Survived Surgery Today

Wisdom teeth have successfully been removed.

I had to go in to get my wisdom teeth removed today, at the hospital. They put me under light sedation so I was semi-conscious during the entire procedure. It was relatively quick and painless, and now I have a very numbed face and tongue and 4 holes in my mouth that have been sutured up.

They want me to bite down on gauze till supper if I’m able to. I did for as long as possible, but I keep drooling everywhere and I have to change the gauze so often it becomes somewhat useless. I’m just letting it be right now. Swallowing a little blood never hurt anyone.

(If I become a vampire, I’ll let you know.)

Right now I’m hopped up on T3s with codeine, so I’m thinking it’s time for a nap. After, mom and I will watch Grey’s Anatomy while I drink lukewarm soup and milk.

Hopefully tomorrow back on semi-solids like mashed potatoes.

I’m alive and happy to be free of the devil teeth that appeared when the Hellmouth opened in my jaws.

-Katje

Why I don’t suffocate my skin for the sake of acceptable femininity (ie, why I don’t wear antiperspirant)

I don’t wear antiperspirant. I haven’t for years — not since I was young and impressionable and believed capitalist patriarchy when they said so long as I sweat at ALL I was gross and unfeminine and boys would never want to kiss me.

There’s a Dove commercial (I think it’s Dove; they’re great at doing problematic things disguised as progressiveness) that does this big long “Ode to the Armpit”, talking about how the armpit is an undervalued bit of flesh and constantly gets mistreated by shaving or waxing. They then go on to talk about taking care of the armpit the way it deserves…

…by using this certain antiperspirant on it.

Because nothing says love like suffocation!

I don’t wear antiperspirant. I haven’t for years — not since I was young and impressionable and believed capitalist patriarchy when they said so long as I sweat at ALL I was gross and unfeminine and boys would never want to kiss me.

(This made worse by my father saying, basically, the exact same thing when I hit puberty.)

I used to wear antiperspirant on a not-regular, but not-once in a while basis. Why? Because then it was my only option for smelling how I wanted to smell. I used to wear Old Spice deodorant. I hate smelling like Old Spice. I like the smell of it, but on other people. (Specifically Mr. Katje.)

But there were no options for me! If I went to the deodorant aisle, the “women’s” section — ie, the ones that smelled how I wanted to smell — was nothing but antiperspirant. The “men’s” section had actual non-antiperspirant deodorant.

I turned to natural deodorants in an attempt to find something that smelled the way I wanted to smell — and failed miserably. I have always had very strong sweat, both in amount issued by my body and smell. Even when I wore antiperspirant, it didn’t work for as long as it said it would. By the end of the day I was sweating through it, and stinking even worse.

Natural deodorants were no match for my super-sweat. They’d last an hour, if my luck held out.

So I started using antiperspirant on occasion. Not for daily use, but for going out to parties or with my friends or on Halloween night. It would wear off by the end of the night. But, I thought to myself, at least I smell like flowers instead of musk.

And then the pain started. The more I used antiperspirant, the more my armpits hurt. It felt like a knife was being stabbed into them.

I’d heard stories about antiperspirant and breast cancer, and I panicked. Put it down and didn’t pick it up again.

I mean, even if there is no link between antiperspirant and breast cancer — you’re blocking your pores for hours on end. You’re blocking an area that’s meant to sweat from sweating. That cannot be healthy.

I went back to wearing deodorant, searching high and low for “women’s” non-antiperspirant. Every time I found one, it would be gone from the shelves within months and I’d have to start my search again.

Recently I found one that hasn’t disappeared yet (though I may have bought 7 sticks of it right off the bat, out of fear). It smells like roses — my favourite scent — and it actually lasts most of the day (depending on how active I am).

It helps that I don’t live in Hawai’i anymore, too. 90 degree days are not a friend to the person with the terrible sweat problem.

