juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (I should have been born a cat)
I went down to Corvallis for my mother's 65th birthday almost-surprise party—not a surprise that there would be a party, but a surprise that out-of-towners, including her sisters, would be there; they also gave me my ride down from Portland. I am very bad at social events, even casual ones; I went and I didn't fail miserably (just moderately), so that's something, I suppose.

And I talked with people, uh oh. )

Then I spent ~10 days closed in Devon's bedroom, speaking to no one except a very good dog and occasional cat (and also Devon), lying in bed and reading, and playing the occasional video game; and it was approximately enough recovery.

- - - - -

I came back to PDX because I wanted to see my cat, and we made the mistake of driving up on a weekday afternoon because it fit every schedule except traffic and the first heat wave of the season. The car began to overheat once we hit the Portland traffic, so we ended up pulling off to the dead end of a residential street—a vacant lot and a half, tucked under an overpass and against a power station, nothing there but the shade of trees with their sudden vibrant green and the quiet backs to apartment complexes. We hung out for an hour, to let the car cool and traffic pass; I read 1984 for the millionth time. Then we drove home through back ways we know from when I lived in SE. It was, bizarrely—the unexpected 4-hour car trip, unseasonably hot, broken radio, rush hour traffic, and yet—a lovely, long goodbye, relaxing despite the stressful circumstances.

I hate summer, don't get me wrong. But summer is such an intense experience, so physically present, that the first signs of it conjure something akin to nostalgia: memories of spending all day in bed with all the electronics off, reading, reading, coaxing a crossbreeze out of my opened windows, and the anticipation of sunset and the full-body relief of tired eyes and tired skin. I saw that in the haven we found in that dead end.

- - - - -

These things are over a week old, now, but I've been been so tired lately; I've been having back issues for the last three or four weeks, the "wake up already in pain" variety, which is part of it. All I want to do is lay down and read, but the more time I spend reading, the longer the omnipresent backlog of book reviews becomes, fie. (It is so long.) But there've so many great books lately! Almost everything hovers at that 4-, 4.5-stars level, not quite flawless, but that can't really be a complaint.
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (I should have been born a cat)
LJ's recent ToS update and the final, for-real-this-time exodus hit me harder than I expected, for one logistic reason (my list of book reviews, which I reference a lot for personal use, links to LJ posts, and I will never be arsed to manually replace >600 links), predictable comment- and community-related nostalgia reasons, and vague "the intrusion of the current world climate into my personal bubble" reasons. The compromise? solution? I've opted for is to turn off crossposts and make all of my LJ entries private; I have indefinite, personal access to the comments, but if my LJ is deleted or it becomes wiser to do so, so be it.

A while ago I made a trip down to see Devon which ended up lasting about a week longer than normal. When I see him, a lot of my crazy comes to a head because my subconscious decides the make-it-better person is present and I should therefore provide all the icky things for making-better purposes; as such, I tend to have ironic mental health crises when visiting; as such, I generally make those visits sort of ... vacations from reality, since they're also vacations from my 1.5 responsibilities. So I just ... switched off the politics part of me when I was there, and I was there for ages. And when I got back, I never switched politics back on.

And you know what, I was pushing myself far beyond my limits. So now I'm one the other side of the same debate: I'm not doing the work I deem important, I'm filtering what I expose myself to which, there's inevitable unfilterable intrusions that really bring it home; I'm less crazy, less anxious but more depressed, cognizant always that avoiding the world is only possible because I'm so crazy as to not have a life; I know it's a long game and I can resume my role in it later.

And LJ manages to be simultaneously a petty nothing and emblematic of all of that.
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (Default)
Title: What's Left of Me (The Hybrid Chronicles Book 1)
Author: Kat Zhang
Published: HarperCollins, 2012
Rating: 3 of 5
Page Count: 390
Total Page Count: 211,310
Text Number: 643
Read Because: recommended by Jen Campbell, ebook borrowed from the Multnomah County Library
Review: Everyone is born with two souls in one body, and usually one soul recesses and dies. But Addie and Eva are both still alive, and this is a dangerous secret to keep. This is yet another high-concept YA dystopia, and an approximately convincing one: the premise isn't too tortured, the use of pronouns justifies the first-person narrator and sells the concept, and the result is a quick hook and swift readability without too many suspension of disbelief-violating moments. It helps that the romance is relatively minor, and has human complications without being a love triangle/star-crossed/another genre cliché; it helps more that the core relationship between the sisters is intimate and complex. The readability stumbles a bit when Eva makes stupid mistakes--they're understandable given her life experiences and age, but they're also overbroadcasted and frustrating. It stumbles again in the middle section, which has outright unpleasant themes (that said, I'm particularly sensitive to narratives about institutionalization/denial of autonomy and identity/forced medical procedures) and a slow plot, mostly due to under-characterized and predictable villains. I find it difficult to be objective about this book: It's an above-average take on the genre, acceptably convincing, supported by sufficient emotional investment; it doesn't go above and beyond, but also refuses to succumb to obvious pitfalls. And I found it intensely, offputtingly stressful. This last I think is a personal quirk, and won't carry into the sequels; but I don't think the overall quality compels me to continue the series.

I do wish that any consideration were given to the existence of real-world Dissociative Identity Disorder/related experiences.


Title: A Taste of Honey (The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps Book 2)
Author: Kai Ashante Wilson
Published: Tor, 2016
Rating: 4 of 5
Page Count: 160
Total Page Count: 211,470
Text Number: 644
Read Because: continuing the series, ebook borrowed from the Multnomah County Library
Review: Snapshots of a life of a young lover and his first love. Once again, Wilson's writing is a pleasure. It's vibrant and playful, with an engaging use of language; oversized relationships and characters coexist with unusual genre-bending worldbuilding and issues of race, culture, and class. It's profoundly original, and manages to be both challenging and engaging. I didn't love A Taste of Honey as much as The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps--it's a smaller story; there's a similar combination of interpersonal and worldbuilding, but the worldbuilding has a more restricted effect on the plot. That said, it's interesting to see a wider view of the same setting, and this gave me the style and core elements that I came looking for.


