Mid-week check-in

Clever Manka, · Categories: Check-In

I wasn’t quite done with Andy Samberg

This is the weekly post for those of us who are traversing together this hellscape called Personal Growth. Brag about this weekโ€™s accomplishments, ask for support, talk about what worked, what didnโ€™t. Tell us how things are going for you.

298 Responses to “Mid-week check-in”

  1. Flitworth says:

    Current feelings:

    The internet was a mistake.

    I want to quit my job.

    Fuck everything.

  2. Doc_Paradise says:

    I think I've had a stomach flu since the weekend. I won't go into too many details but I've lost about 3kg since Saturday and for the last three days I've been incapacitated and gross. Those days are effectively missing for me.

    Frozen ice cubes of homemade concentrated chicken stock reconstituted in hot water are wonderful.

  3. jenavira says:

    I think about that scene, like, every day.

    I've been thinking a lot about presentation, this week. I've never looked the way I wanted to look, or the way I feel like I should look; looking in the mirror is almost always a surprise. So I've never focused much on my personal appearance. I don't see the point: there's nothing I can do to look like the picture of me in my head, so I don't bother trying. I look neat and tidy and very generic, for the most part.

    But I don't come across the way I want to. I look relatively feminine, which I'm growing more and more convinced I don't want. In my efforts to make my personal style as invisible as possible, I wind up looking very normal, which I also don't like. I am not a mainstream kind of person. Going in drag as a mainstream person is starting to wear on me. But I genuinely don't know how to do anything different. Even if I wanted to put in the effort (and it's the effort of changing my style, not the expense, at this point), I can't really turn up to work next week Full Goth or Queer As Hell. (Well…I could maybe turn up to work Queer As Hell, if I could figure out what that looks like enough to actually do it.)

    And none of the research I've tried to do has made it easy. Nonbinary fashion still focuses hard on androgynous-looking people, and sure, I could cut my hair, but I'll still be curvy with a round face and a full mouth. I am never gonna look like any nonbinary model I've ever seen. I can get away with a little more on my own time, but I am not a going-out person, so for the most part I'm thinking about work clothes, and trying to come up with something that looks sufficiently professional and is not deeply normcore is…frustrating, to say the least. It doesn't help that the more emotionally unstable I'm feeling (which is a lot, lately), the more I want to blend into the background, which makes the thought of trying out a new personal style extremely intimidating. I don't know if there's a solution, honestly, it's just been bothering me lately.

    • littleinfinity says:

      I think cutting your hair might have more of an impact than you think? Certainly having a non-traditional or androgynous haircut will make people perceive you as less "mainstream", even if not fully androgynous.

      • jenavira says:

        This is true. Unfortunately cutting my hair is a Big Step, as I have not cut it at all in thirteen years and it's currently down past my waist. I'd…like to find something more reversible to start with. (I know hair grows back. But thirteen years is a long time.)

        Maybe color. Even with waist-length hair, Manic Panic colors do not look normal.

        • Flitworth says:

          So, as someone whose genetics make androgyny pretty impossible and who had hair down to the waist….I feel ya. I try not to fixate but it's frustrating to know that even if I got to 100 lbs, I'd look like shit and not an androgynous elf. It's pretty damned freeing to cut a lot of hair. Also, you could donate it, which is cool.
          Amazon.com is a great (albeit morally complicated) place to start for cheap forays into new personal style. My fuck it all/midlife crisis has involved buying asymmetrical cowl-necked shirts that aren't slimming in addition to acquiring goats and dying hair.

          Best wishes in your exploration of this.

        • CleverManka says:

          Soooo, a friend of mine used to have hair to his knees. He cut it short-short-short years ago and began transitioning a few years later. I'm not saying that's your path, but if you want to talk to someone who had super long hair (and was very identified with it in our social circle) and cut it to better fit his sense of self, let me know and maybe I can put you in touch. Hugs.

        • littleinfinity says:

          Oooh, yeah I feel you on the long hair problems. Mine is mid-back and hasn't been shorter than my shoulders in probably 10 years at least. That would be a Big Step for me too.

    • RoseCamelia says:

      Frustrating sounds right. Oof. I'm sorry and I wish I could help. If this is not helpful, ignore it:

      I am a cis woman, very apple-shaped. Before I was apple-shaped I was always curvy. And the effect is an unintended, for me, androgynous presentation when my haircut, shoes, and clothing are entirely masculine.

      I just like masculine haircuts, shoes, and clothing. I remain steadfastly a cis woman. I'm not trying to change my presentation. But maybe my experience will help you change yours?

      • damngoodcoffee says:

        Apple shapes unite. ๐Ÿ™‚ It's always easier for me to put on weight/muscle in my upper body, which always made me feel a bit less feminine.

    • Doc_Paradise says:

      The more you get away with, the more you can get away with. That has been my experience with (when I'm able to) looking "weird" in a normal or professional context. It's worked two ways for me: a) building confidence and b) normalizing it to everyone else.

      it is really hard to go from normal to full anything. That's a huge jump and highly noticeable (hence… easy to be insecure about). Confidence matters, people who are confident about shit, get away with shit. And on the flipside, getting away with shit, makes one confident about getting away with shit. When I started dying my hair, I didn't go straight to a full head of blue hair, I started with my forelocks and a normalish colour (non-natural red) and worked towards dying more and more of my hair and towards less and less natural colours. I got a chance to build confidence AND everyone around me started associating unnatural hair colours with me so it normalized. (And by normalized… I mean that it became my style.)

      • jenavira says:

        The more you get away with, the more you can get away with. Very true. I still sometimes think, when I get complements on my hair, that ten years ago I would not have been able to cope with that at all and I would have cut it all off just to get people to stop talking about it.

        I think I'm going to ask my friend visiting this weekend to help me color it. I picked up some purple hair dye a while ago – I'm a brunet, so I should get a dark purple tint out of it – and I mentioned the idea to my boss once and she was enthusiastic, so I know it won't cause problems at work.

      • exitpursuedbyaclaire says:

        I needed to hear that today. I am constantly worried if I feel like my appearance deviates from "normal," or is in any way remarkable, and this week I've been wearing sparkly nail polish to work. Mostly out of laziness–didn't want to take it off from the weekend–but this made me realize that I can see this not as me being shamefully lazy, but as me starting a shift, if I want it, in how I can appear. Baby steps.

    • CleverManka says:

      That sucks, bb, and I'm sorry you're suffering with this. I hate the fact that society has instilled and embedded in us the correlation of soft/curvy/full with feminine and it keeps you from feeling and appearing like your real self or even giving you reasonable options for change.

      Personally, I think curvy bodies with properly-fitting button-downs, vests, and ties look fantastic. I know society tells us tailored androgyny look needs to be skinny to look good, but society lies.

      • jenavira says:

        I hate the fact that society has instilled and embedded in us the correlation of soft/curvy/full with feminine

        This is it, really. I like being soft! I just don't want to be feminine.

        It's very, very hard to find properly-fitting vests. I think I might need to commission some.

        • RoseCamelia says:

          This! You want a "dressmaker". Tailors know how to fit bodies without curves, other than beer bellies. Dressmakers can work miracles. They can make a suit, pants, vests, you name it. Just show them pictures of what you want.

          It's not cheap, though. Commission only a top or something else lower-priced to see if you work together well with any given dressmaker.

        • CleverManka says:

          Yeah, it does require bespoke clothing, which sucks. *still sad about St. Harridan closing* I do think you can make a solid work wardrobe out of five shirts, three vests, and two skirts (or pairs of slacks), though. I know because I did it one winter when I was between sizes and I didn't want to buy more clothes until I knew if I was gonna keep gaining weight. I had literally five shirts, three vests, and two skirts. Along with *cough* fifteen jackets/blazers and dozens of vintage thrift-store ties. Accessories really do keep people from noticing you're wearing the same skirt three times in a week. =D

      • Absotively says:

        When I KonMari'd my tops, I ran into a plain black sweater vest and thought, "why did I keep this last time I tried KonMari? It, like, two sizes too small." But then I kept it again.