It really says something that I have to search high and low to find a “ladies'” deodorant that isn’t antiperspirant. We, as a culture, do not want women to sweat. It’s “not attractive”. Whereas the “men’s” section is FULL of deodorant that’s not antiperspirant — yes, there is antiperspirant there, but not in the same ratio as there is for “women’s” deodorants.

(You’ll notice I’ve been putting “men’s” and “women’s” in scare quotes. This is because our segregation of deodorants into gender categories based on what kind of scents they have and whether or not they stop you from sweating is absolute bullshit. If a woman wants to wear Old Spice because she likes the smell of it on her, that’s awesome! She should go for it! And if a man wants to wear a rose-scented deodorant, he should also be able to go for it! Instead there is stigma around more floral or “light” scents as being a “woman’s” territory, and stronger scents are seen as more “masculine”. Scents are not gendered. There’s just what you like and what smells good on you. I happen to prefer the scents assigned me as someone socially-classed-as-woman, but that does not negate my genderqueerness.)

The pushing of antiperspirant on women is yet another way our patriarchal culture tells women to abuse their bodies for the sake of being seen as worthy — in this culture a woman’s worth is measured by her sex appeal, and we’re told that sex appeal does not exist if there is sweat. (Which is stupid; I mean, what do people imagine happens when you have sex? THERE IS SWEAT INVOLVED. At least there is if you’re doing it right.)

If you want to wear antiperspirant for your own, personal reasons, and it doesn’t have any ill effects on your health, or even if it does — get on with your bad self; I’m not going to tell you to stop. That is between you and whatever god of armpits you worship.

But if you’re wearing it because you’re expected to? If you don’t like wearing it because it hurts? If you would rather quit but feel you can’t?

Don’t fool yourself into thinking it’s self-care to stop your pits from sweating. Don’t let the commercials fool you either.

You are not required to wear antiperspirant if you do not want to. Sweating is a natural human function for all genders, no matter what the corporations tell us.

A little foreknowledge can save you a lot of heartache…

I’d rather know as early as possible someone’s political or religious beliefs — because they could negatively affect my life.

This prompt comes from the ebook of 365 prompts put out by the Daily Post blog.

“It’s never a good idea to discuss religion or politics with people you don’t really know.” Agree or disagree?

Disagree, very much.

In my experience, it’s better to discuss religion or politics with people you don’t know very well. By the time you’re already friends with someone, if they’re a good friend (or if they’re family), if you have severe disagreements with them on the subjects of religion or politics what good comes from discussing them? Unless you really are the rare pair who can discuss it without wanting to murder each other.

Most of my politics are tied up in my life or death. That’s how it is when you’re a member of an oppressed class in an oppressive society. Abortion rights aren’t a quaint mental exercise for me; they’re a matter of whether I live or die. Fat acceptance isn’t me whining because I don’t want to lose weight; fatphobia has very real consequences for the health of fat people, and I deserve to be treated with respect no matter my size. Equal rights and protections for trans* folks aren’t just some abstract thing I can talk about with buddies over a beer; they affect my friends, they affect me — they affect our lives and safety. If I decide to present as male and I get into a situation where the cops need to see my ID, guess what? My life is at risk, because if they see “F” under sex and I don’t match what they expect in their brains, there is no telling what they’ll do.  If I go to a doctor who decides that all my problems are because I’m fat and they misdiagnose me, that could have real, life-or-death consequences for me — and I’m not even getting into the mental health issues that come from living in a society that’s geared towards hating fat people.

For these things that are life or death for me, there’s no room for disagreement. Because disagreeing that I deserve the right to terminate a pregnancy without legal interference is saying that I don’t deserve to have agency over my own body. Disagreeing that I have the right to present as male without fear is saying I’m not a person to you. Disagreeing that I have the right to respect no matter what my size because you’re “so concerned for my health” is saying that what really matters is not my health, but your comfort — because if you knew anything about my health, you wouldn’t say a damn thing about my needing to lose weight.