Title: Planetfall (Planetfall Book 1)
Author and narrator: Emma Newman
Published: Blackstone Audiobooks, 2015
Rating: 4 of 5
Page Count: 330
Total Page Count: 211,800
Text Number: 645
Read Because: multiple recommendations, audiobook borrowed from the Multnomah County Library
Review: A small colony on a distant planet is threatened by a human outsider whose arrival uncovers secrets about the colony's origin. The book's speculative elements—the colony's 3D printing and communication network, the nearby alien structure and its effect on humans—are compelling, and inform everything from daily minutiae to the mystery plot to the colony's religious origin. The protagonist, Ren, has a distinct and precise voice, focused equally on engineering and the human condition; her comorbid mental illnesses are central to her experience as well as the plot's mystery. The depiction of these illnesses is complicated—it's unflinching, compassionate, but also exploited to build drama; upsetting to read at the best of times, but sometimes unjustifiably so. The ending abandons the local, colony-level scale for something more transcendental; I think it works, but it also compromises the pacing and tone. This is one of the more absorbing reading experiences I've encountered in a while: it has a great voice and protagonist, it's astute and wrenching and intriguing, and Newman has a phenomenal eye for detail; but too much is dictated by the murder-mystery plot—and those contrivances sometimes override the more successful, subtle elements.

I had an incredibly difficult time assessing my reaction to how Planetfall handles mental illness; thoughts on that below the cut, & beware spoilers. Originally posted on Tumblr.

Read more... )
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (I should have been born a cat)
Last night, I was finally able to make some calls to senators/representatives, Department of Justice, poll lines, etc.; not as much as I want to do, unfortunately nothing yet touching the Standing Rock situation, but significantly more than nothing. What made this possible for me is fourfold.

One: If you're comfortable with VoIP but not phone calls, and/or don't have or use a phone, and/or only have access to a landline and are worried about charges: it's possible to make all phone calls from a computer (I used Google Hangouts), and within the United States those calls are free. Staying within the comfort zone of my computer screen and headset made it easier to step out of my comfort zone and, you know, make calls; it also meant easy access to my notes.

Two: Talking to a live person is probably the most effective thing you can do, but leaving a voice message is more effective than emails/website comments and significantly more effective than doing nothing at all. Out of business hours and national holidays are good times to make sure you get a machine, not a person. (For example: this week)

Three: There are scripts for most/all calls to action. "We're His Problem Now" Calling Sheet has scripts for everything it advocates; I also found some just by googling "[political issue] script." Using those as a starting point makes the process significantly more accessible.

Four: One of the "how to make phone calls with social anxiety" posts floating around explicitly says it's okay not to be able to make calls, and that validation and forgiveness, in a hilarious turn of events, eased my anxiety enough that I was able to make calls. So I'll restate it here: what is phone anxiety for some people maybe literally disabling for other people. If your disability is making certain things impossible, hopefully there are other things you will be able to do—but, regardless, you are forgiven. Look after yourself.

I'm sincerely grateful for the people on social media who are proliferating calls to action, providing their own scripts, and working at the interpersonal level to help people manage their anxiety, because those things are making this accessible to me. And please, if you can speak out, do speak out, because there are people who cannot safely speak who still need advocates and protection.

- - -

(I'm feeling a little better having actually done something, but not better enough that I've left the house or will be traveling for Thanksgiving; hopefully I can see my family that weekend or the weekend after, since there are tentative plans for them to visit me. The frantic anxiety has mostly passed, to everyone's sadness—the compulsive cleaning was productive!—and left me with the predictable depression. With a particularly weird symptom this time, alongside the usual sleep upfuckery & nothing tastes like food: a weird musty smell that followed me from room to room, regardless of how much bathing and laundry I did, regardless even of if the central air was running, probably because I was creating it with my mind; the actual smell of sadness? if so, sadness is a mundane, vaguely unpleasant, inescapable scent.

I feel, like most people probably, like every time I'm getting better something in the world gets worse. The most haunting for me, personally, is that I've lived until now in a steel fortress of Godwin's Law—I hate reject ignore almost all mentions of and comparisons to and narratives about Nazis, because near all of them do harm, they obfuscate or idealize, essentially benefiting from the Holocaust without productively discussing it; but right now, comparisons are not hyperbole, they are literal and they are being made by my people. That we live in a world where we make video game villains Nazis as an earmark of "bad person, murder without compunction" but call Neo-Nazis the alt-right, give them the benefit of political correctness, normalize and idealize them, and refuse to see them as Nazis and therefore as bad people is ... I don't know what to do with that. It requires a readjustment of how I process information. It creates such an amount of fear and anger.

Living in Oregon is a strange thing: to look up all my reps and see that they've already spoken against Bannon is heart-mending in an essential way, but also means that my contacting them on this issue isn't particularly valuable, which is what living in Oregon always feels like: this is a pocket of relative, bare-minimum safety with no political power to extend that safety or, right now, to preserve it. I did a thing! I'm trying, I'm helping, and doing that does make me feel better & more able to do more to help. But it is also so hard, and requires me exceeding my personal limitations, and for what? My reach is so limited, for so many reasons.

My sister's cancer diagnosis two years ago was a reminder that it is less that I am better, despite my wealth of experience and coping mechanisms, and more that I have removed all possible stresses from my life; and that when stresses are irremovable, I am not better, I am very bad indeed. The day after the election I wrote, "dealing with anything while mentally ill is hard, and this is dealing with something, a big something, and I am at a loss." That compounds, every day.)
juushika: Photograph of the torso and legs of a female-bodied figure with a teddy bear. (Bear)
In 2010, September, October, the rise in queer suicides among students and the It Gets Better campaign hit me in a personal and unproductive way—my intersection with those groups and experiences compounded preexisting mental illness and left me ill and non-contributive, in general but specifically in my attempts to aid those groups I was part of and sympathetic to. I wrote about it here.

I feel like my response to this election is a larger version of that, because while I fall into some marginalized groups I am not visibly marginalized except in my assigned gender and I'm living in a relatively safe area of the country (the occasional celebratory firework not withstanding) and (for aforementioned "not a real person" reasons) I won't be directly effected by most changes, and there are marginalized groups in present and future danger, some without a safe place to fall to pieces, who need people to self-educate and provide support and not co-opt their experience. But I am doing my good god damnedest to fall apart, I tell you what; I am high anxiety fending off major depression and my agoraphobia is vast, firm, unrelenting.

I've been keeping myself so desperately busy, exploiting the anxious energy to fend off the point where anxiety tips into panic; I vacuumed everything, I baked more apples, I'm reading a lot & catching up on Critical Role & playing Stardew Valley enough that my wrists are acting up, I'm not sleeping much. I feel like I am courting a major depressive episode, and I don't know—I've never known—when "self-care" is or isn't indulgence, and if I can create my own depression by accident or in search for validation. Experience this trauma and grief now, people write, so that you can limit its extent and enable yourself to move on to activism—but what does that mean when mental illness makes it impossible to process and heal? What is activism when you can't leave the house or interact with people, and have no money?

