This is a quick heads-up that I will cease to care about anything or anyone else on the planet this Friday except for the four-part revival of “Gilmore Girls” on Netflix. Here are just a few things the existence of which I will forget about for six full hours:
My failed high-protein diet(s)
My unkempt eyebrows
Neo-nazis (see above)
Deep dish pizza vs. regular pizza
Daylight Savings Time
Zucchini noodles aka “zoodles”
The oceans (all)
The continents (all)
1066 (I know stuff happened but I forget most of it anyways blah blah England)
Most of History
Whatever generation I am
Non-fat Greek yogurt
Your racist uncle
Birth control methods (all)
Indiana (included in above “red states” but I want to forget it twice)
The New York Times
Sort-of-real-maybe news, but it was retweeted by Joss Whedon so who knows?
All birds, really
Whether or not there is a God(s)
Whether my direct deposit for work will kick in soon
The fact that we are all, as Dickens said, fellow passengers to the grave
Why? Because after this year, I deserve this ONE THING, OKAY? WE ALL DO! JUST THIS ONE THING! SIX HOURS! FOUR NINETY-MINUTE EPISODES! PLEASE JUST LET US HAVE THIS, UNIVERSE!
Look, there have been a gazillion pieces on how even if someone voted for Trump for “non-racist” reasons, they still voted for racism. If you don’t buy it after folks like Scalzi break it all down for you in the easiest-to-understand terms, you’re not going to buy it from me, so I’m not going to write another one here.
There have also been a gazillion pieces written on the Electoral College (google it). I fucking hate the Electoral College, since it basically means my California vote is worth less than, say, a Wyoming vote because something something rural Real America(TM) slave state history blah blah blah. So I’m not gonna write one here, either.
Don’t even get me started on the gazillion pieces about how the left needs to understand Trump voters more because blah blah blah. I get it; many of them are losing traditional jobs that aren’t coming back because #robots and they’re mad, but many of them are also assholes who hate that they had to see a black dude on TV for 8 years and sure as fuck weren’t gonna look at an old lady for that long even if she’s white. You can guess where I come down on that argument so I’m not gonna write my own take here either.
So here’s what I have to say: ughhhhhhhh foreverrrrrrrrrrrrrr fuck everything. The next four years are going to be apocalyptic. I’m especially excited for the inevitable Pence presidency, because, let’s get real, our Cheeto-Elect is not gonna last more than a year, tops. He’s never had to do any actual work in his life, and he’s just now realizing that the Presidency involves reading and sitting still and receiving criticism and not staying in Trump Tower among his gold-plated accessories unless he ventures out to grab him some fresh pussy. He’s going to resign, and if not he will be impeached, because the GOP would vastly prefer working with Pence (ugh) and, let’s face it, Mr. Cheeto has already committed about a zillion impeachable offenses and will accumulate more in his first five days in office than Nixon managed in five years. Pence hates gay people and women especially and is going to do his fucking utmost to take away our rights, so that’s gonna be GREAT.
And then there’s the worst part: the violence and harassment against minorities. This violence has existed for centuries, duh, but now it’s been validated in the mainstream by the dude who’s gonna be president. People are fucking scared. Hundreds of incidents a day have been reported since Nov. 8: women randomly getting grabbed walking down the street, Muslim women having their hijabs ripped off, black people called n****** who should “go back to Africa” (because it’s not like our white ancestors dragged their black ancestors from Africa against their will in chains, but okay, sure), anyone who looks vaguely Hispanic threatened with deportation (not that anyone should be threatened with deportation, but I’m almost tickled by racists who can’t tell the difference between someone of Asian descent or Mexican descent).
Also the environment is over and maybe there will be a nuclear war and Marie Le Pen will be elected and I can’t shop at Macy’s anymore and I’m a privileged-yet-depressed white bitch and I hate myself.
Ughhhhhhhh foreverrrrrrrrrrrrrr fuck everything.
Ughhhhhhhh foreverrrrrrrrrrrrrr fuck everything.
