Life on a continuum

A good friend of mine wrote a book and she’s letting me take a crack at editing it. I just hit a part where she talks about how life is on a continuum, specifically related to where we think we are in relation to someone else.

I regularly think life isn’t fair. I went from being an active person to someone who spends a good portion of my day in bed. I’ve mentioned before that I have pain every. day. That hasn’t changed in three years and it doesn’t look like it’ll change anytime soon. That sucks.

But, there are people who feel worse than I do and those who feel better. That doesn’t really matter. I’m not them and they’re not me. My life isn’t their life. Their life isn’t mine. I have no idea where they live, whether they’re married, etc.

I wrote once about choosing not to have a child because of my health conditions. Well, it seems more likely than not that even if I wanted to, it’s not something my body can do. A doctor recently confirmed that it would be a “very high-risk pregnancy” given my age, diabetes, and lupus. But like I said, it seems that my uterus is actually quite hostile to the idea.

I get angry about that. I don’t even have the *choice* that so many other people get. Sometimes it’s made me hostile (only to myself, never at anyone) when there are pregnancy or birth announcements. But, I trust there’s a reason. So many things in my life have happened that put me in one place or another where I never expected to be but from which wonderful things happen. Right now I get great healthcare. I’m grateful for that because I desperately need it. Were I in the US, I don’t know that I would be getting that or that I could afford it if I were in the US.

Sometimes when I talk about how I’m unhappy with my constant physical pain or mental health issues, I get kickback from people who want to remind me that I should be grateful for what I do have.

Complaining about my current state doesn’t mean I’m not grateful for what I do have. But being happily married doesn’t change the fact that constant pain sucks. A lot. I don’t know how anyone on Earth could say that constant pain isn’t a big deal. Or that being so depressed that thoughts of suicide aren’t infrequent (though they happen less often now than before).

Just because someone thinks I’m better off than someone else, does not give them the right to tell me I can’t experience sadness or anger over the hand I’ve been dealt. It’s horrible to be denied that. It also means I’m not fully feeling emotions, which is unhealthy.

I can be grateful and pissed off at the same time. I can be sad about one thing and happy about another. I am more complex than that. We all are.

I will give you your suffering if you give me mine. I will give you your happiness if you give me mine. We all deserve that.

Violence is Counterproductive

This post was prompted by the attack at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester. My heart goes out to all of the victims and their families. It’s such a tragedy.

I think Brian May makes some good points in this video.

The only thing violence does is beget more violence. The attacks on 9/11 were horrible. Since I wasn’t part of the planning, I have no idea whether they achieved their aim. The American response was to stand stronger together. It didn’t change the American way of life (except to allow the passage of the USA PATRIOT Act – a horrible invasion of privacy).

What it did do though, is cause the United States to respond with violence. Ultimately, people not directly involved in 9/11 were affected by later attacks by the US. This led to the radicalization of people who may have been sympathetic to the plight of the American people. But, once they saw their families murdered for no good reason, any compassion or empathy they felt for us disappeared. Belief that the US attacks rescue workers to prevent any lives from being saved would lead anyone to hatred. I’m sure that if the situation were reversed, and American rescue workers were targeted, or if it seemed that way, I would be furious. That goes well beyond any called for behavior, even in a war. (Which we were not involved in.)

Violence won’t get us where we want to go. Hell, half the problem is that we don’t know where we want to go. If we’re seeking domination of the world by Western ideology, there will never be a resolution. Americans simply do not have any other perspective by which to judge how governments in other places are run. Our government was founded on the idea of religious freedom. Of course, that was fairly limited in scope since it was essentially one form of Christianity over another, but most of us have extended that idea to all religious beliefs, of the lack thereof. There are those who don’t seem to agree with it, like Marmalade Mussolini, but I don’t believe he truly represents most Americans. (Or, I just desperately want to believe that.)

Because we can’t get our heads around it, we will always want to change it. That is extremely unlikely to happen. For many, a government that is intertwined with religion is the only thing they know. Indeed, it’s the only thing that makes sense when religion is a core aspect of life. Regardless of whether we understand it, that’s how it is.

