theferrett: (Meazel)
[personal profile] theferrett

In case you forgot, I’ll be at Borderlands Books (my favorite place in SF) at 3:00 pm this Saturday to read to you from my new book The Uploaded, sign whatever you put in front of me, and to, as usual, go out for hamburgers afterwards.

(And if you’re extra-special-good, I may do a super-secret advance MEGA-preview reading of The Book That Does Not Yet Have A Name. Not that, you know, you shouldn’t be rushing out to your stores to buy The Uploaded right now.)

I will, of course, bring donuts after my massive DONUT FAIL in Massachusetts, which I still wake up in cold sweats about. I will bring you donuts or die.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

Sep. 20th, 2017 10:13 am

Let Life Happen.

theferrett: (Meazel)
[personal profile] theferrett

“I’m not up for sex,” she told me. “I’ve had a lot of medical issues lately. It’s more painful than not to even try.”

“Cool,” I said, and we spent the day going to a street festival.

I woulda liked sex. But life happens.


“I’m in the middle of my seasonal affective disorder,” I told her. “You show up, I might not be able to leave the house. I might just curl up and cry all day.”

“Cool,” she said, and I was pretty morose but we cuddled a lot and eventually managed to go out to dinner.

I woulda liked to have a working brain. But life happens.


“I’m not sure I can make it through this convention,” they told me. “My flare-ups have been really bad this season. I might not be able to go out with you in the evenings.”

“Cool,” I said, and I went out for little hour-long jaunts before heading back to the room to cuddle them, then charging out again to circulate.

I woulda liked to have them by my side when I hit the room parties. But life happens.


I’m a massively flawed human with a mental illness. I need to have poly relationships that include for the possibility of breakdowns. Because if I need to have a perfect day before I allow anyone to see me, I might wait for weeks. Months. Years. And then what the fuck is left by the time I get to see them?

I know there are people who need perfect visits. They have to have the makeup on when you visit them, and they’ll never fall asleep when they had a night of Big Sexy planned, and if they get out the toys there’s gonna be a scene no matter how raw anyone’s feeling.

But I can’t do that.

My relationships aren’t, can’t be, some idealized projection of who I want to be. If I’m not feeling secure that day, I can’t be with a partner who needs me to be their rock so the weekend proceeds unabated. And if they’re feeling broken, I can’t be with someone who needs to pretend everything is fine because their time with me is their way of proving what a good life they have.

Sometimes, me and my lovers hoped for a weekend retreat of pure passion and what we get is curling up with someone under tear-stained covers, holding them and letting them know they will not be alone come the darkness.

We cry. We collapse. We stumble. We don’t always get what we want, not immediately.

But we also heal. We nurture. We accept.

And in the long run, God, we get so much more.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

Sep. 18th, 2017 07:50 am

Hi there!

scarlettina: (Default)
[personal profile] scarlettina posting in [community profile] 2017revival
Name: [personal profile] scarlettina
Age: 55 (Good G-d, how did that happen?)
Location: Seattle, WA

Describe yourself in five sentences or less: I’m a New York transplant living in Seattle with two cats and way too many books. I am creative and opinionated and still express myself like a native New Yorker, which makes some Seattleites uncomfortable despite my best efforts. I am a theater geek, a movie buff, a lover of tabletop and board games, a reader, a writer and a jeweler.

Top 5 fandoms: I’m a second-wave slash writer (second-wave as in: the first wave was in the early 1970s, the second in the mid-’80s to early ’90’s; everyone else came after) who hasn’t written fanfic in a while, but when I was doing that it was Star Trek, Starsky & Hutch and, more recently, Doctor Who (see my fanfic journal at [personal profile] scarlett_key). I have loved watching and discussing Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The X-Files, Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, so many more. How do you pick just five?

I mostly post about: My personal life, which also tends to be sprinkled with bits about politics, the science fiction community, movies, theater, books, travel, cats, my family, writing and observations about life in general.

I rarely post about: sports, math, the giant hornbeam tree in front of my condo, jackalopes, and my collection of porcelain hands (yes, really).

