Sacagawea Brings Hope

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Sacagawea: A heroine when we most need one.

I was given 2 Sacagawea (Sah-cog-uh-wee-uh) dollars this morning, reminding me of the resilience of women.

On the coin, Sacagawea, a Shoshone Native American, is wearing her baby Pomp, who was 2 months old when the Lewis & Clark Expedition continued their journey with her as one of their guides (along with her husband).

I often gave this coin to my pregnant clients, especially those who were really nervous about childbirth and parenting, letting them know that if Sacagawea, at 14-years old, could toss her baby onto her back and traipse across the wilds of the pre-United States, leading a group of men and saving many lives along the way, they, too, had the inner strength to be a parent. I was told it comforted many of these women.

So how does this relate to today’s times when so many human rights are being destroyed within days of the new administration, so many more to be lost soon as well?

Sacagawea reminds me of the resilience of the human spirit. Stolen as a girl, married at 13-years old, birthing Pomp at 14 and onward with 33 men (with only one dying during the 2.5 year journey), assisting the Corps of Discovery as they ventured forth on their SCIENTIFIC Expedition. She helped them tremendously with the foods and medicinal plants, helping them chronicle everything for President Jefferson… much of the knowledge still relevant today.

These times are indeed dark, our most basic knowledge, love and understanding for others, many of whom unlike ourselves, are being vilified and negated. But, our country has had other difficult times (albeit not with the threat of annihilation by nuclear weapons) and overcome them. I believe if we cling to each other and, with guidance and support as we traverse new territories, we will make it through.

I will make it through with your help. I need you all.

And I am here for you as well.

Into the Abyss

We had some really nasty storms here in Orlando the past couple of days. During one particularly enormous gust, the electricity slammed off.

And They Vanished

I easily have hundreds of thousands of photos on my computer and several hundreds of thousands more on an off-site photo storage facility, SmugMug, that caters to professional photographers. (I love SmugMug; they are awesome.)
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Anyway, I am in my photos several times a day, so when I opened my Pictures and it was nearly empty of my folders, each one holding thousands of pics, my stomach clenched and I thought I was going to throw up.

Had I done something to them? Deleted them? Filed them somewhere else? I am in this Manic Phase, could I have done something with them and not remembered?

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Delving Deep

I’ve been on the Internet since 1995 and I know how computers work pretty well. I know how it holds things… and how it loses things. I have lost everything twice in all these years, two computer crashes that swept everything into the ether. My pictures, my words. Everything I’d put on the computer, gone.

(Back in the olden days, it was a challenge saving things. Those enormous floppy disks, then 3.5 inch floppies/diskettes… nothing held much data and I knew nothing about external hard drives back then.)

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The first time my computer died and everything vanished, I thought I was going to die. Quite literally. I was in a state of shock for far too long, then in mourning after that. I can still touch those emotions all these years later.

The second time it happened, I blinked, knew everything was forever-gone, took a deep breath, sighed, shrugged… and started all over again on the next computer.

Once I learned how to back-up my work, I did. Having a blog helped tremendously, my knowing my words would be forever online. Then, when I began taking hundreds, then thousands, of photos at births and at Disney World, I tried to keep them on at least 2 computers. Finally, SmugMug came along and I was able to put my pics in a safe, off-site place as well. I felt enormous relief.

But I have not sent any pics into SmugMug for at least 2 years.

So, 2 years of stuff has vanished. Blessedly, Meghann has every picture of her family, grandbabies included, so even though my copies are gone, she has them all for me. Thank goodness for Facebook’s Photos sections, too, so I can grab Aimee and Tristan’s pics again. However, there are loads of pics of me that I do not have anywhere else. Gone.

Recovery

As I said, I am pretty good on the computer, so while I was distressed earlier tonight, even crying at times, I set to work looking for the lost files. Starting at the top and working my way down the tree, I searched. And searched. I scoured the Recycle Bin, recovering everything just in case I was missing something in my being upset. I poked around all the hidden places files and folders could hide, yet found nothing. I tried to move the computer’s date back in time, but it was stubborn and wouldn’t let me.

I was getting frustrated when my wondrous cyber-lover jumped in and brought logic and sensibility into my view, replacing the enormous mountain of emotion I’d been floundering in for the last several hours.

He Googled the problem and, lo and behold, this has happened to others before me! (Can you hear me laughing at how crazy I was not thinking about Googling earlier?!)

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Apparently, there are apps to use to recover lost data. I am quite scared about downloading just anything lest there be nasty viruses included in them. I’m trying to figure out whether I should research and grab a recovery app to try and find my lost photos… or should I just sigh loudly and move on. At the moment, I am in a resolved place that the Universe doesn’t want me to have those pictures.

