible explanations. Marci ignored Tess' interruption. "I mean, where do these beliefs really come from? That's a hard question. I don't even know if I could answer it." Sammi added, "Yeah, these beliefs are just so ingrained. So, when we stop learning, the assumptions get more, they get stronger, maybe." "Hmm...that's pretty insightful. I guess that's where my passion for education comes from - to keep learning, to continually check and recheck my assumptions. Are they still valid?" Tess ignored her own directions to say less. "Would you call the Canadian experience a racist process?" Sammi was quickly becoming a force in the group. Although Sammi was staring right at Tess, Tess instead looked to the other students in an effort to deflect the question more towards them. Tess wanted to hear from the others. "In some ways, yeah, you could say it's racist. But don't forget, dietetics is not the only profession to do it this way. A friend of my dad's came to Canada from India. He was a high-powered engineer in India and now he is a custodian at a law office downtown. It's pretty bad." 116 Tess became aware of the time they had spent in their small groups. She assessed that they were not going to resolve the issue of structural racism in this discussion, so she decided to bring the class back together so they might share their comments about the connections and disconnections between the three processes. She was inspired by the students' willingness to delve into areas they were not prepared to go earlier. Her assumptions of them as resistant to learning and dialogue clearly needed to be reassessed. "Yeah, it is pretty bad and I hear those comparisons made so often, that it's not just dietetics, but I believe that we can only do so much and since we are here, sharing dietetics as one common interest, we might as well examine it's practices as closely and attentively as possible." Tess paused, to let her statement linger, then added, "This was good. I appreciate the way you took it to a really meaningful place. Let's get the group together and find out how others interpreted things." Tess smiled and stood to ask everyone to come back to the large group. She checked her watch, 10 minutes left, and felt that familiar urgency. Too much to hear, too much to say, too little time. Gabrielle, Tess, Ariana, and Jacqui were assembled again in Jacqui's office. This time they were joined by Carly who had agreed to work with them, to facilitate their supervision group. Jacqui was eager to begin, to jump right in, but she was aware that it was the first time for the others and wanted the process to unfold in a way that was respectful. It had taken such a long time to get here with these women, to begin supervision with her sister dietitians, that Jacqui didn't want to jeopardize anything. After weeks of planning and ongoing conversations with Gabrielle, Tess, and Ariana, Jacqui had finally convinced them to move forward and hire Carly as their facilitator. Now, it was time for Jacqui to sit back and participate along with the others. She was excited to see what Carly had planned for them. "Shall we get started?" Carly was a soothing presence in the room. Her well-tailored grey pants and 117 sharply pressed white shirt exuded an air of competence. Her appearance suggested aesthetics mattered. A large, but simply designed silver ring was her only adorning feature. The bold ring drew attention to Carly's long fingers and perfectly manicured nails. Her elegant hands moving gracefully as she spoke. Jacqui caught herself staring and quickly looked down to her own hands, dry and chapped from washing them so frequently. She felt a twinge of envy. Carly continued speaking. "I want to give you an opportunity to share your feelings about this new adventure as a starting point for our process. And, instead of the typical intra of who you are and where you work and how long you've worked there, I'd like to hear your name and your expectations for this group. And one other thing, to help me get to know you better could you also share one word that you feel describes each woman, including yourself. Who would like to go first?" "OK, I'll start. I'm Tess. My expectations are pretty minimal really. I'm open to what might happen, especially being able to get some support and guidance with my teaching and my nutrition practice. That's about all. I've never done this type of group before, so I don't have too many, expectations about it really. And, uh, OK, one word..." Tess paused, smiled. "OK, Gabi, mischievous, Ariana, sensitive, and Jacqui, determined. There." Carly just smiled, her long legs crossed, her body relaxed in the comfortable office chair. "Uh, I'll go next. My hope for this group is to share some of the conflict that I've been experiencing in my work lately and find a way to reconcile that conflict, inner conflict. Oh, yeah, I'm Jacqui. So, Tess, I would say...committed, Ariana, poetic, and Gabi...Gabi is principled. That's it." "My turn. I'm Ariana. Hi. I'm here because Jacqui invited me." The women laughed since it really was because of Jacqui's encouragement initially that they all considered coming together in this way. "She may have invited me, but I really do think it is a good idea and I think for me, it is important to explore how support from all of you will help sustain me in my work. I'm also struggling with some pretty big dilemmas at work and I'm this close to leaving dietetics and writing poetry instead." Ariana held up her fingers to indicate just how close she was to making right on her promise. "I think instead of doing something 118 completely impestuous, maybe being here with you, my like-minded colleagues will keep me grounded and connected. It's dreadfully hard working with people who just don't get it and with all the cutbacks lately, the morale is really low. It's pretty bad and they want to put in all these standardized practices and I'm feeling totally against it all and I'm thinking I must be off, the only one who is sceptical of it all. OK, now I'm babbling." She looked at Carly and said with an elfin grin, "So, now you're getting a good sense of me, my daft psyche, my wounded self. I think that's probably enough for now. I don't want you to run straight from the room before we even get started!" From the looks of Carly's posture, there was no indication she wanted to run from the room. Instead, she continued to look intently at Ariana and remarked, placidly, "Thank you, Ariana. And how would you describe the others?" "Oh, my God! I'm such a quack. Can't even follow simple instructions." Ariana's response, suddenly seemed to Jacqui as awkward and exaggerated, qualities she did not typically associate with Ariana. Jacqui wondered if Carly had put some kind of spell on Ariana. She began to watch Ariana more closely for signs of something. She briefly wondered if this was what they called 'transference.' Ariana continued, "Right, Jacqui is highly intelligent, intimidating at times, and prone to secrecy, which can be terribly frustrating for those closest to her." "Easy, Ariana. I think she only asked for one word." "Then I will change it to annoyingly modest. For Tess, my dear Tess. Only one word comes to mind for you and that is stubborn." Tess' eyebrows raised. Ariana had hit her mark. "And, Gabrielle, the luscious Gabrielle...inspiring." Jacqui felt certain by this point that she was seeing a different Ariana. Maybe she should offer her observations to the group as a way of addressing interpersonal dynamics that were sure to arise anyway. Maybe that would be too entirely terrifying and exposing. Instead she crossed her legs and waited for Gabrielle's introduction. "Wow, thank you for that Ariana. I'm blushing. Wow! Well, like in many things in my life, I kinda just feel like I'm along for the ride, for the adventure and don't have really any expectations at all of what's to come. I love these women dearly and my life would be terrible, desolate without them, so when the chance came to be here, to spend more time with my three amazing friends, I obviously couldn't refuse. So, I don't have any expectations, which means I won't have any disappointments either, right? Yeah, right! OK, let me say to you Tess, my mentor-mother, you are the most honest, direct, and dedicated communicator I know and I'm so thankful you are in my life. Oh, God, I'm going to cry now!" The women laughed and Tess reached for a tissue. "Jacqui, where do I begin? Jacqui is a rare blend of compassion and politics, never wavering from truth and justice." Jacqui was deeply touched by Gabi's words. Their eyes connected and Jacqui's began to fill with tears. "Ariana, you are a force, a force! Unstoppable, unafraid, unfettered. This is Ariana." Gabrielle in her characteristic generosity deftly thwarted Carly's instructions of only one word, taking the opportunity instead to truly illustrate the essence of each of the women, straight from her heart. This was the spirit that had brought them together and cemented their unique relationship with each other - a group of friends so rare in dietetics where most practitioners talk about needing to venture outside the profession to find companions, what they've discovered with each other. Theirs was a profession built from the bricks of competition and individuality and quite often those instincts didn't disappear with the granting of a university degree. These qualities of autonomy and competition tended to devise, but in their case, only remnants of that experience remained and they remained intent on fostering their relationships, not dismantling them. 120 October 9 Dear Judith,'" I was recently speaking with a professor in our Faculty about my research. "Whose theoretical framework are you using to explain your findings?" she asked. "Uh, Dorothy Smith and Marjorie DeVault," I stammered in reply. "Hmmm," she mused. I sensed my response was not quite enough. "Given what you know of my work, who would you suggest?" I asked. "Well, their work is just fine, fine work, indeed, but I'm surprised because they are relatively conservative theorists." My heart pounded. "Uh-huh." I waited. "Have you considered any of Judith Butler's work on performativity?" "Uh, well, yes I have, but haven't returned to it lately. I admit to being more than a little intimidated by her work. It hasn't come up in any of my classes, so I haven't been able to explore it to the depth I believe it demands." My speech spilled out of me like bubbles. "Yes, I understand. I would encourage you to revisit it when you're ready. There's definitely something there for you. Something there that might explain what you're finding with dietitians." She sat back in her chair. Is that where the hidden theoretical treasures would be found? Judith Butler? So I write to you now seeking to learn what you have to offer this research. I admit to a superficial grasp of your work. I was drawn to your gendered theories of performativity last year as I was writing my comprehensive exams. Something enticed me even then. I wrote: Butler would contest "that to be constituted by discourse is to be determined by discourse, where determination forecloses the possibility of agency."34 One might argue that dietetic socialization enables a dietitian performativity, where performativity is the stylized repetition of acts, continual citing of past practices, and reiteration of known customs. The appearance of 'dietitian' as recognizable is "a performative accomplishment which the mundane social audience, including the [dietitians] themselves, Letters to Dr. Judith Butler have not been posted. (Butler, 1999b, p. 182) 121 come to believe and to perform in the mode of belief."35 Appropriating Butler, the dietitian as being/body is "a variable boundary, a surface whose permeability is politically regulated, a signifying practice within a cultural field of gender hierarchy and compulsory heterosexuality, .. .[and] possessing a conditional history with limited possibilities."36 That the dietitian body, the gendered body is performative, however, suggests that she has no being apart from the various acts which constitute her dietitian reality. These acts create a deliberate illusion that is discursively maintained for the purposes of its own regulation. So, there you have it, your work ostensibly appropriated for the illumination of dietitian performativity. When I returned home that day I told my partner, Kelly about the decision to read my research results through your theory. "Be careful," she warned. "You better read the critiques before going ahead with it. You have to be able to defend your choice at some point." Her response may have been somewhat expected since she took a course in which one of the required texts was your very own Gender Trouble. The other was Sedgwick's Epistemology of the Closet.371 remember her struggling with your text and debating its usefulness with the hard line of her highlighting pen. I searched for what your critics were saying of your work. The first piece I read was Love's book review, Dwelling in Ambivalence. Ambivalence is the keynote of the philosophical traditions with which Butler has engaged most deeply...she reminds us that while we continue to try to change the world, we remain deeply tied by desire and the need for recognition to the world as it is.38 Love's description of your theory not only spoke of my experience, but also offered me a way to understand the lives of my research colleagues, my co-inspirators. Since then I've read more and more and now I write to you in an effort for coherence, in an effort to find meaning. (Butler, 1999b, p. 179) (Butler, 1999b, p. 177) (Sedgwick,1990) (Love, 2004, p. 18-19) 122 How ironic, you might think? Coherence? Isn't coherence akin to stability, structure? Can you talk of subjectivity, performativity and at the same time desire coherence? I'm not entirely sure, but what am I to write if not? What am I to offer? Who am I to try? In-Coherence, I Jacqui "Hi, Tess!" "Oh, I'm sorry I'm late. A student wanted to talk after class and it seemed important." Tess effused, breathless. "It's OK. I brought along some reading. It's nice to get away from the computer from time to time." Jacqui wished she had brought the novel she was reading, Ann Patchett's Bel Canto. Inherently more intriguing than her research texts. Instead, she continued to struggle through Judith Butler's The Psychic Life of Power. It was intellectually taxing, but gratifying still. "Yeah, I bet. I don't spend much time around computers anymore. Now, if I could get out of my car more often, that would be something. It seems like I'm always driving around. Such a pace we're all moving at. Let me get some tea. I'll be right back." "Sure." As Tess walked up to order her tea, Jacqui tried to imagine what her life would be like without her computer. It was impossible! With a little smile, her thoughts turned to wondering how Tess' class was going, what Tess thought of Carly and the group supervision, and how things were at home with Zoe and Michael. Jacqui suspected that there was building tension with Michael losing his job and Tess having to 123 take on extra consultancy projects. Tess desperately wanted to spend more time with Zoe, but that just didn't seem possible. Those seemed to be the sacrifices of parenthood. If she didn't have the commitment of finishing her dissertation, she would be at the park everyday with Evyn, playing, discovering the world through Evyn's eyes. But instead, she worked to keep up with her deadlines in search of the faculty position that would pull her even further away from her family. On the way home from school yesterday, sitting on the bus, Jacqui was inspired by "Poetry in Transit" to write a poem of her own. As she was reading the poem to Evyn, it was all she could do contain her tears - the feeling of love so powerful, so intense - her life made rich and full by that love, parenting an ecstasy she had dreamed not of. Our little girl the blues of her eyes eclipsing the sun sheaves of dandelions, daffodils spilling her arms yellow her laughter, the grace of great things our hearts crimson in the harvest of love for our little girl "Oh, tell me how Evyn's doing? Crawling yet?" Tess guessed correctly at the look in Jacqui's eyes. It was not too hard. Tess had met Evyn early and had instantly fallen under her spell. Who could blame Jacqui for her maternal distractions? "Oh, she is so great. Making 'ma-ma' sounds and laughing, always laughing. She's so funny, such a great sense of humour. So clever, mischievous. I love her immensely. I never imagined it would be like this." 124 Tess smiled knowingly. She, too, never imagined it would be so incredible and it just seemed like yesterday when she held Zoe in her arms after an incredibly difficult birth, oh, the magic of looking down at that sweet bundle, so tiny, dependent. And still, after ten years, Tess couldn't help but be under her spell still. "I know it's amazing. I'm glad you are enjoying it. Not every parent has that experience, that's for sure." "Well, there was a terrible bout a few weeks ago when we had to take Evyn to the hospital. She got a virus of some sort, lots of vomiting and diarrhea. We had to take her in because she just wasn't able to keep anything down and she got dehydrated and they had to give her an IV. It was awful, just the most awful thing. So vulnerable on that big bed getting that needle in her hand. And because she's plump, they had problems finding a vein for the IV, so they had to poke her twice, once on each hand. Kelly and I couldn't be in the room for that part. It was excruciating. We could hear her cries from the hallway. We were just standing there, holding each other, bawling our eyes out. It was pathetic." "Oh, poor little thing. It's the hardest thing, a sick child. Is she feeling better now?" Tess was genuinely concerned. "Yes, it was immediate. She got the intravenous at 1:30 in the morning and then was playing for two hours, keeping us all awake. Awake, exhausted, and relieved." "Oh, thank God for that. It happens so fast, the dehydration. I'm glad she's OK. Nothing prepares you for those times. We never had to go through that with Zoe, but there was a whole bunch of other stuff and at times I thought I was going to lose my mind. That's when you need a supportive partner. You need each other, really." Jacqui was searching Tess' face for an indication of how things were for her in the supportive partner department. She decided to just ask Tess instead of guessing. "Speaking of supportive partner, how are things at home with Michael?" 