But Devon wrote to me:

I'm sorry. I don't know.. I think you can contribute by voting and we have lots of opportunity to fight the system with that in the next bit. there will be elections for senators and elections for house of reps people and we need to get Democrats in those positions to balance everything out.
and that's about all anyone can do at this point unless they're in a place where they can contribute.
I'm sorry that things are so rough for you right now.
I really am.
and I know that doesn't really say much, but I know that this whole thing is terrible and you have the right to feel hurt by it all, everyone's interactions are different.
I love you lots.


and I think it's all I have right now. There will be things I can do, even if they are the barest possible minimum for a decent human being, but there is right now nothing I can do except hold on, because I am not doing a great job at even that.

(All of this is compounded by the recent suicide of someone in the LJ community, someone I did not know but only knew of, but whose situations and motivations run parallel to my own; it's a discomforting mirror and a reminder of the validity of this experience, while somehow managing to feel like yet another pain I am co-opting. I'm not sure what to do with these thoughts, all of these thoughts.)
juushika: Photograph of the torso and legs of a female-bodied figure with a teddy bear. (Bear)
A few days ago I put something moderately fragile down on a semi-unstable surface for 2.5 minutes, said to myself, "self, be careful not to let this drop!" and then promptly dropped it and injured the fragile thing, about which I care a lot in a stunning display of this is your spacial reasoning with dyscalculia/this is your memory with brainfog/these are your fine motor skills with anemia and anxiety disorders. I'm pretty clumsy, but this was particularly timed: breaking (not beyond repair, but it's the principle of the thing) a discretionary purchase and treasured object, while anxious about another potential discretionary purchase—a sort of universal sign that probably can I not only afford to buy things, I don't deserve to have them. It sent me into a massive anxiety spiral; three days later, I'm still recovering.

I'm absolutely aware that was a ridiculous overreaction. I'm not surprised that it happened, either, because my financial anxieties have easy triggers and I drop things so often that this particular sequence of events was inevitable. But I don't appreciate the obnoxiously obvious parallel: the things I love are fragile, my mental health is fragile, and I'm fragile, one tiny accident (that someone neurotypical could brush off) away from a meltdown.

That's it, the whole thing; no counter-lesson and only time and patience and Devon being exhaustively over-conscientious have helped; nor am I recording for any particular purpose (to record every time Dumb Thing Happened and I had a breakdown as result would be both exhausting and embarrassing) except that the moral of the story, however obvious it is, was so spot-on that it's been stuck in my head as some sort of life lesson. Perhaps writing it down will make it known and done, and I can be free of it.

Mid-80s warm weather yesterday, and Dee and I went out to dinner and coffee (and then I such headache, very sun, I was probably too strung out for it but I can't turn down Thai and Starbucks); it should be, loosely, the last warm day of the year. Gray and steady rain, today; red leaves on the horizon out my left hand window. I'm transitioning into my autumn media, especially visual media; I'm prepping my winter to read list. Dee made pumpkin muffins which were a little dry for me, but I found that soaked if a 2:1 water:maple syrup for a few minutes and then microwaved in a ramekin for 30secs they become individual dense pumpkin bread puddings, best if topped with cream cheese. There are small blessings.
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (I should have been born a cat)
As a Christmas gift (which I picked up belatedly, since I skipped Christmas) my parents got me tickets for their Ashland trip to see Hamlet, Twelfth Night, and The Wiz. I used to make at least one yearly Shakespeare trip with my family, and miss it fiercely; it was particularly painful to see these plays on their calendar, because they're personal favorites and because we saw them together once when the Shakepeare trip was to the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon. So when they told me I was invited, I actually broke out in tears.

Of course, as the actual trip approached I remembers to be consumed by anxiety, because I'm not good at a lot of uninterrupted public time, especially without Devon with me, so I didn't know how I'd fare in three days company with my parents. But not only did I survive, it was a lovely and storied journey. I'm not going to write about the plays in detail here (that will be in the next post); this is a recap of itinerary, weather, and food.

We left noonish on Tuesday, June 14. It's a ~3h drive. I requested no news coverage in the car, as this was two days after the Orlando shooting and I just could not deal; instead of a few uninterrupted hours of repetition and Islamophobia, my mum put on the Hamilton soundtrack. I was aware of Hamilton and had heard a song or two, but had never listened to the entire thing. It is such a productive, powerful way to spend that time.

We got a divided room at our favorite hotel, which meant one king bed and sofa bed, separated by privacy curtain. For both mental and physical reasons, I'm a troubled sleeper—but the accommodations plus the bedding and hotpad I travel with, and the hours we kept, worked beautifully; I was surprisingly comfortable there. We also kept a two meal/lunch and dinner schedule, which is what I prefer.

Hotel wifi was speedy and stable (!!!); I used VoIP to catch up with Devon every evening (because normal people have cell phones but my particular anxiety means I don't), and that worked beautifully.

Tuesday dinner was Standing Stone Brewing Company. I got nachos; greasy, sometimes chewy chips, which was unfortunate, but the rest was flavorful and had good texture. Huge serving portions. Mixed bag, but, like, upscale tasty nachos, I can't complain about that.

The ongoing problem with eating in Ashland wasn't finding vegetarian options, but finding vegetarian options that had at some point rubbed themselves against a form of protein. I eat significantly more protein than most people, so perhaps this only bothers me—but while vegetarian (and vegan, and gluten-free) options were often exhaustively labeled, the first two were "normal dish with meat removed." I forget how spoiled I am by meat alternatives in Portland and even Corvallis.

Tuesday evening was Hamlet, in the open-air Elizabethan. Rather than raising an American flag, they raised a pride flag to general cheering; it was striking against the gray sky of dusk, and a heartening public gesture. It sprinkled just enough to warrant rain jackets, and got cold enough to demand one more layer than I wore, but neither required modifications to the play. I would rather it be a little chilly than horrible and hot while I'm traveling, I thought! Oh, little did I know.

Wednesday and Thursday brunch was Morning Glory, which is twee (a bit like stepping into a Mary Engelbreit illustration) and crowded and overpriced, and doesn't accept substitutions which is hard for me as a vegetarian/picky eater. On Wednesday I had a fantastic open-faced egg sandwich, but on Thursday I tried an omelet which was overly full, too strongly flavored, and had an awful texture. Mixed bag.

