23 April 2019 @ 02:06 pm
I have bronchitis, and it is a pain in the booty chest. I've had it since last week, and no longer have a fever or a headache, but my word, my lungs are still orchestral. I took the day off yesterday to rest, and felt a bit of a layabout because of it. Went back to work today, convinced I was ready, and found it much harder than I'd anticipated. I'm still so tired, and it's hard to breathe. I don't remember the last time I had bronchitis, so this all feels very new to me, even though I know I must have done this before.

Anyway, I've thrown Mucinex at it (until the side-effects became unpleasant), ibuprofen, Tylenol, an albuterol inhaler, and some essential oils. I'm also taking Allegra for allergies, so hopefully that's helping somewhere in the mix? And tonight I plan to make a chicken soup with lots of ginger, jalapenos, and lime, which I hope will aid and abet things. In the meantime I'm sitting around, wheezing, with my lungs sounding like they're full of pop rocks on every exhale.

Thank you so much to the folks who helped me out with the situation in my last email! I am working on a story thank you, which I hope to polish up and have out this coming weekend. My lawyers have filed a counter petition on the issue of the mortgage, and lead me to believe this is all very common and I don't need to worry. I worry, still, but it helps to have a lawyer.

I'm trying to decide when and if to see Endgame this weekend. It may be a moot point, because if I'm still coughing like this, I won't go - I would be the worst movie goer if I inflicted this on other people while they're trying to lose themselves in a film. But if I'm better? I was going to seek out all the spoilers and then go see it, but I'm increasingly thinking I should just go and get it over with. ([personal profile] siria inquired this weekend if I meant rip it off like band aid, and I said, no, like a Brazilian wax.)

My neighbor is having a new deck put on her house, which is a very lovely thing for my neighbor! I am less enamored of all the circular-saw work going on because oh, it would be nice to nap :D
18 April 2019 @ 03:33 pm
Friends - let me preface all of this by saying that I am a fucking disaster of a person in many, many ways, and top of that list is my relationship to money. And if you are tired of hearing about how I am a disaster, this is a post you should skip. And if you think I need to let the chickens come home to roost and not beg for help, then this is also a post you should skip. I do not blame a soul who is tired / rolling their eyes / judging, not one whit. So there's that.

Yesterday, I graduated from financial counseling. We have dug through my emotional narratives about money, we've figured out my spending patterns, we've identified what I get out of spending money in times of emotional stress, and we've done the practical work of going through 2019's bank statements, line by line, talking about mistakes I've made and putting actionable plans in place to do better. This all culminated in yesterday's session, where I shared a budget I had made for next month, we talked about it line by line, and I itemized everything I canceled - every subscription, every magazine, every Patreon, everything - to be sure I wasn't spending anything where I shouldn't. I have one more session in a month to check in with how I'm doing with that budget, but both my therapist and I felt really, really good about things.

And then in today's mail came a letter from a law firm representing my mortgage company, asking that they not have to respect my bankruptcy order, because I had missed a payment.

I did indeed miss a full payment in January, and $416 of a payment in March. January was about cleaning up my holiday spending and being at a work conference. March was trying to pay bills and make things stretch as far as possible. I had been advised by friends - badly - that people skip payments and catch up all the time. I had a plan in place to catch up - I get some extra money this month, next month, and the month after, and could pay back, and indeed, already made a partial payback payment. But ends up the people who skip and catch up are not in bankruptcy.

From what I can make out from the document (which I have scanned and sent to my lawyer already) I need to pay $1450.61 to my mortgage company by May 1 to be back in good standing. I do not know what this means for the bankruptcy even if I manage that. Of course I do not have $1450.61.

If I can raise even a small part of that through $3 cups of coffee on kofi, it will help. eta: the need has been met, thank you thank you thank you!! ♥ ♥ ♥

Fucking fucking fuck fuck fuck.
13 April 2019 @ 04:39 pm
First - thank you so much to the kind soul who ko-fi'd me a donation this week. It arrived and I was floored, and I was so, so grateful. Thank you, thank you! It made such a difference.

