Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Reevaluating what is Considered "Feminine"

Lately, I've seen more and more positive images of heavily-tattooed women in the media. What really got me thinking about this topic was the Motorola Moto X commercial that shows (at right) a woman with a full sleeve. While we can't see her face, we have peeks of femininity in her hair, the polish on her nails.There's another commercial I've seen (I couldn't find a still of it) encouraging people to shop local for the holidays, and there, in one scene, is another sleeved girl, a trendy, arty shop owner with her wares. All too often, the stereotype surrounding heavily tattooed women has been that "women with tattoos... are promiscuous....If a women [sic] does have a tattoo its is suppose to be easily hidden and look 'feminine' such as a dolphin or a butterfly. Women with darker such as a black and grey piece are considered to look manlier." Thankfully, media is starting to portray heavily tattooed women in a much better and kinder light.

I remember, in a recent marathon of LA Ink I indulged in on Netflix, that Kat Von D mentioned something about being heavily tattooed and still being feminine and soft. I really wish I could find the quote (the only thing people seem to want to quote by her is something about every tattoo having a story, which is so cliche. Meh.) because it stood out to me and it was something she mentioned several times on the show. But it's true; if you look at Kat, you see an incredibly feminine woman, not some butch biker chick. This is important. It's no one's business what you put on your body, but the negative stereotypes and body shaming need to stop. Women with lots of tattoos are beautiful and feminine.
 I  personally can't wait to be heavily tattooed (maybe not quite to the same scale as Kat, but I plan on having both arms, a full back, both ribs, and my legs/feet done at some point) and wear them proudly. I wear the ones I have proudly already. Does it diminish my femininity or my ability to do my job? Not at all. A mother with tattoos is no less feminine or a mother for having them. And insert that statement for a woman of any profession, art, or skill. Will I cover my sleeve when I get married? Hell no! I look forward to being a tattooed bride; my own confidence in being a woman will shine through and the tattoos are just a (very expensive) accoutrement to the whole ensemble.

I'm up to an (incomplete) half sleeve now. Another crow, and more lilies. And FYI, getting your armpit tattooed hurts. A lot.

He's going to be painful to fill in...

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Today, Planned Parenthood encouraged women to share why they're thankful for birth control. This is something that I take personally, so let me list why I appreciate my birth control:

1. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, my birth control pills are free. Without it, they would be close to $100 for a 3-month supply. While I have a good job, I wouldn't be able to afford that. And when I get the opportunity to revisit the conversation with my doctor, my sterilization will be 100% covered.

2. Thanks to my birth control, I am not burdened with children that I a) can't afford to take care of, b) do not want, and c) would probably abuse (It takes a lot of self-awareness to understand this about yourself, and I don't think less of myself for coming to this realization).

3. Thanks to my birth control, I have and can focus on a job I really love.

4. Thanks to my birth control, I don't worry about adding to the staggering amount of people at risk for heart disease in my family (along with mental illness and cancer).

5. Thanks to birth control, I can travel whenever I want to, without having to make any extra plans except for making sure my cats have sufficient food and water. I can go to adult-friendly places and eat at kid-unfriendly restaurants.

6. Thanks to birth control, I can be as selfish as I want to be. I can have nice things and eat ice cream for dinner without having to set an example or share. I don't have to share my video games.

7. Thanks to birth control, I can save money to become more financially stable.

8. Thanks to birth control, I don't have to watch my fucking mouth or save naughty movies for late at night.
9. Thanks to birth cntrol, I can be empowered as a woman to make my own health choices.

Monday, November 11, 2013

It's Time to Censor Censorship

As far back as I can remember, I have had a book in my hand. Around the age of ten, I started reading my mother's Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and John Saul books. I watched HBO and The Movie Channel late at night unsupervised. When questioned about my reading material, my mother would respond with "she understands what she is reading." And I did. I was emotionally mature enough to understand what I was reading and anything that I didn't understand, whether it be words I was unfamiliar with or situations I just had no frame of reference for, I asked. This is how I grew up. While my parents didn't share my musical tastes, they never told me I couldn't listen to a certain genre or band, didn't make me cover my eyes during scenes of nudity in movies. My parents didn't believe in censoring me, or censorship in general.

Growing up like this, it was always a shock to go to friends' houses where censorship was present, where certain types of music were verboten to the point where CDs were confiscated from bedrooms during school or outings (even after the age of 18). I didn't understand why the coddling was necessary; wasn't their child going to get the literature/music/movie/whatever outside of the home?