        I've started looking at knitting patterns to make a replacement, since no one seems to be selling plus-size women's sweater vests currently, but I don't know if I'll ever actually get around to making one.

        • CleverManka says:

          I know that feeling. The actual love one has for a garment that is no longer useful (and you would maybe sacrifice one currently-fitting item that has less emotional value in order to keep it). I feel that way about my leather jackets. Unfortunately I have, um, fifteen leather jackets.

          • Absotively says:

            Yes!

            I've actually managed to discard a fair number of those this time around. What was most interesting to me about the sweater vest is that it seems to be part of a pattern of liking and keeping more masculine/androgynous clothes, even though I buy a lot of more feminine clothing and I never actually wore that vest much.

            I discarded all my more feminine sweaters and just kept a cardigan that's styled kind of like a blazer. And I kept mostly bold-coulored tight t-shirts. Some of the things I kept actually need replacing, but I have a better feel for what to buy now. Or make, if I can't find what I want and feel ambitious.

            I suspect when I get home and start on bottoms, this trend may be bad for my skirt collection. I do wish my thighs' friendliness didn't limit my pants' lastingness so.

          • CleverManka says:

            I am so grateful that I naturally prefer skirts for exactly that reason. Tights are cheap. Trousers are not. And a full skirt made with stretchy fabric can accommodate a surprisingly wide range of sizes.

            But I know there are lots of folks who hate wearing them as much as I (and the Burgomaster, who is an all-skirts-all-the-time guy) hate to wear pants.

          • Absotively says:

            I do like skirts. But I think maybe not as much as I once did or thought I did. I expect some of them to make the cut.

            Pennington's at least has reasonably priced ok jeans, and I have a job where I can wear jeans, so I won't be too inconvenienced by my thighs, just annoyed.

          • Kazoogrrl says:

            I find more skirts that are comfy than I can find pants that I don't want to claw off my body. Plus most of my skirts are year round wear, I just layer up when it's cold.

            I've been shashiko mending the crotch of my pants and it works really well.

          • Absotively says:

            Yeah, skirts are definitely more comfortable.

            At least, most of them. Part of the problem might also be that my favourite skirt right now, appearance-wise, is woven and not very full. I can walk in it fine, but running and crouching to pick up a heavy thing and relaxing on the couch all require adjustments when I'm wearing it.

      • redheadfae says:

        I always liked her style:
        <img src="https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/d8/74/ec/d874ecc7982ca720b0b573f3803835dd.jpg&quot; scale="0">

        And this would work with a more rounded body as well.

    • damngoodcoffee says:

      For just me, personally (and this is obviously permanent) to get more away from what I considered mainstream in my own case, I started getting tattoos in visible places. Mostly because I didn't want to present as 'normal,' in general, but could not figure out a way to change my wardrobe that I felt comfortable with. But I was already into tattoos to begin with, and had a couple in less obvious places. It was especially gratifying for me to do this while I worked for the federal govt., as I saw very few people with visible tattoos at work.

      • jenavira says:

        I have always wanted a tattoo. That's definitely something to consider.

      • Flitworth says:

        Tattoo etiquette question time!

        Is it rude to ask someone if there's a particular story behind a tattoo? And I mean, obvs., if you think it's gorgeous, not "Wow, how drunk were you when got that?" I have heard from some people that they don't want their tattoos remarked upon because they exist for the wearer OTOH, many people appreciate a complement on a well-executed design etc. I don't think I will ever get one because I would likely spend the rest of my life trying to scrub it off because I have brain things about my body (although, who knows?) but I get so excited for other people's ink.

        • Doc_Paradise says:

          Many people are okay with it, some aren't…

          "May I ask about your tattoo?" Might be a good starter to separate the two groups.

        • Xolandra says:

          As a tattooed person, I like to approach this with "I very much like your [tattoo], is there a story behind it that you would care to share?" or "I like your tattoo and am considering getting my own, who is the artist?" Tattoos can be hugely personal or not, depending on the human. I (personally) think that if you ask the question in a way that allows the person to NOT tell the story, you're good.

          Story time! At one point in my life I was procuring a sewing kit for a bride. I asked the hotel security dude (not knowing that he was security at the time) who took me to the concierge who called 7 people and i had to wait for a million years, but the security guard had decided that he liked me and chatted me up. About 15 minutes into our conversation, I noted the tattoo on his hand with "I love your scorpion, I am a scorpio, are you too?" He told me that he was not, and I responded with "O, is there another significance to the tattoo that you would care to share with me?" He wound up telling me that he does not normally share the real story with people, because it makes him uncomfortable, and since the goal behind the tattoo (he revelaed) was to make him _more_ comfortable with strangers, it defeated the purpose.

          Long story short; I *think* that people react negatively to being asked about their tattoos because the inquirer is often asking something deeply personal without offering any of themselves in exchange.

        • damngoodcoffee says:

          So I agree with both Doc_Paradise and Xolandra about that. I would just make it clear that they don't owe you an explanation. I think on my part I only get irritated when there's a presumptuousness on the part of the asker. But I also totally understand wanting to ask people about really cool ones. I definitely don't hesitate to compliment people's tattoos, too, b/c so many are just stunning.

    • Kazoogrrl says:

      Though my experience is not identical, I feel you. Since I was a teen I've wondered about my own gender identity, and thought, "I might as well stick with female because though this body doesn't look like how I want, I also wouldn't look like the kind of guy I'd like to look like" . I know there is a LOT more going on with gender identity, but it always seems to boil down to that. I'm not very attached to my body, a lot of times I feel like it's just a vessel to move my brain around.

      I also really like expression through clothing, color, texture, changing presentation, etc., but I am deeply lazy, hate shopping, don't like putting in the effort, and often am disappointed by how things turn out. This means my day to day look is pretty plain. I chopped my hair off this year, 10 years after growing it out, because it feels more me (my hair? Also a disappointment). So on the daily dressing point, I totally understand that.

      • damngoodcoffee says:

        I feel you on the changing clothing thing just… too much effort/not enough payoff. Ultimately, I walk to and from work every day, no matter the weather. Whatever I wear has to be comfortable and adaptable for the office temperature, and my hair has to be able to withstand the elements. Ultimately my physical comfort just became more important to me, and sweaters, ponte pants, and danskos are way more comfortable to me than anything else.

      • jenavira says:

        "I might as well stick with female because though this body doesn't look like how I want, I also wouldn't look like the kind of guy I'd like to look like"

        YUP.

        It's become clear to me that I have way more dysphoria than I thought I did, because it's not purely gender-based and that's how I always thought of dysphoria. And yet I have a strong philosophical commitment to anti-dualism and the importance of being embodied to personhood. Apparently resolving all of this is going to take *sigh* work.

        • Kazoogrrl says:

          It's become clear to me that I have way more dysphoria than I thought I did, because it's not purely gender-based and that's how I always thought of dysphoria.

          Yes!

    • Fancy_Pants says:

      Yes, I am so here for this conversation. I don't have any suggestions for you, really, since I'm struggling with the exact same thing (want to present as more androgynous, but don't have the body type for the willowy elf look).

      I also don't really have the face shape to awesomely pull off a short haircut, and I find keeping it long allows me to not spend any time or money on upkeep, and I can always tuck it away into a braid.

      My current strategy is to essentially have a really boring uniform and not think about fashion at all. I do a lot of grey men's jeans, and dark t-shirts. Maybe there's a professional wear equivalent? It is a very normie look, but I feel like there's something low-key rebellious about being a woman/woman-adjacent person who doesn't put any energy into clothes. Basically my role model is Cayse from William Gibson's Pattern Recognition.

      • Kazoogrrl says:

        (want to present as more androgynous, but don't have the body type for the willowy elf look).

        It makes me really angry that I want this look too, because I know it's not the only model out there but it's this toxic combo of what is seen as fashionable/acceptable, and I know it comes from my life-long love of fantasy.

        • RoseCamelia says:

          Does the fantasy genre have any sympathetic characters that are more round?

          • jenavira says:

            Hobbits. I do kind of want to be a hobbit. Dwarves (speaking of agender goals).

