notes on gabapentin, day 6

ok, so 6 days of taking my new meds. here are some notes on it.

  • it works. i mean, it definitely stops my twitching when i’m awake. however i’ve noticed, now my twitching has stopped, that i also have nerve pain in my extremities. i just never noticed it before because i was always either jiggling my limbs or twitching.
  • i’m not worried about the nerve pain, as it can take 2 weeks for gabapentin to get rid of it. so if i still have it after 3 weeks, i’ll worry.
  • i sleep really well on it. first 2 nights i used it were on the recliner, because my neck was so stiff and sore. i never sleep well on the recliner, but those 2 nights were the best recliner sleeps i have ever had. and the third night, in bed, it put me into a mini-coma.
  • i’m still tired during the day, but i also haven’t been taking my iron daily and i have a massive sleep debt of like, 20 years. so i’m expecting to still be tired throughout the day for a while.
  • even though i’m still tired throughout the day i’m way more awake than usual.
  • side effects i’m experiencing: drowsiness (useful), slight dizziness and nausea, when i wake up in the morning it takes me longer to shake the sleep fog, and longer for my vision to come back to normal, and some extra bleeding and bruising (which i’m not actually 100% sure is from the gabapentin, as it could have other causes right now). all in all, nothing too severe and nothing i’m not willing to deal with in order to get a better night’s sleep. (regardless i’ll bring up the side effects with the doc when i see him next, which should be a week tomorrow.)

conclusion: it’s working, and so far i’m happy with it. will continue to monitor it for any severe or scary side effects, and am waiting to see how close to “normal” i’ll get with regards to feeling awake in the day, but for right now allowing myself to feel cautiously hopeful that this might be the answer to my sleep woes.

and now, i am a sleepykat so i am off to bed. yes, at 6am. don’t judge me.

~katje

ps: i think it also made my breasts bigger, which i consider a win. at least i do today; on a day when i don’t id as femme as i do today, it’ll probably cause some severe dysphoria. c’est la vie du genderqueer.

Existing

You know that feeling when your crush remembers your name? Or asks about something important to you? That fluttery, happy feeling, that voice in your head yelling “Oh my gods, they know I exist!”

Or maybe you get that feeling when you meet your idol and they show interest in what you’re talking about. Or when anyone important to you shows you that they know you’re there. They’re aware. You have made an impression, no matter how small.

Now imagine the feeling you get when the opposite happens: you’re ignored, pushed aside, dismissed. It’s a sinking, awful feeling, isn’t it? Like an anchor dragging your heart down to your stomach.

You don’t exist to them. You didn’t make an impression. They are not aware of you at all, nor your brilliance or your individuality.

You have been erased.

I ask you to imagine these feelings because they are two feelings I deal with very often in relation to my gender identity — and more often than not I deal with the second one. Most days my gender identity is erased, and I am left with that sinking feeling, and a horrible decision: do I correct the person who just misgendered me, or do I let it slide? A decision that is very rarely easy.

There are few situations I find myself in where correcting someone is the easy and best path: they will accept it, apologize, and be sincere. They will accept me not being binary.

More often, I know that correcting someone, or asking for more gender options on things like survey forms, will lead to a rolling of the eyes at best; a screed about “Why do you people have to make everything so PC all the time?” or, perhaps, violence at worst.

I usually choose not to correct people face to face. I let it slide. Most people see me as a heterosexual, cisgender woman and I let them think that, even though it’s wrong on all counts. For the most part it’s a microaggression that slowly wears down at my mental health, causing me to question my very existence and worthiness on a daily basis — though there are some areas of my life where “being a woman” is okay, and doesn’t hurt me mentally. I don’t know why those areas exist, but they do, and I don’t want to ignore their existence in this post.

Passing as a cishet woman is safe for me in many ways, but unsafe in others. It’s a balance I have to strike, and mostly I choose to let people continue to erase me. At least face to face.

But when it comes to forms I have to fill out for various reasons, I ask people to give me more options than “male” or “female”. Why? Because I rarely get any personal response from the form-makers — I send an email, hope they see it, and go about my day. It gives me a sense of accomplishment even if I have no proof I’ve made any difference; I have made a small stand for my continued visible existence; I have fought back against the erasure I face every day.

Today I got some proof that this works. I don’t know if I made this change happen or if it was a bunch of us trans*/non-binary folks, but it did happen, and it made me happy.

I filled out the Volunteer Survey form for the Vancouver International Writers’ Fest today – the festival I volunteer at every year. When I got to the gender section, this is what it looked like:

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 3.41.06 PM

Four multiple choice options PLUS a place to fill in a different answer. Prefaced with “I identify as:”, not “Other”.

I was immediately filled with elation. That first feeling I described above? I am floating on a cloud of it.

I exist.

I matter.

I made an impression.

And this is a big deal, when I mostly deal with the second feeling I described. The first feeling is such a rare occurrence when it comes to my gender identity that when it does come, it’s almost overpowering.

So, thank you VIWF. Thank you for listening, and thank you for giving me a small space in my life that said, very clearly: You exist. We have noticed you. Here is a place where you can proclaim your existence and have it be validated.

-Katje

#ziewrites — a new hashtag for genderqueer writers

If you’ve been following my Twitter account for the past week or so you may have noticed that I’ve started using #ziewrites on some of my posts about writing.

This is sort of a response to the hashtag (and website) #shewrites — which I think is awesome. I think there should absolutely be ways for women writers to connect with each other and find support, and I applaud the use of the hashtag #shewrites.

But it’s not for me, and I started wondering — how many other genderqueer authors/writers feel like they’re missing out on community-building on Twitter? 

Maybe not so many, but I decided to go ahead and start using #ziewrites anyway. There may not be many of us now, but that could very well change. Imagine: a future full of genderqueer writers, chatting on Twitter with each other! Or Google+ — the hashtag can definitely be used there. Sounds like a pretty cool future to me.

So if you’re a fellow genderqueer/non-binary writer and you’re on Twitter/G+, why not join me in the #ziewrites stream? Or follow me? The same brand of Katje-insanity you’ve come to know and love, but in 140 characters or fewer! Also, support for my fellow bros, ladies, ladybros, ladydudes, brofaces, etc. All of y’all, no matter what pronouns you use. (Binary-gendered trans* writers are welcome, too, if you want to join in!)

Who knows — maybe this will take off in a big way. Or it’ll just be me and two other folks, sitting in our Twitter stream, sipping our tea/coffee/cocoa. Whatever happens, I’m happy. Sometimes it’s just enough to carve out your own little space in the world.

 

Thoughts? Want to join in with #ziewrites? Don’t want to join, but think it’s cool anyway? Leave me a comment below: I love hearing from y’all.