Saturday, April 28, 2012

Radio Silence

I'm sorry I keep going all Radio Silence on you.

Some things I do not wish to share with the interweb. Others I do, but my writing focus is on The Book right now.

The blog is lovely and I love to babble at you (and I am committed to continuing the stories/series we've got going on over here), but I have to finish the book first. Then we can focus on the Shoe Whoring and the Sloring and the Blind Gayting.

I'll be back. Pinky Swear.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Window Is Open

It was the window.

Every month, it was was the window.

It came as regularly as the full moon. There before you knew it, fading away before you could fully grasp its presence.

It had been open for one day and she sat on the floor of the kitchen, curled up in the corner, utterly broken.

There was so much pain every time the window opened. Emotional. Physical. Pain that soaked into the marrow of every bone and filled her soul.

So much pain and guilt and shame and regret. So much reflecting over all the wrong decisions.

Weren't they all wrong decisions, in some way? Otherwise why would the window have opened, why would it torture her, month after month?

She sat, broken in the corner. Was she too weak mentally? Physically? She should be able to get up and close the window. It was just a window.

She didn't move from her corner.

The window would remain open for another day. Two if she had been particularly bad.

Obviously she had been bad, in this life or another. It had to be karma. What other explanation could there be?

She cried out to a god she wasn't even sure existed. Once she had been certain. Not anymore.

Slowly the pain would ebb. Just a bit. Just enough for her to crawl out of the kitchen, away from the window.

It was still open. There was no way she could shut it, not right now. It would remain open for another day, at least. But right now she could crawl away, a little bit further away.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Coffee and Cigarettes

Coffee was the one vice she refused to give up.

Especially now. Now that she had finally gotten rid of that last pack of smokes.

She knew how bad they were. But that didn't stop her from having one. Just one little cigarette a month.

Surely that wouldn't tempt the cancer gods too much?

She always knew she'd have to give them up eventually. Her little rebellion. Her dirty little secret.

No one had to know.

But that was a lie. She knew.

She couldn't unknow, so one day they'd have to go.

She felt sad on the day. The day she had decided upon out of the blue. She hadn't even had her one for the month. It was just time.

She tossed them in the trash and knew there was no going back. She would never buy another pack and she would never pull them back out of the trash.

That was something she could not bring herself to do. Nothing ever came back from the trash.

But she still had coffee.

Sweet coffee, whose kiss she first tasted at twelve.

Back then she had doctored it up too much. Chocolate and milk. Sugar and cream. She never masked the taste, not completely, but she certainly did not appreciate it yet.

Later she left it for espresso.

Sweet espresso.

Flavors. Steamed milk.

So many exotic combinations, so much heady excitement.

Later it would make her ill. She loved the scent, would drink it in with every sense but the one that most desired it.

She told herself she was happy. She tortured herself so deliciously, breathing it in, savoring it on the clothing of others, their skin, their breath.

But never again could she consume it as it had once consumed her.

Then one day coffee was back.

Black. One sugar.

So simple. Steady. Undemanding.

A sweet kiss. A soft caress.

She'd never leave it again, she promised silently, wrapping her hands around the warm mug. Letting it warm her in that gentle, familiar way.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Fuck You Fibromyalgia

Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression. Acceptance.

Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression. Acceptance.

There's a theory that those with chronic diseases/illnesses cycle through the 5 stages of grief again and again. And with something as cyclic as Fibromyalgia, it certainly fits.

I made a decision in the not so distant past to get off of as many drugs as possible, and to put it bluntly, it's not working out very well. I'm finding myself cycling through the stages a lot. I'm finding myself stuck in anger a lot.

I don't like to be angry. I don't feel that I ever have the right to subject anyone else to that anger. It's my own issue to deal with and get over. I hate anger, I hate that I am angry, I hate my body and my circumstances and sometimes myself. So I've withdrawn a lot, from everyone. It's nothing personal, friends. It's certainly not you.

Every single time I seem to make progress, find something that works and get some sort of hope, hope that there is a future, it all comes crashing down on my head again. Frankly it's exhausting.

I need to stop grieving for what was and what could have been, but I honestly don't know where to begin. Fuck Cancer. Fuck Fibromyalgia. Fuck it all.

Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression. Acceptance.

(The entire Human Again album is amazing. Check it out. Ingrid Michaelson is a talented lady.)

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Some days there is so much pain and hurt and anger and just fucking hopelessness that I don't think I'll ever be human again.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

I'm Going Crazy

"But Kay, weren't you already crazy? I mean... C'mon. Really?"