My three last posts were about: I occasionally do the Friday Five so this morning’s post was answering last week’s questions, two particularly striking dreams, and discovering the pile of get-well cards I received when I was in the hospital last year.

How often do you post? I currently post about once a week, though I’m aiming for better.

How about commenting? I try to comment on at least half to two-thirds of the posts that I read.
theferrett: (Meazel)
[personal profile] theferrett

I knew musicals could cheer me up, but I’d never heard of one that gave me new tools to deal with chronic illness and depression. Yet when I saw Groundhog Day last Wednesday, I was so stunned by what a perfect, joyous metaphor it was for battling mental illness that I immediately bought tickets to see it again that Saturday.

I would have told you about this before, but it was too late. The show closed on Sunday. A musical that should have run, well, for as long as Phil Connors was trapped in his endless time loop only got a five-month run.

But I can tell you about it.

I can tell you why this musical made me a stronger, better person.

———————————–

So let’s discuss the original Groundhog Day movie, which is pretty well-known at this point: Bill Murray is an asshole weatherman named Phil who shows up under protest to do a report from Punxatawney, Philadelphia on Groundhog Day. He’s trapped in town overnight thanks to a blizzard. When Phil wakes up the next morning, it’s Groundhog Day again. And again. And again.

Phil goes through several phases:

  • Incredulous as he can’t believe what’s happening to him;
  • Gleefully naughty as he uses his knowledge of people’s future actions to indulge all his greatest fantasies;
  • Frustrated as he tries to romance Rita, his producer, but he’s too cynical for her and nothing convinces her to hop in bed with him unless everyone else in town;
  • Depressed as he realizes that his life is shallow and there’s no way he can escape;
  • Perplexed as he tries to rescue a dying homeless man but realizes that nothing he can do on this day will save this poor guy;
  • And, finally, beatific as he uses his intense knowledge of everything that will happen in town today to run around doing good for people.

Naturally, that’s a great emotional journey. It’s no wonder that’s a story that’s resonated with people.

Yet Groundhog Day changes just one slight emotional tenor about this – and that change is massive.

Because when Bill Murray’s character gets to the end of his journey, he’s actually content. He’s achieved enlightenment where he enjoys everything he does, toodling around on the piano because he’s formed Punxatawney into his paradise. He laughs at people who ignore him. He’s satisfied.

And when Rita, who senses this change even though she doesn’t understand why, bids everything in her wallet to dance with him at the Groundhog Dance, the Bill Murray Phil is touched but also, on some level, serene.

Andy Karl’s Phil is not happy.

We spend a lot more time in Andy’s Phil’s headspace, and at one point he breaks down because of all the things he’ll never get to do – he’ll never grow a beard, he’ll never see the dawn again, he’ll never have another birthday. Anything he does is wiped away the next morning.

Bill Murray’s Phil gets so much satisfaction out of his constantly improving the town that his daily circuit has become a reward for him.

Andy Karl’s Phil is, on some level, fundamentally isolated. People will never know him – at least not without hours of proving to them that yes, he is trapped in this time loop, he does know everything about them.  No matter what relationships he forms, he’ll have  to start all over again in a matter of hours. There’s no bond he can create that this loop won’t erase.

And so when Rita finally dances with Bill Murray, it’s shown as a big romantic moment. And in the musical –

In the musical, Rita moves towards Phil and everything freezes in a harsh blue light except for Phil.

This is everything Phil has ever wanted in years, maybe decades, of being in this loop – and instead of being presented as triumphant, everything goes quiet and Phil sings a tiny, mournful song:

But I’m here
And I’m fine
And I’m seeing you for the first time

And the reason that brings tears to my eyes every fucking time is because this Phil is not fine – he repeats the lie in the next verse when he says he’s all right. Yet this is the happiest moment he’s had in years, finally understanding what Rita has wanted all along, and this moment too will be swept away in an endless series of morning wakeups and lumpy beds and people forgetting what he is.

Yet that mournful tune is also defiant, and more defiant when the townspeople pick it up and start singing it in a rising chorus:

I’m here
And I’m fine

Phil knows his future is nothing.

