Mid-week check-in

Clever Manka, · Categories: Check-In

This is the weekly post for those of us who are traversing together this hellscape called Personal Growth. Brag about this week’s accomplishments, ask for support, talk about what worked, what didn’t. Tell us how things are going for you.

212 Responses to “Mid-week check-in”

  1. Heathered says:

    News: I got a fauxhawk-ish haircut and look like a lesbian grandma now. I like it but the cowlicks are brutal. Topic in comments that has been done to death so if you don't want to engage I completely understand but I gotta vent. CW: Amanda Palmer.

    • Heathered says:

      So, for reasons both cosmic and coincidental I read The Art of Asking this past week. I'm still unfamiliar with Ms. Palmer's music and until now had taken the word of her detractors and kind of enjoyed a casual sense of superiority around disrespecting her, which is generally not something I do or like. Now that I've read the book, I can see how her *tone* might put off some readers, but I overwhelmingly feel like the people most upset by her really misrepresented what was in the book (the TED Radio Hour piece extracted from her talk also set her up as a target in some ways IMO). This is resonant for me because I've been in need more times than I'd like to admit, and being ashamed to ask or accept offers of help and even friendship…has not given me the best life possible. It feels to me like hating her is a liberal version of the Bootstraps gospel. Because every exchange she has with people involves their enthusiastic consent and trust built through and established relationship. This is what people who have steered me toward blogging and Kickstartering never understand: I don't have a base that will make that work! But she earned hers. And I may be jealous, but it's forcing me to look at my failings in a new way, and I really didn't expect that from someone I so casually dismissed. /rant

      • CleverManka says:

        I'm glad you got something from the book! Just because I don't like someone doesn't mean they don't have good things to say or helpful suggestions for Best Life!

        My dislike of her stems mostly from her use of conjoined twins as a gimmick, and her rapey parody of "I Kissed a Girl". From what I know of her (although I admit I completely stopped paying attention to her about five years ago), she seems to feel very comfortable taking advantage of her privilege and fan-beloved status, rarely taking criticism well or to heart. She's kind of like a woman Joss Whedon, IMO. Had good ideas a decade ago and is now an arrogant mess. Oh, I forgot, I do have one recent beef with her–that article where she announced she and Neil Gaiman were moving to Australia and Donald Trump's election was going to be great for the arts. Um. No.

        ETA: Also, pics of the new 'do if you can. Pretty please.

        • Räven says:

          The joss whedon comparison is SO APT. Thank you.

          • Heathered says:

            All I know about him is Firefly, which I liked but I'm not a sci-fi ladyguy so I didn't burn down the Capitol building when it was cancelled. So many creative people are land mines, UGH.

        • Heathered says:

          I'll see if I can figure out pics later, but I am camera shy so eh. That comment about Australia was part of the catalyst for my reading her book–I mentioned it to an artist friend with a degree of disdain, but she lit up and was really excited because she agreed it was good for the arts. I would frankly rather live in a Thomas Kinkade gallery for the rest of my life and have health care and not be removed from the census, but I'm not an artist so we just had to let it rest. But I think I've been so acculturated to the idea that "taking advantage" of privilege is a negative that I have really shortchanged myself and missed some opportunities as a result. To use your privilege for good you HAVE to take advantage of it! Otherwise it goes to waste! (This is affecting my ability to work bc every writing group discussion devolves into "There's probably someone less privileged and more deserving than you who should be given the opportunity to write this story instead of you, so instead of earning a living why don't you take time out for no pay and find that person, who may or may not exist?" I'm currently not writing at all and trying to decide if I want to try again, but if I do I need to eat!). Anyway, I might buy a ukulele as an act of contrition, but I'm keeping my eyebrows since if I shaved them they'd grow back in 10 minutes.

          • CleverManka says:

            I've been so acculturated to the idea that "taking advantage" of privilege is a negative that I have really shortchanged myself and missed some opportunities as a result.
            IMO, using one's privilege for good needs to somehow benefit the people who don't have the privilege. That's a really good conversation to have, though, and I wish I had more energy to type out my thoughts on it. I'd love to hear other people's feelings about that.

            I absolutely agree with you about preferring to live in a Thomas Kinkade gallery while having health care and not being removed from the census, etc., and me and mine are all artists (if you count writing as well as all the other weird shit I do). The notion that ART must come out of DESPAIR is a terrible concept and I can't help strongly suspecting that a lot of the idea comes from Capitalism and The Powers That Be.

          • Kazoogrrl says:

            Manka, that last bit reminds me of the stigma around treating mental health issues so it doesn't impact artistic output. Erm, no.

          • CleverManka says:

            YES YES YES Exactly! I was going to find the link to the video where the woman is talking about how awful it is when people say "well if Van Gough had been medicated he wouldn't have produced such amazing stuff" and her response is "well, maybe? but he also wouldn't have been miserable and killed himself?" Like, being crazy is not a price one should have to pay for being brilliant and creative. Fuck that.

          • Flitworth says:

            So works with Capitalism tho'! Finding plausible ways to say that some people being poor is OK is kinda the thing, right?
            Poor = suffering = art = acceptable consequence
            Bad morals = poor = acceptable consequence

          • CleverManka says:

            I mean, what in the world could we possibly have if we didn't have to worry about how to maintain a classist society and make sure there are always people worse off than we are? Goodness knows we wouldn't want to live in post-scarcity Star Trek world! HEAVENS FORFEND.

          • redheadfae says:

            Yeh, well, there are a LOT of wealthy artists doing marvelous things as well and making Very Important Points, so I'm not buying their
            only apply if poor and batshit cray-cray.

            See: Mapplethorpe, Liebowitz, and maybe I'm showing my age here.

          • jenavira says:

            I've been struggling with the realization that I wouldn't be doing nearly as much activism as I am without the disaster that was the 2016 election. There's an argument to be made that we wouldn't need as much activism without it, but there's also the fact that a lot of this is structural and it would have sucked no matter who won the election, that getting into activism because of an emergency is easier to translate into activism based on structural grounds. As a person with a lot of privilege, I needed a shock to my system to get me to take action. (I was also crippled by fear and depression for several weeks, so I'm not saying this is the best way to do it, and I do not want to say that this was necessary or good in any way. But bad things can have good side effects.)

