What is even a poem anymore

•June 11, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Love, they say (whoever they are)

Is a feeling (or so they say)

A yearning (for the gods only know what)

With another (just the loneliest)

That could be taken

By the gods.


But which god of love

Do we mumble prayers for


Eros, easy enough to grasp in the construct of this time, or so they say.

Platonic, eternal love, a concept that is contradictory. Time before time, bothers the logicians.


The sweet whisper of a lover telling you, “open me.”


The knowledge from forbidden tree, worth the bite.


The promise of a goodbye, a selfless love.


Despite the type of god

that we offer fruits for wisps of a promise kept

using words and rhyme to commemorate

a loss and a gain

of a soul that belonged to this earth

for a lapse of time

too short to ever comprehend


sometimes, just sometimes

we encounter those

for what seems like

pained breathes


upon reflecting, we know

not if the memory were a false ideal

or if the memory were real in all

the ways in which reality plays out


Depth isn’t about how much one can recite the Timeous

Depth is a sticky note to a friend, reminding them

That a smile and laugh is all one needs


A whisper in the dark in hopes the messaged will find the ear of a benevolent spirit.

A sweet poem left, or a letter because your memory was on the mind.


When happiness dances in your life, dance.


When pain occurs, endure.

Because happiness is understanding that the pain will soon subside.

At least, that’s what they say.

The old philosophers; those guys love providing unsolicited advice


This blog post is inspired by my exhaustion, by my feelings, and by the part of me that misses poetry. I have done some writing lately, but my philosophical work has not been up to snuff. I need to start working on the various item on the to-do list.

I have some new poetry if anyone is interested. For now, you get my ramblings from the bathroom. The shower was running, and I needed some time to think about all that happened. The earth lost a soul that genuinely looked for wisdom, and that soul is experiencing ultimate consciousness.


Photo on 6-2-17 at 2.45 PM


“To be friends therefore, men must (1) feel goodwill for each other, that is, wish each other’s good, and (2) be aware of each other’s goodwill, and (3) the cause of their goodwill must be one of the lovable qualities mentioned above.” -Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics 


Goosy Flesh

•April 23, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Dearest Reader,



I think it’s important to keep up with the human condition divorced from analytic philosophy in that your girl is out here trying to be poetic.


Have you ever layed in a bed that was as soft as the kiss someone you love leaves on your cheek? Have you ever layed in a bed with someone whose arms make you feel like you’ve just eaten a warm chocolate chip cookie? Whose arms feel like home? It’s a strange feeling especially considering the amount of time it took for those kinds of feelings to transpire. Interpersonally relationships are interesting. One can be with someone for three months and not have the same butterflies someone else makes you feel after three days.


Goodness, have you ever had someone who knew exactly what spots to touch you? And not even physically, but mentally in that one could simply lay on the couch and tell you how much of a hack Dan Denett is?


It feels amazing. When someone’s hands slowly slide up ones leg as if they knew exactly where you wanted to be touched. Or maybe, it might be the case that everywhere they touch is exactly what you wanted. In either case, the feeling that comes to mind is awareness. Being aware that a person can cause your flesh to be all “goosy.” Regardless, when the butterflies stop fluttering I’ll still keep smiling.Photo on 3-19-17 at 11.15 AM #4“I suddenly realised it’s no coincidence the two middle letters of life are if.”
Michael Faudet, Dirty Pretty Things

Rough Drafts

•April 18, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Janelle Gormley

Book review

Word count: 1265

Book Review

In The Case of The Female Orgasm: Bias in the Science of Evolution, Elisabeth Lloyd critiques twenty-one adaptationist accounts regarding the female orgasm by detailing methodological errors, by looking at biased data, and by looking at biased background assumptions including androcentricism.  Lloyd then provides a non-adaptive account called the byproduct view (BV), and Lloyd posits that the female orgasm is physiological.  For this paper, I will detail adaptationism, a few of Lloyds criticisms, and the byproduct account.