Wednesday afternoon was Twelfth Night in the Angus Bowmer. Afterward, my father and I went to the Q&A with Ted Deasy, who played Malvolio—what a marvelous experience. The volunteer introduced him as one of their favorite actors in the company and said that, after this talk, he would be one of ours too; absolutely correct. He had active, informed insights to his role, the play (esp. how it handled gender), and acting, with some particularly thoughtful anecdotes about how playing two characters in a single season forces those roles to inform one another, often in unique ways. (The particular anecdote about an audience member from a previous Q&A like this one asking, "I saw you in X play and Y play this season; why do you perform both roles the same?" which prompted a season-long bout of self-doubt, do I play these roles the same? why? should I? that lead him to realize what similarities united the roles, and then to be increasingly aware of how the overlap was both strengthening and muddying his performance.) The occasional talk by an actor devolves into them advertising their independent projects, but most are equally as compelling as the plays—and this was one of those.

Wednesday dinner was Caldera. A tip: when possible, eat as early as possible and/or drive outside of downtown; no waiting for a table and less rush. The dishes weren't particularly strongly flavored, but were robust; and one appetizer was a baked avocado, which isn't even that different from a normal avocado except for being warm and with a somewhat deeper flavor, but was still somehow a revelation: I can love avocado even more than I already loved avocado. Desserts, by contrast, were bizarrely strong in flavor.

Wednesday evening was The Wiz in the Elizabethan. Learning from the night before, we had stocked up on extra layers and a blanket. This helped somewhat, but not an awful lot, because it rained. It rained almost torrentially until intermission, and then only sprinkled while growing increasingly cold, "I know I probably won't die of hypothermia in the two hours' traffic of our stage, but I'm a little worried" cold. About two thirds of the audience left, and we toughed it out in part because you don't go to Ashland to bail on a play and in part because the cast enthusiastically toughed it out, too. Half of them wore ponchos, I'm sure some choreography was modified, and the adlibbed responses to the weather were delightful. Certainly an experience! But, as we commiserated after the event, by the time they made it back to the Emerald City we were all three of us thinking, "click your heels, Dorothy, just click your fucking heels."

Anxiety is a strange monster. On one hand, it well prepares me for this sort of thing, because I know to bring my suitcase full of comfort objects and I know to always have a book to read so that I never have unwelcome idle time which is my surefire way to begin panicking (and there's a lot of downtime in car rides/waiting for tables/before plays and during intermission). On the other, it infallibly makes me assume things will be awful, while things are not infallibly awful. It turns out that, given a busy enough schedule that we are either completely occupied or crashing during all available downtime, even I can do things for three solid days without a nervous breakdown.
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (I should have been born a cat)
I made an unusually long visit to Corvallis, because I hadn't seen Devon for a while and because I was making a trip with my parents to go to Ashland and see some Shakespeare (!! !). I usually travel by train, but Devon and I drove back up today because he had to pick up a friend from the local airport.

This is the sort of thing that only I could do:

As we approached the airport, Devon called his friend to let him know we were running 20mins late on account of traffic. I was unsure if this was traffic-traffic or "traffic"-traffic, as we had stopped for dinner along the way and I legitimately did not remember any traffic congestion. It occurred to me that if it were white lie-traffic, I was complicit in a white lie! so I queried Devon. Devon recounted for me the three (3) episodes of stop and go traffic that resulted from some broken-down cars, which occurred approximately when I was talking in depth about 1) the abuse of Malvolio and its end-game resolution as appeared in this production of Twelfth Night,* 2) the way the B-plot was weighted against the A-plot in Twelfth Night, the ways they were knit together, the depth given to the B-plot, 3) the overlap of an actor in Twelfth Night and Hamlet, and as natural segue, 4) which was the more successful production of the two (spoiler: Twelfth Night), especially in conceit, but 5) that this was one of my very favorite Hamlets.**

Which makes these things the take-away:

My memory is so spotty that I can entirely forget not one, not two, but three separate repetitions of the same event.

I am so engrossed in media criticism that I can carry on a one-sided outpouring of Shakespeare Thoughts that lasts through at least 20-mins-late worth of traffic.

My compulsive honesty is so intense and deeply ingrained that even being adjacent to the possibility of a small lie will cause me anxiety and require immediate clarification/resolution.


* As a type-A fellow antisocial uptight often-socially-corrected personality, Malvolio is one of my favorite Shakespeare characters and I am incredibly sensitive to how productions depict his abuse and its aftermath—whether it's played for fun, whether the audience is complicit, whether his "I'll be revenged on the whole pack of you" does or doesn't diffuse the anxiety of the realization that things have, indeed, gone too far. This one was handled so well! so explicit, so cruel, so unforgiven; he internalizes his enforced socialization, his "smile," but reclaims it, develops it into a tool to use against those that hurt him. It threatens to diffuse and then refuses to, so pointedly. It was all I ever wanted.

** I feel that too much Hamlet discussion and production is given to issues of is he mad or faking (& is he flippant or bereaved); in this production he was all, he was driven to an extremity of emotion and he was numb, impassioned but indecisive, feigning and sincere, sarcastic and authentic. He was complete. That is the Hamlet which makes the play endure, who engages our ambivalence and writes it vast yet sympathetic, and we see ourselves in him, and we fear him, and fear ourselves
juushika: Photograph of the torso and legs of a female-bodied figure with a teddy bear. (Bear)
Traditionally, I am very bad at auditory media because I succumb to multitasking and then to not listening, and I'm not a strong auditory learner to begin with. But then I learned to take podcasts on walks, which limit the potential for multitasking considerably; it's what I did with Wolf 359 after [livejournal.com profile] junkmail recommended it to me. Wolf 359 is really good! You should listen to it! (The first half of the first season is overly episodic; atop the humor, it grows slight. But as the overarching plot emerges, it forms a lovely balance between a focus on high risk setting and comic relief, united by a focus on communication. I liked what I listened to of Welcome to Night Vale once upon a time, but never grew attached; Wolf 359 has that missing attachment in droves.) And then I ran out of episodes and felt bereft.

I'd love suggestions for ongoing genre narratives in podcast form! No for serious give me recs. I tried The Leviathan Chronicles but just could not—long episodes, slow build, stiff info-dump dialog, and, while I want to love the sci-fi meets Old Ones premise, in practice it errs towards hard sci-fi meets camp which ... is less enjoyable.

And then it occurred to me that short fiction podcasts were probably a thing; and lo, they are totally a thing: Escape Pod (sci-fi) and PodCastle (fantasy) ETA: and Psuedopod (horror) have solved all of my problems. I'm impressed by the quality and variety, and I appreciate the accessibility. AKA: reasons Juu was walking down residential roads crying single dignified tears (today).

I started walking a lot when August was having food issues (which, thankfully, resolved a few days after last mention), because being away and therefore temporarily immune to responsibility was such a relief. It was also comforting to be entirely engaged, or, rather, unable to split my engagement. Multitasking is my default state, physically but especially mentally: multiple running, exhausting, competitive interior monologues that create a desire to disappear into external stimuli and an inability to successfully do so simply because I can never pare down or shut off my thoughts are the underlying framework of my anxiety.