          • CleverManka says:

            Absolutely it's a good thing to find positive opportunities in bad situations. I think that's necessary to avoid constant, immobilizing grief and terror. But claiming a bad thing as a good thing or talking up the ~~silver lining~~ while skedaddling off to a different country is just…ugh. Talk about privilege.

          • jenavira says:

            I agree absolutely that leaving the country strewing glitter in your wake is not a good response.

          • Flitworth says:

            I think it's valuable to acknowledge what we've learned as a result of the 2016 shitshow, however, there was a lot of stuff swirling around about how it was necessary and sufficient to raze the system via Trump and bring about revolution and that is problematic. Susan Sarandon being one who has created a whole positive narrative in a way that helps her avoid the consequences of her utterances and choices, in a way I don't accept.

          • jenavira says:

            Yeah, that kind of talk is incredibly entitled and self-centered (and full of magical thinking: people saying that don't believe that they'll suffer any negative consequences from burning the system down). I think the thing we need is to get privileged-but-well-intentioned people to really grok how bad (and in what ways) it is for other people, and I don't know how you do that. The conversations that happened after the election were a big part of it for me, but that was with doing a lot of work beforehand; I was ready to hear it. I'm trying not to generalize from my experience.

          • Heathered says:

            Specific to AP, my takeaway from the book was that she built very intimate relationships with fans over time and funneled most of her earnings back into keeping those relationships intimate in scale, hence 25K people came up with $1M to help her keep that ball rolling, which also enabled her to signal-boost artists she met in the process and amplify the "asks" for help from people in her cohort. That strikes me as 100% leveraging her advantages for the greater good. (Also, a lot of it reminded me of things we do here and did on the Toast, so it feels too convenient and a little Mean Girls-y to line up to ankle someone who spent more time, built a bigger platform and has leveraged it well).

            As someone who has been economically and emotionally disadvantaged for much of my life, I've found myself offering to recuse myself from a book review that paid $25 for 750 words because maybe the editor would rather find a critic from the same demographic as the author to step in (He did not! He asked me because he wanted my take on it.), and you know what? That will never help me and I will never be able to help anyone else if I am that stuck and afraid of giving offense. That fear stands between me and enough authentic connection to feel safe, anywhere, ever. I don't know what to do about this, but it's sure interesting to think about.

          • Doc_Paradise says:

            What is it with writing groups? Between your comment and jenivira's, I feel like taking a hose to these writing groups.

      • Flitworth says:

        Thank you for sharing these thoughts.

      • jenavira says:

        Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I'm always torn about Amanda Palmer; I feel like she's an interesting person with interesting ideas who nonetheless (as Manka says) is not super aware of her own privilege and doesn't take criticism well. But dammit, I love a lot of her music and it speaks to me so well…

        • CleverManka says:

          Yes! and I will never criticize people for enjoying music by musicians who are ~~problematic~~ as people. I still love 30 Seconds to Mars even though I would very much like to hit Jared Leto in the face with a chair.

          • Heathered says:

            I JUST avoided coffee out the nose reading this. And now am going to avoid finding out what's wrong with Jordan Catalano besides that he wrote a song about his car and I thought it was about me.

        • Räven says:

          I really like her voice, that sort of warm contralto. I think she and Gaiman are my top examples of artists I like much, much less for knowing more about their personal lives, which is unfortunate.

      • Kazoogrrl says:

        Pretty much what Manka said, with a lot of irritation on how she doubles down when these things are pointed out to her.

        My SO was one of the volunteer musicians at the DC date of her tour a few years ago. The things people said to him were horrendous. I don't think he took a job from a pro musician because AP was never going to hire ones for the tour, or for each show, and she straight up asked for amateurs. I'm usually a huge "you want something, you pay for it" person regarding hiring artists, but in this instance the expectations were laid out and performers knew what they were getting into.

        Sude note, critics acted like the money she made on her Kickstarter should have easily covered all the costs for a album and tour, but I think they have no idea how much it costs.

        • Heathered says:

          …and that she did pay her touring band and all her staff a salary and did not expect them to couch-surf, etc. I'm sorry that happened to your SO! Even hearing about her approach in the abstract on this sounded cool to me, because I like the idea of a marching band in the line outside a gig, and she made clear in the book that everyone could pass a hat or boot & only one guy (who would be me in the same scenario) was too ashamed to do so because "it feels like begging."

          One thing I would love to see signal-boosted are examples of times when people respond favorably/constructively if someone throws a privilege card. I see so much dissatisfaction and amplification when people do it "wrong" even though we live at the speed of the internet now and it's a lot to take in and sit with when someone confronts you like that. What's optimal? How do people respond in a way that doesn't keep the vortex whirling?

          • CleverManka says:

            Myself, I don't have an issue with how AP runs her business so much as the way she presents her politics.

            I'm not completely sure I understand what you're asking in the second paragraph, so please forgive and ignore me if I'm misinterpreting! But I think the best way to deal with call-outs is to immediately acknowledge the issue, vow to listen to other voices on the issue, and show that you're also making efforts to educate yourself. This isn't even necessarily committing to an apology (unless you instantly understand that's warranted). It's just showing that you're not an arrogant ass whose primary method of dealing with other humans is always assuming you're right.

            And believe me, I have been that person who stood by her (arrogant, uneducated) words and remembering those circumstances can make me cringe these days, so I'm not just an innocent bystander, here. And from my Been There Done That standpoint, I can say for me, the best way to deal with it when you find yourself in that situation is to respond immediately (or at least as immediately as possible considering the vagaries of internet conversational timing).

            Basically, this is a very long-winded (sorry) way to say I can't provide examples of what I did or didn't do when called out (I could dig up that internet history but ugh, no), but I can say that a quick acknowledgement of the other person's reality/point of view with no defense of your own, even if you don't feel you can honestly apologize at that point, has worked well for me. At least…I think so?

            I dunno, I could be fooling myself and people could very well think I am an absolute asshole (opposed to just playing one on TV).

