A Most Embarrassing Thing

Today I want to talk about something I really don’t like talking about. I don’t like talking about it because it is embarrassing and frustrating and sometimes scary. See….something is wrong with my body, more specifically, something is wrong with my digestive system, and it’s really starting to affect my life in a very negative way.

I’ve had digestive problems for most of my life, but for the in the past they were pretty mild. By digestive problems I mean gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, urgency, bleeding, and fatigue. It’s all very gross and “TMI”, I know. Over the years the symptoms have come and gone and every time I hope it is the last time, but it always comes back. In fact it’s starting to seem like every time it comes back it is worse.

At this point I am planning my life around access to a bathroom. I don’t like to go do things where I will be away from a toilet for too long. It’s very frustrating to live like this and I hate being in such pain all the time. I want to go to the doctor to finally find out what is wrong with me and figure out how to make it stop so I can live my life like a normal person. The problem is an issue of money. I don’t have insurance right now and I can’t really afford to pay out of pocket for the tests and procedures I am sure I will need. I know my girlfriend is frustrated too. It can’t be easy seeing me live like this.

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For now I am just trying to eat a more “bland” diet and be easy on my digestive tract. I am also doing a lot of research and I think what I’m dealing with is some sort of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, like Crohn’s disease or Ulcerative colitis. They sound scary but at this point I don’t care what the diagnosis is, as long as I finally have one. I want the reassurance, the confirmation, that I am not crazy, or lazy, that I have a real problem! That I have a valid reason for not being able to do everything everyone can all the time.

Doing research has also lead me to a few blogs, particularly on Tumblr, by people who suffer from similar problems as me. I was so excited to find other people who understood what it’s like to live their lives around toilets! I told my girlfriend I had found my people! She rolled her eyes but she is happy I found people who understand. Once I get an official diagnosis I will probably connect more with these people but for now it is at least a comfort. I don’t feel so alone or embarrassed, or scared….

Some times I am in so much pain I feel like my insides must be all messed up. I feel like whatever is wrong is going to kill me. Maybe not immediately, although I worry about that too when it gets really, really bad. I mostly worry that my life expectancy is greatly reduced. I assume my body isn’t functioning as efficiently as other’s and it can’t sustain that for very long. I imagine I will die early because I have crappy intestines. No pun intended.

I wrote this for two reasons. For one, I need to get this out. I have no one, besides Chardonnay, to talk to about this and I hate to make her worry so much. Two, I feel the need to join the cause to make things like this less taboo. Just like my post last week on periods this is something that I should feel okay to talk about when I need to. I shouldn’t be afraid or embarrassed to tell people why I can’t do things, why I am tired, and why exactly my stomach hurts, and nobody else going through these things should be embarrassed either!

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Memorial Day

“And they who for their country die shall fill an honored grave, for glory lights the soldier’s tomb, and beauty weeps the brave.”

― Joseph Rodman Drake

I admit, in the past I haven’t given much thought to Memorial Day. Not that I didn’t care or anything. I have always loved my country, for the most part, and I always appreciated the sacrifice the men and women in the military make in order to preserve the freedoms I enjoy everyday. I just saw it more the way corporations their commercials wanted me to see it.

”It’s the unofficial beginning of summer! Time to fire up the grill and eat and drink and have fun, fun, fun! The pool is open time to get a new bathing suit and pool toys and floaties! And hey since everybody is off of work (YAY!) why don’t you get a little shopping done because it’s time for our MEMORIAL DAY SALES EVENT!”

Every year I got farther and farther away from that, because I am getting older, and I really see it for what it is. I see the photos and read the stories of brave men and women throughout history and I am in awe of them! I also feel a sadness, a sadness for their loss and a sadness for the fact that there ever has to be war at all….

”We support you. We are proud of you. We stand in awe of your service.”

― President Barack Obama to the Troops at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, May 25, 2014

So let’s all remember what this day is really for. For me I think I will skip all the events and just stay home with my lady. We will fire up the grill and maybe have a few drinks but I will also keep in mind those who sacrificed their lives for freedom. I am thankful, no matter what my issues with this country are, I am forever thankful. I respect the bravery it takes to go to war, to fight, and to face death. To all those who have lost their lives, to those who are gone but will never be forgotten, I salute you! Thank you for your sacrifice.

