Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Good King Wenceslas

While I have other things on my mind currently, I wanted to take a moment to talk about something else I've been thinking about. Since Thanksgiving, I've had a CD of Christmas music on repeat in my car (yes, I'm one of those people). On that CD is a rather nice rendition of Good King Wenceslas, which has long been a favorite of mine (and easy to sing). Whether you hold with academics that argue it's foolish to be a Christmas song when the original tune was a Spring song or not, it still has an important message that I feel many people in the commercialization of Christmas ignore: taking care of others. Let's take a moment to look at the lyrics:

Good King Wenceslas looked out
on the feast of Stephen,
when the snow lay round about,
deep and crisp and even.
Brightly shone the moon that night,
though the frost was cruel,
when a poor man came in sight,
gathering winter fuel.
Hither, page, and stand by me.
If thou know it telling:
yonder peasant, who is he?
Where and what his dwelling?
Sire, he lives a good league hence,
underneath the mountain,
right against the forest fence
by Saint Agnes fountain.
Bring me flesh, and bring me wine.
Bring me pine logs hither.
Thou and I will see him dine
when we bear the thither.
Page and monarch, forth they went,
forth they went together
through the rude wind's wild lament
and the bitter weather.
Sire, the night is darker now,
and the wind blows stronger.
Fails my heart, I know not how.
I can go no longer.
Mark my footsteps good my page,
tread thou in them boldly:
Thou shalt find the winter's rage
freeze thy blood less coldly.
In his master's step he trod,
where the snow lay dented.
Heat was in the very sod
which the saint had printed.
Therefore, Christian men, be sure,
wealth or rank possessing,
ye who now will bless the poor
shall yourselves find blessing
In this holiday season, remember to take care of others, even if they aren't family. You don't have to be Christian to do this (I'm certainly not) or rich. Sometimes you can do something simple to help others out. Are you crafty? Can you knit or crochet? Children's homes and homeless shelters are always accepting of gloves, scarves, hats, etc.. If you don't have the funds or the skill, volunteer work is always appreciated by nonprofits that work hard to help people in the winter months. My friend Veronica made a rather thorough list if you want to donate money but aren't sure what charities are actually helpful and not exclusionary (Salvation Army is widely known for it's homophobic discriminatory practices). Here is her (unedited, for your pleasure) post on charitable giving:

So it's that time of year again where the bell-ringers are out guilt tripping people, and just like I did last year, I want to point out that the Salvation Army is incredibly homophobic and transphobic, PETA is a bag full of diseased dicks, FCK H8 is basically just a money-making fraud, and Autism Speaks has been denounced by the autistic community. I listed some breast cancer charities a while ago that are worth donating to, but I also would like you to consider donating to these other charities if you feel like donating this holiday season: the ACLU, Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Goodwill Industries (SA's non-asshole counterpart), Oxfam International, The SEED Foundation, Planned Parenthood, Toys for Tots, or the ASPCA. Also consider giving to no-kill animal shelters or donating clothing to trans exchanges. Remember also that the things people most need in homeless shelters are things people usually don't think of, like toiletries, feminine hygiene products, and first aid things like cortisone cream or Neosporin. If you're doing "care baskets" for homeless people on the street, remember not to add food, but rather money (or the items I mentioned above), since homeless people have allergies too and they don't have access to medical services like we do. Okay, I'm done. Give wisely, my friends. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

A Roadblock

Today I experienced a disappointing setback in my reproductive health.

I got a call from the office that was going to perform my Essure procedure yesterday morning, letting me know that the appointment I had set with them two months ago couldn't be kept. They gave me the option of having it done today or on September 3rd. Since the later date would be impossible with my schedule, I chose today's date, for 10. I scrambled to prepare (without a functioning car at the moment, it was difficult, but John was incredible). I picked up a prescription for misoprostol and Vicodin at the pharmacy after work, packed a bag for the weekend, and headed back to John's for my appointment. This morning, the office called me stating they could get me in an hour earlier than anticipated. Hell yes, let's do this! I popped the Vicodin and we headed out.

