Punching the Heavy Bag

CW: depression, anxiety, C-PTSD, depersonalization, suicide

Here’s the thing: I’m not at all okay right now. I’m getting worse and I don’t know what to do. I mean, I know I should find a good psychiatrist and get a prescription for medication(s) that work, but when I look at my insurance’s “doctor finder” page, there are about 1000 of them and no indication of who is actually good at their job (or not). It’s overwhelming, and right now I don’t feel capable of doing the research I need to do. The very idea of choosing a doctor I’ve never met for a literal life or death situation is anxiety-inducing and a bit nauseating. I’m also sick with a nasty cold, which apparently can lower serotonin levels, so that’s not helping. I’m having anxiety around this particular respiratory illness, because last year it turned into severe bronchitis that resulted in hospitalization and three broken ribs from coughing too hard.

I’m also having anxiety around the need to start a new medication, because so little is known about how individual brains work that it’s all trial and error, and I’ve experienced some pretty horrid errors in the past. Zoloft made me feel weak and nauseous and didn’t actually help. Viibryd lost its effectiveness after a while, was ridiculously expensive, and going off of it made me suicidal and itchy, among other terrible side effects (all of which are still happening and may not go away for months). Pristiq made me so afraid, paranoid, and delusional that I was seeing monsters in every shadow and couldn’t sleep (or be anywhere) without a light on. Wellbutrin, which I’m temporarily back on, took away my ability to have orgasms and lowered my libido to the point that my husband was getting frustrated (and so was I – it didn’t work well enough to make up for that).

It’s getting to the point that I can’t even “be nice” to my friends on Facebook anymore. Today I saw a thing about “life rules” that someone posted with perfectly good intentions, but it triggered me for some C-PTSD related reasons, and I commented to that effect. Then I got made fun of by her new girlfriend who has never even met me and therefore has no idea how those words might affect me. It upset me to the point that I wanted to unfriend everyone I know except for like 3 people, but instead I decided that person isn’t really interested in being my friend anyway and deleted my comments from the post. I know that I am overreacting and I can see it happening, but it’s like it’s happening to someone else and I can’t stop it.

Also, I tend to get upset when people make ignorant comments on public posts and I try to argue a point with them, but it does absolutely no good to anyone because they’re not in a place where they can understand what I’m saying, and I’m not in a place where I can just let things slide for the sake of peace. Old white men drive me particularly batty, because they almost never admit to being wrong and rarely want to examine their privilege, especially when challenged by someone they perceive as young, overly sensitive, and weird (purple/blue hair is still “weird” in many parts of this backwards country, which is why I’m a city girl). I don’t know if it says something about our fucked up culture or about me, but I’m often told to “find a safe space to cry” or to “see a therapist” in a patronizing, condescending way by people who have no information about me other than the words that I post and my picture. What if they can tell? What if I sound batshit crazy all the time when I think I’m writing logical arguments? I’m afraid to say anything sometimes, even when it’s the right thing to do to stand up for another marginalized person or group, because the shame of being told by random people that I must be crazy when I actually do have mental health issues is unbearable.

I think I need to delete my Facebook account. Then I think that Facebook is literally the only thing standing between me and complete isolation, because I don’t get out of the house much except to work, and I can barely manage that. Sometimes it helps to see my friends (okay, people I care about – they might not even think of me as a friend) being happy and having good things happen to them. It gives me hope when someone I know who has their own mental health issues finds a treatment that works for them. It helps to know that I’m not the only person who thinks the president-elect is a flaming heap of garbage shoddily disguised as a human.

Sartre said, “hell is other people,” and I see his point. However, the shame inherent in being judged by others is nothing compared to the weight of shame I place upon myself. The constant rehashing of memories in which I acted wrongly, the words I can never take back – I know I can’t erase any of it. I can’t make it any better, ever. I was raised under the cruelty of strict fundamentalist Christianity, in which hell was defined as “separation from God.” I don’t believe in hell as a literal place; I live with hell inside my head every day. I am separated from the source, from divinity, from myself. I don’t know who or what I am anymore. Depersonalization strikes me at the worst possible times and usually in public – a crowded grocery store was the scene of my worst attack. I panicked, became non-verbal, got angry, and then became more afraid than I have been in a very long time. I was with my husband, and I knew he was my husband, but he wasn’t familiar – I couldn’t even remember our wedding day.

I feel like I’m splitting apart. Little pieces of what makes me myself are falling away, and I don’t know if I’ll ever see that person again. When I look in the mirror, I don’t see me – I see a sad, middle-aged, fat woman with eyes swollen from crying, looking lost and confused. I’m fighting to stay intact, but I’m so tired. Hope is hard to come by, especially in a country that would elect an ignorant fascist with zero experience over a well-qualified and experienced woman. The burden of being a woman in this world is too much sometimes. Fighting to be heard, fighting to be treated fairly, fighting to be seen as human – it’s all exhausting.

I’ve come to realize that people don’t commit suicide because they’re sad or selfish or anything else – they’re just exhausted. Every day is like punching a heavy bag until you can’t lift your arm anymore, except you’re fighting your own brain that is trying its hardest to kill you. That is something I never wanted to know. I wouldn’t wish this experience on anyone.

I’m still fighting. I will keep trying, for my husband and stepkids and people who still care even if they haven’t seen me in a while. Hopefully I’ll find the right treatment before I’m too exhausted to fight my own brain anymore.

