Feeling feral

Last night I snapped and it felt good.

It is officially summer.

I have endured outrage upon outrage from my homophobic, transphobic, fatphobic, conservative, fundamentalist Christian family in the past six months. I have suffered physical and emotional effects. It has taken a toll on me. I have not been quite myself. I have blamed myself, wondered what I did wrong, wallowed in self-pity.

And then I got the final rent check, less than the already-reduced rate that my sister and I agreed upon after she moved out in March. She included a nice little note about why the decreased amount was appropriate, and wished me luck in the future. A nice, little yearbook wrap-up to the disaster that started 12 months ago. “Stay cool! Have a great summer! Math sux!” She could have ended it just that easily.

Every other week for the past few months I have discovered another item missing from the March One move out debacle, where my family made their dislike of my queer life known by stealing various items from me. I don’t know who regularly inventories their shit. Not me, so I just wander around my too-big apartment and notice stuff is gone when I go to pack it, or my eyes settle upon a strange space where I finally realize a space didn’t used to be many months ago. Being doped up on new meds, more meds, migraines and all the general insanity hasn’t made me very observant. And, truthfully, I’m a pretty oblivious person to begin with. I can pass a building four times and then, the fifth time, realize it’s there. In truth, there may be more items I’m missing and I simply haven’t seen them yet.

When I make it through spring, I am a different person. I have more resilience. My bones are green and flexible, like a new tree that can weather a storm by bending with the winds. And this is how I am these days. A month ago, two months ago, these recent atrocities would have had me shedding copious tears, making calls to my therapist, wondering why I was so unfortunate to be so unloved.

But now it is nearly June, and I am simply angry.

I smashed around my apartment at the onset of the mail yesterday, throwing pillows and a Kleenex box. N was not home to witness my adult sized temper tantrum. In truth I would not have had it had she been there, lest I scare her. It made me feel alive and good to act like such a petulant child, throwing things and blustering about, becoming so at one with my mad. The cats stared at me and went out on the deck, wondering what my problem was, glancing up at me in between oat-grass bites. I composed a nasty email, and then decided that I no longer wanted anything to do with these assholes, that I would not be a bridge builder, but a bridge blaster. That I deserved control over this situation. And so I set myself upon the task of changing every piece of contact information I could, composed three more letters in my head, and became a bit, well, maniacal.

N came home to find me in perfect form, cooking dinner. Better than she expected.

Anger is a primal force. I know it well, and it sits in me, a motivator like nothing else in my life. It is the one emotion that I owe nearly everything to. I can languish forever in other emotions, do stupid things in the name of joy, sadness, hurt, pain, exhiliration, delight, envy. I am a procrastinator, a doer of nothing, when I hang out in the moods of mania and depression. But anger? Anger is all mine, and anger makes me move. It is crystalline; I see clear and pure and calm. Whatever I have been putting off, that has been needing to be done, that I know is good for me, that is right for me, that I have been making excuses about, anger will accomplish for me. In fits of anger I have made full sweeps of my life and said: Enough. My anger is a forest fire that clears away the dead wood and exposes a new space for new growth, charred though the land underneath may be.

When I have tapped into this base emotion, it is ancient, it is goddess, it is Kali, The Morrigan, The Furies, Hecate, The Dark Moon. It is dark and powerful and wild. I am swift and clean on the outside, yet feral and sinister on the inside. I feel enlightened. I feel in charge. I feel, well, good. I know that I will effect change, and that what comes next will be vastly different than what has been.

I will send a letter to my family. I will effect change. It will be different. It can’t not be now.

The personal touch of Rachel Moss

I wasn’t going to get all outraged about the WisCon drama that is all over the the blogosphere, because enough people have. Honestly, I live in Wisconsin, and I didn’t even know that there was a sci fi convention going on anywhere in the state.

But then I went and looked at the pictures, and read the comments, and saw that someone I personally know, with whom I have personally sat in sacred space, who has shared the story of her body with me, trashed all over the internet. 

Whoa.

Rachel Moss, let me tell you something: It sucks to get threats. It sucks to be so damn visible. It sucks to have your beliefs get you in trouble. Welcome to the real world. Karma’s a bitch, especially in the digital age. 

I spoke to this friend of mine on Facebook and let her know of stupid Rachel Moss. Stupid the nicest thing I can think to say, really. My friend already knew about it, and she has responded here.

Enough’s enough. Fat fights back. But you probably didn’t figure that.

 

 

What Ails You

I have a new shrink and I like her.

I decide this as I pace around my office’s small conference room, thumbnail in mouth so I can chew on it while I discuss what is wrong with my medications and mood and sleep.

It is happening, the med changes I fear.