By the time we got to the hospital, climbed the stair and got to the office, I could feel the effects of the Vicodin. They had me do a urine test, get a shot of Tramadol in each buttock,  and strip from the waist down. While I waited for my doctor to come in, I got dizzier and hot from the Vicodin. I wondered how on earth anyone could enjoy taking it recreationally. It just made me feel awful. Up to that moment, I was prepared, but I started to get nervous, so when the doctor asked me if I wanted anyone with me, I asked for John. I'm so glad I did.

click for larger image
I'm not the kind of person that sugar coats anything, and I won't here. It hurt. I didn't think it would hurt as much as it did, with the Vicodin and shots. The initial opening of my cervix was so uncomfortable, the camera going in hurt. It was like my worst menstrual cramps, multiplied by ten. She started on my left side. I tried to focus on my breathing and squeezing John's hand. We made small talk with the doctor. Things seemed to be going good as she got a visual on my fallopian tube, but when it came time to insert the Essure coil, it was clear there was some difficulty. She told me my tube was spasaming so it was difficult to place. She tried one more tool to facilitate placement: a spreader for my tube. It hurt. A lot. A sharp stabbing pain and that's when the first tears came. It was the last attempt and I was starting to feel a little despair too. She withdrew the instruments and talked to me about different options. Essure under anesthesia, or a laproscopic procedure with clamping the tubes. I hadn't wanted to be that invasive, which is why I chose Essure to begin with. I left kind of an emotional mess. Where some women leave a gynecologist's office upset because they can't have children, I was distraught because after wanting sterilization for so long and having an amazingly supportive primary care physician and a good doctor to perform the procedure, I was still intact and able to get pregnant, which is the last thing I want in life.

This is not to scare people from Essure. People tried to scare me from it. It's not a bad procedure, but it didn't work with my body, and it does hurt. My cramping has subsided but I am bleeding some, which is to be expected. I'm just filled with an incredible disappointment. I was really looking forward to a new chapter in my reproductive health, being able to get off of hormonal birth control and not having to worry about an unwanted pregnancy. I was looking forward to, in three months when the dye tests would have confirmed occlusion, of having an anti-baby shower with friends and lots of drinks. Now I feel like I'm in a holding pattern again, having to delve back into looking at my options and researching what might be the best course to go with.

But first, I need to process the emotions. I'm going to lay low for the weekend with John and relax. Then I can think again.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

It's Important to Talk About Depression

If you've been reading my blog from the beginning, or even just found it and are exploring older posts, I started writing this as a way to work through my own depression and diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder. People who have talked to me are often surprised that I'm so candid about my mental illness. I feel it's important to talk about mental illness instead of hiding it away like a dirty secret.

Shortly after Robin Williams' death was announced, my nephew's friend committed suicide. I've held off a few days writing about this because it is a triggering subject, and I wanted to give it some space. However, from what my sister told me in our conversations, this teenager was the "funny" kid, a good kid that no one suspected was harboring any sort of suicidal tendencies (kind of like Robin Williams). You will never truly know what's going on inside the mind of someone suffering from depression. Often, you don't even know they're suffering. There is such a  terrible stigma surrounding mental illness, and it needs to stop. It's absolute bullshit.

It's important to create open, honest dialogue, and create safe spaces where people can talk about depression and other issues. Victim blaming, telling someone to "get over it," or otherwise getting angry at the person is counterproductive and harmful. Last night I read an amazing article in response to the "people who commit suicide are selfish" trope that people like to trot out during a tragedy like this.

I am very candid about my struggles, but I also had the wherewithal to get help. For some people, they're too scared. I always hoped that if my blog, my honesty about my disease helped just one person, I was doing good. I've worked hard to be a functioning adult and to not let my diagnosis define me. Not everyone is me. If you think someone close to you is struggling, the best thing you can do is offer your support, and if you suspect someone is suicidal, make sure they have the Suicide Prevention Hotline, or the number to a local crisis center. Sometimes, just talking to a person helps. I know. I've had to talk two people out of suicide in the past, and they are both still alive today.