Ughhhhhhhh foreverrrrrrrrrrrrrr fuck everything. Also something about safety pins?
Okay. Thanks for listening. Now let’s do some shit.
I haven’t written in a long time because I was job-hunting. I have a new job now. So yeah, I’m back.
And this is my election post for the day (also found on FB).
Last night I was despondent. For a few moments, my depression reared its head in the ugliest way. I barely slept.
This morning, I realized a few things:
I am white
I am well-educated
I have an amazing job with amazing benefits
I have an amazing support system
I am cis-het
I live in California
Barring a national overturning of Roe v. Wade or an uptick in assault on women in general nationwide, my rights and I are ok for the foreseeable future. Which is why it is now my job to fight for others.
For people of color, ESPECIALLY women of color
For those who don’t have the chance to go to college
For the unemployed, under-employed, and disabled
For the uninsured or those soon to be uninsured
For the poor
For the LGBT community
For people in places like Flint (STILL NO CLEAN WATER Y’ALL) and Ferguson and Standing Rock.
If you are like me and you enjoy many tremendous privileges, it is also your time to fight.
In municipal politics
In state politics
In national politics
In our communities
In our homes
I’m scared tbh. But I know I’m not nearly as scared as those in the marginalized groups above. So it’s on me. It’s on us (that mostly means you, white people).
I start by setting up a monthly donation to Planned Parenthood, which will be crucial to the well-being of women and girls and even men in the coming months and years if the ACA goes down. And then I research my next steps.
It’s been a hell of a week. I don’t need to link to any of what’s been going on because, well, if you don’t already know you must be a mermaid living in King Triton’s undersea realm who is too busy trying to trade your voice to a sea witch in order to marry a random human prince to pay attention to Land News(TM), in which case, good luck with that.
If you identify as a woman this week, you’re probably also experiencing flashbacks. Flashbacks to the time your classmate reached down your shirt and groped at your (still flat) chest during story time when you were six and said this meant you were his girlfriend. To the time when your middle school teacher looked a little too long at your bare, white, unshaven thirteen-year-old legs on the first warm May day in seventh grade and remarked that he was “grateful it was shorts season.” To the time when your roommate came home crying because a boy tried to pressure her into sex before she was ready and called her a tease for refusing. To the time your heart was pounding in your chest as you walked down the dark New York street at nine p.m., worried that the strange man on the corner, angry at having his catcalls ignored, would follow through on his threats to “fucking rape and kill you, you ugly fat bitch.”
To all the times you were made to feel like nothing more than a receptacle for men’s feelings, from lust to disgust to rage to impulses of violence. To all the times you were reduced to body parts: boobs and butts and legs and hair and midriffs and arms and feet (yes, even feet). To all the times on the sidewalk you were told, unprompted, to smile.
To all the times you were made to feel like less than human. Like less than a person.
One definition of feminism is “the radical notion that women are people.”
A reminder for you, because I’ve needed to remind myself so often this week: you are an actual person. A human being. A soul. You are more than the meat on your bones. More than a number on a scale of attractiveness or weight or both. More than a reflection of what some men (and women) hate about themselves and the state of a scary and changing world.
I am an actual person. You are an actual person, too.
I haven’t posted here in a while, mainly because I’ve been focusing my writing energies on finishing and editing a novel (ugh it is HARD, WHY IS WRITING HARD?), and also because, frankly, it seems like the fun, summery topics I would have liked to feature were all trivial in the grand scheme of the seemingly endless American and global tragedies of the last month or so, particularly the killing of yet two more black men by police last week in LA and MN, and then the massacre in Dallas. Basically, every time I thought about posting something, it seemed futile and dumb and silly. Especially this last week, when, as a white girl living in San Francisco, one of the most liberal places in the US and possibly the world, I felt like a lot of this was more removed than it would have been had I lived in, say, Mississippi or Georgia or even outside of San Francisco proper.