I am an unreliable narrator of my own experience at the moment, thanks to being out of adderall. I saw my psych meds doctor on April 3 and asked to start weaning down to a lower level. (My dose is really quite high, and I crash spectacularly when it wears off at about 4-5pm each day. I'd like to rev up a little less and crash less hard.) She agreed, wrote me a new scrip, and off I went. Only my health insurance company - despite the fact that I'm asking to take *less* adderall - want a doctor's authorization for the dose because it's still above their recommended dose for PTSD patients. So the pharmacy called me; I called the doctor's office; rinse repeat etc. There is no way to talk to a live person at my doctor's office, so I've just been leaving more and more irritable voicemail messages, but still, nothing is yet resolved. (I'm going to guess that they originally sent the authorization in without writing URGENT on it, which means that it will take four weeks to clear. They can send a new authorization any time, but they haven't told me if they have.)

So, here I am on April 13, without any adderall at all. This is not how I wanted to wean down to a lower dose.

This week has been really odd, because on Tuesday I led at 35-person trip to see Hamilton (paid for by my employer) which was, of course, AWESOME. It also involved being awake for 20 hours straight. I then got four and a half hours sleep before I was back up again, and I feel like I've spent the entire week in a fog. What is lucidity?

I've started sewing a crazy quilt, which I decided was exactly the right sort of project for me right now, since it can be hand sewn and I don't have to follow any pattern at all. It's going well!

I saw the new Star Wars trailer and absorbed it into my very being with delight. I cannot wait. Rey rules. (And Finn and Poe are looking extremely fine. All the threesomes. All of them.)

It's supposed to snow here tonight. I cannot.
04 April 2019 @ 06:13 pm
Hello, friends. Haven't posted in a while, mostly because I have been in the weeds, emotionally, and I realized today that I've felt like I have nothing to say that won't exhaust people's goodwill. Now, that is entirely on me, not on anyone else - somehow my brain has the idea that talking about sadness and grief is not really the done thing, and that people will tire of it and me and all the rest. But by not talking about it I'm only reinforcing the horrible, isolating stereotypes about how we "ought" to grieve that are so damaging, so that needs to stop.

What can I say about grief? That it is tenacious? It has been a constant companion all year so far, and my default state is just sadness. I have moments of great joy, and I do things that make me happy, but I still go back to sadness between times. Yesterday I took a mental health day because I woke up so sad I could not put my mind or body to anything. It gnaws at me. And I have trouble thinking of it with any grace - I just wish it were over (which I know is not how this works).

Of the good - I have started swimming, which I find peaceful and pleasant, unlike almost every other form of exercise there is. It means getting up very early some days, but the fact that so few other people are at the community pool then is a blessing. And I get to see the sun rise, which always feels like a special thing.

Financial therapy is going well. This week we spent twenty minutes processing why I bought a new bag for myself, and went deeper than I have ever gone on exploring my feelings about an object. It did not make me want the bag less, but it did at least give me a range of skills to deal with not-the-best purchases in the future. (I cannot return the bag because I bought it from a resale place. But I have returned other things this month, and while the goal is not to emotionally buy anything, I'm at least at the place where I can buy and return.) I feel very oogy with money right now, despite practicing all the skills we've developed, mostly because I got paid some extra money and was so enthusiastic about paying off some bills I overpaid on a bunch. So I ended up with less money than I usually start with. It is very good that the bills are paid off! But I feel anxious and unsettled because I know I don't have enough money to make it to April 30. And it's my fault. It came from a good impulse, sure, but it's still a question of budgeting.

Anyway, therapist S told me his goal is for me to pay off my bankruptcy sooner than the 3.5 years I have left of court-ordered payments. It is a very good goal, but I'm not sure that it's doable. If I had extra money each month, I'd like to worry less about, oh, what I'm going to eat. Making *extra* payments is down the list after 'new bra' (I have one that fits me right now), and 'pay tax bill'. Because there was of course a tax bill this year. Thanks Trump.

I have bell hooks new book on love to read. She believes there cannot be justice without love, and I need a book that reminds me that love is not just about feeling but about acting and risking and standing up for things. ♥
22 March 2019 @ 07:28 am
Someone I was very close to at work died this week. He was very young, and it's hard to contemplate all the wonderful things that were ahead of him that he won't get to do.

