I was supposed to be travelling today

Whoops. Here’s a picture of a dog!

But I slept until 3pm, so that did not happen. (Too late to catch a ferry and actually make it home today.)

I don’t have much to write about today, and I’m very tired with packing up the car. So here’s another picture of my dog, being cute. (He’s upset, because he knows I’m leaving, so he’s curling up on my bed and looking cute in an effort to make me stay.)

Big bed wolf!
Behold, the big bed wolf!

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?

The Writer’s Journey, Chapter 1

The book is a look at the Hero’s Journey and how it can apply to writing and a writer’s life.

Cover image of The Writer's Journey, Third Edition, by Christopher VoglerI’ve started reading through The Writer’s Journey (Third Edition) by Christopher Vogler. I was given the book ages ago by mom and never really sat down to read it. (I have such a huge pile of books that are TBR.)

The book is a look at the Hero’s Journey and how it can apply to writing and a writer’s life. The Hero’s Journey is the idea that every story is, at core, the same. It’s a monomyth paradigm put forward by Joseph Campbell.

There are a lot of problems with this paradigm being touted as universal. The Hero’s Journey has a definite Western bias and trying to apply it to non-Western stories and myths is, to my mind, a form of literary colonization.

However, I still think the book will be useful to me. Not because the Hero’s Journey is universal, but because it is specifically biased to Western civilization, and I am a Western writer, with a Western audience.

The book also doesn’t push formula, which is unexpected, honestly. It puts forth the Hero’s Journey as a form, but says that to make it really work, one must internalize one’s understanding of it and then do one’s own thing. It’s form, not formula. It’s a map, with possible rest stops marked out, not an itinerary from which one may not stray.

The rest stops he marks out are as follows, with my own understanding of what each rest stop means.

Continue reading “The Writer’s Journey, Chapter 1”

My 400th Post

This is my 400th post at this blog, through all the various permutations and evolutions it’s had.

You read that right. This is my 400th post at this blog, through all the various permutations and evolutions it’s had.

I feel like I should have something momentous to say for this occasion, but I really don’t. So instead I’m going to introduce myself again — some of you have been around for a while, but some of you are new readers, and might wonder who this crazy person is you decided to follow.

Katje in a nutshell

  • First, I am an actual nut. By which I mean the words crazy and nuts are used to marginalize people with mental health problems, I have mental health problems, and I reclaim those words as my own. I blog about mental health and illness on occasion.
  • I’m fat. I mean, this is obvious from pictures of me, but you should know I prefer the term fat to any of the “nice” euphemisms used for fat people that actually serve to promote fatphobia.
  • I’m 27 and I live in British Columbia, specifically the southwest quadrant (often seen as part of the Pacific Northwest by United Statesians). I realize the climate here is the mildest out of all of Canada. I am still going to complain about the snow and ice and cold weather in winter.
  • I am disabled. This is something I struggle with, because I wasn’t always disabled. I’ve been disabled with my spinal injury for almost exactly 2 years, though the injury happened in 2009 (backs are funny things). I try to stay positive for my own mental health, but it’s difficult, and I often have bad days.
  • I’m engaged to a man known as the Ogre. You will see me mention him here quite a bit. He’s 6’6″ and built like a mountain. When I first met him, my nickname for him was Fezzik. He is amazing, and I’m not quite sure it’s possible to love someone as much as I love him — yet somehow, I do.
  • Though I am socially-classed-as-woman and I am engaged to a man, I still ID as queer, and I am still genderqueer. I also don’t consider our relationship to be heterosexual, though he does, and these two views can exist together in harmony. Identity is a complicated thing, especially when we must negotiate our own identity with how it interacts with the identity of our loved ones.
  • My pronouns are zie/zir though I’m more concerned people get them correct when typing than when speaking. I’m still adjusting my speech patterns when I talk about myself in the third person; so long as I have difficulty with my own pronouns in spoken language I can’t expect anyone else to be perfect. For pronunciation, just think she/her with a z sound instead of a s or h sound. (zee, zur)
  • Unless I’m putting 100% of my attention on cooking, the chances of my burning my food or ruining it some other way are about 98%. I tend to get distracted by the computer, or other things, and always forget about whatever I left in the pan/pot/oven.
  • I’m better at not burning my baking, though cookies are still my Everest.
  • For Grey’s fans, I can give you my personality in a nutshell: I am a combination of Izzie Stevens and Cristina Yang. If you’re not a Grey’s Anatomy fan, then you’ll just have to figure out my personality from my blog. Sorry.
  • I adore chocolate and hazelnut together. My dream is to someday have a house with a pantry entirely devoted to a lifetime’s supply of Nutella, just for me.
  • I love junk food as much as I love home-cooked meals full of vegetables and good, lean meats. Just, in general, I love food. Unfortunately I’m more likely to eat processed crap, because it takes less time and energy to prepare and cooking takes a lot of spoons out of me.
  • You should know what spoons are; it’s a term I use a lot.
  • I’m a fan of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, because friendship IS magic and I am basically Pinkie Pie.
  • I watch entirely too much TV. I regret nothing.
  • I both crave change and dislike changes to my routine. I solve this by dying my hair weird colours, or painting my nails a weird colour, or changing my blog theme…to a weird colour. Basically I look for ways I can create change that don’t actually screw up my life and it satisfies the restless wanderer in me for a short time.