Monsters Among Us

Today, according to fivethirtyeight.com, Donald Trump has a 35.8% chance of becoming our next president. Think about that for a minute – think about exactly how close we are to Hitler 2.0. It is terrifying, to put it mildly. The ideas spewed forth by the Republican candidate are similar in content and tone to those promoted by Adolf himself. The roundup and deportation of millions of people, violence and death for religious minorities, a return to white supremacy as lawthe oppression of women and promotion of rape culture, the reversal of hard-won civil rights for LGBTQ people, the total disregard for scientific facts, and the entitlement with which he views the world is nothing short of monstrous.

Admittedly, I have a problem with most Republican viewpoints, but as a rule I believe in everyone’s right to vote for the person they think is best for the job. This election is different. The Republican nominee is not a conservative politician who is doing the best he can to do right by the American people; he is a narcissistic capitalist espousing extreme right-wing fascist ideals. He is supported by the KKK, which in itself should be enough to make people reconsider voting Republican. However, as it has become increasingly apparent that racism is very much alive and well in this country, white nationalism is no longer the shameful secret your grandpa tried to hide from you. Grandpa is fully out of the racist closet and shouting “all lives matter” while Black churches are being shot up and burned.

Any historian will tell you that history has a tendency to repeat itself; it moves in cycles and patterns. If history repeats itself, as in the “repatriation” of Mexican-Americans in the 1930s, my family could be in very real danger of deportation. None of us speak Spanish well enough to get a job in Mexico, and our family, friends, and home are here in the United States. As flawed as this country is, I have no desire to be forcibly ejected from it; if we decide to leave, it should be our decision. Leaving the country becomes an attractive option when one of the most powerful people in America spews hatred and instigates violence against anyone who is not a rich, white, straight, cisgender, able-bodied male. It wears us down, induces anxiety, and makes this country inhospitable for most of us, including our children. Whatever happened to the “land of the free” and the “home of the brave?” Freedom is not to be selectively applied, and cowardice in the face of declining freedom is inexcusable.

This election is no longer about Democrat vs. Republican – it is about human decency. It is not okay to throw your fellow citizens under the bus because you dislike the Democratic nominee. You do not burn the house down because there is a spider in the kitchen, and you do not elect Hitler 2.0 because you dislike the current state of the country and you just cannot wait for monumental change to happen, even if that change is catastrophic. Trump supporters are acting as if he is the “lesser of two evils” just because he has not yet committed genocide, never mind the fact that he goes on trial for fraud and racketeering this month and has a hearing for a lawsuit against him for raping a child next month. He demonstrates on a daily basis that he is a terrible human being.

At no other time in the history of American elections has the right choice been so obvious, and at the same time, so resisted. Misogyny and double standards are rampant, still, in 2016. Hillary Clinton has a superb resume and is by far the most qualified candidate for the job. True, she has made mistakes, and her tendency to try to cover up those mistakes for “damage control” is a major flaw. She can come off as cold and calculating, even as she tries her hardest to relate to the average American. However, she has demonstrated that she can learn from her mistakes and that she can be pushed to do the right thing, even when it is not politically expedient. None of us are voting for her because we want to be her best friend; we are voting for her because she is by far the best candidate for the job.

On a much more personal note, Trump’s candidacy has been a nightmare for those of us who have survived sexual assault. To see the face of a rapist in the news every day, knowing that nearly half of the country is supporting this vile waste of oxygen for president, is unbearable. I, personally, feel betrayed by my fellow Americans. I do not feel safe in this caustic environment, this state of the union in which rape culture is dismissed as “locker room talk” while Trump supporters proudly wear misogynistic t-shirts.

I can count the people I have told the following story to on one hand. The fact that I am now publishing it on the internet for the world to see should demonstrate how important it is to speak out right now. When I was 18, I was raped by my first serious boyfriend. I told him to stop, but I couldn’t make him. I was frozen, unable to move, while he did what he wanted and what I couldn’t believe he was doing to me, the girl he said he loved. Before that, I was a virgin. My parents were conservative evangelical Christians, the type who only talked about sex when they were telling me never to have it until I was married. I couldn’t tell anyone – I was so ashamed. I knew that if I told my parents, I would never be allowed out of the house again, and I would be blamed for putting myself in the position of being alone in a house with a boy.

That boy proceeded to gaslight me into thinking that he was the only person I could trust, that no one would believe me, and that I had actually wanted him to do what he did but was too afraid to admit it. Somehow my stepmother knew that something had happened, and she badgered me about it for weeks. There was one night at the dinner table that I will never forget. She demanded to know if I was having sex with my boyfriend and she would not let it go. My dad tried to defend me and told her to knock it off, but she kept pushing until I finally yelled “we did once, but we’re not doing it again!” The look on her face, the triumphant arrogance, that “I KNEW IT!” look – she actually sort of smiled as she looked down on me, as I trembled in fear and agitation. To this day, I think of that face as the face of evil. I see that exact look of arrogance and unjustified pride on Trump’s face on a regular basis; is it any wonder that I think of him as the most evil person ever to run for president? The sad, disappointed look on my dad’s face is also one I will never forget.