          • Heathered says:

            This helps, thank you! I'm really looking for public examples & will try to keep my radar out for them, because so often I see people just go to town on someone for the insensitivity + immediate call-out = resistance/compounding the problem, and due to (redacted life issues I spent an hour-plus bawling about in therapy today) my gut response is not "this is interesting and I can learn from it" but "I should never leave my apartment again because everyone is too mean and scary." I want to leave my apartment sometimes! So I'm just trying to get my trigger points around all of this recalibrated. It helps to have public figures to bounce it all off of 'cuz I can engage on the level of theory with supportive people, and then deal with the dungeon dragons on my own time. 🙂

          • CleverManka says:

            Oh, good! I'm glad that's what you were asking. I'll definitely keep watch out for that sort of thing and will report back if/when I see stuff.

          • Kazoogrrl says:

            re: paragraph two

            Would that be someone like Mark Ruffalo, who still steps in it sometimes, but uses his position and notoriety for activism and such? Is that the kind of examples you're looking for?

  2. CleverManka says:

    I had a fantastic weekend–good energy, got lots done, including a stock-up trip to CostCo and a stock-up trip to my local health food co-op (where I get 20% twice a year since I'm a member). I haven't had a good night's sleep since Saturday, though, and am starting to drag a bit. Very glad today is another Wednesday off.

    Ten more working days until my (nearly) full-time leave begins.

    I'm considering how I want to set goals and measurements for my progress this summer. If I don't track stuff, I'm going to get to the end of my leave experiment and go "well, what happened?" much like what happened last year when I tried working part-time. I started feeling better by the end of the semester, definitely, but didn't really track that progress (or my decline when I returned to full-time). I need to be a better scientist about this.

    Today, though, I'm already tired from getting my car's oil changed. A room full of men and the local Fox news station on the TV. It was at a low volume, but I was still subjected to hearing a story about how today is Secretary's Day (and how the "PC term" is "administrative assistant"). As a secretary who is quite proud to carry the title Secretary and who wants to set things on fire when she hears the term "PC" that was a bit of a drain. And I have to leave the house again this afternoon to get my teeth cleaned.

    • LaxMom says:

      Car dealerships/mechanic's are the worst. The new dealership I went to had harry potter movies on a loop, plus a whole separate kids room with video games, plus an office-y workspace. I am in love.

      I don't know how to track progress like that. We had a phd student come in who showed us his spreadsheet of undergrads and what they were working on for him, and his spreadsheet of grants applied for/refused/granted, and his spreadsheet for research progress….and…how does he have time to get anything done if he's constantly entering stuff into spreadsheets? Oh well, he probably doesn't spend time online talking to imaginary friends.
      I will be interested in seeing if you come up with any good progress measurement metrics–after this extreme year, having only to teach and work on my proposal this summer may leave me incredibly adrift in terms of concrete goals. I will definitely need to plan how to use the time or it will all disappear.

    • jenavira says:

      Ugh, public waiting room TVs tuned to news are the worst, I'm sorry you had to sit through that. 🙁

      • CleverManka says:

        And I even told myself to take headphones along with my laptop (at least they have free wifi) but I walked out of the house without them.

      • damngoodcoffee says:

        I was at the derm's office yesterday and they had some medical channel turned on and I had to keep hearing about sun exposure and spider veins and such. News I can deal with slightly better, but with either medical info or talk shows I have to try not to actively put my hands over my ears.

        • jenavira says:

          My old dentist's office used to show House Hunters, which was great: just annoying enough to distract you from the dental work, not annoying enough to make you want to murder someone.

          • damngoodcoffee says:

            Yes! My dentist's office was showing some HGTV show once and that worked out perfectly. The next time I went they had on Intervention and that was just too sad.

        • CleverManka says:

          I guess I can understand that at the dermatologist office, but then there's that added gross factor of feeling like they're trying to scare-sell you into something. ewwwwwwwwwwwwww. That sucks that you had to listen to that while you were waiting.

          What happened to bad easy listening music in waiting rooms???

    • Heathered says:

      More energy wooooooooooooooOOOOOoo! You deserve it! I hope you find a computery way to track progress that pleases you; the method should really meet you where you are to be effective. But if you feel like you're getting bogged down in looking and just need SOMETHING, dollar stores have great stickers for teachers–huge sheets for $1–and if you make a coding system and have a calendar or datebook, you can just flomp one down and be done with it, and at least have a visual pattern to follow.

    • Fancy_Pants says:

      Yay for more energy and leave coming up! As I think I mentioned last week, I've started doing mood/energy/sleep tracking in a journal. It's been interesting so far, but also….mood and energy are so subjective and I keep feeling like there must be a better way, or different objective measures I could track.

      Let us know where you land on your tracking method and how it works out for you. It seems like it should be a simple thing but it's NOT!

      • CleverManka says:

        And I still haven't checked out that mood tracking app that I said I was gonna download last week. It's ridiculous that something so easy is so hard for me to actually Just Fucking Do, but…

      • Heathered says:

        It IS really hard! I went from a daily note about the day plus a rating from one to five (which felt too shallow) to a spreadsheet with a whole bunch of data points and a 1-10 scale (which is driving me crazy because it's so much to look at and I feel guilty when I don't meditate). Now I'm considering letter grading because why the fuck not.

    • Doc_Paradise says:

      Are you looking at process or outcome goals? Or some kind of combo?

      • CleverManka says:

        I'm trying to approach the concept of "goals" very generally. Maybe I should use the word "measuring stick." At the top of my measuring stick is "able to work a full-time job and maintain a reasonable number of non-work activities without feeling like I'm going to die from exhaustion."

        As for process, the first week I'm just going to sit on my ass as much as possible and then every week afterward add a bit of activity. Like taking a ten-minute walk in the morning or half an hour of yoga. I know that the weeks are going to disappear without my noticing if I don't have a plan set ahead of time so I need to think about what activities I absolutely need to do for my emotional well-being and when/how to incorporate them.

        • Doc_Paradise says:

          Sounds like you want to do a combo of tracking your general state and give your self lots of gold stars for following the process you want.

          • CleverManka says:

            Pretty much, yes!

          • Doc_Paradise says:

            Some stuff I've tried:

            – Mood charts

            – "I did" lists (just kept notes of what I did each day)

            – A "To do" list that was very generic (ie: eat, small exercise, do nothing, shower, something productive, something meaningful, sleep/nap, go outside) then gave myself imaginary gold stars for keeping that as a kind of schedule. It was really important that I put "do nothing" on that list.

