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Life Dysmorphia

Pictured: Not my kidneys.

A friend sent me a love letter recently; the platonic, supportive kind. It was filled with sweet things like “You’re an inspiration to me” and “You’re one of the strongest people I know” and “I’m in awe of the things you are doing.” When I received it, I had been in the same pajamas for 72 hours, I smelled like an old, tired foot, and I’d been crying for an hour over a terrible Netflix rom-com that I’d watched instead of working. I was sleep deprived, received two pitch rejections that morning, and had stale cookies for breakfast. Just inspiring people with awe over here. None of what she wrote felt like me in the slightest.

When I see myself in a window or in photos other people take of me, it’s never what I think I look like. “Who is that lumpy old lady? Am I wearing Hammerpants?” Everything feels distorted. When I hear myself speak in video or on a mic, I sound like a weird, dispassionate stranger; if I try for a lighter, more animated pitch, I sound fake as hell. But I don’t really know what I thought I would sound like, only that it’s somehow me while also not me at all.

I write something and think it’s total shit but someone else thinks it’s genius; then sometimes the opposite of that. I make a new connection and potential friend but they totally ghost me. My health tanks just when I’m starting to feel better. Is life dysmorphia a thing? Because I clearly don’t know myself or apparently how things work. I’m constantly being surprised by how wrong I am, about pretty much everything.

My kidneys are relapsing again, though this time I think we figured it out early. Beyoncengue Fever (also known as Minimal Change Disease) strikes again. Crossing my fingers there’s no hospital time because the two weeks I did last fall at Swedish were fucking grueling. On the flip side, those two weeks were also amazing in many ways. Filled with love and support, friends and family coming by, books read, a secret donut here and there. The 11th floor nephrology unit was hands-down the best team of medical professionals I’ve ever worked with — great at their jobs but also really lovely people. I got a ton of writing done and actually worked a bunch from my bed. I laughed a lot. I cried a lot, too — from despair and pain and frustration and fear. I was only allowed outside twice in that time and that was with a nurse chaperone. The hospital isn’t fun for an extroverted control freak. Or anyone, really.

I’m writing this to remind myself that I’m not supposed to have shit figured out, and anytime I think I do, it’s going to be temporary. It’s just a constant process, being a biological meatbag who doesn’t know what her own voice sounds like sometimes. It’s remembering that good stuff and bad stuff always happen together, because life is not baseball; nothing is turn-based, and if it was, I’d still be fucked because sports. One of the things I’m perpetually learning is that stuff comes at you from all sides, and you just gotta roll with it. Even when I don’t know how — especially then. Deal with the challenges and appreciate the good. Both/and, always.

In conclusion: Life is hard, baseball is a bad metaphor, and trying on new pants is terrible. Thank you for coming to my TED talk.

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GoT Recap, S8 Ep3: G’Night, King

 

firstpicwinterfell

“WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE.”

You know how we do when it comes to battle episodes: To emoji battle at Winterfell!

There were about 14 minutes and exactly 45 English words spoken in the time before the White Walkers finally got on-screen. In those 14 minutes, we saw our favorite eyes get bigger and bigger with the anticipation of certain death — or did we? I couldn’t see a goddamn thing thanks to winter (it came! like a thick wool blanket dropped over our tv) and the moodiest of mood lighting.

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Solar Eclipse of The Heart

vamp

Me

I have never been friends with the sun. We’ve made our peace over the years with the help of things like sunscreen, hats, day drinking, and shade, but we both know it’s a tenuous truce at best. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try – tropical vacations, air-conditioning, designer sunglasses – the sun is still an oversized heater that makes sweating a competition. I don’t know how people in the South do it, or Africa, or cats. My sun bunny friends are usually from places like Florida, California, Texas, Mars. They have a tote bag with sun-friendly items ready to go by their front door – sunscreen, sunglasses, water bottle, chick lit, snacks – instead of the haphazardly thrown-together grocery sack I take to the beach with a bunch of middle fingers inside.