What we really need is to react with compassion. We need to at least TRY to understand someone else’s perspective. American exceptionalism makes me insane. We act like we’re the best at everything when evidence points to the contrary. We have people who have insufficient health insurance for their needs. Kids graduate from high school barely able to read. Our elected officials have forgotten what it’s like to be just “one of the people” and are acting in their own best interests all the time, to the detriment of probably 98% of the country. Our college graduates aren’t necessarily the world’s leading scientists and researchers. We have open and obvious racism which continues to oppress millions of Americans. We haven’t figured out how to let people be who they are, and want to tell people who it’s right to love and which bathroom to use.

I think I can see where outsiders think we have over-inflated opinions of ourselves. Who are we to judge someone else and tell them how to live?

At some point, to stop the pointless tragedies, someone has to be willing to be the first to say, “This cannot go on,” and move forward with compassion.

I’d like to think it could be us. But our recent election and current behavior leave me gravely concerned that it is not likely to be us.

Why didn’t you ask me? A post about marriage

*This post is inspired by this comic. Probably should read it first.*

I love Mr. Lyndsy. I appreciate everything he does for our marriage. He works full-time and I work part-time. When I can’t cover my bills with what I make (student loans, credit cards), there’s a transfer so I can. (We have separate bank accounts because of where we earn money.)

When it comes to things about the house and our life together, however, we look at things very differently. Mr. Lyndsy is like a lot of men, in that he’s a problem solver. If there is an immediate need, he will address it and try to “fix” the situation. Trash needs to be taken out? He takes it out.

When I look at the trash though, I see that it needs to be taken out AND that a new bag needs to go into the bin so we can throw out more trash. That does not seem to ever occur to Mr. Lyndsy, because pretty much every time I go into the kitchen after he takes out the trash, there isn’t a bag in the bin.

Neither of us likes doing dishes. I sometimes think Mr. Lyndsy calls and schedules cleaning people JUST so the dishes get done. He doesn’t expect me to do things that he doesn’t want to do, which I appreciate. However, there are some things in life we just need to do and get on with it.

For a while I was the only one who did the dishes. I sort of felt obligated since I work from home and he was gone so many hours during the day. Then my body crapped out on me and I didn’t think it was worth the back pain to deal with a sink full of dirty dishes.

Around the same time, I left Mr. Lyndsy by himself at the apartment for a month. He’d decided that he wanted to eat healthier, which meant more cooking. When I got back from my trip, I noticed that he was washing dishes! Right after he finished cooking something, he transferred it to the bowls and washed the pan! The next day, he’d wash his bowl!

But that was it. There could be dishes in the sink from me or other things he’d eaten (like oatmeal – totally caked on), and he wouldn’t touch those. At least until he needed one. But then he’d only wash the one.

To me, there is no point in only washing one dish as I need it. If you’ve got soap on the sponge, make it work for you. Wash what’s in the sink. That way you don’t have to put the food you desire on hold. But that’s not the way his mind works, apparently.

I love efficiency and effectiveness. Given the pain I’m in on a daily basis, I’m going to make my actions work for me. If I’m going from the bedroom to the kitchen to get water, I’m taking everything with me on the way that needs to go to the kitchen too. If there’s a cup on the dining room table, I grab it on the way. I do the same thing on the way back. The bathroom is next to the bedroom, so if something needs to go there, it comes with me on the return.

My mind automatically seeks out the next step in pretty much any process. Because there’s almost always a next step. And that next step will affect the one after that. I’m able to identify potential problems before they actually become a real problem. We won’t be scrambling at the last minute trying to deal with something because I thought ahead.

What it does mean though is that the load falls to me to be responsible for the whole picture. I occasionally wonder if he just thinks magic makes things as easy as they often end up being because I do look out for the whole picture. I don’t know whether he has a true appreciation for the pressure it puts on me.

I know it’s not his fault that I’m built the way I am – to look at the whole picture – but he did marry me that way. He, and everyone in the same position he’s in, should appreciate the value that I bring to the marriage because I do operate that way. He should understand why I get frustrated when plans are sprung on me.