I can live with that.

 

Presidential Gaslighting

Can They Even Count?

Yesterday was the magnificent Women’s March on Washington as well as the other Marches all over the world. It was magical seeing so many people coming together.

How could the White House ignore these massive protests that clearly out-attended the Inauguration the day before?

Finally, in the late afternoon, that #NotMyPresident did tweet a sarcastic comment, but he eventually sent Sean Spicer to the Press Room in the evening to, not so nicely, counter the Press’ reports of how much larger the Protests were compared to the Inauguration the day before. He was quite nasty about it.

A combination of photos shows the crowds attending the inauguration ceremonies of U.S. President Donald Trump and President Barack Obama
Inauguration on left; Women’s March on right

Of course, Spicer was freakin’ wrong on the numbers attending the two events. Really, really wrong. So when that Kellyanne Conway, counselor to #NotMyPresident, went on Meet the Press today, Chuck Todd pressed her about the clear lies Spicer had said the night before.

Gaslighting From On High

Asked on “Meet the Press” why Spicer used his first appearance before the press to dispute a minimal issue like the inauguration crowd size, and why he used falsehoods to do so, Conway pushed back.

“You’re saying it’s a falsehood and Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that,” she told NBC’s Chuck Todd.

“Alternative facts.” Um, untruths?  LIES!?

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The people at the top of our government and their support folks think we are stupid fools who cannot tell the difference between the truths and lies.

(And they get that belief because their supportive base IS that stupid and bought every bullshit remark they made during the campaign. I swear they are sleepwalking.)

The behavior being exhibited is called Gaslighting, “a form of manipulation through persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying in an attempt to destabilize and delegitimize a target. Its intent is to sow seeds of doubt in the targets, hoping to make them question their own memory, perception, and sanity.”

So, Spicer speaking emphatically and not allowing questions after the Press Conference was supposed to shut down any doubt in everyone’s minds.

It’s baffling they think we are going to join in their delusional reality. And what is really hilarious/sad is they believe these “alternative” realities themselves! Is there no source that is to be believed that counters their belief system?

It sure isn’t the Press!

(And Censorship of the Press is right on schedule. Another post.)

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Intersectionality

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I am watching the Women’s March on Washington and while I had learned about Intersectional Feminism previously, seeing how women’s lives overlap with race, religion, genders, abilities, histories (jail, being on welfare, etc.) and more, live right in front of me, is profound.

And then, as I am writing this, I see that intersectionality itself has been a controversial part of the Women’s March! Well, the organizers made it clear, to me at least, that intersectionality is a major part of the event.

It did not come without conflict, even causing white women to stay away from the March after they felt left out of the planning and implementation of the event.

These reactions reflect an ongoing debate about intersectional feminism — the idea that many women are members of other marginalized groups, which affects their experiences — that is bigger than the march. The issue has especially heated up since social media has democratized and made public conversations about issues affecting women.

“Intersectionality simply means that there are lots of different parts to our womanhood,” Brittney Cooper, an assistant professor of women’s and gender studies and Africana studies at Rutgers University, explained. “And those parts — race, gender, sexuality, and religion, and ability — are not incidental or auxiliary. They matter politically.”

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So, reading about intersectionality in general and the March in particular, I am learning the history.

Kimberlé Crenshaw, a law professor at both UCLA and Columbia, is credited with coining the term intersectionality. She did this in her 1989 paper “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory, and Antiracist Politics.”

Crenshaw also pointed out that she came up with intersectionality to address a specific legal problem: As she put it, “To capture the applicability of black feminism to anti-discrimination law.” An example she frequently cites in explaining the need for intersectionality is the 1976 case Degraffenreid v. General Motors, in which five black women sued General Motors for both race and gender discrimination.

I know that understanding where intersectionality comes from gives me context from which to pull.

I Am Intersectional, Too

I have written about how I collect descriptive labels. Interestingly, many, many decry labels and refuse to inhibit their identities with them. But, how does one eschew labels yet embrace intersectionality? Is that possible?

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I was raised completely different than who I am now. As a young girl, I learned the ways of the white, heterosexual, cisgender, able-bodied and middle-class world. Yet  I am a super-fat mother & grandmother, a femme Dyke, Cubanx/Latinx (knowing virtually nothing about my culture), mentally ill, disabled, a-theist, sex worker, non-TERF feminist who loves a Muslim man and who learnt Spanish as an adult. I don’t know how I would figure out my intersections without all those labels… and the ones I forgot to list.

Watching the end of the March’s rally, I am incredibly happy to see the wide variety of women represented , many of whom do intersect with my identities.