I woke up with a migraine. Then stubbornly stayed in bed waiting for it to magically go away on its own. When that didn't happen, I got up and fetched the vicodin. It worked for an hour or so.

I've been playing the "maybe this will work" game all day.

My ears are killing me.

The lymph nodes in my neck started hurting an hour or two ago.

This tiny voice in my head has started yelling "It's cancer! Ha! Suck it! That's what you get for saying cancer was easier than Fibro!"

Another voice is reminding me that the last time I felt like this it was shingles. I mean, herpes. ;) (So sexy!)

Ha! There's a shingles commercial on my TV right now (The virus may already be inside you). Big Brother, man. He's always watching.

Yet another voice is telling me that it's really not healthy to have voices in one's head, and that I should probably not cancel Friday's shrink appt. But what does she know?

I'm going crazy. If you want to watch the madness in action I'll leave the back door unlocked. Come over whenever. If you make my ears stop ringing I'll share my vicodin. If you make the dog stop touching me I'll hug you.

Is it just me, or is this "The Lucky One" movie a ripoff of a Lifetime/Hallmark movie about a soldier and a Christmas card from some lady from Nevada City or something? (Here we are: The Christmas Card-2006).

You know I DVR all the cheesy Christmas movies. I can't get enough and I have seen a shameful amount of them. My favorite might be Melissa Joan Hart's Holiday in Handcuffs. Screw Disney movies, when I'm sick, I want cheesy Christmas chick-flicks. There aren't any in my DVR right now, sadly. Ooh, JTT's "I'll Be Home for Christmas" is on Starz on Thursday though.

Want my undying love? Cookies and cheesy Christmas movies will put you on the right track.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Oh Doodle, It'll Be Ok: You Should See My Scars

Scars are sexy. I firmly believe this and don't know that I've ever met anyone who doesn't agree.

But my scars? No.

I'll admit that I'm a biter. But you should never, ever bite someone's scars unless you know it's ok. Asking permission really is better than asking for forgiveness, people. And it's much less likely to slam the brakes on sexy-time and send people home alone.

Scars are both hidden and visible. For the most part, I prefer to keep mine hidden (then why am I airing them here to the interweb? Good question. Because Sharing is Caring?)

It's now 4 years later and my "track marks" are finally gone, unless you're determined and know where to look. I even had a lab tech tell me recently that I had good veins. I laughed at her. I still think she just got lucky, but anyone who can stick an IV in me on the first shot has to know something. I've had far too many visits to labs where it took seven tries before there was success to completely discredit her knowledge or skill.

I've had a classmate accuse me of having a Hickey on my neck, and then refuse to believe it was anything but, causing a rather embarrassing scene in front of the rest of the class. I can always tell when new people in my life are looking at my neck scar, curious but too polite or sober to ask about it yet. My favorite thing to do is make up stories about my scars. The neck slash is usually the result of a bar fight I was in "back in the day." You should see the other guy ;)

I haven't worn a low-cut shirt in years because of my port scars. Forget bathing suits. I'm sure they're far worse in my head than they are in reality, but the incision sites keloided when they healed and I'm not comfortable displaying them to just anyone. (Inner Voices once left me a voicemail where he made cheesy Port jokes the entire time and I will always love him for that.)

The reason I never wear shorts is split. First, I really am very allergic to the sun. I make jokes because it's something that is honestly funny to me, but exposure to the sun hurts like nobody's business. But the secondary reason is my knee scars. My divots. It looks like someone once played golf on my knee and did not follow proper etiquette and replace them. Bad knee golfer! This analogy amuses me greatly because when I had a cane (2 lovely years-because of my knees) we used to play golf in the office with it. Some of the handles make great putters. Being the resident cripple was a tough job, but damn we had some fun times.

I still occasionally (though thankfully less frequently) require the stability of a cane and it's not something I like to admit to needing. I even keep one in my vehicle at all times. Yes I own more than one cane. (This does not lessen my desire for a Cane Corso.) Don't stare like an asshole when you see someone under the age of 60 rocking a cane. Yes, you may call them House, a Pimp, or (much more rarely and depending exclusively on the person and the tone used) "Handicapped Whore-Bag." Please recognize that you're nowhere near the first one to think of the nickname.

I have a ridiculous level of self-confidence and cocky. I am rather in love with myself and don't try to deny my narcissism.

But sometimes all of that is bluff and bluster, a disguise to hide my scars behind, a shield to make sure no one can get close enough to peek underneath.