I’m not asking him to do things the way I do. Yes, it would be great if he spent more time in front of the sink, hands covered in dish soap. I’d like it if he folded my laundry when taking it off the rack like I often do his. But at the end of the day, I’d be happy with him expressing that he SEES what I do and VALUES it.

The Right needs to get real

A couple of thoughts first: 1. The Left has its own issues. I’ll get to those later. 2. This isn’t ALL of the Right – but really the people who live and breathe Fox News and Breitbart.

Headline: President Fires FBI Director Investigating Him

Were this any time between Jan 20, 2009 and Jan 20whatever, 2017, Republicans would have been on this like white on rice. Salivating, licking chops like an animal that’s HUNGRY. It would have been added to the list of things Obama was attacked for – allegedly being born in Kenya (though that wouldn’t have mattered anyway since his mother was an American and he would have been a natural-born American), being a Muslim (though I don’t understand what that hast o do with anything either), attacking only certain right-leaning groups for IRS issues, etc.

He fired the man investigating him? OBVIOUSLY TRYING TO COVER SOMETHING UP.

Trump does it and it’s like, “Comey didn’t even write that,” “Did he write it before or after he left?”

Come. The. Fuck. On.

Comey knew what was coming. He was doing what EVERY lawyer does CYA – COVER YOUR ASS. He knew that his relationship with Trump was tenuous. Trump’s personality is volatile and you never know whether he’ll consider you a friend or foe. I would hope everyone in that administration is doing a lot of CYA. Though people like Sean Spicer, Steve Bannon, Steven Miller, and Kellyanne Conway are beyond redemption. They will forever and always have the stink of Trump on them.

What I really don’t understand is what is the point of this delusion with Trump? Sticking one’s head up one’s own ass only leads to getting shit in one’s eyes. There’s no other way to describe the broadcasters on Fox News who insist that this is not an issue.

The way I judge whether someone’s absolutely just full of shit is to ask them how they’d respond if the party affiliations were the other way and see how much they trip over their tongue to say “Of course it would be the same thing!” Yeah, right. If I can’t honestly say that I’d treat things the same way if it were the “other side” I know that I’m just being a partisan asshole and re-assess. It’s not rocket science.

We aren’t going to get anywhere if we can’t get through that basic kind of thought process. And if we don’t get anywhere, we are going to be stuck in this shithole place of nothing getting done that benefits the majority of Americans.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I certainly don’t want to live in an America that’s like that.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Lyndsy!

Mr. Lyndsy,

This is our fourth birthday together! We’ve been married for almost three years and in that time you haven’t even come close to killing me, I don’t think anyway.

Thank you for your patience. So many things have not been what I expected they would be. I never thought my body was going to get worse than it was when I met you, even after the back surgery. Now I’m all depressed, anxious, and medicated. It’s getting better, but it’s a battle every day. My pain spirals out of control and then goes back to being something I can sort of tolerate. No matter what happens, you’re there for me. You do what you can to help me be the best I can, even when I don’t want it.

You keep telling me that you want me to be healthy so that we can grow old together. If you’re really that interested in wiping up my drool and changing my diapers, I guess I can work on it.

To many more years of who knows what!


Your favorite (read: only) Wife

The Glorious Sound of the Call for Impeachment

It may not go anywhere, but you know what, I’ll take what we’ve got so far.

Thank you, Representative Al Green. You’ve done your constituents a service.

Everyone – Republicans and Democrats alike – are now stepping back, claiming we need more evidence. I think Trump gave us everything we need himself, but I guess we can get some more.

He fired Comey because he didn’t like that he was investigating. And admitted that. To everyone. Thanks for making it easy.

He’s giving information to Russia that he shouldn’t be, likely because he’s too interested in appearing powerful to Putin.

It’s about time people are taking this shit seriously.

Onward and upward!

The real harm of fat shaming

I’m fat. I’ve been fat for years. I’ve had occasional dips back into non-fat land, but I’ve always bounced back up.

Every day, all day, we get hit with messages about what being fat means. How we’re just not trying hard enough. If only we would… whatever. Thin people throwing out judgments about how easy it was for them to get in shape, even though they have 75 kids, and work a regular 9 to 5 job, and save walruses from shark attacks in their free time.