Walking while listening to stories doesn't make the mess in my head go away, but it gives me multiple concrete and consuming stimuli (physical, auditory) while removing the tempting access to secondary stimuli, multitasking that mimics and therefore encourages my mental multitasking. I am aware I am hardly the first to stumble into what's effectively neurotic people's dirty tricks for walking meditation, but I'm glad I have. With one catch-22 exception: since my usual ability to do stuff extends to one thing per day, and walking counts as a thing, having this healthy and productive outlet means I'm tired all the time.
juushika: A black and white photo of an ink pen. (Writing)
So tired.

August has gone from: rejecting bland wet food and reluctantly eating increasing quantities of bland dry food > rejecting bland dry food and eating increasing quantities of normal dry food > rejecting bland dry food, also rejecting normal dry food, and eating increasing quantities of bland wet food. She's still not up to normal intake even with these aspects combined, but is no longer having issues vomit or diarrhea problems. She will sometimes eat more if I sit with her or hold her in my lap. Otherwise, she looks and acts entirely normal. The dry/wet preference seems indicative of recurring periodontal disease, but the vet checked for that and ruled it ongoing, tooth cleaning sometime, but shouldn't be causing issues now, and her blood tests/symptoms did indicate some sort of minor gut upset. Maybe teeth coincided with gut upset, and the vet underestimated how bad they were? The vet said things would be fine if they continued to improve/didn't get worse; they're not getting worse, they're technically slowly improving, but in weird and out of character ways that seem to indicate ongoing problems.

The labor that is feeding August is complicated by the fact that Gillian is a problem eater (needs to be locked in with his food to keep from wandering off and forgetting to eat it, but hates being locked away; yells until I come sit with him while he eats dinner, which is spoons I just don't have) and that Dare is so far the opposite as to become a problem (eats fast enough to make herself vomit, so I have to take her food away 2-3 times per meal to make her slow down) and also needs her open eye socket cleaned around food-time because that's when it gets goopy. So I spend two 1.5h blocks/day hopping between cats to multitask their food intake—

—while trying to figure out, always in the background, what to do about August. (switch to other wet food semi-permanently? revisit vet? can either/both be budgeted? I am intentionally uninvolved with finances and money is my foremost anxiety trigger, so I find it difficult to account for that aspect of these decisions).

Cat management is my only responsibility and real contribution to the universe and it's comparably limited in scope, but I am nonetheless not coping well and perpetually exhausted and prone to taking long walks, which is an outlet, which gets me away from here; right now, away is all I want.
juushika: Screen capture of the Farplane from Final Fantasy X: a surreal landscape of waterfalls and flowers. (Anime/Game)
I am sitting here after very little sleep, waiting for August's bloodwork to come in—

—thinking about affect, and the fact that, whenever a bad thing is happening, one part of me is having an emotional reaction and another part of me is judging my emotional reaction: is this appropriate? is this authentic? am I performing "sad" or "scared"? When my outward expressions are insufficient, I'm never sure if it's because I'm still processing or because my reluctance to express creates an inability to experience. And always is the certainty that all of it is pretense, even when there's a concrete, external cause. This complicates the experience of bad things, becomes a sort of meta-anxiety.

I know where that self-doubt comes from. It's the natural result of an adolescence and young adulthood being told that all my negative feelings and expressions were drama-mongering, and an adulthood with an invisible condition that likes to go stealth, leaving me with comorbid tremors and depression but unable to feel the underlying pain. But I wonder when that sort of armchair self-psychoanalysis has run its course; at what point does knowing the root of a problem fail to excuse or alleviate it?

—eating chocolate: Madécasse: Sea Salt & Nibs, 63% cocoa. Picked this up because it was on clearance, and to my surprise the company seems sincerely mindful. But the chocolate itself is only so-so. I'm a percentage snob and this is way below my grade; regardless, the soft, sweet, fruity chocolate doesn't work well with the crunchy, strong, salty inclusions. The inclusions are sprinkled on the back of the bar, which looks nice but makes for irregular flavor and texture. This isn't awful and I want to like it very much, but I wouldn't get it again.

—and getting August's results! All is well: her bloodwork is normal, other than indications that she may have been fighting something off, which is consistent with her stomach issues and is already being treated with medication (metronidazole). She's still on bland food and still not eating her normal amount, but her food intake is slowly increasing, all her other symptoms have cleared up, her water intake is fine, and she's had little behavioral change. Unless things get worse/fail to get better, she should be fine. We still don't know what caused this; probably an undefined stomach bug or indigestion.

Now I can sleep mindlessly watch Star Trek for a week.
juushika: Screen capture of the Farplane from Final Fantasy X: a surreal landscape of waterfalls and flowers. (Anime/Game)
A week ago: While sitting up in bed, I threw out my upper back. How? with magic? a perverse force of will?? My trapezius on both sides were just gone, goodbye; everything hurt, but the worst offenders were sleep and the computer. I have a huge pain tolerance and endless experience with back pain, but it resisted every one of my treatments. (In retrospect, I should have iced it—the one thing I never do for my lower back, because it causes cramping.) What is it about a different pain that's somehow worse than chronic pain, not so much because it is worse or even more debilitating, but because these carefully honed coping mechanisms are now inapplicable. I've been dealing with my lower back for 15 years; I should either be exempt from other pain, or equipped to deal with anything. I was not. It went about 4 days without improvement, but is now back to normal anxious-person's-muscles level of ow.

A few days ago: Dee's mother's dog, Casey, died suddenly. Cut for brief discussion of pet death: Read more... ) This is not my immediate pain, but I still care immensely. All dogs are good dogs, but he was such a good dog, surfeit with love, content if he could just lean on you or lay against you and be touched. And so obedient, especially when I knew him and his puppyhood awful (of which I've heard horror stories!) was gone. And so engaged with his people. The loss hasn't quite registered for me, yet; but I've never been so glad that I had Thanksgiving with him and Odi. This was Casey: one, two, three, four.

Last night: Dreamed the mother of all anxiety dreams: I was back in school, living simultaneously-via-dream-logic at Devon's parents's house and in a boarding environment, and became convinced that the environment was so unhealthy and I was so stressed that I shouldn't have pets anymore, so I drowned August by luring her into a swiftly-flowing river with treats. Cut for suicidal ideation: Read more... ) I know what factors underlay all aspects of this dream; it was still singularly awful.