It's been almost 6 years now since all of my unhealthiness began and sometimes I really just want to pretend that I have a normal life. That I had a typical twenties experience. That what you see is what you get with me. And sometimes I can pretend very well. Until I meet new people. Or until the old people ask, in that concerned tone that doesn't let you lie to them, "How's everything going?"

Doodle takes Dad's scissors to her skin,
And when she does relief comes setting in.
While she hides the scars she's making underneath her pretty clothes,
She sings:
Hey baby can you bleed like me?

Fun Fact: No Doubt and Garbage are both rumored to be in studio right now. This isn't the first time over the years that I've heard such things though, so I wouldn't recommend holding your breath. If they decide to tour together again my fangirl heart might explode. If they were to bring Spinnerette (the Distillers' front-lady Brody Dalle's "new" project) along for the ride I would surely die on the spot. They are amazing live acts and to see them on one stage is something that should enjoyed as often as possible. Bring earplugs. Long live 2002!

Friday, March 30, 2012

This Is What Madness Looks Like

I try to turn up the creepy when dealing with my dog sometimes, just for fun. I'll let her inside and say "Why hello Clarice" and she just runs past me like it's nothing. This does not bode well for my future human interactions.

Actually nothing I do seems to phase her. So I can conclude that 3 years of constantly being fucked with is how long it takes for one to become completely immune to me and my ridiculousness. 3 years and Stolkholm Syndrome has a firm grip on the soul. That's love. So now I just need a creepy basement, some handcuffs and a 3 year supply of ramen and Febreeze.

You have no idea, nor can I properly explain, just how much things turn around when it finally stops raining. The sun has peeked out after 2 hellish weeks of rain clouds and I feel like the fog is clearing. I can crawl out of the hibernation cave. I can burn the sweatpants. I'm not destined to be a complete mental case until I contract some horribly rare disease and die. (Children will be the bringer of that disease, mark my words. Little walking germ-factories...)

The stat counter machines tell me I'm only #10 in my hatred of Facebook. This is sad, I really thought I had more contempt for that site and its users. But really, they're just poor, misguided fools who don't know the value of keeping their collective mouths shut. ("Hello, pot? This is the kettle. ...Yes, yes, in the kitchen. ...No, I don't know how I'm calling you either. But the point of this call is, you're black. ...Yes, I'm sure it's a shock, Dear, but we were all thinking it. I thought it time you knew.")

The stat counter machine also tells me that the Brits have quite a thing for Fight Club. I knew I liked you people. If you're looking for somewhere to crash this summer as you flee the Olympic Mania I'm sure is coming, my couch is free. You can even watch Reality TV if you'd like, I won't judge. Not out loud.

I wish you coffee stains and sunshine, dog breath and wagging tails and big brown eyes that are completely irresistible. And perhaps someone to trick into loving you forever, if that's your thing.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Trust, Love, Friendship, Loss, Vulnerability

I don't trust easily. I don't trust completely, no matter how long I've known someone. Every slip of information, every shared detail is something I have analyzed and decided is acceptable to share. Unless I've been drinking; Drunk Kay has no qualms about sharing all of the things that sober me is much more guarded with. As a result there are a very tiny number of people I trust enough to drink around anymore.

There is specific information I am comfortable sharing on the interweb and more information that I am not. This blog exists in some weird sort of vacuum. I will share some of the most intimate thoughts that I won't even speak out loud, but I won't post a picture of myself. Pictures of me are not something I am comfortable sharing anywhere on the interweb. From time to time I will update my profile pictures, but I don't feel entirely secure having my picture anywhere online. Just because everyone else does it doesn't mean it's safe. Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you ;) My close friends get emails or texts to update them, to let them know what I look like when I make a change or when I'm bored and want to make faces at them. My immediate family doesn't even know what my current hair color or style are. I should probably email them...

Admission: I am absolutely the worst at personal relationships. Friends, family, associates. I adore people, I treasure personal connections. I have a habit of retreating into my head and forgetting to check in with others. And then I lose track of time. I don't realize I haven't seen or talked to someone in a month, I can recall our last meeting like it was only a day or two ago. If I don't have some reason to see people regularly, the relationship starts to fade because I simply don't realize that I'm not checking in. Super-douchey, yes?

This is the technology age, there are many ways to keep in touch and remedy this line-of-sight problem. So I suppose here we are. I email. I Skype. I blog. I hate Facebook and try to avoid it as much as possible. It sucks all of the happy out of my soul. The most reliable way of getting in contact with me is email, and sometimes I just don't know what to say, so I don't. A line I read in a book by the Dalai Lama a million years ago said something about never needing to unsay that which has not been said. That is probably the most true statement I have ever read and one that runs through my head a lot lately. My own father emailed me 2 weeks ago and I haven't replied yet. I just don't know what to say to him.