Yet that will not stop him from appreciating this small beauty even if he knows it will not stay with him. Trapped in the groundhog loop, appreciating the tiny moments becomes an act of rebellion, a way of affirming life even when you know this moment too will vanish.

Can you understand that this is depression incarnate?

Which is the other thing that marks this musical. Because I said there was joy, and there is. Because when Andy Karl’s Phil enters the “Philanthropy” section of the musical (get it?), he may not be entirely happy but he is content.

Because he knows that he may not necessarily feel joy at all times, but he has mastered the art of maintenance.

Because tending to the town of Punxatawney is a lot of work. He has to run around changing flat tires, rescuing cats, getting Rita the chili she wanted to try, helping people’s marriages. (And as he notes, “My cardio never seems to stick.”)

When Bill Murray’s Phil helps people, it seems to well up from personal satisfaction. Whereas Andy’s Phil is thrilled helping people, yes, but his kindness means more because it costs him. On some level he is, and will forever be, fundamentally numb.

This isn’t where he wanted to be.

Yet he has vowed to do the best with what he can. He helps the townspeople of Punxatawney because even though it is a constant drain, it makes him feel better than drinking himself senseless in his room. He doesn’t get to have everything he wanted – also see: depression and chronic illness – and it sure would be nice if he could take a few days off, but those days off will make him feel worse.

He’s resigned himself to a lifetime of working harder than he should for results that aren’t as joyous as he wanted.

And that’s okay. Not ideal, but…. okay.

Andy’s okay.

And I think the closest I can replicate that in a non-musical context is another unlikely source – Rick and Morty, where Rick is a suicidal hypergenius scientist who’s basically the Doctor if the Doctor’s psychological ramifications were taken seriously. And he goes to therapy, where a therapist so smart that she’s the only person Rick’s never been able to refute says this to him:

“Rick, the only connection between your unquestionable intelligence and the sickness destroying your family is that everyone in your family, you included, use intelligence to justify sickness.

“You seem to alternate between viewing your own mind as an unstoppable force and as an inescapable curse. And I think it’s because the only truly unapproachable concept for you is that it’s your mind within your control.
You chose to come here, you chose to talk to belittle my vocation, just as you chose to become a pickle. You are the master of your universe, and yet you are dripping with rat blood and feces, your enormous mind literally vegetating by your own hand.

“I have no doubt that you would be bored senseless by therapy, the same way I’m bored when I brush my teeth and wipe my ass. Because the thing about repairing, maintaining, and cleaning is it’s not an adventure. There’s no way to do it so wrong you might die.

“It’s just work.

“And the bottom line is, some people are okay going to work, and some people well, some people would rather die.

“Each of us gets to choose.

“That’s our time.”

And yes, Groundhog Day the musical is – was – about that lesson of maintenance, as Andy comes to realize that “feeling good” isn’t a necessary component for self-improvement, and works hard to make the best of a situation where, like my depression, even the best and most perfect day will be reset come the next morning.

And yes. There is a dawn for Andy’s Phil, of course, and he does wake up with Rita, and you get to exit the theater knowing that no matter how bad it gets there will come a joyous dawn and you get to walk out onto Broadway and so does Phil.

But you don’t get to that joy without maintenance.

And you might get trapped again some day. That, too, is depression. That, too, is chronic illness. We don’t know that Phil doesn’t get trapped on February 3rd, or March 10th, or maybe his whole December starts repeating.

But he has the tools now. He knows how to survive until the next dawn.

Maybe you can too.

—————————–

Anyway. There’s talk that Groundhog Day will go on tour, maybe even with Andy Karl doing the performances. He’s brilliant. Go see him.

The rest of you, man, I hope you find your own Groundhog Day. I saw mine. Twice.

Perhaps it’s fitting that it’s vanished.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

Sep. 15th, 2017 06:15 pm

I am Grateful: 9.15.2017

irish_dragon: (Elephant Dreams)
[personal profile] irish_dragon
This is going to be a combination of everything Journal post.

I had a very productive wonderful day. I was able to mail my FINAL payment for taxes. I was able to go to Ikea and get more boxes. Pay some bills, ordered some groceries, register a domain name (YAY!), and now I'm kinda meh.

