Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I will never get over how entertaining dreams are.

I've been drinking this kava-california poppy tincture tea before bed and it definitely has been chilling me out. Even if i don't actually fall asleep til late i am much less agitated and anxious, and as a result when i do fall asleep i sleep pretty soundly. I think it also has been creating some strong dreaming in me, sometimes uncomfortably so. I had a nonstop stream of nightmares over the weekend, and the previous night i had brutal work anxiety dreams, including my boss telling me she knows how much i make and therefore she better not see me with a starbucks cup in my hand. Yikes. Last night was a comedy parade, which i really enjoyed. I hurt my back monday while cleaning and my left leg is in a lot of pain, so i really appreciated the lighter tone. I started the evening cleaning out my aunt's cape house as she was moving. There were huge, labrynthine rooms full of awesome junk to explore, and i was hanging with my mom, her brother, my cousin & one of her little boys. as we were cleaning out one such room, my little cousin found an old gun, and, thinking it was unloaded, i let him hold it, but told him never to aim it at a person or at himself. So, he aimed it upwards. And it went off directly through my head, phineas gage style... except! It passed right between both hemispheres, so i was fiiiiiine! I just had a massive hole from my throat to the top of my head (kind of right through my fifth and seventh chakra actually, now that i think of it). I found it funny (as i so often find my own personal injuries) so i started texting several friends about it. HAY GUY I GOT SHOT THROUGH THE HEAD, BLEW OUT MY FONTANELLE and all. The next day i began passing my hand over my scalp, wondering how big the hole was, but when i took it away there was no blood on my hand. So i probed, excepting a hole full of gore, but... nothing. I realized then that, despite the gun going off, maybe all that pain was just a migraine. Whoops! So i started texting my friends back, FALSE ALARM JUST A MIGRAINE. Though gross and freaky, the tone of the whole dream was pretty light-hearted, like getting shot was just a lark.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fun foods

 as a treat sean & i picked up the egg molds folks use in bento boxes. before he got home i decided to make a few. the bear eggs didn't come out well, but the bunny eggs were cute! to the right you will see the little snack i set up for seal, pluot slices supporting the egg and carrot slices framing it in a silicone wilton's cupcake mold.
to the left you see my egg, which looked ok though not as good as the one i made for sean. i put a wee forest of broccoli behind him, some pluot next to him and created a bower of thinly sliced/shredded carrot to shelter the egg. this was the second one i did so it became more fancy. once i try things once i generally kick up the fanciness/frou-frouness on my next go.

they tasted, as you might imagine, just fine. because they're eggs. just hardboiled eggs. but it was cute setting them up.

now i'm waiting for curry applebread to cool so we can see how well it turned out! anxiety = bakery!

Not a great day, not the worst

My trouble sleeping has been getting worse and it's beginning to make me feel a bit desperate. I can't sleep--or feel like I can't sleep--without medication but I also don't want to be dependent on medication. Simultaneously, i cannot wait to get on ADD medication because i think it might, ultimately, help with my energy issues and my anxiety about getting stuff done. sooo there's that!

i've also been thinking a lot about how i frame my life and what i feel is missing. i still feel like i'm missing a huge spiritual component to my life. i always had one, but honestly it was kind of ground out of me through my twenties, through active and passive discouragement and ridicule. i now find a voice within myself skeptical of the need for spiritual fulfillment... and yet i feel that need. i know not everyone has it or needs it, but i do and i think i need to learn to honor that need and my own individual demands.

i picked up a book on chakras and yoga today because through my teens and twenties yoga was a pretty consistent part of my life and self-care (and self-regulation!) routine. i think i need to reinforce my needs through viewing and reading things that inspire me, not just in an abstract eat, pray, shove sort golly gee i am soooo inspired but in ways that acknowledge who i am and what i need out of life.

anydoot, i'm not feeling great today but looking forward to my psychodrama class this weekend. i am also making bento mold eggs! sean & i bought the bunny & bear set (god, even those words are so cuuuute) yesterday after class at porter exchange, and i'm making some now. i already broke two eggs a bit, but whatever, this is a trial batch.

i really love making pretty edibles and this is another, little, way i can nourish myself and enjoy a bit of creativity. i really want to make the star wars cookies as my dad bought the cookie cutters for me this summer and i loveloveloveLOVELOVE decorating cookies. it makes my back ache from leaning over and my head hurt from eyestrain, but lord i love making them. i remember when i first starting decorating cookies (i'm actually way less into it than i used to be!) i made a batch of monet waterlily cookies. they were very pretty, even though i hadn't perfected the recipe yet, and i want to set aside the time to really hyperfocus and get hella into making some pretty pretty things that--best of all--i can give to people and make everybody happy!

wait that's probably pathological. oh who cares, i have cookie disorder and no shame.

