Daily Prompt: Odd Couple

I am a classic messy person. My husband is not and there are two things that must happen for me to actually clean. The first is obvious, we have company on the way and I cannot tolerate the idea of them seeing my inner chaos. I was raised by parents in such ways and that internal programming is immensely difficult to override. The other instance is when I can see when the mess has reached the critical point of my husband’s tolerance. His anxiety and overwhelming need to do something means he can’t focus on anything else. It’s disturbing to me and instantly sends me into action of some sort.

Reblog: A Glittery Pink Weekend Post

Reading about this mother’s concerns sent me back to high school and the years where I really didn’t know what I was expected to do in situations like what her daughter was in.

I had two friends that cut. Daily. And deep. One would cut so deep on her thighs that she had trouble walking and had to run to the bathroom to apply new gauze so that no one could see how much she ended up bleeding, even through her black pants. She told me she was cutting, but I didn’t actually know what that was or what it meant. I knew that she wasn’t suicidal, she just told me over and over again how “cutting and getting high and shit” was the only way that she really felt anything. In hindsight I can see that she was on the fast-track to being diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, but the naive child I was in high school just knew that she was hurting and I didn’t know what to do. So I just acted as a sound board for her and made things easier for her in classes we shared and sent out much good mojo to the universe that she’d be back in school every Monday because I didn’t know what kind of stupid things she would be up to in different parts of the state over the weekend.

My other friend was not so obvious about it and I think she cut more out of anxiety than the BPD version. I didn’t even realize she cut until near the end of our senior year when she started wearing the arm stocking things that I had seen my other friend wear. She never showed me, but when I asked about it she just shrugged, looked down and went back to eating lunch. I think I mentioned it to the counselor that I was seeing for my own reasons, but I never heard whether anything came of that or not.

I think the thing that upsets me the most about this is that I had no idea what to do. My parents weren’t aware that this stuff happened. They didn’t know that this was a conversation I needed to have with them. I don’t think my teachers were really aware of its prevalence either and so they never had the conversation with any of their students. There just wasn’t awareness that it was going on. I didn’t even really know that maybe this whole thing fell under the same category as depression or suicidal thoughts and that I should have told someone, anyone who had some authority. It was just this weird thing that a few people did and they didn’t want everyone to know so if I knew, I didn’t say anything to anyone either.

There does need to be more education on not just cutting, but on what sort of things need attention, need help. Cutting, burning, suicide, depression, massive anxiety, manic episodes, anorexia, binging, hallucinations, delusions, pregnancies, bereavement, drinking, driving, suicide… dozens more. These things need to be brought up. We need to begin an open debate and keep a running conversation between adults, educators, parents and children. Our children are going to hear about these things. They are going to have friends who experiment with or experience them. They will have an introduction into all of these things through media that will manage to either glorify it, or make it fun or a challenge. If adults start that conversation first, then kids will have a chance to actually discuss these things openly and know that there are people besides their friends or people they sort of know who maybe actually can be a voice of reason. Maybe will help them do research into what these things actually are and what their effects and consequences are. Maybe, just maybe, we’ll have a chance at decreasing some of the senseless, stupid, accidents that happen because parents are too scared to talk to their kids about things that may be scary or intimidating or disturbing.

I really wish that I could go back to my 15 year-old self and tell me that I really need to talk to my friend and talk to her friends and see if we can work with her to find something else to do. Talk to a school counselor, talk to an outside counselor. Talk with her sister. Maybe even possibly her mom. Maybe her friend’s parents that she trusted more. I don’t know, just someone. I wish I could go back and talk to my teachers and talk to them about the prevalence and what to watch for and how to help. I wish I could talk to my parents about depression and anxiety and maybe have gotten some help earlier for my own stuff.

Most of all, I hope that whether I do or don’t have children myself, that I will be able to talk to the children who are in my life about these things. I don’t want them to suffer through cutting or other methods of self-mutilation or watch their own friends do it and not have any resources. I want them to have people to talk to, to know what to do, how to help. Really, that is what is being started here. The conversation is starting here, with people that have all the opportunity in the world to spread the story further and help arm themselves, their readers, and their friends/families with the knowledge they need to help people out.