I am grateful for days off. I can blah, sleep in, or accomplish a great deal.

I am grateful for Ikea. Ikea has some great prices on things.

I am grateful for AWESOME customer service. Blue host is the bomb.

I am grateful for paydays. Ah Paydays, I love you.

Dear Universe, All is well in my world. Live is Good! Thank you Much Love, Krisso.

Morning Oracle Reading

I Magician
9 of Pentacles
7 of Pentacles

That fit my day very well. I paid my gas bill, checked last month's electric bill (I paid, this month is A's turn). I ordered some more shake mix. I went to Ikea, had some brunch, bought some boxes and Salmon. I went to the bank and got a money order. I came home and registered a domain name. I'm feeling very well about it.

I paid my taxes off last month, but they refunded the money in error, and I had to call back and figure out what went wrong. Apparently, while the IRS collects penalties for ACA, they do not enforce it, and my total tax bill included my 2014 penalty. I paid off the taxes, but they didn't connect two and two and get four. They mailed my ACA penalty back in error. So that is what I needed to mail today. YAY!

I have to play with with the website more. I have other WP blogs, and this is a little different. It doesn't work quite the same as the other blogs. So, yeah play time. We'll see how it works out.

I have a pretty good idea what I am looking for in a new place. YAY!

I also registered for 2 communitiy ed classes. One for Google Analytics and Photography: As a Business. Legwork can be fun.
theferrett: (Meazel)
[personal profile] theferrett

As a reminder, I’ll be at Pandemonium Books and Games (which is an awesome store even in the absence of me) at 7:00 tomorrow to read to you, sign whatever you put in front of me, and probably go out for drinks and/or ice cream afterwards.

I hope to see you there! These donuts aren’t gonna eat themselves.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

Sep. 12th, 2017 10:36 am

Well. 9.12.2017

irish_dragon: (Be Yourself)
[personal profile] irish_dragon
I talked with A this morning.  I asked her if she would like to stay in the apartment after I move.  She had responded yes she would.  I asked if she would want anything, because I am not planning on taking a whole lot with me.  She responded that she would like some of it..  I then told her that the idea of it that she had been batting around her head, she should give more thought to.  She asked why now, and I responded that things are moving, ideas are cooking, and while I said by the end of a year, I am preparing for it to happen sooner.

She didn't say anything after that.  But I feel that I have done my part, to let her know that I am indeed moving. 
Sep. 12th, 2017 10:13 am

Where Were You: 9.11.2017

irish_dragon: by Magic Art from LJ (Feel Her Presence)
[personal profile] irish_dragon
where were you on that September Day?  I was working at SunTrust Mortgage's Call Center in Richmond, Va.  I was answering phones, when the news story came over NPR that a plane had hit the WTC.  I remember when I was talking to a customer, and I was asking if he knew what was going on, and he had responded with no.  I told him what we had heard, and he said he was going to turn on the news as well.  I remember calling my family to make sure everyone was okay.  I remember calling a friend that was currently stationed at Fort Bragg, NC.  She said she was fine, that they had closed the base, and there were military men driving around in Humvees w/ ak47s.  Everybody was okay.

They cancelled all air travel.  Which was a bitch for those trying to overnight their payments, mail their payments, etc.  USPS was only guaranteeing up to 500 miles for overnights.  They could drive that.  There were news stories of people buying cars to make trips, because all the rentals were sold out.  They were carpooling too.  Stories of towns coming together to give sanctuary to air travelers that were instructed to land.  The World came together in a moment. 

Looking back, it was beautiful to see, people coming together
to be together
to mourn
to be happy
to be well
to be loved. 

It's kinda hard to comprehend what happened since then.  The anger then was still present, the fear.  The backlashes. 
theferrett: (Meazel)
[personal profile] theferrett

So this fall I’ll be premiering my “You’re Far Away But Your Hearts Are Close” class on running successful long-distance relationships. And to make that work, I gotta ask y’all:

What would you like to see taught in a class about long-distance relationships?