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Creative Habits

I stumbled upon a very intersting blog, Year of Creative Habits by Crystal Moody. I can’t remember how I stumbled across the blog but I thought it was facinating. I actually went to the achives and started reading it from the very beginning.

I haven’t gotten all the way through yet but the habit she stared with was just a quick, 5 minute drawing every morning. I would really like to do that. I would like to stat it tomorrow but I am worried that is not enough planing time. I have a small sketch book and some pencils and pens, even a couple of markers. I even have a few ideas for quick drawings and doodles. The problem is where to schedule the time in.

“…quantity should be a higher priority than quality, because it leads to higher quality. The shorter path to maximized quality is in maximized quantity, and executing on the feed back after each finished product.”

― Hebert Lui

I work early in the mornings Monday thru Friday and while I do have 5 minutes to spare in the morning I am often working on writing then. I can’t get up earlier, I mean I really, really don’t want to get up earlier because I already get up at 4 am. I wanted to do mornings because it sounded like a nice way to start the day but now, I am thinking I might do the drawing with my lunch. I think it’s a good time to recoup and restart for the day. I work a split shift anyway so this would feel almost like a second morning!

Five minute drawings everyday at lunch. I will get everything together tomorrow and I will give my first drawing a try. Doesn’t have to be fancy just draw anything. I think I might pick up a few books of creativity and habits too. Crystal Moody also has a recommended reading list and the first one was Steal Like an Artist. I was trying to find it on my iPad but no luck. Might order a “real book copy” on Amazon for about $6.

So what am I hoping to accomplish by drawing everyday? Well for one, I just want to feel like an artist again. I miss drawing. I used to draw a lot as a teenager and I have been really, really wanting to try again. I liked being a creative person. I liked expressing myself and sharing my work. Right now I just sit and wish I could draw again, but much like this blog, I just need to do it! So I am going to draw and doodle everyday and maybe just maybe it will turn into something more. For now I just need to focus on building just one, small creative habit.

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Carnivorous Plants, Air Plants, and Pythons!

I am one of those people who finds themselves periodically obsessed with certain things, usually “weird” things. I get really in to these things and I have to know everything there is to know and buy everything and set up something or collect something. My poor girlfriend, she knows how I am though and my bank account constantly reminds me that I cannot do everything I want to do. So between those two I actually haven’t gotten to go too crazy on anything but that doesn’t stop my mind from obsessing over things. When I get like this I just can’t think of anything else and all priorities go out the door.

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My newest obsession is Carnivorous plants. They are so amazing and beautiful! I just bought my very own Venus fly trap less than a month ago. At first I had named it Seymour but I thought about it the other day and I figured it made more sense to name it Audrey II after the plant in Little Shop of Horrors. I am doing my best with it and learning everything I can and even joining forums to ask questions. I want to know everything there is to know about these unique little plants.

When I got mine I don’t think it was in the best of health and I was ignorant. I left the plastic lid on and watered it with tap water. Then I found out I was doing it all wrong. I took the plastic lid off, potted it in a large plastic pot rather than the Terra cotta one I had originally bought. I planted it in a mixture of peat moss and perlite (I don’t think I used enough perlite though), I bought some distilled water, and I placed it outside every day. Unfortunately one day I left it outside and went to run some errands and when I came home the God damn squirrels had eaten three or four of the traps and partially dug it up out of the pot. It was already not in the best health and it had been trying to acclimate to it’s new environment and now it had been chewed on. I am babying it right now. Giving it as much sun as I can INSIDE the house and not feeding the traps. I had already feed one trap before the incident and it is still digesting that fly but I worry so much I might lose it. Right now that plant is my baby, one of my babies anyway. I am considering bringing it in to work and setting it outside here. We have less squirrels and if I put it up on a table or chair the rabbits won’t get to it either.
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When I get obsessed with thing I need to have more and more of them and if they come in different varieties I need those too. I found a store online (the previously mentioned forum is hosted there as well) that sells Venus fly traps and everything I need for decent prices. They have many cultivars of Venus Fly traps and I am hoping to set up a sort of collection. Maybe after this one goes dormant and comes back next spring. If I can prove to myself (and Chardonnay) that I can take care of these things and that I am seriously interested in them she will be open to letting me purchase a few more. I have a window in the living room that is sort of bare and I’d like to set up a little area for carnivorous plants. I’m also hoping for some Pitcher Plants and Sundews.
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Shortly before I got the Venus Fly Trap (maybe just a week before), I was out shopping at this awesome store here called Ironwood and I found a beautiful Tillandsia caput-medusae. It was just flowering and the cashier told my that it was a very big and beautiful specimen. I don’t know if that is true but I know to me it definitely looked like a big and beautiful specimen. It was love at first sight with this plant, and when I found out it was sometimes called an Octopus Plant, I loved it even more! The octopus being my favorite animal and all.