            (There's another association there, though – round is also associated with very earthy, which tends to lead to an association with sex – and as an asexual person, that's not really the place I want to go either.)

          • Fancy_Pants says:

            Dwarves! There's a reason my D&D character is a dwarf. I honestly choose my activities based on what I could picture Gimli doing (weightlifting and hiking yes, bouldering and ballet, no).

            Dwarves are canonically androgynous, short and stocky (like me!), super into crafting and singing, love shiny things and rowdy parties. There's something in there for a lot of us to identify with.

          • jenavira says:

            I am way too tall to be a dwarf, but that hasn't stopped me from trying.

          • littleinfinity says:

            …I am now picturing Gimli doing ballet, and I thank you for this image.

          • Doc_Paradise says:

            I spent quite a while saying that I'd want to be a dwarf.

          • Kazoogrrl says:

            Yes, definitely hobbits, and I love hobbits and identify with them, but I want to be an elf!

      • CleverManka says:

        Jeans with a dark tee can be modulated to any fashion key, IMO. Paired with heels or dainty flats, a cardigan and big jewelry? Tres femme. With a thrifted men's suit jacket and combat boots? Hot-cha butch. Add a neck scarf, roll the sleeves on that jacket , tuck your jeans into the tops of the boots? Now you're androgynous with a punk vibe.

        • Fancy_Pants says:

          Mmmmm yesssss. This is my wardrobe dream–to have a basic base layer that I can wear all the time with few sets of accessories to make it appropriate in all contexts.

          The unparalleled versatility of the little black dress makes it worth the femme-ness for me.

          • CleverManka says:

            I did it for a season! It was out of necessity because I refused to buy new clothes, but it's totally possible and really wasn't even all that hard for me, thanks largely to my enormous jacket and scarf collections.

      • Flitworth says:

        (want to present as more androgynous, but don't have the body type for the willowy elf look).

        Yes this. And I have often thought about Charlie Brown-ing my wardrobe but somehow fail?

        • Fancy_Pants says:

          It's still a work in progress for me. It would be easier if clothing stores didn't change up their stock all the time! I think I've at least settled on my ideal pair of Levi's, which tend to stick around indefinitely.

          • jenavira says:

            It would be easier if clothing stores didn't change up their stock all the time! Or if it were possible to buy clothes that actually last! There is a part of me that wants to solve this problem by just doing the whole damn thing myself, and a much larger part that hates sewing with a burning passion.

          • Doc_Paradise says:

            Clothing sold in men's sections tends to last longer than stuff sold in women's sections, in my experience. Also, clothing sold for certain purposes (travel, camping, nursing) sometimes lasts longer.

      • jenavira says:

        You know, I think of Cayse a lot when this comes up – most of the attempts to do her style have come from people working in tech, where no one gives a shit what you look like at work. I already have basically a uniform of pants (I actually only own two pairs of work pants that fit right now), plain t-shirts, and cardigans. I might try modifying some of those pieces and seeing what happens.

    • meat_lord says:

      Oh, man. I am another chubby/curvy nonbinary person who also doesn't look like those scrawny white beanpoles who are presented as the "typical" NB. I've arrived at an office style that works for me (which is … basically cosplaying my dad, so YMMV).

      Converting my work wardrobe to (mostly) stuff out of the men's section helped a lot. I wonder if that might work for you? Even with long hair, wearing menswear on the regular might help establish you as gender-nonconforming/ not a normie, while still being work-appropriate.

    • Xolandra says:

      O hai! I don't have gender dysphoria to compact my style issues, but I spent a lot of my life not wearing the things that I thought looked good because I honestly did not think that i had the social capital to pull it off. Like, I dress pretty rock n roll for the most part, and to this damn day I _still_ have to remind myself that although I am not fucking rock stars and stuffing whatever coke I can my hands on up my nose at every opportunity doesn't mean that I cannot ~look~ like I do those things ^_^

      I ran across this the other day and thought about sending it to our lovely host for a roundup and straight up got distracted, but maybe it would be useful to you now? http://www.qwearfashion.com/home/9-plus-size-cuti

      Also, never ever forget the important lesson learned at Eva B's: if you like it, you can wear it, never mind what society thinks. https://www.instagram.com/p/BZGgOluFI2f/?taken-by

      Best of luck, and if you get to the point where you are feeling good enough about your style, WANT SELFIES plz ♥

    • Lee Thomson says:

      I'm pretty sure you're not my kid, but you sound like her a LOT in this instance.

      She cut her (long) hair two years ago, and has been experimenting with moving her presentation along the spectrum, back and forth – sometimes more femme, sometimes more butch. She works in an office that is ok with jeans and flannel shirts, but she also got a dress with glow in the dark jellyfish (and pockets) and another little short sleeved knit gray dress that get paired with leggings and stompy boots. Watching her shift her needle depending on how she is feeling has been revolutionary for me!

      I work more like RoseCamelia, and wear men's jeans, men's shoes, men's t-shirts, men's hair-cut, aaaallll on a curvy distinctly femme body. Sometimes with mad sequins. Comfortable, comforting, and ok to paint something at any moment!

  4. Lee Thomson says:

    I'm feeling a little rattled from watching the Toast Slack implode last night, and feeling like something like that is going to happen in real life at the high school…

    I'm also feeling grateful for the community here.
    Hi.
    I love everyone in this comment thread.
    Take care of each other.
    Be kind.

    • littleinfinity says:

      Oh man. What happened? I am not on the slack so haven't heard anything.

      Grateful for everyone here too. <3

      • Flitworth says:

        Query seconded. Also, this is kinda why i'm in Internet-was-a-mistake mode. I feel like all the beauty of meeting kindred spirits and finding things to love just gets tarnished or destroyed by all of humanity's failings being given the power of anonymity.

      • RoseCamelia says:

        Check out the open thread from Monday. Lee gave us very careful, difficult reports.

    • jenavira says:

      Oh, that's awful. I'm so sorry. Watching a community you love implode like that is never fun.

      *warm mankaite hugs*

    • Heathered says:

      I saw a mention of this on Facebook and wondered what went down. My only attempts to check in there were really difficult. Also really glad for this gentle yet space laser-enabled space.

      • Rรคven says:

        Yeah, I tried to do the slack at the beginning but got bad-vibed or chilled or tone-policed out of the spaces I was trying to be in, and it was all just aLotaLotaLot of social and nattering, and idk I just want to be here. But this sounds like a really grim end to their post-toast dirigible.

        • damngoodcoffee says:

          I had a similar experience. I think a lot of it had to do with the format of Slack, as apposed to something like this, but yeah, I'm sorry that that ended up happening.

          • Rรคven says:

            Agreed on the format being why I didn't thrive. Honestly I also don't do amazing at IRL events with hundreds of people talking simultaneously. I really like and admire the community here, but also I'm grateful this forum is more like the toast comments, where people can come back a day later with a thoughtful response to something and your post hasn't dropped off the ledge because of the general noise, and there's no pressure to be the post that took over the discussion in the moment.

    • Lee Thomson says:

      I wrote a reprise of what I saw as a reply to my open thread comment on Monday, I would by preference direct you there, bc I should go do other things right now

      • littleinfinity says:

        Thank you for writing that up. That sounds like such a clusterfuck of terrible behavior and people being terrible to each other, and it makes me sad because the-toast is usually so wonderful! Or at least can be/ has been. I'm really sorry to hear that.

      • Flitworth says:

        Yes, thank you for your time and emotional capital on sharing the events.

    • CleverManka says:

      I'm rattled just hearing about it from you. I am crossing my fingers that absolutely nothing happens at your high school.

      I'm grateful for this community, too! Thank you (all!) for being here.

    • vladazhael says:

      I am sorry you had to watch all that, but glad you were able to pass on the story to us here. I signed up for Toastie Slack initially but found myself overwhelmed and unable to keep up, and I think this reaffirms my personal need for smaller, calmer communities like the one here.