For someone who has taken so many English classes, who decided upon English as a major, you'd think I'd have all the words, all the time. But I can't lie. And sometimes I can't or don't want to share the truth right now. And then there's really nothing left to say.

As soon as things get awkward, as soon as someone else makes me feel uncomfortable because of words I shared or some vulnerability I let them see, I let go of them a little bit. If someone else lets the drifting start to happen, I don't stop them. I don't like awkward. I don't like goodbye.

I will miss the shit out of you and I will never stop caring about you, but I think it's better to keep the memories of good than let it turn into bad. Today I actually wrote out a list of all the friendships I've let slip away. It wasn't a short list. It didn't feel good, but I really don't know any other way of functioning.

There are too many people I love, spread too far apart, and I am running myself into the ground. If you make the first move I promise I'll try my best to make a counter-move, but I have no first moves left in me. I am drained. I don't need you any less, if anything I need you more than ever, I just can't let anymore pieces of me go right now. I am plagued by crippling self-doubt. I need to get my cocky back. I've lost so much Kaylena, I need to find her. I don't even know the first place to look.

I have none of the answers and far too many questions.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Open Letter: Grandparent Edition

I'm a big fan of letting people know that you care for them while they're still around. I even do it while sober, which can make others uncomfortable. I recently sat down and wrote separate, physical letters to my (married) grandmother and grandfather, because I wanted each to know how much I care about them individually, but I've chosen to combine the letter in my own record of it. (Just because you use the mail doesn't mean you have to completely trust that it will deliver your message. Record, copy, backup, save.)

I'm very lucky to still have my mother's parents in my life at this age and I realize it. I feel guilty for again moving out of state and away from them, but I know that they love me. I've decided to make more of an effort to let them know how much I appreciate them.

Let the people you care about know that they rock your world.

Dear Grandma and Grandpa B,

This letter and expression of thanks are long overdue and I apologize for not letting you know what you mean to me sooner. I treasure your presence in my life, and I am thankful, grateful and honored to call you my family.

Gramp, you taught me to protect and care for my mind, spirit and body. That what you put into them affects what they become. You have no idea how much your ever-present tales (the cookie thief, the tale of the oyster, the touch of the master's hand) have stuck with me and shaped the way I view the world. When I read "the funnies" in the newspaper or online, I can still hear you reading them aloud to me. Thank you for always being there, my own personal chicken soup for the soul.

Although my own dalliances with woodworking, music making and poetry displayed not even a minuscule level of talent, I have learned to appreciate all of them because of you. I will always appreciate a well-built fire and the people its warmth is shared with because of you. You have helped me see and appreciate beauty in so much of the world around me. Early mornings spent watching the steam rise from your coffee, while you talked about things I could not even begin to understand and the rest of the world was quiet and still were some of the most magic moments of my childhood. You are the sweetest, kindest, most gentle soul that I know.

Gram, you taught me that women can be independent, regardless of their marital status. You showed me how to not be afraid of doing or trying anything. You shared with me your love of reading, and although I pick up a romance novel far less frequently than I used to, they always remind me of you. You taught me to treasure traditions and customs and family. You taught me to appreciate the quality, and the amount of time, skill and love that go into hand made products. You inspire me to be a better artist in everything I create.

No matter what I've done in my life, you have been a constant source of encouragement, support and pride. You have never said anything to dash my hopes or dreams. I have never had any reason to doubt your level of love for me or pride in me. The events you've shown support for simply by being there mean the world to me. You not only went prom dress shopping with me, but you encouraged me to get the backless dress my mother never would have. You wanted to see when I got my first tattoo, you want to read every embarrassingly-drunk story I have written and you told me to "Just say it" when 19 year old me tried to clean up my language in front of you. Betty White's got nothing on you Gram.

I am eternally grateful for the constant support, the lessons you've shared, and the love you've given. You have been the best Grandparents a girl could ever hope for. Thank you. I love you and appreciate you. Though we may be far apart (my fault), you're never far from my thoughts.

(embarrassing childhood nickname)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Shake It Off Sunshine; We Don't Delete Here

When we have days and days of rain, like the days previous to today, or the days coming up, according to the weather magicians, Kaylena's body likes to ramp up its dedication to the insomnia game.

When Kaylena reaches a certain Sleep Deficit Level, let's say for example getting 2 hours of sleep in a 48 hour period, it's very similar to being drunk. And then decision making skills become impaired. And then postings and self reflections and emails and texts get decidedly less funny and decidedly more, well, you've seen what happens.