In closing, though, can we stop sharing this stupid meme? As a person with Bipolar I that has severe depressive episodes and the occasional panic attack, I find it offensive. My disease is due to a chemical imbalance, not some bullshit "trying to remain strong for so long" crap. Don't trivialize a real disease. Plus, it smacks of ineffective slactivism. Support people, don't just post a meme.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Race and Media

As horrible things happen in this world, I try to process them and my feelings about them, lest I get bogged down in the sorrow and hopelessness that I feel often for society. Originally, I was going to write about depression and suicide, but I'm going to save that. I've been stewing on something for a while that's been bugging me, and some articles I read on my lunch break made me think more on it.

If you haven't heard about the recent shooting of unarmed teen Michael Brown, it's another instance of police violence against a young African-American. While this violence is disturbing, that's not my focus here. It's how things are going down in the media. In this article, we look at how he was portrayed by the media, throwing a peace sign that's depicted by the press as a gang sign. Racial profile much? It's spurred an interesting movement in social media with the hashtag "#IfTheyGunnedMeDown," encouraging young people of color to post two photos to guess which one the media would show in a similar circumstance. It's a fascinating project, and reminds me how quickly the media is to sensationalize things. This bright young man was gunned down just before his first day as a college student, yet he, the victim is being depicted as a thug. What the actual fuck, media?

It made me think about the recent death of a local teen here in Maine. Immediately, the headlines struck a sour note with me: "Winthrop girl with 'everything going for her' dies suddenly." She wasn't gunned down-- it was a result of a pulmonary embolism which is horrible enough-- but as I looked at her blonde hair, light eyes, and white skin, I wondered "why is this a top news story when people--even children--  die every day?" I'm not speaking poorly of the dead; I didn't know this girl or her family and to lose a loved one, regardless of circumstances, is terrible. But it still made me think.

If she had been a black girl under the same circumstances, would it be news?

Maine is a pretty whitewashed state, racially. We have a pocket population of ethnic Somalis in the Lewiston area, but aside from that, where I live in Central Maine, the population is pretty damn white. There were two African American kids in my school growing up, and one died my junior year in a car accident. So if the young lady who met her end to soon was African American (or a darker Hispanic, or Asian, or Middle Eastern, etc.), would there have been as much press? Would there have been immediate movement for fund raisers to help the family? Would traffic have backed up on major roads outside of the funeral? I seriously doubt it.

Issues of race are still prevalent in the United States in 2014, and it's terribly depressing.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Slactivism: My New Favorite Word

Lately, whenever someone finds a bandwagon cause to spread like wildfire through social media, I'm the one to shit on it. I've written about feel-good, ineffective activism twice alone in the context of breast cancer awareness, pretty sure I've ranted hardcore about the ineffectiveness of "thoughts and prayers" in the face of national tragedy. Now I'm here to shit on #icebucketchallenge.

For those of you not familiar with the ice bucket challenge, it is quite simply dumping a bucket of ice water over your head and filming it to post on social media or donating to alsa.org. Then you tag people to either do the challenge or donate within 24 hours. Everyone, it seems, has gotten on the bandwagon, including celebrities (like Martha Stewart, seen to the right). Sure, this whole thing was started by someone with ALS (Lou Gherig's Disease, for those of you like myself who had to look it up), but really? It's silly. This is one of the things I stew on in the car on my daily commute, and it wasn't until I was able to check my Facebook feed later this morning that I was able to find an article that really sums up how I feel about nonsense like #icebucketchallenge:

Slacktivism is a relatively new term with only negative connotations being associated with it as of recently. The whole thinking is that instead of actually donating money, you're attributing your time and a social post in place of that donation. Basically, instead of donating $10 to Charity XYZ, slacktivism would have you create a Facebook Post about how much you care about Charity XYZ- generating immediate and heightened awareness but lacking any actual donations and long term impact.
Have I not ranted about this before, specifically in the pinkwashing of everything in October for breast cancer awareness? What about the Boston Marathon bombings? Everyone was "Boston strong," buying up merchandise that contributed zero dollars to the victims while essentially doing nothing effective at all. I'm not saying people aren't donating, because apparently in the last week alone, the ALS has gotten over $168,000 in donations, but honestly, I don't see anyone on my Facebook bragging about having donated. Why not, instead of buying ice and posting videos that no one really cares to watch, we just, you know, donate to the cause?

