15 October 2017 @ 03:16 pm
This morning, on the phone, my mother asked how I was doing with all the Weinstein stuff.

discussion of sexual assault under the cut )
14 October 2017 @ 09:01 am
Two weeks in the life  
My trigger from two weeks ago is still with me. mention of sexual assault under the cut )
13 October 2017 @ 05:53 pm
I'm setting up a side hustle.

I don't make enough money. I have no credit and no savings, and so when things happen (like needing two new tires before winter, as I do) I am shit out of luck. 1/3 of my money each month goes to the bankruptcy settlement, and that's as it should be. But I am woefully underpaid for my profession, and there was no raise this year. Getting another job in my profession would mean moving out of town at the very least, away from my support network, and would probably mean moving out of state. Given my mental health, it's not doable.

So I need a side hustle. And I'm mad about it.

My particular profession requires a lot of post-graduate training - in my case, eleven years of it. I didn't go into my profession for the money (that would be laughable), but I did imagine I'd make a living commensurate with my skills. And yet, no. Not even. I've been in my job for twelve years and a good friend who's in her second year in the same profession is making just $5000 less than I am. (She should be earning every penny of what she is, and more. We're both underpaid.) I asked my boss today if I could submit my materials for a promotion. He said I needed to wait a year. (And nothing will materially change in a year. It's simply an arcane rule of where I work.)


I'm cognizant of my privilege. I'm not working two minimum wage jobs to try and feed my kids, and I really truly know how lucky that makes me. That person should be being paid a hell of a lot more money for their labor.

But still. I'm going to be setting up a side hustle to work in my not-very-much-free-time. It's necessary. I'm grateful that I have the ability to do it. But I am mad about it.
09 October 2017 @ 05:48 am
For Indigenous People's Day  
In school I was taught the names
Columbus, Cortez, and Pizzarro and
A dozen other filthy murderers.
A bloodline all the way to General Miles,
Daniel Boone and General Eisenhower.

No one mentioned the names
Of even a few of the victims.
But don't you remember Chaske, whose spine
Was crushed so quickly by Mr. Pizzaro's boot?
What words did he cry into the dust?

What was the familiar name
Of that young girl who danced so gracefully
That everyone in the village sang with her--
Before Cortez' sword hacked off her arms
As she protested the burning of her sweetheart?

That young man's name was Many Deeds,
And he had been a leader of a band of fighters
Called the Redstick Hummingbirds, who slowed
The march of Cortez' army with only a few
Spears and stones which now lay still
In the mountains and remember.

Greenrock Woman was the name
Of that old lady who walked right up
And spat in Columbus' face. We
must remember that, and remember
Laughing Otter the Taino who tried to stop
Columbus and who was taken away as a slave.
We never saw him again.

In school I learned of heroic discoveries
Made by liars and crooks. The courage
Of millions of sweet and true people
Was not commemorated.

Let us then declare a holiday
For ourselves, and make a parade that begins
With Columbus' victims and continues
Even to our grandchildren who will be named
in their honor.

Because isn't it true that even the summer
Grass here in this land whispers those names,
And every creek has accepted the responsibility
Of singing those names? And nothing can stop
The wind from howling those names around
The corners of the school.

Why else would the birds sing
So much sweeter here than in other lands?

-- Columbus Day, by Jimmie Durham (Cherokee) (West End Press, 1983)
07 October 2017 @ 08:37 am
This has been a heck of a PTSD week. I went back to work on Wednesday (after my Sunday trigger) and it was a poor life choice - I felt nauseated and completely in a bubble. It was clear my body was trying in every way it knew how to get me out of there. So I went home after my morning was done, slept for two hours, and came back in for a meeting. Canceled Thursday. And then I drove to dog sit for my friend who's on a fabulous trip to Budapest and Prague and such. I dissociated twice on the drive, which is always scary - feeling like the world isn't real when you're traveling at 70mph, ugh. The only thing I can really do in those circumstances (besides get off the road if I can - but usually I'm not near an exit) is sing. Singing brings right and left brain together in a way that overrides the dissociation, but my goodness, it feels like climbing a mountain to sing in those moments. But I did it, and I got to my destination safely. Oy.

Then yesterday I had a day of such high-anxiety that I was shaking with it at points. (And I just realized the Harvey Weinstein news was everywhere yesterday and the day before - I bet that contributed.) The lovely [personal profile] celli and I had plans for dinner, but she was a gem and came over instead of us going out, because I couldn't handle new places. And we had such a lovely time - she was such a balm, and we laughed and we listened to music and we talked about so many things. And she gave me a gift - a needlepointed "Nevertheless, she persisted" sign that is about the best thing imaginable. ♥

Today I'm feeling on edge again, but not as much as yesterday. I'm in a really familiar neighborhood, in a house that has been safe for me through my whole PTSD journey, with a dog I love, so I'm not sure why my body is flaring with anxiety, except that it's not *my* neighborhood, perhaps, in a time when my body is reacting to so many things?