I try very hard to resist the urges to delete and rewrite here, because it's a blog. What was posted was true in that moment. Call it a documentation of one's descent into madness if it pleases you, I just think if I give in to the call to delete or remove a post now, there's really nothing to stop me from deleting all of the writings from the beginning, from the first bumbling forays into writing, to the surgeries and chemo and the adventures that have come since. I may edit spelling, grammar or the odd fragment that doesn't look quite right, and sometimes I decide to implement a name change, but the main content remains. The urge to delete and to go back and "fix" is a sickness not unlike cancer, it is hard to control without damaging the integrity of the entire body of work. Some of the things documented here I don't have memory of anywhere else. This blog is frivolous, certainly, but it helps me note the passage of time and it serves to document experiences. It is the word-heavy companion to my personal all-picture Adventure Book.

This is the Internet Era, once you hit "Publish" there's really no going back. Some things may never make it out of the Drafts bin, but for the ones that do, no matter how fleetingly true they may prove to be, there's no regrets. I don't deny that I have my hot-mess moments. It certainly makes for an entertaining read given the buffer of adequate time.

Thanks for bearing with me. I've had a nap and will now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

How Long Can You Break Someone's Heart A Little More Every Day?

I'm not sure I've ever heard a more beautiful, more heartbreaking, more heartfelt song. I'm not sure I could handle such a song, if it existed.

(I cannot find a better quality clip to embed, but if you were to perhaps google "Lex Land My Fault Your Mistake" you could probably find a link to DL a perfect quality copy as link #5, which is ridiculous. List a decent copy of this song on Bandcamp or Soundcloud or Youtube already.)

Lex Land: My Fault. Your Mistake.

I know this song is meant for the singer's parent, but I feel like I disappoint so many more people than just Mommy and Daddy Dearest.

You gave me good steps to follow
And I wish I could fill your shoes.
I wish the apple fell closer to the tree.
You gave me a branch to perch on
But it's time for me to take control.
This isn't about you, just gotta try life on my own.

And when I see fathers proud and smiling
I choke from shame and grief,
And only wish I could be a source for your relief.
We've both done each other so much wrong.
I've made mistakes too big to fix.
And maybe regardless of what I want,
We just don't mix.

And if you knew about my songs
Maybe this would mean something to you.
The only thing I care about,
The only thing that I wanna do,
The only thing that sets me apart,
The only thing that makes me me...

Slowly spelling out my heart,
For everyone to read.

And I'm sorry that I hurt you,
And I'm sorry that I let you hurt me,
But your little girl
Is gonna change the world.
You'll see...

You'll see.

Monday, March 19, 2012

I am Jack's Raging Bile Duct, I am Jack's Disturbed Nightmares

I haven't switched meds in weeks. I'm managing and controlling my pain...adequately. It has been cloudy and stormy and rainy for 7 days now. There have been a couple of breaks, for a few hours, where I did not feel as if I was drowning in a shitstorm of pressure and pain. I even got to see the stars for an hour or two last night. But then the clouds roll back in.

I am stressed. I am angry. I am so very angry. So very annoyed, displeased and openly hostile towards everything.

I am not talking to anyone, for fear that I will go off on some undeserving, unaware bystander. No one deserves that. I am carefully, gently working out and meditating a lot. I am taking deep, calming breaths. I do manage to divert the anger, to lower my heart rate and calm myself, to feel some moments of peace.

But again my ire bubbles up, seeping from my skin, pouring from my ears, wrath spewing from my mouth before I can stop it. Hurtful sarcasm abounds.

I don't know what's happening to me, and like so many things that I cannot explain or control within myself, I am uncomfortable. I am wary. I am afraid.

I am rather optimistic by nature. I can't help but see the positive in almost every situation, every person I encounter, everything life throws at me. And life certainly likes to throw some interesting things at me.

I understand that anger is a natural process, a normal human emotion. Given a proper outlet, anger can even be a good thing. It can motivate a person, it can help you assert yourself, it can perhaps even save your life if you are physically threatened.

I personally do not like to experience anger. I believe words and logical, rational discussion, can achieve so much more than anger can. I don't think anger is ever a smart choice or solution. When you have knowledge and experience and stop to think, anger seems like such a stupid, ridiculous, ignorant way to respond. I choose not to engage anger as part of my process for dealing with things.

I am Jack's Raging Bile Duct.