As for religion, it’s not a life or death situation for me, at least not here in Canada — but it does have a lot to do with my mental health, my happiness, my life going smoothly. If I’m making friends with someone, I’d rather know early on if they’re going to try to convert me to something else every chance they get, or if they’re going to call CPS to protect my (future) kids from my “devil worship”. That’s an actual worry for someone who IDs as a witch, by the way. Don’t kid yourself that it’s not.

I want to know if someone is the type of person who believes, truly believes, that they cannot be moral without religion to guide them. Because I don’t want to know those people. If religion is the only thing stopping them from hurting other people, then I don’t want to be around if they have a crisis of faith.

I’d rather discuss politics and religion early on in a relationship. That way, if they’re a transphobic misogynist who doesn’t really believe I’m a person with rights and freedoms, I know to not let them any further into my life. That way, if they’re not bigoted, but just very uneducated, I know exactly what I’m getting into and can decide if I want to spend the spoons on educating this person. That way, if they’re the proselytizing type, they know early on there’s no point to try with me — I’m not open to conversion tactics — I know early on that I may need to be prepared to kick them out of my life, if they don’t stop trying. That way, if they believe that religion is the only way to have a moral compass, I can say goodbye early on. I prefer my friends to be able to steer their ships with their own moral compass regardless whatever god or gods may be in their lives.

I try to keep the peace with people I still want to be friends with, even if they disagree with me on politics or religion. (There are not many people like this in my life, for the record, and those that are disagree with me on portions of politics that aren’t life or death for me.) Discussing these things only comes up if I think we might actually make progress, instead of talking past each other and getting angry.

And as for talking religion or politics with random people on the internet…. Well, what do you think my blogs are for?

2013 in retrospect

I want to focus on the good, and work towards making 2014 much better. With that in mind, here is my list of pretty cool/awesome things that happened this year.

I was recovering from the cold from hell, but today my health has taken a nose-dive again. I am now the Plague Cat, and I demand snuggles chicken noodle soup. (I do demand snuggles, but only from the Ogre.)

So I thought I’d do a brief counting of the good things that happened to me this year, seeing as 2013 ends tomorrow. (AUGH.)

Overall 2013 wasn’t a really great year for me — I’m still struggling financially and honestly, that sort of badness makes everything else suck a lot more. I had a lot of plans this year that didn’t happen, because the year started with a bang that put me in the hole, financially, and I haven’t been able to crawl out. (I ended 2012 doing pretty well, and at the end of last year those plans looked possible.)

However, I don’t want to focus on the bad. I want to focus on the good, and work towards making 2014 much better. With that in mind, here is my list of pretty cool/awesome things that happened this year.

  • Finished my second novel. In January, I finished the first draft of my second book, Stranger Skies. It’s now been published in ebook form, and we’re working on getting the print books out the door.
  • Got engaged to the love of my life. Yeah, the Ogre and I made it official — the same weekend I finished Stranger Skies, actually. That was a good weekend.
  • Finished the first draft of my third novel. The Jade Star of Athering is still in rewrites and edits, so it’s not really finished. But the first draft — the skeleton of the story — is complete, and I do expect to finish it and publish it in 2014.
  • Got nominated for an award. Bellica, my first novel, got nominated for a James Tiptree, Jr. Award. Review copies have been sent off to the judges and I wait anxiously to hear if I make the honor list. Regardless what happens — this is a HUGE deal.
  • I finished my last course at VIU and will be graduating in January. This was supposed to happen last year, and I was supposed to graduate in January 2013 — but it didn’t, and I had to take an extra course. I’m counting it as a good thing, even though it pissed me off, because I’ll be done with my BA very soon.
  • Thanks to the generosity of friends, I was able to raise the funds to put through the paperwork on my change of name. I don’t think it’ll be done in time for graduation, which was my deadline, but that’s okay — I can get the degree re-printed if need be, and soon enough my real name will become my legal name.

Tomorrow, I’ll post my list of goals/resolutions/whathaveyous that will make 2014 a much better year for me.