I often see on Goodreads threads that start out "what age is appropriate?" when it comes to books, especially the classics. There really isn't such a thing as an appropriate age for a book, in my opinion. The appropriate age is when the child is emotionally ready to read it. Granted, emotional maturation usually follows a certain steady path, but others (like myself) mature earlier than others, or have a higher reading level than other children. If a child is intellectually curious enough to read a book on their own, they're going to ask questions if they don't understand-- it's part of that whole "intellectual curiosity" thing.

On a separate note, a pet peeve of mine: I don't understand people who self-censor, especially in social media. As an educated, intelligent woman, I am a huge advocate of swearing, and nothing makes me grind my teeth more than seeing someone write something like "f@%k" instead of flat-out saying "fuck." What the hell is the point? Who are you protecting? If you're too offended to even write out the word, then why even try to use it in your vernacular? In my mind, words like fuck, shit, piss, cunt, hell, and damn are far less offensive than nigger, fag, dyke, spic, and chink. "Swear" words are, at face value, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, and nouns, whereas the slurs are deliberately used for hate. If you're going to censor anything, check yourself next time you pass on the latest hate speech disguised as a joke.

Censoring ourselves and what our kids are reading, watching on TV, or listening to for music is like saying "I'm okay with being a mindless robot," because really, it's taking away a certain aspect of creativity, independent thought, and passion from our lives. Some people make the argument that swearing is coarse language that is never necessary but I feel that powerful words, placed with strategy in an impassioned speech or even song can deliver so much impact to the listener.

Friday, November 1, 2013

So, Why the Crows?

The subject of my latest tattoo

I get it all the time: "So what's the deal with all the crows?" I guess it's a reasonable question. My tattoos are all crow-themed, I dressed as a crow this Halloween, I keep a crow feather on my fridge, and I have lots of crow stuff at home and in my office. There's even a crow as the background of my phone. So why do I love them? Well, corvids (crows, ravens, magpies, etc.) are incredibly intelligent and have been known to use tools and complex forms of communication. They can also be taught to talk (Julian the raven is the most adorable thing, ever).

I've always had a connection to crows and ravens, and in fact in my youth when I would potentially be late for school due to oversleeping, the crows would start outside my window and wake me. Naturally, I identified with the birds and eventually recognized them as my animal/spirit guide. I couldn't live in a place where there was no crows, it would just feel wrong. Seeing them makes me happy, and listening to them calms me.They are truly amazing creatures with an unfair reputation built by centuries of fear and lack of understanding.

The tattoo version of the above picture

Sunday, October 13, 2013


I have an impacted wisdom tooth trying to come through, so I've been trying to find soft things to eat that don't require a lot of chewing or that I open my mouth very wide. Tonight, I cooked the last of a dozen fresh eggs from my sister's chickens, and thought back to when I first started eating egg yolks. For my whole life, up until about a year and a half ago, I was egg whites only (except in scrambled and omelettes, and then it was just one yolk per 3 eggs). I didn't like the taste of them, and was afraid of the amount of cholesterol in them. Then John brought me to a little restaurant in Augusta called Rebecca's Place where I had eggs Benedict for the first time, where I willingly ate egg yolk for the first time. And I liked it.


Fast forward a little to my extended unemployment. You've read about it and my struggles with food stamps and trying to survive (and if you haven't, go ahead and read back). As money dwindled I tried to eat as healthy as possible, which meant finding cheap sources of protein. Occasionally I would score a marked-down steak or package of chicken that I could make stretch for a couple of meals, but overall, meat was expensive. My sister has chickens and often has eggs to spare (and she has fun blue and green eggs!) so I usually have some in the fridge. After having eaten the fresh eggs from my sister's chickens (who eat vegetable scraps, bugs, and grass, and have a nice area to run around), I realized why I didn't like yolk: factory farm raised chicken eggs just don't taste good. You know how we describe things as smelling like "egg farts"? That's what store-bought eggs taste like to me.

Fresh, free-range eggs taste like wonderful sunshine. And I have to have that wonderful sunshine cooked a specific way: sunny side up (very runny) and fried in butter with Johnny's Seasoning Salt sprinkled on them, with some sort of bread vehicle for the yolk (but I've found hash browns or fried potatoes work amazingly well too). I still love eggs Benedict, though. There's a certain sensuality to fresh, creamy egg yolk coating your lips, and it's so much better for you than factory farmed eggs.