Social media is a wonderful thing. I'm a social media junkie. But social media activism is a joke. It truly is "slactivism," a way to feel good about yourself for caring but not really doing anything impactful. I'm not saying we shouldn't bring awareness to serious causes, and social media is great for that, but if you're going to do it, make sure you're doing what you can to also enact change/donate/otherwise help the cause. Posting a pretty photoshopped picture to your wall really does nothing, nor does dumping a bucket of ice water over your head.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

A Disturbing Reflection of Human Nature

John has gotten into the new show on HBO: The Leftovers. I've been watching it, and most of the time it leaves me bothered, because it sometimes shows scenes of horrible human nature that I hate to admit exist in real life.

There's a cult of people who eschew speech, their families, their pasts, and exist as living reminders of the fact that a sizable chunk of the population disappeared suddenly with no explanation why. Reasonably enough in a town that is trying to move on, the Guilty Remnant draws ire from the townsfolk. They peaceably assemble, they watch townsfolk. They're relatively benign and non-violent; however, the largest amount of violence in the show is against members of the Guilty Remnant. Horrible violence.

It makes me sad, because it's a reflection of how society is today: violent against anything objectionable or that's not understood.

Take, for example, transgender violence. There is an alarming rate of violence (and murder) against transgender individuals, a population that people don't understand, that somehow makes people feel threatened because, perhaps, they don't understand (or want to understand) that transgender people are people, just trying to live their lives.

Of course, transgender violence is only a small example, but nonetheless, I am disturbed by our need to respond to things with violence instead of dialogue. It actually makes me feel kind of ill. I've never been a violent person, but as I get older, the more averse to it I get.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Why are People so Disrespectful of My Choice not to have Children?

In approximately a week, I get to pick up the conversation I started with my doctor a few years ago: sterilization. Realistically, and having been a member of childfree forums for years, I know that, while my doctor is cool with it, the OBGYN she refers me to will probably put me through a battery of questions including "what if you change your mind?" "what if your partner wants them?" and so on. I expect that from a medical professional (as shamey as they sound) because they're just trying to cover their ass in the event a woman changes her mind post-procedure and tries to sue. While I think the questions can be a little archaic and too gender-biased, they're still appropriate to ask. What's not appropriate are for non-medical people to constantly ask and question my decision.

One of the things I come across a lot and very recently is the "you don't like kids? You'll like my kids!" mentality of people around me. Listen. I don't like kids. I have never liked kids. I don't want them, and I don't want to see yours. You show me a picture on your phone and I will find something else more interesting in the photo to comment on. You insist constantly on showing me pictures after I'm clearly not interested and I'm going to be less polite. But when I say "I don't like kids" and your response is to force images in my face in order to "fix" me, to convince me that your kid is the special snowflake that will change my mind, that's just disrespectful and rude. Your kid is cute to you and not me. Nothing will change that. Ever.

Listen, I'm 34 years old. I've known I don't want kids since I was 10 years old. Nothing is going to change me and it would be a whole lot nicer if, instead of being so completely shocked that I, as a woman, don't want kids and trying to change my mind, you supported me instead. I am grateful that I have the reproductive rights that I do, that I am able to make my own decisions about my body, up to and including abortion if I ever got pregnant, and sterilization so I never have to worry about getting pregnant (never mind that I'm reaching the cut-off date for safely taking hormonal birth control). Any woman who is open about not wanting children shouldn't be made to feel as though they are less a woman, that they won't know true happiness because they won't have the love of a child in their life (don't even get me started on that one), or that they are being selfish in their decision. Instead, they should be supported and encouraged. Knowing you don't want children and dealing with the social stigma and the bullshit comments people make is difficult. Don't be an asshole to people whose life paths are different from yours, even if it involves not reproducing.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Running Away