The disappointment I feel right now towards my dad, who generally votes straight Republican without thinking or researching the candidates, is soul crushing. How can a man who raised a little girl, who still tells me I can do anything I put my mind to, put me through the additional trauma of having to choose between respecting my father and respecting myself? How do I tell him that I don’t feel safe having someone in my life who would vote for a monster? How do I tell him that I cannot possibly be in regular contact with a person who would purposely vote to destroy my future, and that of his son-in-law and grandchildren? How do I bring up the fact that this election has triggered my anxiety and PTSD, when he doesn’t even know I have been diagnosed with either one? I don’t want him to think that my mental health issues are his fault, but the fact is, he’s not helping. I stayed home from work the past two days, unable to think of anything else but what is at stake in this election. My brain will not shut up. I had to write this, just to get it out of my head.

Whether it is right or not, I have begun to view Trump’s supporters as monsters, albeit smaller monsters than Hitler 2.0 himself. The selfishness inherent in voting for someone who would lead this country backwards, who has made it “okay” to hate people who are different, who denies that the planet itself is in serious trouble, who creates an unsafe environment for women, and who has no desire to make things better for anyone but himself, is incomprehensible to me. These people are, at best, grossly misinformed and ignorant, and at worst, monstrous in the their agreement with his hateful ideas. It is difficult for me to live in this world right now. I know I am not alone in that, but it is isolating not to know whom I can trust, to go to work with people who believe in the antithesis of what I perceive as good. Even after this election is over, the divide between us will remain.

It’s like I’m not made for this world

TRIGGER WARNING: Depression, suicide

I wake up groggy with my head feeling squeezed like a someone wrapped a belt around my forehead and won’t stop pulling. I hit snooze. I hit snooze again. I roll out of bed, pet the cats, go to the bathroom. Get ready for work in a daze; sometimes Husband makes me laugh with his goofiness. He leaves and I’m alone. I dawdle, not wanting to leave the house. I never want to leave the house. It’s cold out there and wet, and there are people. I cry all the way to work in the enclosed space of my car. I don’t care who sees me through the windows.

My day at work is various shades of beige, gray, brown, black. Boring. Mindless. Shit. I can do better than this, maybe. I feel like I should be doing better than this. I’m 40 years old, ferfuckssake, and I used to have a career. Sometimes I get to format something, or make an Excel spreadsheet. I’m good at that stuff, and it keeps me busy for a bit. I don’t want to go home, but only because everyone else is gone and the office is quiet, and leaving means that I have to move. I cry all the way home in the enclosed space of my car. I don’t care who sees me through the windows.

I feel constantly out of place, as if I were planted here from somewhere else, somewhere alien. I don’t understand humans. I don’t understand why or how they work, how they get “real” jobs, how they fill their time with activities involving even more people, how they relate. How someone who doesn’t know basic formatting can be a director of… well, anything. How some people get paid millions to sit around in meetings all day, and others a few dollars per hour for standing, serving, sweating, working their asses off and silently taking abuse. Like watching the news, it makes my brain and my stomach hurt.

I lie all day, every day, pretending I’m functional. Also an Adult, whatever that is. I literally do not care if I never see another human again, except for Husband, Boyfriend, and maybe Dad, but being around Dad is painful. Husband is warm. For unknown reasons, he loves me. Dad loves me too, but doesn’t know me as well as he thinks. I can’t talk to Dad about depression, because Grandma killed herself. His daughter is too much like his mother.

Cats, bunnies, fuzzy things – they make me okay for a minute. They get bored and walk away. I don’t chase them but I desperately want to sometimes. I want to hold them, cry into their warm fur, hear them purr and express love for me. The cats are young and hate being held. The bunnies are old and hate being held. Husband seems uncomfortable with my wanting hugs to last forever. A minute here and there is all I get.

Sometimes the noise in my head won’t SHUT THE FUCK UP. I can’t get the thoughts to stop – they’re a hurricane of bad decisions, forgotten dreams, shameful acts, the quiet little idea that the only way to make it stop is to die. I contemplate walking into Puget Sound and taking a deep breath. It would be cold, but not for long. I always long to return to the water. It’s quiet, loud, quiet, loud, powerful and SO MUCH MORE than I am. That world I can be in, be a part of; that world makes sense to me and makes me okay.

I bake cookies with weed. Half a cookie will make the hurricane in my head stop for a few hours, but it’s only the eye of the storm. I watch Netflix and my house is dirty. I hate it but don’t have the energy to do anything about the dusty-hairy floors, the molding bathrooms, the kitchen full of clutter and unwashed dishes, the laundry in the closet, the trashandrecyclingandcomposting, the heavily dusted surfaces throughout my home. Might as well look at something pretty. I watch everything. Life happens in the small box in my livingroom. Surreal, animated, live action, always with more music than real life. Ridiculous music. Films, beautifully shot; stories, beautifully told. When they’re not beautiful, I laugh at them and mock them. Pointlessly, I care more about some fictional characters than I do about the vast majority of real people.

I cry when no one else is home. Sometimes when they are. On weekends I stay in bed until the afternoon, only getting up when I feel ashamed and think I should make sure the kids eat something semi-nutritious. I never leave the house unless I have to get away from the constant noise. Kids are so fucking loud. I can’t stand to be around them and all of their teenage emotions. They’re exhausting. Everyone is.

I just want some goddamn peace and quiet.