Tomorrow: Taking the train down to see Devon, to celebrate our 13th anniversary. (See: dreaming about his parents's house.) This is absolutely a good thing! It also bring with it "I have to leave the house" anxiety and "why do I have to travel to see him after thirteen years?" anxiety. It has been a long and strange week, an unearthly haze of blurred vision and intense pain and abstracted loss and anxiety. It will be good to make a clean break with it by traveling.
juushika: A black and white photo of an ink pen. (Writing)
Yesterday I discovered bullet journaling, which sparked way more feelings than any journaling system should rightly warrant. I keep a Moleskine, for review drafts and notes; I love the efficiency of marking dates in my Google calendar; I keep an exhaustive list of media to consume and media consumed. There's an absolute appeal in the idea of a consolidated journal, especially written all pretty and neat, and tangible.

But. I switched my to read/watch/etc lists to a digital format because it was easier to annotate and to access, since I can use OneNote offline on my phone. Ditto a digital calendar, also because Devon/messenger systems can add to it, also because it provides alerts. My review notes are by necessity not amendable to bullets. And here's the thing about to-do lists, which is basically what a bullet journal is in long form: I don't have daily responsibilities, I don't have classes or deadlines or a social schedule; I have intentionally withdrawn from any level of society where I might have to do a certain thing or meet a person at or by certain time.

That withdraw was intentional, and it's what keeps me sane; I'm aware that, insofar as my starting point is "too crazy for real life," I'm lucky that I'm able to live this way. But this sort of hyper/aesthetic/tangible organization is so much my thing that realizing I have no use for it is a bitter reminder that my starting point sucks, that what I escape is also what I'm forbidden.

It does make me want to keep an index in my Moleskines, though, to mark the occasional unfinished thought/longterm reference item. It makes me wonder why there's no bullet journal equivalent software, because customizable calendars and entry formats are beyond the scope of printing but would be achievable digitally. And it makes me wonder how much tangibility matters—I write my review notes longform both for convenience and as a part of my thought process, but switching to digital for my media lists has made them significantly more useful and easier to maintain. How important is tangibility for to do lists? Depends on the person, I suppose.

And it makes me want to do what first popped into my head as "bullets chronicling each day," and keep not a list of to-dos but have-dones, not reviews but single statements about media ongoing consumption or moment by moment thoughts—the intended purpose of my Tumblr, but I'm so given to long-form writing and my anxiety makes me paranoid about talking about something while still consuming it, so my Tumblr never really gets used that way.

And it makes me think about the irony of thinking about doing a thing, any thing, instead of actually doing anything.
juushika: Photograph of the torso and legs of a female-bodied figure with a teddy bear. (Bear)
In Sense8, a trans woman undergoes forced hospitalization and is threatened with a lobotomy (for reasons unrelated to but not independent of her gender identity); in Sarah Waters's Fingersmith, one Victorian woman is committed to an asylum under false pretenses while the other is held captive. If you asked, I'd probably say that my biggest fears, other than the crippling agoraphobia which is at this point more a personality trait than a fear, are spiders, automatonophobia/life where life shouldn't be, and existential horror. It's surprising how often those things come up, in daily life and in video games and in the night sky. But let me tell you, I am fucking terrified of the idea of forced hospitalization, medical procedures, and institutionalization.

Terrified, almost, on the level of agoraphobia. My other fears have that push/pull of horror, and revulsion that can be manipulated into intrigue. But, while I think there's room to creatively explore and even idealize mental illness/institutionalization, specifically in/of women (see: my thoughts on Emilie Autumn's Fight Like a Girl), there's no potential in me for a pleasant thrill. I suppose it's too real. I've never been hospitalized, but it's always been at the fringe of my experience—offhand comments by authority figures, horror stories from peers; half the reason I'm afraid to seek any help is the fear of the form that help may take. On some level, I've always believed I deserved it—that I am sufficiently incapacitated that I should not be able to self-govern. What makes it worse is that these narratives are often about women who are not mentally ill: it's terrifying that the social standing innate to gender and perceived neurotypicality are used to control and punish women, but, even worse, these women don't even deserve it—and part of their punishment is being alongside actual crazies, who do. These women at least have the narrative to advocate for them; whether or not it ends well, we as consumers know that their situation is unfair. What advocate would I have?

(I think this is why Emilie Autumn's Fight Like a Girl doesn't bother me as much—nor, to some extent, American Horror Story: Asylum: the PoV is not solely "sane person punished by being viewed as crazy"; both have mentally ill characters that the narrative still acknowledges are undeserving victims of the system.)

It's not something that will happen, and on society's scale of crazies mine are pretty acceptable—it's probably not something that could happen. And even if it did, there's every possibility that I have a skewed perspective built on historical evidence and horror stories, and that some forms of forced/in-patient medial aid would help me. And it doesn't matter. The idea makes me so anxious and miserable that a bit of logical counterpoint means nothing.

As fate would have it, Sense8 and Fingersmith are the primary show I'm watching/book I'm reading right now. They're both quite good! But consuming them at the same time meant that last night when trying to wind down to sleep I couldn't even give up one piece of media for another that would be less anxiety-provoking. "I know!" I thought. "I'll grab the next Circle of Magic book, because middle-grade wish fulfillment about found families and personal ability will certainly sooth my anxiety." But my elibrary hold still hasn't come in, and I couldn't *cough* "find" an epub on the entire damn internet. But by some minor miracle, even though it was 3a, Devon was awake and he read to me the two last chapters of a Wizard of Oz book, and then I read two chapters of a Narnia book, and then I slept.
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (I should have been born a cat)
I have this anti-anxiety "visualization" that I use to compartmentalize my obsessive thinking. Visualization is an approximation because I don't have visual images, so instead I focus on detailed imaginings of physical actions.

I imagine the negative thought as a physical object directly in front of me, and then imagine confining that object—sometimes I kneed it into a small ball, sometimes I put it in a box with a lid, sometimes I tie it up with string. Then I take the small, contained object and I put it way, way behind/beside me, somewhere over my right shoulder, too far back to see in my peripheral vision. If the thought reoccurs—which happens—I revisit the new location to remind myself that thought has been set aside.

I have many (albeit justified) hangups about the idea of being rid of my obsessive thinking—that it is pervasive and unremitting is core to my anxiety, and I won't let that be denied. This doesn't deny it: it recognizes it, and then sets it aside. It's one of the only ways I find relief.

I've been all over the place since Mama died, predictably. I miss her frequently, in a way I don't often experience loss, simply because she was so present and now she's not: not when I feed cats, not when I count heads dozing on beds, not there to visit me when I wake up in the morning. And I keep catching myself wanting to take those thoughts, bundle them up, and set them aside.