Some of the questions I’m planning on answering to the best of my ability are:

  • How can you tell if someone’s genuine online?
  • What are the best practices for transitioning from an LDR into a “real life” relationship?
  • How do you handle arguments when you’re not able to cuddle and heal properly afterwards?
  • How does New Relationship Energy affect LDRs?
  • What sorts of relationships can LDRs offer?

But the classes I teach are for you (especially if you’re attending The Geeky Kink Event, Beyond The Love, or Indegeo Conception this fall – so I ask you, “What issues with long-distance relationships would you like to see covered in an LDR class?” I can’t promise I’ll bring it up, but in the best case you might inspire an essay or two later on.

So. What sorts of long-distance relationship issues are you curious about?

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

Sep. 10th, 2017 10:36 am

The Archaeology Of My Posture

theferrett: (Meazel)
[personal profile] theferrett

Salvatore doesn’t remember me.  I’d lay money on that.  I was merely one of his victims, and probably not the most interesting.

He terrorized an entire middle school, after all.

Salvatore won the adolescence lottery – while the rest of us were still waiting on deliveries of impending hormones, he got his testosterone nice and early, shooting up to six feet tall before he finished sixth grade.  He dwarfed teachers.  And he wore wifebeater shirts to show off his muscular arms and had one deep, bellowing call:

“OPEN CHEST!”

If Salvatore saw you, and you weren’t clutching books protectively to your chest, he would punch you in the chest as hard as he could.

I got hit twice.  All it took.

So I clasped my books against my chest like it was a baby, hunching my entire body around it, as did everyone else around me.  People in the halls scurried, because when Salvatore hollered his call even the teachers mysteriously disappeared.

I’m forty-eight years old.  It has literally been thirty-five years since I had to worry about Salvatore.

But my body has still not unclenched.

I know this because I’m in personal training right now, and they are panicked about my posture.  They point out all the muscles that have atrophied because I am a habitual slumper, the damage I’m doing to my spine.  They give me exercises specifically to strengthen my neck because my head hangs forward.

It’s been a month, and when I walk the dog, it’s now uncomfortable to slump.  I have too many aches in those clusters, so it’s easier to stand straight up with my spine properly aligned.

And I feel like an idiot.

I don’t have some crazy worry that Salvatore will appear out of nowhere and punch me – that’s the sort of simplistic one-to-one bullshit that bad writers think up.  No, Salvatore’s crumbled into a finer sediment.

What I feel when I walk properly straightened is foolish.  Because I grew up in a middle school where, because of Salvatore, “standing straight” was a form of pride.  Few kids stood up straight, and those that did usually got cut down something fierce by Salvatore, or had their own unique middle school qualities that made them unappealing to Salvatore’s form of bullying.

I’m not afraid of standing straight.  It feels preposterous.  I feel like people are staring at this idiot walking by with the puffed-out chest and the straight-ahead vision, this Frankenstein bodybuilder’s swagger, and who the hell does that guy think he is?

Yet when a photo of my recent book signing – which, I should add, I’m doing another one in Boston next week, and in San Francisco the week after – surfaced on Facebook, people didn’t recognize me at first.  “You’re looking a lot younger and you seem to be more comfortable standing,” said a friend who’s known me for a decade.  If people notice the way I’m standing, it’s probably a positive impression.

Yet there’s Salvatore.

And there’s all sorts of other memories churned up by walking properly.  I’m not craning my head down to see my feet, so I can’t see where I’m stepping directly, which makes me anxious because I had issues in gym class that caused me to self-identify as a clumsy kid and oh God I’m going to trip why am I walking like this.  I read while I walked on the way to school, and subconsciously I’m angling myself to read the book – or, now, the phone – that I should be looking at while I bumble along.

(Note that #2 contradicts #1.  The archaeology of my memories do not have to make sense when combined.)

And I’ve never thought about these.  It’s just ancient history silently bending me into another shape.  It’s only once I struggle to break free of this that I see how many influences I’ve quietly absorbed to make me believe that this is how I should be.