Ugh. There's a part of me that is so angry that this is what happens to me after a trigger, while somewhere my abusers are just going on with their lives. Wtfingf, you know?
02 October 2017 @ 05:49 pm
Today has been a tough day. An innocuous thing triggered me yesterday, and I woke this morning with horribly painful arms, a wooly mind, and a desire to do nothing but sleep. I did sleep a lot - three naps and counting (I didn't go to work. But I can't stay off work indefinitely.) I feel unequal to doing anything. I think of tomorrow and work and I despair a little. So I'm trying not to think of tomorrow and work.

It's so easy to think this is a matter of willpower, that if I could just get off my couch I could do all the things that need to be done. But I truly cannot get off my couch. Instead I've been reading past entries about PTSD, and rediscovering little nuggets of wisdom from the past. Like - it's not just me feeling this, it's past me, little me, teenage me, and establishing comfort for all of us, and building trust with those past selves - that is a radical move.

I know I can't hurry healing - my arms will hurt as long as they need to; I will feel tired for as long as I need to. I may have to take another day tomorrow. I'm reminding myself that's okay.
27 September 2017 @ 04:46 pm
Oh my goodness, my friend J just had groceries delivered to me (several days before pay day). That is possibly the sweetest thing anyone has ever done for me - completely unasked for, just a mind-blowing act of generosity. MEEEEEEEEEP. People are good. ♥
25 September 2017 @ 08:26 pm

[profile] siriaeve:it... is?
i thought it ended in the 70s :-?
did trump start another thing

me: . . . sorry, I meant the documentary on PBS.
23 September 2017 @ 07:47 am
Yesterday I spent my whole afternoon listening to seven different Native activists, including Louise Erdrich and Edgar Heap of Birds, talk about their activism. It was such a challenging, important experience. And while I am walking away from it with a lot of thoughts, and a lot of books i need to read, and a lot of concrete actions I can take, I took away one thing overall that I need to keep at the forefront of my mind.

When I say / think / complain that this present political situation is unbearable, or words to the effect, I am showing my white privilege. To listen to these seven activists talk about what their families have experienced within the last five generations is staggering. I knew much of it intellectually, but yesterday it hit me with full emotional force. So shut up, white girl. I barely know what it is to hurt.
09 September 2017 @ 10:46 am
The Leftovers  
Who among us has seen the HBO show The Leftovers? My friend, M, got me hooked - or rather, she wouldn't stop talking about the show, and introduced me to the achingly lovely score, and then earlier in the week I figured hey, why not watch the pilot and see how it is? And now it's ten episodes later and I am hooked.

If you haven't seen the show, the premise is that, without warning, 2% of the world's population disappears one October 14th. The show picks up the story three years later as everyone's still grappling with their loss. (The premise might sound sort of like the rapture, but it's not - it's never handled as that in the show, and ultimately you get the suggestion of other reasons why people disappeared.) The main protagonist is Kevin Garvey, the chief of police in a small, upstate NY town. He appears not to have lost anyone in the event, but he loses everyone just the same. His wife is in a cult-like group in town. His son is with a charismatic religious figure in the southwest. His daughter is deeply fucked up and remote. His dad is committed to a psychiatric hospital.

And then there's Matt, a local preacher, who lost one version of his wife, Mary. And Nora, who lost her husband and two children in the event. There's Patti, who's in charge of the cult, and Meg, who wants to join, and the town's mayor, Lucy, who is trying to chart a path through increasingly turbulent waters.

It's a slow burn of a show - I wasn't bowled over by it, but rather won over by it. Every episode the writers would drop a nugget of information about a character and I'd realize that meant X or Y, and then have to keep watching to see how that impacted everyone else, and before you knew it, it was episode ten and every, damn, thing in the show tied together. It was gorgeous.

Fair warning - in the first couple of episodes, as well as episode seven or eight, a dog (or dogs) are shot. If that's a deal-breaker, this wouldn't be the show for you. There's also some pretty graphic violence.

If you've seen it, talk to me about it!
03 September 2017 @ 06:12 pm
For my birthday, [profile] siriaeve wrote me the most delightful domestic Steve Rogers/Sam Wilson fic, and everyone should go read it! Sam is wry and funny and Steve is completely out of his depth, and oh, it's just delicious.

