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!