I have no idea if I should. Almost everything I ever feel is awful—illogical, constant, pointless awful, like being trapped forever in that 3am feeling of failing to sleep while successfully reliving that humiliating thing you did in tenth grade that everyone has forgotten but you. Those aren't thought process I've ever been able to work through and put to rest, so I know that putting them aside is healthy—it's sure healthier than endlessly experiencing them. I don't know what healthy mental processes feel like. I don't know what healthy grief feels like. Would compartmentalizing these feelings prevent me from working through them? I don't want to treat Mama's memory like the other stupid stuff I obsess about; I want to keep her alive in me and to remember, and fondly, all the things that I miss right now. But my brain is fragile—how much backlash do I risk if I let myself spiral into grief?

I end up vaguely paralyzed, holding that thought, that constant missing, as a solid object in front of me, unsure where to put it, where it should go. I miss her.
juushika: A black and white photo of an ink pen. (Writing)
The closest analog I can find for Emilie Autumn's Fight Like A Girl tour is the film Sucker Punch; Sucker Punch meets burlesque. It's asylumpunk, if you will: the combined idealization and anxiety around mental illness in women, and the historical connection between women and mental illness—the trifecta of society creating it in women, and diagnosing it on the basis of non-normative/-socially acceptable behavior, and using it as a tool to control women's bodies and behavior. It's about the objectification and commodification of women, and reclaiming the female body—especially the sexualized female body—as a tool to gain personal power.

Sucker Punch rises and falls: on one hand, it's a powerful representation of dissociation as a result of trauma and sexual violence, and it's an attempt to attain agency using the sexualized female body—women gaining power via a tool used to take power from women; on the other, it gets swept up in its own aesthetic, is culturally appropriative, and objectifies conventionally attractive cis-gendered skinny young women in a way that doesn't defy the system in the least but instead buys into it.

'Punk movements and anything else that measures idealization against anxiety run the risk that the audience will see them for the former and not the latter, see: the problem with steampunk. Sucker Punch encounters a lot of this; Autumn's work, especially on the topic of mental illness, evades much of it by being a self-aware, ironic idealization combined with explicit statements about the problems surrounding such. Idealization is a tool used against and by the mentally ill: waif-like ill women, manic pixie dream girls, correlations between madness and creativity, and the sense that there's anything redeeming at all about mental illness, either for the sufferer or the individuals and society that surround them—which there's not, and insisting that there is denies the true experiences of sufferers; but the illness can so completely define its sufferers that idealizing it, and creating identity and community within it, is the only recourse. Like any reclaimed identity, this stems from within but attempts to fight against the oppressive system.

Because the worst of my mental illness is/was defined by total isolation, the group experience of Autumn's asylum and Crumpets is, for me, the least successful aspect of her work, although I realize what it achieves and how. But it's also dangerous: it's community, idealization, tragic beauty—sufficiently imperfect to be accessible rather than untouchable, but too easy to accept without viewing critically. And, as with any 'punk-like movement: when you fail to view it critically, with a focus on its anxieties, you end up supporting its roots in an oppressive system rather than its attempts to critique or controvert it. Autumn speaks explicitly about the anxiety; I feel as if the audience often doesn't hear her.

As an attempt to reclaim the female body, the FLAG show is even more problematic—because it, too, is about the objectification of conventionally attractive cis-gendered skinny white young women. It's the same problem of modern burlesque: it can be "male gaze"punk, reclaiming the same sexualized body that society creates and then punishes, engaging and subverting certain social standards—but too often it's viewed without an eye towards that anxiety, and the result is just more male gaze. In FLAG, it's a fan dance to "Dominant." It's also a hell of a lot of queer baiting: that two women kissing is presented as titillating, corrupting, or in any way worthy of a show, but only, of course!, just another skit.

There's an incredibly discomforting fanfiction skit that left our group divided. Autumn ends it with a faux-offended monologue about the masturbatory objectification about the "strong, proud women who you are supposed to respect," and the objectification is treated as a complicit joke—the artists using it to control and titillate the audience, but by doing so submitting precisely to the audience's script—which leaves the audience yelling out for "more!" Is this supposed to be as gross at it seems to be? Humor can be about tension, it can be the laugh that indicates discomfort, confusion, anxiety. The skit had a lot of that humor; the audience response had none.

I feel like Autumn knows her shit. I've been watching a good number of her interviews these last few days, and have the utmost respect for her. Her work is intentional; she couches explicit message within certain seductive tropes. I find it highly resonant, more as person with mental illness than as a woman but effective nonetheless. The live show was fantastic, but I can't say I was entirely content with the experience. There's some shows where half the audience leaves ten minutes early to beat traffic and you want to yell that they just don't get it; here, it was the front and center screaming crowd that seemed, to me, to miss the point. To take and change, to reclaim, the weapons of bodies and mind that are used against us is extremely powerful; it's a war I'm fighting, and Autumn's work can be a battlecry. But sometimes the show, and more often the audience, seem to lose track of their objective. It's not that there can be no sense of humor and fun, it's not that the corsets can't be pretty and the burlesque routines can't be attractive—but sometimes the truth of Autumn's experience screaming through in the lyrics feels shocking: like the surprise exception, rather than the show I'd come to see.
juushika: A black and white photo of an ink pen. (Writing)
Last weekend was fantastic and hugely busy. On Saturday, Dee and I made a day trip down to Corvallis. We brought Odi to board the day in grandparents's outdoor dog kennel, and went with Devon and my family (parents and sister) to the Fall Festival, an outdoor fair of local artists. I usually go just with my father, or sometimes with my sister as well; having such a large group was a bit like herding cats (oh, the yelled cell phone conversations), but it was also lovely. The weather held at mostly sunny but not hot, my parents bought some metal work for the garden, and I got to show off one of my favorite artists, Cameron Kaseberg. When we were done with the booths, we split up and Devon, Dee, and I went across the street to the library book sale, where everything was half price for the end of the day; I am absolutely drowning in books over here, but I still managed to find Dracula, some Atwood and Woolf, and a Southern Gothic novel of questionable potential for $6, and who can say no to that. Then we went out to a delightful dinner.

Back at Devon's grandparents's house we discovered that—true story—as soon as we'd left, Odi had managed to pull up the chain link sides to the kennel, wriggle underneath, and follow Devon's scent trail across the yard and back to Devon's house, where he had found Devon's father and invited himself inside and spent the day gorging on found bags of cat food and playing. We're exceedingly lucky that he wasn't hurt in the escape and that he immediately found a safe place to go (as a one-eyed dog he's pretty identifiable, so Devon's folks recognized him), but: WHUT.