    • damngoodcoffee says:

      I'm sorry that that happened. I left a few months ago, because I couldn't devote the time to it that it really required (I was on the lgbtqia thread, and had a hard time keeping up with all the posts, and unintentionally offended people a couple of times). It just… I felt like the combination of lighthearted-ness and seriousness that Nicole, Nikki, & Mallory were able to maintain just wasn't as feasible on a platform like that with so many different users, even with the mods. Things would get too angry, too quickly, in ways somewhat similar to those on tumblr (though nothing that bad, obviously). I am very glad, however, that this community is here, and so, so grateful to CM and to all of you for this space.

    • Merripat says:

      I feel you. I am just so drained.

    • Fancy_Pants says:

      Oh that sounds awful. I'm so glad you're here, and that we have this incredible space. Thanks Manka and thanks everyone! <3 <3 <3

    • Xolandra says:

      O dear. I wafted away from Toastslacknation this summer because I saw the beginning of the end, I think. At the time I was all "I need to check back into real life and people need this space more than I, a straightish cis white woman, does" but in retrospect I wonder if it was that or if it was that it started feeling less and less like good friends sniggering over coffee.

      I read some of what was going down (did not realize that the mods had all stepped down!) and it looked exhausting. Some of my favourite, most thought-provoking humans were suspended, I discovered, never to return. But then, most of the people that I felt like I had, at some point, connected with had already either left or faded into the background.

      I also had a v knee-jerk response of "YOU WEREN'T HERE YOU DON'T KNOW" to criticisms of the mods of which I am somewhat ashamed. Because I haven't been there and I don't know what is going on, so really, I should be aiming that at myself.

      I am so grateful that I chose this space instead ♥♥♥

      • damngoodcoffee says:

        I had a similar situation- I drifted away a couple months before you, I think, for similar reasons. It's really hard to sustain a forum like that of that size, without something like intensedebate where separate little threads can always be opened and it is truly everyone's space.

        • Xolandra says:

          I think it was the election that did it for me; I was already fading out before November, but I just could not handle the aftermath, especially since one of my fav, quiet, channels was co-opted to spearhead the resistance, which is GREAT, but wasn't what I was there for.

          And yes to size. For, like, a lot of reasons.

    • exitpursuedbyaclaire says:

      Thank you very much for writing that up for everyone here. I have had no time to process it today.

      • Lee Thomson says:

        I was thinking of you with affection and hoping you'd find a soft place to land for a while – welcome to Manka Nation!

        • exitpursuedbyaclaire says:

          That's so kind of you–thank you! For all the fallout, at least this has given me a nudge to participate in this community more. ๐Ÿ™‚ I'm glad to see you and the other Manka people again.

    • ru_ri says:

      I am so sorry to hear about this, Lee. Community is so precious. Kindness so essential.
      You are so valuable.
      Thank you for being here.

  5. vladazhael says:

    I checked out of life during my trip to see my manfriend, and I am happy to report that it was a fantastic and plans-affirming time, and I have not fully checked back into everyday life yet now that I'm back. Though I am doing a fan-fucking-tastic job of channeling my separation woes and anxiety into getting my shit together for The Future. Seeds are being planted and I am flexing my logistics witchery muscles.

    Also, I… went fishing? And enjoyed it? Like, a lot. Would do again. Even caught a thing. A white bass gives a mean side-eye, in case anyone was wondering.

  6. CleverManka says:

    Wow last night was terrible.

    I've had no luck with the doxepin. I tried playing around with the dose, but no change in sleeping (I still wake at least once, usually twice,and am awake for at least 20-30 minutes each time). I've tried up to five drops, which was last night and was awake since about 2am–might have dozed somewhere between 6am and 8am but no more than ten or fifteen minutes at a time. I also developed a terrible sinus headache around 3am, but that might be related to the weather change overnight (I still have the headache but could at least get out of bed as of 10am).

    I did not go to work today. I was considering going up when the Burgomaster left for class in an hour but the right side of my face is still throbbing and I think discretion is the better part of valor right now.

    While I lay in bed, sleepless for eight hours, I tried to remember the last time I got seven consecutive nights of uninterrupted seven hours of sleep and I'm pretty sure it hasn't happened since my December 2015 hysterectomy. I know that post-menopausal women often have trouble sleeping through the night but fuck, y'all, I'm never going to get over my fatigue if I never get sufficient sleep and I can't lie I'm feeling pretty hopeless right now.

    Tomorrow afternoon is my appointment with the Hashimoto's nutritionist at Dr. Sexy's clinic. Maybe she'll have helpful suggestions. Please.

    • RoseCamelia says:

      Can you create a split sleeping schedule? A few hours early evening and a few hours early afternoons?

      I've had interrupted sleep since moving in June.

      I sleep as much as I can at night, but old little dogs need me to get up to help them twice each night. I get up at 6 a.m. to feed them because there is No Sleeping When Dogs Are Starving, Rose! Then I have coffee, shower, get dressed, and go about my day.

      Until I crash for lack of sleep. Then I lie down on the sofa and sleep. Dogs have been letting me sleep as many hours as I need mid-day. I wake when I've had enough rest, and continue my chores and projects where I left off.

      When Mr Rose goes to bed, 10 or 11 pm, I do not feel sleepy. But I take allergy meds and melatonin at that point. I sit in the dark with a book light and Sleepy Time tea. Once LittleGirlDog is asleep, I go to bed. And sleep until LittleGirlDog's kidney disease and cataracts have her asking for my help again.

      This only works because I am privileged and cursed to be without a job. My household does not need income from me. And we move so often I don't like looking for work when I know I could be leaving soon.

      And I don't like looking for work. I love to work. I miss it. But job hunting is The Worst.

      • CleverManka says:

        A split schedule like that might work if I didn't have to work. Maybe? This summer, when I wasn't working, I was able to take longer naps in the afternoon (and found myself going to bed at increasing later times) but that's not sustainable with my current situation. It would be an interesting experiment if I had, like, a year to do it. My body is not quick to change, adjust, or improve to anything, darn it.

        • Kazoogrrl says:

          I'm wondering if a split schedule at night might work? Like, go to bed when you get home, sleep 3-4 hours, get up for a bit, go back to bed. Or, does that sound like horrendous chaos for you and your household?

          • CleverManka says:

            That would absolutely work in a very different house. The current abode is wretched for us both but we live too close to the campus where we both work to make moving a viable thing (unless/until one of our job situations changes).

    • Kazoogrrl says:

      That is exhausting on so many levels. Fingers crossed for the appointment!

    • damngoodcoffee says:

      That suuuuuuuucks. I'm so sorry, and I hope your appointment can give you some hope/tips/peace of mind. Consistent lack of sleep is so frustrating.

      • CleverManka says:

        IT IS SO FRUSTRATING. Especially when my number one health complaint is fatigue. Like, okay, so I need to rest to recover but my body will not rest!

        I'm starting to have more frequent conversations with myself about what if I'm psychologically attached to being ill. Am I not getting better because some part of me is attached to/defined by being ill? My instinct/feelings/gut tells me no. I know I would do nearly anything to be able to lift weights, or dance, or even have regular social dates again. But what if my gut is wrong? What if my body is sabotaging itself? And then the sad panic spiral starts…blah.

        • Fancy_Pants says:

          Ugh I recognize that particular brain weasel. The answer is no. No no no. Jesus Christ, none of this is your fault. Some people just get dealt a shit hand, health-wise. You're working so hard to get better.

          Insomnia is the woooorst though, that sucks so much.

        • Doc_Paradise says:

          May I offer a reframe on the "what if"?

          • CleverManka says:

            Yes, please! A reframe will be super helpful because I know the feeling isn't going to just go away on its own forever.

          • Doc_Paradise says:

            First off… If you coulda, you woulda. If tomorrow, we all woke up gifted with the superpower that fit us best, yours would be "cracks the world with the force of her will alone".

            1/of 3

          • CleverManka says:

            This is incredibly…flattering? validating? something I don't have a word for. Thank you. This means a lot coming from you, whose will and fortitude I admire greatly.

            I am ready for that superpower, yo.

          • Doc_Paradise says:

            Second, the idea that the victim/poor/ill/woman/etc must of wanted it or it wouldn't have happened (and therefore nobody has to help because it is all their own fault)… is a framing that is taught to us.