Parenting And Stuff

tumbler girl cutting

This photo of a girl recovering from  cutting is now widely shared in Facebook; my daughter’s daily update.

Again today, my daughter (12) told me about a good friend sending photos of her cuts by WhatsApp to another friend, showing her arms covered with cutting marks and large butterflies. 

She wasn’t aware that this girl was cutting, but she’s not surprised anymore.

My first cutting post was the primary reason for me to start blogging last January.

The good things that came up since I understood that not all’s glittery pink at the teens kingdom (ok,  I didn’t think it was), is that I started blogging, and then there’s this parenting new site that followed , an amazing journey for me.

The bad thing is that my daughter is breaking news to me every second day now about the epidemic spreading, and guess who became the news reporter…

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Equality?

Today is a pretty important day in the fight for civil and equal rights for LGBT folks in the US. Tomorrow is too. However, it also looks like the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is completely aware of how important this issue is. They are also aware of the fact that it is only in the last year or so that the majority of people in the country support civil unions equivalent to marriage or marriage rights for LGBT couples. If they make a ruling about this divisive issue in the next few weeks they will be continuing the forward march for civil equality but also giving a new rallying point for those against equality.

Essentially, the justices really don’t want to make this decision until we’ve reached a greater than 60% majority in support. Or at least that’s how I’ve been reading it.

Some reasons for that assessment: The argument against Prop 8 (the California constitutional amendment from 2008 that banned marriage or civil unions for anyone besides a single man to a single woman) is literally only arguing against Prop 8. They are not arguing for sweeping, nationwide changes. They are arguing explicitly for the amendment to be overturned and made null and void. Justice Roberts verified the point with the Solicitor General of the Obama administration, “[Y]ou are willing to wait in the rest of the country,” Roberts said. “You’re saying [same-sex marriage] has got to happen right now in California, but you don’t even have a position about whether it’s required in the rest of the country.” I don’t believe that the court really wants to get involved in something so sticky as ruling one way for a state but ruling another way for the country, as could happen with the DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) case they will be hearing tomorrow. There is a very high likelihood that they will defer ruling on Prop 8 and send it back down to the previous district courts (where there will be even more confusion about what to do next) because they will instead rule on DOMA.

What does this mean for the fight for marriage equality? That it’s not going to be so easy as having one or two hearings before SCOTUS. It’s going to continue to require a state by state battle to get equality of some sort. It’s going to require enough political action to actually get people to the voting booths, which is no small task. It’s going to require that we wait for older generations to pass on before the younger generations, where there is a clear majority of supporters, become the majority of voters. Or it’s going to require someone bring forth a clear, valid argument against a defense that could actually be valid long enough to be considered in court for why there should be sweeping, nationwide changes like what there was for Loving vs. Virginia in 1967. The repeal of DOMA and even overturning of Prop 8 are not going to make it happen, though either one being overturned will be a huge victory and add momentum to the equality cause.

I hope, I really do, that I am wrong. I hope that SCOTUS will rule in favor of overturning/repealing both. As much as it will be a rallying point for opponents of same-sex marriage and equality, it could be enough to convince those who have been waiting to see who the winner is going to be that they ought to throw their support in for equality. That would be super awesome and make me a rather happy camper.

Honestly though, I think it would be rather nice if the whole marriage vs. civil unions thing would be figured out. I have a few friends that really deserve to be married but are only just now being given the opportunity to have a civil union. It’s nice and almost there, but not quite the same idea. Now, if government decided to get their noses out of marriage in general and only have civil unions recorded and all that for state records for everyone, I’d be down for that. Religious institutions could figure out what the hell marriage is and what it means and who or who can’t get married, but that special snowflake definition would only matter and be recorded within that particular institution. I think that would totally be a win-win for everyone. The religious folks could get a civil union with all the legal and tax benefits that come with it and get married through their religious institution and life would be good. There are enough open and non-denom and “we just like to have community!” sort of places that even non-religious folks could still get “married” if they really wanted to.