This weekend was... not good. Anyone that knows me knows that I run away from my problems, and I felt like I had nowhere to run to this weekend. One of the signs that I have an amazing and supportive boyfriend is that he recognizes my need to run away, so we got in the car and he just started to drive. We'd gotten about an hour away when he asked if I wanted to go back. I wasn't ready. So we just kept going, riding in silence while I stewed and processed and vacillated (and at times nodded off) until we found ourselves in northern New Hampshire. We stopped at a shitty Irish pub for dinner and made our way through the White Mountains National Forest on our way home. It was exactly what I needed, to be surrounded by mountains and trees and silence. By the time we reached somewhere around North Conway (and we still had a couple hours ahead of us) I was ready to talk.

We came in on Rt2, went through Gorham, Berlin, Lancaster, then down 302 and got back into Maine via Freyburg. Had we just kept going west for 10 miles, we would have made it to Vermont.

Monday, March 31, 2014

I'm a Miley Cyrus Fan

I know the Miley hubub was ages ago and I'm so late even talking about her, but I've had "We Can't Stop" stuck in my head and during my drive home this evening and it got me thinking (because I couldn't listen to it since I still have crappy T-Mobile service and there simply isn't any HSPA in my area). Remember the VMA performance? You know, the one where her ass kind of looked like a raw roaster chicken? Yeah, that one, the one everyone was so worked up about and it wasn't really that bad. Yes, she's appropriated Rachet culture and is using African-American women as props her in her videos, and the feminist in me says that's Not Okay. But you know what? She's 21. She is desperately trying to break free of the Disney-wholesome mold she lived in for her entire childhood and is trying to discover who she is and she's doing that with self-expression and by exploring her sexuality. Know who else did that? Me. Granted, I was 30 and barely had a fraction of her money, but I lived as large as I could, spread my legs, and settled on who I was.

I think people are so worked up over Miley because she used to have that wholesome image as Hannah Montana and they just can't handle that the little girl is growing into a woman with her own self-expression. I wonder if people even listen to her music, because honestly, she can sing. She's not a lip-synching Britney on stage, she's honestly singing throughout her performances. Seriously, this cover of "Landslide" is amazing.

Before we dismiss a young woman for trying to find who she is and slut-shaming her, let's instead judge by the quality of her talent. Don't like her music? That's cool. Don't like her costumes? It's not okay to call her a slut or a whore. Don't like the influence she has on your kids? You're living under a rock if you think they haven't already absorbed everything she's done, ever. I have a lot of respect for Miley as an artist, and she has no obligation to be a role model to anyone.

Keep on doing wild shit, Miley, I'll be watching.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Don't Say Asshole Things About Weather, Okay?

I've been stewing on this a couple of days. Tuesday night I whined on Facebook that I didn't want to go back outside to take my trash out because I hadn't warmed up from my drive home three hours prior. We've been having an incredibly, dangerously cold winter this year. Anyway, someone who I am acquainted with from my previous job but was never close to responded with "you know you live in Maine right?" 

That is just the most asshole thing to say. I almost lit into this person but I'm working on controlling my impulses. But seriously, living in Maine doesn't mean I automatically love the bitter cold and snow. If I'm cold, I have the right to be whiny. Don't say such asshole things about the weather to people, okay? I stewed and finally unfriended the person yesterday. 

Anyway, rant over. I'm still fucking cold. Come on, spring!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Bitches Be Cray

Last night I was reading A Dance With Dragons, George R. R. Martin's fifth installment in the Song of Ice and Fire series, when I came across this line:
"Women were always the cruelest where other women were concerned."
 I've been thinking about it ever since, and you know, it's so true. Women will cut each other down so easily and in so much more of a damaging way than anyone aside from an abusive significant other can do. As much as I am a feminist, I am guilty of it too. What really made me think of this was I was [indirectly] fat shamed last week, by another woman. And I thought "how does my weight even affect your life?" As I reflected on this, I realized how critical of other women I am; I'm going to try to be more conscious of this when I catch myself doing it.