125 "Uh, OK." The question seems to have caught Tess slightly off guard. After a moment, she added, "Well, it's pretty tough actually. I'm working these two jobs and trying to keep it together and he's just moping around. I think he's depressed, but what can I do? His family is not helping matters. Every time we go to their place for dinner, his mom insists that he just relax and read the paper or watch TV while her and I make dinner. I can't believe it! I've worked all day and he'd done nothing and I have to make dinner and clean up, mind you. It's been like that his whole life." Michael's family was Chinese. The loving traditions between a mother and her first-born son were not likely to accommodate Tess' hope for equality. "And then he expects to be thanked when he does have dinner for us when I get home late or when he does an errand for me. I have to ask him to please pick up Zoe for her riding lessons after school and he looks at me like I've lost my mind. It's like I'm fighting his cultural norms and the fact that he's unemployed right now. I hope that this is a temporary adventure, because my patience is wearing a little thin." Jacqui didn't really know what to say. It was hard to be impartial. She cared for Tess and didn't want to see her struggle with life. She was tempted to make some glib remark that she was glad she was not living with a man. Two women raising a child and maintaining a household works just fine for her. She knew that kind of remark wouldn't give Tess the support she needed right now. Instead she asked, "Is there anything that Kelly and I could do for you - frozen dinners, chores, watching Zoe?" "Thanks, Jacq. I appreciate your offer, but that's just the point. Michael is fully capable of doing those things. Sometimes I just feel like I have four or five jobs - two out of the house and two when I get home. I'm going to have to talk to him. It's getting to that point. I do worry though, what kind of message it sends Zoe when she sees her mom working, cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, and everything else while her father sits on the sofa and reads the paper and watches TV. What kind of role modelling will that be for her?" Jacqui was wondering the same thing. She realized she had her own concerns about gender stereotypes. Ever since she and Kelly made a mandatory visit to the staff counsellor at the fertility clinic before their 126 insemination, they became a little more guarded about who they spoke to about bringing children into a same-sex relationship. It was like they lost their innocence a little bit that day, their anticipation tainted. The counsellor had trotted out spectacularly antiquated verse on how lesbians shouldn't talk disparagingly about men in front of their child and that it would be important to have strong masculine role models, like men who were mechanically inclined for the child to learn from and admire. The whole experience was surreal and outrageously heterosexist. They had wondered whether a heterosexual couple would have been encouraged to prepare for their assisted pregnancy in the same way. Would Kelly have been as marginalized if she had been a man and Jacqui had been experiencing infertility issues? Coincidently, Kelly had arranged for a researcher to visit them at their house that very evening to talk about the legal issues for same-sex parents. It was a topic they had become almost expert in, especially Kelly - their parental rights were something they didn't want anyone infringing on, now or in their future. "Yeah, that's pretty hard. Have you ever tried to talk to him about it?" "Ages ago, but these are long patterns of behaviour. His mother has taken care of him her whole life and it continues to this day. And to make it more offensive, it's exactly what his dad expects his mom to do. I feel pretty insignificant in the face of that patriarchy. It's stifling." Jacqui agreed. She felt stifled just talking about Tess' situation. It was like a choke on her throat and brought back memories of her marriage and the verbal abuse, manipulation, power imbalance. It really wasn't a matter of culture, entirely. Some men, most men were exceedingly aware of their roles. Women experienced further subjection through their male partners choices. What would Judith Butler say? Precisely at the moment in which choice is impossible, the subject pursues subordination as the promise of existence. Subjection exploits the desire for existence, where existence is always conferred from elsewhere; it marks a primary vulnerability to the Other to be.39 But could Tess or anyone else ever fully (Butler, 1997, p. 21) 127 step outside of that exploitation? Sometimes she found that she could not. "You know, instead of burdening you with all of this nonsense, can I ask you about what happened in class today?" "Of course! Yes!" Jacqui was eager to be part of it all after working with Tess on the syllabus. "So, after class, this young woman, who shall remain nameless, approaches me to talk about her meeting with a dietitian who just immigrated to Canada. The student was interviewing her for one of our class assignments and the dietitian told her a pretty harrowing tale of organizational resistance. Maybe more like structural oppression, really. Anyway, she had written a poem about being complicit, a powerful poem, actually and she shared it in class, which I thought was brave of her. I've asked that more students bring in their poetry to share, so we'll see how that goes. And so, she's just really down about becoming a dietitian. After class she said to me, 'Why would I want to become a member of an organization that promotes such practices?'" "Hmmm...pretty good question. She sounds pretty astute, this student." Jacqui was keenly interested in Tess' story. She wondered if the dietitian Tess was talking about was actually one of her research participants. Her story was strikingly familiar. "Yeah, she is very aware, very conscious of her world. I'm enjoying her presence in the classroom immensely, although I'm sure some of the other students are starting to feel less embracing of her contributions. Anyway, I just feel we have to be honest with these students about two things: dietetics is emotional and political. So, that's what I said to her. I really would hate to see her abandon her studies now, but I would understand if she did. What do you think? Did I say the right thing? Do you think I misled her or worse, scared her?" 128 "No, not at all, Tess. I think she's lucky to have someone like you as her instructor. What was it that David Orr40 said, 'Without significant precautions,' uh, what is the rest? Oh, yeah, 'Without precautions, education can equip people to be more effective vandals of the earth.' He says we need fewer successful people and more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers. So true. I think we need more dietitians who are all those things, too. This student sounds like she has the potential to be a poet-storyteller. I think she should be encouraged, but with her eyes wide open. We all need support to get through the tough times, the conflict, the strife. That's why I'm so pleased we are finally starting the supervision group? Hey, maybe you want to start a similar group for students? Why not?" Again Jacqui spoke beyond Tess' question and did so unabashedly. "Well, let's just see how our sessions go first, OK?" Tess smiled at Jacqui. She had many ideas, most of them good, some of them great, but all of them beyond what Tess was capable of enacting at this point in her life. It didn't matter, though. Their relationship was what mattered and Tess was feeling full of zest, a sense of the possible, unburdened by what was happening at home, and desiring of more connection. All the good things about growth-fostering relationships.41 "And, now, time to get back in my car. Are you ready to go?" "Yes, mostly. I think I'd much prefer to sit here in this tea house for the next three hours than return to my writing!" "Hey, I get it. Dream big!" Tess leaned in for a quick hug and then dashed out the door ahead of Jacqui, waving over her shoulder. Jacqui waved back and just as quickly as Tess left the teashop, Jacqui's thoughts returned to her writing. '(Orr, 1994) (Miller & Stiver, 1997) 129 ...the first workshop. As part of introductions during each workshop session, participants were invited to select a card, an intention card, on which was printed a single word. Desiree spoke to the word 'harmlessness' that appeared on the card she chose. She spoke of her grandma's Metis heritage and how she had learned to cherish the First Nations way of life, a way of helping heal pain, of women using all that they knew of survival and adapting that knowledge to help others. Jacqui remembered her talking about how mentorship early in her dietetics career protected her from harming others. Desiree ended her introductory remarks with her wish that Jacqui's research would help protect the new ones from the harmful aspects of dietetics. Jacqui found herself preoccupied by Desiree's comments. What were the harmful aspects of dietetics? Jacqui wondered if her research had the capacity to fulfill Desiree's wish. Following Desiree's lead, Valerie hoped the research would emphasize that the tools needed to do their jobs were so much more broad than what was provided, than the current educational process accommodated. Renny remarked in reference to one of those tools, "We all had our hammer stage because that's how we were taught." Jacqui remembered Renny adding, "I look back at how I used to work and I cringe." Renny thought that if undergraduate students were introduced to aspects of spirituality, they would have a greater capacity for dietetic practice and be able to ask patients 'What do you need from me?' instead of hammering people over the head with nutrition facts, especially since patients would sometimes hurt themselves with the knowledge provided by dietitians. Jacqui's thoughts returned to Renny's question about what form the research should take. Renny had asked Jacqui how she was going to disseminate the wisdom the women had to share. At the time, Jacqui didn't have a good answer, but as she poured over these transcripts, hearing the voices and the passion and the melancholia, Jacqui imagined essays borne up and sung in throats and written in blood and etched on skin and hoped her representational choices would not disappoint, but instead make the soils rich and fertile again. 1 3 0 Chapter Six Passion disturbs conventional notions of intimacy, offers new possibilities and new beginnings, brings fresh and not necessarily pleasurable attitudes, feelings, and inclinations to self and others.42 Week 6: October 12 "Good morning! Hello!" Tess attempted to gather the students' attention. It seemed they were more energized than ever this morning. As much as it pleased Tess to see them interacting with such abandonment, she was reminded of the structures that kept her on track. Since she was already one full class behind and having to decide what to cleave off the syllabus, Tess was moved to begin, to begin with a surprise. "OK, this energy is wonderful and will be even more useful if you are to transfer it towards your pop quiz. Yes, you heard me right. I'm going to give you a pop quiz, for marks, on today's reading by DeVault." There was an immediate silence and then some groans and one question, "I thought we were supposed to be reading, uh, yeah, Buchanan for today." "You are right. We were supposed to be talking about Buchanan today, but since I told the story of Amy three weeks ago, we are going to be perpetually one week behind in our syllabus. It's very good you are prepared to discuss Buchanan. You will have less reading to do for next time. This time, however, the quiz will be directly related to DeVault's most interesting chapter, 'Whose Science of Food and Health?' Please take out a piece of paper and write your name on the top corner. Are you ready? Five questions, two points each. You will each mark someone else's paper. Your results will make up ten percent of your participation mark, so three percent of your final grade." (Billow, 2003, p. 218) 131 Tess suspected that the talk of final grades, percents, and such contributed to some anxiety for the students, so she added, "Do your best." "OK, first question, multiple choice: Marjorie DeVault is a) a dietitian, b) a biochemist, or c) a sociologist? Dietitian, biochemist, or sociologist?" The students who read the paper wrote sociologist down on their pages and looked up at Tess in seconds. Most of the other students continued to look down at their blank pages. "Number two: How would you describe the theoretical framework and method that DeVault uses in her research?" Tess gave the students some extra time with this question, especially when one student looked up from her page and said, "Huh?" "Theoretical framework. What ideological lens does DeVault look through when she explains her findings to us? We talked about ideology when we discussed Travers' paper in week two. And method. What is the philosophical basis for how she reads the findings of her study, how she analyzes her data? There is one answer for both theory and method. Take a minute to think about this one." After a short pause, Tess said, "Number three." "Wait! Hold on! Just a sec!" A chorus of annoyance erupted from the class. Tess stopped, took a drink of her coffee and gave them more time. Part of her felt uncomfortable pulling the pop quiz for today's class, but she had been wondering just what students were taking from the readings before they met. Since only a few participated in class discussions, Tess was curious about what was going on for students during the time between reading the material and coming to class, with the assumption that students actually read the assigned material. What were they understanding from the 132 text that she had offered them to learn from? "OK, number three, another multiple choice: According to DeVault, scientific knowledge of food and nutrition is organized around a) a food guide, b) an arbitrary set of rules and standards, or c) a paradox? Food guide, rules and standards, or paradox?" "Number four: Based on DeVault's research with dietitians, give one reason dietitians enter the profession, one reason that these women choose to go into dietetics?" Again, a little more time than for the previous question. Tess looked down at the page she was reading her questions from. She wanted to try something different with the final question and wasn't sure how it would work. She was going to try it anyway. "OK, now for a little twist on the usual pop-quiz format. Before doing the last question, I would like everyone to give her quiz to a neighbour and then switch with one more person." Papers shuffled. "OK, good. Does anyone have her own quiz? No? OK. Now just put that quiz to the side and take out a fresh sheet of paper. For the final question, I would like you to pull out your copy of DeVault's chapter and scan through it and write down the one question that you still have after reading the article. What is the one question that remains for you? Maybe it's one of the questions from this quiz, which would be fine, or maybe its something else. You decide." Tess could see that many of the students were reading the article and writing intently. It seemed that this may be the easiest question to answer of them all. "OK, now make sure your name is written on top of that page, too and exchange it with someone else. OK,, can you two switch again? OK, good. I think we have it. Let's start by marking questions one to four." Papers shuffled while pens and minds were primed to normalize knowledge. 133 "Now, what's the answer for question one?" Meg responded immediately, "C." "Yes, C. Marjorie DeVault is a sociologist who performs sociological research with dietitians. DeVault is one of the few who does research with dietitians on identity and socialization actually, which I find somewhat ironic. There aren't many dietitians contributing to the theory of dietitian identity and professionalization. I often wonder why that is the case. Anyway. Good, Meg. Number two. DeVault's theory and method. What's it called?" Silence this time. Tess waited. A hand goes up at the back of the class. "Is it feminist, uh, feminism?" "Yes, feminist theory and method. DeVault calls this particular method a 'liberating method,' which is also the title of her book. She is a proponent of feminist approaches since they are most concerned with social justice and equity. Are there any other responses? "What about 'sociological theory and method'?" "Hmm. 'Sociological' is a rather broad rubric. It's more of a discipline, than a theory or method. I don't think so. Any other possibilities?" "This person wrote, 'qualitative.'" "Well, yes, it is a qualitative methodology, but not qualitative theory. So, give only one point out of two. Can anyone find a quote from the text where DeVault talks about feminist theory or method?" 134 Sammi read from her copy of the article. "Uh, page 140. 'In this chapter, I propose a feminist rationale for renewal of the long-standing sociological concern with professional socialization and work, especially in the so-called women's professions.' But, Tess...uh, look. In the very next sentence she mentions the 'disciplinary 'lens' of sociology, so that is kinda confusing." Tess suspected that the student was advocating for marks for the 'sociological' response and she had a point. "You know, you are quite right. Let me stand corrected on that. Sociology is still a discipline, but can confer a particular lens to research method. Let's compromise with giving anyone who wrote 'sociological' one point out of two. Fair enough?" The student nodded and the student marking her paper scratched out the zero and wrote in a number one. "Are we ready to move to question three...anyone?" Dani responded this time, "Yeah, the answer is c) paradox." "That is correct. Right from the first line in the chapter. Does anyone know what 'paradox' means?" Tess waited, forming a response in her mind. After a few seconds, she shared, "A paradox is a statement that seems to contradict itself, even if it is truthful. So, while nutritional science knowledge claims are, where is it here?" Tess looked to her copy of DeVault's article. "Yes, 'abstract, timeless, replicable, and universal....the activities of producing, distributing, and using food...are more obviously relational, contextualized, politicized, and embodied activities.' DeVault and Smith tell us this paradox is 'managed, and at least partially obscured by a gendered division of labour.'43 Some of you might remember Liquori building on the notion of gendered division of labour in her article. Remember the graphics that looked (Smith, 1987, p. 83-84) 135 like camels' humps? That was the point she was trying to make with those images. Male nutritional scientists working with abstract knowledge in the food and health care industry - food as marketable products and food as nutrients - while female practitioners working with experiential knowledge of food as nurturance. What is valued most is that which is most scientized, right? The marketable products and the nutrients." Tess paused, aware that she was talking at the students and needing to hear someone's voice other than her own for a change. "OK, let's move on to question number four. According to DeVault's research participants, why do women enter the profession of dietetics?" "Pays well," responded Dani. Marci added, "They're good at science." From Sammi, "Want to make a difference." Dani added with a smile, "Want a real job after graduating." Meg suggested that, "Going to college makes women feel secure." Marci again stated, "Want to help people eat healthy." "Good, yes, any others that you can think of that weren't mentioned in the article?" Tess hoped students might share their own reasons for entering the field. Dani remarked, "Family pressure to enter some health-related profession." Meg, in a familiar righteousness said, "Wanting to learn about nutrition to help people live healthier lives." 