-Plague Cat

PS: Those of you waiting for a new episode/chapter of Fifty Shades of Drinking, I’m sorry, it’ll be a bit longer than I anticipated. I was going to get one done after Christmas but I have been far too ill to tackle it. Likely the next episode will be posted early January. Thanks for your patience and understanding.

When did I become old?

I’m sitting at home eating dinner at a quarter to 11pm (which actually seems a reasonable time to eat dinner during summer; the sun just set) and wanting to go to the bar. Instead I’m eating salad. Salad of mixed baby greens and spinach with some bell peppers, and some of my Four Thieves’ Vinegar drizzled on top. (So, you know, not an “American Salad” that’s so covered in meat and thick dressing and croutons and cheese that it’s not really salad anymore, it’s a sandwich that tried to run away and was beaten for its transgression.) My drink is water (and some tea later). This whole meal is about 100 calories.

Mmmm, fibre.

Meanwhile I’ve got friends in Vegas drinking a bottle of $800 Cristal, and a friend in the UK who would gladly go to the bar with me if it weren’t for that damn geography. I’m 25; I’m supposed to be a hip jet-setter, going out with friends and traveling and hitting the bars and dancing my arse to pieces.

Instead I’m a shut-in. You know, being a shut-in means never having to wear pants, but killing means never having to say you’re sorry. Wait, no. That analogy got away from me.

My point is, I’m okay with being a shut-in, largely, because I prefer to be alone most of the time. But it’s becoming too much. I’m no longer the party animal I once was; hells I’m not even going out for coffee with friends as often as I used to.

This is what an injury can do to you. It can completely overturn your life to the point where you don’t recognize yourself when you look in the mirror anymore.

And yeah, I suppose a healthier lifestyle is, well, healthier, but it’s not that I’ve gone healthy but I still occasionally hit the bars or whatever. It’s that I’ve jumped from age 25 to age 95 in the past few months. Basic tasks exhaust me; I’m literally afraid of going out-of-doors; I shake my cane at kids and scream Damn youngsters, get off my lawn! when I’m at the mall.

I just got this new phone — the Samsung Galaxy Note. And it makes me feel so alive! This is the phone for my age, this is what I should be using while I’m out hitting the bars and dancing oh wait….

I just want to go to a bar so I have an embarrassing photo to take and upload drunkenly to Twitter. Let me be 25, oh gods of bodily health. Let this pain end.

PS: On the ‘being proactive’ front, I’m wrestling myself a physiotherapy appointment tomorrow. I’m not just bitching and whining to WordPress. I am trying.

PPS: I sort of can’t see because I spent all afternoon looking at a small screen. I may have an addiction.

Eating Disorders and Losing Weight (trigger warning: disordered eating, mental health issues, fatphobia)

I suppose I’m continuing in a somewhat depressive vein, here, but it needs to be said.

I’m a fat-positive activist, and I believe in HAES — Health At Every Size. Fat people are still people and should be treated like human beings, instead of like second class citizens or monsters who live in catacombs below the opera house. Which, yeah, is how we are treated.

There are also different levels of fat, and if you’ve never been above 200 pounds you have no idea what it’s like to be 330 pounds (just like I have no idea what it’s like to be above 400). There’s a different set of oppressions for each level: under 200 pounds can be seen as socially acceptable fat, whereas the higher you get, the more you get slotted into “deathfatty” and seen as an animal. There are very few clothing options the higher up on the scale you are. If you’re a size 14 and you’ve never been higher than a size 18, you may be considered fat by society, but you still have no idea what it’s like to be a size 26, 28, 30, 40.

Now that that’s all said.

I am fat as fuck and hot as hell. And I’m okay with that. But my health is suffering. Because I don’t eat as well as I should, and exercising is painful. Part of this is related to health problems that have nothing to do with my obesity (chronic back pain, for one). But losing extra adipose tissue would also help these health problems get resolved. At least to a point where I’m not in pain every single minute of every single day (is there such a state of existence?). This is not true for every fat person; it’s true for me — so I’m not going tell you that losing weight will help you get healthy, because fat is not an indicator of general well-being and I’m not a fucking doctor. (Pro-tip: all you people who are so concerned about my, and other fat people’s, health, aren’t doctors either. So stop lying to us; we’re fat, not stupid.)