Lloyd writes that an adaptation is a trait that is favored (throughout the population), and the trait is selected for the fitness of the population. Providing evidence for an adaptation in evolutionary biology, remarks Lloyd, is not an easy task, so Lloyd provides four criteria to discuss adaptations(Lloyd 2005, 6). For paper, I will only list the criteria instead of describing the criteria. The criteria are as follows: the adaptation must be genetically rooted; the adaptation should contribute to success reproductively; the adaptation must be understood mechanistically in that one has to understand how the trait helped in reproductive success; and the adaptation should be confirmed divorced from the trait in that the adaptation can be tested for presently; however, this form is not always an ethical option (Lloyd 2005, 6).[1]

Lloyd details twenty-one traditional adaptationist views in Bias in the Sciences and criticizes each adaptive account regarding the female orgasm. One criticism is that there are methodological errors within the science regarding female orgasm. The studies provide data from smaller sample sizes, and the data is prone to human error in that face-to-face questioning could promote more bias including lying. Another criticism Lloyd provides is that not only is the data prone to error, but the data does not support the evidence for the adaptive views, views which are androcentric. Androcentrism is male oriented, and the data is used by adaptationists to support views such as male and female sexuality being the same in that females react the same way men do during copulation. Furthermore, the data is used to support accounts such as pair-bonding in that the woman would not leave the man thus creating a bond and providing assurance to the man regarding offspring.

After critiquing the twenty-one adaptive views regarding the female orgasm, Lloyd then argues that the BV is more compatible with the data than the adaptationist views.  The BV, advocated by Donald Symons, is a non-adaptive view. The central claim of BV is that the female orgasm is a byproduct of development in utero. While the embryo is developing, the embryo is chromosomally female until hormones cause the penis to develop. Since the clitoris is embryologically like the penis, the nerve endings also function in the same way in that the nerve endings incite pleasure. The female orgasm is not selected for and is not an adaptation because of the high variability within the data that show the female orgasm does not occur frequently enough during heterosexual copulation. Lloyd cites Symon by explaining that the female orgasm has potential, but the female orgasm is not selected for since the evidence shows that the occurrence of female orgasm has a low frequency during copulation, and the response to sex varies across the data further supporting the byproduct account. The byproduct account is a more favorable view because adaptations require a genetic component, help with reproductive success, shown that the orgasm helped with reproductive success, and finally the orgasm must be replicated in further experiments. The data does not adhere to the methodology.

In further experiments, Lloyd describes that when seven hundred women were tested, a sample of the women orgasmed, but the women did not even know that orgasm was occurring. From this study, one can infer that the face-to-face surveying could have been biased because women could have been unable to discern orgasm and report that orgasm was not experienced. The data do not show that orgasm helps with reproductive success, and the genetic component of female orgasm is not represented in the data because of the low frequency of orgasm within heterosexual sex. Furthermore, studies in non-human primatology, primarily bonobos, show that orgasm occurs with same sex intercourse and not heterosexual. The data from this study seem to indicate that orgasm is not necessary for reproduction because of the infrequency of orgasm in relation to non-human primate reproductive fitness. Bonobo females do not orgasm during heterosexual copulation but rather homosexual, so the adaptive theory does not align with the data as well.  Lloyd cites researches from the Kinsey Institute by saying that link from orgasm to sexual reproduction has no evidence (Lloyd 2005, 146).


Lloyd provides a detailed account of twenty-one adaptive views in the evolutionary sciences that are biased. Not only does Lloyd provide an alternative account, but Lloyd also defends her byproduct view and anticipates criticism by arguing that the BV does not discount the importance of the female orgasm. Instead, Lloyd’s critique exposes the bias in the evolutionary sciences by analyzing the methodological approaches the adaptationists use by providing data that do not correspond to the adaptive views, and by showing how androcentrism facilitates the biased views present within the community.

Peer Review

In the Journal for Sex Research, Merideth Chivers provides a brief synopsis of Lloyd’s critique of evolutionary sciences biased accounts of the female orgasm, but Chivers is not satisfied with the narrow scope of Lloyd’s work in that Lloyd primarily focuses on the physiological aspects and penile-vaginal (PVI) intercourse (Chivers 2005, 104). Chivers agrees with Lloyd in that the arguments for adaptiveness of PVI orgasm is not logical; however, Chivers accuses Lloyd of question begging in that adaptiveness for noncoital orgasm is not explored since the data show that masturbation provides orgasm almost ninety eight percent of the time. Furthermore, Chivers is unsatisfied with Lloyds physiological definition of orgasm because Chivers argues that the female orgasm has a psychological component. Chivers argues that a mechanism of the female orgasm that would support the pair bonding hypothesis is the exploration of the non-coital female orgasm. The orgasm strengthens the pair bond via conditioning from the partner in that the partner would facilitate orgasm other ways, and the pair bond would strengthen because of the increase in oxytocin level (Chivers 2005, 104). Oxytocin is a hormone that aids in cervical contractions and milk secretions in females. Other evolutionary theories use oxytocin as the hormone that aids in pair bonding. Chivers argues that while Lloyd mentions oxytocin release, the oxytocin release affects the physiological response, but Chivers argues that the release of oxytocin also influences a psychological response.