136 Marci, in a small voice from the back of the room, "To help people have control." And then quiet. The often thought, but rarely spoken connection between food and body - the disciplining of bodies through the use, actually more the restriction of food. Tess knew Foucault had something to say about this association, but she decided to leave the student's comment alone for the time being, to just let it settle there among the other comments. "Lots of good reasons to come to dietetics, aren't there? Did we get them all?" No one spoke, so Tess carried on. "OK, I'm very curious as to which questions still remain about the article. Let's start at the front of the room and if you could read out the question that your colleague shared with you." As each student read aloud, Tess felt hopeful that the exercise would work out. "Excellent! Great! OK, now what I would like each of you to attempt to do is to answer the question that is in front of you. No, it may not be your question, but that's the point. You will get your question back and then .you will give the answer a mark out of two, so you will need to know who answers your question. Does that make sense? So, write your name beside the response. Let's leave the rest of the class for you to craft your response, using DeVault's article as your primary reference and when you are finished, please return the page to the person who wrote the original question. And when you're finished reading the response give the response a mark and then you can return everything to me, so I can record the marks. After you are finished you are free to go. Any questions?" Tess trusted that her explanation wasn't too confusing. The students gave no indication of confusion and started their responses. Tess finished the remainder of her cold coffee and hoped the pop-quiz activity had a modicum of usefulness for the students. They were now halfway through the term, getting into a routine, and entering the most challenging portion of the course, also known as 'storming' in the group process. Tess imagined means to dissolve problems before they arose. Giving clear instructions was part of that intention. Knowing her style was more emergent, inquiry-based than didactic and structured, Tess 137 worried that the direction was not always clear for her students. She realized that emergent was not always conducive to predictability. Tess prepared for stormy times ahead. Jacqui was back at work after spending the week writing, attempting to complete a first draft of her dissertation. Her first session was with Jane. Jane's therapist, Monica, had been in telephone contact with Jacqui, keeping her updated on Jane's condition. Last week, Jane was admitted to emergency. She had been experiencing fainting spells and heart palpitations. She lasted only one day in the hospital and then was discharged. Both Monica and Jacqui were beginning to get frustrated with the Eating Disorder Program's reluctance to admit Jane. Jacqui had made numerous calls to the program director regarding Jane's deterioration. He insisted they were doing all they could, but the space just wasn't available. In her conversation with one of the program's nurse coordinators to find out what their contingency plan might be, Jacqui listened as she remarked that Jane had many people calling on her behalf and complained that it was becoming difficult to keep everyone informed. Jacqui felt chastised. Her intention was to support and advocate for Jane's admission. She knew Jane was at a point of no return, her physical symptoms of starvation precluding any real chance of recovery as an outpatient. Still the structures of the overtaxed medical system were not yielding to human suffering. All Jacqui could do was try to reassure Jane that soon there would be a space available to her and in the meantime attempt to provide the kind of support that Jane required - unconditional compassion, encouragement, peacefulness - all of which Jane was not receiving at home. "Hi, Jane. Come in." Jacqui greeted Jane at her office door. She was alone today. Rachel must have dropped her off and gone to run an errand. Jacqui was once again shocked by Jane's appearance, although she tried to hide her reaction behind the guise of a calm smile. Jane moved slowly, cautiously, barely able to offer a smile in response. Her eyes were dull, her hair limp, her body fragile. Jacqui found herself moving more deliberately and carefully in response to Jane's demeanour. Jane took a seat on the couch, gingerly. A shadow of dread passed over the windows as the sun disappeared behind errant clouds. The light faded. 138 "Have you heard anything from the program in the last couple of days?" "No, they said they would call me early next week." "Oh, well, that's encouraging." "Well, I'm not exactly sure what they are going to tell me since they predicted it would be another month or so before a space became available. I'd be willing to take any bed at this point, even if I had to be admitted to the psychiatric unit." Jane was speaking softly, carefully enunciating each word as it passed her dry lips. There was no cadence to her speech, just the steady, monotonous affect of anorexia. "Is that an option, I mean could you be admitted to another ward while you wait for a bed?" "They don't really like doing that because you are with a bunch of other people that, it just isn't good and staff don't really get it. Once, when I was admitted like 3 years ago, it was the psych unit and this nurse just looked at me when she came to get my tray and said, 'I see you didn't eat anything again. You know if you just ate, you wouldn't be in here. Can't you see the hurt you are causing your family?' That was pretty brutal. Like I don't know what's going on. Like it's so easy for me to eat. Trust me, I know the hurt I'm causing and it doesn't help me recover. Why don't people understand that?" Jane was asking questions whose answers lied deeply tangled in complex familial and social webs, complicated by economic politics, sexism, racism, and homophobia. And that was just the beginning. Once young women internalized messages about how their femininity was valued in silent and subservient ways, it could become very difficult to mount a resistance. Thinness was prized among women. They were on the one hand offering their lean bodies to a male gaze as a form of accomplishment, but on the other hand, they were killing themselves in the process. Jacqui remembered attending a conference session on recovery from anorexia in which the participants were given pseudonyms of plants and trees. This raised a red flag for Jacqui. Seeing women objectified in this way soundly reiterated the problem that existed for women. Even though it might have been thought artful to call the women Ivy, Rose, or Iris, it was an affront of the greatest magnitude. There was one other possibility. Perhaps the researcher was intending to illustrate the overwhelming influence of patriarchy and oppression by naming his participants after plants. Then it would be sheer genius. And now before her sat Jane, a woman struggling for life amidst the stultifying effects of that patriarchy, that insatiable capitalist appetite for materiality. There she sat, so quiet and still, a symbol of the slow, silent death of feminine. Jane and Jacqui had those conversations months ago and still Jane was deeply tied by desire and the need for recognition to the world as it is. Jacqui stayed still and quiet until Jane broke the silence. "Jacqui, how do you feel about death, about dying?" Silence. Jane looked up and her eyes met Jacqui's. Was that defiance Jacqui detected, a fire? Jacqui did not look away. She searched for a response. "Have you been thinking about death lately, Jane?" Jacqui sensed a softening as Jane began to talk. "Sometimes that's all I can think about. Dying. You know, everyone around me, they pretend that I'm OK, that I'm doing OK. Even up until last week, people were still saying to me, 'Oh, you look so good. Wow!' What is wrong with people? Can't they see I'm in so much pain? I mean look at me. I'm disgusting!" "It's hard to know why people choose to react the way they do. I'm sure they would like to say something more respectful, but maybe their fear of saying the wrong thing just makes it worse for them. What do you think?" "I think they're totally insensitive and blind. When I get through this and I'm teaching, I will never, NEVER say such things to my students if they have an eating disorder. What people need is understanding, not judgement and not praise for losing weight." Jane crossed her arms, closing off. Jacqui heard talk of Jane's future, which was reassuring, but still felt compelled ethically to understand Jane's thoughts of death. "When you think about dying, what exactly do you think about? Can you tell me a little more about that?" "Well, I just think about how peaceful it would be for me right now. I think, like, it's such hard work to get better. I do want to get better, but it's so hard for me. Why can't I do it? I want to do it, but I just can't. It's too hard. I'm so weak." "Jane, I have to ask you this. How far have your thoughts of suicide gone? Have you considered specifically how you might commit suicide?" "Oh, God, no. I would never actually do it, Jacqui. I could not do it because I love Brandon and I promised him I would be there for him. Although, I'm hardly there for him these days. What a failure I am. Poor Brandon. I've disappointed him, too." "Jane, I know it is hard right now, but you are a very brave and resilient woman. You will get better. Remember the symbol you imagined as your strength, the drawing you did with the colours and the healing force? Remember what you told me about that symbol?" Jacqui attempted to speak to hope. "Yeah, I guess so." "You created that symbol. You know you have the strength and the wisdom in you to recover. I believe in you, Jane. You're a fighter and it will be hard, but you have a lot of support. Many people care deeply for you and we all want to see you make it through this. We know you can get through this. You and Brandon can look back on this time and be amazed and inspired by all that you resourced from within to get through this difficult time." Jacqui sounded like a coach. Her words were really just willing Jane to stay alive. She pulled out all the stops, the tired cliches, anything to rally Jane's spirit. This was Jacqui's response, a response of abiding love. "Jane, I believe that you are choosing life today, in this moment your choice is a miracle that saves our 141 world. Do you know what I mean by that?" "Maybe. I don't know. Sure." Jane paused. Jacqui waited. "You think that if I can get through this mess, anything's possible!" "Well...yes! I do believe that and I do believe you will get through this mess as you call it. What I also mean is that by going through this experience, you are learning so much about yourself and the act of knowing yourself is what makes the world a better place. We all have that responsibility, to know who we are, to wonder. Remember what I told you about the 'silver lining' of an eating disorder?" Jane nodded. "Well, by going through this experience, you have grown in profound ways. Do you feel that?" "Sometimes, yeah." "Your growth and knowing of yourself is a gift. Learning to respond to your intuitive voice, your inner wisdom is a gift that you have offered yourself. You will always have that resource available to you, that guiding, knowing, loving inner strength. When things are becoming off-balance in the future, you will have your intuition to tell you ahead of time and you can respond in compassionate ways before it gets too big and dark. You have this gift right now. It will sustain you through the challenges of recovery." "I know. I feel that. Yeah. Sometimes the inner voice seems so quiet, though. The critic so angry and dominant. Like, I can't really ignore it. It's so ugly, so mean to me." "It's fear, Jane. Try to be gentle with yourself. Imagine a fearful child. How would you respond to her?" "I'd hug her and tell her it's OK. I'm here to protect her." "That's what you need to say to yourself, too. Shift the inner dialogue whenever you can, Jane. For something so simple, it makes a profound difference." 142 "I know. I know. I do my best." "You are very resourceful, Jane. I know you will get through this." Jacqui still had her doubts, though. Her motivational speech was as much for her as for Jane. Jacqui willed the words to become a positive reality. "What are you noticing right now as we come to the end of our session?" "Well, I feel pretty good. I'm calm, hopeful, I feel grounded, actually. I haven't felt this way in quite awhile." "What can you do to take care of yourself this afternoon? What can you do to nourish yourself while you are in a calm and hopeful state?" "Uh, I don't know. Maybe I'll go for a walk by the ocean with Rachel after or we'll get a movie. I don't know. I don't really have any plans, really." "Is there any possibility of something to eat? Something small even?" Jacqui pushed a little more than usual, just out of desperation more than anything. She sensed Jane was so close to the edge, perilously close. "Maybe. I probably should. Like what? What do you suggest?" Jacqui knew if she made a suggestion, Jane would counter it with a brilliant reason why she couldn't. It was a little game of exchange the nutrition info and although it had its use in a therapeutic context, now was not the time for that particular sport. "You decide. You know best what it is you need and you have a great support in Rachel. Ask her to help you, to be there for you while you eat. You have all the resources you need, right there inside you." Jacqui placed her palm over her heart to indicate to Jane to listen to her ' intuition, to create a space for herself in her body, to choose life. 143 As they stood together, Jacqui walked over and embraced Jane, her usual generous and robust hugs restrained for Jane's sake. Jacqui gently placed her arms around Jane and wished only goodness for her. She felt her hands on Jane's back, felt her ribs, her smallness and let all her love flow into that tiny body. After Jane had left, Jacqui felt the full impact of turmoil, fear, and frustration. And yet, there were three more women to see that afternoon. Jacqui took a deep breath and went to the bathroom to boil some water for tea. As she was waiting, she looked into the mirror. She saw lines of worry creasing her brow, she instantly softened her eyes, asking for clarity of vision, compassion, and hope for her remaining time at work. She thought of the Judith Duerk poems, how might our lives be different and she realized that in the doing of this work, she had the privilege to imagine daily how lives might be different and that this was the hard work that love demanded. This was the hard work she was not prepared for by her schooling. October 13 Dear Judith, I just finished reading Martha Nussbaum's scathing critique of your work and then the replies from Spivak and others, including yours. Quite a process, the whole enterprise of academic debate. And this one, so public with your response appearing in the New York Times. What was it like to have your work taken up in that way? I'm always curious about the personal as subtext to the political, the back story, as they say. Why is the personal so often relegated to the back story? One of your ideas in the op/ed piece was the notion of complicating common sense as a means for social change, the relation of language and politics - scholars are obliged to question common sense...if that common sense preserves the status quo [especially if] that common sense treats unjust social hierarchies 144 as natural.44 Yes, I agree. That is not the contentious point. What I've been struggling with is a point you make further along when you address the scholar's pedagogical responsibilities. A student for whom a word such as "hegemony" appears strange might find that it denotes a dominance so entrenched that we take it for granted, and even appear to consent to it - a power that's strengthened by its invisibility. But what of a professional student, a nutrition student, a person who is caught up in the often scientized performative of medicine and health? Does that person have the ability, yes ability, to discover hegemony as visible in her world, a world she shares with us? And what of her educators, not those with proclivities to the. politics of rhetoric, comparative literature, or philosophy, but those possessing prestigious science doctorates, trained in the interpellational act of objectivity and value-neutral truth claims. How might those people take up the intellectual resources necessary to make our way toward the politically newl My quandary is this: If dietetic practice is positioned, and thus reproduced by citational apoliticality, and this performative voraciously buttresses hegemonies of the unrepentant variety, should not dietetic students be educated in ways, no, rather offered discourse that can help point the way to a more socially just world? "Not undergraduates," they say. They won't understand. "Not interns." Too busy learning other things. "Not practitioners." No support for that kind of learning. But when? Muriel Rukeyser's who will be the throat of these hours? comes to mind. Is it too radical? I think the propensity to status quo, those whose very foundations of ordinary life are enmeshed in dietetic education as is, would have me believe that what I'm proposing is indeed radical. The renewed, fervent conservatism. When I asked one of my research co-participants whether she believed there was an active conspiracy at play, she responded with "Yes, it is a conspiracy. It's just not active!" In-active, Jacqui (Butler, 1999a) 145 Dani knocked on Alice's door. She had finally summoned the courage to talk to Alice about Tess and her misgivings with NUTR 430. She was nervous about what she was going to say to Alice, but she couldn't stay quiet. Today was one of the few days that Alice was in her office. Dani waited for 25 minutes while Alice met with the several students ahead of her in a line that had formed 15 minutes before Alice's office hours had started. Alice was still the dietetics program advisor so her opinion on a variety of issues was required. It seemed like a great investment of Dani's time, but she saw no other option. "Yes, come in." Alice looked up from her computer as Dani walked in. "What can I do for you?" Alice asked even before inviting Dani to sit down. Alice was not making it any easier for Dani to say what she needed to say. "Hi, uh, well I have some concerns about NUTR 430 and I thought I should let you know what's going on in class." "What are your concerns?" "Um, well, like I don't think, I mean I think we're spending too much time on stuff that is totally unrelated to dietetics and the teacher doesn't really seem to know where we're supposed to be going half the time." "Have you shared your concerns with Tess directly?" This was the absolute last thing Alice wanted to deal with right now and found a way to delay the inevitable. • "No, not exactly. I mean I thought I should let you know what's happening since it is your course and..." Alice stopped Dani mid-sentence, "Yes, I have taught the course for the last couple of years, but this year it is Tess' responsibility, so I would advise you to speak directly to her about your concerns." 