Why is it, though, that women attack each other so much? Is it something evolutionary? We have to put other women down and/or point out their flaws so we can get the optimal mate? Is it an insecurity thing? I honestly don't know. It's been on my mind and needed to write it out and ponder. Discuss.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Why I'm not Offended by Superheroine Costumes

I'm a total geek: I play video games, D&D, read comics (both American and Asian), and own more Batman shirts than any one person probably should. I'm always a fan of strong female characters in any setting, whether in a fantasy novel, comic book, or video game. I always play a woman in games. I even give them skimpy outfits.

*record scratch*

Look at Spider Man twerk it out!

That's right. Skimpy outfits. I dress my female role playing characters and video game characters in the stereotypical skimpy outfits that you see in comics, cartoons, and other things. When I was playing DC Universe Superheroes (seriously, the instruction books need to be rewritten... the rules are so ambiguous and disorganized!) I rolled a rogue-like, Bohemian Revolution-era corsetmaker that wore a Kevlar corset and some fun knee-high boots (her name was La Croix and could summon ravens because it's me playing). Even when I played WoW, I would run around trying to find the skimpy gear to equip my female characters with. If a game lets me modify bust size, you better believe I am giving my character the biggest tits I can (I want to play a character that has similar attributes to myself). So how can I, a feminist, even conceive of creating characters designed to objectify them?

Seriously. This is hot.
I really don't see skimpy superheroine costumes as sexist or objectifying. Growing up, I thought it was awesome. As an adult and a feminist, I see the impracticality of the outfits because really, they aren't covering much at all. Look at Wonder Woman to the left (and check out the artist's gallery, his work is amazing, and he has a lot of awesome Wonder Woman portraits!). She is still wearing the iconic Wonder Woman onesie, but she is muscular, strong, powerful. That's how I see my female characters; I don't see them as pieces of womanflesh running around on a screen or in a comic book, but as strong women that can wear those skimpy outfits because they are so badass that they can defend themselves and fight their own battles. Some feminists get offended by the costumes and would see them covered completely, like you can see in this article. Honestly, when I first saw those images, I thought they were done by someone who either hated their own body or wanted to body-shame other women. I thought the costumes were ridiculously dowdy and unempowering. I didn't see strong superheroines any more.

With the world of comics, cartoons, fantasy novels, and superhero movies I am able to lose myself in a fantasy world of strong, powerful women. Xena is my spirit animal, Wonder Woman my muse, Huntress my inspiration. Let's worry less about the costumes on these positive and strong female figures and more about the empowerment they can offer little girls and women.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Flip-Side of Bipolar or Depression and Self-Neglect

As I've written before, there have been certain symbols of the debilitating depression I suffered in 2012, and I am working to eliminate them and move on. Thursday, I took care of one of the big ones: my teeth. During that depression (and if you've been reading all along, you know it was severe) I had a hard enough time feeding myself, much less take care of myself. A year and a half of self-neglect really took its toll on my teeth. Specifically, my two front teeth, that had large, visible areas of decay right in front. You know, the place people look when they look at your mouth? That everyone can see when you smile or talk or laugh? I didn't smile easily and hid my laugh behind my hand. Drinking cold or sugary drinks hurt. I was ashamed.

Thursday, I got them filled, and I can smile again.

Part of really reclaiming myself post-depression is feeling better about myself, and this was a huge part. Now that I don't feel like I have to hide any more, I can move on. I feel so much more confident.