            – My partners also kept track of some of my successes/improvements because they were in a better place to see and remember them.

          • jenavira says:

            I can also speak to the wonders of done lists. So much less pressuring than to-do lists, and very reassuring when the brain weasels start whining that you haven't done anything at all.

          • redheadfae says:

            Brain weasels whining just tickled me to no end.

            Mine love whining at me.

          • CleverManka says:

            Thank you! The "I did" list is a fantastic suggestion and appeals much more to my Vulcan nature than tracking subjective feelings and moods (although I know those are important too and I will track them, even though siiiighhhhh).

    • damngoodcoffee says:

      My mom used to hate this workday b/c she worked as a tech. assistant and always got a lunch or something today, but the position itself, for her particular institution, was awful – they never paid her enough and always expected her to do things way outside her job description. Basically, the lunch felt like a really empty gesture. But yes, just eff the term PC and eff waiting room TVs.

      Goals/measurements/tracking is a great way to go about it, I think. I actually spent part of today mapping out my own work events/tasks for the summer so I don't end up overwhelmed at the beginning of the next academic year. I think I'm definitely going to incorporate stickers like Heathered mentioned.

      • CleverManka says:

        Good luck with your mapping! Stuff like that is so important and it's annoying beyond belief that we aren't really taught stuff like this except by friends or communities like this one. At least, I sure as hell never learned this from parents or school. Doc_Paradise continually astounds me with their ability to seek out and consume that sort of media. I don't know hardly anyone else (only one other person) who is so astute with that sort of thing.

    • redheadfae says:

      That is a FANTASTIC weekend.. TWO stock up trips and you still had other lots done! Wow.
      Gosh, I did not know today was Sexretary's Day ( I always think of your awesome book cover icon from LJ).

  3. LaxMom says:

    declining from comments on AP, but quick update:

    Washer and Dryer barely fit in laundry room of new house, will have no room to put anything else, and barely room for a person to open the doors (they are front loaders, and no, can't stack, ceiling is too short). Movers come Friday and I am not ready. Haven't written class exam for Monday yet, haven't written paper for other class yet, need to make up 40 participation points in a week.

    Teengirl is having a hard time packing and said, "last time we moved you said we wouldn't have to move again until 6 years when I graduated from high school". Well, last time we moved I was under the impression that I had a full time job, which never materialized, and things change, but oof, guilt.

    Caught Teenboy with pot. Great.
    Not making a super big deal about it, because he needs to stay calm until after he takes a high-stakes graduation test in the same room as the principal who expelled him in December, and I want the kid calm, calm, calm. Plus he was totally upfront to me about it. What am I supposed to do with a kid who says he can't take prozac because it was making him not pay attention in calculus and calculus is important to him?! I suppose that's a good problem to have? Anyway, mild concerns, and of course it involves dad's house and brother's girlfriend so it has the potential to explode, so here's hoping we avoid that. At least until after he and I take our finals in 2 weeks.

    Just keep swimming. I'm swearing less today.

    • CleverManka says:

      Oof. Best wishes helping Teenboy find something to keep him calm that doesn't have the potential to re-wire his still-developing brain.

    • vladazhael says:

      The best of moving wishes to you! This will be my final weekend of dedicated packing and prep, and then I get keys and start to schlep stuff over on Monday. I am mentally ready, physically… working on it.

    • Heathered says:

      Keep swimming! Keeping all the best thoughts for an easy move and offspring being adaptable. (And congrats on the less swearing, that's a big measure of progress/regress for me).

    • jenavira says:

      Good luck with moving! And good luck with Teenboy and his quest for appropriate medications. You are handling all the shit being thrown at you incredibly well, I just want you to know that.

    • LaxMom says:

      OMG after 3 phone calls, I find that: my internet speed now is 18/mbps. At this house I am moving out of, I could upgrade to 45 mbps. I want to stop paying through the nose for cable. Plus, hey, I use Landsat data for my work. At 18mbps, it takes HOURS to get one image downloaded. It takes maybe 3-10 minutes at school, but school is an hour away.
      The best they can do at my new house? WITH roping me in to a deal with direct TV? 5. *5* mbps.
      w/out direct tv? They'll give me 1.5 .

      oooh, look who's dumping ATT and getting stuck with…I don't know what?

      Let this be a lesson to you. Don't move to the suburbs.

      • redheadfae says:

        Good grief, even in the 'pseudo-burbs of small town KS, I get 52mbps. WTF?
        I shall not bitch again.

        Good luck with teen boy. You got this.

    • Lee Thomson says:

      here's strength to your swimming.

      Tell the girlchild exactly what you told us – she'd old enough for truth and you don't need the guilt.

      Pot… such a complex thing! It still seems so much less hazardous than other choices, and if it is the difference between knowing calculus and not? I don't know. Are you close to any of the pot-legal states where you could find (or I could ship you) tablets with the requisite compounds? taking meds, even if they are pot derived has substantially less stigma, as well as being easier to hide.

      Good luck on the finals, all around. We're rooting for you!

  4. Xolandra says:

    Friends, this week I made a new acquaintance just by walking down the street singing. I am a ridiculous creature.

    I _also_ went back to the chiropractor, who,when I mentioned "the dark times" (which is largely when he knew me; I haven't been since 2014, apparently!!!), was all "yeah, I wouldn't have guessed depressed, more like bipolar" and now i have that to chew on (I am currently riding a high, and if I ~do~ have emotional cycles, they take years – maybe decades – to cycle, so ima just ride this for noooooooooooow!). But also I got my bones cracked and I have high hopes for a little more range of motion now 🙂

    Today, I will attend a rally in support of abortion services in my town (there is a clinic, and there are protesters, and the clinic has a legal thingy stating that the protesters have to be across the street from the clinic, but the protesters ~always~ violate this and the cops are threatening the clinic with harassment charges if they keep reporting the infractions!!!), and hopefully while there I will meet some people who can fill me in on how to become an escort, because clearly spitting at the feet of the octogenarians with grotesque pro-life porn on their signs is not doing enough.