I’m thrilled for people who find ways to make it work. Super happy for them. But I’m not them. My body is mine. I have different circumstances. My body is doing different things, in a different environment, and responds to things differently. Except in one regard.

All bodies respond to energy. We’re all just energy. People forget this, but they shouldn’t. Because it matters.

When someone judges my body because I’m not doing what they think I should be to get into better shape, my body feels that negative energy. Judgment is NEGATIVE energy. And even if we think we’re directing that judgment at only one person, we aren’t. The energy is out there, affecting everyone.

I think of it like throwing glitter at someone. Glitter, the herpes of the art world. It has a mind of its own. You aim at one person, but that shit is everywhere before you know what happened. A random passerby is going to find glitter in their hair later. You try to clean it up, but there is ALWAYS some left behind. You can’t control it. Once you release it, it’s gone.

Judgment works the same way.

Our bodies’ default status is to get better, to find its optimum point. Being bombarded by negative energy affects that process. The body has to address the negative energy before it can go back to doing its job. Can you imagine how annoying that would be? You’re sitting at your desk job, trying to write a memo. Your door opens, and your boss screams at you. You have to deal with him before you can get back to your memo. You have to emotionally process being screamed at. Then your phone rings. It’s your spouse, calling to yell at you because you forgot to pay a bill. You have to calm them down and get online to pay the bill. Then you can get back to work. Then, your assistant pops in to tell you that you forgot to respond to an important email and that you’re now in deep shit. You scramble to find the email and reply. By the end of the day, your memo still isn’t written. You’re upset and frustrated. And that makes sense.

If, instead of yelling at you all day, people in your life had been kind and given you time to do your job, if your spouse had just taken care of the bill or waited until an appropriate time, your boss had calmed down and addressed you professionally, you would have felt better at the end of the day and your memo would have been done.

In real life, this means that what we need to be doing, instead of focusing on how to change our bodies to fit some “norm” that has nothing to do with normal, we need to focus on loving our bodies. We need to send loving energy to everyone we meet, specifically to their bodies so that the bodies get the extra energy to help combat the nasty that’s been thrown at them as well as do the job the body needs to do.

Energy is serious business. We can’t play around with it. The energy we send out affects others, but it also affects us. It impairs our own body’s ability to find its happy place. Do you really want to walk around with a body that’s actively working against itself? Then think about the energy you’re sending out in the world.

If you’re fit and want to help, be loving to others, regardless of their size. Appreciate how much everyone’s body is doing at any given time. When someone wants your help, they’ll find you because your energy will resonate with theirs. Their results will also be a lot more amazing when the relationship is based on loving energy.

What happened to critical thinking?

I haven’t posted much about the 2016 presidential election. In part because I had to recover from it. It ended up being a really traumatic experience. The US has come a long way since the days where they enslaved other people just because they could, but there’s still a lot of room for growth. Too much, really. The fact that people still get excited about the Confederate Flag is a pretty big indicator.

The election really showed us something important though – critical thinking has left the US. Sure, more people voted against Donald Trump than voted for him. That really didn’t matter though, now did it? He ended up becoming the 45th POTUS.

While I can’t really understand it, I sort of get why someone may have voted for Trump. He pretended like he was an outsider to the scene. (Even though there are millions of pictures of him hobnobbing with politicians.) He SAID he wanted to #draintheswamp. (Though he only knows other people just like him who are familiar with Washington.) He said that they could keep their healthcare and that people with preexisting conditions would be protected. (Though he has no experience with trying to sort out healthcare for himself on any kind of budget.) He made people feel like he understood what it was like to be the little man and that he came from the same place they didn’t. (Obviously not true since he had millions from his father to build his own businesses.)

Alright, I guess I can’t really understand how someone voted for him. But, that’s because I, like many others, engaged in critical thinking when he made his claims. I researched the claims to check their veracity. Of course, some will claim they did as well. There’s a whole world of alt-right media available to prove them right. But, a critical thinker would see that there were MANY (and more) pieces of evidence which suggested that the only thing spewing from Trump’s mouth was bullshit.