And I remember a friend of mine, when I told him, “We’re all controlled in part by subliminal impulses we don’t quite understand” and he said, confidently, “No.  Oh, no.  I know every reason I do everything.”  And I thought, even then, that this was a comforting lie he told himself in order to maintain the illusion that he was a being of pure rationality, because the alternative – that much of what we unconsciously decide is shaped by forces we had no control over – was terrifying to him.

But the truth is, we do have our own archaeologies.  Even something as simple as standing is the sum total of a thousand memories, and a few wrong inputs at the right time can change your position forever.

Imagine how complex it gets when it comes to relationships.  Or sex.  Or sex in relationships.

And that’s not to say that you’re powerless to fight these forces.  You’re only powerless if you deny their existence.  I’ve watched my rational, knows-everything friend make exactly the same mistakes across two divorces now, headed towards a third, in part because he can never see how his unconscious habits are undercutting his stated desires.

I’m not saying I’ll learn to stand properly.  This may be a lifelong battle, as it is with my weight, as it is with my mental health, as it is with my writing.  But it’s another tool I can use to battle back something harmful.

And I keep watch. I wonder what other aspects of myself got concretized without my ever knowing it.

I wonder what parts of me I get to dig up tomorrow and replant.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

Sep. 9th, 2017 08:13 pm

I am Grateful: 9.9.2017

irish_dragon: (Default)
[personal profile] irish_dragon
I am grateful for and love Nature.  I went out to Minnehaha Falls today, to attend Pagan Pride.  It was nice and enlightening.  I was approached by a several people.  It was an awesome experience, because it also means I am letting my guard down, so I can be approached.

I am grateful for and love work.  I had one client that didn't show, but I also had two that did, and they were beautiful people and souls.

I am grateful for and love my home.  I got home both times today to both kitties. 

I am grateful for and love the metro transit.  I chose to be the passenger today, and road the bus, and weekends are on the non peak rate of 1.75.

I am grateful for and love my camera phone.  I took lots of pictures at the falls today.

I had a wonderful day Earthing today.  I was happy with what happened today.  All is well in my world
Sep. 8th, 2017 09:47 pm

I am Grateful: 9.8.2017

irish_dragon: (Cat Time)
[personal profile] irish_dragon
I am grateful for and love that I live where I live.  While my thoughts are with those that are living in a hurricane's path, I am happy all I have to worry about is a tornado (maybe).

I am grateful for and love my cat.  I pick her up and love her, carry her around, and torment her.

I am grateful for and love fully booked days.  Today booked in well.  All week today had no clients, but by the time I was done with my first client, I was booked solid.

I am grateful for and love my home.  I love it here, even though I am leaving.  I look around at my home, and I truly love it.  I hope that my roommate chooses and is able to stay, because it would be a shame if she jumped ship.

I am grateful for and love days I am not booked.  I was booked solid today at work, it was nice to have a Friday that I was not booked at home.

I had an awesome day working on awesome people, and taking a hot shower when I got home.
Sep. 8th, 2017 09:35 pm

Changes: 9.8.2017

irish_dragon: (Cat Time)
[personal profile] irish_dragon
So many changes to contemplate.  Changing my home.  Changing the direction of my career.   Changing my income streams.  Changing my food.  Changing my job.  Seriously is it too much?  No. 

I went out to Culver's last weekend, and had an awesome dinner.  Finished it off with an ice cream sunday.  *that was a bad idea*  My tummy started behaving like I ate something with whey in it.  It's sad sometimes to realize the things that you ate, that you enjoyed, no longer bring the same enjoyment. 

When I rolled my right ankle several weeks ago, I had to roll and stand.  I weight about 240 lbs at 5'6".  That's a lot, and it's heavy weight.  I know I can lose the weight.  But I don't have the direction yet.

My paycheck next week will be a little over 500 or a little under it, depending on my deductions.  I contemplate deleting my deductions, but then I remember why I am paying delinquent taxes for 2014 again.

I wake up sometimes and my fingers feel a little fat, like I had either too much sugar, salt, or gluten the day before.  Maybe all three.  My allergies are kicking in because of the increased "comfort food". 

Everything is changing, and sooner or later, it's going to go boom.  In a good way. 

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