I've had Fibromyalgia for 5 years, that I know of. It is constantly changing how it chooses to display itself. Constantly changing how it plays with my body. Constantly changing how it's going to fuck with me every morning, every afternoon, every evening, every night. I go through cycles, but just when I think I have a grasp on the cycle, it changes. I am constantly analyzing, monitoring, recording details. Nothing ever stays the same long enough for me to do anything more than form theories. I question my sanity frequently. I have had honest discussions with medical professionals about it. I still question it daily, sometimes hourly.

One theory that keeps coming back to me, that I can neither prove nor disprove, is that we do this to ourselves. Fibromyalgia is becoming more and more widespread, and no one knows why. No one knows where it comes from, what causes it, how to stop it. You just wake up, day after day, and your body betrays you more and more. And one day, after you've tried every pill and alternative therapy known to man, twice, you have to ask yourself if the common denominator in all of this isn't you. If you're not doing all of this to yourself. How sick and twisted would that be?

When I sleep I am tortured by dreams and memories of how my body used to do what I asked of it. Tortured by memories of every single thing I did and didn't do, up until I hit 21. I dream of all the silly, mundane things that healthy people take for granted, of things they despise. I remember boot camp wistfully. I dream of running and marching and doing pushups and situps and flutter kicks until I think I might die. I remember the bitter-cold Maryland winter, waking up at 0430 to go run around the still dark park with my friends, in my sweats and reflective gear and knit cap, muttering under my breath about how I'd rather be in bed. I remember walking everywhere, no matter the distance, never doubting I could easily reach my destination and return.

I dream of wind-sprints, of swimming laps for hours, of feeling the cool rush of air in my face as I run or bike against the wind. I dream of pushing my muscles to their limits, of increasing the weights level after level, just to see how high I can go before I cannot move them at all.

And then I wake up. I wake up and I'm trapped in a body that CAN still do things, if I push it. But then it will exact revenge for days afterward, until I've forgotten what I even did to deserve such pain. I am forced to think and weigh my options and calculate my energy needs and risk of injury before doing anything. What a cruel way to live one's Twenties.

I am Jack's Disturbed Nightmares.

I joke that I'm just getting all of my horrible medical stuff out of the way while I'm young, so I can enjoy my Forties and Sixties and Eighties. It's not untrue. Everyone must someday reach the point where their body starts to betray them, where they have to come to terms with the fact that they're not invincible. Where they realize that they will die someday, that that day might not be too far off, that every single day counts.

The other shoe's going to drop and that's when you have your true midlife crisis. That's when you run full-speed into a brick wall of regret. When you reevaluate everything you think is important. When you realize just how frivolous and irrelevant most of the things that fill your days really are.

You may think you're aware. You may think you've been there, that you're prepared. But you're fooling yourself. Just wait, it's still coming. You will lose. your. shit.

And I'll be supportive. I'll offer a shoulder to cry on. I'll help in any way that I'm able.

But inside? There will be this cynical bitch, leaning back against the wall with her arms crossed and a smirk on her face. She told you. She tried to warn you. She tried to stop you from being hurt, tried to shield you from the pain. But she only did it once, because you knew better, you knew what you were doing, you were young and what did she know, anyway?

When the other shoe drops, the cynical bitch will take one small moment, she won't even rub it in your face or remind you of it. But one corner of her mouth will turn up, just a bit, and she will know that she was right. She's always right. And fuck you for making her doubt herself.

I am Jack's Smirking Revenge.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The One Where I Lose All Respect For Myself

Sometimes it's hard to decide what to post, because I have a "Moral Compass" and I was raised to be a "Good person" and shit. But you know what? It's either post this shit now, or whoever finds my body and fat stack of spiral notebooks will, and really, I'd rather you heard it from me first.

My Evil Muse recently told me "Don't be afraid of your inner slore." So in the interest of trying to step out of my comfort zone and not becoming stagnant in my life and whatnot, I've been giving it some thought. This is seriously straight out of my green spiral notebook, the latest journal to capture my thoughts and adventures:

I see a lot of specialists. It usually takes a while for a referral to go through the big, bad paperwork monster and get approval, so I was excited to finally get a referral and appointment with a new Doctor (I'm not sure if they're actual PhDs) for Acupuncture.

I may have been single for over three years now. I may know something about being frustrated to the point of hoping for a Dr to be inappropriate, and also something about enjoying the shameless flirts that 99.95% of all Vietnam Vets are. These things happen.