But hey, maybe I just don’t care all that much because “marriage” has always been an odd concept to me and I’ve always found it to be rather controversial anyway. The history of marriage has never boded well for women, even civil unions never really boded well for women. I would be completely fine with something that came with less baggage and was more personal. But, marriage is important to some people, including my husband, so… *shrugs* I say we make it so that everyone who wants to get married can. *nods*

Reflections on some not so awesome memories

Video

I have had this song come up several times on Pandora lately. I initially really liked it because it’s got a lovely piano playing in a predominantly minor key and the singer’s voice matches the tone of the song so well. I like the bridge transitions, especially the way she transitions from the bridge to the chorus by using what I’ve always thought of as chunky, melancholy chords. It’s one of those songs that kind of makes me want to cry, but that’s because the song is intended to elicit such emotions. That was all I paid attention to the first half-dozen or so times I heard it.

Then I listened to the lyrics. I was in the shower, my thinking place, and just sort of stopped to actually hear the story Ms. Grey painted with her words. It was sort of like getting punched in the gut. Or maybe the throat.

I’m sure I’ve referenced it a few times here, though nothing overt or glaringly obvious. My ex was something of an ass to the Nth degree. If it weren’t for the fact that he was in the Army and it’s a big no-no to get an Axis II diagnosis a psychiatrist would have diagnosed him with Narcissistic Personality Disorder with Antisocial (personality disorder) Traits. In case you don’t actually want to read the wiki articles about those two disorders, just know that they both are pretty much what they sound like they are. He was charming, suave and subtly manipulative the first 6-12 months that I knew him. Then he not-so-slowly transformed into something of a clearly manipulative, emotionally and mentally abusive, controlling, delusional, lazy-ass, *insert your favorite descriptor for a waste of space here* moocher that I had the pleasure of having to deal with outside of work. Except he was really great at sleight of hand maneuvers so that I and anyone casually interacting with either of us wouldn’t realize something was going on or that it whatever they noticed was my fault, my failing. He even managed to convince me that all our problems, his problems really, were my fault. He couldn’t keep a job because we lived too far away from all the places he could work. He lied to me because I wasn’t strong enough to deal with or know the truth. It was my fault that he turned to one of his exes for support, talked shit about me and was making promises to leave me and go off with her as soon as I was “strong” enough to not kill myself over him. The list goes on and on and on.

How does it relate to the song? Well, note that he started out only subtly off. Then he turned into the sort of person that I never thought I would attach myself to. Eventually I came to the conclusion that I didn’t actually deserve to be happy. I really was the cause of so much misery and heartache. The fights were all my fault. The things that went wrong were my fault. I just wasn’t enough. I failed again and again when I tried to make anything better. I was never good enough. I never knew what I was talking about, even when I did. I deserved all the bad things that happened, all the lies, all the half-truths and misdirection. It was what I knew, what I expected and it was, as so often happens, normal, comfortable in that horrifying sort of way. I wasn’t happy, but I knew the routine, I knew how it would end, change was scary. I accepted everything because, well, what other choice did I have? (I know the answer now, but not then.)

Except that I (finally) got space and time away from him. I lived half-way around the world from him and discovered that I could actually be happy. It took over a year, but I gathered my courage and told him I was no longer going to be his thing to manipulate. I left him. And I suppose that is where my story differs from the one told in this song. She doesn’t leave at the end. At least not yet. I escaped. I found a life that I am happy with. I found people who love and support me and whom I love and support.

Sadly, that doesn’t keep me from going back to those memories. I still have times when I revert to behaviors I learned while in that relationship. I suppose I’m still a work in progress. Aren’t we all? We’ve each got our own demons, some are just more obvious than others. I just wish they couldn’t haunt us after we have exorcised them from our lives. Their shades can be just as painful and scary as the demons themselves were.

Right. Well, something more pleasant to come in the near future. Probably something about Anomalycon or the zombie apocalypse or something.