On Sunday, Dee and I took the bus to Hawthorne—one of my old Portland stomping grounds out in SE—for the Under Wildwood release party. The Wildwood Chronicles take place in St. Johns (our neighborhood here in Portland) and the vast park visible from the neighborhood; at the release party we got a pre-release signed copy of the second book in the series, and the author and illustrator did a joint talk which was all about the book as a collaboration—their joint approach to creating its world, and then exploring it in their respective mediums as author and illustrator. Afterward, we went to an early dinner at Chez Machin—I'd never had savory crêpes, and they make theirs with chewy robust buckwheat; mine was filled with mozzarella, mushrooms, and tomatoes, and topped with a pesto sauce. I'm an extremely picky eater, mostly in regards to texture and new foods, so it was a bit of a risk but a complete success: A+, would love to eat again.

On one hand this is exactly what I want of autumn: more to do, more desire to do it, the delicious exhaustion and enthusiastic downtime that follows having done it. That said, we noticed this week that Kuzco has been having some troubles eating: he lost a top incisor a bit ago, which is totally normal, but I think he lost this one way down at the root and the root got infected. It's just broken through, so he's probably fine, but he's lost a bit of weight in the meantime and the infection may still linger. He has a vet appointment tomorrow just to make sure he's fine, but here's the thing: Kuz is 7 years old, and guinea pigs live between 5 and 8 years. He's developed a cataract in one eye; when he's eating well (which is usually) he gets rotund but the weight is all in his tummy—he's never been a very plump pig, but he's on the bonier side now. What I'm saying is that he's an old man, the last of his herd. This tooth issue is probably unrelated to aging, but it sort of makes his mortality hit home. I'm not dreading or even anticipating his death—Kuzco has had a good life, and he can stick around for as much more of it as fate determines—but this comes while we have a cat in limbo and while I just feel ... exhausted.

It's money issues (even if Devon doesn't seem to think there ... are any), it's fear of commitment and responsibility, it's general exhaustion and the need for some downtime. Two weeks ago I was exhausted and went to escape in Corvallis, and spent the whole time having an extended nervous breakdown. Then there was cat, then there was social stuff, now Kuzco, and I haven't showered in a couple of days and when I'm not surfeited with distraction (making stars while watching a show, reading a book while watching video games) I'm on the verge of a crying jag.

Gillian is fine! He managed to groom the section that he had groomed to the skin, so that's still healing, but most all of his scabs have flaked off and he's no longer vibrating with itchy frustration. No other health problems, he's on the second half of his preventative medication course, and really the only thing he hates is being trapped in one room. I'm just having a hard time bonding, because right now I don't see "cat I love"—I see "ongoing responsibility and monetary investment." That's selfish, and it doesn't mean I don't love him, but it's a connotation I can't shake right now.

If sleep were easier (not having nightmares, just sleeping restlessly), I'd want to sleep for a week. Devon wants me to come back to Corvallis for another try at downtime, but it depends on what Kuzco's vet visit turns up. I just wish there were an off button for the world, or for me.
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (I should have been born a cat)
This is in-Corvallis do-nothing low-stress time and I will be damned if I've not had constant nightmares every time I go to sleep: I've been in college, been on a cruise, attended a college on a cruise ship; people have died from exploding intestines yes it was as gross as it sounds, I hid from a werewolf-cum-madman attack, and my parents got divorced. It's not the vivid, winding, surreal dreams I have upon waking, but a constant parade of them all fucking night long and I remember them all.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm anxious.

Got a quote for Gillian's initial vet visit; Devon will cover it. Will make appointment soon. Corvallis Fall Festival is next weekend because timing is shit; my father invited me and I'm not even sure yet if I want to go, least of all what's feasible. I am a constant bundle of nerves, so frazzled that I cannot concentrate on a video game (but I can read for two straight hours; I don't even know). I just.

1) Getting August was this stretched out thing and this is so fast and it's scary; it's a big responsibility and it's just sitting there in front of me, being vast. 2) In getting August I convinced myself that you could adopt a cat normally; they didn't have to show up, bedraggled and hopeful, on your doorstep for it to be magical and meaningful—AND THEN THIS ONE DID, after I'd finally dismissed that ideal. 3) I hate money. 4) I hate it a lot, you don't even realize; any issue of money triggers my anxiety, but this is like a dozen in two weeks and I hate it goddamn. 5) Everyone makes all this sound easy. Unfortunately, we're not in a magical world wherein something that ought to happen easily does, and I feel like the only one seeing the difficulties and then I have the stress of not being understood on top of the stress of being stressed.

I want to run in circles and punch things and scream and then sleep for a few solid days without even a single dream.
juushika: A black and white photo of an ink pen. (Writing)
I haven't been doing a fantastic job of being a human being for the last few—well, months now, I suppose. Insurance anxiety has been ongoing for so long that at this point I'm just exhausted; my be-a-thinking-intelligent-person is shot to shit, and I haven't been able to read for weeks; my give-a-crap-about-anything is gone; I'm in full escapism mode and if you need me, I'm probably fishing in Animal Crossing as I pay off a massive final mortgage. Animal Crossing is one of those games I heard about ages ago (high school?) and said: it is perfect for me and I should never, ever play it. A social simulator that occurs in real time and has tons of collectables? A game like that could be more real to me than real life—which is why I picked it up in the middle of this period when overlooking real life is what I want most in the world. I'm so taken with it that I'm 95% sure I'll pick up Animal Crossing: City Folk next time I see Devon, which should be this week—it's on the Wii, which makes me cringe, but it's expanded and shinier and I know people that play it, and I'm almost but not quite running out of winter activities in Animal Crossing (GCN) and so a fresh set of things to do would suit me well.

The mature response would be to respond to concerned emails and resolve what insurance stuff I can resolve, but I just can't seem to find the wherewithal for that, or for anything else which could possibly be construed as responsible and adult behavior, so video games it is.

I'm behind on BPAL reviews and really should make final holiday records before I never do and then forget all there would be to record. At this point, chances of substantive and/or day to day blogging are slim. (Tried to sleep, watched Law & Order instead. Got some sleep. Woke up late, played Animal Crossing. Played Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings. Tried to talk to Devon but had nothing to say. Watched Law & Order while fishing in Animal Crossing. Had a brief, good conversation with Devon/Express/Sabrina/Dee; drowned out that positive in some more negative free-floating anxiety. Tried to sleep. Really there just ain't much to report.) So as usual there's little reason to write this at all, and when I do it sounds like a lazy cry for attention: pity me, who bare has the energy to pity herself. But for what it's worth (not a hell of a lot), there you go.

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juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (Default)
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