146 Dani sensed that Alice wasn't going to suggest anything else, but she had waited too long for her time with Alice to be over that quick. "I'm worried that if I get a poor mark in this class it will affect my application for internship. I have to do well. I have to." "I understand that, Dani, and I still think you need to talk to Tess first. If things don't go satisfactorily with Tess, then the three of us can meet together. No one else has mentioned any problems with the class, so I would hope that you can work this out with Tess." Alice regretted offering Dani a meeting with the three of them. She could see this becoming dreadfully time consuming. "Uh, OK, so I'll talk to Tess and if she doesn't seem to get it, then I can arrange another meeting with all of us?" Dani paused and considered her options. "Um, well, I'm a little worried that by the time all that happens, a lot of time will have passed and it will be too late. So, can you at least talk to Tess about my concerns?" Dani thought this would be easier, but Alice wasn't giving her much sympathy. This only made Dani more insistent. "I don't think it will be necessary for us to meet again. Tess is an excellent teacher and communicator. I'm sure you two will be able to come to some resolution about whatever it is that you're bothered by." Alice paused and decided on a different tact. "One thing about being a professional is being able to work with people you might not agree with, Dani. I know Tess has spent much time on this course and although it is different than when I taught it last, I believe it's probably better. Please, go set up a meeting with Tess and just email me afterwards with your thoughts on how it went. OK?" Alice was finished. "I guess. OK." Dani stood up to leave, feeling a little more than deflated and dismissed in her exchange with Alice. Alice said nothing as Dani turned and walked out. As she passed the other students waiting to see Alice, Dani thought this was going to be a little trickier than she anticipated, but she would not be deterred. She didn't get this far to have her goals derailed by a replacement instructor in the second last 1 4 7 semester of her program. Carly entered the counselling room. She smiled warmly and quietly took the last remaining seat among the four other women already present. Since their last meeting only three weeks ago, Carly had found herself thinking about the work that she had entered into with this group of women. Although she had never worked with dietitians before, she found their preoccupations similar to that which psychoanalysts and therapists had previously encountered. She had been intrigued by the personalities of the women and was eager to delve deeper into their professional and personal challenges and concerns. She was \ unaware by what lay ahead for them as a group. It was Saturday morning and she was here with them. "Good morning. I'd like to start with just a brief check-in around what you are bringing with you to our session today, your feelings and thoughts about your work and your life and perhaps a sense of what is of central concern to you right now. Who'd like to start?" Gabrielle, the strains of her work creasing her brow, desperately needed to share with the group. She had been looking forward to their meeting al! week and was beginning to understand the power of group supervision to support her in her professional struggles. "I think I need to start." She looked at Tess, her eyes troubled, and then looked down. "Things are pretty bad for me right now and I can't seem to get a handle on it." The other women waited in silent support of what Gabi needed to say. "I think you all know what is happening for me at work these days. It's getting worse since my sleeping has been so bad. I'm wondering what I'm going to do because it feels like I'm stuck, stuck. I've talked to my supervisor about changing the way we do business and not promoting weight loss for our patients, but she just is unwilling to budge in her approach. It's awful, so awful now. I don't even want to go there. Thank God, it's only half time, but they are talking about expanding it to full time since they are doing so much more research on weight loss and... I just can't bear the thought of having to participate in that mess. I just can't bear it." Gabi took a breath and that allowed for the others to take in what she had shared with the group. Carly 148 asked, "Typically, I would just continue with a check-in, but I'm wondering if we can spend some time exploring this right now and then return to others afterwards? Would that be alright?" The other women nodded and Carly continued, turning again to Gabi to ask, "Gabrielle, what is it that troubles you most about this situation?" Gabi thought for a moment then responded, "I just can't reconcile that these patients are feeling so fearful about their health, worried about another heart attack, and I think I'm feeling guilty about my role in that. I mean, even though I don't support it, the message that they have to lose weight directly, I'm there, I'm working there with people who do. It sends a mixed message." "Share with me more about the guilt you feel. When you talk of your work, where in your physical body do you notice tension, tightness? Where does the guilt reside?" "Oh, I feel it here, right here." Gabi placed both her hands on her chest. "It's like a tightness here, a weight. Sometimes it's so bad, I can't get a proper breath and I have to just leave the room, just leave." "And how do you understand the guilt?" "When I became a dietitian, I really wanted to help people and it has just become harder and harder, not because of the patients themselves, but because of the system, the doctors and the system. The hospital where I work, they benefit from having the money to do the research with Xenical and it's just a big machine. Ever since I heard my colleague, Renny talk about the dangers of dieting, I think it was like a month into doing my internship. She came in to this room filled with physicians and then she just shared study after study after study about how bad it was to promote weight loss. And I got the impression that these docs weren't expecting that at all. It was great, so inspiring. And that really shifted things for me. Transformative, really. Ever since then it has been a struggle cause I see things I didn't see before. That was definitely a turning point for me." "So, the guilt that you feel is that somehow also about unmet expectations?" 149 "Um, maybe. I guess when I was a student, I just loved my community nutrition classes. I took two of them actually at the University of Saskatchewan. One was kinda open-ended. We formed two teams and designed a community-based project and I loved it. I loved it. I guess from that class, I started to have a perception of what a dietitian did, what kind of difference I could make in people's lives and the reality of my work is just so different. There's a separation and I feel at a loss to understand how I got here, how my expectations were derailed from what I imagined it would be like." Gabi's gaze returned to the floor. Carly, calm and intent, "Would you say you're grieving?" "Hmmm. I never thought of it like that, but it sure feels like grieving. Except there's no acknowledgement of grief, of loss, so it's all just in my head and it's making a mess of me and my work." "Gabrielle, what do you need to surrender, to release, to move through this process? Let's call it grieving for now. What is it that will open things up for you?" "I think I need to find a new job." As Gabi said this, her eyes cast downward. "What does it mean for you to consider finding a new job?" The other women were listening attentively to Carly's questions, wondering themselves how they might respond. "I feel terrible admitting this, but it feels like giving up somehow. Like I have to stay and prove something, like I'm abandoning my patients, like I'm just turning my back to them." Ariana, in a soft, compassionate voice, "That is the hardest part, isn't it? Your commitment to your work and your passion for it and the impossibility of staying, of being whole." "Yes, it's the hardest part. I never thought I would ever have to think about leaving a job that I love so much, people that I care about. It's so hard." 150 "As the object goes, so goes the source of love," mused Jacqui. "I'm reading Judith Butler's The Psychic Life of Power. She explains subject formation by combining poststructuralist and psychoanalytic theories - linking the theory of power with a theory of the psyche. I hear your lament in her writing, Gabi." Carly leaned forward, interested to pick up on the psychoanalytic thread, "What I hear in Gabi's lament is perhaps ambivalence. Gabi, I'd be very curious to know if my observation resonates for you? Let's see...if you are passionate about your work, of which I have no doubt, you are perhaps defined in many ways by that same work. In this way, you might permit me to agree with Jacqui and suggest that your work could be considered an object of your love, of your desire. You are vulnerable to that object and easily exploitable by it. If the work itself is wrought with structures, seemingly abusive, regulatory power structures, then you are in effect, subjected to that power and since it is a power exercised by an object you desire, you find yourself perhaps submitting to that power in your desire. I would be curious about these connections given your expressions of guilt, self-beratement, grief, and inevitable melancholy if your grief remains unresolved, incomplete. Are these the markers of your subjectivity as a dietitian?" Carly paused in her question to let Gabi and the others respond. Gabi looked perplexed. "You know, the thought just crossed my mind that my job is rather patriarchal in many respects. I look to that work to take care of my needs while my own desires, as you call them, are disappeared. Hmmm. I'll have to think more about that one for sure. I think the theoretical turn has caused me to feel disembodied. I'm quite detached from my sadness right now. Not sure that's really helpful." Gabi's voice trailed off and left a silent space in the room. Tess replied, "I don't know if this is what you were implying, Gabi, but I feel a little lost right now, too. Maybe we could do a little round and see where that takes the discussion. I want to support Gabi, but I find myself a little overwhelmed by talk of post-this and psycho-that. Sorry." "No need to apologize. That is a very good idea. Ariana, could you start this time?" 151 Carly leaned back in her chair, content to make her offering and see how it manifested in future conversations. Jacqui was at once bewitched by Carly's use of psychoanalytic language and beguiled by the divergent wishes of her colleagues. When she spoke of Gabi's ambivalence, Jacqui heard Carly's passion. If Jacqui had her way, they would explore the profession-as-patriarch symbol much further. But like Gabi, this awareness presented as an opportunity for deep reflection. For this, Jacqui was only grateful and inspired. She turned her attention back to Ariana who started to share in signature melodic fashion, her own misgivings with work, her description of a supervisor that was intent on having Ariana manage her time more effectively. Jacqui watched Ariana carefully, curious about the attraction she observed. The desire seemed to have subsumed or had it merely been subjected. Yet another question for Judith. 152 Chapter Seven Embodied ways, fleshy ways, the bounce and bump and muddy squishes that we educate children out of, teaching them as we do to climb up into their heads and join our frightened numbers, our sad enumerations. The Earth becomes mathematized and things don't quite add up any more.45 Week 7: October 19 Tess arrived early to class and after arranging her notes and other paraphernalia on her table, she picked up the chalk and wrote on the board, 'Is the scientific method meeting our needs?' Standing back to assess the impact of Buchanan's words, she turned, satisfied today's class had a chance of proceeding well and once again reviewed her ideas in preparation for the arrival of her students. In dualistic fashion, Tess had come to the idea of a debate. One side would assume the role of supporters of the scientific model and the other, the humanistic model. Of course, Tess had her biases and of course, Tess lived her contradictions within those biases. Paradoxically, she hoped the debate . structure would reveal both the biases and the contradictions. That was the hope. Time would tell how close she got to her pedagogical ideal. Underneath it all, Tess was really attempting to share with the students this notion of 'how we think about our relationships with other people' and how the scientific model doesn't really permit that kind of thinking. Buchanan addressed this brilliantly in the context of nutrition education. His work was perhaps more palatable to students compared with Harding's on the topic of whose science created knowledge for what purpose, for whose agenda.46 Plus, Tess was worried that increasingly difficult texts would only push the students further away. She sensed that it was time for something more inviting. It was time to ease up on the theory just a little so that the students could have a space to reflect on the ideas presented in earlier (Jardine, 1998, p. 140) (Harding, 1991) 153 articles. Tess thought back to her undergraduate degree and wished she had a course about the humanistic model in nutrition research. When she was a student, there was no mention of qualitative research, no mentorship around learning of the social sciences. Even a course on conflict resolution would have been helpful. She recently attended an event about dealing with difficult people, called 'Never Fight With a Pig Because You Both Get Dirty and the Pig Enjoys It!' In remembering that event, a smile played across Tess' mouth. During the workshop the facilitator asked, 'So you think you're dealing with difficult people, but could it possibly be that you are the difficult person?' That question drew Tess up a little straighter, asked her to think about her relationships with others. Tess wished she had been asked to consider that question earlier in her education. She did remember a class on organizational behaviour - the biggest waste of time - she could not have taken a worse course, except that it was required for all dietetics students. She had no choice. If only that course had been about conflict resolution, effective communication between professionals, and identifying who we are and what makes us tick. If only. Three years ago, Tess made a very difficult decision. She left the Intensive Care Unit where she had been working for ten years. She left, quit, resigned. Perhaps it was because her father was dying and it was so real for her and she thought, 'You know what, I can no longer be part of the process that doesn't allow people to die with dignity. I can't be part of that.' She tried to change the way she looked at it, but it was futile, so she had to leave. Tess quickly realized that she couldn't influence change in the ICU since she was just the dietitian. She had no real power. She did not relish the memory of quitting. It just wasn't her style to walk away. She thought of what Gabi shared during their last supervision group, the notion of hating to give up, of not wanting to abandon all that she had contributed over the last decade. Tess could certainly relate. Three years later, Tess was still upset about the decision, unhappy that she left, but at the time really feeling that she was being drained. For months, Tess didn't communicate that emotional loss, but eventually she met with the nursing director, the medical director, and some of the nursing staff and told them exactly her reasons for leaving the unit. Her intention was to perhaps shed light on the problems sp others wouldn't experience what she had in leaving. Like Buchanan, Tess wanted to emphasize the importance of relationships, of process, and of healing the healers. 154 It continued to be vitally important to Tess to remember that her work as a dietitian, now in community and clinical practice, that her work was always to be in service of the patient. When she looked to her colleagues, it seemed that some of them had lost sight of that. She would never forget the experience of being with her mother in medical imaging when she had to get a central line. It was not long after her transplant and she wasn't doing well and she needed some extra nutritional support. It was strange for Tess to be an observer, an onlooker while at the same time a seasoned clinician dealing with TPN and central lines with her patients. When Tess met her mom after the procedure, she noticed that she was crying. Tess could still recall the conversation they had that day. "What's wrong, mom?" "It hurts." "What do you mean, it hurts?" "I felt them suturing me." Tess lost it. There was absolutely no way that her mother should have felt them suturing her. Tess immediately summoned a nurse and asked to speak to the radiologist who performed the procedure. Over the phone Tess asked, "Why is my mother in pain?" "Well, we followed the policy." "My mother felt you suturing her." "Well, that's not possible. We followed due process. We followed the policy." "My mother felt you suturing her." 155 "Well, we anaesthetized the area." "You're not hearing what I'm saying." "We followed the policy." "Maybe you need to look at the policy. You took an oath to do no harm. Today you did harm. The policy is there to deal with the majority of situations. Do you not have the ability to look at your patients to see signs of pain? I know that you do. You're a health care professional. That's why you are here." "We followed the policy." "If you fucking say that to me one more time, I don't know what I'm going to do." Tess remembered being livid at the physician's deflecting techniques. Instead of placating her and making her go away, his comments only made her more tenacious. She remembered asking herself, 'What do I want him to do?' Then she told him, "Let me tell you what I need. I need you to come up here and apologize to my mother and I need you to explain to her why she's in pain and more importantly, I need you to articulate to her what you are going to do to prevent this from happening to another patient." Tess still felt empowered by that moment. She was able to ask for exactly what she wanted in a clear and uncompromising way even though she was completely distraught that this could have happened to her dear mother. She often wondered how many others had gone through similar experiences and had not been able to assert themselves in the wake of white coats, closed doors, and unnameable indoctrination. In that moment, she felt satisfied to be an advocate for those patients and their families. She was undeterred. She recalled how the doctor came up to the ward immediately, apologizing as he walked through the swinging doors and she stopped him. "You need to stop talking. This is not about you. This is about my mother." 