Monday, September 12, 2011

i thought i was done with this.

maybe it's the time of year, maybe it's the time of man? hopefully not the latter, because that would be a Problem.

while listening to rasputina's latest (excellent) album, i had a bit of a flashback. in some ways, it ways it was a really good flashback. i remembered the way my little brother (then about ten or eleven) capered and goofed to cheer me up after i reported the sexual assault at my music camp (like band camp! ah ha! hilarious!). but, on the way home, the song "the two miss leavens" in combination with my recent reading of judith herman's trauma & recovery made me realize how hard that event hit me.

a part of me died that summer, a young joyous part of me. i am not dead now, and hopefully will not be for a long time, but an innocent part of me died then. i recounted the assault, and how his hands felt on my throat, and the rough concrete sound-proof walls felt on my back, to two camp counselors, the campus police, the regular police, another police-woman and to an officer with my parents (a totally easy and super awesome task).

i was a wee feminist and knew already that speaking out about the assault was a political act. but my mistake was thinking that describing it would somehow exorcise the experience. it still hurt and it still hurts.

anyway, back to my baby brother... he was still a kid, and he knew something was wrong but he didn't know what. but, as young as he was, he wanted to protect me and heal whatever was wrong. and somehow that still exhausts and saddens me more than the actual assault.

why does compassion hurt more than cruelty, even sixteen years later? am i crying because of the anniversary? why does my brother's innocent, protective love make me cry? why doesn't the memory of louis' thick, slug-like tongue down my throat and his cold, wide hands on my neck wound like my brother's running and jumping?

i want to be there for victims and survivors and thrivers alike but i feel like i have to wrestle with and understand this phenomenon on my own terms first. maybe i will be able to do so without this work, but i'm still haunted in many ways. i wish i weren't, and sometimes it makes me feel like a bad or weak feminist and woman to experience this but... so it goes. and so it is.

though my brother and i aren't super close and have little in common i am still so grateful for his love and support. he's a bro, in addition to being a brother, but he's a very loving guy and very kind. i wish we were closer sometimes, and maybe someday when i can deal with this more productively i will fin that relationship easier.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Body Project (a review in however many parts i feel like)

"The Girl Scouts of America (GSA) was one of the first groups to systematically teach menstruation to girls. By the 1920s, a girl in pursuit of the Health Winner Badge had to learn about the physiology of menstruation and also have a private talk with her troop leader about it. She was also required to tell her leader when she was menstruating, on the grounds that the older woman would help her "overdoing it" and determine an appropriate level of activity*. The leadership f the Girl Scouts recognized the difficulty of asking volunteer troop leaders to position themselves between the natural authority (the mother) and the professional expert (the physician, biology teacher or nurse), but they also knew hat some girls had no one else to turn to for information.AS a result, GSA training materials highlighted information about the hygiene of the female body and utilized the most enlightened strategies for talking to girls about menstruation."

* it is interesting to me that they talk about the "appropriate level" of activity, as, at the time (and now), menstruation is treated as an illness & one must automatically need to rest or withdraw from activity. for myself & many of my fellow menstruateurs energy can vary hugely from one period to the next. some months i just want to crawl in bed, and feel that my legs don't work quite right. other months i'm just fine.

i really enjoy the thoroughness of this book in terms of its selection of materials, it consists of popular pamphlets from different eras and personal diaries and news stories and lots of other miscellanea. i think the contrast between the pamphlets & educational materials and the diaries is really interesting; it shows me what was said it public, or thought to be normal/healthy/righteous and what the actual lived experience of young women and girls was.

i'm sure i'll think of more to say later but YAY GIRL SCOUTS.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

i want to start talking about books i'm reading, maybe if i write them down i will remember to do so... or not?

so these will go here until i remember what i want to say:

i, rigoberta, menchu: an indian woman in guatemala - rigoberta menchu

immigrant women in the land of the dollar - elizabeth ewen

the body project - joan jacobs brumberg

driven to distraction - edward m. hallowell & john j. ratey

women with attention deficit disorder - sari solden

Friday, June 10, 2011

I wonder what it's like to feel safe.

My life is so good now, and just about every day is rich in those things i treasure: knowledge, love, silliness, and compassion.


My ex prided himself on his ability to find anything about anyone; their personal ads, secret blogs, confessions... he could not elicit these things through love & trust, but snooping was his key to the world.

Rarely, but every now & then, i have panic attacks about him. There is nothing i have done that i have not told Sean or my dear friends, but his ability to demean and humiliate me in front of those that love and admire me is still feared. This, even though my friends and family have told me that, even during his best efforts to degrade me, they respected me.