I think that gives you a pretty good idea of what I’m like. For the rest of it, you’ll just have to stick around.

For those of you who have been here since the beginning: thank you, and I hope I’ll see you when I hit 800 posts.

-Katje

Hitting the Wall

I’ve hit a wall today. I am sitting here with a massive case of the doanwannas. This is the first real writing I’ve done today, and even this I’m finding hard to follow through on.

This is not unexpected. I knew I would hit a wall in my quest to form a daily habit of writing. I know that if I let myself be jerked around by my doanwannas, if I let myself skip a day, I will not be happy with myself.

I need to push past this, because so long as I continue to allow myself to skip a day here or there the habit won’t form. It won’t be an actual habit, and at the end of the year I’ll be back to square one.

I’ve already skipped one day. It’s the only one I’m allowing this year.

Today I’m going to force myself to hit my word count. No matter what.

Amoeba Kat Style

I’m at a bit of a loss as to what to write about today, so I thought I’d take a stab at the Daily Prompt.

Describe your personal style, however you’d like to interpret that — your clothing style, your communication style, your hair style, your eating style, anything.

The Daily Post

I’m at a bit of a loss as to what to write about today, so I thought I’d take a stab at the Daily Prompt. Of course, now I’m sitting here thinking “Uhhhhhhhhh. What on earth IS my style?”

If I were to describe my fashion style it would be “has-been goth who can’t afford new clothing, avoids laundry, and doesn’t GAF if you think zir pyjamas and slippers are inappropriate for class”. I really just DGAF, or at least put out the front of not caring. Which is kind of funny, because I have a lot of depression and anxiety surrounding my dysphoria, how I present, and whether people will read how I’m presenting accurately.

I think my brain deals with this anxiety by making me not GAF/pretend that I don’t most of the time. But then there are days where I spend 2 hours changing clothing because nothing is right. Before I realized I was genderqueer I called those days my “fat days”, because I thought I was just hating myself for being fat. I eventually realized those are the days when I feel ugly and wrong because my body doesn’t fit the gender I am and want to present as, and I can’t seem to make my clothing work with it.

Those days it’s very difficult for me to leave the house, because I feel wrong and don’t want anyone to see me.

On days when I feel less dysphoria, however, I wear whatever. I mean, people are going to make comments — either behind my back to directly to my face — no matter what I wear, because I’m fat. People think they have the right to tell me just how wrong I am for existing unapologetically. Unless I wear what’s “acceptable” for fat people to wear, ie what works to hide all my adipose tissue, I am Doing It Wrong and deserve to be chastised. (If I’m wearing “acceptable” clothing, preferably in leopard print or covered in hideous sequins and embroidery with massive shoulder-pads because apparently there are no fat people with broad shoulders, I deserve to be “rewarded” with a “Wow, you look great, have you lost weight?” Pro-tip, folks: asking someone if they’ve lost weight is rude, not polite. My life is more than a number on a scale. You could ask me how my latest book is doing, instead, and show that you actually care about me as a person and not as the horrible bundle of fat cells you are being forced to share the planet with.)

So I suppose my bottom line fashion style is “I’m fat and genderqueer, I will wear whatever I want, it will probably be in need of mending, and you can fuck right off if you have an issue with how I dress.”