Daily Prompt: Silver Screen – “There are other forces at work in this world Frodo, besides the will of evil. Bilbo was meant to find the Ring. In which case, you were also meant to have it. And that is an encouraging thought.”

“There are other forces at work in this world Frodo, besides the will of evil. Bilbo was meant to find the Ring. In which case, you were also meant to have it. And that is an encouraging thought.” Gandalf the Grey, Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.

This line is probably one of a few lines that struck me as *important* when I first read LotR. Some were remembered because of the scene, “You. Shall. Not. Pass!” (read exactly like that) or perhaps because I liked the idea of something, “It’s a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no telling where you might be swept off to. ” Still, none of them rang with the same sense of truth like what Gandalf’s words to Frodo within the Mines of Moria did.

I believe, that at its heart, this is what LotR is about. It is not about saving the world from evil. It’s not about the corruption of man and the loss of magic. It’s not about industrialization and how it will destroy the world. It’s not about war and the havoc it wrecks. It is about this one, simple truth. That there is something more in this world, something that guides people to be where they need to be. It doesn’t mean that evil will be thwarted at every turn-there is still free choice and free will-but there will always be those who can make a difference.

The greatest hero in LotR gets little credit, but he has the biggest heart and the strongest determination. He has something more to look forward to beyond ending the war with Sauron and destroying the Ring. Samwise Gamgee has his role to play and he plays it well. Not even Gandalf understands Sam’s role within the whole, though he knows it is important. Regardless, he gives Sam his only order, “Don’t you leave him Samwise Gamgee.” Sam, being the most loyal of the entire party follows his directions and ends up carrying Frodo and the Ring, physically and metaphorically.

I know it’s pointed out ad nauseum that LotR depits how it is the actions of the smallest of the characters that makes the greatest impact and the most sacrifices. However, I believe it is applicable to real life. We may not all be fighting this grand battle against an evil entity that is threatening to take over the world, but we are each have a role in the overall well-being of our fellows. Small kindnesses have a big impact. Small acts send out ripples that can either join and enlarge the ripples caused by others or oppose and diminish them. We were born here for a reason, there is some sort of plan. While most of us are but the smallest of players upon this large stage even our small roles have an impact in how the show (the world) turns out.

I just hope we’re all getting our lines and stage cues kind of right. Most of what we do and know is unscripted, but there are those special moments where we are caught up in a bigger scene and there is actually something we’re to do right then and there. I don’t know how many times we are given to get it right, one or fifty or however many we need, but I still take heart in knowing that there is something out there, some greater part of ourselves, that can nudge us in the right direction. Maybe not quite with the same authority and directness of a stage manager, but still some whisper of a hint of what we ought to do.

Seems kinda odd for someone who claims to be agnostic to hold such a firm belief, but then again, I don’t believe that the nudging comes from something that is omniscient or omnipowerful. It just is and it likes balance and there is an overall direction that we’re all traveling and thus there is a collective general intent that guides it as well as us. More or less, give or take.

Wow did that go in a very different direction than I thought it would when I started.

Sheriff Maketa: “An Injustice Against Our Citizens”

Sheriff Maketa: "An Injustice Against Our Citizens".

On Monday March 4th, 2013 the legislative branch of the Colorado House and Senate set a terrible, terrible precedent for how the citizens of Colorado and their concerns can be overridden and ignored in favor of politicians and party agendas. On a single day, Monday the fourth of March, five seperate gun control bills were set for public hearings by the state Senate. One day only was set aside for some of the most controversial bills that have been proposed in years. The next closest would probably be the Civil Unions bill that was passed without much, if any, fan fare this morning. While individual bills are scheduled for only one day of hearings, bills like these would normally be set on different days so that citizens have greater opportunities to make it these hearings and testify. Not everyone gets to, but usually it is a first-come, first-served deal. If you get there early enough, you’ll most likely be able to testify. Again, that was hot how these hearings were run.