For those of you that don't like egg yolk, I challenge you to find fresh, local eggs. You'll find that they taste so much better than anything you can buy in the store.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Tatas Aren't Worth Saving

So last October, I ranted about the commercialization and commodifying of breast cancer/breast cancer awareness and how marketers take advantage of people's needs to feel good about supporting a cause by buying stuff. Breast cancer was, and still is, a very personal subject to me. So when I see the idiotic meme to the right floating around Facebook, and all the stupid "save the tatas" shit, I need to rant, and rant hardcore. I can understand the intent behind it all: be supportive! Be aware! Cancer is bad! But you know what? Memes like this and pink rubber "save the tatas" bracelets trivialize the disease and the women who struggle with it.

Not to sound like I'm ripping off Jezebel's article from last year on a similar subject, but we really need to stop the focus on the "breast" part of breast cancer awareness. In this sexualized American culture, more importance is put on the actual breast tissue than the woman with the disease. Let's talk breasts for a minute. What are they? According to cancer.org:
The breasts make milk for breastfeeding. It has 2 main types of tissues: glandular tissues and supporting (stromal) tissues.
The glandular part of the breast includes the lobules and ducts (shown in the picture below). In women who are breastfeeding, the cells of the lobules make milk. The milk then moves through the ducts–—tiny tubes that carry milk to the nipple. Each breast has several ducts that lead out to the nipple.
The support tissue of the breast includes fatty tissue and fibrous connective tissue that give the breast its size and shape. (source)
Breast tissue is non-essential. Women can easily live without breasts. However, so much emphasis is placed on the breasts being a large part of a woman's feminine identity that women often feel that a mastectomy makes them less feminine, or takes away their womanhood somehow. In '"Does That Make Me a Woman?" Breast Cancer, Mastectomy, and Breast Reconstruction Decisions among Sexual Minority Women,' Rubin and Tanenbaum write:
Lorde’s (1997) account of her own experience of breast
cancer was among the first to illuminate the sexism, racism,
and heterosexism ingrained in both the clinical and social
context of breast cancer. She was particularly concerned with
the assumption, expressed by medical professionals and
breast cancer support organizations alike, that some form of
replacement breast—whether through prosthesis or
reconstruction—is an essential element of cancer survivorship.
 Instead of focusing on the breasts as something that must be saved, let's look at the women themselves, and create a supportive and safe network for them where they don't have to feel like they are less of a woman for having a mastectomy done, or that they are reduced to no more than fatty tissue on their chests. Need to have a mastectomy? Go for it. Genetically cursed and want to do one preemptively? Excellent. It's your choice to have them removed, and also a choice whether you want them reconstructed. Either way, you're still a woman. In the end, it is the person who matters, not a fleshy part of the body.

For further reading, here is an excellent article about survivor identity. And here's a wonderful article about post-mastectomy tattooing.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Give Someone A Chance

Today I got my acrylics filled.I'm a creature of habit and go to the same place and usually, the same person does my nails, so I walked in with the expectation that I'd be sitting down in front of David. When it was my turn and a stranger walked up to me, asking "what color?" (I go to a Vietnamese nail salon, so the broken English is no big deal) I was surprised. I had never seen this person before. Usually, the owner and her husband and another lady were all that worked there and here was this new person?

What if she drilled too close to my cuticles and cut me? What if the drill got too hot? Oh my god why does the acrylic look white? My fears were all for naught, as she did a wonderful job and didn't proactively try to shorten my nails (I like them long, not Jersey long, but I have short fingers and David sighs every time I ask him to go longer when he's trimming down a new set). She gave me a shy but grateful "thank you" when I handed her her tip. I think my fears of seeing a new nail tech stem from when I first got acrylic nails (at this very salon) and then needed them filled. I went to a highly-recommended salon just down the road from my house and left really disappointed. So disappointed that I painted over them and waited for them to grow out.

I could have been a snot and requested David to do my nails. But let's use my trip to the nail salon as an allegory about giving people a chance. Yeah. That's my deep thought for the weekend.

I love the clicky sound of my nails on the keyboard. Yay!

Get That Brush Away From Me!