Work In Progress

I am dissatisfied with life and getting desperate for changes. We never have enough money to pay bills, I’m underemployed in a job that’s basically cat wrangling, but not as fun since executives are neither cute nor fuzzy, and Husbandface’s MS seems to be getting worse. On top of that, I’ve been having similar symptoms to what he has for months, possibly years, but I’m firmly in denial and don’t want to find out whether or not I have MS too. This is ridiculous, of course, since I can’t fight it if I don’t know about it. However, I have my reasons:

1. Tests (like MRIs) are expensive and we’re already poor.
2. I kind of don’t want to know, because if I do have MS, that brings up all sorts of things I don’t want to think about, such as who will take care of both of us when we can’t do everything ourselves.
3. I don’t want to make this about me. It’s Husbandface’s thing, and it’s hard. I don’t want him to have to worry about me the way I worry about him. Besides, it could just be my dumb thyroid.

I’m out of ideas for how to make things better. As far as the job/money thing goes, I’ve applied for countless jobs, and the only responses I’ve had are from temp agencies. Can corporate recruiters tell if you’re crazy just by reading your resume? I think mine is pretty standard, but who knows. I suspect my cover letters are lacking somehow, but I’m not sure how to improve them.

I had yesterday off and had the house to myself. I tried my best to be productive and to clean, organize, do laundry, apply for jobs, and other responsible adult activities, and I did ok. The house is still a dirty mess, but it’s slightly better than it was. I got to spend time with Tink, our new kitty, who was formerly a stray with mange. She’s a sweetie, but training her to be an indoors cat is going to be difficult. She still poops wherever she wants. We’re working on that. She still has mange, but we’re working on that, too. She goes to the vet every week to get dipped in sulphur, and comes back smelling like a hellbeast. But she’s our adorable little hellbeast, and having her around helps. It’s hard to feel total despair with a purring fuzzball in your face who wants ALL THE PETS!

Off to Husbandface’s appointment with his neurologist. Wish us luck.

YES, ALL HUMANS

I’ve spent too much time this week being distracted by all the fear and blame and anger surrounding White Dudes Who Murder Because Misogyny. As much as I love that ‪#‎YesAllWomen‬ has inspired people to speak up about their experiences, are we actually accomplishing anything other than solidarity with people who already get it? To me it feels like preaching to the choir, or perhaps an empty protest, marching down the street with signs that say “Women Are Afraid” and “This Sucks” and “Down With This Sort Of Thing,” but then nothing ever happens to change the society that spawns the monsters we’re so afraid of. Opening up a dialogue about misogyny and privilege is great and necessary, but I’ve seen a lot of defensiveness and not a lot of changed minds from these conversations.

There has to be a way to fix our broken society, or at least to improve it to the point that women are no longer afraid of being raped or murdered for rejecting or otherwise angering a man. Also, there has to be a way for men to feel like they can be human and express their emotions as freely as women are allowed to. Sure, it’s sad when good men are immediately suspected of being rapists when they try to strike up a friendly conversation with a stranger. I understand male defensiveness on this subject. However, it’s troubling when they persist in spite of the fact that the random stranger attention is unwanted, because there are very real reasons for women to be scared of men, and there is no easy solution to the impasse this creates. I don’t think it’s just women who are scared, though. Men are afraid, too. I don’t know how it feels to be a man in this society, but I can imagine that the pressure to be dominant and assertive and “manly” (whatever the hell that means) all the time is ridiculous and soul-crushing.

Thinking about humans twisting ourselves into odd shapes to fit into this culture in spite of who we are as individuals is depressing and unnerving. Many of us can only fit into the mold temporarily, so what does that say about who we are? Are we monsters if we don’t fit in, or if we do? Maybe “monsters” is the wrong word, or maybe we’re all monstrous once in a while. Anyway, I can’t keep thinking about this if I’m going to get anything done today (and every day). My (possibly band-aid) solution for myself is this: compassion and love for everyone. I may not be able stop anyone else from acting in a monstrous fashion, but I’d like to think that I can stop myself. If love can drive away fear, then for my own sanity and ability to leave the house, I have to love people. People are fucked up for a lot of reasons, but they’re also full of kindness and quirks and hilarity and intelligence and joy. If I can’t see the good in other people, how can I expect anyone to see the good in me? Simplistic perhaps, but it’ll have to do for now.

Maybe this weight is a gift

TRIGGER WARNING: fat shaming/thin privilege, rape

A couple of weeks ago, there was a story making its way around Facebook that pretty much went like this: “I used to be fat, and now I’m not, and I had no idea how differently I would be treated as a thin person!” If you haven’t already seen it, this is the article I’m referring to:

The Ugly Side of Pretty

It touches on thin privilege, but doesn’t quite get it. The article starts with statements like “I let myself go” and “had this frumpy vibe going on” when the author describes her fat self. What exactly do you think that says to all the fat, “frumpy” ladies who have apparently “let themselves go”? It says “I judged myself for being fat, so you can bet your fat ass I’m judging you!” The article meanders on, and somehow ends up at “I see beauty in all women and don’t think there is any standard we have to live up to.” YES, THERE FUCKING IS A STANDARD. No, we don’t have to live up to it, and many of us choose not to, but judging yourself for being fat in one sentence and then denying that beauty standards exist in another is not helpful. Pointing out that thin privilege exists is great, but maybe next time stop short of perpetuating it.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why I’m fat. I could blame my hypothyroidism or my anti-depressant meds, but the truth is that I started gaining weight right after I was raped. I was 18, the boy who assaulted me was my boyfriend, and he gaslighted me into thinking it wasn’t really rape – he “didn’t mean to” do it, and he was “really just playing around.” By the next week he had actually talked me into having consensual sex with him (it was my first time) and I tried to forget about that one time in his bedroom when I asked him to stop, told him to stop, tried to push him off, but he didn’t stop until he was done. It happened so fast, and he convinced me that it wasn’t really even sex, let alone rape. I succeeded in forgetting about it for the next nearly-20 years, over which I continued to gain weight. There have been periods of time when the scale went up or down for various reasons, but I’ve never not been fat since then.

