Frayed

They creak and groan, they scratch and scrape

They make the hairs raise on my nape

They cut, they slice, they tear, they rend

What they begin brings me to end

They know my dreams, they know my fears

They whisper nightmares in my ears

Day in, day out, they scream inside

And from these things I cannot hide

I try to run, try to get free

From demons born inside of me

I bite, I chew, I scratch and scrape

I ponder both my life and fate

I cry, I sob, I’m beyond words

I live in prison, trapped by nerves

Independent Thought

It’s that time of year again: Independence Day. The fourth of July. My nation’s birthday, so to speak. So why am I not feeling particularly patriotic today?

Maybe it’s just the state of the nation as a whole. I try not to get into politics, but I’ll just come out and say it: I have no faith in our “fearless leader.” I seriously thought his campaign was a joke at first, and when it sunk in that he was, in fact, running for real, I felt a little queasy. I may have even thrown up in my mouth a little.

How can I feel patriotic about a country that can let this happen? Sure, we didn’t have the greatest choices in candidates, but there have to be some major flaws in the system if there were no good, true “leaders” to choose from. Instead, we ended up with two major choices: a shifty crook or a misogynistic egomaniac. The people chose the crook; the system chose the misogynist. Wonderful.

Thankfully, Denial is a wonderful state in this situation. Much better than any of the fifty other states. When it comes to our current government, I’ll be moving to Denial for the foreseeable future. Yep, this isn’t real. It’s all some sick prank. Any second, Ashton Kutcher is going to show up, reveal the hidden cameras, and say, “You’ve been Punk’d!”

Avoidance is my safety blanket right now. Block certain Twitter accounts and Facebook pages, change the channel if I happen to stumble upon the news, gloss over the newspaper…I don’t know if I can last the next three and a half years like this, but for now it’s an adequate band-aid. So long as we don’t end up in the middle of Shit Creek with no way to steer…

I hear the rapids are a bitch.

Hypersensitive

I’ve gotten to that bend in the roller coaster again. I’d been fairly flat and level lately, but I suspect that the tracks are on a downslope as I get more and more sensitive to little things that shouldn’t bug me.

My biggest frustration stems from new knowledge that’s coming in that is slowing me down when it comes to utilization of said knowledge. I know, in theory, how to do these new things, but in practice I’m failing–big time. My mind is trying to apply the things I’ve learned and in the process I’m tripping all over myself…sometimes literally. I know that it’s a learning curve and I just have to be patient and keep practicing, but try telling that to me. I’m sure as hell not listening to it.

I’m also getting more sensitive, or maybe more paranoid, about what people think of me. Every time I hear derisive laughter and I don’t know what the people are talking about, I assume it must be about me. They’re making fun of someone and I’m weird, so they must be making fun of me. It’s not anything or anyone specific and it’s not logical in any way, but the thoughts come just the same.

These insecurities are really hitting me harder than they should, so I know it’s just my mind getting out of control again. Knowing that and pushing the insecurities aside are two different animals though; I can tell myself all day long that I’m worrying over nothing–it won’t make a difference. I’ll still find myself on the verge of tears for no good reason.

It’ll pass eventually–it always does–but it’s frustrating as hell when this part of my brain cycle hits.

All things must come to an end

All things must come to an end

Nearly fifteen years ago I bought the first–and only–pet that was my very own. I fell in love with a kitten up for adoption from a shelter, and before I even signed the papers I had named her Annabelle.

I kinda didn’t tell my dad I was getting her until I got her home.

Annabelle was my only constant for the next nine years, even my sole companion during the month I spent living by myself in an extended-stay motel during my transition to Arizona. She was my baby.

When I moved in with my then-boyfriend, I had to leave her at my parents’ house due to roommate issues (the issue being that it was the roommate’s house and he didn’t want another cat living there). When we moved into our first apartment shortly before getting married, we couldn’t afford rent for two cats, so Annabelle stayed at Mom and Dad’s. When our cat Luna died, we weren’t ready for another cat yet–and by that time, Annabelle was getting on in years & had settled into life at my parents’ house…without me. She ran from me when I came over to visit more often than not, and the few times she did come out of hiding it was to beg for food or treats. I had become a stranger.

We got Rory about six months after Luna died, and since Annabelle was comfortable where she was, we decided against uprooting her and bringing her into a new environment with a new, rambunctious kitten.

A few months ago, Annabelle started losing some weight.

She started losing a lot of weight.

Now, with her only eating with the aid of an appetite stimulant and throwing up what little she does eat, I have a decision to make. She may not really be “my” cat anymore (at least not in her eyes), but she’s still, well, my cat.

My sister’s cat, Chelsea, had a long death. She was put to sleep eventually, but she got emaciated to the point of having to be force-fed and had necrotic sores on her. She looked like something out of Pet Sematary. Literally. It was scary. I don’t want that for Annabelle. I don’t want to “kill” her, but I don’t want her to suffer. She’s old. She’s lived a good life…and nearly half that life has been without me. So what am I to do?

I thought hard about it. I didn’t want to make the decision too hastily, but I also didn’t want to drag out her life if she was suffering in any way. The image of the last time I saw my sister’s cat was enough. I’m not going to let Annabelle turn into that.