    Tomorrow, there will be a screening of Angry Inuk, which I am stoked to see, and then next weekend, SCREAMING FEMALES, for whom I am terribly excited and who featured in our 2016 holiday letter because there were shenanigans at their last show which left me with a scraped knee. I have been informed that there will be a continuation of these shenanigans. *braces self*

    • jenavira says:

      Friends, this week I made a new acquaintance just by walking down the street singing. I am a ridiculous creature.

      You are living your best life, go you.

    • CleverManka says:

      Thank you for researching how to be an escort. I would 100% do that but we don't have a clinic in my town. Which is in itself abhorrent in a college town, but… *sigh* Fucking Kansas.

      That documentary sounds amazing and the concert sounds amazing-er! I'm excited for you!

      • Xolandra says:

        Honestly, the only reason I haven't done it before now is that I straight up just assumed that it wasn't needed, because ~Canada~.

        I am excited too! Screaming Females are My Jam, and literally the only thing that makes an excellent concert better is seeing it with excellent humans.

      • Xolandra says:

        Update: apparently no one knows anything about escort services for this clinic. Apparently the staff at the clinic just want all of the attention to go away (reasonably, imo), and no one thought to talk to our local chapter of Planned Parenthood about this. I think I will wait until the furor dies down, and then contact the clinic myself.

        In protest news, one of the pro-lifers who regularly harasses women at the clinic showed up with his pro-life porn sandwich board and stood across the street from us. A Youth with a communist flag (the Communist Party of Canada was out in full force) simply dropped his flag in front of the man's board. It was glorious, I squeed with delight, flailed at my friends, and later told him he was doing god's work. This character was second only to the group of female presenting humans who showed up dressed as handmaidens.

  5. Flitworth says:

    I'm fighting depression right now and am struggling with the whole "Wait, am I the asshole?" thing that goes along with this.

    I got into a thing after a friend said Trump was right about regulations.

    I got Mean Girl'd by a couple in a political fb group and opted to walk out because you can't win with Mean Girls.

    Work. A guy I usually trust not only seems to have ignored my analysis but said he would join me on a webex, didn't join and didn't even tell me that he wasn't going to. I had to ask a colleague that I overheard him talking to.

    And I think I can make a case for myself in each of these situations and yet the behavior of the other party seems so bizarre, I ask myself if this is real. Am I the asshole? Anyways, I just want to not exist for a few days to re-calibrate.

    <img src="https://media1.giphy.com/media/AVsNfCbqxa4I8/giphy.gif#18-grid1"&gt;

  6. LaxMom says:

    So I'm gonna spam even though I don't usually do this, because this is a local artist and I want to buy all her stuff and I didn't know that for April she gives a percentage to planned parenthood, and seriously, I want the Peggy Carter shirt. If this doesn't work please delete.
    https://www.facebook.com/jentalley/?hc_ref=NEWSFE

  7. jenavira says:

    1. Last night I hosted a program on tax-free investing at the library, and I did not burn anything down, scream, or leap up on the table and declare it was time to seize control of the means of production. The number of ways the system is designed to make it easier on you if you have more money is just so disgusting to me.

    2. A large part of my energy right now is dedicated toward being angry at my writing group who told me that I couldn't write a coming-of-age/finding-yourself story about a character who was 30 years old, that was much too old for that kind of story. It killed my desire to work on that novel for four years, and it invalidated the thing I am going through right now where (at almost 34 years old) I am finally scraping away enough of the cruft of Things I Was Supposed To Be to figure out who I actually am. Related, I will link you all to this twitter thread, which I've read about ten times in the past couple of days and keep crying at.

    • Flitworth says:

      Time to write (or live?) a revenge fantasy 😀

    • CleverManka says:

      Use that anger and write an amazing story about the 30-year-old! I lived a hell of a good time in my 20s, but I really didn't learn much during them. Most of my growing up happened in my 30s so I think you are on the right track and most definitely not alone!

      • Xolandra says:

        ^this

      • jenavira says:

        I think I still have the printout for editing! I started thinking about that book again recently (hence the resulting explosion of anger). The older I get the less I care about the main character being a self-insert; I just want someone like me in a story.

    • vladazhael says:

      The idea of 30 being too old to find yourself is incredibly depressing. If we're not learning and growing and finding new versions of ourselves throughout our whole lives, at 30 and 40 and 68 and 102, what the fuck are we even doing living this long?

    • Fancy_Pants says:

      Oh good lord. As a 30 year old, I freaking hope I'm not too old to come-of-age/find myself! Definitely be angry and write the thing!

      I would love to read more stories like that. The last book in Lev Grossman's magicians trilogy was basically a coming of age story for a 30 (ish?) year old, and I loved it for that reason.

      It takes a long time to find yourself and then you have to do it all over again.

    • Xolandra says:

      "Impostors don't have impostor syndrome".

      I might need that tattooed on me somewhere

    • Doc_Paradise says:

      Your writing group is wrong… L.M. Montgomery wrote a coming of age/finding yourself novel with a 29 year old heroine ("The Blue Castle").

    • damngoodcoffee says:

      If the 'coming of age' story can only be written for a certain age group it seems extremely limited. I personally could never relate to those stories growing up (also b/c they all had really similar narratives and as an ace/aro person who didn't figure that out 'til a few years ago the growing I did just did not fit the standard coming of age story at all). Basically I think we need more 'nonstandard' coming of age stories with different themes and age groups and all that good stuff.

      • jenavira says:

        Agreed! I also really want to write a YA aro/ace coming of age story at some point, because not having one of those hurt me a lot and I haven't seen one yet – but this isn't that, it's something else entirely. And we need both, and more than that. (Hopefully when I am old I will write a coming-of-age story for elderly femmes, too.)

    • Heathered says:

      OH MY GOD FUCK THOSE IDIOTS RIGHT IN THE EAR. No no nope-ity no no. I will not go on for ten pages about the wrongness of this and how useful a book like that will be to so many people because your resistance to such stooooopid feedback is proof that you know as much already. But if you ever need ten pages of motivation to continue you know where to find me. Write it. Please. Good lord, what the fuck is wrong with people.

  8. beaucoup1314 says:

    You guys write about these things. I have walked many of them when I was younger. Life changes all the time. I am perfectly capable of being battered and torn. I never liked it. I never liked seeing my neighbors treated that way either. We must hold onto our principles. This is what makes us decent human beings. Grey hair and bifocals here. Good wishes to all. Love, the old woman in sensible shoes.