In a seemingly unrelated event, I sprained my ankle in August during a new drill at roller derby practice. I tried going back and skating again after a month, and then two, but my ankle hurt and swelled up every time. I decided to take it easy for a couple months more, but I did skate around the outside and joined in the drills that I could do safely. The ankle healed for the most part, but apparently my brain and the rest of my body hasn’t. I’m way out of shape now, my endurance is shot, and I can’t even make it through an entire practice without having asthma or pain issues. The worst part of it is that I began to notice the ways that my little league has changed since I started playing roller derby 3 years ago, and I’m realizing that I no longer belong there. It’s become stronger, faster, more athletic. It’s also brought in some amazing coaches that we never had access to before. The problem as I see it is that these coaches are used to coaching some of the best skaters in the country, and then they try to coach us and think we can do the same workouts. Some of us can. Some of us are brilliant at being athletic, and go on to become amazing skaters on other leagues. Those of us who aren’t are slowly dropping away, whether we really want to or not.

My brainmonkeys are telling me that I’m too old, too fat, too out of shape, too asthmatic, too responsible for other people to risk serious injury playing roller derby. I don’t think that’s the core of the problem, though. The real problem is that I feel unsafe and unlike myself. I feel like I’m trying to be something I’m not, and that I’m being pushed to do things my body isn’t ready for or able to do. I’ve put on about 20 pounds since my ankle sprain, and I think that has less to do with reduced activity level than it does with my body’s desire to stay safe. It thinks that if it makes practice so much harder for me, I won’t go back. Maybe I should stop being stubborn and listen to my body for once. Maybe the only way to stay safe is to go back one small step at a time; to start with walking and rink skating and stretching and some basic squat/sit-up/push-up stuff. My time has become much more limited as well, so maybe derby isn’t the activity for me right now. Things never stay the same for long, though – I could be back before I know it. I could also quit forever, but the thought of that makes me really sad. I’d miss my friends, my play time, my learning new physical skills, and feeling strong and confident. I’d miss my ridiculous outfits and fantastic socks and going to the grocery store after practice in clothes I wouldn’t have been caught dead in a few years ago, because fuck everyone. If they can’t stand the sight of my fat ass in spandex, they can avert their eyes from the glory of my formidable ass(ets)!

I’ve spent too much time in my life over-analyzing my fat body in the mirror, wondering why I’m the way that I am. I’m fairly certain I put on the extra pounds as a means of becoming invisible, because fat girls are just not noticed in our society. I didn’t want the attention from boys like my first boyfriend. I needed to be invisible to feel safe. For some reason I still do, and this is still the way my brain chooses to signal me when I’m feeling unsafe. Maybe I can learn to listen to the signal and do whatever I need to do in order to feel safer. Maybe this is just another part of learning to take care of myself. Maybe this weight is a gift. Maybe someday I won’t need it anymore.

Splort.

I haven’t been on skates in 23 days, and I’m ambivalent. On one hand, STUPID ANKLE IS STUPID AND I WANT TO SKAAAAAAAATE NAAAOOOOOWWWW! On the other hand, meh. Part of me is happy to be lazy, to have an excuse not to push myself to a further state of exhaustion, to abstain from socializing when I’d rather be alone and sulking. I barely have the energy for my closest relationships, let alone for a large group of people who are energetic and happy to be at practice. For anyone who isn’t my friend on Facebook and therefore has no idea, I sprained my ankle and popped my fibula out of place while doing a new drill at practice. It hurt like a bitch. I went to the ER and got x-rays and all that, and I had to use crutches for a few days and then a cane, but I’m walking pretty well now. It still hurts though, and my physical therapist has to painfully coax my fibula back into place every week until it decides to stay in place on its own.

So what did I do last weekend with my crazy painful ankle? I went camping and hiking with 8 of my derby friends.



We parked near the top of a large hill and hiked down a steep, rocky trail, complete with lots of tree roots, to get to a tiny lake. We were all in swimsuits, some of us carrying rafts, some of us wearing ridiculous shoes for hiking, and one of us with a sprained ankle and asthma (and who also forgot to take her inhalers on the hike). By the time we got to the lake, my legs were shaking, my knees were whining, and my ankle was screaming and swearing. Of course we had to continue to hike all the way around the lake in order to find a decent place to get in the water. Fucking hell. Fortunately, the water was cold enough to soothe my bitchy ankle, and being in water always makes me feel better. I’m at home in water. Sometimes I wonder why I bother to live in air all the time. Gravity is a bitch for air-dwellers (I’m Exhibit A).

Camping with derby girls was an interesting experience. I hadn’t been camping since I was about 12, so even though it was as easy as camping can be without an RV, the concept of wearing clothes to bed and having to get out of the tent and walk to the bathroom in the middle of the night with a flashlight was a little hard for me to deal with. I admit it – I’m a city girl at heart. Give me my own bathroom, no more than 15 feet from my bedroom, and don’t make me go outside unless there’s something interesting I want to do. My environment should be within certain parameters at all times. I should be able to interact with humans when I feel like it and get the hell away from them when I don’t. Let’s just say that I’m not likely to go camping again anytime soon. Parts of it were fun, but realistically those parts could be accomplished in Seattle without having to camp at all. Seattle is a wondrous place, full of outdoor activities that are still close to home – there is no need to rough it, people.