Every time I get referred to a new doc, there's an air of mystery, a spike in curiosity, a minor raising of slorey hope. You may or may not be aware that the Seattle VA's Acupuncture Clinic is staffed by a very attractive, white-lab-coat-wearing nurse-lady (did I mention I love lab coats? And shut up everyone who went to Acu with me, she is NOT a hippie. ...Or maybe she is. Maybe I like that.)

So on the morning of my new Acupuncture Appt I of course shower, and shave, and lotion. I paint my nails and make sure everything is soft and pretty smelling, without appearing like I'm trying to be soft and pretty smelling. It's a very delicate balancing act, and I am rocking the shit out of it.

I wait patiently in the exam room (admittedly not an easy task for me, Queen of the ADHD), curiously taking in all parts of the office to try to form a mental image of the Doc. And then a mid-40s white man walks in. This is the Acupuncturist. I don't even bother looking for a wedding ring. Game Over. What a waste of a shave.

"Neck or lower back?" he asks.

"...Ummmm." I was unprepared for this. Apparently this was not to be a full-body-stabbing like my last Acupuncture Clinic. I could really go for either, but since I suspect answering 'neck' will land me in one of those hideous hospital gowns (and after Radiation I've really gone out of my way to avoid ever having to wear one of those again), I answer "Lower back?" I know I sound like I'm guessing, but at this point I realize I have no idea what I'm in for.

"Ok." Frumpy Man says. "I'm going to step out. Undo the top button of your jeans and belt if you're wearing one and hop up on the table. Lay on your stomach please."

"Ok." Curiouser and curiouser. Whatever, off come the glasses, I unfasten the belt and top buton of my jeans. What the hell, I unzip them too. I already know nothing inappropriate will happen, might as well have a bit of fun. I hop up on the table (a normal exam table, not a comfortable massage table, strike 2 Sacramento), and shimmy my jeans down on my hips a few inches, and my shirt up a few more.

Dr Bland knocks, "Ready?"


He walks in and asks if I've done this before. I explain that it's my first time here (Shouldn't he know this from my chart?!) but that I've had Acupuncture in Seattle.

He says nothing of the three tattoos that I know have to be visible, and explains that he's going to touch my hip now.

*sigh* This is so clinical.

He tells me to take a deep breath in, and stabs me on the out breath. "I'm sorry, this may hurt."

I laugh. He can clearly see my tramp stamp. Tiny acupuncture needles aren't going to phase me. "I've had steroid injections and RFA in my back, several times," I explain. "This is fine."

Dr Blandy McFrumpypants immediately picks up on the other medical procedures and asks where I had them done, then asks about the Doctors involved. What a nerd. He babbles on about surgeons at the hospital I had them done at while I struggle to remember the name of the particular Doc who took such great joy in stabbing me (now he was fun. Much more personality than Dr Blandy here.)

It suddenly occurs to me that maybe Dr Blandy is religious. Ohhh. That could explain his impersonal attitude. Or maybe Aspergers? 8 pins are in my back and apparently that's all we're getting. I take a deep breath in to try to relax and stop thinking. Breathe out.

I wait for Blandy to wiggle the pins and create more pain. This doesn't happen. Now he's grabbing something else and talking about electric eels in Egypt or some shit.

"Oh?" I don't want to play flirty slore anymore if he's religious. That's mean.

Next thing I know he's draping some weird grid of straps over my back and he turns something on. My back is pulsing. Right where all the needles are. What kind of kinky shit is this?!

I tune back in to hear Dr McFrumpyPants say "...We blend the two, Chinese Acupuncture with Egyptian Electrowhatever."

"Oh. Ok." My Back Is Pulsing. I am so confused.

"Is that too high?"


He turns it up. "How about now?"

"Hmmmm." I try to focus. A small part of me still believes we can slore this situation, and she's making it difficult for the rest of my brain to focus on what the eff is happening. "No?"

He turns it up again.

"Whoa, Skippy! Yeah, that's too high."

Dr Frump clicks it back down. "Alright. Someone will be back to check on you in a bit." And he leaves.

WTF just happened? I'm left wondering as I try to relax into a state of zen, back spasming and twitching.

Two different people poke their heads in to check on me, neither is Dr Blandy McFrumpyPants, though I do hear him talking in the hall. There's no soft music here, no one dims the lights, and I really don't think I could have lulled myself into the restful state of half-sleep had I not already been familiar with acupuncture and meditation for chronic pain management. The needle in the center of my back pulsed and twitched like a son of a bitch and ended up leaving a nice red mark right below the stinger of my bee.

The lady who came in to remove my needles noticed my tattoos, and commented on them in a friendly non-creepy manner. We then discussed the addictive nature of tattoos, and that she wanted a few more, but that I felt I was done with them, at least for now.