156 Her mother asked him, "How come you didn't know I was in pain." "We followed the policy." Tess looked over at him and thought about how likely she would be to get away with slapping him across the face. "Your policy needs to be changed. Your procedure needs to be changed if it allows people to escape that are in pain." He finally acquiesced, "Well, everybody was tired, everybody was running late, no coffee breaks." Tess couldn't believe her ears. "You know what, I hear you, but you are making excuses. We don't want excuses. We simply want you to tell us what you are going to do to not let this happen again. That's all we want, we just don't want anybody else to suffer." He didn't say anything. "Silence is not an answer." In that moment, Tess felt tired and disillusioned, completely dissatisfied. Her only consolation was being clear to him that he had done harm. She looked him straight in the eyes and told him beseechingly, that in his soul this was not why he was a physician. Something was missing for him that day. The lesson for Tess in that experience was the question she asked herself in reflection, "How many times have I been part of a process that's been that way?" It was humbling to her. Tess felt unhinged somehow after that experience, like all her knowledge of appropriate medical practice and all her experience in clinical settings left her with none of the power to insure her mother's safety. She felt powerless. And in that powerlessness, an enormous sense of guilt. How could the medical system so utterly fail her mother. How could a system, one that provided Tess with her livelihood, one that Tess worked within so diligently, how could that system, that institution, inflict that much pain? Tess' emotional wounds had healed somewhat from the experience, but still she felt a tender ache, familiar in her chest. Her sense of fairness and justice provoked, leaving that spot in her chest always a little raw, biting. This 157 was also what fired her desire for ethical dietetic practice, for always doing right by her patients. And it was with this desire that she offered the Buchanan article, wanting to say, 'Look! Look at what science does to people! Look at the pain that is done in the name of science! And, now look hard for alternatives.' Like Muriel Rukeyser asking her readers to hold a mirror up to our histories. Who will not be implicated in this practice we call science when we hold a mirror up to our histories? Tess imagined that mirror before her eyes suddenly shattering with the thoughts of what she did to patients early in her career. She sought redemption and reconciliation for those artless transgressions. She knew better now and she attempted to construe her agency by teaching the dietetic students a different way, by initiating them in a manner that fostered continuity between theory and practice, between the heightened expectations and the myriad realities of dietetics. This was her hope, her desire. It was the least she could perform. She used that experience as a reminder to her to follow her gut, to trust her intuition, and to listen to her heart - all of which were not encouraged in a clinical nutrition text. That was why the Buchanan article was so important to Tess. She wanted to believe that dietitians had more power than they thought, but it was not how they were prepared to come to their work whether it was in clinical or community settings. She thought about what this negative interpersonal energy did to patients, did to her patients in that ICU. She wondered about the impact of a healing touch that was the antithesis of what she was trying to promote as a clinician-educator. Those relationships were caustic. How did that energy preclude healing and wellness? What was it about the scientific method that obliterated the relational, the human dimension? Tess intended to bring these questions to the surface with her students by using Buchanan's text as an exemplar. She would ask the students, 'Was the scientific method meeting their needs?' "I'm so mad right now, I could scream!" Jacqui was reading an e-mail message from Tess. Both of them along with all the other dietitians in Canada had received a message from their national association sent in response to recent research that suggested deaths attributable to obesity and overweight had been overestimated in the past. The broadcast e-mail insisted that despite the revised statistics, dietitians should continue to promote weight 158 loss for those who were overweight and obese. The message deeply offended Jacqui and those of her colleagues whom had a radically different view of the issue. They discovered a long time ago that it wasn't really what people weighed, it was how active they were that determined their risk for early death and disease. Jacqui had been embroiled in a long-standing debate around this issue with the national association. Receiving the e-mail was for Jacqui like being poked in the eye with a stick. It made her irate. She replied to the message, copying it to Tess, Ariana, and Gabrielle, her most ardent supporters and asked the sender to provide references for her message. She received no reply. Jacqui sent another message. This time she was asked to move her concerns to a web-based discussion board so that all dietitians could participate. Jacqui felt silenced and brushed off, but no less irritated. "I can't believe they want you to use that stupid discussion board. It's just ridiculous," Tess wrote. "I'm just drafting my message now, but I have to calm down first. This is just so out of hand what they have done here." Jacqui felt a small measure of relief knowing that she was not the only one who had had a reaction of outrage. This comfort made writing her reply to the national association somewhat possible, like a little breeze blowing away the morning fog. She could see clearly. Her letter began with, "I'm deeply concerned with the content of the backgrounder you sent to all members. In effect, you are saying that dietitians, the most trusted source of information on the science of nutrition, should ignore the emerging science that has been presented to us by Flegal, et al. (2005). I've been making this point over and over for several years now in many different professional contexts and communications. When I read blatantly erroneous and biased information of the variety you have presented as fact to members, I feel a sense of unease, a profound sense of unease. I believe your intentions are to insure that the good work of dietitians continues to support the health of Canadians. Instead, this information promotes fat discrimination, oppression, and shaming. We are doing harm when we practice dietetics in a way that promotes weight loss for all those whose body mass index is above 25. It is wrong. Anyone who is aware of the data refuting the claims you have shared would be outraged. But I suspect, as usual, I'm the only one who has raised this as a concern. And, as usual, I suspect nothing 159 will be done. I've decided not to post anything to the discussion board, as this is tantamount to pushing my concerns to the margins of debate. I'm still at a loss as to where the information you shared is cited. There are no references. It seems you are asking me to accept those statements as truth claims. I will not doit." Knowing that it was a strongly worded message, Jacqui decided not to send it right away, but to leave it in her 'drafts' folder until the morning. She had a hard time sleeping that night. So many thoughts spun through her head. The most pressing being, 'You should just quit this profession. Just quit. Walk away. Relieve yourself of this angst. You have a choice. Choose not to engage in this madness.' And then, a tempered response, 'If you were to leave now, all your research into the experience of dietetic education and possibilities for change would be for not. If you're not a member of the profession, why would the profession listen to you about your research? You need your job. You can't work without the insurance you get so inexpensively by being a member of the association. You are trapped. You have no choice. Maybe you can make a difference. Eventually, your work will reach the right person and changes to the way dietitians are educated will be made. Don't give up.' And then a third voice, tempered by years of therapy. 'Why are you so self-righteous? Why so angry? You don't have to respond like this. You are not a victim. Remember your power, your inner flow.' It was this maddening debate that kept Jacqui fully awake until 1:30 am when she heard Evyn call for her nighttime feeding. Jacqui carefully got out of bed as to not disturb Kelly and made her way to the kitchen to warm Evyn's bottle. Feeding Evyn was a welcomed distraction. As she picked Evyn up and rubbed her warm back, thoughts of professional associations vanished and Jacqui was deeply present with the sleepy, hungry soul of another. "Hi, Tess. Is now still a good time to talk?" Dani felt awkward now. It was much easier to complain to Dr. Taylor about Tess than to speak to Tess directly. "Yep. Come in." Tess had borrowed an office to meet with Dani since she didn't have a space of her own. The shelves were lined with nutrition journals of every variety, certainly not the reading material Tess 160 preferred. Thankfully, she was not here to read. Dani entered, closed the door, and sat in one of the chairs facing Tess. Tess felt the seriousness of their meeting accelerate with the closing of the door. Perhaps she should ask Dani to leave it open, but maybe she had something personal that she wanted to share with Tess. "What's on your mind, Dani?" Dani could tell from the look on Tess' face that what she was about to say would come as a surprise. She almost reconsidered. "Yeah, well, anyway, I just need to give you some feedback about the course." "Hmmm. Go ahead, yes. Feedback is great." "I was pretty surprised to get my mark back from our first assignment. I was sure I had done exactly what you requested of us. Well, I really don't think that the information we are covering has any real use to us as dietitians. It's just, well, it's a waste of time." "Oh." "I spoke with Dr. Taylor about it and she said I should tell you, too. I just wish we could cover more stuff that was important and it just seems like you are making it up as we go, I mean, there are no learning objectives, so how are we supposed to know what to learn?" Dani was letting it all slip out now. Tess sat back in her chair. Her smile faded. "I realize that the readings may seem a bit obscure, Dani. Part of what you may be responding to is my teaching style and that's fine. And part of it may be the strangeness of the content. Would you say that's a fair assessment?" "No, it's just, you know, what's the point? How is this theory stuff even remotely related to being a dietitian? I go in, I share my nutrition knowledge, and that's it. Done. What difference does it make 161 whether I work from the science model or whatever? I just don't see the relevance really." "Dani, it might be hard to put the connections together right now, but I ask that you give it some time. Just try to stay open and see what happens. Actually, your questions remind me of my colleague, Jacqui. She is coming in for a class next month. She wrote a chapter about a course she took as a dietetic undergrad and she had a very similar response to you, I think. Now, what was it called? Something to the effect of 'Like Cold Water or a Kiss,' yeah, something kinda off-beat. I have the book here." Tess reached in her bag for the book Jacqui had given to her to read during their last cup of tea together. "It's actually Jacqui's copy, but I don't think she'd mind me lending it to you. Just bring it to class next week. You might even want to ask Jacqui about it when she joins us. Now, I haven't read the entire thing, but I think your experience may be very similar to hers. I invite you to give it a read and then let's meet again after next class. Would that be OK?" Dani looked at the title 'Home Economics Now: Transformative Practice, Ecology, and Everyday Life.'47 "But this is about home economics." "Yes, it is. Dietetics originated from home ec." "Hmmm. I didn't realize that. So, you want me to read this article?" Dani sounded entirely sceptical. "I think that would be a good start. Let's meet again next week after class. I want to know what you think about Jacqui's experience. And do you have your assignment with you? I'd like to take a look at it to remind myself of how I marked it." Dani pulled out her assignment, now looking a little dishevelled. They spent the next fifteen minutes going (Gingras, 2004) 162 over Dani's work and afterwards, Dani had a much better sense of what Tess was looking for in terms of ideas. Tess even decided to increase her mark modestly after getting a clearer understanding of Dani's perspective on the assignment - an understanding that could only come from talking to her face to face. The text, any text constrained at times, cobbled understanding, handcuffed the reader and writer, making it difficult to carry on with the daily activities of life. Tess understood these marks were vitally important to undergraduates and she also understood how that had come to be. Marks and the overemphasis on their importance were just another part of a structure that objectified students, quantified their humanity. Tess wished it was less so, but she also realized that she didn't have the energy or the time to do anything to change it. Once Dani left, Tess reflected on the chain of events that Dani had put into play with her conversation with Alice. Tess wondered when or if she would be hearing from Alice. She tried not to think too much about the implications, the consequences of doing what she was doing pedagogically. Tess knew that her intentions were sound and defensible even though she didn't relish the thought of having to defend those intentions. The negative thoughts were there, but she tried to ease her mind out of what was beyond her control and into the present moment. Instead, she shuddered at the thought that it might very well be the beginning of the storm. And, still six more weeks left in the term. How would she get through? "Hey, Dani." Meg was sitting downstairs eating her lunch when Dani walked by after talking with Tess. "Hi." Dani made like she wasn't going to stop and talk to Meg, but then reconsidered, needing someone to commiserate with, someone to share her distress with NUTR 430. "What's up?" Meg asked, shifting over so Dani could sit down beside her. Meg took in the force that was Dani - her Miss Sixty jeans nonchalantly low, exposing her midriff, smooth tanned skin drawn tight across protruding hips, plush pink velour of her Juicy Couture top, zippered down, revealing a snug white Lululemon yoga cami, the pink gloss of her lips, the impossible swing of her long brown hair held back 163 temporarily by a pair of JLo inspired sunglasses. Meg sensed the heady pull of Dani's cultural attire. Conforming, but indifferent. Instantly, Meg felt uneasy, awkward, ugly in her loose fitting cargos, plain T-shirt, and comfortable shoes. She noticed her derivative desire, her impulsive need to accumulate the spectacle of Dani's ease, but Meg knew this body came at a cost. "Oh, God! I just talked with Tess. What do you think of her?" Suddenly, Meg heard Dani's voice take on a conspiratorial tone. Meg's eyes lifted from her corporeal appraisal. Dani was accustomed to having such an effect. She was deliberate in her indifference. Her careful choice of clothes, her exhaustive regime of exercise, and her protracted starvation took an incredible amount of her time and energy. To maintain this existence, the power of being seen, there was no alternative. "What do I think of Tess or the course?" Meg put her apple down in preparation for a defense of both Tess and the course. "Well, both, I guess. I just don't.. .half the time I have no idea what the hell is going on in that course.". "Yeah, its pretty different than our other courses." Meg was reluctant to agree with Dani, but felt certain this was a once offered invitation into Dani's approval, and perhaps her decadent inner circle. Meg understood the capital in being swept up, accepted by Dani with her throng of friends and entirely prolific social life. Meg heard all about it from one of her roommates who partied with Dani's friends. Meg was feeling a bit of an outcast, the good girl, but unsure if she wanted it any other way. Meg said nothing, resumed eating her apple, and Dani kept talking. "I just wish she would be a little more clear about everything, anything. I did crap on my first assignment. I thought it would be easy. Sucks for us that Dr. Taylor had to take a research leave this term, our last term before applying for internships. What a pain!" As Dani got more emphatic, Meg felt her words cowering in response. She really wanted to get an internship, too. Unlike Dani, she did pretty well on the first assignment. Meg knew she should say 164 something, but what? "Uh, have you talked to Tess?" "Yeah, I had to cause Dr. Taylor isn't going to do anything about it." "What did Tess say?" "She just sat there and then gave me this stupid chapter to read from this ridiculous home ec book. What a waste of time." "Oh. What are you going to do?" "Well, I can't just blow it off, can I?" Dani was really irritated and found Meg completely unhelpful, unsupportive. "No, I guess not. Um, yeah, I don't know." "Anyway, I gotta go. I guess I'll see you in class." Dani had checked out of their conversation. She correctly assumed she would find no sympathetic accomplice in Meg. She gathered her bag, her lithe body, and made her departure, barely acknowledging Meg's reply. "Yeah, see ya." Megs voice trailed off as she watched Dani leave through the front doors of their building. A slow ebb of loneliness shadowed Meg. She wondered how she could be surrounded by so many people and still feel so alone? Are others feeling this way? Why did she find it so hard to connect with people? Meg picked up her bag, threw her apple core in the garbage nearby, and left through the same doors as Dani. She decided it was time to reach out and she had been thinking about joining the women's centre 165 on campus. She was tired of walking through life as if a ghost. It was time to explore the world outside of dietetics for a change. It was time to do something meaningful. Her spirits lifted just slightly at the promise of making a difference for someone. It was just not going to happen here. October 21 Dear Judith, It's this very notion of subjection that has me in a knot today. You ask, 'How is it, then, that the longing for subjection, based on a longing for social existence, recalling and exploiting primary dependencies, emerges as an instrument and effect of the power of subjection?' Am I to understand that in becoming a socially recognizable subject, through language, of course, I am immediately exploited by that longing, and position myself as an instrument of (self) abuse? I deem this a hermeneutical wager thus; I cannot be inside the question and outside at the same time. Who then, asks the question in a fashion that is not constituted by the questioner's power, exploiting the question for her own purposes? The asking of the question cleverly demands an attention to the subject, instantly gratified recognition in the very asking of the question. Thus the response to the question is irrelevant. It is the asking that matters, that determines to some significant extent ontologically, a subject wrought by some uncertain form of twisting. It is the asking that marks the subject as submissive, a mandatory submission, and at the same time, an instrument of power. It is the asking that signifies the subject's desire to be recognized and at the same time initiates the subject's subjection. In your words, 'the double aspect of subjection appears to lead to a vicious circle: the agency of the subject appears to be an effect of its subordination.' A referential paradox, you say, we must refer to that which does not exist. Judith, bear with my attempts to play out the wager. Who am I asking and at the same time being asked? What possibility for agency exists if the question of how to resist the subordination is not asked and in the not asking, the subject does not reiterate its own subjection? So goes the object of desire. As the object 166 goes, so goes the source of love. But there is no agency without passionate attachments, even if those attachments are destructive. Oh, you disagree. If in acting the subject retains the conditions of its emergence, this does not imply that all of its agency remains tethered to those conditions and that those conditions remain the same in every operation of agency. Well, as you suggest, this presupposes discontinuity between the power that initiates the subject and the power that the subject wields. I turn my focus reflexively towards my own education as a dietitian. This, you say becomes the precipitating condition of subject formation, a primary longing in recoil. And of this longing, I derive solace. But how might I describe the power of initiation as discontinuous from the power of reiteration? In