            It is victim blaming and it is taught to us often enough, early enough, and overwhelming enough that it is internalized so that we blame ourselves for things that happen to us. It's fucking gaslighting.

            THIS IS SOMETHING TO BE REALLY FUCKING ANGRY AND FLAMES COMING OUT OF THE SIDES OF OUR HEADS FURIOUS ABOUT THAT THIS IS NORMALIZED AND TAUGHT TO US.

            You and your internal voice have every right to be fucking angry that you have to deal with this idea of blame ON TOP of everything that you are dealing with.

            2 of 3

          • CleverManka says:

            Wow. I…did not realize that? It honestly had never been something I'd considered until the hypnotherapist I went to a few years back brought it up. Hm. I thought it was a legitimate question but it sounds like it's just actually…a social abuse tactic. Nice! Hm, no wonder I didn't get anything out of her sessions (other than the experience that hypnotherapy might not be My Thing).

          • Doc_Paradise says:

            "But what if my gut is wrong? What if my body is sabotaging itself?"

            So what if it is?

            What would that mean to you?

            Bodies and minds are BADASS survival machines. If your body *is* sabotaging you… then it probably has a PROTECTIVE reason.

            What is it protecting you from? What does it need?

            3/3

          • CleverManka says:

            That's a very good question, the protection one. What is my body protecting me from? Aside from "having a good time" and "living a fulfilling life." I genuinely have no idea, but it seems like a really good thing to ask myself. Do you know of any books or articles that deal with that sort of questioning?

          • Doc_Paradise says:

            "When the Body Says No" by Gabor Mate was helpful to me.

          • CleverManka says:

            Thank you for all of those! I waited until you posted all three to respond to them and it was interesting to have that time to digest each in between. And they were in the perfect order (of course! because you're very good at this). I'm gonna be chewing on that last one for a while, even though I'm not sure even what to do with it.

            I appreciate you so much.

          • Fancy_Pants says:

            Super co-signed on all of that. WRT point 3, there's the similar option of framing it as, basically you are bearing the negative side of genetic diversity. Maybe your body is built to thrive in a different environment than you're in right now, which suckkkks for you as an individual, but is great for us as a society/species because it allows us to better adapt to and survive in changing circumstances.

            I think about this a lot in terms of my partner's OCD. It is NOT beneficial for him, individually, but it DOES benefit our household, since the doors never go unlocked and the stove never gets left on, etc.

            One of my friends had a severe bout with anorexia that was compounded by the fact that she feels super amped/high functioning when she is starving. That would be beneficial to her tribe in a food shortage situation but is damaging for her in normal circumstances.

            Just another reason why the Randian ubermensch worship is dumb. If diversity weren't crucial to our survival, it would have been selected against.

          • CleverManka says:

            I think about this a lot in terms of my partner's OCD. It is NOT beneficial for him, individually, but it DOES benefit our household, since the doors never go unlocked and the stove never gets left on, etc.
            Oh my goodness, the Burgomaster's PTSD and ADHD do the same in our house! I'll tell him that, I think that'll make him feel nice(r) about those things. Maybe.

            I fucking love fasting, and I always get that high from it. However, I also fucking love to eat which (luckily?) manifested in a compulsive/binge eating disorder that started when I was twelve and went completely unrecognized by me because society is terrible but anyway yes, I would be really great in a famine situation for the few days I could make it before collapsing.

            If diversity weren't crucial to our survival, it would have been selected against.
            *adds to my list of word tattoos I will never get*

            eta: So! Many! Bolds! I might have entered the "skipped my nap and am now feeling loopy" stage of today.

        • damngoodcoffee says:

          I would say go with your instincts- I think the sad panic spiral (IMO) is triggered/encouraged by a lack of sleep. That's when my anxiety spirals tend to happen more, anyway.

          • CleverManka says:

            I have really GOT to start journaling stuff again. I'm doing a sentence a day project that RoseCamelia suggested in a comment recently (maybe Monday?). I wonder if I have the spoons to incorporate into it a more detailed record of my health fluctuations…

          • damngoodcoffee says:

            I've started doing something like that too. Every morning I draw a tarot card and write down what the meaning is and reflect on it for a minute. It helps make sure I write at least something down that day. I haven't tried to incorporate anything more extensive than that yet, though. When I get home in the evening I just don't want to reflect, like at all, but writing does actually sometimes help me prevent the anxiety spiral, when I actually make myself do it, so it would probably be good for me to push myself there, a little. I think. ๐Ÿ˜‰

          • CleverManka says:

            *journal solidarity fistbump*

          • redheadfae says:

            It sounds like you could start with something someone says that appeals, and then see where it takes your own imagination?
            My favorite this past week has been this one:

            <img src="https://ic.pics.livejournal.com/silverfae/969636/200977/200977_900.jpg"&gt;

          • redheadfae says:

            It really sums it up, doesn't it?

    • Merripat says:

      This is shit. And what happened to your face?

    • Xolandra says:

      I have never in my life slept through a night unless: i missed an entire night of sleep the night before; i am particularly drunk and/or sated in other ways or… Nope, that's it.

      If you do figure out how to sleep through the night, I AM ALL EARS, because I spent between 9:30pm and 7:00am in bed and i really feel like at least a few of those hours could be put to better use.

      In the interim, gentle hugs and tisane for you. ♥

      • CleverManka says:

        Oh my god, I cannot imagine. That sounds horrible! Are you tired all the time? If not, maybe you're just one of those people who doesn't need a lot of sleep? My dad did fine on five hours a sleep for most of his life (and only started needing more once he passed 60).

        I had insomnia as a child, but it was more a matter of being unable to fall asleep. I managed to get over that in my late teens (thanks largely to running myself ragged before collapsing most nights) and never had more than maybe twice-yearly bouts of insomnia until I was 30 (right about the time I started getting sick).

        • Xolandra says:

          I _am_ tired a lot! but this is all I have ever known, so it's fine i guess?

          I had a bout of not being able to fall back asleep for hours when I woke up in the middle of the night, and that sucked. But it only lasted for a week, mercifully.

    • jenavira says:

      Is there any level on which getting up and out of bed when you wake up helps in the long run? I know that works for me when I have insomnia: if I'm not on the verge of falling asleep, I get out of bed until I am. Tossing and turning is just frustrating which does not help. (Of course if other health issues mean that you really shouldn't be too physically active, this may be a terrible idea, feel free to ignore it.)

      I hope the nutritionist has some ideas.

      • CleverManka says:

        Yeah, I'm not supposed to be active. I sometimes give up and read (pretty much the only time I read books these days because I don't want to look at a screen when I'm trying to get to sleep.

        But I used to do that with my seasonal insomnia (different relationship, different house) and it was fine. I usually never went back to sleep, though. I'd just power through the day. I can't tax my system like that, now, alas.

        I have, though (don't laugh) gotten really good at just…lying in bed. I mean, I can lie still like a fuckin' person-who-lies-still-in-bed professional. I lie there and do my meditation exercises, practice some breathing techniques, allow myself to daydream, ~think healing thoughts~ etc., and the hours don't fly by, but they don't d-r-a-g. So that's nice!

        • jenavira says:

          I mean, that's a good thing at least. They say that just lying in bed relaxing is almost 75% as good as sleep, so it's not nothing. It's not as good as sleep but it's definitely not nothing. I hope you can sleep for real soon.

    • Lee Thomson says:

      That sounds so horrible – may something change for you

    • ru_ri says:

      Argh! Not being able to sleep when you are exhausted is THE WORST. Compounded by headache = fuck that, absolutely. I am so sorry.

      I hope the nutritionist gives you concrete, manageable suggestions that improve things for you.

      Big soft hugs and good sleeping vibes to you!

    • redheadfae says:

      I hope the appt went well. The only thing that works to give me decent sleep is a 10mg dose of DHEA… unless I have major pain and then I just narc myself into a coma.
      Please send Manka the sleep fairy.