Sheriff Maketa, a man who has reason to be very concerned about these bills and the legislative process, described what he saw on Monday. “…On numerous occasions, bills similar in nature were set for hearing on different days to ensure opportunity for anyone to participate in the deliberative process. On Monday, this didn’t occur. Instead, gun bills were simultaneously scheduled and of 25 plus sheriffs, only one could testify per bill. Hearings were split so bills heard simultaneously were on different floors, even though all were heard by senate committees. Rules for testimony changed three times from Thursday afternoon through Monday at 10:30 am, when hearings began. … Minutes after I signed up to testify, I learned a different process would be utilized and testimony was based on three categories: experts, preferred witnesses, and public witnesses.” (Emphasis added by me.) It seems to me that all these changes were specifically implemented to prevent citizens from voicing their opinions. They were blocked from representing themselves before their legislators. I would go so far as to say that the multiple changes in procedure, holding the hearings on the same day, and even creating different categories of speakers where committee members designated “expert” speakers were all designed specifically to prevent testimony against these bills.

“Later, I phoned a member of our legislature and expressed concern for what I had witnessed; changing of rules, time limits, new classification of speakers to establish priority and most of all the number of citizens who made the journey to the Capitol in hopes of being heard. I was told the rules did change several times and that this was very unusual. These changes were driven by the majority leadership, Senator John Morse, and the chairperson of the involved hearing committee.” I am appalled and ashamed at what the Colorado Democratic party, the current Senate and House majority, has done. I am a registered member of the Democratic party but am seriously considering severing my ties with them because of how they are treating the voters that elected them to office.

Maketa continued, voicing concerns that I truly believe we all should take a very close look at. “…I recognized the injustice that was unfolding before my eyes. Citizens of Colorado were prevented from participating in the legislative process. Their rights had been overridden by the agenda of a few members of the State Senate.”

I think what disturbs me the most of this entire process is that this is a new precedent that is being established by a party that I voted for. I helped to elect some of them into office and now am watching the government take large steps towards ignoring me and fellow citizens entirely, unless we agree with them. Did I go to the hearings on Monday? No, but it wasn’t due to lack of desire. I had classes that I could not miss and am now under the impression that it would not have mattered. My voice would have been silenced with the other estimated one thousand people that attended Monday’s testimony hearings.

Are there other methods for making my voice heard? Yes, I can email or call my representatives. I can attend town hall meetings. Would that have really made a difference here? No, because the representatives for the district(s) I live in are both Republican and voted against all five bills. I could have contacted other representatives, those I did vote for in previous elections for example, but they do not have to listen to me any more than other state representatives at the national Senate and House have to listen to me. I am not part of the slice of their state that they represent and therefore am not as important to them, at least not when we are talking about an issue that is so decisive and split down party lines like this.

Will I be making my concerns knows to all of the state representatives currently serving? Yes, I will. Again, the precedent that they have set is one which has the potential to lead to a government ruling class which is above the citizens they “represent.” I am aware that I am possibly using a slippery slope argument here, but I also believe that I am justified in being so concerned. I hope I’m not the only one. If you also believe that what has occurred here is wrong, please add your voice to mine and speak out against what has happened. It doesn’t matter if you agree or disagree with the gun control bills themselves. They are but minor players in this particular concern. I am much more concerned about my rights and my voice being ignored and silenced. I believe you should be too.

Daily Prompt: Ghostwriter

John Ringo. He’s funny, he writes science-fiction set in this world and urban fantasy that seems just as plausible. I believe he could totally write a biography about a normal person and make their life something most could read.

If he wasn’t available I’d go for Brandon Sanderson or Neil Gaiman. Sanderson because he has come into his own as a writer in the “epic” side of fantasy and I believe could weave a tale of suspense of even the most mundane of things. Gaiman because his perception of this world and all those in his head are something like 217 degrees left of “normal” which is awesome.