the very writing of this letter I make that enabling break between the two. I've appropriated the power that initiates so that I might use it against what makes that assumption possible. The power is altered, you insist, and is able to retain and resist that subordination. And, the agency, my agency is bound in ambivalence. I feel ambivalent towards my dietetic practice. I want to leave. I need to stay. Melancholia and passion. The subject eclipses the condition of its emergence; it eclipses power with power. I become that ambivalence linguistically at first and then as an individual. A theory of subject should take into account the full ambivalence of the conditions of its operation. Have my acts already been domesticated in advance? You tell me that the subject cannot quell the ambivalence by which it is constituted - an ambivalence reiterated at the heart of agency. Painful and promising. Already-there and yet-to-come. I make myself an object for reflection, my desire is regulated, through my grief I come to understand what I can accomplish, and I reach the edge of my reflexivity. Here I am. So why do I feel so sad? In-consolable, Jacqui "I really need some support today." Tess had needed support for some time, but her need was becoming 167 urgent and she couldn't ignore it any longer. "Is that OK with others?" Carly checked in with the group before starting with Tess. She knew that one of the ways supervision was successful was if the people involved truly felt they were guiding the direction of the group. This was a skill for a facilitator, to be open, yet guiding at the same time. "I think it's really important we provide some time and space for Tess." All heads nodded in agreement with Ariana. The rest of the women sat back as Tess leaned forward and began to speak. "I must begin by saying that the teaching is going really well. I'm loving it. Loving the chance to just offer these students something a little different. A space for them to consider what it is they're getting into. It's such a wondrous experience. And at the same time, there is resistance, I find the resistance so intense, so deafening. It scares me. I think I'm most threatened by the resistance." "If the resistance were a person, what would it say to you?" Carly was venturing into a dramatic space, a performing space. Tess was wary. "Uh, hmmm. I'm not sure." "Try not to think, try not to analyze too carefully, Tess. See what comes out when you inhabit or personalize that resistance." Carly reassured Tess and at the same time urged her to take a step into the unknown. "Well, it says, 'What's the point of this nonsense? We don't need to learn this stuff." "OK. Good. That also sounds like what some students might say. Try to really speak to the resistance, the essence of resistance as if it were a person. Give the resistance a voice." Tess took a breath and looked like she might refuse Carly's invitation. Instead her resistant double said, 168 "I'm not going to do it. I'm not. I don't feel safe learning this stuff. I don't want to know. I don't care. This isn't what my job is about. Nobody told me. Nobody warned me. I think it's ridiculous." Tess' usually serene demeanour was now surprisingly fiery, fierce. She stepped in fully to the resistance. She played it out. Carly went along, "What's so ridiculous about learning?" Tess was contemptuous, biting, "What's so lovely about having your entire life turned upside down and watching everything you have ever learned turned into lies? You tell me."48 Ariana joined in, "And what is the truth?" Tess turned her head suddenly towards Ariana, not expecting to hear from her, yet willing to engage. "The truth hurts, Ariana. You should know that." Gabi looked worried. "This is starting to feel weird." "Let's play it out a little further. Remember, Tess is taking on a character. It's not Tess. It's a character Tess is playing." Then turning away from Gabi, she directed her next pointed question to Tess' resistance character, "Do you have a name? What do you call yourself?" "I'm Bitch!" "Oh, OK. So, Bitch, what do you think about Tess' teaching?" (Lather, 1991, p. 155) 169 Jacqui thought the question was taking them into frightening possibilities. Her heart began to pound in her chest. Tess was courageous, storming into the performance, deeper and deeper. "It's bullshit." Tess stood like she couldn't bear sitting with herself. A force in her body willed her up as an attempt to distance herself from this outlandish Bitch. "Really? What makes you say that?" "It's a joke. She is fooling herself if she believes she's going to mount some kind of epistemological revolution. It's a superficial, half-hearted attempt, really. It's embarrassing to be part of it." "Oh, so you're somehow implicated in this? For what purpose are you involved?" Carly inquired. "Don't patronize me." Tess spoke with uncharacteristic venom and disdain for Carly's question. Carly was vaguely surprised with how quickly and authentically Tess had immersed herself as 'Bitch.' She made a mental note to ask her if she had ever done anything similar in the past. For now, though, Carly attempted to enlarge the cast of this performance. Looking to the other women, she asked, "Does anyone have questions for Bitch?" Gabi smiled nervously, but said nothing. Ariana, ever a dramatist ventured in with her question, "Where do you live?" "I live here" Tess pointed instantly to her forehead and less certainly to her gut. "How long have you lived there?" "Too long to remember." 170 Jacqui tentatively asked, "What do you think of Tess being here in this supervision group?" "It's fine. I'm humouring her. She insists that she wants to be here and that she likes you women for reasons I will never understand." Tess smiled and Gabi laughed, an unnatural anxious shrill. Ariana as devious foil, "You're right. That kind of relationship, my friend, you will never fully understand." Carly was pleased with how the activity, the psychodrama was playing out. It had raised some interesting dynamics within the group. She wanted to hear from Gabi. "Anything to ask, Gabi?" Gabi stammered, "Uh, no, not really. No." The thought of interacting with this unknown terror was too much for her to comprehend. "I have something to say to Bitch." Ariana, looked strangely serene, her eyes not leaving Tess, spilled her statement slowly, tenderly vying with the demon to which she was no stranger. "I love you." Tess looked hard at Ariana, but said nothing. "I love you," Ariana repeated. "And, I will always love you." Tess looked like she might respond, but the words caught in her throat. The hard edge of Bitch, the tightening of Tess' jaw loosened, just barely perceptible. "Put down your weapons. Let them go. Be here with us." Jacqui had imagined Bitch to be carrying all sorts of harming devices - knives slashing out at people, trying to keep them away, but sometimes drawing blood. And, most often cutting Tess up from the inside. "What do you know of these weapons?" Tess finally spoke. 171 "We know all too well of these weapons." Ariana stood, tentative, her eyes still locked on Tess, took two > steps forward, now immediately before her. Ariana, her diminutive and undaunted frame in sharp contrast to Tess', tall, even more giant in her dominant Bitch persona. Then Ariana carefully reached for Tess' hands and raised them to her mouth and with the most tender of motions, kissed them together and held them still to her lips. Jacqui, Gabi, and Carly watched as Bitch softened, melted almost, in Ariana's brave embrace. Carly carefully guided the performance to a new dimension. "OK, Tess, just notice what is happening now in your body, in your head, in your gut. Ariana, don't move. Both of you be still and simply notice." After several seconds, Carly asked, "What are you noticing now, Tess?" Tess started to talk, her voice caught, and then started over with tears streaming down her face. "I notice a loosening, a tension, a tightness, a release of those." "Ariana, what are you aware of now?" "My heart is racing. My palms are wet. God, so sorry about that, Tess." Ariana smiled. Through her tears, Tess also smiled, waves of relief washed over them, over all of them. Carly, spoke to Tess and Ariana, "Just stay there for another moment." Then to Gabi and Jacqui, "Alright, I would like the two of you to join Tess and Ariana in the making of a human sculpture." Jacqui immediately rose. Gabi, more reluctant, muttered, "Huh?" "Come on Gabi. Give it a try." Jacqui urged, standing beside Ariana. "Without thinking too much about what to do, simply offer the sculpture started by Tess and Ariana what 172 you believe it needs, what they need, and what you need." Gabi stood and joined Jacqui already trying to arrange herself somehow as a human chair for Tess to rest upon. Gabi was clearly bewildered and felt like an outcast. She stood, pondered the three, stepped back, circled, then in an act of faith, moved in close behind Ariana, and offered her hands as a support to Ariana's elbows. Ariana rested her arms in Gabi's open palms. "Wow!" Carly finally stood. "Magnificent! OK, I'm going to touch each of you one at a time and I want you to say the first word that comes to mind." Carly bent to touch Jacqui's shoulder. "Willing." Carly moved around to touch Gabi. "Perplexed." Tess. "Disoriented." Ariana. "Relieved." Carly slowly repeated each word, offering them back to the women, "Relieved, disoriented, willing, perplexed. Relieved, disoriented, willing, perplexed. Such lovely contradictions. OK, carefully disengage with the sculpture, but continue to attend to your innermost thoughts and feelings and quietly take your seats." The women extricated themselves from the sculpture and dutifully returned to their chairs and took a collective breath. Carly was busy gathering paper and pens out of her tawny leather attache. She began to distribute these to each of the women. "OK. That was most stunning. I would like to dedicate the next 10 minutes to free-writing. Just put pen to paper and let the words flow. Do not lift that pen! Then we'll close today's session with a checkout and you can share some of what you wrote, too. Sound OK?" Jacqui was already busy writing, questions flooded her thoughts, pen whirled into response. She wrote, 'What is the resistance that we all have living within us? How might we love her? Who among us is brave enough to say those first loving utterances? In all my heart, I was fearful of that Bitch, the stranger unknown to me, yet the way we see the other is connected to the way we see ourselves. The other is ourselves as the stranger.'49 She wrote and wrote, thirsty for words, leaning on Ben Okri, his text springing forward to support her questions. Was she other to herself? Her writing had her in flight and all at once her heart was full. Since the beginning of her research, Jacqui was preoccupied with the question of what was it that dietitians do. During the second research workshop, much to her delight, the conversation turned to this particular topic. Michelle said, "Well I talk about food!" Nancy explained that she teaches people how to eat healthy. "At least that's what I tell my kids!" After these light-hearted responses, the conversation took a more serious tone. Corine stated soberly, "I'm not convinced we really know what works. I've been caught up over the years in defending what I do. We need outward recognition cause something inside is lacking. And is it because we don't know who we are and what our worth is as dietitians?" Corine's question was met with only silence. Corine spoke again, this time more vehemently. "What is our role now as something that we can agree on as a group? What is the broadest and most general statement about our role? Because I'm not convinced we know." Jacqui wondered aloud, "Can our role be defined like that? Is there a collective story about what it is that we do? I'm not sure such a thing exists." (Okri, 1997) 174 Pauline had brought as her artefact the Core Competencies for Health Promoters from the University of Toronto's Health Promotion Program. "These core competencies lean more towards the kind of work I'm doing now, but they're not competencies I gained through my education. Definitely again its leading me away from the unique contribution of a dietitian." Angela remarked about the defensiveness in their posture. "We can't help people change their behaviour. Like many physicians, we're going through an existential identity crisis. They can't help people change their behaviour either, which is why they're defending their territory so powerfully. We are trying to defend our territory, too, but we don't have as much power and there are fewer of us doing it." She paused before adding, "We're powerless at helping people change their behaviour. We don't have the skills to facilitate that process." Jacqui listened to this passage over and over, noticing how conversations about food and teaching others about food had turned to serious admissions of their powerlessness and how this perhaps coincided with an identity crisis. She wondered how they had been educated into their heads, their sad enumerations, and out of embodied ways of being dietitians. Could such a being exist - dietitian being instead of dietitian doing? According to her colleagues, dietitian being was an experience worth considering since things didn't quite add up anymore. 175 Chapter Eight Suggestions, possibilities, provocations, hints, and hopes and glancing blows luring our speech out into the open.50 Week 8: October 26, 2005 Tess was rushing that morning. Her insistence that class start on time was going to make a hypocrite of her. Too much. She had been trying to do too much. Thinking she had lots of time, Tess lingered over the newspaper, became lost in memories of her group supervision experience, and feelings of vulnerability. How could she have said those things? Before she realized the time, Zoe had bounded downstairs, desperate to have a shirt button reattached and Michael, in his dismal attempts to prepare breakfast had started the smoke detector with burned toast. Calm to chaos in sixty seconds. She escaped the madness relatively unscathed and dropped Zoe off at school, insisting all the while that car rides to school were not to be expected in the future. She remembered Zoe's laughter as she slammed her door and loquaciously parted with, "Yeah, right, mom. Whatever." Now, Tess was run-walking from the parkade to the class. Her dress, coat, and scarf all flared out in her wake, while the fine mist of rain reminded Tess of her forgotten umbrella. What a mess! As she breezed into the room, she immediately noticed the quiet. And then she realized why. Alice was sitting in a chair in the far front corner. Tess' heart skipped a beat. "Good morning, Tess. Glad you could join us." Alice was attempting some sort of brandishing humour. Tess felt humiliated and undone. "Well, what a lovely surprise." Tess drew herself up, attempting to recapture some semblance of composure. "To what do we owe the honour of your presence, Dr. Taylor?" (Jardine, 1998, p. 139) 176 The students were visibly intrigued by the exchange, noticeably silent, like recalcitrant children in the room with bickering parents - suddenly sweet, precious, angelic. Tess looked around the room and met their gazes while removing her coat and smoothing her dress. Tess attempted to smooth her worry and anxiety, as well, but those feelings persisted. "I've been meaning to drop by for sometime and when my meeting was cancelled this morning, I thought, wonderful, I'll sit in with you. My good fortune." Tess, mouth dry, still slightly breathless, wished they weren't having this exchange in front of the students. She felt entirely exposed. It was a defining moment. How might she proceed? "Our good fortune, really." Tess attempted a smile. She was sure the students could read through its plasticity. Tess quickly thought about what they would be discussing for today's class. Oh, God! The ethics of authenticity. Great. Tess began a silent inner monologue. 'OK, breathe. Put down your weapons. Step into your creativity. Embrace resistance. She is sitting right here with all of you. Love her. Love her fiercely.' "Alright everyone, I'd like to spend most of today's class discussing Martinez's article. How about we arrange ourselves into groups of three and Dr. Taylor, you can join in, too, as will I, like before. Let's spend about fifteen minutes just getting a sense from each other what the article is about, what Martinez is trying to say and then coming up with one question we could ask Martinez as if he were actually here. OK? So, there should be about ten questions for you to share with the class. Each group will write their question on the board and then we will spend the next fifteen minutes attempting a collective response, back in our same groups. So, groups of three. I'll let you know when fifteen minutes is up." Tess immediately joined with two other students and asked them what they thought about the article. She was obliquely aware that Alice was looking around to find herself a group. Everyone else was gratefully busy. For once, Tess found the students' chatter a welcome distraction. 177 Dani was entirely astounded at this turn of events. Her complaining to Dr. Taylor about Tess and the very next class, Dr. Taylor shows up. Wild! She loved the pained expression on Tess' face when she walked in and saw Dr. Taylor. And now, it seemed that the fun was over. Too bad. She glanced over to the student closest to her, motioning her to form a group of two. Dani noticed Dr. Taylor wasn't in a group yet. Yeah, too weird to join with her. Just then Dr. Taylor joined with Meg's group. Dani felt vexed. Frustrated, she turned her attention to a third student milling about the class and impatiently waved her over. Dani attempted to move a desk to make room for her two group mates and accidentally dropped her copy of the article. The pages splayed open. Grabbing it by the staple, she noticed for the first time a quote from an anonymous medical student appearing on an otherwise blank page. 'We are learning when you least expect it.' You've got to be kidding me, she thought. Whatever. After fifteen minutes, Tess excused herself from the two others in her group and stood to address the class. "Alright, let's start getting those questions up on the board." Last minute suggestions and edits were negotiated and students filed up to the front of the room. Chalk in hand, the questions emerged, some borrowed directly from the author's own wonderings. "What should students do if they feel morally traumatized?" "How can dietetic students resolve conflict in a direction that fosters integrity?" "What does the author mean by The intrinsic values and the activities of professions define the profession'?" "What happens when institutions and individuals are not united in moral priorities?" "What happens when student goals and university goals are different?" "How does the medical/dietetic educational process encourage the creation of artificial persons?" "What changes are required for a view of professional role to include responsibilities of identifying and criticizing institutional moral failure?" "What is the performance of a dietitian in the healthcare theatre?" "What boundaries should we be aware of in dietetic practice?" "What elements are necessary for integrity?" 