I am bowled over by grief - I have no control, I'm discovering, in when and where I break down, or how inaccessible breaking down is at other parts of the day. I feel heavy and tired and just plain sad. And of course there's the surreality of life moving on at its regular pace regardless of what's happened. It seems surreal to me that I'm still in meetings, and still writing letters, and still doing research, and yet the alternative is staring at the walls, unable to comprehend things.

The grief is not just mine, of course - there's a whole community that's stunned. How to both support people around me and take care of myself is a balance I'm so far not that great at. I'm taking people on a retreat this weekend, and there really isn't anyone else who can go in my place. So I'm practicing letting out long slow breaths and simply showing up as I am, however messy.

What a loss.
16 March 2019 @ 08:50 am
I've been feeling very hermitty this week, unable to enter into basic niceties with people I love because I am out of can. It's a strange feeling, and I can see that it's fueled by bursts of necessary extroversion. Someone I know was tear-gassed last weekend, caught up in a protest in France, and needed help dealing with things state-side as a result. Someone else I know needed help dealing with her boss and her boss's boss, where there's a tangled history that makes her afraid and which her boss's boss knows only a bit about. Someone I know just lost her kids in a custody battle presided over by an MRA judge, and her husband just moved the kids a whole time zone and several states away. I'm waiting for some news on a job that I honestly couldn't tell you if I want or not. And then the college cheating scandal broke and somehow that was the last straw. I've felt for a few days now this awful sense of "the bad guys are winning."

This is not my usual outlook on the world, and I know I can't dwell here for long - I know that dwelling in this place at all is a strange kind of privilege. I have room and space and bodily integrity enough to allow myself to feel this, whereas many people don't.

But you know what specifically broke me? Felicity Huffman. I know that the relationship we all perceive ourselves to have with actors is complete fantasy, but she seemed like one of the good ones. She didn't seem like someone who would feel the need to game the system. And yet she did. Knowingly and completely, and her actions (and those of all the other charged caregivers) are going to have real effects on students seeking disability accommodations in the future, and are wrong, and are unfair, and and and.

I think of the many people I know who have fought tooth and nail to get a BA and it depresses the shit out of me that people with a financial leg up just bypass the system. I'm taking it really personally.

And then New Zealand, and the obvious, clearly articulated connection to what's going on politically in the US. I am out of words to describe how it feels to consider what happened.

I'm reminded of Kimberle Crenshaw's original definition of intersection - that it's not about how identities intersect; it's about how webs of oppression intersect. (Which is why if you say you're an intersectional feminist, you're actually claiming you're an oppressive feminist.) I feel those webs right now. I can all but see them. And I need to kick myself out of this funk and get to chopping them all up.

But today, I cannot.
26 February 2019 @ 09:35 am
Last night I had a fight with my friend G. I say fight, but there were no raised voices or mean things said - it was all done over text and everyone was eminently reasonable. But it was awful.

Since the new memories rose up, I have seen G three times. Twice in the first week we were at social events, so could not have any meaningful conversation about what was going on. Last week I saw her for one hour. Last night I texted her to see if she'd like to have a cup of tea. She replied that she didn't have time.

And this is a pattern. When my other friends ask how Gabe is I usually answer that I don't really know, because I can't get her attention. I have not said this to Gabe, because what usually happens is I'm so glad to see her when I *do* see her that I just let it all go. But last night I couldn't.

I'll spare you the blow by blow. It boils down to this:

Me: I feel like I am a really low priority for you right now, and that hurts
Her: This is the best I can do. I'm doing my taxes tonight.

It was, of course, a much longer conversation. I sobbed through the whole thing for more than an hour.

I asked for what I needed and she said she couldn't provide it, so I guess I know where I stand? I clearly need to adjust my expectations of our friendship. I am so enormously sad about the whole thing, and feel very alone and not a little bit stupid.
24 February 2019 @ 07:44 am
How does a person go about healing their relationship with a whole faith tradition? What does that even look like? I’m trying to imagine it – imagine a way to come to some sort of peace within my own spirit while still rejecting the harm my childhood church did to me.