So either today or Monday (depending on when the vet can get her in), I am prepared to make one of the toughest decisions of my life. I’m going to say good-bye to my baby and let her go peacefully. It’s the least I can do for the kitten that used to chase her tail on my neck, that hid under the blankets during the road trip to Arizona, that would sit on my lap & purr while I played World of Warcraft before work.

What was going to be a nice, relaxing weekend of cosplay work will now be a weekend of mourning and trying to focus on what now seems insignificant.

Here’s to you, Annabelle. You were and are an awesome cat.

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A day of joy for some, despair for others

A day of joy for some, despair for others

Valentine’s day. For centuries, it has been a day to celebrate love and happiness and the joining of two (or more–no judgment here) people’s souls …

… and it’s been a day that just sucks for single people.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m grateful that I found my husband and that Valentine’s day has become a happy day for me. I get showered with love and appreciation, and I get to share that love with him.

However, I remember a time less than a decade ago when Valentine’s day was a total suckfest for me. I hated it with a passion; before my husband, I had never had a date for Valentine’s day. I despised the day more than I despised the mere fact that I was perpetually single.

Want to know how much I despised Valentine’s day and the sappiness of it all? I used to request off for Valentine’s day months in advance just so someone who had someone would have to work in my stead.

Yep. I was that bitter. I’d sit at home, depressed, lamenting my solitary status and feeling sorry for myself. It was sad, really.

What’s the point of this post? The point is that it wasn’t forever. I wasn’t perpetually single; just for a while. 30 years, to be exact, but who’s counting? Those 30 years of singleness and depression are completely overshadowed by these last six years of happiness.

So get off your ass, get to work, and stop complaining. One day there will be someone who makes you realize that all that whining just wasn’t worth it. It gets better, and yeah, sometimes it doesn’t work out. Sometimes you don’t get lucky and this year’s Valentine’s date may be next year’s ex. Still, there’s hope. One day you’ll meet that “forever” Valentine. Or a Valentine for a few years. Or twenty. Or sixty-five. Point is, don’t be a dick on Valentine’s day like I was. Don’t call out to punish those who haven’t done anything to you other than be happy. Don’t be all self-deprecating or bummed out or whatever.

Just keep hope alive, or something like that. Trust in the Force. Whatever keeps you going through the single years to get to the not-single years.

Health of a different sort

It’s that time again! Yep, I have my 3-month psychiatrist checkup today.

How fast those three months fly by. Wasn’t it just yesterday I was there? Okay, maybe it hasn’t flown by quite that fast…but it doesn’t seem like three months.

I’d like to think I’ve been doing okay. Aside from not having the motivation to work on cosplay, which I don’t think is related to the bipolar disorder, I think I’ve been doing okay. I haven’t had any severe manic or depressive states that I can recall since my last visit. Been pretty stable.

There is one thing I want to discuss with my doctor, though: a new weight loss prescription I saw a commercial for not too long ago. It’s a combination of two psychiatric drugs, and I’ve been on one of these drugs before. I really think it could help me cut my cravings and stop just stuffing my face all the time.

I don’t trust most (okay, all) over-the-counter weight loss supplements/drugs. A lot of it isn’t FDA regulated like prescription meds are, and there’s no telling how they’d react with my prescription medicines. I’d rather, if my doctor would allow, take the new prescription and try that. So fingers crossed!

I saw my rheumatologist the other day and learned that she thinks I need a chest x-ray. Yep, the cough is still here, though it’s getting better every day, and she is I think concerned that it could be related to one of my RA meds. Fun. Except x-rays can be expensive. And it’s the beginning of the year, so of course I haven’t even come close to meeting my deductible. Yuck.

We’ll see how the cough does in the next week. If it’s still there, I might get that x-pensive ray. Maybe. We’ll see.

Why I Post Selfies: from the Viewpoint of an Insecure Narcissist

Yep, that’s me: the insecure narcissist. Oxymoronic, right? I hate myself. Hate the way I look. Can’t stand the way I look.

But I post selfies almost as much as a teenaged girl.

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Why, do you ask? Well, it could be the narcissist in me. I love the attention when one of my selfies gets a ton of likes (okay, so maybe I don’t get likes as much as a teenaged girl), and I love how it makes me feel. Look at me. I am gorgeous. I said look at me!

Or…it could be that I sometimes need that self-esteem boost. Because there’s that nagging, overpowering voice inside that says I’m still the ugly little girl I was growing up. That little booming voice that tells me to just put down the camera and never take another selfie. I selfie to silence that voice.

Fuck you, voice. Fuck you nine ways to Sunday. I may not be a supermodel; I may not be glamorous or even a little pretty. But I’m me. I’ve grown to like myself a little more with each selfie. Each narcissistic display is my way of telling you off, of telling you that I’m enough the way I am. Sure, there are zits evident in the above photo. There’s no makeup, my eyebrow tattoos are beyond faded, and I look exhausted. But damnit, voice, I think it makes me look good.

So to all the girls (or boys–whatever) who think they’re not cute enough or handsome enough or just plain not enough, who have that same voice nagging them: selfie away. Take a photo of yourself and post it. Don’t like the first photo? Change the angle or the lighting and try again. And again and again and again until that face looking back at you is something that doesn’t make you cringe.

Selfie like you mean it, and silence the voice.