Because of this, the eclipse just didn’t hit my radar last week. Of course it was all over my social media feeds, but I willfully ignored it. I know it’s happening and that people spent hours in their cars waiting in traffic to get to some field so they can indirectly look at the same thing for ten minutes together, but that journey to Middle Earth just did not appeal to me. You could’ve said the sun was going to sing Jose Carreras’ buttery part in the Misa Criolla with Beyoncé while tossing down hundred dollar bills and fresh-baked bread (all of my favorite things), and I still would’ve been like “But I have this Game of Thrones recap to write.” Sorry.

Say hi to the sun for me. Tell him I bought two sweaters this week and can’t wait to see less of him this fall.

I do like the idea of the moon – a longtime cohort of mine and partner in darkness – blocking out the obnoxious radiance of our solar system’s biggest star, but not enough to do anything besides type ‘best solar eclipse photos of 2017’ into Google.

Most of what I’ve seen online are frenzied travelers and eclipse enthusiasts and What Not To Do infographics – How To Avoid Going Blind Forever By An Asshole Called ‘The Sun’ – and that put me off, too. If there’s an awesome thing going on that everyone is into, but it comes with dubious instructions like “Look at the sun but don’t look at the sun” and “the safest way to see the eclipse is through these non-prescription paper glasses your first grader made in school,” I’m going to take a hard pass. I’m glad it’s special for other people, but watching the sun turn into a blistering NuvaRing while it travels The Path of Totality (a path I think Tolkien would have appreciated) is not in the cards. Speaking of: a lot of my tarot card-loving friends and astrology peeps have been Dark Side of The Moon-ing over this solar eclipse, and bemoaning whatever planetary retrograde side effects it will have on our useless human forms. I look forward to that, as well as Bonnie Tyler singing Total Eclipse of The Heart during the eclipse. I always love a commitment to theme.

To check out photos of the eclipse throughout the day, the New York Times will hook you up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Safety of Smoke & Mirrors

lolgop

Much has been said about the clusterfuckery that came to Charlottesville this week, and more will be coming down the pipeline. I think it’s safe to say, as a progressive woman of color, that I stand firmly on America’s Team Punch-A-Nazi, even if I haven’t personally punched one myself. I blame arthritic hands and a tendency to turtle in times of stress.

The world seems crazy now. I know we’re only supposed to use that word in the correct context, but I think in this case, I am. I frequently ask myself if this is real life and then wonder if I really just said that. I carefully clip the shadow of fear from my spine every morning, even though it grows back stronger throughout the day. I’m an online agent of mass punctuation, grinding out worried exclamation points and throwing them in every direction, 24/7. This is my new normal.

Two things that fascinate me in America’s Fascism Reboot are storytelling and safety.

Everyone thinks their reality is the real authentic one. Because of this, I’m amazed that people agree on anything at all. To back up their reality, which is surely the best reality on the market, they will tell themselves a story. You can be a bleeding heart liberal, a diehard libertarian, a straight-up Nazi, or someone who doesn’t give a shit about this country; every day, we tell ourselves stories, backed by information from our favorite storytelling sites – New York Times, Fox News, Stormfront, your weird Uncle Pete – and then we tell those stories to others. We are a nation of storytellers, barely listening to each other.

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GOT RECAP, EP 4: BEING A DRAGON

aryabrienne

“I’ve had the time of my life, no I never felt this way before…”

Welcome to the shortest Game of Thrones recap I could possibly write, and that’s just because I cut out the entire battle scene. Spoilers ahead but I know you’ve already seen it, possibly twice (me, to be honest, five times – and I watched this reaction video a few times, too). To the past!

We open with two white guys on horses discussing castle maintenance. Cool.

Cersei daydrinks with her accountant, Mycroft Holmes.

Littlefinger plays smirky uncle to Bran, who totally owns him with “Chaos is a ladder,” which sounds like something my old drug dealer would’ve said about the government or relationships. Littlefinger gifts him with Valyrian steel — more specifically, the weapon used in Bran’s attempted murder — which I think is inappropriate because Valyrian steel is traditionally given on your 11th anniversary.

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