03 September 2017 @ 12:00 pm
My weekend at the barn  

This morning I woke up to a late-summer silence in the loft of a timber-frame barn. I’d slept overnight in a lush double bed, heavy with quilts, the windows open to let in the overnight chill and, as it happened, the call of coyotes. I was up before my friends, so I padded downstairs (the steps to the loft are narrow and steep) and set the coffee brewing while I soaked up the view – pastures and corn as far as the eye could see, a cow barn, the gravel path that led back toward town.

a converted barn

Read more... )
29 August 2017 @ 06:16 pm
I got triggered in Sunday. I have no idea by what. I simply felt my elbows start to ache and burn and realized, okay, there was a trigger tucked away in this day somewhere.

Yesterday I drove to my doctor's office, an hour away, and dissociated on the drive. That is, by far, my least favorite kind of dissociation (as if there's a good kind?), but I was able to beat it back by singing along with my iPod, loudly and badly. And then this morning it happened again, and I ended up coming home from work because I needed space and solitude. I slept for a while, which did help, but the I had to finish a project that absolutely had to be done today, so I sat at my dining room table in my PJs and got it done.


My brain feels slow and tired, and I feel slow and tired, and I'm cranky and impatient and having enormous difficulty contemplating going back to work tomorrow. I'm doing all the taking-care-of things I can think to do, but I think what I actually need is a vacation. I get a mini one on Friday and Saturday in anticipation of my birthday (on Sunday) and that will be wonderful. But I'm still stuck here in the quagmire of Tuesday right now.

Today I actively resent my PTSD. I don't want to feel this way, and I know my brain is trying in its own maladjusted way to help me, but it's not.

Anyway. Time to put on some candles for good smells, make tea, apply lotion, give myself some quiet, do all the things I've been doing some more. And wait for this to pass.
27 August 2017 @ 07:12 am
My birthday is one week from today, so I'm going to try to make this week a week of reflection. What's working for me? What's not? Where and when am I tired, or feeling overloaded? What can I do to change that? I want to go into my birthday with a clear sense of where I'm at and how I can best care for myself to make this coming year the best it can be.

My therapist told me that she tries to do something good for herself once an hour. This might be as small a thing as drinking a glass of water, or walking around the building to get blood flowing, but I love the idea of self-care not just being something we do when we've hit a wall, but something we build mindfully into our whole day. Water is a big one for me - the past few days I haven't drunk enough of it and really noticed. And I think I could easily make sure I walk 250 steps every hour. And doing my exercises for my ankle is another thing I can do wherever I am - yesterday, while checking in participants to the big program I've been working on, I would stand around when idle and go up and down on my toes, which is a great strengthening exercise.

Anyway, all this by way of saying - I want to be mindful and intentional about the trajectory my life is on, and reflecting this week will be part of it. Reading this [On Being post] about money and breaking and rebuilding is a good start.

Yesterday went well (except for me going home early because I felt overwhelmed and exhausted - see "not drinking enough water" and not caring for myself, above). All our participants checked in, and we celebrated them and distributed t-shirts and water bottles (see, we thought about *other* people drinking enough water :) ) and got people settled. Today's their first activity, out on the prairie, and I hope they have fun. I have some responsibilities today, but not until 4pm, so I can have a leisurely day until then.

I made myself a whole pot of tea this morning, and it's cool and calm outside. I'm going to put all fresh bed linens on my bed, and treat myself to a long, luxurious shower. I'm going to empty the dishwasher and refill it, and I'm going to do some organizing around my house. I have a bit of laundry to do, and a bit of work to catch up on, but I think today could be lovely.

Wishing you lovely days, too!
25 August 2017 @ 07:10 am
Oh, and a quick update on G's dad: turns out that he was hit by a semi. qlkjhsdlfkhqsdf. He had bleeding on the brain and in his lungs, one of which was punctured, but seems to have escaped other organ damage. His ribs are broken, but nothing else. The doctors brought him out of the coma to try and do mental health tests, but he was clearly in a lot of pain, so they induced the coma again. He was able to respond to questions by squeezing someone's hand, though, and moved his eyes to acknowledge his name. All good signs. Thank you for all your warm thoughts, energy, and prayers.
25 August 2017 @ 06:58 am
I've spent the last two days training people for the big project that begins tomorrow, when we welcome participants to town. And yesterday, at about 2pm, I remembered - oh, right. I can't do full days of being "on". This summer I've been able to vary my work between home and my office, see people and make appointments during the day, approach things from different vantage points as well as in different spaces, and I haven't had to be "on" very much at all (in fact only when I went to conferences). But the past two days I've been the facilitator, and at 2pm yesterday I was spent. Which reminded me that during 2/3 of the year, that's my pattern - at work by 8, completely unable to function by 2. I came home yesterday and slept for three hours.