Today, however, a woman who lives one block away from me in the Haight neighborhood found this flier at her door around 12:30 pm (see article here; I also saw this woman’s post via NextDoor):
Based on the rather sad grammar and composition of the flier and the original post from my neighbor, I’m pretty sure it’s genuine, which means that someone or some persons are undertaking to recruit, albeit rather pathetically, for the KKK–on Haight Street, of all places, which is hippie central if you ever saw it. Of course, the likelihood of this person(s) having any success in gaining converts is pretty freakin’ low, given the population here, which, while overwhelmingly white, is also overwhelmingly socially liberal (it’s not uncommon to see #BlackLivesMatter posters and shirts on black AND white people’s homes and bodies around here). Obviously, the entire area is openly disgusted with this flier, regardless of whether it is truly authentic or a bad, sick joke.
That being said, seeing this prompted two very different emotional reactions, the second of which generated this lovely post you’re reading now:
Initial Reaction: This is happening here?How dare they?It’s awful to think that there is someone who, if not living in my neighborhood, is spending time here in order to spread a message of hate and racism and try to recruit my neighbors into what is basically America’s #1 Lynching and Cross-Burning Club. My neighborhood, in my adopted city–how dare this monster, whoever he or she is, come into MY street and spew this shit! I was really riled up.
Secondary Reaction: Oh my God, I have so much privilege. Once this news started spreading via social media, I spoke about it with a black friend who also lives in the Haight, and has lived here longer than I have. I was bowled over when I heard this friend’s initial reaction, which was not one of disgust, as mine was, but of fear for their physical safety. This person takes a bus to work which drops off, sometimes late at night, a couple blocks from where this flier was found. Unlike me, their first thought was not, “What an asshole racist; I can’t believe someone would do this!” Their first thought was, “There’s possibly an asshole racist loitering nearby; what if they get violent?”
That’s the question we never really have to ask ourselves when it comes to racists, isn’t it, fellow white people?
What if they get violent?
I saw the picture of that flier and became angry because I couldn’t believe this was happening in my neighborhood.
My black friend saw the picture of that flier and became frightened because they didn’t feel physically safe in their neighborhood.
What a giant reminder of my own privilege, huh?
So why am I writing this? I guess to offer another rebuttal to the “All Lives Matter” crowd in general, who are super loud right now: to at least to one dick racist KKK member in the Haight, all lives definitely don’t matter. But I also write to remind myself and any other white people living in so-called liberal enclaves that our homes are not exempt from the reality of racism and violence. We need to speak out and be strong, vigilant allies to our non-white neighbors and friends and family members. The site of the Summer of Love, with its graffiti murals and overpriced vegan burgers, can be just as dangerous a place for a non-white person as Ferguson, Missouri. We can’t get complacent. We can’t sit on our asses. The system is set up to benefit us, to keep us safe, no matter where we are–and that means it’s our responsibility to change that system so it keeps EVERYONE safe. We can’t ever forget that responsibility, vegan burgers or no.
If you can, consider donating to the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund– you can donate to support police reform in particular.
This is the top drawer of my bedside table, a.k.a. the “med drawer”:
This is where I keep the stuff that most folks organize neatly in a medicine cabinet. Mostly, it’s full of your typical and over-the-counter remedies: ibuprofen, pepto bismol, benadryl, cold medicine. It’s also where I keep my meds for anxiety, depression, and migraines. It’s a necessary, if messy, drawer. Usually, I open this drawer at night to take my daily medications without so much as a thought; it’s automatic, an action I’ve taken every night for years.
Sometimes, however, I really fucking hate opening that drawer. This week is one of those times.
I’ve been on some sort of daily medication to treat anxiety and depression pretty consistently since I was sixteen, which makes fifteen years of me opening this drawer (or its previous incarnations at my parents’ house and other apartments and dorms) every night. I’m incredibly grateful for this drawer, for the drugs in it (which have changed over the years several times–if you want to talk about the benefits and drawbacks of prozac vs. zoloft vs. lamictal vs. lexapro vs. a couple others I don’t remember at this point, I’m your gal) and for the doctors and therapists and friends and family members who have helped me get my shit together and get the help and medication I need to treat my anxiety and depression.