Chivers further remarks that Lloyd is using data from PIV that attempt to show that PIV has a direct link between orgasm and being an adaptation. Chivers offers an alternative hypothesis in that Lloyd should consider looking at “any sexual activity reinforces female sexual receptivity to sexual interactions with a male partner, which may lead to more frequent PVI and a greater likelihood of conception” (Chivers 2005, 105). After chiding Lloyd, Chivers applauds Lloyd for detailing the androcentric bias within sexology literature. Moreover, Chivers laments that the scope of the book is narrow that the readers would either have to be advocates of evolutionary biology or dissatisfied with the lack of detail regarding female sexuality. Though Lloyds book details the biases in the adaptive methodology so well, Chiver’s concedes to Lloyd in that Lloyd provided an avenue for further investigation to be done regarding the female orgasm.


Chivers, Meredith L. “A Narrow (But Thorough) Examination of the Evolutionary Significance of Female Orgasm.” Journal Of Sex Research 44, no. 1 (February 2007): 104-105. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed March 22, 2017).

Lloyd, Elisabeth Anne. The case of the female orgasm: bias in the science of evolution. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005.


Sterelny, Kim, and Paul Griffiths. Sex and death: an introduction to philosophy of biology. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1999.


[1] The four criteria arerelevant because one must know the traditional view regarding evidence for adaptations, and one must know the methodology of adaptationism. Furthermore, the ethical dilemma regarding testing would include human testing such that human testing would involve natural experiments; however, human testing is deemed morally reprehensible in some experimental cases: testing pesticides on humans.

Como la Flor

•April 9, 2017 • Leave a Comment

The bar smelled, as one can imagine, like stale cigarettes (maybe it was the tall lanky one with a headband determined to flip hair that was not there). The bar that could handle anything that came its way. The red bar stools looked incredibly comfortable. There was a young man sitting at the bar, red hoody, never seen without it. Hair as gold as the sun that produced the freckles on the woman who sat next to him. His smile could only be measured by the lines the woman provided, his face brightening with every joke.



The handle bar has provided many memories for me. Last night was very interesting. Looking at those in their early twenties living in a post-modern philosophy world. No constructs. Emotionally charged, and sexually alive. One trying to operate and navigate these waters, the waters that one calls life, is trying. Trying to live and love while also trying to love the one looking in the mirror. Reflections produce an external thought, but reflections within are more interesting. The following thoughts are those within my mind


The meow: honestly, can someone please touch your thigh though

Hopeless romantic: But, what about someone who actually likes me

The meow: Girl please, no one has time for that.

The philosopher: no one has time for y’all. All of the homework that we have to do and you’re out here worried about that. Bye.

The meow: Okay, but I feel like if you had a little bit of intimacy you’d be able to do your homework.

Hopeless romantic: Well, maybe. But, the way you operate is that once you get something good you don’t want to let that go…

The philosopher: Does no one care that we have a project coming up? Is that not a thing? The fact that graduate school is looming in the distance and you’re out here dreaming about a summer filled with…

The romantic: Yes, love, sex, drugs, and experiences. Let us live.

The philosopher: heavy side eye



“The first and greatest victory is to conquer yourself; to be conquered by yourself is of all things most shameful and vile.” -Plato