  7. Kazoogrrl says:

    The white hot rage is directed at my job this week. My phone is no longer charging, and though J is going to menace it with a soldering iron this weekend, it's irritating the hell out of me. The world at large feels like a dumpster, and my city feels like the section that just caught on fire.

    I did just buy some dot grid notebooks to take a better stab at a bullet journal, one for me, one for work.

    • Kazoogrrl says:

      Also, I've been having a "bodies are stupid and involve ridiculous amounts of maintenance and WHO THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA!?!?!?!?" week/month/year/life.

      • Xolandra says:

        One of the most revolutionary things I have ever heard in terms of my relationship to my fleshprison was from my RMT when I was complaining about my lack of strength and the amount of work it was taking to fix it was "some bodies just need more maintenance than other bodies". Mind = blown. All of a sudden the amount of time I was devoting to exercise moved from the category "vanity/indulgence" in my brain to the category "practical/necessary work". Still sucks.

        One of the bestest things I have ever seen in relation to this question is oddly dissociative and thus (for me) weirdly effective; I saw a tumblr post that recommended thinking of yourself as a demon driving your meat sack which is kind of like an extremely fragile pet; every 4 hours or so it needs food and/or water, it needs exercise, it needs rest, etc. And if you, demon overlord, allow your fleshprison to wilt and die, you have lost the game. Again – game changing. I can't, for example, always make me feed myself, but the demon that cares for my fleshprison _can_, say, seek out something other than Doritos for dinner.

      • jenavira says:

        BODIES SUCK. Teeth, even! Who thought teeth were a good idea! (No, I did not just spend $1000 at the dentist, why do you ask?)

    • CleverManka says:

      The world at large does indeed feel like a dumpster and I, too, am ready for my robot body. Upload me now!

  8. damngoodcoffee says:

    Therapy dogs at the library today! Thank god, b/c there has been some hiring-related nonsense that has been really grating on my nerves and making it hard for me to do my actual job. I just really don't appreciate the way everything went down here recently, but it's nothing I can really do anything about, so I'm just thinking about dogs. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Re: my throat, now we think (again) that it's actually just awful ragweed allergies, as it continues to get neither worse nor better, and I am now trying to treat it with some fun things from the allergy relief aisle at the store (as recommended by my urgent care doctor), along with tea/honey/cough drops. It's just congestion and a sore throat, and I sleep fine, am not coughing, no strep, nothing's swollen, etc. It's just really fucking annoying and I will likely go to an allergist at some point in the future b/c I cannot deal with this happening every year when I have to teach. [Also I just need to throw in here, if you know of anyone who had a sore throat that turned into something bad, please, please do not tell me about it. I have really bad hypochondria and things will feel and be exponentially worse for me if I have other possibilities floating in my mind. I will definitely go to the doctor again if my condition worsens.]

    Gah. I need something else to think about (that is not the national news). Other things… I'm working Saturday (boo) but that means I can take time off tomorrow afternoon, so I will be doing that. I finally watched that horror movie 'The Invitation' which got to me in ways I did not anticipate. Has anyone else seen that?

    • RoseCamelia says:

      Consider Mucinex. It "organizes" what your throat is dealing with into fewer, more compact instances. Less wear and tear.

      Hooray for therapy dogs. They love you the instant they meet you, and they want to help. They're all about you. Perfection.

      • damngoodcoffee says:

        Thank you- I have just started on mucinex; I was advised that over claritin for this type of congestion, so here's hoping!

        And yes, absolutely. I don't know how I'm expected to get work done when there are therapy dogs ten feet from my office. Also we set up a coloring station. I'm working on a bookmark and using only colors Lisa Frank would use.

    • CleverManka says:

      I haven't seen it, no. Non-supernatural horror freaks me out (I still can't even think about Se7en and it's been, what, like 20 years?).

      My allergies are terrible terrible terrible and at some point in my late 30s they were so bad I started researching some really woo-woo stuff because nothing was helping. A local chiropractor I'd gone to (successfully) for weird back pain was doing NMT treatments. I had her do that on me for about nine months and the next allergy season I didn't even have to take Claritin! It was probably five years before it either wore off or I developed new allergies. I can't really afford to return for a full treatment series (it's like, $100 a visit because of course insurance won't pay for it) so I've resumed a daily Claritin pill. If/when that stops working, though, I'll probably go back. It's one of those things where I was sitting there thinking "I can't believe I'm paying for this and expecting it to work," but it really did! So if things get too terrible with your allergies, it's something to at least consider if your finances allow.

      • damngoodcoffee says:

        I totally get you on the horror front- I generally enjoy supernatural horror way more, precisely because there's enough horrifying real life things going on, I don't need to worry about more of them. But I also know people who flip the other way, which I've never gotten. My sister, for instance, watched all of Dexter with no problem, but cannot even listen to the X-Files theme song, it freaks her out so much.

        And thank you for the rec. That is something I will definitely keep in mind, depending on what happens in the future. Right now I'm just waiting for that first really good frost. ๐Ÿ™‚

        • CleverManka says:

          I'm pretty sure the only reason I loved Hannibal so much is I watched it from the start with the headcanon that Hannibal was the Fairy Queen and it was all some elaborate game of his/hers to stave off boredom. Otherwise…nope.

    • vladazhael says:

      I have seen 'The Invitation', though it was a little while ago and I may not remember everything. The main guy looks like my brother and Tom Hardy had a baby.

      • damngoodcoffee says:

        Seriously I looked at a pic of him and Tom Hardy side by side and could not tell the difference. It was so strange. But oh man, that movie just hit me harder than I thought. [spoilers] It was obvious fairly early on that this was a cult joint suicide thing, but the whole plot about dealing with grief? That was more intense than I had anticipated, and stuck with me after the movie was over.

    • Xolandra says:

      Chamomile tastes like a monkey's butt, but it does have anti-inflammatory properties.

      • damngoodcoffee says:

        I completely agree with you about chamomile's taste, but did not know about the anti-inflammatory properties- I will pick some up!

        • Xolandra says:

          I like to make my cup of chamomile, let it cool to just slightly warmer than body temperature (fun-fact – you taste things more when they are warm than when they are cold, which is why ice cream is awesome when solid and saccharine when melted) and then gulp it all down as quickly as I can stomach it.

          Do not add honey. It does not help.

      • ru_ri says:

        It has never ever occurred to me that my fondness for the taste of chamomile is an outlier. Do people really hate it that much? I think it tastes like pineapple. And I like it with honey!

        Perception is so weird, man…

        • Heathered says:

          A friend once plucked a sprig of wild chamomile and gave it to me and that pineapple taste was a revelation! I don't get the same sweetness from it dried, but I do like it and don't pick up any monkey butt-ness.

        • damngoodcoffee says:

          That's so interesting! I've never tasted pineapple when I've had it, but that sounds delicious. Maybe I'm not getting a good enough brand?

          I do have (from what I understand is) a very unpopular tea opinion, though- I hate earl grey. I hate everything about it. I like so many different kinds of tea (and I can definitely tolerate chamomile if it's mixed w/other flavors), but I cannot stand earl grey.

          • ru_ri says:

            I share your minority tea opinion! I am all about the Ceylon and Assam and Yunnan and even sometimes Lapsang Souchong, but Earl Grey can take a shit in a hat.
            I don't like Darjeeling either.
            *puts on fightin' hat*

          • RoseCamelia says:

            When you hate the taste of your tea, who made it? When you enjoy a good cuppa, who made that one?

            Does your tea start with fresh, never-been-heated-before, aerated, filtered water? Do you taste a difference between tea bags and tea leaves?

            ETA: And have you experimented with adding a touch of lemon? Some palates "need" a drop of acid to complement certain flavor notes.

  9. vladazhael says:

    YOU GUYS. Those seeds that were being planted? My boss just called me into his office to let me know that he has reconsidered my idea of working remotely on a temporary basis and not only likes it but wants to see if it can happen on an indefinite/permanent basis. He wants me to grab one of my monstrous office computers and drive it up north to work there for a couple weeks in November as a proof of concept mission for a permanent move. Holy shit. HOLY SHIT.