    • CleverManka says:

      Speaking seriously here, did you ever adjust to bifocals? They're probably in my (very) near future if I get turned down for a second round of LASIK.

      • beaucoup1314 says:

        I did adjust to them. You have to move your head to see – no peripheral vision. And the stairs may seem steeper until you adjust. You get used to it. Even with other methods, it always seems as the eyes must learn to see. They do! Honestly, it's OK. if that is certainly not the worst picture that old age will bring. I walk about my neighborhood every day.

        • CleverManka says:

          Thank you for the reassurance! The Burgomaster couldn't manage them and now walks around with three different pairs of glasses and I am just not on board with that idea.

          • beaucoup1314 says:

            Even after several years of wearing bifocals, I still take them off to read a book or read small print. Tools such as eyeglasses are meant to provide us with assistance. When they don't, don't blame them. Of course, I've been nearsighted and worn eyeglasses since 4th grade!

          • CleverManka says:

            *highfive* I got my first pair of glasses when I was eleven!

          • beaucoup1314 says:

            My mother bought a pair of red cat-eyed frames. If only she could have lived to see that my embarrassment turned into fashionable.

          • Kazoogrrl says:

            *highfives you both* 2nd grade, when I was seven

        • redheadfae says:

          I second this. I got used to my progressives very quickly from contact lenses and years of no glasses. Some people just don't like the "swimmy" feeling at first, but it does just get "ignored" by the eyes or brain rather, the same way a floater does.

          Technicality: Bifocals are the ones with the line between distance and near, trifocals have two lines; near, far and mid-range; and progressives are the "line-less" blended lenses.

      • LaxMom says:

        I had to get bifocals, I got the widest field of vision I could, and I got bifocal contacts, too. They are great because they work like a bull's eye. I am totally ok with them but my eyes got worse again (2 years later) and now it's tricky to get contacts that let me write and see the blackboard at the same time. But the bifocal glasses are still fine.

  9. Kazoogrrl says:

    I am emotionally exhausted in ways I didn't know. Mom's still in the hospital, had a 2nd surgery and got an infection. The worry is very draining, as is the driving. Plus big performance next weekend, and we're camping at the event, and I officially DNGAF. Gotta make it to Mon May 8, the day I sleep in, then go see Guardians 2, then start trimming down my commitments.

    On the nice side, going to see Fury Road : Black and Chrome version at a theater tonight. And some of my fav fic writers have new long form fics started (Hannibal, Hannibal AU, Baze/Chirrut).

    • CleverManka says:

      Oh, bb, all the hugs. I'm so glad you have a date to look forward to when (most) things will be slowing/trimmed down.

      Break a leg at the performance. I'll keep your mom in my thoughts.

      • Kazoogrrl says:

        Thank you. It's weird, I've heard that when there is something very important going on how the rest of your life can just fall away/be set aside, and it sounded true but I didn't KNOW it to be true. Now I do. Anything that takes extra effort? Out.

    • damngoodcoffee says:

      Good luck and thoughts on getting through to May 8, trimming things down, and I hope you very much enjoy Guardians 2 & that version of Fury Road.

      • Kazoogrrl says:

        I can assure you that the Fury Road show last night was BRILLIANT! I didn't think that going to black and white would make much of a difference but yes, it did.

    • jenavira says:

      Best wishes for your mom. I'm glad you've got an end in sight for some of your other commitments; you need a break.

      (…Would you be willing to link some fics? I could use a long form Baze/Chirrut.)

    • Heathered says:

      All best wishes for your mom to recover and begin feeling better, and for you to power through and really pare down and relax. That is so much to be juggling.

    • meat_lord says:

      I'll keep my fingers crossed for you and your mom. Grievously ill family is a hard, hard thing to deal with. I hope the new fic is a balm to your soul.

    • LaxMom says:

      I really hope your mom turns the corner soon. And that it stays about as perfect weather as it can, since camping is hard enough without camping and having to perform for others in any capacity. Mon May 8 I will celebrate with you! (while grading exams).

    • Lee Thomson says:

      What they said. I too will keep your mom in my thoughts.

      There is an old joke, that Time is nature's way of keeping everything from happening at once. I have NEVER found that to be true. I hope this lump of everything at once passes soon and without additional things coming at you, leaving you in a place to focus on the thing that matters most to you.

  10. Lynn says:

    Good news in short :we have stuff

    Bad news :we also have about three times the number of boxes as were used to take our stuff away. I have serious questions about whether or not the cleaning company is padding their bill by charging a premium for packing supplies or something. Anyway, logistics hassle is still ongoing (boyfriend is dealing with it – I have work training all day) so full details Friday.

    • CleverManka says:

      Huzzah for STUFF!

      That is a pretty slimey potential thing with the cleaning company…I hope at least it'll come out of insurance and not your pocket at least?

      • Lynn says:

        It will be covered by the insurance (aside from our deductible) but I'm definitely trying to make sure our claims agent is in the loop about what exactly was done — I don't want to find out later they maxed out our policy with thousands of dollars of BS. I'm actually more concerned they might claim labor costs for tasks they didn't do since I am growing increasingly irritated with the dude who is supposedly coordinating all of this and who somehow doesn't seem to ever actually *tell* anyone anything.

    • jenavira says:

      Yay stuff! Boo logistics!

  11. Onymous says:

    So, working at Target means I am exposed to a lot of beauty product packaging.
    http://www.soapandglory.com/us/flake-away still kinda took the wind out of me

    Unseen in that picture is the large bold letters on the lid: "Transforms your scaly legs from reptilian to radiant" because in addition to being explicitly told my dry skin is a shameful secret I should be keeping from my partner I also really wanted someone to tell me the bottom half of my body was inhuman.

  12. Doc_Paradise says:

    I've pointed a friend a this site because I think she could really use some support and I'm worried for her.

    Apparently, our worry over our sick cat is for naught. The vet took a cup of liquid out of his chest cavity and commented on how amazingly healthy he is given most cats with his list of health problems would be dead. He is lounged out in a sun beam right now.