Thoughts on Thots

•April 6, 2017 • Leave a Comment


I was apprehensive about posting in this blog again. One could look back at the previous blogs to see why. I didn’t want to remember the times that I was vulnerable, heartbroken, and sad. But, as I am literally “walking in Memphis” in (of all places) Graceland, Elvis’s house, I realized that it was time for me to candidly confess and candidly reflect on the things that I have learned. I didn’t like what I read in the past blog posts. The drama. The heartache. The nonsense. I thought, to myself, that I would never be that girl again. Never be one to just float in the wind at loves beck and call (let’s not confuse this with lust). Afterall, I have a philosophy degree (almost) and I have promises to upkeep. Promises like “mommy will make you proud” and “ I’ll finish school and be a good person,” but what happens when those promises are fulfilled? Wouldn’t I make someone proud with the accomplishments I have so far? Grad school offers, presidency of multiple clubs, and good standing with my professors, yet I never promised my son that I would also take care of myself. I scoff at the girl in 2014 who was desperately in love with someone, but I could still be that girl. There wasn’t anything wrong with her save that she didn’t have the knowledge to reason through the heart break. I went into my philosophy degree thinking that I could reason myself out of emotions (figure out what a person was for that matter), yet here my feelings are waiting at my hotel door as I think about a smile from someone or even a hug from a friend. The world will never be black and white. Life is within the colors in between. Not really all the way blue or red, but that pretty purple.

I have learned a lot in the past two years since I have taken a brief pause from this blog. I learned what a friend is. A friend is not someone you have access to all the time; a friend is someone you care so deeply about that you would be there for THEM if a call in the night were to happen. I also learned from someone that caused me the most torment in my undergraduate degree that “sometimes, you just don’t understand” and that not understanding regarding friendships is fine. Sometimes, you just cannot help everyone in need. Although one might posit that “time” is a human construct, it seems as if it is fleeting. I want to spend it with those that are able to tell me when the unreasonable dominates, so that I may self-reflect and become better. Someone told me that “I valued all of my relationships,” and I do. It’s not a good feeling when someone doesn’t like you, but accepting that “not everyone will,” has been a really great learning experience. My journey through my undergraduate degree has yielded some very important lessons. I stayed with someone for a year because I was comfortable, and because I thought that men wouldn’t want me (goodness, I am a handful.) Then I got into a situation wherein I got things I have always wanted such as flowers, tokens of appreciation, and intellectual stimulation, and those few things weren’t enough. He looked past me, as if the heart beating behind this chest or the passion that came with my personality, was too much. Maybe it is too much, but I don’t care anymore.

I want to be free. I want to love ,and overall, I just want to enjoy this feeling that I have in this moment. I feel the wind against my cheek here, like a cold lovers goodbye, and I feel. I feel something other than heartache and despair. I accept who I am; I accept who I am not. I am always going to be the girl that loves hard, and the girl that is willing to do what needs to get done. A girl who might fall for a small smile, and even the girl who might occasionally be too passionate for others. If I were to candidly confess, I would confess that I am just so relieved. Relieved because often times one is never able to look in the mirror and say, ” well, here we are. Let’s get on with it.”

I am not simply, nor was I ever, just the seventeen year old mom that was a hopeless romantic in poverty with a sick child. Not trash, not garbage (as some people accused me of being). Not the girl that talked too much, or the girl that men only wanted for a quick fix. I am Janelle. I have always been smart, but that thing we like to call ugly “emotions” and “grief” isn’t so ugly. I look back at these posts and objectively realize that these thoughts and feelings were real. That me lamenting about my broken heart and the poetry that came from it hurt, but the poetry also reached people and I am proud of it. I wouldn’t change how my life has played out as the opportunities I have are endless because I have a dream that I will fulfill. The next step is to figure out how to live in that dream once I am in it. I didn’t think about that when I was whispering promises to my son, and I was lost because of course he would be proud of my accomplishments. I love him; I miss him. I think now, I can finally live for myself. I can look back and say that I did the best that I could, and I really wish that I can go back to the blonde Filipina girl with great eyebrows in 2014 and tell her, “ hey, you’re going to be loved. Have great friends, and still fall for every boy that smiles at you (who have blue eyes no less), but it’s going to be okay and you can do it.”




“People who are sensible about love are incapable of it.”
Douglas Yates

Photo on 3-21-17 at 7.01 AM #2

Innocence Punished

•October 1, 2014 • Leave a Comment

This short story was written for my Contemporary Literature class. I am finally posting it. Please feel free to ask questions.

The pudgy nurse with the cupcake tattoo on her back entered the cold, sterile room. It wasn’t very specious with machines, a hospital bed and medical supplies crammed into the area. Also, placed among the numerous amounts of carted objects, was a small recliner reserved for sympathetic guests with pity filled eyes glancing at the patients in the Pediatric ICU. Her purpose was to shut off the irritating noise, a continuous beep that was interrupting the heaviness encompassing the room.