I’m sure the arguments for and against the Women’s March on Washington are being formulated or written about even now, but I am extremely pleased… more than that… excited, energized, inspired… by the speakers, poets, musicians, singers and leaders who were on that stage today.

I wish I was there.

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Bipolar Mania Redux

Yeah, the Mania has returned.

Once again, I am a live wire that hums like a fluorescent bulb, sleeping 2 hours a day, am a writing banshee and logged into work for many hours at a time.

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See-Saw Up & Down

From mid-September 2016 to early November 2016, I was in a pretty intense Manic State. The last Manic Episode I’d had before that was 1998.

It seemed to take forever to get control over the hallucinations and be able to sleep, and when I did, I slid into Depression mid-December. The fight to find balance between soaring highs and plunging lows has eluded me. Just when I think I am finding stasis, I slip by it and move to the next level of distress.

And here we are, mid-January 2017, and I am, once again, having hallucinations, staying awake for far, far too long.

Will I never find balance?

Hallucinations AGAIN

I’ve had increasing hallucinations for at least 2 weeks now. They aren’t terrifying yet, but they are on their way there.

Today I was visited by a bat!

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Fucking thing was flying around the room then dove right for my head. I ducked and covered myself, but, of course, it wasn’t real, so if someone had been watching, it would have given them a hearty laugh. Other visual non-existent treats have been my clothes on the back of the door lifting off and swaying back and forth a couple of times and nondescript somethings sitting on the dressers or on my bed.

(I feel like a crazy woman sharing these things. How can I talk about what is going on so casually? I think it is just getting to be so normal, I am more shrugging than freaking out about it.)

The auditory hallucinations have returned, my hearing all sorts of crazy noises from windstorms to doorbell chimes. And the incessant whispers, always just out of earshot and too low for me to understand, but they are not happy noises. “Ominous” is the word I would use to describe them.

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artist, Nguyen Hoang Hiep

Oh, the goddamn tactile sensations. Again, feeling like I have bugs crawling on me. Not lots so far, but just enough to make me slap myself periodically.

Not smelling anything (yet) – olfactory hallucinations – but those are probably what’s up next on the Manic menu.

Writing writing writing

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And so I write. Here,  in my work blog, in Facebook. The words tumble out of my fingers even when I am meditating trying to sleep. I cannot keep them still as they search for a keyboard upon which to create.

This is the part of the Mania that keeps me from telling my doctor or taking more Risperdal because the deliciously creative period would be fleeting and, right now, the negativity of hallucinations is balanced by the verbosity of my words.

So shhhhh. Keep my secret quiet for now.

And watch the words spill from my psyche.

 

Gender Socialization Reappears

Past Imperfect

It had been 30 years since I’d been in a relationship with a cis male until last year when my love (who is half my age) and I began a cyber-relationship. He and I are in a BDSM relationship, my being Domme and he, my submissive.

I am an awesome Domme after 25 years as a submissive. I am able to dig deeply into a submissive’s mind and use the information to my Domme-ly benefit. I am also a Domme at my job, having no problem holding my role easily.

And now, my cublet and I are in a deep rift in the relationship, something I will write about another day, but one we seem to have committed to working on together.

Present Imperfect

We both had a really hard day yesterday, lots of tears, lots of texts and emails back and forth, some of which continued through the night on my end.

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Today, I could not stop crying despite both of us pledging love and working together last night and then sweet words in text this morning. I was a fucking mess. I couldn’t breathe, my heart hurt, I was really having a hard time.

From early morning, I wanted reassurance that everything was okay between us, but I fought hard not to text him at work. I lasted until 1pm, then asked, “Do you still love me?”

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artist, Plexure

After we talked on the phone and exchanged love-confirming texts, I sat back and looked at my feelings and behaviors. I was fucking disgusted with myself.

Future Imperfect

I am demonstrating total female socialization behaviors and being with a cisman somehow magically transformed me into a whimpering, begging, insecure, needy and, if I do say so, disgusting girl (definitely not a woman) needing validation from a MAN! From a man 20 years my junior, no less! Where the holy fuck was she hiding that she would smell a cisman’s sweat (even over the wires) and poof recreate the horrid female I thought I’d left behind after 35 years of therapy?

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From I’m Glad I’m a Boy, I’m Glad I’m a Girl

I am hoping that with the recognition, I will chill out and re-find my balance as a grown woman.

I am, however, looking for the hole that unevolved being crawled out of so I can shove her back in and seal up the lid.