(There are church memories beneath the cut that I may have shared before. I’m just trying to put everything in one place.)

”More, )
23 February 2019 @ 12:10 pm
I had therapy again yesterday, after a few days of feeling like my body really wasn't my own, and experiencing dizziness and light-headedness and exhaustion. Mornings got better - I had purpose and energy until about 11, or 11.30, and then I crashed. Happily, my appointment with Jan yesterday was a morning appointment, so I got to do the drive while I felt capable of it.

Discussion of abuse under the cut; please read or don't with your own self care in mind! )
19 February 2019 @ 08:22 am
I am not okay. If a breakdown is the breaking down of normal function and abilities, then I am having a small one. Thankfully, I got in to see Jan last night on a cancellation, and I'm so glad I did.

Cut for mention of abuse; please read or don't with your own self care in mind! )
14 February 2019 @ 05:09 pm
“Write less about how you suffer, and more about how you survive.”
~ Mary Karr.

Cut for mention of child abuse )
13 February 2019 @ 07:51 am
I realized last night that another memory I've been . . . coralling? . . . for want of a better word likely has some unfortunate implications. It's a memory I haven't ever forgotten, exactly, and I frequently think of, but only last night did I realize that the way my body and brain and breath react when I think of that memory likely mean some bad things. The memory just ends, you see, with no specific resolution of why I feel afraid - but then so many of my memories end that way, my brain protecting me from the exact details of what came next.

I wonder why all of this is bubbling to the surface right now. What combination of real world triggers and mental headspace has told my brain 'hey, we should poke at this one!'

I spent four hours yesterday, knitting a series of cowls to give to people today as Galentine's Day gifts. It was so lovely. I felt a little bit possessed as I knitted, I was so focused on it, but I'm realizing in retrospect what I was focused on was nothing - the beautiful act of simply zenning out to a repetitive task and my brain not churning. I wish I could knit today! But instead I have work and financial therapy. Well. At least it's Galentine's Day and I have little gifts to give out to people throughout the day, which will be cheery. I can focus on that.
13 February 2019 @ 07:47 am
Happy Galentine's Day to all my lady friends (defined as expansively as imaginable)! What fun thing will you do for yourself or your friends today?

11 February 2019 @ 07:32 am
A new memory surfaced last night. Mention of childhood abuse under the cut. Pleas read or don't with self care in mind! )
09 February 2019 @ 08:18 am
This has been a tough week. I'm still weathering being triggered, and yesterday at lunchtime I ended up so deeply nauseated I couldn't function. I came home and slept for two and a half hours, and then felt a bit better, but I'm still feeling nauseated this morning. I think it is very likely this is my body saying "no" and "stop." I'm glad to have a weekend where I can listen.

I went to Wisconsin last weekend to visit M and her family, and I had such a wonderful time with them all. But the drive there and back is five hours each way, so I started Monday absolutely wiped out from driving. And that dug up some anger - anger that mine and M's relationship will never be the same again, and I didn't get a say in that. I can't just drive up and back on a weekend on a whim - it's too much. And that means the fabric of our relationship is materially different - no popping in on each other; no happy hour cocktails; no days spent cooking together. I recognize that my anger isn't necessarily fair - she should be doing what's right for her and her family - but I think I've been ignoring it, and so it's festering. So I need to just sit with that, let myself be sad over it.

Things feel hard right now in a way that I don't know how to wrap my head around. But perhaps I don't need to. Perhaps if I just keep ministering to the physical manifestations of all of this, I'll be giving myself the mental and emotional space to process the week and all that it's connected to.

I had a dream that I kissed Chris Evans last night? So you know, brains aren't all bad.
08 February 2019 @ 07:18 am
On Wednesday night, my place of work held a dinner for LGBTQIA folks, and since so many junior colleagues were going to be there, I went - I want them to feel seen and supported. But I didn't really want to go for lots of different reasons, including my feelings that doing work things in an evening feels profoundly wrong.