The other styles are a bit easier to describe. My hair style is “wash, condition, towel-dry, comb, tie back with scrunchy for entire day”. I very rarely do more than that. If going out, I might spend an hour curling some parts of my hair — but to do the entire thing takes far too long. I have very thick hair.

My communication style is “bad”. I mean, when speaking; I’m a lot better when writing. When speaking I always put my foot in my mouth or inadvertently insult people or say the wrong thing.

My eating style is…well, often would be the simplest way of putting it, but it’s super complicated because of my eating disorders. I’ve gone into those before; don’t need to go into them again. Besides the emotional and physical minefield that eating is for me, however, I love food, and I like to eat.

My interior decorating style is hippy/bohemian/hoarder pack-rat/fire hazard. I’m trying to pare down quite a bit to reduce a lot of the last two things, but I’ll always be pretty hippy/boho, which drives Ogre nuts.

Basically, if we were to boil down my overall style into a few words description, it would be “free spirit”. That’s the only term that’s ever come close to encompassing my weird, wacky self.

I am Amoeba Cat; wuh’eva, wuh’eva, I do what I want.

“Nothing’s wrong.”

I’m really saying “I’m not ready to talk about it.”

I say this a lot. This, and “I’m fine.”

I’m often lying when I say this. It’s not a passive-aggressive bid to get people to pester me into telling them what’s wrong, just so it can be proven they care about me. I know they care about me. When I say “I’m fine” or “Nothing’s wrong” and something is wrong, and I’m not fine…I’m really saying “I’m not ready to talk about it.”

Either with the specific person I’m talking to, or with anyone, or on the blog — in public. Sometimes this means I journal about it privately, on my Dreamwidth or LJ. Then, of course, people in my specific access filters can see it, but I’m not posting it there for them. I’m posting it there for me to work through it myself.

Sometimes I just sit with it, quietly, and don’t write it down or talk about it until I’m truly ready.

To be clear, I really hate passive-aggressive behaviour. I’ve been trained into it by a world that devalues aggression from people socially classed as women, but I fight hard against it. It’s an easy path to take whatever society has trained into you. An easy path worn smooth by generations before you.

So, trust me when I say I am not being passive-aggressive, trying to manipulate you into proving you care about me, when I say “I’m fine” or “Nothing’s wrong.” It’s just my short-form way of saying “I’m not ready to talk about it.”

With the Ogre, I’ve had to train myself to state, clearly, that I’m not ready to talk about it. Or that there is something wrong, but it’s nothing to do with him, so he can stop worrying. Otherwise he will keep asking.

With the rest of the world, I continue to say I’m fine or Nothing’s wrong. Because, unlike the Ogre, most people don’t respect it when I say “I’m not ready to talk about it right now.” They try to force me to talk about something I’m not ready to speak about. “Talking helps!” Yes, it does. That’s why I’ll talk about it at my own pace. Not yours.

People need to feel like they can help. We hate feeling useless in the face of pain or suffering. We need to do something.

Sometimes there’s nothing you can do. Sometimes support means a whole bunch of “Don’t just DO something, STAND THERE.” That’s a hard truth to swallow. It’s easier on everyone if I just pretend everything is alright; they don’t feel obligated to force me to accept help I don’t want nor need at the moment, and I don’t have to fight off a flurry of well-meaning torture as they try to get me to talk about something I need to avoid.

Everything is alright.

I’m fine.

Nothing’s wrong.

I’ll talk to you when I’m ready.

Post a day

You may have noticed that since the 9th I’ve been posting every day.

This has been on purpose and it has been difficult to keep up.

I’m making a commitment to post here every day. At the moment, this means I’m likely going to be scheduling weekend posts, as my schedule means I’m away from home and off my sleep schedule Friday/Saturday/Sundays. Later, whenever Ogre and I actually live together, I’m going to be trying to make an actual post every day.

I’m going to see if I can continue to do this all throughout 2014. This is a very big challenge for me, and honestly some posts will probably be terrible. But I’ll also be utilizing the Daily Prompts, as they inspire me, from the WordPress Daily Post blog, as well as the Weekly Writing Challenge.

I want to see what this blog will grow into if I’m forced to write every day. I want to see what I end up writing about, over and over again. I want to seek out what drives me to blog, because I think I’ve forgotten.

I want to learn how to be concise. I want to learn when to stop.