Moral of the story: even if you're depressed to the point that you can't even care about feeding yourself, still brush your teeth. Don't make excuses. It's an expensive process to get them fixed after.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Of Flashbacks and Fear

I did something that I hate doing today, and that was calling out of work because of the weather. I've driven in snow and ice, but today's weather is terrible: it's raining on top of snow that was never fully cleared from the roads, on top of storm drains completely blocked by ice. I looked outside and saw the weather advisories and started to feel the anxiety twisting in my gut and making my head throb. A few months after I got my car in 2005 I was driving home in similar weather conditions and went off the road, ending up in a deep ditch before a farmer's cow pasture. I was unhurt, thankfully, but my car had quite a bit of damage and since then, I've been really anxiety-ridden when driving in bad conditions involving rain, slush, and sleet. Today that anxiety is overwhelming, and I was tearing up as I called my boss to say I wouldn't be in.

The view from my kitchen. If you click the image, you can see the rutted slush in the road. There's a side street to the left that will probably flood today.

I love my job. I miss the people I work with when I'm not there (or when they're out). I enjoy what I do and why I do it. Today I just couldn't. I both love and hate the attitude of "you live in Maine, you should be able to drive in bad weather." On one hand, yes, yes we should know how to drive in the crap this state throws at us in the winter. On the other hand, I don't feel like I should take unnecessary risks to get somewhere, even to a job I love. Driving with my anxiety level so high would have been a nightmare, and honestly, I probably would have been in a foul "fuck the world" mood all day.

To keep my panic in check, I'm turning again to this blog, that I started two years ago to deal with the anxiety and depression of being unemployed. This is my therapy. It won't get rid of the  anxiety headache I already developed (but thanks to a Pepsi is starting to abate) but it helps me think through my worries and fears about today.

And for the curious, here's the statement that the police released about driving conditions in the town I work in:
Due to the inclement weather we are experiencing, the travel conditions within the City of Augusta and outlying areas are not improving as had been expected.  The sand and salt mix is not adhering to the road surfaces. There are a number of areas where plugged storm drains are preventing safe passage on some streets in the city.
We are asking travelers in the City of Augusta to limit travel unless absolutely necessary. IF that is not possible, please avoid the hilly areas and low lying areas where flooding is probable.  Please, drive with caution.  
Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year Miscellanea

Working hard or hardly working?
A year ago, I was desperate for a job. I was living off of unemployment and a meagre $16 in food stamps. I felt like I was grinding my face into rock bottom. I got a job shortly after the new year, and, after a massive panic attack, I quit after five days. Fortunately, I found my current job, at a company I love working for. For the first time I have been able to say that I legitimately love my job; I have a boss that backs me up every time, amazing coworkers (both in the States and abroad), and a higher rate of pay than I ever made after 6 years at the last major telecommunications company I worked for (ironically, I am an outsourcer for one of their major competitors). I enjoy going to work and I'm consistently an hour early every day. I've sulccessfully trained three new hire classes, each one more successful than the last. I still struggle financially, but I work hard and I'm finally on the right track after so long. Having a job has helped my bipolar disorder even out and I have fewer and less dramatic mood swings. 2013 has been pretty decent to me. Sure, there were some times that I wasn't happy, like when my boss told me I wasn't getting my raise (but then, awesome boss that he is, he fought for and got me my raise a couple months later) and when he told me I had to move out of my office and take a desk at the call floor. But those are minor setbacks-- I had my hissy fit and moved on.

John and I are still together and stronger than ever. I don't have a ring on my finger yet and he still has roommates instead of me living with him, but I try to be patient. He's in grad school working toward his LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker, for you that are too lazy to Google it) and I live vicariously through him, editing his papers and dreaming of some day going to grad school myself, if I can ever make up my mind and decide what I want to study.

I've kind of neglected this blog even though I've had so many things on my mind. Part of that is a little bit of fear of my coworkers finding my views offensive (at this point though, I think they know who I am) and part because I've had a hard time organizing those thoughts. And honestly, some of it is laziness. I'm going to try to update more, and not hold back. That's why I created this blog in the first place: to express myself and to use this a therapy. I need to continue to do so. I don't have many subscribers (a whole two) but I know my voice reaches a wider audience than that. Hopefully, some of what I say touches people. For now, I'll start some drafts for later posts.

Happy New Year!