And yet, right now, I really hate that fucking drawer.
I hate that I have to cut my lexapro doses into little quarters as I wean off a higher “winter” dose to treat SAD (seasonal affective disorder). I hate the bitter taste of the pill residue that gets caught in my throat sometimes when I don’t cut the pills perfectly. I hate the fact that that higher dose made me incredibly drowsy in the afternoons for two months and eliminated my libido. I hate that these pills make it hard for me to lose weight and even, sometimes, to experience joy. I hate the fact that I rely, to some extent, on a pill to make myself “normal,” if there is such a thing.
I know that these feelings are valid–and likely temporary. I also know that there are alternatives to medication that I may try down the road in addition to my current therapy regimen. I also know that if I decide to try those methods and they work, that’s great. I also know that if I decide to try those methods and they don’t work, that’s okay, too, and meds will still be there and probably still be able to help me from falling into a non-functional depressive black hole.
I sincerely hope no one thinks that I’m saying meds are inherently bad or that no one should take them; I don’t think that at all. If you are feeling low, and especially if you are thinking of harming yourself, please go get help, and if a doctor or therapist thinks meds will help, consider their advice seriously. I’m also not advocating that anyone take meds if they truly feel they aren’t working for them. Basically, I’m the non-judgmental ninja over here, promise!
All I’m doing is sharing with you that, for whatever reason, this week I’m just tired of the process.I’m tired of opening that drawer. I think it’s okay to be tired sometimes. It’s okay to hate the drawer and to feel grateful for it at the same time. I hope, if you have a drawer, you know that, too.
I took an involuntary blogging hiatus over Thanksgiving due to the DeathCold™ which laid me out flat for a good eight days; I’m still hacking up phlegm on an hourly basis (you’re welcome for the mental image).
As a return to blogging post-DeathCold™, I was going to do a beauty post with my recommendations from my latest Allure Beauty Box, but I couldn’t because my mind is still spinning from the latest high-profile incidence of domestic terrorism that took place on Black Friday at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs as well as the revelations regarding Laquan McDonald’s murder at the hands of police last year, among, as usual, other horrific things. Hell, as I’m typing this, my Twitter feed is telling me that there is a mass shooting incident ONGOING in San Bernardino with as many as 20 injuries possibly reported (Update as I finish this article: 12 dead possibly. My God.)
I’m so, so, so tired of this. Exhausted, in fact. Aren’t we all?
I’m so tired of the culture of violence, especially against women, children, people of color, and the poor. Tired of the racism and Islamophobia. Tired of the unwillingness of so many people to see that things need to change, from rape culture to reasonable, commonsense restrictions on gun ownership and use (BTW, if you want to post a comment here on how gun violence is solely a mental illness issue vs. gun availability, please just don’t. As a mentally ill person myself, you’re not gonna convince me and I’m sure I won’t convince you. Feel free to ignore this post and go find someone else to talk to about it; the internet should have plenty of safe spaces for that. Thanks in advance.).
I feel like I do what I can, you know? A lot of you feel that way, too, I bet. We donate money to causes we believe in, support and vote for candidates to public office who we hope will be able effect positive change. And yet, it still feels like nothing gets better. Part of this, I know, is due to the fact that we have access to news of horrible events 24/7 thanks to social media. Awful things have always happened, but now we hear of them more often, with video and audio recordings of the carnage as it happens to bring the horror even closer to home.
So what do we do? What do I do, not just to make the world a better place, but to keep myself sane? Other than continue to donate money and vote and speak out where I can, I’ve had to rely more and more these days on a super-lame-sounding but effective technique to keep myself going: visualization.
About a month ago, I read the fantastic book The Feminist Utopia Project, which is a collection of about sixty stories, cartoons, interviews, fake news articles, etc. imagining a better future, courtesy of dozens of feminist thinkers in many fields. I highly recommend it, even if you’re not that big into feminism. Reading this book gave me a new tool to deal with the horror of the everyday world: visualizing utopia.