I have discovered, accidentally, that the haphazard increase in zoloft I performed this past winter to stave off a descent into the black hole of depression has netted me a CDH, a Chronic Daily Headache. Sometimes they flare into all-out migraines. I have been trying desperately to get them under control, with excel spreadsheets to track the pain and days and it in and of itself became too overwhelming when I realized that every day I was in pain, every thing may be a trigger. Last week was so bad N convinced me to go to urgent care, where I kindly bent over and they gave me two shots of Demerol in the ass. A prescription for being stoned was better than feeling like my head was in a vice grip. The following day the pain returned full force and I thought about how: This is it. This is my life, an explosion of veins and throbs in my left temporal lobe, and I will simply have to kill myself in the near future because I cannot live in this foggy, nauseated pain every fucking day. This is no life.

But then I forgot my one-and-a-half blue pills one morning, the elliptical-shaped serotonin miracles, that prevent me from killing myself. And I realized they were giving me the pain that was making me think about killing myself. The irony. The chemical beast that drives and destroys me, serotonin, has reared its ugly head again, demanding I feed it.

For a day and a half I took the step, switched to taking my Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors at night, instead of in the morning. I lay around listless and flat affected; my mood, my personality is all chemically based. I am a drug addict. I no longer exist as a person; I am a shell, a robot. It is the pills that make me human now. I could not be without them. I laugh because of the SSRIs, but not too much because of the antipsychotics. I work because of the topomax, and don’t lash out because of the zoloft. Without modern pharmaceuticals, I would be hollow, a scarecrow, a wisp, a nothing. I long to be normal, but I never have been. My normalcy is purchased at your local Walgreen’s, and sponsored by the HMO of the day.

I call my shrink today, and she calls back. I speak staccato and rapid fire. Med changes make me anxious, and anxiety always appears as mania, in me. I speak about the headaches, the sleep, the lack thereof, how I cannot ever stop taking zoloft, I can’t quit it. I speak the language of the mentally ill. She can tell, she is concerned about my “raciness.” I know I sound insane. I feel safe to be insane with her. She won’t threaten me with a hospital, random drug changes, yanking my zoloft, the only drug I love and need so desperately that it has claimed its right to turn on me. Is that not how it is with any addict? They use their drug of choice, depend upon it so heartily that eventually it turns on them, like a feral animal that only appeared tamed?

We speak, agree to changes, agree to additional appointments, pills, taking it one day at a time. This is easy for her. She is a doctor, she has a pen, presciption pad, power. I am a patient, I need pills — modern poisons that will heal and harm me.

For the love.

So, I’ve started the packing process at my apartment, because I like to be slow and deliberate about it, and pack like three boxes a day and go through my things and talk to myself about what I need and what I don’t and really eliminate lots of stuff. Besides clothing, and shoes and potentially jewelry, I like to not have very much stuff at all, actuallly. There’s something peaceful to me about having just enough stuff to fill a small one bedroom, even though I currently haphazardly occupy a three bedroom, a misfortune that occurred when I thought it would work out to live with my sister.

The great purging process began last year when I was sorting through my shit in the divorce. I just left a bunch of crap there — a 1500 square foot condo allows you to accumulate 1500 square feet worth of crap — and I kind of reveled in taking tons of books to resale shops and tossing out clothes I hadn’t touched in a few years thanks to psych med weight gain and a style overhaul. I like imagining that paring down my possessions would lead to a new life, cleaner and more carefree.

In a certain way, I have a lot less, but I still feel like it’s too much. The burden comes in books, because they are cumbersome to move, but some I can’t part with because the remembrances of their stories make me smile. Other things have a family memory tied to it, and now that I have so little of that left, I am trying to hold on to what I have so that there is just something, I guess. Something that proves I mattered to someone, or belonged to someone, had some roots, maybe.

I don’t really notice things, I guess; I’m not too possessive about stuff, which is why, two months after moving back in, I am still noticing things that are missing from when my family raged on in here, moved my sister out and stole things from me. Just now I was putting away some cords into my cord box — because I tend to collect random AC adaptors and RCA cords and such and need a special box to hold all of these things lest I need them later. And I noticed the most ridiculous thing of all had been stolen: This goddamned animatronic monkey head that my dad had bought me for Christmas like three years ago in a fit of manic glee — his, not mine.

He got it at the Sharper Image. It is motion sensitive and Hollywood grade and utterly ridiculous, and at 27, I had really no purpose for it. But he gets in these moods, and we get gifts like this. This is what Christmas has always been for us: gifts that are totally random, or totally passive agressive.