So today I'm looking to drink more water, give people (and myself) more breaks, eat some snacks, and try and wrap up by 2pm. And then nap :D

I work with a population that includes people who go hungry, and while there are structural things that I can push for and contribute to (and am doing), my friends all crowdsourced a HUGE pile of snacks for me to keep in my office and hand out whenever needed. I have pretzels and fruit snacks (which are vegan), gluten-free granola bars, protein bars, goldfish crackers, chips, chocolate, fruity candy, and regular granola bars. All I'll need to do is pick up some apples and oranges each week. People's generosity has been mind-blowing, and I'm so grateful. What a wonderful thing.

It's a beautiful morning here, raining softly (and we need the rain), and so cool I had to put on my robe over my PJs. DELIGHTFUL. We have several more days of this in the hopper, and I'm so excited. Burrowing under my duvet to sleep is one of my favorite things ever, and I can leave all the windows open overnight and sleep beautifully.

And then, weirdly, my body woke me up at 5.50am and was all, it's time now. I could have slept longer, body, but okay, you do you :D

Did you see James Cameron's comments [about Wonder Woman yesterday]? It struck me as a very white man thing to do, to tell legions of women that they don't know what they feel, and that WW is regressive. In the immortal words of Sam Wilson, "Shut up, man."
22 August 2017 @ 09:03 am
My close friend, G (who has been featured in these pages a lot), just flew out to Washington state to be with her family. Her father had a stroke last night while riding his motorcycle, and was in a serious accident. He's now in an induced coma while they work out the scale of his injuries and the necessary treatment. Things are touch and go.

If you are the good thoughts/energy/praying sort, if you could direct them toward G and her family, it would be so much appreciated. G is Jewish, so a special thank you to all my Jewish friends and their communities.

Thanks, my loves. ♥
21 August 2017 @ 08:17 am
I watched an episode of Hawaii Five-0 on Friday evening for want of anything else to do. I haven't watched the show in a couple of years because its traffic in stereotypes and jingoism just made it too hard to watch, but Friday I figured I'd give it a go.

Holy moley, it's still the gayest show on TV that thinks it's not gay at all.

Steve and Danny's storyline was the B-plot (or was the case the B-plot? Hard to say). It was Valetine's Day weekend, and Steve and his girlfriend were headed to a hotel to spend a romantic weekend together. Steve cracks open a beer and wanders onto the hotel balcony . . . and discovers Danny already drinking a beer on the next balcony over.

Danny stares at him for a long time and says, "Why?"


Ends up Danny and Steve's gfs have decided they all need to hang out together, so they got adjoining rooms at the hotel. Danny is particularly perturbed by this as he doesn't think his romantic game is strong and it'll be particularly hard with Steve there with his "judgey" face. So they bicker and then have a conversation about . . . safe words. I kid you not.


The rest of the S/D storyline includes:

* Everyone playing volleyball (not gay, right? Their gfs are there!) . . . to the Kenny Loggins song that played during the volleyball scene in Top Gun (aka THE GAYEST)

* Steve and Danny going out for a swim together and wading back from the water together

* Steve and Danny breaking and entering into someone's hotel room in search of Danny's sunglasses

* Steve and Danny having facials in the spa. The camera eventually widens to show the gfs are there, but then Danny decides he can't stand spa-ing a moment longer and leaves, and Steve goes after him to check he's okay.

* A romantic dinner on the beach for the four of them, but Steve and Danny sit beside each other, and Steve throws his arm around Danny and caresses his ear.

I just . . . are the writers trying to send a message? Do they all have secret RL crushes on their friends? Who puts the volleyball music from Top Gun to a scene where Steve and Danny (or for that matter their gfs) are playing a game and thinks "that will read straight"?

I am so looking into the camera like Ben Wyatt right now.

My day has gone a bit cockammie. I was supposed to see my psychiatrist at 9.20 but there are storms the whole way between there and here (an hours drive) and I just cannot. So now I have to squeeze it in next week between various work things. Fun! It frees up some time for me to do other things, but I'm so flummoxed by the order of my day being thrown out of whack that I don't exactly know what other things I want to do. Brains.