So I want to lose fat and gain muscle. I also want to eat healthy and exercise.

But I keep on running into road blocks.

Last summer I tried to do this. I tried to count calories, and exercise. Almost immediately I fell into a death spiral of anorexia nervosa and binge eating. As soon as I start counting calories, I go from eating a healthy amount of food to eating almost nothing each day. I looked at my measures of calories per day and realized what was happening — I’ve gone through anorexia before, and it was much worse than it was last summer. Fat anorexics do exist, and I’m sick of hearing “anorexic” as a synonym for “thin” because it erases us.

Continue reading “Eating Disorders and Losing Weight (trigger warning: disordered eating, mental health issues, fatphobia)”

Depression (trigger warning: suicide, self-harm, ableism)

There’s something quite insidious about depression. It prevents me from doing anything I want to quite often. In fact, it is only by forcing myself quite strenuously that I am writing this at all, and the fact that I misspelled strenuously and had to use the spell-check in Firefox to fix it made me almost upset enough to want to stop writing altogether, curl up into a little ball, and die.

Depression has no reason. I should be friggin ecstatic right now, but instead about 2 hours ago my boyfriend had to talk me down from a pill overdose.

I don’t say this for attention. I don’t normally tell people these things at all. But something occurred to me, in the murky depths of how shitty I’m feeling at the moment, and it’s this: there are other people in the same state out there. Other people who may read my blog. Who may not talk about it either. And who may, like I have tried to do so many times, finally succeed at leaving this boa constrictor we call the mortal coil.

Please don’t.

Continue reading “Depression (trigger warning: suicide, self-harm, ableism)”

Writer Wednesday: The Writer’s Diet

A small tea pot filled with loose leaf Oolong

First, please note that when I say “diet” I do not mean “calorie counting fascism designed to make you feel terrible about yourself and trigger all your eating disorders”. I mean, quite specifically, all the food that one ingests — one’s diet.

Next, I do not speak for all writers here. I am only talking about me — the food that I ingest in my writerly life. And when I say “writerly life”, I mean my life, because I’m never not a writer.

Wheee double negatives in English!

Ahem. Anyway.

The Writing Schedule

Different schedules create different diets in my life. The first one I’m going to delve into here is when I’m writing all day, everyday. I wake up in the morning (roughly). I make a pot of tea and sit down in front of the laptop. I pound out words until my tea pot is empty or my bladder full (or both). I refill or empty as needed, and continue writing.

This pattern repeats all day, when I finally decide that I’m done writing and I need to get some actual food in my body before it rebels and kills something small and furry in a display of animal primalness.

At which point I will gorge on something meaty and then collapse into bed.

That schedule is my favourite, but it doesn’t pay the rent (yet).

Continue reading “Writer Wednesday: The Writer’s Diet”

Cloaking myself in portability and the Mystery of Moving

I am currently moving, and the entire process — while exhausting — is definitely one of Life’s Mysteries.

The definition of Mystery: an event that only those who have been initiated into it understand fully; it’s generally difficult if not impossible to describe the Mystery, which is why it’s a Mystery.

There are various Mysteries in different religions, but there are secular ones too — the mysteries we go through as members of a society that places importance on those things. Moving, in our North American society, is generally more of a Mystery the first time one goes through it on one’s own — I’m speaking of the “moving out of your parents’ house for the first time” move, not any ones you may have done as a family in your youth. (Those Mysteries are different and have less universal meaning attached.)

I’ve moved several times at this point – I first moved out of the house when I was 18, and have lived on my own more or less steadily since (minus a few moves back to Mom’s place to save money). This current move is another one back to my mother, because now that I am out of school until January at least, I am not on loans until then either — and I cannot afford the rent at my beautiful one-bedroom basement suite.

Continue reading “Cloaking myself in portability and the Mystery of Moving”