My allergies were crappy while camping, and I think I may have caught a cold. This is worse than the usual allergy stuff, but I’m unsure if it’s from sleeping out in the cold and rain last weekend, from food allergies, or from some germs that Husbandface brought home from work. Summer colds seem so DUMB. Why can’t colds stop being dicks and stick to Fall and Winter? Yes, I know that’s irrational. No, I don’t care.

Speaking of irrational, I’ve been having this weird anxiety-fueled terror, particularly when it’s dark and my contacts are out and I don’t have my glasses on. I wake up having to pee, but don’t want to get out of bed because MONSTERS. There might be ghosts and zombies and Lovecraftian hellbeasties all over my house, just waiting for me to get out of bed so they can eat my soul or brains or whatever it is they like to eat. Jerks. So because I don’t want to wake up Husbandface, I wait until I REALLY have to go, and then I run to the bathroom and turn on the light, because obviously they can’t get me if the light is on. Obviously. I watch the closet door suspiciously the whole time I’m in the bathroom, because who knows what’s hiding in there. *shudder* Eventually I have to turn off the light and return to bed, which I do as quickly as possible. (That was difficult on crutches. Good thing I don’t have to use those anymore – it increases my chances of survival if I can run.) I KNOW THAT SHIT ISN’T REAL. Somehow it doesn’t matter that I know that. I don’t know why.

Speaking of terror, I’m trying to avoid thinking about things like climate change and Syria and inequality and injustice, because those things tend to send me straight to Catatonia. Catatonia is, in my imagination, a land ruled by kittens whose sole purpose is to distract people with their cuteness until the peoples’s brains go “SPLORT! I iz ded.” I may or may not have been looking at too many lolcats today.

splort

I just don’t know what to do with myself

I have a hard time getting out of bed most days, probably because there are very few days when I have something to get up for. It’s one thing to want to stay in bed when your alarm goes off at 7 a.m. and you have to go to work, but that’s just because 7 a.m. is way too early to be awake. When it’s noon and I’m still in bed and have no reason to get up, that’s just depressing.

I had an interview 9 days ago. I thought it went pretty well, and the dude told me to contact him if I hadn’t heard back by Monday. I didn’t hear back, so I sent him an email. Still haven’t heard anything. *sigh*  That’s just rude. I’ve also gotten a couple of emails from temp agency recruiters, responded to them, and never heard back from them either. WTF, people? If you’re not really interested in hiring me, then don’t even bother contacting me. I don’t like flakiness. I also can’t afford to be picky anymore. I NEED A JOB NOW. My savings (formerly known as my 401k) is dwindling and I no longer have time to fuck around. My anxiety is at an all-time high and the meds aren’t working as well as I’d like them to. I’m starting to wonder if I’m even capable of getting hired. Do I have that air of desperation that makes employers want to avoid me like a starving velociraptor? I hope not, but I don’t think I’m objective enough to see it if I am.

I think I need to start scheduling adventures for myself. If I have reasons to get up, maybe the depression and anxiety will subside. There’s nothing stopping me from exploring parks I’ve never been to or going to the library or just hanging out in a new neighborhood. I could pretend I’m from Germany and do touristy things. I could do what I did when I was in Europe, and just walk around all day and take in the experience of being in an unfamiliar place. I could brush up on my language skills and start thinking in German again, so that English starts to sound like a foreign language. I miss traveling so much, and I wish I had the money to go places that aren’t home, but right now I don’t. Might as well make the best of it, right? I wish I had a travel partner though, like I did in Europe. My friend Kelly and I did a ton of exploring and had some amazing times. It’s so much better when you have someone to share experiences with. Husbandface and most of my friends have jobs though, so aside from the occasional adventure with my Wifey (assuming she’s up for it and not temping that day), I’ll be on my own.

This week, however, I plan to spend way more time than usual parked in front of the telly, because tomorrow is the beginning of SHARK WEEK! This has been an annual tradition since I was 12. I have loved sharks for as long as I can remember. While other kids my age were still reading Dr. Seuss, I had already moved on to National Geographic and big books about marine life, especially sharks and whales. I remember watching a documentary about sharks with Valerie and Ron Taylor. Valerie was wearing a chainmail suit, but still managed to get bitten through the suit (it was one of the first ones ever made). She was so calm about it, even though there were bloody lacerations all over her calf and shin. I remember thinking what a badass she was, and how I wanted to be just like her and swim with sharks when I grew up. I still want to do that. I hope I can afford to do it before dumbass humans kill all the sharks. Seriously people, you do not need shark fin soup or shark steaks or any useless “remedies” involving shark cartilage. The oceans NEED sharks. Their survival is very much linked to our own, so quit being selfish assholes and pay attention.

Warning: emo wankfest

This is my first post-NaPoWriMo post, which means I’ve been blaag-silent for nearly two months. I’ll bet you thought writing all of that horrible poetry would cure me of the desire to write anything else ever, but NOPE.

Pretty close, though. Nice try, NaPo.

Mostly I’ve been silent because inside I’ve been a swirling chaotic mess of confusion and anxiety and panic, and sometimes I think the only thing that helps is silence. I’m wrong, though. Silence about what’s going on with me and about my anxiety and depression only isolates me more than usual, which makes me feel lonely and useless. So although the thought of putting this out into the interwebs-from-which-you-can-never-take-backsies scares the living hell out of me, I will do it.