Anyway. I went. I sat with a friend and two junior colleagues, who were both delightful, and then someone at my boss's level (not my actual boss) sat down at our table, too. Immediately, things were super awkward. I do not mind being an open book at my place of work, but there's something about having someone in a position of power at the table that really borks things up. Everything felt forced, especially talking about our identities.

Because the event was in part about checking in with folks and trying to gather information about how to best support the community, there were a list of questions on the table we needed to talk about and then write down answers. So THAT was super awkward, because there's nothing like pointed questions that don't necessarily apply to why anyone's in the room to make conversation flow. And we're all at very different points in our lives and careers, so it's not like there could really be consensus on anything. And all I could really think about was the boss-level person at the table getting to know parts of me I would not have shared with her under normal circumstances.

I think what I'm struggling with is that the whole thing felt very forced. Once the dinner was announced, it was assumed that some of us would be there whether we wanted to be there or not. There was an implicit expectation for us to show - and I definitely felt pressure about it. My motivation for being there wasn't about authenticity or joy, but about duty. And once we got there we were forced into groups we wouldn't have chosen, and to share things that we may or may not have wanted to share.

All this by way of saying - I woke up triggered yesterday morning, and I'm pretty sure it was that event that did it. I slammed into a giant wall yesterday and am a fairly mangled version of myself now. I've been tending to the physical symptoms of the triggering, using scents and tastes and textures to ground and soothe myself, and that's been helpful. My discomfort is profound, both intellectually and physically (and emotionally) and I just . . . well, in writing this I just figured out the root of it. The entire thing felt coerced. And that's not how I ever want to feel.
25 January 2019 @ 09:56 pm
19 January 2019 @ 10:35 am
Thank you to everyone who was so kind on my last post, and once again, to everyone who donated in the post before that. I've been living on your donations - which became more crucial yesterday when my place of work did not reimburse me the $315 I'm owed for the conference I went to earlier in January. (Every reimbursement person I have ever worked with seems to imagine everyone floats around on a cloud of money or credit and can just not be reimbursed on time. How do they have such a profound disconnect from people's realities?) Anyway - thank you. I have groceries because of you.

I went to a yoga class last night (that I paid for back in November - thank you, November me) that was focused on restorative and relaxing poses. We used lots of props, and did a lot of meditation, and it was a really lovely way to end a trying week. We had to set an intention for the class, and mine was "let go." I wanted to make space to let go of my resentment, anger, grief, and frustration, and while it was certainly no instant fix-it, I did feel good by the end of class for having made the attempt. (I did have a flare of graaaaaah during the class when the guy next to me moved his bolster away, and instead of being very careful about placement like everyone else in the class, just shoved it right into me. I mean. My dude.)

I am still in my PJs. It feels delicious. Sending warm vibes to everyone getting walloped by snow. ♥
17 January 2019 @ 01:49 pm

M's husband B was in town overnight to turn in the keys to the house, close bank accounts, switch off the utilties etc, and I saw him this morning. It was lovely. And then we said bye, and I got in my car, and I started to cry. I am a broken record on this, I know, but there is just a big damn hole in my life where that family was and it's not getting easier.

My counseling practice told me that since they have no evidence on their end that I was charged $150 by mistake, they can't refund my money. (I have sent them my bank statement showing them the charge.) This has been going on for days. I am now disputing the charge with my bank.

My boss took back several promises he made to me about ways in which my work life would improve, including rescinding travel opportunities.

My boss also says I can only miss four days of work to go to South Africa. Which . . . that means no South Africa.

I have to do a thing at work that I really, deeply, profoundly disagree with, but which I discovered I have no say in. I also had to have an hour-long meeting about that thing.

A colleague was indescribably ableist. I did not let it pass, but they didn't get it. At all.

I just heard that I did not get an interview for the job that I was head-hunted for.
14 January 2019 @ 03:30 pm
Thank you to everyone who helped out re: my last post! You are freaking angels, no lie, and have sustained me through the back and forth with the counseling practice today. (They maintain they did not take $150. I have sent them my bank statement *clearly showing* they took $150. Oy.)

The irony of my financial therapy company causing me financial hardship is not lost on me.