178 Tess watched the students write their questions on the board and noticed how comfortable she was beginning to feel with the prospect of discussing these complex, ethical concepts. These ideas were important to her and it was in the possibility of sharing some of her thoughts on the ethics of authenticity that Tess' heart began to find it's natural rhythm and her mouth moistened in preparation for speech. "Wonderful, excellent questions. All of them. OK, now if you could reconvene with your same group and I will number you off, one to ten. Work together to prepare a response to that question. And its OK if you are in a group working on a question that you created." Tess assigned numbers and then reconvened with a new group. They were assigned number six, "How does the medical/dietetic educational process encourage the creation of artificial persons?" Her group members were cautious at first then, once the ideas began to flow unimpeded, they energetically took up the task of understanding an artificial person. Tess enjoyed herself in the task and was surprised when a student from another group told her it was time to stop. There was five minutes left in the class. "Oh! OK. Please nominate a scribe in your group to post the question and your response to WebCT. Please post these within the next two days and I will read all of them before our next class. I'll make some final remarks and maybe ask some additional questions of Martinez then as well. Everyone have a scribe?" Heads nodded. "Great." The students made that instant rush to leave. Tess pre-empted their exit. "Two final things before we finish. First, we are now into the second half of the course. You've had one assignment marked and hopefully three reader responses handed in. I would like to dedicate the first ten minutes of our next class to your half-way feedback, so give some thought to what you would like to share with me about that. Second, since we took up our second or third class with Amy's story, I've decided to combine the readings for week nine and ten. Don't worry, you've already read Travers' piece and the 179 other reading is relatively short. So, next week it's Jacqui's 'trust' article and on November 9 , we'll be discussing Gussow and revisiting Travers. I'll also put that announcement on WebCT for a reminder. Then on November 16th, Jacqui will be here to talk about her recent research on dietitian identity, which merges well with Martinez's article actually. Lots of connections. Any questions about that?" "And our second assignment is due when?" "Right, second and final assignment is also due on November 16th." Tess wondered how Alice was interpreting her patchwork, but tried not to let her concerns intensify. She felt vindicated somehow for how the class started. As the students filed out of the room, Alice approached. "Well, that was fun. I really enjoyed that, Tess. Thanks. You are a really great facilitator. I've never really had so much group work during a lecture before." Tess heard less flattering tones in Alice's remarks, but decided to accept them for face value. "You're welcome. I'm glad you could come and get a better sense of what we're up to here. I'm enjoying it immensely." "Great. Glad to hear it. Say, has Dani been to talk to you lately?" "Yes, yes, we just spoke last week." "She seems a little concerned about things, about how things are going for her in this class." "Um-hm." Tess was reluctant to volunteer details of their discussion. Instead she shared that Dani was a very bright, articulate presence in the class and the other students benefited immensely from her 180 scepticism. Alice listened and agreed with her assessment. Seemingly reassured that all was right, excused herself to attend to the multitude of tasks and duties that awaited her attention. Tess, weary, gathered her belongings and felt the weight of her conscience, turned off the lights, and closed the door. With that small click, she realized without a doubt that the storm was upon her and in the quiet walk back to her car she attempted to regain her bearings before the next gale force crashed her sails. Shivering now, being hot then cold, Tess wondered how she might have made it through that class had it not been for her dramatic performance in group supervision only four days earlier. The release of her attachment to others' resistance, which also revealed her own dark force of resistance rooted in her mind and her gut. The activity provided a clear space for her to maintain her own pedagogic integrity. The tension might have otherwise been too much for her to contain. Perfect timing. She was unable to explain the serendipity of it all. Of course, these everyday mysteries were better left unscrutinized. October 30 Dear Judith, I think I need to take a break from our correspondence. It has caused me to start sounding like a pretentious ass. I believe what I need right now is a poem and the excess of its disruptive promise, as you say.51 I will write soon. Until then... In-effective, 51 (Butler, 1991, p. 29) 181 Jacqui Ariana was running as she often did. Just her, alone on a muddy trail, the early morning mist stifling what little noise she was creating; pounding of feet, breath, house key on her shoestring. The mist and the quiet invited her mind to drift, to pick up loose strands of subconscious, like delicately picking one pearl on a strand and lifting that strand out of a box of pearls and jewels, a milky delicacy of thought lifts forth, through the mist. The last supervision meeting. It was curious. What possessed her to stand and offer herself to Tess' Bitch that way, humbled and innocent? Why her? A small grade wretched her focus; more breath, surging legs pushed, up up. Little slip. Oh. Momentum up. There. Ah, stride lengthened. Freely. Her thoughts wandered back to supervision. She thought of shame. She placed a 'shame' slide under a microscope, took a closer look. Shame. Healing their shame. The group of them. Shame from comparing, always falling short of their expectations, shaming others. Weight. Feeling bad about others poor comportment, their indiscretions, their sheer lack of will. Undisciplined. Ignore that they could still be healthy, ignore the research that says fat is not going to kill, turn your face away, just plow on, plow over people, helping in spite of themselves. That's their inadequacy, not ours. We shame. Ours mixes with theirs, the others. Othering is shaming. No chance to heal. Confusion. Sharper corners in the trail, she swerved, faster downhill. Breath, wind, quickened in quiet mist. What was needed, collectively, to heal? To name that wound first, maybe? Say it out loud. Ariana heard her faint voice rehearsing, "I'm ashamed." No, she wouldn't want to do that. But she could write poems, enough to fill oceans, poems about shame. She wrote volumes of poems in her standing to face Tess. Not even thinking. Just standing. Just their two hearts, Ariana's plump with crimson and Tess' Bitch heart, shrunken, withered. A heart of contempt. She wanted their hearts to meet. I love you. Without thinking, just feeling. I love you. Wonder what Carly thought? Yeah. Carly. God, what a splendid distraction! Everything about Carly - the coolness, grace, intensity. Ariana slowed her pace, imperceptible, coming abreast of Carly now. Oh, yes. Aware of her own growing fascination, Ariana trembled, shivered, ran from it, ran faster. Could that be spoken? Ariana whispering, "Carly." Wrapping her lips around the word, "Carly, Carly." Now, just Carly and the seduction 182 of private thoughts. No Tess. No Bitch. No shame. Just Ariana running with Carly, indelibly connected, running through mist and quiet and snap of twig, but no one to hear them. Running home, running to herself. Running through mist and desire. Running fast. And still, the quiet. Ariana, home from her run, needed to clear her mind of Carly by writing through it. In a restless, climactic bout of writing, she articulated her intense attraction. Lines upon lines of words spilled onto pages. She wrote her desire empty, which she had to do. Ariana understood her attraction to Carly was manufactured on a flimsy scaffold of transference, her desire to be seen through that facade of cool grace. And her knowing, her steady wisdom of experience, warned her that to fester desire for Carly would only end badly, messily. And then Ariana thought of Jacqui and her experience at Wellspring and the irony of her identification, of her projection. It was OK, just to let the wanting be known to the page and to release it there. Wave it goodbye. It was OK. Thinking of Jacqui and her project, Ariana was free to create another poem. She telephoned and almost instantly, Jacqui picked up. "Where are you? I wrote you a poem." "What? Really? God, I need it right about now." Jacqui was in a computer lab on campus, writing as fast as she could. The deadline for her first draft was approaching. She had extended the deadline twice already and didn't want to let it slip further. She was adamant about meeting that deadline, doing whatever it took to finish and her creative impulse was growing weak in the face of her unyielding determination. "OK. I'm going to send it by email." Jacqui heard Ariana typing on her keyboard, happy she was going to send it right away. Instant 183 gratification. "Done. So, how's it going?" Ariana asked. "Uh, OK, I guess. Still so much to do. The more I write, the worse it gets. No kidding." "Jacqui, I really doubt that. It must seem like an impossible task, though. I hope my poem keeps you going." "Oh, it's here!" "I'll let you go then. Call me later." Ariana quickly hung up while Jacqui read her poem. Ariana preferred giving a bit of space to let the words linger, plus she had to be at work in twenty minutes. No time left to dally. It had been a full morning already. She grabbed her tattered bag and dashed out the door. As Ariana made her way to work, Jacqui read. One Owner the pen has no enemies and no friends that it knows of it is a see through thunderstone half the time it doesn't credit what it's said yet weird harpie-sharp entity of wise crone and mixed infantry her slim pickings are fullrich it is a digging stick, it spells survival you have to hand it to her, an open ended pen, no dead 184 lines, lucidity, herself again Jacqui had to hand it to Ariana: Time and again, moved by her words, all things became possible. Jacqui was considering quite frequently now, the form her research could take. During the second workshop, Jacqui posed the question to the group, "What do you think this research should be?" She received many creative responses. Doris began by explaining food as a commodity, but that there were limits to how much of that commodity a person could consume in a day. Since profits associated with the sale of food were limited, it encouraged food manufacturers to find innovative ways to increase profit margins or increase consumption. Dietitians were caught in this complex political and economic web manipulated by forces outside the profession. Doris thought that if Jacqui's research could show how tangled they were in that web, it would help move their profession forward. Corine wanted the research to play an expansive role. She imagined video vignettes, human sculpture, and imagery. Corine wondered what would happen if Jacqui asked a group of students just entering dietetics to self-design their curriculum. "What would you want to learn about? What would you think you need to learn to become a dietitian?" Jacqui wondered how different the curricula would be and what might be the purpose of such diversity. Were there many routes to the same destination? Pauline asked for research that is, not does. Nancy wanted to include dietetic students' responses to the question, "How have your experiences shaped you?" as a means for beginning early reflection on dietetic education. Jacqui agreed that this simple act could have significant effects since emotion is constituted in the intersubjective, in self-reflection. Questions such as the one Nancy offered could create a shift towards the emotional in the dietetics classroom, the critical emotional, feelings borne through the coming to know oneself. Then the idea from Angela that had intrigued Jacqui the most. "There's a technique that's used in counselling circles. It's called a reflective group. It's made up of about six people observing an interaction 185 taking place between a client and her therapist. After they finish, the observers take centre stage and talk about their experience of witnessing. It can be profoundly shifting. Extending that, having a group of dietitians talking about similar things we are discussing in this workshop amidst a group of dietitians who are simply observing the process. Then the witnessing group would share their experiences and possibly themes they heard. You could even script some dialogue to initiate the process." As she talked, Angela drew two circles, one inside the other with arrows indicating the movement of people between them. Jacqui considered the transformative potential of such a performance. She knew these suggestions, possibilities, provocations, hints, and hopes were luring their speech out into the open. The question remained, how might she textualize such activities for her dissertation? 1 8 6 Chapter Nine Emotion.. .is constituted in the intersubjective: it is constructed in interaction between people and in our self-reflection. When we reach an understanding of common social meanings of events, we are able to use this knowledge to understand others' experience.52 Week 9: November 2 Meg sat in class and waited for Tess to begin. Her mind wandered to last class and how tense it was for her to watch Dr. Taylor greet a flustered Tess. She supposed that Dani knew her part in orchestrating that tension. The irony of the politics were obvious to Meg. Here they were in class talking about the greater political forces exerting pressure on dietitians and at the very same time, Tess was living out the experience. Meg wondered if Tess had made a similar rueful connection. At least in watching it play out from the sidelines, Meg was sure to learn even more than Tess intended, the unspoken curriculum. Meg had taken classes with Dr. Taylor in the past. She knew the vast difference in teaching styles between Tess and Dr. Taylor. She actually preferred Tess' open, unstructured approach to Dr. Taylor's lecturing format. Meg found the space that Tess provided to accommodate and foster her personal interest in the subjects. She wondered if it would make a difference if Tess was teaching clinical nutrition or nutrition assessment, courses associated more with a didactic style. It was hard to know. Not that she hadn't done well in those courses, it was just that she was excited to be learning in a more participatory manner. She had been glad for the opportunity to be in Tess' class. She was glad to have had a different experience at least once before she graduated. She was inspired to take risks here and to truly think about what kind of professional she wanted to become. Tess began, "Good morning, everyone. Hello." The chatter subsided just slightly. "I just wanted to let you know I've placed your questions and answers from last week on WebCT. I really enjoyed reading your (Crawford et al., 1992, p. 9-10) 187 responses to the questions. Thank you for the time you put into that. For those of you planning to write the final exam instead of a term paper, you will definitely want to take a look at the information on WebCT. I will be choosing at least one or two questions from that bunch. And for those choosing a final paper, you may also want to take a closer look at that for topic ideas. I would think two or three of those concepts could be woven together quite nicely for a paper. We could talk about that more on an individual basis. E-mail me anytime." Just as Tess finished her introductory remarks, Dani walked in. She appeared not at all apologetic. Tess looked over at her and said hello, but Dani did not respond. The brief exchange raised nervous feelings in Meg. Given what she knew, it was like Dani was trying to make a statement to Tess. 'I will come and go as I please. At least that much I can control.' Control. Meg wondered how much of this was about control. Probably a lot. Tess watched Dani take her place in the back, and the disturbance it created when chairs and bags were moved to allow her to pass. Tess noticed her slight irritation with Dani and tried to remember that she, too was struggling with power and regulation. The two of them had much in common. What was going on for her? Tess imagined having Dani's inner critic, her double perform in character. The vision of such a performance immediately evoked a tenderness in Tess for Dani. It was hard to want things a certain way, your way. Tess took up her ideas for the day's class. "Alright. Trust. Let's talk about trust, shall we. First, what did you think and feel after reading Jacqui's paper?" Meg had been looking forward to talking about this paper. She raised her hand. Tess didn't need to see Meg's hand to know she would have something to contribute. As if by instinct now, a familiar pattern, "Yes, Meg, please go ahead." "Um, yeah, I have a couple questions about this one. Like, why the poem, why all the psychoanalysis 188 stuff? If we want to do nutrition counselling, how are we supposed to know this stuff? And, what about all the dietitians out there doing nutrition counselling who don't have a clue about psychology?" "It seems the author is trying to do too much with this piece and it ends up sounding really self-righteous, angry even. There's a lot there." "What's Third Space?" "Why shouldn't clients trust dietitians? I don't get that." "I had no idea that Dietitians of Canada accepts funding from pharmaceutical companies. That's pretty insane." Tess was not surprised by how the students were responding to the trust article. She remembered when Jacqui showed it to her the first time and her feedback at the time was to take up one or two strands and elaborate on that. What ended up getting published was pretty close to what Jacqui had shown her in early drafts. It was an ambitious undertaking. So, where to begin. "OK, I really like your questions and yes, the article raises many different issues, illustrated through the use of poetry, virtue theory, philosophy, and ethics. Let's start with ethics. This issue has come up before. The issue with Xenical. Why is it..." Dani interrupted Tess, "Why didn't the author publish this in the DC Journal?" "Another excellent question to which I will respond with a question, Why do you think it should have been published there?" "It obviously deals with an issue related to Canadian dietetic practice. The author names DC as an unethical association. Has Jacqui heard anything from DC about this article?" 