Someday i will feel safe, despite his best efforts. I deserve to feel safe & confident, every day, for the rest of my life.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

just putting this here

me:  i had basically the most grotesque dream and i'm going to make you deal with it
i dreamt i was back in high school (which is grotesque on its own) and was living there
i woke up with blood all over me, it had come out of a huge gouge on my chin, and seeped out of the follicles of hair on my head
sean was finding me new clothes, and i met up with him and we went into a handicap washroom so i could clean up & put on my clothes
and while i was checking the mirror i noticed a hole on the bridge of my nose, and it kind of looked like there was something underneath it, like a zit or something
so, me being me, i squeezed
and out came a tablespoon blob of cool vaseline-like jelly that stung like acid or rubbing alcohol on a cut
but instead of emptying the hole, it made the hole bigger
and it spread down my nose until it split apart, bifurcated open on my face
showing my skull and sinuses and muscle tissue underneath
and i couldn't get it to stick together
so i started crying
and showed sean, and i thought we were both going to vomit, and i cried harder, and tried to get my nose to stick together & be normal again
it upset me so much i woke up and that was my start to day

ADDENDUM: i cannot get the image/sensation of the jelly & subsequent nose-split out of my head and it is BOTHERING ME.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

walkies & bye-byes in the car

spring term i chose... poorly. i mean this in terms of creating a schedule of classes & work, and in terms of structuring a study plan around these items. as a result of choosing poorly, i did poorly and had to have a meeting with both my advisor and the dean of my program. GOOD! TIMES! they were very supportive and helpful, and pointed out several options for the future and observations about the past.

i have been diagnosed with ADD-PI several times through my life, once you're diagnosed, for the purposes of school or work, you have a limited amount of time (usually about three years) that the diagnosis is valid. so, i got re-diagnosed (because ADD is well known for disappearing) last summer but never did anything about it. i figured, hey, if i know i have it i can compensate, right? i'm bright and motivated, that will surely be enough to compensate for a neurological disorder!

i wish text could drip sarcasm.

anyway, i've been having a really rough time of it since i began confronting this issue. i've cried a few times on sean's shoulder, and tried to ask a few friends with ADD about their experiences but haven't really gotten much--or really any--feedback. i feel like i can't talk to anyone who really understands about it. i've been reading Women With Attention Deficit Disorder: Embracing Disorganization at Home and in the Workplace lately and that's been a huge help in starting to look at my life and really see how ADD has affected me. still, it's not easy.

for example, i, unlike almost everyone else i know, have never owned a car. that's pretty unusual, and my cousins have commented on it. i generally brush it off by saying i don't want the hassle (true) and that making myself get around on foot & by public transit is a way of making myself get a bit of exercise (also true). however, a component i have never realized (or allowed myself to realize) is that i am afraid of having further responsibilities--especially financial ones that are due at particular times! i don't think i could manage having a car, making payments for insurance and the car itself, remembering to put in gas, remembering to get it looked at regularly (i can't even get to check-ups for myself, you think i'm going to remember to do that to an inanimate object? HA) and so on.

not owning a car has made me feel inadequate and immature, and i can't say that this revelation really helps. however, having a good book as a guide has helped me re-frame some of this. owning a car would be a huge source of stress for me, and it is really true that using the MBTA to get around helps get me out and active, and i find my ability to choose whether to walk half or all the way home really enjoyable and frequently relaxing. my walkies are a joy to me, and a great way for me to unwind.a car would help me get groceries more easily, and would make the nutrition aspect of self-care a little easier, but frankly getting a zipcar account would do the same thing with about a million times less stress.

i've begun realizing that this disorder, which i thought i compensated for, and that it didn't affect me, is something i have actually structured my life around in both positive and negative ways. i've created habits and ways of living that don't tax my weaknesses and done it entirely unconsciously. on the other hand, i've also maintained comfortably uncomfortable habits because i have been unconscious about the many ways ADD affects me, and if i become aware of them i can do something about them while still maintaining the good, less-stress habits like walkies galore.

i'm trying to write this out somewhere because i don't have someone i feel like i can talk to about this, and i realize with increasing certainty how painful shutting stuff up inside is. i can just spit this out and leave it here for myself--and maybe for someone else struggling with ADD or another complication in their lives as well. i also recently read Opening Up: The Healing Power of Expressing Emotions and found that quite useful as well. in that book i learned that prayer and diary-keeping, because they feel on an emotional level like confessing something to a close friend, are just as useful and therapeutic as a conversation. i'm trying to write more and keep less inside. i'm just kind of tired of maintaining a stressful and dishonest self-identity. it's fucking exhausting being someone i thought i should be when i was, like, twenty.

through this process, books (as always) are my BFF. my college boyfriend (who prided himself on his lack of "snobbery" ie. anti-intellectualism) used to tease me that i my only friends were books (this was especially hilarious as i had no friends at union while i dated him). you know what? they are my oldest friends and my most reliable. i've been reading book after book trying to find things that are reflecting my self and integrating new ideas into how i see myself and feel myself. hopefully after a dozen more tomes i won't feel quite so inadequate & immature.

in the meantime, today is a lovely day for walkies.