    I am still stoked that I have actual muscles in my arms and I *might* be showing them off a lot. We've had a bunch of friends come over to vent and borrow my self-help books. I've been "joking" that should start a training school for super-villains because the beset use of my time is taking over the world. I've gotten nine endorsements and a suggestion that I start a kickstarter for my World Domination gig. *snerk*

    I'm working on a bunch of early childhood stuff in therapy and I'm being slightly amused that my activities are shifting based on what stage of my life I'm working on in therapy. For the last few months I've been cooking every chance I get, but for the last few days I've been writing and barely cooking.

    • CleverManka says:

      I hope your friend finds help/comfort here if she decides to drop by!

      Very glad kitty is okay and Fuck Yeah for a training school for super villains. Gods know this world could use them to battle the current Bad Guys in charge.

    • Flitworth says:

      I always thought someone should start Habitat for Inhumanity – an organization dedicated to building labs and lairs for mad scientists and villains who are just starting out.

    • jenavira says:

      Huzzah for the durable kitty! May his days be many, sunny and lazy.

      I know what you mean about activities and therapy. Cooking is such an adulthood skill for me; when I'm dealing with childhood stuff, I can't do it (or, when I do finally start again, I know it's because I'm moving on).

      • Doc_Paradise says:

        We are starting to think we should have named him John McLean.

        So I'm not alone. When I'm dealing with childhood stuff sometimes I can't figure out the executive function of eating.

    • Xolandra says:

      I also have a kitty who is on her last 9 lives. I call her lazarus kitty. She has outlived: asthma, renal failure, a thyroid condition (for which she is allergic to the meds), being allergic to food, and now, sciatica. If you get to the point where you need an acupuncturist or a chiropractor for your cat, I know good ones. I also very much resent that I can make that statement, haha. It's a good goddamned thing she's cute.

      I'm so glad to hear that other people go through "ugh, why even is food"? I love food, and cooking, and some days (weeks, months?!?) it is just NOT ON.

      • Doc_Paradise says:

        Ours is allergic to the outdoors AND the indoors (his allergy profile is amazing), kidney problems, heart problems, a few broken bones (we don't know how), and fluid build up in his chest cavity… cats are either fragile or indestructible.

        I'm glad I live with humans that know how to cook.

  13. meat_lord says:

    Life continues apace. My partner has moved in with their mom, who will be spending a year in our city. This is a financial blessing, but it's…not great otherwise. (Datefriend's family is shitty.) I'm hunkering down and gritting my teeth for the duration. On the bright side, we're planning to move in together afterward. I'm really excited.

    T update: Going into this, I was warned about overwhelming horniness, hunger, and anger. The anger has arrived. I haven't been this irritable in nearly a decade… Fortunately I'm better equipped to manage it now. Also, I swear my voice is a teeny bit lower already.

    • Doc_Paradise says:

      Good luck with Datefriend's family. I hope it goes better than expected.

      Thanks for the T update. I was talking to a friend who's taking estrogen about mood changes. Hormones have quite a large effect… I mean, I *knew* that, but having a comparison before/after is fascinating. (I'm still trying to figure out what the hell I want to do and data gathering.)

      • meat_lord says:

        Thanks! I hope it goes better than expected, too. My expectations are very low.

        You're welcome! I enjoy documenting the changes and sharing them here.

        Truthfully, I hardly know what the hell I'm doing. I've wanted top surgery for years, but I started HRT first because the opportunity to do it for free just…fell into my lap, and it seemed like less of a commitment. So top surgery's on the docket for later, and then I need to decide what to do with all these pesky reproductive organs, since apparently uterii and testosterone don't play nice in the long term…

        • Doc_Paradise says:

          Free is fantastic.

          T + uterii = cancer risk?

          Every time I look in the mirror, I consider top surgery. It pisses me off that practically nobody can see me as agender because I've got a significant rack. And, on a petty note, I keep thinking that a flat chest would be so much better for tattooing.

          • meat_lord says:

            Apparently it gives you an increased cancer risk as well as increased risk of chronic uterus pain? Too lazy to link, but I was thinking about this article: http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/11283858

            I feel you on Significant Rack Problems 🙁 It's really irritating that most people can't see past a pair of boobs, or see them as anything but womanly. Blehhhh.

            Binding helps me look and feel better, but it's not as effective on me as it is on the small-chested.

          • jenavira says:

            Goddamn the significant rack problem. I keep hoping that losing weight will make it go away, but no, it just makes it more prominent.

            I think I need to invest in a binder. I've been living in such a disguise for so long that my personal style is pretty femme, but there's a part of me that wants to try that with a binder and maybe experiment with beard-makeup.

          • meat_lord says:

            I highly recommend exploring different presentations! I think it can really help you, like, find yourself, man /hippievoice

          • Doc_Paradise says:

            Ick… that looks awful in more than one way. It took me ages to find a doctor that would simply give me a tubal ligation when I don't have kids.

            I *hate* that what is on my chest defines me to so many people.

            Do you have any advice for buying a binder?

          • meat_lord says:

            Yes! First off, do it. Second, research before you buy. Trans Tumblr can help. Third, measure yourself instead of guessing and don't buy your binder too small, because that's liable to cause health problems & back pain. A well-fitting binder should gently squeeze you and be relatively easy to take off/put on.

            My binder is from Underworks–it's their tri-top, shorter length, in black. Underworks is a popular binder company for a reason, imo. Their binders are sturdy and effective. The mesh they use to make them isn't a very pleasant texture, but you get used to it.

            I don't recommend buying a long binder (i.e. one that goes all the way down to your hips) if you are pear-shaped. They ride up like a mofo.

          • Doc_Paradise says:

            Thanks! I'd put off getting a binder because I hate bras and I imagined it would feel like a worse bra.

            edit: *looks at price* Holy shit. That is so much cheaper than I was expecting.

          • meat_lord says:

            They don't actually feel like bras at all. More generalized pressure, less straps cutting into things.

    • jenavira says:

      Oooh, good luck with Datefriend's family. May they be much less horrible than anticipated (and if not, may they be continually tormented by small insects all summer)

      • meat_lord says:

        We're in the desert, so we're pretty short on mosquitoes, gnats, midges, etc., but I can hope for a plague of roaches that appear exclusively in the mom's bedroom. HUEHUEHUEHUE.