Good lord, brainwashing sure does stick around.

woman-power

“I Wrote My Way Out”

from the Broadway show Hamilton: an American Musical

I wrote my way out

When the world turned its back on me

I was up against the wall

I had no foundation

No friends and no family to catch my fall

Running on empty, there was nothing left in me but doubt

I picked up a pen

And I wrote my way out (I wrote my way out)

words

Writing has always been an important part of my life. Sometimes more than others, depending my my mental state or how many opiates I am taking. I have been writing since I was 8-years old. I am now 55 (almost 56!).

I have written out the pain 10,000 times (or more) and yet there seems an endless cesspool of shit to purge onto the paper. Why is that? It’s rather annoying.

I am in an empty place right now, Hamilton’s words resonating deeply. It is tempting to turn to others for refilling, but when I do, there is always a hole somewhere, their validation leaking out, leaving me empty again. It is up to me… the filling, topping off, maintaining and keeping it (me) level so there is no sloshing over the edges.

The truth is, no matter who is in my life, I am really on my own. I need to hold my own hand for comfort, hug myself when I am sad and wipe my own tears. I don’t know how many times I need to learn this lesson, but clearly, I have not learnt it yet.

So I write.

I write to lessen the pain in my heart, to lift the weight on my chest. I write while crying in order to let go of my worries and concerns. I write when I feel I have nothing left to say. I always seem to find more words…

…and I wrote my way out.

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Random Musings

This & That

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  • Sitting here, I am so livid and repulsed by that orange man I swear, if he was in front of me… well, let’s leave it at spit in his face for now. To attack Representative John Lewis, on this Martin Luther King Eve, is the most heinous thing that fucking pig has done so far… and he has done a LOT of stupid, cruel and repulsive things.
  • One of the best pieces of advice about the orange man is for people to daily insult him so he is so busy using his fingers to tweet, he won’t have any to push the nuclear release button.
  • Clearly, I am not in the hospital. My gallbladder decided to chill out and a blast of IV Levaquin overnight in the hospital brought me back to normal. I feel perfectly fine. I have an appointment with the surgeon I met while there, who not only takes my insurance (huge hurdle made!), but also has experience with super-big folks. He scoffed when I told him the GI Doc told me I would never find anyone to do my surgery and said I was hardly the biggest he has worked on. My appointment is Jan 23rd.

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  • I met a nurse while in the hospital who, upon introduction, seemed a jaded veteran. Surely because I wasn’t in pain, I could be my entertaining self and each time she came in, we talked about this and that… my meds… the stupid heart monitor they make you wear the whole time now… and she mentions that she hated the monitor, too, but she thought she was having a heart attack. Without lots of detail (for privacy), she lost a loved one at Thanksgiving and was struggling with mourning after having to go back to work right away. I listened and validated her pain and difficulty trying to take care of others. I said I knew it was she who should be the one being nurtured. She fought tears, but I went and held her for a couple of minutes… giving love and healing light to her. When I was discharged, she walked me down to my car (I invited her) and she said very kind words about my being a midwife and how she could see how loving I am and how lucky my clients were. I thanked her for such kind words and then hugged her again before turning to go. If you’re reading this, please send her some love.

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  • Note: When 30 Imodium AD and 12 Lomotil a day won’t stem the diarrhea, you might want to check for gallbladder issues, especially if a fever comes with it. Pain in your upper left abdomen is optional.
  • Redoing my Advanced Directive. Always so much fun talking about pulling the plug. I do NOT NOT NOT want to EVER live in a Nursing Home. Ever. I will find a way to die before anyone tries to stuff me into one of those horrid places. No life-extending bullshit. If there is a will she/won’t she live quandary… err on the side of letting me go. I AM A DNR! Everyone got the message now?

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  • I am still crazy in love with my Net cublet. How I can feel so much emotion for someone I will never meet is baffling. But it is just there. I’ve given up trying to figure it out and just enjoy myself.
  • I am learning that my youngest, Aimee, has burst forth and begun sharing her writings. She is SUCH an incredible writer! I had no idea. Was I not paying attention?!

I think that’s good for now!

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Bipolar Diary: Terribly Depressed

One sign of when I am in a serious depression is I can no longer write. It’s been since Dec. 30th that journaling words have come out of these fingers.

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Psych Visit

I went to the Psych today and sobbed about how frustrated I am about this post-mania depression. He said it just takes time. I said I am losing time by sleeping and losing LOTS of money by not working.

Blessedly, no suicidal thoughts or ideation. Still have visual hallucinations, but meh on those.

Last thing we did was up the Wellbutrin (of which I have even worse Tardive Dyskinesia now). Now we’re upping the Cymbalta from 60mg qd to 90mg qd. He said he is giving it 4 weeks to change things before he considers upping it again.

Can you hear me groaning in despair?

sigh