I've been sitting on this for a while, as I like to digest thoughts like so much brainfoods. Plus, I've been really busy (and for the infrequent updates, I apologize). I try to celebrate differences, especially in my relationship, but sometimes disparity can be taxing, especially when it comes to politics. I try hard to keep politics out of my personal, work, and romantic life, but when you have a romantic partner who stays so actively informed and is so intelligent (and I'm lucky I do) it can be difficult to keep the political discussion off the table. John is a Republican, and identifies as fairly conservative (although I would argue his conservatism is more fiscal in nature, rather than social) and I am a Democrat, and very, very liberal.

Within the last month or so, John has used the phrase "liberal propaganda" at least twice in conversation with me:  once, while writing his admissions essay for grad school, and once venting that his roommate's kid is not smart and is just "repeating the liberal propaganda that's fed to him at school" (for the record, this kid isn't smart at all). His use of "liberal propaganda" bothers me, and here's why:  I am liberal, but I don't fall into the liberal stereotype. I am an individual who thinks on her own and makes her own decisions about things. Take the gun debate, for example. Conservatives would say that liberals want to ban all the guns. While I don't necessarily understand a person's need for a semiautomatic weapon, I don't think they should all be banned. Stricter regulations? Yes. An all-out ban? No.

On the obverse, I am a liberal who is incredibly anti-drug. I don't support medical marijuana whereas the stereotypical liberal would fight for legalization. Not me. Ban it. And when it comes to Schedule I drugs?-- Doctors and pharmacists need to work closer with law enforcement to prevent resale of opiates, which is a big problem in my area.

One of the beautiful things about free thought and independence is the ability to form one's own thoughts. I value my intelligent boyfriend and friends, but I loathe being painted with one broad brush. I try to avoid labels for this reason, and I understand that he vents to me because there's no one else, but sometimes it rankles. It's not just him, though; a lot my Facebook friends are very conservative, and seem to think liberals are evil, gun-taking abortion monsters. I'm not, I just get very frustrated when people won't just talk about issues instead of laying blame. People-- and their opinions/socio-political leanings-- come in multiple colors. Let's recognize that.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Commodifying Fear

I have been stewing on this ever since the Boston Marathon bombings happened, since I tend to have a less-than-popular stance on most things. I also had thoughts that I needed to develop into fruition and that took some time and my commute to and from work (some of my best thinking is done in the car) to develop. So, along the same lines of my 9/11 post, I kind of want to tell America, "let it go." I know it sounds extremely insensitive, just a week after the blasts, but hear me out.

First off, this Yahoo! article hit the nail on the head and said so many things I wanted to say. I am not from Boston. Sure, I visit there from time to time, but I'm not a native (I refuse to lump "north of Massachusetts" into the "Boston" area) and I have no emotional tie to the city. Yes, the loss of life and injury are tragic, I'm not denying that. But, I'm not a Bostonian, I didn't leap to solidarity immediately like all of my Facebook friends seemed to.

Let's talk about social media for a minute. I love social media. Amongst my friends and family, I'm probably the most connected, with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Yelp, Klout (I still haven't figured that out yet), Tumblr, and somewhere in the black hole of the Internet, a MySpace account still exists. If it's social media, I'm all over it. But this week, I didn't even need to open Facebook on my phone to know what was there. Generic, self-serving "thoughts and prayers" posts, the same five memes shared over and over, offensive racial-profiling, memes offering to pay back violence with violence. It was nauseating, but it also made me think. Early Friday morning the FBI and police had the suspect cornered. There was a live feed, and man, if someone was watching it, they mentioned it-- with up-to-the-minute posts-- on Facebook. All I could do was shake my head and think "why is a live feed necessary?"

As a society, Americans love tragedy. We love being afraid, feeling vulnerable and then rising up in a fleeting display of extreme patriotism ("you can't stop 'Murrica!") while actually sitting safely and without harm in our homes. This addiction to fear has become a commodity. Think back to 9/11: it seemed directly after the attacks, there were American flags everywhere. Apparently, for Chinese flag makers, it was good business:
American flag sales peaked at $51.7-million last year, $34.8-million of it for star-spangled banners shipped from China to meet domestic demand. In the week after the attacks, one of the nation's largest producers of American flags, Annin & Co. of Roseland, N.J., produced more than 50,000 flags -- about 10 times the normal amount. At the Flag Co. in Acworth, Ga., sales of 12- by 18-inch American flags have increased by more than a million in the past year.