Why are we so divorced from critical thinking? There have been a few articles floating around since the election about how people are almost… proud… of their ignorance. While I don’t believe a formal education past high school is necessary, I do think we should all strive to be informed. Being informed is part of being a responsible citizen. Sure, back when the country was founded we elected representatives and let them do some of the researching for us. Now, though, we have all the information we could possibly want at our fingertips. Yes, we have to sort through things to determine for ourselves what may be accurate. It’s a little more work, but the fate of the country is in our hands.

The proliferation of partisan websites has pushed us to this point. I don’t read anything from the Right, but I can see it in the Leftist sites I see popping up on Facebook all the time. They’re articles with clickbait titles, while all the content has been taken in pieces from other, researched articles. OccupyDemocrats is the one I see most often and it occasionally makes my head spin. But, they get floated more often than the original sources. I invested in subscriptions to the New York Times and Vanity Fair because I wanted original journalism getting my attention.

In the past I haven’t cared too much who people voted for, as long as they engaged in critical analysis before casting a ballot. At the time though, it was policy differences that were at stake. I think it’s reasonable for us to discuss things like taxes, educational standards, and economics. It’s easy to disagree about the best path for American. That’s just not where we are now.

The Conservatives of old have been replaced by people who can only think to oppose Liberals. They don’t have a plan, as we saw with the ridiculous healthcare bill. Conservatives complained for years about Obamacare, but hadn’t bothered to research and draft their own plan? Nope! It was just “Down with Obamacare!” In any company they’d be fired for their incompetence. Instead they get reelected because they’ve managed to become experts at telling certain populations exactly what they want to hear. Selling the package of crap in such a way that discourages people from forcing themselves to think about what they’re voting for. Keep America uninformed and win! It’s gross. Disturbing. And I’m worried it’s going to end this grand experiment with democracy.

If the Marmalade Mussolini has his way, we’ll be a dictatorship before too long.

Stay vigilant, friends. Stay vigilant.

Spoonie Life Complications #1

*If you don’t know what I mean by “spoonie” read this.**

I labeled this post #1 since I am quite certain that there will be many more in the future. The one currently affecting my life is this: Spoonies do not have the luxury of not planning things.

I know there are many people out there who like to plan. But, for spoonies, planning isn’t a luxury. It’s a necessity.

Mr. Lyndsy and I are planning to move back to the United States as he’s decided to take a friend up on a longstanding job offer. For some, it’s just a simple matter of picking a place to live and going from there.

Unfortunately, I need to know whether the job comes with insurance. Given how crappy healthcare is in the US, I have to make a somewhat concrete plan. I cannot afford to live with crappy or no insurance. ONE of the medications I take for diabetes costs $350 without insurance. (Where I am now it’s covered by insurance, but even if it weren’t, it’s about $9 per month.) Even with insurance, I have doctor visits every three months, at a minimum. I see a rheumatologist, nephrologist, endocrinologist. I see a psychiatrist either every month or every three months. At $45 each, the cost adds up quickly.

After the spinal fusion I took off work for about two weeks before going back. I believe I’ve mentioned before that I didn’t take off enough time. I worked for two weeks before asking for leave on short-term disability so I could get better. Rather than let me take off the time, they terminated me. Since then I have worked part-time, from home. Given how poorly I feel just doing household activities, I am decidedly unsure whether I can even work a full-time job, which would be a requirement if I have to have the job that comes with health insurance.

Of course, a job with health insurance isn’t enough if my medications aren’t covered or if my co-pays are high. I can’t not go to the doctor. I have serious chronic illnesses. So now, I’m looking at picking a job that not only offers health insurance, but also pays well enough to cover those things. I’ve heard that Starbucks offers insurance coverage to most of its employees, but I’m not sure a barista’s pay is enough to cover my health life.

Okay, great. But that’s not enough. This job I’ll need to have, what do they expect me to be able to do? What’s the sick time like? When can I use it? Is there a minimum amount of time I have to be there to be able to use it? I’ll have the same questions about vacation, in case I burn through my sick time. There are days where I just can’t get out of bed. Is there a probationary period that would be affected by my need for sick time?