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I got it home and found and old white pot to set it in. Air plants are awesome in that they don’t actually need to be potted in anything. They get their water and nutrients from the air, hence the name. Hell mine doesn’t even have any roots! I find this fascinating. So far it is doing well. I have been bringing it in the shower with me and soaking it in a bucket of water weekly. I fertilize it with my moth orchid and it seems to appreciate it. It put out it’s last flower a few days ago and now that one is drying up. I am sad about that since they only flower once in their lifetime. The good news is after they flower they start growing a baby plant, a pup, off to the side. Mine started growing a pup before it was even done flowering and soon I will have TWO air plants!

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Now on to my baby, my sweet, yet often ornery, ball python, Delilah. I got her almost two years ago at a reptile expo in Denver. I had been trying to convince Chardonnay for almost a year that I needed a pet snake. As I always do when I am obsessed and completely consumed by a thing I did a ton of research. I convinced her to go to the reptile expo and just to “have a look around” secretly hoping to come home with a snake.

I walked around for a couple hours and saw many snakes and morphs I liked but they all had prices nicely out of my range. Finally we walked by a booth that had lots of “normals” and I asked to see the females. He had three and I chose the one with the lightest coloring. I asked the guy what he was charging. He said he normally charged $40 each but since he had new hatchlings on the way he needed to get rid of the ones he had. He said I could have her for $20. Chardonnay couldn’t argue with that! And so we brought our Delilah home and she has been a joy for me ever since.

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I’m sure Chardonnay had hoped that after that I would let the snake thing go. Ha! My obsession got worse! At first I wanted more ball pythons, but then I figured if you’ve have one ball python you’ve had them all, regardless of how pretty some of the morphs are. I decided I wanted to keep other species of pythons! And while I’m at it lets throw in a few boas! She has held me off so far but soon she will have to give in and let me get another snake. My options so far are a blood python, the size is right but the temperament might be more aggressive than I can handle, a red tail boa, the temperament is right but the size might be more than I can handle, or an Angolan python, which meets all of my requirements but is too rare and expensive. BUT if I get the Angolan python I will definitely get into breeding, which I’m sure Chardonnay will not be happy with.

Like I said before though, sadly my bank account reminds me I have to take things slow, there are other priorities and I cant go out and buy more and more of the things I get so obsessed with. Doesn’t mean I can have any of these things just means I have to slow down and look at them as more long-term hobbies. Patience!

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A Red Tent of My Own

Periods suck. I sometimes hate the fact that I was born a woman because periods suck so much. I can’t even find the words to express how irritating it is to have to deal with this crap 5-7 days out of every month. That’s 5-7 days of being in pain, being uncomfortable, feeling tired, and constantly having to check and change pads, tampons, or Softcups.

“Gradually my whole concept of time changed until I thought of a month as having twenty-five days of humanness and five others when I might just as well have been an animal in a steel trap.”

― Florence King

I remember when I got my first period. I was 13 or 14 and it lasted two miserable weeks. I didn’t tell my mom at first. She found out because there was blood in the toilet. I don’t know why I didn’t tell her. I guess I just felt like it was something I couldn’t just bring up anytime and there didn’t seem to be a good time to tell her. It felt like something secret and shameful, it needed to be talked about in whispers and when no one else was around.