    Cons:
    – My health insurance may not be terribly useful up there.
    – I may go a little stir crazy working from home.
    – I tend to benefit from in-person communication for certain job tasks.

    Pros:
    – Out of network is better than nothing.
    – Lots of people work from home; there are sanity resources.
    – Communication technology is a thing.
    – LITERALLY EVERY OTHER PART OF THIS HOLY SHIT

    • littleinfinity says:

      MEEEEEEEEEEEP!!!! flails!!! That is fantastic!!!

    • Flitworth says:

      YAYAYAYAYAYAY!!!!

    • Fancy_Pants says:

      OMG YES!!!

    • Doc_Paradise says:

      Fantastic!

      I work from home and have for years. If you want any suggestions from what works for me, I can do that.

      • vladazhael says:

        Yes, that would be lovely! Of course I don't want to go too deep down the rabbit hole and jinx the whole thing, but if you have any suggestions that might prove helpful for a 2-week experiment, I would love to hear them.

        • Doc_Paradise says:

          I have a few. Two weeks won't tell you if working from home will work for you long term with regards because the "new shiny" won't wear off in that time, but it is a decent length of time to find out if it won't work from a technical stand point.

          I suggest having a plan to test out EVERYTHING that might break down or which you will have to rely on. Find out how things will get fixed and how well teleconferencing (for example) works. Who will be responsible for what (ie do you now have to pay for your own office supplies, internet, phone, etc… I *do* have to pay for office supplies like printing so I work paperlessly, which has issues when the internet goes down because most of my data is stored on a remote network). Test the obscure and rare things as well as the everyday things. Are there security issues (networking, document storage, etc)? Stuff like that.

          Figure out how the people at the office who you need to interact with will react to you teleworking. Figure out what will be needed to maintain those contacts, relationships, and information exchanges when you are "out of sight, out of mind". For instance, my excellent boss is (surprisingly) self-concious about phoning his at home employees (and "bothering" them) *just* to chat… even though the strength of his management style comes out of how much he accomplishes through "just chatting" with his employees. I make a point to call him for little reasons on a regular basis to create a "legitimate" reason to "just chat". It keeps me in the loop and maintains that relationship.

          • vladazhael says:

            That is fantastically helpful! Thank you very, very much! ๐Ÿ™‚

            I've already copied this over into my OneNote file for Project Hoth and dedicated a whole page to what I have a covered and what I need to check on. As someone who has made an endless series of to-do and packing lists for trips and spreadsheets for apartment searches, I feel excitingly well prepared to manage this venture. ๐Ÿ˜‰

            Highlights:
            – I think the test run is going to end up being 3 weeks instead of 2 since one of them is a shorter week (because of Thanksgiving), which will give me an even better idea of the technical and logistical concerns. The psychological and personal parts, of course, will still be hard to gauge, but this is a fortuitous enough plan that I'm willing to take the plunge and trust in my own abilities to manage the mental health aspects. I'm already keeping in mind things like designated work space, designated work hours, mindful communication, etc. And I'm sure I'll be back here to mine for advice if and when this becomes a permanent thing.
            – The test plan is an EXCELLENT idea. Thank you especially for that. I came to this job via software testing, so again, something I'm pretty well suited for mentally. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I've started a testing list for the November trip as well as a shorter version for when I bring the computer to my apartment for an initial "does this work right outside the office?" test run.
            – I also plan to have a logistics discussion with my boss. I think I'll be paying for internet and phone on my own, but I should be able to at least get some tax credits for it for working from home. I'll need to figure out who's responsible for any travel costs, who to contact for which technical malfunctions, etc. There's *just* enough precedent for this sort of thing that I should be able to base some plans on what's been done before.
            – I will definitely be extra mindful of keeping lines of communication open so I can maintain a presence. Fortunately a lot of the people I work with are already located overseas, so they won't even notice a difference. But I will be making an extra (and even slightly out of character) effort to maintain contact with certain people in my office, especially now that I've finally developed such a good rapport with them. Phone, Slack, and Skype will be my friends.

    • ru_ri says:

      THIS IS AMAZING. Go you!

      I also work from home and have for years; that said, I often feel it would be SO much easier if I had a single employer to be accountable to. So your scenario sounds more than doable!

  10. Merripat says:

    So. I am in England.

    Everything's alright-ish? Most people I've met are nice, and I've been able to take space for myself and not attend every single thing. Proper lectures start tomorrow, but the introductory meetings I had today were already pretty good.
    I can't sleep properly, though; I think it's because the bed is so uncomfortable – I keep waking up when I turn around. Also have had to take a migraine pill almost every day ๐Ÿ™

    And then the Slack imploded. That was not fun.

  11. mowinda says:

    I just read that New Yorker article Nicole linked to on twitter about guardianships ("How the Elderly Lose Their Rights") and now I want to move to retirement communities and work as a vigilante social worker helping old people get out of the horrific conditions we put them in
    Is anyone with me
    We could get matching outfits and cool vigilante names

    • CleverManka says:

      I am generally not cut out for that level of immediate and personal social work (it is difficult enough for me to deal with the public on an extremely superficial basis), but I will 100% sign on for an administrative position with this endeavor.

    • Xolandra says:

      YES. We treat the elderly TERRIBLY.

    • Kazoogrrl says:

      My mom was in two different rehab/nursing facilities this spring and summer. The good one was ok, the bad one was bad.

      • mowinda says:

        Yeah and it's one of those problems that people never want to try to fix because they rationalize to themselves that they'll never end up there. I put people in rehabs all day (I work in healthcare) and if you're a 2 person assist or need a hoyer lift or just had an amputation, you're going to need rehab no matter what.

        I've done guardianships before and it is insane to me that apparently they're done that easily and super illegally (or what should be illegal) because the hoops we had to jump through to get someone a state guardian were pretty intense. And one of them was just to get the state to recognize a distant relative by marriage as power of attorney (when someone couldn't sign their own paperwork and hadn't appointed a POA prior to losing that ability).

        • m vasterling says:

          You should have jump through hoops to assume guardianship for anyone if they are not there to say what they wish. But you agree with me. What occurred in Nevada and apparently other states as well is a crime. I sent this to my brother, because we'd never want such to happen to our stepmother. She is healthy, living in her condo, and minding her own business. Weren't these victims?

    • m vasterling says:

      I read that yesterday. People can lose not only everything they own but their independence under these court rulings. It is a crime.

  12. LaxMom says:

    Ida Marie's Oh My God is my current theme song.
    I am really having a case of "it's all being done-itis" while trying to outline my proposal. It is not helping. I need to get to somebody for my thyroid and meanwhile I have chosen mental health over physical exhaustion and so have returned to karate. That 90 minutes of feeling strong takes 2 days of recovery time, however, which I don't have to spare and which pain tanks my mood. But it does tamp down the constant impending panic…which I know is my fucking thyroid and I'm REALLY pissed that I can't get the health care I need (and meanwhile am getting debt collector phone calls for health bills daily, anyway). Anyway. Send me research vibes, please, and some energy to survive this conference I'm at for the next 2 days until 11 pm.

    I am sorry everybody else is also doing shitty, and sorry I use this to vent more than anything else, I am very happy and grateful you all are here.

    also, space laser for whoever keeps turning on the heat when its 79 out.

  13. Absotively says:

    Vacation is going very well, though it was a bit derailed by watching the train wreck in Slack yesterday and then making sure Toaster Coven was ready to handle people coming to check it out as a possible alternative, though there's only been a few of those.

    Manka, you should maybe know that people have been mentioning this site as another Toast space folks can check out, so there's likely to be a slight uptick in new commenters. It looks like that's already started a bit.

    • CleverManka says:

      Thanks for the warning! I was wondering about that…Naturally, this comes right when my friend who hosts us is thinking about ditching her server space which means I might be in the market for a new host, too. Of course!

  14. exitpursuedbyaclaire says:

    I can't tell if I'm genuinely feeling okay today or if I'm just suppressing my stress in that useful but awful way where I fall apart as soon as I'm in a place where I feel safe. Probably the latter, given everything that went down on Slack and given how I was near tears at times of slight stress during a family wedding last weekend.