When things get awful, like they are getting right now in San Bernardino as well as in thousands of places around the world, I try to take a breath and imagine that fifty or one hundred or two hundred years from now, those who come after me (or maybe even me, if I’m lucky) will see a world that is measurably better than this one. One where the term “mass shooting” is only discussed in history class, the way we discuss the Spanish Inquisition today. A world where we take care of our planet instead of treating it like a disposable coffee cup. A world where no one’s life is better or worse than anyone else’s simply because of their gender identity, skin color, religion, sexual orientation, or where they live in on the map. A world where religion, if it exists at all, is ONLY a source of peace and inner strength for believers and a cause for generosity and love rather than an excuse for hatred. A world without violence. A world where gun control is a non-issue because no one feels like they would ever even need a gun to protect themselves. A world where a woman can go for a run in the park at 3 am with no worry for her safety. A world where no one is homeless. A world where no one is hungry. A world where fewer people are sick, and those who are receive free, top-quality care from medical personnel who are caring and well-treated themselves. A world where there are no borders, and people pass freely from one place to another, sure of hospitality and interest and love wherever they go. A world where I spend every day cuddling with doggies.* In a word, utopia.
Today especially, we are really, really far off from that world. As it seems to do every couple of days, my heart is breaking for a new group of victims of violence as I type this. I don’t want to become desensitized to it, but I want to believe that things can be better. I want to believe in my utopia. I choose to believe in it today, and I actively wish for it. If the holiday season brings anything good with it, any sort of power, let it be the power to bring humanity closer to this utopia, or any version of it. I’m visualizing, hard. I hope you can take a moment today to visualize it, too. If enough of us do, it can only soothe our souls and bring us closer to making it a reality.
Peace. And I promise, back to beauty posts and funnier shit later this week.
*Ok, this one is a little selfish, but, come on, what is Utopia without doggies?
Sappiness Warning: this post is sappy but I am sappy so yeah.
Last week was pretty terrible. On top of ISIS The First Evil’s attacks in Beirut and Iraq, earthquakes in Japan, the continuing Syrian refugee crisis, general racism, and a million other awful shitty things I am no doubt forgetting, there was Paris.
Paris is one of my favorite places in the world. I returned there for the first time since college this past August, when I was overjoyed to introduce one of my best friends to the city where I first discovered the joy of cheese for dessert (and lunch, and a snack, and breakfast). Paris is the subject of more than half of the “artwork” pieces “decorating” my lame apartment. It’s where I spent more evenings than I care to admit drinking two euro wine next to a dirty canal while various Frenchmen asked me if I was Mexican(?). It’s where I fell sleep on the bus after a night of clubbing and ended up stranded in the suburbs at 3 am in a skimpy dress and heels higher than any I’ve worn since the age of twenty. It’s where I got the news that a friend had died in an accident and cried my eyes out in a café at the thought missing her funeral while the usually stuffy waitstaff looked on sympathetically. It’s where I learned to be an adult. It’s where I first understood that I am a citizen of both the United States and the world. Seeing Paris under siege for hours on TV Friday night left me paralyzed for a good 24 hours.
None of this is different from what anyone else who loves Paris (or Beirut, or New York, or any other place ravaged by terrorism) has said or written before, but I just had to get it out, here and, as it turns out, on paper. A new piece of (extremely lame) “artwork” now adorns the walls of my (extremely lame) apartment, in honor of the city that helped me grow up. Paris, je t’aime. Mon coeur est à toi pour toujours.
I don’t know about you all, but I LOVE Fall. There’s a perky chill in the air, everything has pumpkin spice in it (even those things that really, REALLY shouldn’t have pumpkin spice in them), HALLOWEEEEEEENNN! It’s a time for apple picking, and haunted hayrides, and sweatshirts. Unfortunately, it can also be a time for depression.
Most people have heard about Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. It can really suck. It can especially suck if you have baseline depression that you’re already managing with medication and therapy, because it’s like an extra depression garnish your body decides to add on to the soup bowl of your general malaise.