$34.8 million for flags. Fast-forward to this past Monday. The dust hadn't settled before people were putting Boston Marathon and Boston memorabilia on ebay to make a buck on the tragedy. Not only were runners selling their medals, but immediately after the bombings, people looted souvenir booths to sell the jackets and other memorabilia for sale. I would hope that people can understand my cynicism toward the whole thing-- and tragedies in general-- when Americans seem to only want to cash in or have a piece of the tragedy instead of actually helping by donating money, time, or blood. We're a nation that's happy to post "thoughts and prayers" to feel better about ourselves but do little else. In part, the media is to blame. There is an over-saturation of media coverage everywhere, to the point that it's hard not to hear about a current event. Unless it's just a fertilizer plant explosion, then no one seemed to care and there was barely any news coverage.

It's okay to feel bad when a tragedy strikes. What's not okay is to cling to it, to linger over the bad feelings and continuously suckle at the teat of media streams for more. Let it go. Take the appropriate mourning period, process what's happened-- get a therapist if you need to-- but holding on to the fear and grief (especially from a tragedy that never directly impacted you in the first place) is not healthy. And for the love of god, stop buying the memorabilia, unless it's going to a legitimate charity!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


As a reasonably intelligent person, I enjoy thoughtful discourse and talking to/surrounding myself with other intelligent people. It's no surprise (for people that know me) that I miss college and have been thinking about grad school. John is currently in the process of applying to an accelerated program to earn his LCSW to become a clinician, and I am incredibly proud of him. My problem is, I still, at age 33, don't know what I want to be when I grow up. In an idealist, fantasy life where I've won the lottery and practicality doesn't matter, I'd bury myself in early English and Anglo-Saxon literature and just be a professional student. In a more practical sense, I've considered studying sexual health, gender studies, and public health (but really, in a nutshell, public health). I'd also considered writing again, and focusing on editing, but really, how practical is that? Considering my current job, I'd even toyed with business management or some sort of MBA.

Maybe I'm afraid of the commitment. Student loans are a huge burden and how will I know for sure that what I choose is what I want to stick with? It's almost like a relationship: you fall in love with the idea of love, but when it happens, it's not what you imagined at all. There's a bit of vulnerability and self-doubt involved, like in a relationship.

And, perhaps, I'm just a coward.

In the mean time, I'll read great books and talk to wonderfully smart and insightful people and still ponder what I want to be when I grow up.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Dumbing Down History

And important part of a Maine child's education is learning about the state of Maine in the 4th grade. You do projects, presentations, and take field trips to the capitol . You think you know every little fact about Maine by the time you're done, but really, some things have been not been taught. As a 33 year-old, I went to the Maine State Museum for an afternoon with John. I hadn't been since I was a kid. He told me there was a whole section about "white guilt," and intrigued, I asked to see it early on. It was the Malaga Island exhibit, telling the tale of the mixed-race colony on Maine's Malaga Island and how the state forced them off the island and several into an asylum.

It got me to thinking about the education system and how much misinformation is actually presented to students in history books as fact. Why do we do this? Why are we constantly hiding the ugly aspects of history? Sure, looking at the Malaga Island incident, it's a shameful aspect of history, but still an important part that we should learn from and teach going forward. Omitting and outright writing our own history in favor of the less desirable facts is a disservice to young minds and to the future of our  species as a whole.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Girl Gamers: Stop Making A Big Deal of Yourselves

In the recent months, there's been a lot of flap about girl geeks and if they really exist, with the geek girls loudly proclaiming "we exist!" for all to hear while uptight patriarchal types point fingers and slut shame and everyone on both sides just acts a damn fool. It reminds me of all the aggressive girl gamer bullshit I see all the time, like the below screenshot that was posted to Tumblr:

I absolutely abhor the attitude that girls like the original poster in this screencap have. "Yes, I'm a girl, I game, I'm a special snowflake, bow down to me, bla, bla, bla HOW DARE YOU ACKNOWLEDGE I'M FEMALE YOU SEXIST PIG!" Hate to break it to you ladies, but you're not rare animals any more. No one cares and the ones that do care that you're a girl and a gamer are the creepy mouth breathers you wouldn't come within ten feet of you anyway.

You know what I do when I game? I sit back, relax, shut my mouth (unless I'm talking shit to my TV, because I never play multiplayer on XBox) and enjoy my fucking game. There's no point in making a big deal about being a girl gamer. There just isn't. It's like you're asking to be hit on, and that to me indicates some serious self-esteem issues. If you truly love gaming, just game! It's not a hard concept, and not one we need to bring gender roles, sexism, and  ridiculous gender barriers into having fun and killing stuff, going on quests, and getting EPIC LOOT. Seriously, Ladies. Can we chill the fuck out with proving that we have vaginas and play video games?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Quick, Add This to Your Wine List!