189 "What might you expect her to hear, Dani?" "Well, I would think DC would be pretty irate to see this in print." "So, why would they agree to print it in their journal?" Dani shrugged. "The interesting thing is that Jacqui did send this paper to the DC Journal and the editor refused to send it out for anonymous review. So, there is some controversy here. Despite the editor's efforts to prevent this article from entering academic discourse, you can see that those efforts were foiled." To share inside information with the students had created a heightened interest in the article. Tess' description of the publication process had the article looking like it was some kind of rebellious older cousin of all the other published pieces the students have ever read. Tess noticed the students' attention, their rapt silence. She continued. "Does everyone understand what Jacqui is trying to convey with the accusation of conflict of interest?" There was no response to Tess, so she attempted to bring the strand more clearly into view for the students. She picked up a piece of chalk. "Jacqui takes up the issue most deliberately starting on page sixty-five, section six. Could someone please read to me her definition of conflict of interest? Let's start there." Tess turned to the board, chalk in hand, arm raised, poised to write. "Yep, OK, 'A person is in a conflict of interest situation if she is in a relationship with another in which she • has a moral obligation to exercise judgment in that other's service and, at the same time, she has an 190 interest tending to interfere with the proper exercise of judgment in that relationship.' That's from Davis, 1982." As Meg read, Tess quickly drew two female figures and a very large dollar sign. Tess labeled each of the symbols and then turned to face the class as Meg finished the quote. "The case for conflict of interest starts with the professional, the dietitian and I will deliberately use the female pronoun since most dietitians are women. She is morally obligated to exercise professional judgement in the service of her client. Full stop. Now, the labels are problematic. Service, client. These words arise out of a capitalist ideology that doesn't necessarily work for everyone, yet they are there. We'll rely on them for now, acknowledging that the discourse is unfavourable. Back to our client-dietitian pair. A conflict arises when the dietitian becomes associated with Roche. She is associated with Roche in two different ways. One is through her national association's receipt of sponsorship funding. Dietitians of Canada's operating budget is supplemented by funds from Roche. And, two through the use of a 1-800 number, physicians prescribing Xenical, can contact consulting dietitians to .work with their patients who are taking Xenical. Now, the dietitian has an interest in receiving those referrals as a potential source of income. One thing you might not be aware of are the ethics of size acceptance. We should really go through that together. The short version is that less and less scientific research really supports the focus on weight loss as a means to health. So, to further complicate matters, dietitians are supporting, by third party association, the use of drugs for weight loss. Yet, as we discussed several weeks ago, remember 191 Amy's story, the scientific research reveals taking Xenical to be wrought with physical and psychological dangers. I ask you, can the dietitian properly exercise her professional judgement in the service of that client?" Silence. Tess waited, looking around the room, wondering what the students were thinking. One responded. "I don't think I really get it. So, the dietitian gets a referral to see a patient, ...client, whatever who is taking Xenical. Isn't that a good thing? Isn't it good that dietitians are helping the client and not someone else less knowledgeable?" "Excellent question. I don't think the problem is with the work that the dietitian does with the client, unless that relationship is influenced somehow by another, potentially conflictual relationship. Is the dietitian grateful for the referral? Yes, of course she is. Does the referral come as an act of disinterested generosity on the behalf of Roche or the referring physician? Of course it doesn't. What does Rawlins say on page sixty-six? 'No drug company gives away its shareholders money in an act of disinterested generosity.'" "But Roche and the referring physician don't give the dietitian money. The money comes from the client. What's the big deal?" "On one hand you are right. The client pays for dietitian services. But don't forget that DC receives revenue from Roche towards DCs operating budget. And we should also acknowledge the work done by Roche to seduce the physician into prescribing its drug and the dietitian into going along with it. Let's see, doctors are given paid vacations, trips to conferences, meals, gifts by drug companies on a regular basis. Dietitians are invited to dinner seminars sponsored by Roche to hear all about the drug's efficacy and safety. If the drug was that helpful, why the extra campaign? Why wouldn't that just come out through RCTs? If dietitians reviewed the literature, like we are taught to do, I agree with Jacqui that we would not 192 be able to support the use of Xenical. Therein lies the second dimension of conflict." "Sounds like a conspiracy!" The students laughed and Tess did, too. She realized that she might be sounding like a conspiracy theorist with her talk. Better pull back just a little while the mood was light. "Ultimately, our good work in society is for not if we can't be trusted. How does accepting referrals and dinners from a pharmaceutical company instil trust in the dietitian?" "I think it's pretty brutal that dietitians are associated with drug companies and with Monsanto and Proctor and Gamble and all of them. Aren't we trying to promote healthy eating? It just doesn't make sense to me at all." Meg was aware of the larger picture. Her comments added credence to Tess' rant. "It's really all about money. The money is coming between the dietitian and her client," she said, motioning back to Tess' drawing. "Yes, it most certainly is, Meg. And, here we are back to capitalism. Can anyone tell me what Jacqui suggests as a solution to this dilemma?" A young woman who sat beside Meg responded, "Non-commercial funding?" "What about increasing the member's fees or providing less services?" added Marci, the quiet student from Tess' small group two weeks ago. Tess had often wondered the exact same thing, "That seems like a really commonsense idea. I have word that member fees are being increased or at least there will be a vote put to the members about an increase, so it will be interesting to see what happens with that. Usually votes and discussions happen at the Annual General Meeting, which is held at the annual conference. Not until the end of May I think. Has anyone ever been to the DC conference?" 193 No one had. "Does anyone belong to the DC student network?" Five students raised their hands. "Who is a student member of DC currently?" Tess saw that about half the class was a student member of DC. "OK. In the last 30 minutes of class time, I have a letter-to-the editor writing activity for you to begin. Each of you will write a brief letter, a response regarding the information that Jacqui has presented in her article. Each of you will address your letter to the Editor of the journal that published Jacqui's article, 'Agricultural and Environmental Ethics.' Typically such a letter will address concerns with the article under consideration-. Pick one concern you have with the article and focus on that. I expect you to eventually send your letters, but at the very least this will comprise reader response four." Dani raised her hand, "Are you going to share these with Jacqui?" Tess thought for a moment then replied, "Would you like to share your letter with Jacqui?" "Uh, I think it would be interesting to get her response, yeah." Dani answered with the tip of her pencil in the corner of her mouth. Tess sensed that Dani was truly interested in getting Jacqui's side of the argument. Tess paused, thinking of what might be accomplished by sharing as part of the class activities. "Hmmm. What about this? If you would like to share your letter with Jacqui, that would be fine, but you are not expected to do so for the purposes of this activity. It's up to you. Any other questions? No? OK. You can 194 decide what you feel is most important to address, what concerns you would like to share, to bring to the editor's attention. You might also want to write your letter as a way to acknowledge something that you agree with in the article or to raise another question. It's like asking, 'I agree that this is important, but have you considered this, which is equally as important?'" Sammi, always the intrepid student asked, "Where do we get the contact information for the editor?" "Definitely go to the journal website and they should have guidelines for 'letters to the editor' that you will want to review before handing in your final copy to me next week. Could make your task just a little easier." Sammi again, "How long does it have to be?" "Right. I'm thinking about 300 hundred words, max. No more than one page. Just focus on one thing you want to say. Remember, I expect you to actually send your letter, it will count as another reader response, and I expect you to write about the process in your final assignment. Since the letter counts as a reader response, please print me a copy for next week. If there are no more questions, why don't you spend the last twenty minutes getting/started? I hope that some of you will share your letters with us at the beginning of next class. I would really enjoy that." Tess finished her description of the writing activity, and hoped as usual that it was clear enough. "I'm tired of doing laundry, Jacq." The apartment was quiet now that Evyn was sleeping. Jacqui had poured two glasses of their favourite Shiraz and handed Kelly hers as she came down the stairs from Evyn's room. This was a special time for the two of them, an important time to reconnect after being apart all day. Jacqui was aware of the 195 sacrifices Kelly was making so she could finish her doctorate. It had been only a few months since Kelly finished her own degree, an undergraduate in Human Geography and First Nations Studies. They had decided together that Kelly wouldn't return to work after her parental leave ended. Instead they were going to try to make it through, financially and emotionally, for Kelly to be a full-time, stay-at-home mom while Jacqui continued on with her private practice and prepared her dissertation. Curling into the corner of the couch, nestled in with Cleo, their once-feral, now overwhelmingly reliant black cat, Jacqui asked, "Do you regret quitting your job?" Jacqui realized her question didn't really attend to the deep layers of Kelly's multiple subjectivities. "No, it's not that. I love being with Evyn more than anything else. It's just really tiring. It's draining." "Yeah, I understand. I know. You are so amazing and steady to do what you do every day. Evyn is such a lucky girl to have you with her. I wish I could be here, too." Jacqui found it difficult to leave the house each morning, turning back to see Evyn waving goodbye. So adorable! When did she learn to do that? Jacqui marvelled at the changes in their life. Only a year ago, still pregnant, waddling around as big and as awkward as a house, complaining with every step. Now, this toddler emerged in their presence. It was all completely wondrous to both of them, wondrous and draining. "Is this what you imagined it would be like?" " Kelly pondered Jacqui's question. "I'm not sure. I didn't imagine there would be so much laundry or dishes! It's endless." "If you could choose between having a washer/dryer or a dishwasher, what would you choose?" Kelly smiled, "Dream big! Well, I would have to say a dishwasher. That would really free up some time from being in the kitchen." 196 "Yeah, I'll say. What is it the parenting books say - when your baby sleeps, that's time for you, downtime. Right! So if you're not doing dishes then, when will they get done?" Kelly got to the heart of her concern. "I'm really worried that you're going to start finding me quite dull. What's so exciting about your partner whose main job in life is washing dishes, doing laundry, cleaning bathrooms, and vacuuming? There are so many other people in your life. People you can have stimulating conversations with, like Ariana or Tess. I'm becoming my worst nightmare. Why did I even bother getting a degree if I can't even carry on a halfway intellectual conversation with you?" Jacqui's brow furrowed. She immediately realized that her going off to write was a luxury and socially viewed as more meaningful, more visible than the intensely difficult, yet abundantly more important work of mothering. This was an interesting quandary they found themselves in, two mothers, one having birthed Evyn being out of the home more than the other. Both mothers being pulled to be home, to be full and equal partners in the parenting of their child. Both of them having so much to offer that baby girl and both of them having so much to learn from her, too. Jacqui reached for Kelly's hand. "Oh, sweetheart! You are incredible; intelligent, funny, loving. You bring our family stability and fill us with love everyday. I know that you will continue on with your education at some point in the future. And, in the meantime, you grace us with your presence. We appreciate you so much!" Jacqui couldn't begin to overstate her deep love for Kelly and their daughter. She realized that for both of them to have parental and academic aspirations was at times daunting, but their mutual love and respect sustained them through the difficult periods. Like when Evyn was seriously ill with a virus, vomiting and diarrhea, becoming dehydrated. They had to take her to emergency where an exceptionally gentle physician told them Evyn would have to get an IV. Mercifully, the nurses encouraged both of them to leave the room while they inserted the needle into the back of Evyn's tiny hand. All Jacqui could remember as she quietly left the room was seeing the bewildered look on her daughter's face as the nurse began to tightly wrap her arm in a blanket, effectively restraining her from flailing it about. They stood in the hallway,.listening to Evyn's crying, both of them feeling utterly powerless, holding each other tight just to keep from falling down. Their bodies wracked with sobs of despair and exhaustion. These were the most difficult of moments when all other obligations were aptly forgotten. Upon returning to Evyn's bedside, seeing that they had to poke her right hand before finding a vein in her left, Jacqui felt an overwhelming sense of guilt at not feeling strong enough to stay with Evyn through it all. She vowed to not leave next time. The nurse having sensed the crash of guilt said, "There's no way you could have comforted her through that. It's not possible and what's worse, she would have wondered why you weren't doing anything to stop us from causing her pain. Best not to be here." Jacqui just nodded as both her and Kelly, one on each side of Evyn's hospital gurney, showered their baby girl with a thousand kisses and sweet murmurs of love. That was perhaps the most difficult experience of her life and the only way she made it through was because Kelly was there to share the anguish. They did it together. The givenness of their family, the unconditional stability afforded by Kelly and her unwavering loyalty, was all Jacqui could have asked for in her life. It was Jacqui's deep intention to reassure Kelly of her gifts and still it didn't seem enough. Could it ever be enough? November 7 Dear Ms. Gingras, I'm writing in response to your article, "Evoking trust in the nutrition counselor: why should we be trusted?" I wondered why the article wasn't published in the DC Journal, but my instructor told me that they didn't like it very much. I guess I can understand why. It's pretty severe. Has DC said anything to you about the article being published in the other journal? 198 My main question is more about your work with eating disorders. Do you think many dietitians have eating disorders? Is that why they become dietitians, to try to figure out food and what to eat? What happens when a dietitian who has an eating disorder tries to advise someone else with an eating disorder? I've been thinking about this for a while now. What would you advise someone who wants to help people recover, but who is really in the middle of his or her own problems with food? Is it really possible to recover from an eating disorder? I read that the success rate is pretty low. I think it would also be harder for dietitians to admit they had a problem since they are supposed to know better. I imagine there is a lot of secrecy about all of it. What do you think? Who can a dietitian trust to give her help with this? How is it possible, as you quote, "to forgive forgiven" for poor choices with food? I don't really understand the part you quoted in section five about "standing in the spaces." What happens when we give up control? Could you explain that further and what is meant by 'Third Space?' I don't really get that concept. I would like to write my final paper on this topic, so if you have any time to respond in the next couple of days, that would be great. Sincerely, Dani Sutherland November 2 Dear Judith, In Undoing Gender,53 you say The Hegelian tradition links desire with recognition, claiming that desire is (Butler, 2004) 199 always a desire for recognition and that it is only through the experience of recognition that any of us becomes constituted as socially viable beings. Yes, I agree that view has its allure and its truth but it also misses a couple of important points since the terms by which we are recognized as human are socially articulated and changeable. And then you add and here is where it becomes complex for me: But if the schemes of recognition that are available to us are those that "undo" the person by conferring recognition or "undo" the person by withholding recognition, then recognition becomes a site of power by which the human is differentially produced. OK. I follow you on each of these accounts. And, given my persisting fixation, I invoke a turn, and following an impulse of integrity I ask you, what might these claims mean as read this through the experience,of being dietitian? Who qualifies as recognizable and who does not? What are the implications? And, what might this mean for feminist phenomenology, the methodological movement of my choosing? First, I thank you for giving me the permission to perplex the common sense of dietetic identity. It took me a great deal of time to render this research as a feminist phenomenology. It seems I was standing in a field of traditions of method and theory, wildly undulating kaleidoscope of colour in the wind like wildflowers, wild methods and theory, each on their own eye-catching and determinate. It was for me to decide among these movements, these swaying flowers (How did they get there in that field? How did I?). In the end, I was bound to distinguish among their norms and conventions that permit people [me] to breathe, to desire, to love, and to live, and those norms and conventions that restrict or eviscerate the conditions of life itself. This choosing between differences in position and desire, not picking the flowers mind you, just me harboured in their essence, set the limits to universalizability as an ethical reflex. It is true, it is right for me, it says much of who I am when I agree that this critique...must be situated within the context of lives as they are lived and must be guided by the question of what maximizes the possibilities for a liveable life, what minimizes the possibility of unbearable life or, indeed, social or literal death.54 And what's also important in this ethical reflex, as you call it, is that it be right and true for those invited to join with me into the process we call research. This aspect is especially important to me. I (Butler, 2004, p. 8) 200 believe I have some sense of accomplishment in this aspect and the proof of this accomplishment is difficult to capture with this alphabet. The proof is in the stories we shared and the feelings we felt. But what of the stories that were not shared? I have some small doubts about this since I could only trust my intuition to sense the withholding that might have gone on and my senses suggest that this did happen from time to time. The silence has so many different meanings and I dare say, the silence says so much, hooks says "Our silence shields us from uncertainty."55 This much might be true. Needless, it is a comp