Like now.

Well, I don’t know, maybe bras do bray.

Yesterday I woke up at 6pm. The takeaway from this is that my sleep schedule has been borked. Again.

So, natch, I’m pulling an all-nighter to right it. I have my first volunteer day for VIWF on Thursday. 10 am, Granville Island. I’ll need an hour to drive out there and an hour to get ready in the morning, and I like being early. No time to slowly fix the sleep schedule over 2 weeks, unfortunately. Need to do an urgent patch.

Waking up at 6pm meant I was almost too late for the VanSlam. Luckily, I got in just under the wire and even got to perform. (!!!) I read “Blood Candle”, a poem I wrote a yearish ago and have been sitting on ever since. Video was taken; it will be up at some point in the next week or so, I gather. I don’t think it’ll be a full body shot, so you won’t be able to see the horrendous shaking of my legs. It felt like I was trying to tap-dance.

After Slam I got to hang out with my fabulous friend D., who stepped into the boots of Bellica Yarrow for the cover of Bellica. Yes, that’s a photograph on the cover; everyone is always so surprised with that info. We chatted and she showed me My Drunk Kitchen. I was reminded that I needed to get back to vlogging, so expect to see a video sometime soon. Then I went home at like 2:30 a.m., which is obviously the best time to make the drive from East Van to Coquitlam.

Side note, I just got up in the middle of writing this to go find my video camera. I knew exactly where it was. What I did not realize was that the purple bra I have been looking for was hiding with it. So, hooray. I found my video camera AND my bra. Perhaps in celebration of this fact I shall wear my bra as a hat during my vlog. Also I will stop typing bray instead of bra, forcing myself to constantly delete and fix.

Unrelated to any of this, I am trying to cut sugar out of my diet. This has nothing to do with “eating healthy” or whatever the fuck and everything to do with my wisdom teeth are coming in everything is inflamed sugar makes this worse ow ow ow ow ow please kill me now. Actually, eating anything hurts right now, but sugar is definitely the biggest culprit in worsening my pain levels to the point of “I cannot function, please send copious amounts of alcohol and then leave me to curl up in the snow and die”. Working on seeing a dentist soon. At this point, I’m hoping the teeth are impacted — because in Canada if you need actual surgery to get out wisdom teeth (ie, if they’re impacted), it will be partially or maybe totally covered by healthcare. Or if your teeth have gotten to emergency levels, ie you’ll die without treatment — then you’re covered too. So, you know, that’s completely not at all fucked up in any way. Right? Right.

Anyway, the cutting sugar totally out is not easy and I have been failing miserably. I don’t even eat that much sugar these days, at least not during the week when I’m at my place (there’s a lot of junk food at Ogre’s place, and I have no will power) and still I’m finding it really difficult. I need coffee in the morning, and I really do prefer it sweet. I use honey or agave syrup because white sugar, blech, but that doesn’t matter to my inflamed gums and nerves. Sugar is sugar I guess.

Long story short I’m not sure how to end this blog post so I just keep rambling about things.

 

Productivity two days in a row? Madness!

I’ve been productive today and yesterday. Granted, a bit less today, probably because I slept for fifteen hours and could have gone back for more (read: I’m exhausted). But I have gotten a lot done.

Yesterday I started the huge task of reorganizing all my books. You see, when I moved here, my mom unpacked my books and organized them as best she could, bless her. She did a really good job, but I am obsessively neurotic when it comes to organizing my books. (And a lot of other things, actually.)

I also started doing laundry because…drum roll please…I have a working washer and dryer! The saga ends, with glorious defeat of the Imperial Stink-troopers, The Emperor of Funky Fabrics, and the redemption of Darth Undies.

That’s not even all the dirty stuff. There’s still a pile in my bedroom, and I’ve already done four loads.

I went to bed at 8pm and woke up at 11am today. I didn’t get right back to work; I sat down and had my coffee and spent some time on Google+. It’s National Coming Out Day (technically international), so I did that officially, as well as linking to my Full Frontal Genderqueer video again. Of course, being that official about it on my author profile was sort of nerve-wracking (especially as #NationalComingOutDay was the top trending hashtag on Google+ when I did), so I had to step back from the computer for a bit. Allay my anxiety.

I decided to continue my laundry and books work.

Continue reading “Productivity two days in a row? Madness!”