These questions don’t go through the minds of people who are generally healthy. They think about vacations they want to take, not wondering if they’ll even get to take any time off for something fun.

I know there are people who look at spoonies like me and think, “It must be nice to be home all day.” To them I say, no, no it is not. Because we have to deal with the feelings of inadequacy that come with not being able to be out, working, earning an income. We feel awful – unable to justify taking money from others and our partners, who have gone to work to earn that money. We don’t feel like we can spend it for us, for fun things.

I was once a person who worked 26 days straight – including weekends, more than a regular 8-hour shift each day. I left for work at 5am and didn’t finish with either work or class until 9pm. I did that for months because I believed in what I was doing and it was necessary. Now I’m a person who has trouble waking up in the morning. Who can’t stand and do dishes for more than 5 or 7 minutes at a time. Whose back hurts while dealing with a single load of laundry. I have trouble remembering what I’m doing AS I’M DOING IT. I forget basic words (yes, the other day I said “machine that washes the dishes” because I couldn’t remember “dishwasher.” It happens to everyone, but it doesn’t happen to everyone all the time, every day). Sitting and working at a computer hurts my back and arms. Breaks don’t always help. Good luck being a lawyer full-time! That’s ALL they do.

I hate that my life has been reduced to trying to figure out how long each day I can work, what I can do if I am to work, and whether I can do it long enough during the year to not exhaust my sick and vacation time. But, this is my life now. The only thing left to do is live it. What people need to do, however, is step outside themselves for a minute to consider what someone else may be going through.

At What Point?

The question on my mind right now is this – At what point do the people who always end up taking on extra stop doing it?

Are you the person at work who always ends up having to do your job and someone else’s because the company downsized or the person who’s supposed to be doing it is just fucking unreliable? Are you the partner at home who ends up doing the bulk of the housework because your spouse is tired or just doesn’t feel like it? Are you the parent who  ends up doing all the kid stuff even though the other parent is also capable?

I’m not talking about situations where these arrangements are agreed upon. Like, at work, they give you a raise for taking on the extra work. Or, you and your partner have decided that one of you will mow the yard and garden while the other manages the inside of the house. Or, you and your spouse work out that it’s best if one of you is largely responsible with keeping the tiny humans alive.

What I am talking about is basically shit rolling downhill. You know it needs to be done, but since no one else is doing it, you do it. Some of us take the approach of “meh, fuck it.” And I totally get that. It’s not your responsibility and your boss should be doing a better job managing the workplace. If you pick up the slack, maybe your boss won’t realize that the person responsible isn’t doing it. Maybe you’ve even said something and nothing changes.

I’m just not wired like that. If I see something that needs to be done, I just do it. Every now and then I have some kind of internal explosion and stop doing it – like when I quit doing Mr. Lyndsy’s laundry because he kept leaving his socks in every conceivable place EXCEPT the hamper… I also may have said to him that I wanted to shove his socks down his throat. There was also the time that I told him if he put another dish in the sink (I’d already been washing dishes for like 20 minutes) that I would kill him. OR the time I gave him the death glare when he suggested I use dish soap with lotion in it after complaining that my hands were scaly and nasty. But I digress.

It’s usually work situations where I end up ready to scream. I’ve learned to try to express my frustration constructively, but when those pleas go without a response, I tend to just do what needs to be done, regardless of whether it’s fair. Someone is depending on a finished product, so it has to be done.

There’s always the option of quitting, unless you need money. Then you’re just sort of buggered. But what kind of damage is this doing to our emotional states? Does this ruin our patience for other pursuits? How much do we end up taking home to our partners? Is this how workplace shooters start? Like Milton in Office Space who eventually sets the building on fire? JUST GIVE HIM THE DAMN STAPLER AND A PAYCHECK!

I don’t think I tend to be unreasonable though I’d wager a lot of unreasonable people say that. I did ask a former boss once if I was really that difficult to work with since I’d had a string of bad employment situations. His response suggested I was losing my mind to even ask. ::shrug::

What do you all do when you’re constantly picking up the slack? Do you just quit eventually? Try passive-aggressiveness until someone figures it out?