As a fat little child, and then as a fat teenager, my mother would buy — purposefully, I think — clothing that was too small for me and not at all stylish. One year, when I had begun getting fatter, I got a pair of white cotton cable knit tights. My mom had been at work and we had opened Christmas presents without her. I tried on the tights, and saw that they didn’t fit. I was ashamed and disappointed and angry at my body. Of course there was nothing wrong with the tights. It was my body. When my mom got home, she insisted that they fit and we stuffed me into those tights. It lasted a few short minutes until they started rolling down and eventually split in the crotch and thighs. Humilated, I secretly threw them away.

This followed for years, and usually it involved pants that were too small, pants with pleats, pants that were tapered, pants that were garish.

Just yesterday, jonesing for extra cash, broke as a joke with the cost of this too-big apartment, I took all this ridiculous gold-and-diamond jewelry my mother has given me over the last number of Christmases and tried to pawn it. I don’t wear gold. I don’t wear diamonds. I wore diamonds once: in my wedding ring and band, and they were reclaimed from my ex’s ex-fiance, and I didn’t really give a shit about them. And the gold was white, because really I prefer silver, and silver set with large semi-precious, non-faceted stones. Really earthy, big, bohemian, stuff. I have always worn jewelry like this. I’ve made it off an on like this since I was a kid. It’s pretty obvious what I prefer to wear if you look at me, for like, 2 seconds. It ain’t gold and sparkly.

So I took it all to sell, and it turns out it ain’t worth a fucking thing. Ten cents on the dollar, and they’d have to melt it all down. God, even in the aftermath, I’m still getting screwed.

So this is where I’m at: stuck with Christmas gifts I don’t want and can’t sell, still finding shit that has been stolen around my house because I’m too daft to pay attention. I mean, just last week I noticed rubbermaid containers that I used to move books in had been stolen.

Usually people start off the process of “hurt” with anger. You know, you get angry first because really it’s masking hurt, and you have to work through the anger to get to the more vulnerable hurt feelings. I’m the reverse now. I was already devastated and broken. Now I’m just pissed and annoyed. Like, can we get on with it already, people? Can I possibly request a list of other shit that may have been taken so I don’t have to discover yet another item that’s missing in a week? Like it’s a reverse scavenger hunt in my own home? It’s really rather tiresome. Will you be sending me a bill at the end of all of this for the two Regular Absorbancy tampons I borrowed and the time you bought an extra roll of paper towels and the 99 cent toilet brush you bought me? Should I be tracking this in Excel with macros and such? For the love, I just don’t have the energy to be so spiteful, but boy, you guys are really pushing me to the limit.

Updates

I haven’t had much positive to say lately, because I’ve witnessed some not nice things happen in this community recently, and I’m not sure why, but it’s tiresome and actually rather boring. And so, I’ve been keeping my nose down, mouth shut, and occupying myself with things at home, like dying shit with RIT because I’m tired of brown sheets and white sweaters. I’ve also learned that Coppertone Gradual Tan Self-Tanner aerosol spray smells a lot like weed and requires a ton of incense to make your bathroom smell relatively decent again.

I’m still fat. I’m suffering a horrible bout of migraines — nearly a week now –, with hot spiders of red fire crawling up my left temporal lobe every day. I’ve still got an ulcer. My family still hates me. We’ve found a place to live. We are still getting a puppy. The leaves have bloomed and my moods have settled. I take Ambien now, and I fall asleep in record time, despite any midnight anxieties that may try to plague me, begging me to assauge them with Forensic File marathons and Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches.

I have read a lot this spring, finishing the very triggering Madness: A Bipolar Life, by Marya Hornbacher. I use the word triggering in it’s actual sense, meaning that it Triggered me into Actual HypoManic Episodes, and I spent a lot, and couldn’t sleep, and spoke quickly and had grand ideas about writing books and stories, and then crashed into cranky, ornery moods. I don’t use Triggering in the invented sense, that people toss around easily and callously. Her books is a much better picture into the mind of the manic than is Unquiet Mind, the famous, yet more academic, tome of bipolar disorder. I don’t suffer the same as Hornbacher, but her writing is staccato and sharp and speaks the language of madness just right. I’ve read some Augusten Burroughs this spring as well, and his childlike style of writing is fun and gregarious. It’s been a good escape into others’ insanity, this reading.

I’m anxiously awaiting the thunderstorms to come, and release some of the pressure in my brain, the eventual clash of spring and summer meeting. Every night I will one to come, a big one, so I can lay huddled in the bed with N and the cats and pull the sheets tight up to my eyes and shriek when the lightning flashes, knowing a loud crack of thunder will peal shortly after. The best thunderstorms happen in the afternoons, a momentary daylight midnight, when you can smell the change in energy. I like to stand in the wind and let my hair whip around me and watch the leaves change colors, the whites exposed like fish bellies on trees.

But for now I content myself with sticking my hands deep in the soil of repotted tomato plants and running my hand over lavender and peppermint herbs, and telling them both they’ll live a long and happy life, just like me.