    In positive personal growth news, I've decided to set the entirely ridiculous goal of finishing a book a day this October. I'm already resorting to reading all the extremely short things on my bookshelf (like the 48-page "We should all be feminists"). I am allowing myself every kind of loophole in pursuit of this goal. Let's see how long I can keep this up.

    • damngoodcoffee says:

      Intense reading goals are awesome. ๐Ÿ™‚ I haven't gotten myself to read much outside of work in so long, but I was really hoping October would be that month. I've just been having so much anxiety recently and it's much easier to get short-term relief from TV/fanfic. :/ But I definitely want to read all the books… at some point.

    • Merripat says:

      Is that the Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie TED talk? I read that for a seminar a few months ago, it was very readable (presumably since it was written to be given as a talk). So that's going to a day where you easily achieve your goal!

      (She did make some transphobic comments last year, though.)

      • exitpursuedbyaclaire says:

        Yes–I owned the book before she made the transphobic comments. I decided to read the book anyway, but keeping that in mind. She had some really binaristic things in the speech transcript too, unfortunately.

        • Merripat says:

          Ah yes, I remember, now that you say it.

          (And I hope it didn't sound like I was judging you for reading her book, I just wanted to point out this rather unpleasant thing in case you didn't already know)

    • jenavira says:

      That is an awesome October goal, and I salute you! I did that a couple years ago in December, and it was really fun. (I recommend Tor.com novellas if you have the slightest interest in spec-fic. I finished Margaret Killjoy's The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion today – queer anarchists versus murderous demon deer is 1000% my jam.)

      • exitpursuedbyaclaire says:

        I am so, so interested in spec fic. The Murderbot novella and the two Tensorate novellas are on my to-read list already, so hopefully they can be three of the days this month.

        • CleverManka says:

          May I recommend my BFF Tessa's three novellas collected in The Weight of Stars? Reading the first full-length novel in which they're set is helpful but not necessary (especially if you like/are familiar with Norse mythology).

          • exitpursuedbyaclaire says:

            Ooo, thank you for the recommendation!

          • Lee Thomson says:

            Martha Wells who wrote Murderbot also has a handful about lizardy shapeshifters with court drama and fighting which is excellent, and also my favorite, the Fall of Ile Rein, starting with the Wizard Hunters.

            I am so glad she is getting so much love for Murderbot, and I hope it leads to more of her back catalog making it back into view.

          • exitpursuedbyaclaire says:

            I just read The Cloud Roads a few months ago!! I forget which Toast recommended them to me in the first place, but I quite enjoyed it. Haven't gotten around to the sequel yet, though.

            So excited that you're reading the Ancillary books–which one are you on now?

          • Lee Thomson says:

            YASS! I got the first on your recommendation and the younger Crow and I were discussing them and agreed they were a Thing, that was Interesting, and required further Thinking… I'm looking forward to the next one, but I'm in the middle of rereading Ann Leckie's Ancillary books in one huge bite instead of separated.

          • CleverManka says:

            Oh yay! I'm so glad you liked them (one of the characters in Glory's Teeth is named after meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee)!

      • meat_lord says:

        Oh! I meant to buy & read The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion, but forgot about it until now. Thanks for reminding me.

  15. Xolandra says:

    O friends. I have things to report.

    1) This headline from my community newspaper, which is perhaps inadvertently the greatest headline ever to grace any article ever

    2) A small story about my hood:

    I have been pondering, lately, how much I love the audacity of children (especially AFAB children) before it is socialized out of them. Although I have no babies, I get to experience this on occasion when I wear light up cat ear headphones while I wander around town after dark, because every now and then a small child is just so frigging delighted with them that I stop, remove them, and demonstrate their full awesomeness (ie they also have external speakers).

    Monday night, on my way home from yoga, a trio of girls made the usual flaily "I love your headphone" gestures, so I stopped and they were so adorably effusive in their praise that, after I demonstrated my external speaker capabilities and we had a little conversation about the cost of the cans and the fact that Everything Exists On The Internet, I explained that I purchased the headphones because I am part cat.

    "NO WAY", they exclaimed.

    "But of course" I replied.

    "How?" they demanded. "how are you part cat?"

    "Well", I said, "I really like sleeping a lot, just like a cat. And I really like being pet, like most cats do".

    At this point, the boldest and most articulate of the three peers at me and says "can you meow like a cat?" So I look her dead in the eye, do my best to channel Eartha Kitt, and respond with "purrrrrrrrrrreooooooow?" at which all three of their jaws drop and the little girl that asked said "Wow, you are part cat" and she started practicing her meow.

    Proto-humans are adorable, and I love my neighbourhood.

    3) touches on violence in Edmonton therefore comment.

    • Xolandra says:

      So Sunday afternoon I was strolling to meet a friend in market. It has been unseasonably nice around here – i have been calling this season "summer's death rattle" – and I had my headphones on and I was in workout gear because I was heading for a hike in the Gatineau hills and I decided to stroll through Sparks street, Ottawa's pedestrian mall, which is usually a damned ghost town. But Sunday, there were humans with a CBC video camera. Generally I have big old headphones on and look stern enough that people don't hassle me, but these two were clearly looking for fodder for the evening news and stopped me (note: ear buds < headphones re: making people Go Away).

      "Do you have a moment to talk to us about what happened last night in Edmonton?" asked the one

      "what… what happened in Edmonton?" I trepidatiously replied?

      *laughter* "O, haven't you heard, someone drove a van into a crowd of people"

      Me: "O damn it. No, I hadn't heard"

      them: "So, can we ask you to state your reaction in your second language for National TV"

      Me (stoned): "um… no? I am on my way to meet a friend and am already late"

      them: "this will take but a minute"

      Me: "I… don't really know what is going on? I would really rather not do this"

      Them: "it's ok, we just want your reaction"

      Me: "Listen. It's a beautiful day, I am on my way to meet a friend who is in Ottawa on a contract for a year which is almost up, we are off to the hills, the sun is shining and I am just really, really not interested in pondering the possible ramifications of a terrorist attack right now".

      Them: "o, ok, thanks anyway"

      And I wandered on, upset that they would do this to me, and upset that they would not accept my no. So of course I googled what had happened and my reaction was THIS IS WHY WE NEED GOOD GUN CONTROL LAWS. Because a dude with a UHaul and a knife is way way WAY less dangerous than a dude with a gun. And then that whole thing in Vegas happened and… yeah.

      Dear men: please stop shooting people because you think the world should behave more like however you have decided it should behave. It's really quite gross and more than a little terrifying. Sincerely, not-a-man.

    • RoseCamelia says:

      Part cat, but completely, 100% awesome.

      • Xolandra says:

        The only reason that I haven't responded to this yet is because I am bollocks at accepting compliments with grace.

        Thank you.

    • CleverManka says:

      I cannot see the headline and I am dying to know what it was. The cat story is glorious.

  16. Xolandra says:

    O yes plus also I went to see a friend's band last night and spent a lot of time trying to decide if she sounded more like Nina Hagen or Peaches. Both are apt.
    https://soundcloud.com/firequeenband/no-control

  17. puzzleg says:

    My presence at Toastieslack was exclusively funny, quizzes, mysteries, science fiction, sportsball, croutons and a couple of others like that, and so I was somehow completely oblivious to any difficult interactions. I would normally check in every few days and when I went to look this morning, everything was just gone. Someone in Bay Area Toasties on Facebook was nice enough to provide a brief recap, I had no idea this was happening. I'm so sorry that it's gone now but at least we have clevermanka…

    • silvestra says:

      hello fellow crouton, I think lots of people were surprised to wake up and find toastieslack shut down. But it's still possible to DM your friends who were in the same channels as you were (unless you were banned from the slack).
      It's a way of keeping in touch and maybe exchanging other contact details.
      Lots of hugs to you!

  18. snickies says:

    I was mostly a reader/non-commenter on The Toast and a very infrequent participant of the Toastslack. I happened to be online on Tuesday while everything was going down and someone linked to here. I used to check this site immediately post-Toast, but had fallen out of the habit. So, hi *waves*

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*