Last night I drank a bottle of Roscato Rosso Dolce for, er, scientific reasons. I'd seen so-called "red moscatos" at the grocery store and wanted to give them a try, the only problem was that the only ones available were on my Absolutely Undrinkable list (ie; Gallo, Barefoot, etc. as listed in My Not-Quite-Difinitive Wine List). I felt defeated as I started to leave the wine aisle, but then as I got closer to proseccos  I saw the Roscato Rosso Dolce on the shelf, for the right price of $9.99. Let me preface this by saying I don't like red wine. I've tried. I just don't care for it. I did approach this bottle with trepidation, and when I sniffed after opening, I was apprehensive. It smelled like red wine. I took a sip. It was like cherry-grape with raspberries and pink bubbles. It was delightfully sweet like traditional moscatos, with just enough bubble, and none of the harsh tannin flavor that I associate with traditional red wine. Folks, I have a new favorite that will grace my fridge! And judging from this online wine distributor (who sells it for only $107 a case!) I'm not the only one who fell in love at first sip as it has received glowing reviews. If you're not a fan of reds like me but like sweet wines, definitely give this a try.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Finding Something to Relate To

I've been watching a lot of Star Trek: The Next Generation lately, from the very beginning, because I never watched the whole series through (unlike Voyager, which I marathoned in college).  Now, if you've been following along, I tend to like villains more than good guys because ultimately I find it easier to relate to them.

Of the modern series of Star Trek, there are a myriad of races presented, some only appearing for one episode, others, more established. I have always had an affinity for the Betazoid race, and tonight, watching the episode "Tin Man," I think I figured out why. Aside from being telepaths, Betazoids are also empaths, highly sensitive to the emotional state of those around them. While I put up the mask of  a cold and uncaring person, I'm actually pretty sensitive to the emotions of others. It's something that makes me exceptionally good at customer service, because not only can I absorb and understand, but at some point, project back to another person.

Back to the mask of the cold, uncaring person-- I really don't care about other people, or rather people that I don't know, but reading a text from an old friend that her brother is losing a battle with cancer had me close to tears. I have never met her brother, but her sorrow was so palpable, even through text, that I wanted to cry for her. With her. It's not the first time that's happened, and surely not the last.

Perhaps this grinch's heart does have the capacity to grow.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Making Necessary Changes

Today came the fruition of a very difficult decision that I made over the weekend: after one week at my new job, I quit. I realized that, after having the biggest panic attack in over a year and weighing my finances that the company would not be a good fit for me both mental health-wise and financially. I put a lot of thought into it and started putting out applications and my resume right away, but having just gotten back from making my resignation in person (I feel it's always best for an amicable split) I  feel as if a weight has lifted. My stomach is no longer in knots, the migraine is gone, and I no longer feel like I want to cry at the drop of a hat. I know this can be damning for me, because it potentially leaves me without an income, but I can be squirrely. I've already called the department of labor and found out what needs to happen going forward to collect unemployment still and there will be their standard fact-finding interview. In the mean time, I have one paycheck coming from my (now former) employer and partial unemployment for this week. If I have to, I'll dip into my retirement again. I could not have done this without the support of my family and of John, who let me freak out at him on the phone for a half hour when the initial panic attack struck. My Mom, who I have sometimes felt scared to go to with situations like this was so supportive and understanding, and this morning I woke up to an email from her with a job listing for what is essentially my dream job. I just need to reach out to colleagues and my alma mater to get the ball rolling. Uncertainty is scary, but I will persevere.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Panic Attack

Yesterday I had one of the biggest panic attacks I've had in over a year. I'm not going into details about it because it could be, at this point, damning for me, but it's something that is causing me to think about some life changes.

The scary thing about the panic attack is not only the racing thoughts and the panic over the initial thing that caused it in the first place, but the snowball effect that it can have on everything else. I panic about one thing, which leads to another, and when I don't feel like I'm getting the support I need, I panic about relationships. I cried a lot and didn't eat anything until very late at night. I was very low-functioning and wallowing in my own despair all day. Because I thought that panic attacks weren't going to be an issue, I never really discussed them with my therapist back when I could still afford to go, so I don't have any coping mechanisms for them. No self-therapy I can use, no rescue meds. I tried to distract myself to my best ability. I watched a lot of Star Trek late into the night.