When all equipment and needles were gone, she said I was good to go and I politely thanked her for her assistance. (Removing needles from oneself seems rather dangerous, since you cannot actually see them, not to mention they were pulsing with electricity, so I did genuinely mean my thanks), and she seemed rather shocked as she told me I was welcome.

I sat up, but she was already gone. She was far more polite than Dr Blandy and I didn't even know who this lady was.

Upon exiting the room, I found myself a bit turned around. Back hallways in medical buildings all kind of look the same to me, and I turned first to the left, then the right, not sure how I'd come to this room. A very nice man in scrubs chuckled and pointed me towards the exit door, making sure I had follow-up appointments before wishing me a good afternoon.

I've decided that Dr Blandy's just an arrogant asshole, since everyone else I've met at that clinic, (as well as the entire hospital) has been amazingly sweet. My two follow-up appointments have done little to persuade me differently, since Dr Blandy does not even pretend to know my name, always asks if we're doing the back or the neck (You have my chart in your hand dude), and after the initial "Hop up on the table" he doesn't even speak to me. I would suspect it's me personally he has a problem with, but I can hear him when he's across the hall or in the next room, he treats everyone the same. He must have a very compelling game of Words With Friends to get back to. I'm pretty sure whores are treated in a more friendly manner. No Evil Muse, I will not test that theory out.

I then made my way to the travel office where I participated in some polite conversation, some impolite eavesdropping (it's nearly impossible to not eavesdrop while waiting in line though) where I tried not to laugh too loudly when the Vets talked trash about each other's service branches, and some utterly shameless flirting with (of course) a Vietnam Vet. We were in line for nearly an hour, what else are you going to do? Bald Morgan Freeman and Mr Cowboy Boots in line ahead of me kept giggling at Vietnam Vet's comments, which then caused me to giggle too. I fucking love vets. After it was finally my turn at the window, another Vet literally jumped up to open the door for me. If you're nice and smile every now and then, strangers have a lovely habit of making your day.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Why I Hate Facebook: A Manifesto

Facebook, more than any other social networking site, emphasizes the absolute worst parts of people. And most of them don't even realize it. It brings out the annoying, the narcissistic, the attention whores. It showcases bad grammar, horribly ignorant religious or political ideals, racism, and rampant stupidity. It provides a forum for people to show off their horrible lack of skill that they don't want constructive criticism on, only praise. Heaven help you if you decide to point out that no, they cannot actually paint/photograph/sing/video/draw/write well.

Facebook should be a forum to reconnect with people far from you, but every time I log in, I am assaulted by people's neediness, their want for attention, their need to one-up each other in every single thing that they post. I can't stand it. STFU, Parents is a perfect illustration of this.

I am not findable on Facebook unless a person is very determined, or they look for someone else I am friends with. For a long time I had a personal rule about how many "friends" I would allow. When I reached that number, I would go through my list and delete people I hadn't talked to in a while. Then I gave up, I just don't care. I log in only when one of my close friends or even closer family (the baby bro) demands that I do so, and it is always with a sigh. I post very few pictures, especially of myself, because I am not there for attention. Mostly I post updates of my dog when my mother harasses me via Skype or email. When I do update my picture, it is so people can recognize me when I see them again. Because, yes, I change my hair frequently. I'm not looking for people to tell me how much they like my new hair. I honestly don't really believe most of them anyway, they're posting on my wall, how sincere could they actually be?

I prefer my social networking sites to be friendlier to artists, of all kinds. I like them to be simple, and instead of doing everything with varying levels of success, I'd prefer a site that does one thing very well. I like my networking sites to be full of people who take things less seriously, who are more likely to let things roll off than to take offense. I prefer people with a sense of humor. I prefer to not have my relatives or acquaintances know every aspect of my life. I have never publicly posted the status of a relationship. I do not like to be stalkable by anyone curious about what I've been up to.

I don't like to post on people's walls, that seems douchey and insincere; like you're inquiring about how they are not because you care, but because you want to give the appearance that you care. If you genuinely care about someone, send a message. Send an email. Send a letter. Pick up the phone and call. And FB wall-posted birthday wishes are even worse. They've caused me to despise birthdays. I deleted my birthday from the site, but family and friends still post on my wall every year, prompting a ripple of other people to post.

Everything about Facebook feels fake. I could not dislike it more if I tried. I signed up because I lost a bet. I maintain my account because it is honestly my only way to keep in touch with some people, but I will use just about any other method of getting in touch with people that I can.

I am anti-Facebook. This is my manifesto.