The woman sitting in the hospital bed numbly looked at the nurse; her eyes were bloodshot from the lack of sleep. She always had a sleeping problem, when she was younger her parents told her that she never wanted to miss a moment. That behavior did not change now that she had seen twenty-two healthy years.

The nurse waddled to the machine and made the room silent again and the machine go blank. The toddler tucked between the pillows and his mother had the appearance of a cherub. Color filled his cheeks, blooming like a rose. His smile was etched into his constitution, but the constant jerking of his body almost made it seem as if demons were trying to escape. The smile was overshadowed by the gaze the nurse gave the mother. This scene was where two young individuals, both smiling, but one out of habit to masking grief. The other smiled due to irreparable brain malfunctions. They were both so young, young enough to be someone’s children. But, who could that this mother, this “baby” has a toddler so young.

The nurse reached out and touched the mother’s arm sending a shiver down the nurse’s spine. “You should hold him now.” She whispered gently.

The mother raised her eyes slowly, words hard to manifest due to restraining of emotions. “But he will die if I do that, last time I held him his breathing became compromised.“

The nurse nodded, but as the statement left her lips another entity gained access to the moment. The world seemed to dissolve around the three of them. His appearance seemed to choke the life out of the young princes labored breathes. The mother picked the boy up, his body hanging limp from the lack of muscle tone. His infliction never allowed for tonality to heal. He was never mentally and physically capable of accomplishing anything by himself, yet with his simple twinkle and presence metaphysical ideas manifested around him. The nurse helped the mother position her son on her chest, his favorite place where his heart beat and hers thundered softly together, slowly fading.

The man in the corner stepped forward from his place; the mother looked at this man with contempt. His features speaking of an aggressive masculinity, but his eyes held the demeanor of an angel. Following orders, coming to retrieve a precious treasure not meant for earthly endeavors. The warm tears threatened to spill forth from her eyes, tears that were building behind a dam. Tears trying to crash against her psyche, praying for this release, but she would not allow it. Not when there was a stranger, trying to take a gift given. She whispered sweet nothings in his ear, small promises of furthering life. Prayers with no faith rather, remembering all the moments where she whispered the same sayings to an unimaginable being. Hoping that one day in her short life, through simple actions, would produce a miracle for the suffering child. Praying to a benevolent God who deemed her son not good enough to heal. This neurological atrocity could be placed on the shoulders of ‘It just is’, yes that reasoning was far more acceptable than an all-powerful man claiming because he deemed it so. While anger raked through her body, her eyes betrayed her. Letting out tears.

It was finally relieving a pressure that was built for three long, horrifying years. She could make out the man’s smile through the fog of it all, as he reached for the boys hand. As his arms stretched to touch the toddler, his glow slowly diminished until finally he enclosed his hand around the child’s limp one. His rosy cheeks greyed, and his supple lips cold with a lavender kiss. With one more breath he left the arms of his mother, and was standing near the man. Holding his hand and smiling. One that did not require a tremor to stir, instead it was placed there through freedom.

Peculiarly though, as this tragedy unfolded, a little girl ran past the hospital bed. Her origins unknown, but she was the same height as the toddler. A larger smile placed on her sweet face, her head tilted to the side causing her side pony-tail to swish. She looked exactly like the mother did as a child, a replica of the little lad, but without kinky hair. She hugged the prince and giggled, and they looked towards the mother then waved, and exited the room as if they left a different reality. They were all smiling except for the two empty shells on the hospital bed one cold from fresh death, and the other though the punishments of life.


I can’t breathe

•September 28, 2014 • 2 Comments

Times Bitter Joke
The fog comes at night,
elusively holding my heart
and squeezing with each memory.
Faint shades of purple remind me of a breathe,
that released your pain.
Bottled up, like a pot waiting for the lid to be removed.
A longing for one more moment.
The yearning to hear the over worked oxygen machine,
and the groans that were incoherent.
The vibrations the bed made when fits were apparent.
The callous on my lip from biting back tears.
Silent prayers whispered for your comfort.
Then, gone.
You have not been with me.
Time is stretching my agony.
Again, choking what is left of my love.
I sit in confinement of my own punishment.
Sent to the woods in order to find myself.
She is here, with the rage and brokenness death can bring.
But still a smile, because the future holds breathy promises.
For now, though.
My heart weeps for your presence.