A program I've been working on all summer starts up this Wednesday with training days for everyone involved, and then our participants arrive on Saturday. I usually look forward to the participants arriving, but I am so utterly over this program after working on it the past three months that I feel no anticipation. It was supposed to be a program run by me and one of my bosses, but then she left, and everyone assumed I would just pick up the slack. But it is a two-person job, and there is only one of me, so I am left very tired, frustrated, and out of fucks for the whole thing. It'll get done, but oy. I have an email in to my other boss about extra compensation for all my work, so I hope they come through on that.

I guess I'm feeling frustrated overall that I never got a chance to have a summer. I did some very cool things - I loved getting a glimpse of Boston; my conference in Virginia last week was amazing - but save for four hours on a Michigan beach, I've had no real time off, and no time to take time off at that. So today I'm feeling very grumpy.

Boo on that. Perhaps I should bribe myself to do work and go to the coffeeshop? That would be a fun place to be even if the work I'm doing is not fun itself. Sounds like a plan.
18 August 2017 @ 07:17 am
Helping Charlottesville kids  
A good friend of mine lives and works (as a teacher) in Charlottesville, and her school librarian has put together a list of books to help kids in the city process what's been happening. If you have a little money, please buy one of the books at the link below and help Charlottesville's kids directly!

13 August 2017 @ 08:37 am
I am back in my own home after a week away in Virginia doing work things. The workshop I was at was amazing, and has had a profound impact on the way I think about doing my job. I also got to create a bunch of stuff, mostly online, and I feel such satisfaction about all those things and how I'm going to approach my work in the future. Hurray!

Last week's accident continues to need attention - the national rental company apparently didn't pass on to the local branch of the rental company what had happened, so they're wondering where the car is. Technically not my problem - seriously, company in question, get your act together - but I'm the one getting the phone calls. I also have to provide copies of a bunch of documents to my employer tomorrow as they may be liable for the accident instead of me because I paid for the rental on a company card. Who knows.

What I do know is that not having a car between Tuesday and Friday was a terrible idea. (We only really needed a car to get back to the airport, so there was no point in renting before Friday from a practical standpoint.) I really needed to get back up on the horse before that - I was hella nervous driving on both Friday and Saturday. I was also nervous driving back from my local airport last night because it was dark and I couldn't discount the idea that I would hit something - like a deer - on the way home. My luck seems to be running that way. But it did not come to pass and I got home and went to bed and slept like a diving bell going to the bottom of the ocean. Thank goodness.

Amid all this, some incredibly kind person sent me money through my coffee button, and it was amazingly generous and lifted some of the weight of dealing with the car accident. Whomever you are online, I am so grateful to you, and thank you from the bottom of my heart for your compassion.

Yesterday, [profile] siriaeve and I carved out two hours between leaving Virginia and needing to get to the airport to go into DC and see some sights. We spent most of our time at the National Art Gallery, which I had never been in before. It was really fun, and we had excellent croissants in the cafe, and saw a medieval painting of baby Jesus in which he looked strangely like Jared Kushner. Hmmm. And we walked and walked and walked - my fitbit showed just under 16,000 steps for the day. (This is good news in that I could walk that far without my ankle giving out - it used to do so after a mile and a half before I went to PT - and while it did hurt by the end, it was an ache rather than a sharp pain. My PTs will be super glad to hear this.) It was a great day, even though the giant chicken behind the White House was gone.

Of course yesterday was a day full of the news coming out of Charlottesville - I saw some particularly graphic footage while eating some lunch in the airport. I've seen a lot of people saying that the actions of the Nazis "are not who we are as a country" - and while I recognize that as an aspirational saying, it's simply not true from a historical perspective. We have always been a white supremacist country; it has always been this bad for key segments of our population; the U.S. is founded on denying rights to others because of their race and religion. Our job is to undo what has been done, to untangle the web of white supremacy that runs through all our institutions, our cultural mores, our social conventions - to do any less is to be willfully blind to what is desperately apparent.

There are many good organizations in Charlottesville [to which you might give money] as a first response. But not everyone has money, and action takes many forms. Can I suggest asset mapping yourself? Draw a stick figure on a piece of paper, and then go around that form and list all the talents and energies you can bring to anti-racism work - your knowledge of Google apps, Excel, Word; your ability hammer things, lift things, hold signs, walk in protests, perhaps; your understanding of social justice. Then look around your own community and find organizations that can use what you have to offer. I just joined the board of my local domestic violence shelter, which may seem removed from all of this, but violence is completely bound up in the messages of toxic masculinity that come out of white supremacy and other pools of hatred. We serve about 70 families per month, and my town is very small. That's a lot of people who need to hear messages of love and welcome and to receive practical help with shelter, food, education, and an income.

We can fight this - we have to fight this. And I know from experience that you have such big hearts and minds and a commitment to upholding what is right. We can beat this. Together.