I generally don’t get SAD until the holidays/January (which is also my birthday), but for some reason I’ve been feeling a bit of it these last two weeks. Part of it was being SO COMPLETELY ILL with an awful stomach flu last week, but today, which was a rainy (which is actually great as we’re in a drought) and chilly day in San Francisco, seemed to sap the energy out of me and make me an irritable, anxious mess. It was hard to get out of bed or force myself to be productive. Today, I doubt EVERYTHING I do and every decision I make, from my writing to social engagements to what to eat for lunch. The demon voice in the back of my head telling me that I am a useless failure who is most definitely going to die alone in a pumpkin spice-colored van down by the river is piping up more than usual.
Now, I KNOW that I am NOT a useless failure. I KNOW that while I maybe didn’t exactly need those chips with my sandwich yesterday, I am not a disgusting blob person who deserves to die alone. I KNOW that I am making progress with writing and other professional endeavors. But the SAD Pumpkin of Fall is trying to make me forget what I know.
I’m going to monitor things over the next couple of days, and if I need extra help I’ll ask for it. I’m going to try to exercise every day, structure my work time more efficiently, and eat well and do fun things to try to stave off the SAD Pumpkin.
I’m sure there are many of you out there dealing with the same thing, and I wish you luck – and remember, when the SAD Pumpkin gets you down, don’t be afraid to ask for help from your friends, family, medical professionals, therapists, or even (ha!) the internet. It’s not something we have to go through without support – just because it’s seasonal doesn’t mean it’s something we just have to put up with until days start lengthening again in the New Year.
Love you all, and remember – the SAD Pumpkin always rots, if he’s not smashed to death by neighborhood punks in the dead of night – so keep truckin’!
This morning, after fourteen years and two bouts with cancer, we said goodbye to you. It was the right thing to do, and it was the right time. I know you were suffering, and I’m glad that we made the decision to let you go before your pain became any worse.
I will never forget you. I will never stop loving you. You were a light in all of our lives from the day we brought you home. Your memory will be a light for us until the day we pass on and join you, wherever you are.
Here are just a few of the things I will remember about you for the rest of my life:
I remember how soft and sweet you were, and how you won everyone over, from old ladies to little kids – even those who normally fear dogs – with your big brown eyes and silky ears and goofy grin.
I remember how you used to wake me up every morning during high school school, jumping on the bed and licking me until, grumbling, I swatted you away and got my butt in the shower.
I remember how excited you got each Christmas, tearing your stocking to bits to get to the treats and toys you knew to expect when the big tree went up in the corner of the family room.
I remember the Thanksgiving when, despite my mother’s precautions and my uncle’s warning, you managed to jump up on the counter and take a huge bite out of the homemade pumpkin pie. I remember your guilty expression when we caught you.
I remember the time I left a full plate of food on the kitchen table for about forty seconds to wash my hands, only to return to find the plate licked entirely clean, while you sat nearby trying to look innocent and utterly failing.
I remember countless long walks that exhausted everyone except for you – you always wanted to play fetch as soon as we were back in the yard, despite the wind, rain, or heat.
I remember your childlike excitement at the prospect of a snowflake, or a treat, or a ball, or even the garden hose.
I remember when we thought we were going to lose you to cancer seven years ago, and you were a cheerful, happy dog through months of chemo, two surgeries, and radiation, never whining or whimpering and always happy to go see the vet or the oncologist. I know how lucky we are that we got seven more years with you.
I remember how you would come and sit next to me (or Bryan, or our parents) whenever I was upset or crying and would offer a snuggle to comfort me. I remember that you did this for me yesterday, despite your own pain, when I was crying over the fact that I was going to lose you.
I remember the joy you felt in living. I remember how that joy inspired me. It still does.
Jazzy, I’m not religious, and, being a dog, I know you weren’t, either. However, I do believe that you are in a place now where the pain is gone. No more cancer, no more tumors, no more medications or weak hind legs. I also believe that one day I will see you again in that better place.
I love you. I miss you. You’re a good dog. Rest, now, until we meet again.