I my more lucid times, when I could utilize my racing mind, I researched the life changes I may need to make. Hopefully soon I will be able to update this blog with less vagarity and more clarity, and hopefully someday my mental health will be where I want it to be.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

My Cell Phone is Everything

The Samsung Galaxy S 2, the machine I wield
Tonight as I watched an Ebay listing I had put up 7 days ago expire with no bids (dammit) from my phone, I thought I really do do everything on my phone now. When setting up a new phone, one of the first things I do is set up both of my email accounts and my Facebook. I use Amazon, Ebay, Blogger (yes, sometimes I write posts from my phone-- I did several this summer), Goodreads, Yelp, I access my banking on the browser, I read Cracked, Jezebel, and Buzzfeed when I get bored. I take notes, use the camera too much (but my cats are so cute!) and have a shortcut to the Kindle app handy when I've forgotten to bring a book with me somewhere. Anyone that ever needs to get ahold of me will always get me via my phone, it's just that the medium may differ.

When I first started working for my former employer, phones couldn't do these things. Correction: consumer phones couldn't. In 2005 the newer, sleeker (still a brick) models of BlackBerry came out but they were still aimed toward business users, and still didn't have a color screen. No, back then, the high-tech cell phone was the Motorola RAZR, and everyone and their mother had one (I did, and so did my mother). Smart phones evolved slowly, then bam! there was this iPhone thing. Then Android. I think Android was really the "holy shit" moment for cell phone technology. With the release of the Android-powered G1 in 2008, the rise in popularity of smartphones snowballed. In a very short period of time we went from a phone that had very little internal memory to the device I hold now-- the Samsung Galaxy S 2-- that has 16GB of internal memory and a high-definition screen. When I left my telecommunications job in 2011, there was a multitude of smartphones for consumers to choose from, from low-end to high-tech, and talking to the customers and learning their needs, they were becoming dependent on the technology, at times even eschewing home computers in favor of their smartphones.

Now, I'm not getting rid of my laptop. I can't game on my phone, and there are still limitations to mobile browsers that frustrate me. Also, what's up with mobile YouTube? There's almost nothing there. But if I go out the door without my phone you had better know I'm turning around for it. There's no way I'm going without. How else am I going to provide on-the-fly commentary about the human condition whilst grocery shopping or send pictures of funny license plates to my friends? I will honestly say that maybe I'm a little dependent on my phone because I sit and think "Jesus, how did I cope before?" although I know I did just fine. But man, I have become accustomed to my conveniences.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Pre-Work Freakout

I start a new job tomorrow (technically, today) and instead of taking a shower before bed, which I had intended to do, I'm up, watching Star Trek: The Next Generation on Netflix and generally freaking out about everything.

I have no money and have additional paperwork to fill out for the state (barf).
My new job doesn't pay that great, and when do I get paid?
It's fucking snowing out
I have no money so now I'm going into panic-mode over food (again, paperwork for the state for food stamps)
I'm in debt and want to get a loan but can't until I've worked/gotten paid for at least a month
Have I mentioned I have no money?

So I've been filling out paperwork to lower my phone bill/defer  my student loan/continue unemployment benefits until my first check/continue my meager food stamp stipend and have just now found the time to relax and digest the dinner I ate about an hour ago. At least in between the paperwork and panic I found time to do my nails.

I feel so ill-prepared. Gah!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Effective Acting

I'm a bit in my cups and am rewatching What's Eating Gilbert Grape which has always been a favorite of mine. It's a film I bring up constantly when people try to trash Leonardo DiCaprio as an actor. Of all his roles, his portrayal of Arnie Grape is the most honest and believable role of most movies I've ever seen. In my senior year of high school, I used to hand out announcements every other day with a boy with mental retardation (mental handicap? cognitively challenged?) and I also have a cousin that is rather high-functioning. DiCaprio's portrayal of Arnie reminds me of the boy from high school: not able to live independently, developmentally stuck at a very young age. The squeals, physical tics, picking and scratching at hair, the little things, down to the almost spasm-like gestures of hands is so effective, it's almost like watching an actual person with MR on the screen. It had to be an incredibly challenging role to play, and I respect his attention to detail immensely (especially for someone who was only 19 at the time the film was made). So yeah, he's done some movies that were shitty, but he sorry, folks, he's got his acting chops, and this is proof.