This week is the first week I’m out of unemployment insurance. It’s gone. I have no idea how I’m going to pay for my life. I waited too long to put real effort into getting a job because I thought I needed some time off (I did), but didn’t plan on falling into the pit of despair.

Just like that, but with a little more metaphor.

I also managed to forget exactly how hard it is to get out of bed in the morning, not only because there’s nowhere I have to be, but because depression puts you in this horrid fog of “meh” in which staring at the wall actually doesn’t seem like a terrible plan for the day. My “to do” list has been ignored every day for the past year or so, because sometimes breathing is hard enough to accomplish. (Seriously, my asthma is ridiculous.) Even if I didn’t have asthma, there are some days I’m pretty sure I’d still feel like breathing was quite enough hard shit to do for one day. Getting up? Bahaha! Why on earth would I leave my warm, kittiful bed, except to go to the bathroom, eat, and go to derby practice?

Roller derby really has saved my soul. It gives me a reason to get up and do something, and some amazing people to do it with. I love, love, LOVE my derbyfriends, and I’d do just about anything for them. Well, anything but take care of myself the way I should. I don’t eat right, I don’t get proper sleep or exercise, I’m sometimes a little lax on showering… and because of those things, I’m not the best teammate I could be. I won’t even try out for a competitive league right now, because I’m not in the mental or physical state to do it well. I give up too easily. I slack off. I give in to my pain and frustration. Sometimes I skip practice because I feel like shit about myself and don’t want to cry all over the track. I’ve gained weight and I can feel it when I skate. That 27 laps in 5 minutes that most derby skaters can do fairly easily is a death march to me. The first minute is okay. I set my pace a little faster than I should, because I know how much I’ll slow down by the end. The second minute gets harder; that’s when my lungs start to close up. Minutes 3 and 4 are the worst, because I know I’m not getting enough oxygen to feed my muscles, but I have to keep going. My skating form collapses into that sloppy “just move your damn feet” mode. Sometimes my feet and calves cramp and it’s all I can do to pick them up and put them down again. Minute 5 is when I’m pretty sure I’m going to die, and my throat and lungs are hurting like I’ve just received the most ridiculous sternum check, but I know it’s almost over and I’ll get to flop to the floor soon. There’s another metaphor in there somewhere.

Anyway, lately I’ve been trying to fill my schedule with something – anything – to get myself up and out of the house, preferably with other people. Certain people I’m always glad to see, and they leave me in a better mental state just by being their awesome selves. As an example, my derby wife has been essential to the “get out of the house” plan. She is an amazing friend. My day is a success if I spend part of it with her, even if all we do is go to a coffee shop and I search for jobs while she writes. I worry that my bad-mood-bear-ness will bring her down, that she’ll stop wanting to hang out with me because I’m no fun anymore. I know her well enough to know that she doesn’t expect me to entertain her or to be in an awesome mood all the time, but I still worry. I’ve also been trying to spend more time hanging out with people I don’t know as well in hopes that I’ll forget my worries for a little while and just have fun, but then social anxiety creeps in and I find myself silent again, on the outside of conversations even when I have things to add to them. It never seems appropriate to me to interrupt, and with some people that’s the only way you can say anything. It feels like a relic of the overwhelming patriarchy I grew up with, that sense of “I must not interrupt, because ladies do not partake in such rudeness.” No one else seems to have a problem with talking over other people, so maybe I should just get over it and start interrupting the fuck out of people, just for funsies.

Most likely I won’t do that. My real rebellions are quiet, subtle. Half the time, the “authorities” I rebel against have no clue I exist, or if they do, they don’t know or care that I’m rebelling against them. My husband knows, but only because he’s been with me for 10.5 years and he can see it building inside me. He asks, he listens, and he sees. He’s the Xander to my Willow, and sometimes the only one standing between me and the total destruction of my world. There is the occasional eruption of frustration and anger and fear and extreme cold, because my rage is icy – it cuts and burns more fiercely than fire, more concentrated, more calculated. Why burn down an entire forest when you can get the desired result by freezing a tree or two? I’m even more efficient at turning that rage inward. I can slice myself to the core with a thought. I do it more often than I’d like to admit.

I blame myself for not having a job yet, even though I’ve been trying and I’ve had interviews – I just wasn’t the best fit for those jobs as far as those employers were concerned. I call myself fat and lazy because I don’t want to get out of bed, even though taking proper care of myself and burning through my to-do list is overwhelmingly difficult and legit too much to ask of myself these days. Depression is a liar and a dick. It doesn’t want me to get up and succeed at something, because then I might start to believe that I can, and I won’t need it anymore.

It’s times like this when I most miss my mother. It’s nearly 5 a.m. and I can’t sleep, and I’m feeling alone and crushed under the weight of all that I have to do. I feel like if she were alive, I could call her and she would listen sympathetically, and she would give me good advice on how to pull myself out of this. I may be romanticizing what it’s like to have a mother and I know this, but I feel like I never really had one. She was so sick when I was little, and dead when I was ten. I’m older now than she was when she died. I’m also well aware that there is no advice in existence that will cause me to “pull myself out of this,” but it’s my having-a-mother fantasy, dammit. Shut up.

This has been one big emo wankfest – sorry about that. If you did manage to get through it, thanks. I could probably use a hug, but only if you won’t be freaked out if I cry on you. I probably won’t, but a disclaimer never hurts.