    • Rillquiet says:

      You know, I'd wondered, because my experience with steroids (and T is one) was for a very different purpose and, probably, dose. But oh my god the hunger and the rage. You'd think that knowing your moods were a product of chemicals would help temper the reactions, but IME no. No it does not. Fingers crossed that everything settles and that the payoff is worth it!

    • CleverManka says:

      Oooof. I hope Datefriend and you find a way to navigate the coming year with minimal stress and grief. Please let me/us know if there's anything this community can ever do to help!

      • meat_lord says:

        Thanks so much, Manka. Seriously @—-@

        We'll both do our best, but I at least will probably need some help from you and the Manka-ites.

        • CleverManka says:

          One of the things I hope to do this summer is make at least a few art postcards, so if getting a little piece of mail art would help boost your spirits, please drop me an email with your mailing address. I can't promise anything but I'll put you at the top of the list for possible recipients!

    • redheadfae says:

      Yay, congrats on the voice dropping~!

    • Lee Thomson says:

      Thank you for the T update – I am so grateful to be hearing about it. Also binder info b/c honestly that looks like a better answer than bras for some things (*coughhorsescough*)

      Best of luck with Datefriend's family situation. That sounds hard and moderately miserable, even with an end date.

  14. damngoodcoffee says:

    Now that the term is coming to a close I am v., v. tired and there's not a lot to do at work rn. Team Lead is still awful (recently tried to go behind our colleague's back to try and take over the stuff she's worked really hard on while she's on maternity leave, so there's that), but hopefully over the summer something will be done to get TL out of my general vicinity. Other than that, conference season is coming up and in a couple of weeks I'll be going to Lexington, KY for a couple of days.

    I had a long weekend last week and just. could not. do anything. I mean, I did some stuff, but much less than I planned on, and I spent the majority of time staying in and reading fic/watching TV. But you know? Towards the end of that long weekend I realized that that was what I needed, and maybe it'll be what I continue to need in the near future, and I really shouldn't beat myself up over it. I've been trying to work on more self-compassion, generally; of letting go of things that I thing I should be doing/wanting, unless they are things that I actually want and that will actually make me feel better. I think I can sometimes be in denial about just how much work takes out of me, as a total introvert, and how tired it can make me on a regular basis, and how I just need to let that happen instead of wasting time feeling guilty.

    • Doc_Paradise says:

      This might be a laugh/cry link, but it's sarcasm and sarcasm is good: http://www.issendai.com/psychology/how-to-be-a-pe

      All the gold stars (and I love my bed).

    • Flitworth says:

      I'll be going to Lexington, KY for a couple of days.

      Mitch McConnell has an office there. I hear it needs eggs and toilet paper.

    • jenavira says:

      Ooh, have fun at conferences! I love con season, it's such a good excuse for a change of pace.

      I feel you on the exhaustion and the feeling of obligation around things that are supposed to be fun. I've thought my whole life that I'm probably just lazy and if I don't beat myself up for not doing things I'll never do anything, but I'm starting to realize that that is…probably not the case and that if I actually let myself rest when I need rest I will be better off in the long run. But man, that internalized guilt.

      • damngoodcoffee says:

        The guilt is the worst; a lot of it comes from my mom who thought I wasn't 'living' if I wasn't spending time on social stuff outside of work. And really, if I had close friends who lived in the area it'd be different, but as it is I'd much rather stay in and relax or Skype with my friend who lives further away (or just chat w/people online) than travel for hours to awkward meetups on the weekend with people I barely know, or go alone to local events that I have no interest in. And maybe that means I meet less people overall, but seriously, I meet (and get along with) so many people at work and I just can't expend the kind of energy it takes to meet more. I just don't have it in me, at least for the foreseeable future. And letting that guilt go and actually enjoying the time I have by myself sounds like a great fucking time, honestly.

        • jenavira says:

          Oof, yes, absolutely spend your energy doing things you want to do. All of those things sound incredibly draining to me, a fellow introvert-with-public-facing-job.

    • Xolandra says:

      A+ bed and fanfic decision. I keep struggling with trying to convince GentlemanX that he doesn't have to accomplish something all the time. He can just… be. Capitalism makes this hard for us to believe, sometimes, but don't listen to capitalism. It's so wrong in so many ways 😉

      I, ototh, spend my time feeling guilty that I use up all my extrovert points on my work and then when I get home I greet GentlemanX with hisses and requests to be left the hellballs alone. It's not great for our relationship, tbh.

      • damngoodcoffee says:

        Seriously- even just calling my parents sometimes evenings after work is too much; I just text and say I'll talk to them soon, because my energy to actually attempt verbal communication is running so low. I don't understand my colleagues who can go to after-work events so frequently.

    • CleverManka says:

      Hell yeah, gold star decision, bb! I lived my life thinking I was lazy until I got sick. Now I realize I'm not lazy at all. I'm just not ambitious. I would pay a lot (ha, am paying a lot, literally) for the ability to be active right now! I just like living life at my own pace and doing things I want to do when I want to do them–not on anyone's schedule but mine. I'm glad you took a bit of that for yourself over the weekend. That's Best Life, right there! =D

      • damngoodcoffee says:

        I just like living life at my own pace and doing things I want to do when I want to do them–not on anyone's schedule but mine.

        This is brilliant. I feel like more people should really follow this, esp. regarding other people's schedules/expectations.

  15. CheddarBiscuit says:

    I've finally got a second interview tomorrow for that job I mentioned here a few weeks ago. Hoping for good things!

    Just a few days until my husband and I head to FL for a mini-vacation (sort of…it's related to an award he got at work, so there's some corporate schmoozing involved, but also a lot of free time), and he's got a bad cold, poor dude. I'm trying to eat well and get lots of sleep to bolster my immune system and avoid getting it.

  16. redheadfae says:

    Still fighting the lung ick. I feel like a broken record, but it's pretty much the topic of my health. Second therapy sesh seemed to feel still okay enough to establish a groundwork, so that's a relief, and we discussed a bit about being members of the Only Child Club, and how that's rarely represented in popular culture in Amer culture.
    Manka.. I still can't figure out why I can't link pics, is it because I'm using WordPress as my login? Ah well, my hair pix are on FB, and I'll post them soon on DW.

  17. Lee Thomson says:

    nothing much is changing, everything is fine, I love you all.

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