All growed up. Or not

I still don’t really feel like a grown up. I’ve basically come to the conclusion that I probably won’t actually ever feel like an adult. Maybe if I ever have kids, but I get the feeling that I would just be going “holy crap! I’m an adult! When did this happen? How do I make this stop? Why in the world did anyone let me have a kid?!” and so on and so forth. It’s ironic given that I have a job that is serious and a “real grown up job” and have since I was 20. Even being married, divorced and married again hasn’t made me feel like a grown up. If that doesn’t make one feel grown up then I don’t know if anything will.

A random nighttime observation

Last night as I was attempting to fall asleep I had an epiphany of sorts. I figured out what it is that makes it difficult to fall asleep and why quiet rooms are really annoying to me. It’s really rather silly that it took me so long to have this epiphany. I guess it goes to show how much the mind can dismiss even the most annoying of things as normal.

You see, I have tinnitus, meaning a ringing in my ear(s). Most people have experienced this a few times in their lifetime, usually after exposure to really loud sounds or music. Some lucky few like myself experience it much more frequently or even continuously. I notice it when it’s quiet, but it’s pretty much always there. Noise that varies in pitch and tone, music or talking, gives me something else to focus on and it recedes to such a low volume that I don’t realize it’s there. More often than not something like reading, writing, or some other endeavor that requires my attention will also distract me from the sound though it isn’t guaranteed. It’s loudest at night when there’s little noise beyond the humming of the fan and maybe the heater or a/c if one is on. Even though I’m used to the sound, it’s still really annoying and does keep me from falling asleep easily. It also may be an explanation for why I have trouble focusing or hearing things in an environment where lots of people are talking. My brain is so used to disregarding noises that are constant, which the hum of talking easily turns into, and the ringing will get really loud in such an environment.

Have I mentioned that I feel really silly for not experiencing this “epiphany” earlier?

Most people who experience it will hear it in one ear or the other, though for people like me who hear it constantly it is more common to be stuck with it in stereo. The chronic version tends to be caused by a head injury, medication side effects or significant damage to the ear drums from frequent exposure to loud and pounding sounds for an extended time. I don’t recall when I started to hear it, so it’s possible to could have been caused either by medication, a frequent culprit being antibiotics, or in high-school from winter drumline, or my time in the army when we were firing weapons, frequently without hearing protection. I’ve had a concussion once or twice, but nothing truly serious (if you can consider a blow to the head “not serious”.)

I’m really not sure what I can do with any of this information. There aren’t many things that can be done for tinnitus. Ear plugs make it worse. White noise is almost as bad as ear plugs. If I fall asleep to music I have a more difficult time waking up to any typical alarm. That’s without considering the fact that it would drive my husband crazy. Ah well. At least I like music for its own sake rather than the added benefit of making this silly ringing a little less annoying.

New obsession: Star Wars!

I haven’t been updating much because of one thing really. I’ve found a new obsession and it’s called Star Wars.

I always liked the original trilogy. I was amused by the new trilogy. I enjoyed reading the Rogue Squadron series in high school. But I never really got into it. I was too busy with Wheel of Time and Lord of the Rings and whatever other fantasy series had captured my fancy. I sort of figured that I wouldn’t be interested in the rest of the extended universe. Leave it to my husband to disabuse me of that notion.

I read what’s commonly known as “the Thrawn trilogy” in a week. Six days actually. That comes out to approximately 1,125 pages. I also encouraged, forced really, my husband to watch episodes 4-6 with me. I was doing “research” so I could make sure I had the characters and events timeline correct in my head. I don’t know that he really believes that, but it’s true! I slowed it down this last week as I caught up in such silly things as sleep and homework, and I only read the first book of the Jedi Accademy trilogy. I’m about to go on to the second book, but figured I should at least pretend like I was paying attention to this.

Long story made short – I do this sort of thing. Find something which I focus on and don’t let it go until I’m bored with it then pick it back up later. While I’ve been reading these books other things have fallen to the wayside like video-games, watching some television shows with Nathan and I haven’t done any crochet projects in a while. All in all though, it’s something I long ago learned to live with and just deal with. I think Nathan’s learning how to as well. I hope. *crosses fingers*

Enjoy this awesome picture and score while I go back to reading.

Darth Vadar vs. The Doctor