NaPoWriMo #ALLTHETHINGS

I have been terribly neglectful of my blaag, and my daily poetry writing has not happened. I SAID I’D DO IT AND I WILL. CALM YOUR TITS. Therefore, this will be a long, pome-full post so as to catch up. I warned y’all when I started this blaag that I am fucking lazy, so if you’re somehow surprised by my lack of regular posting, I think that’s your own fault. Go flog yourself. I’ll wait. Ok, done? Let’s move on.

Sunday at practice, my friend Jenny gave me NARWHALS! They are super-cute and happy little finger puppets, and I anticipate some epic narwal battles in the near future. Here’s a picture of them frolicking in the French press cozy “ocean.”

narwhals

Narwhals are so rad
With their tusks like unicorns
They will fuck you up

Today I’m hanging out with Jess at Wayward Coffeehouse, and we’re writing! Apparently I have until midnight to finish up the NaPoWriMo stuff, and if I don’t, I’ll be beheaded or something. Or beeheaded. Not clear on the NaPoWriMo rules. Not only is Wifey insisting that I finish my pomes today, she is also insisting that I need to read the Song of Ice and Fire series RIGHT THE FUCK NOW. ALL THE BOOKS. Especially the ones that aren’t finished yet, so I can tell her what happens. She is going to be very disappointed in me, isn’t she? Here’s a poem about that.

I have disappointed my wife
For not the last time in my life
Martin’s books I should read
And ’til I do this deed
She will stand behind me with a knife.

Srsly and for reals, she was very insistent.

Another thing I’ve been fucking lazy about is starting my veggie garden this year. Tomorrow is MAY, and I haven’t even bothered to remove the weeds, add compost, and plant stuff in the actual garden bed. There’s some chard going on that apparently survived the winter, but everything else that I want to grow is either still in seed packets or on my kitchen table. Here are my basil, bell pepper, and tomato plantlets!

plantlets

Plantlets are growing!
Ohmyfuckinggawd it’s May
Better plant that shit.

The problem with plantlets in general is that they are allergy-inducing jerks. They make me want to scratch my eyes out and blow my nose all the time, and I am downright honky when blowing my nose. I sound like some sort of large, angry bird (but not the kind that wants to kill pigs; I like piggies).

Plants are such huge jerks
They jizz all over the place
And make me honky

Speaking of things that like to jizz, BUNNIES! We got a new 8-week-old baby at Rabbit Haven, who was found in a box next to a dumpster. 😦  Who the fuck does that? I want to mail them a bear! Anyway, his name is Ted (short for Typical Easter Dump, which I find horrible, so I’m going to call him Father Ted). Hopefully he’ll get paired up with another bunny and they’ll let me call him/her Father Dougal. Anyway, Father Ted is all kinds of redonkulous, and he deserves a poem.

Father Ted, you are
The cutest bunny ever.
Please don’t eat my shoe.

He tried, so I had to tell him that sequins are NOT FOR NOMS.

Ted

Aaaaand speaking of redonkobeasts, THIS.

Attack of Rupert Giles Wobblepants!

Attack of Rupert Giles Wobblepants!

This kitten is named
Rupert Giles Wobblepants, yo.
ERMAHGERD. That’s all.

In other silly animal videos, here’s a Death Metal Rooster!

Death Metal Rooster
Can be heard in Valhalla.
That’s some srs cock rock.

You’re welcome.

Have you guys seen that commercial for the Shark vacuum in which everyone is all “GET A SHARK”? I find myself yelling at the telly every time it comes on. “I REALLY WANT A SHARK BUT HUSBANDFACE WON’T LET ME GET AN AQUARIUM THAT HUGE. THANKS FOR THE REMINDER, ASSHOLES!” I can’t even fit a bamboo shark in my biggest tank – it’s only 75 gallons. Boo. For now, I will settle for these:

Shark leggings!

Leggings for derby,
Guaranteed to make my ass
Look formidable.

As any derby girl will tell you, a formidable ass is an excellent thing to have. If I get these in time for our scrimmage on Sunday, my team is absolutely going to win. No question.

Blergh, my brain hurts. SO MUCH WRITING. That’ll teach me to leave things until the last minute! Wait… no, it won’t. I’ve been doing this procrastination thing my entire life, so having to crank out a few silly pseudo-poems isn’t going to teach me a gawddamn thing. Oh, brainmeats. Sometimes you suck.

There once was a brain in my head;
By now I am sure it is dead.
It did so much writing,
It then started biting,
Until it put my ass to bed.

I actually agreed to get up early tomorrow to go out for brunch with my friend Tim, so I seriously need to finish this shit. (Not to mention the midnight deadline for NaPoWriMo.) My apologies for the inevitable decline in poem quality. Trust me, the last one will suck. Hard. Why on earth is NaPoWriMo in the spring, anyway? It’s all nice out and there’s sunshine and flowers and… oh. I guess some people write about that shit. Well, if you’re into that sort of thing, you probably aren’t reading my blaag.

Sucky poems are
Inevitable in spring
(Better things to do).

All right, this is the LAST ONE, based on this picture I found on teh interwebs.

LEMUR!

LEMUR LEMUR LEMUR LEMUR; 
LEMUR LEMUR LEMUR LEMUR. 
LEMUR LEMUR LEMUR, 
LEMUR LEMUR LEMUR, 
LEMUR LEMUR LEMUR LEMUR!

ERMAHGERD I’M DONE! Take that, NaPoWriMo! 😛