I remember I felt so tired and I had cramps. I had already been struggling to be my normal self before she found out. To me this just didn’t seem like the time for me to be trying to pay attention in class, interact with teachers and other students, and still try to come home and do homework. I seemed to me that, logically, and woman should be able to rest more during this time. I asked my mom if I could stay home from school and she replied that I could, for that day only. She said this was just part of my life now and periods were no excuse for not doing the things I needed to get done. She said when I grew up my bosses weren’t going to let me stay home from work because of my period and I needed to learn that lesson now and figure out how to live normally even when I was on my period. She said every woman had to just deal with it.

I remember thinking that this felt terribly unfair. I, like every girl during her teenage years, was quickly learning that it was a mans world and often times women had to work twice as hard and put up with twice as much crap just to get by. I felt like it was easy to expect women to just suck it up and be quiet about periods when you don’t have one. During the time of menstruation a woman feels much more fatigued, we should get to rest if we need it! I feel like I have been bitter about being a women ever since that day. That was when I first started to hate my body.

“Nothing in our society-with the exception of violence and fear-has been more effective in keeping women in their place than the degradation of the menstrual cycle.“

― Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom by Christiane Northrup

After that I never talked about my period. My mom kept the pads and tampons stocked in the bathroom and unless something is wrong we never brought it up. At school some boys took my backpack one day and rifled through it. They found my pads and took them and tossed them around. They started calling me “Wings” and I felt so ashamed. It wasn’t my fault I had a period and here they were making it a joke, they were making it something gross. This was something private and now everyone knew about it. I felt so embarrassed. For a long time I was scared to be around anyone during my period. I felt like they all must know and I would feel gross and embarrassed all over again. I couldn’t talk to anyone about it either which just enforced the fact that or must be something gross, something to be embarrassed about.

From some reason though I had this drive to keep talking about it, to bring it into the light. Mainly I talked about the unfairness of it all. I am lucky that over time I found a group of female friends who are open about such things, and over time my mother came around too. Her and me and my sisters can talk about our bodies and periods freely now. Sometimes we joke about it, sometimes we share stories, and sometimes we vent about how taboo it is to talk about such things. The general consensus so far though has been, periods suck and men suck for not being more understanding. We have internallized this sucky feeling and now we just feel miserable and bitter about the whole thing.

“..by honouring the demands of our bleeding, our blood gives us something in return. The crazed bitch from irritation hell recedes. In her place arises a side of ourselves with whom we may not-at first- be comfortable. She is a vulnerable, highly perceptive genius who can ponder a given issue and take her world by storm. When we’re quiet and bleeding, we stumble upon solutions to dilemmas that’ve been bugging us all month. Inspiration hits and moments of epiphany rumba ‘cross de tundra of our senses. In this mode of existence one does not feel antipathy towards a bodily ritual that so profoundly and reinforces our cuntpower. ”

― Inga Muscio, Cunt: A Declaration of Independence

But I am tired of being miserable and bitter every month. I have a period and there isn’t much I can do about it. Before you say it, I have thought about trying certain types of birth control to stop my period but I am, or rather now am, the type of girl who likes to keep things natural and simple. The way my girlfriend put it is “it just feels ‘unpure'” to stop your period. I don’t judge anyone else who is on birth control. I think birth control is a wonderful thing. Being a lesbian though I am about 99.9% sure there’s no chance of an unwanted pregnancy, and while my periods are pretty painful and they are also irregular, I still mostly see it as just an irritation. I could live with it so there isn’t much of a “medical need” for me to be on birth control.

So I’ve decided instead to start thinking about my period a little differently. I need to be more zen about this. I think my first problem is my expectations. I expect that I won’t have to deal with this but that is wildly unrealistic. I am biologically female and that means every month my uterus sheds it’s lining. It is just something I have to accept. The second issue is I see it as a bad thing and maybe I shouldn’t. I look at menstruation as inconvenient, uncomfortable, and kind of gross, but instead I should see it as something beautiful. My body is doing something wonderful and mysterious and it is a time for deeper reflection and a chance for meditation. It is a chance for my to know myself better.

They say women are more intuitive and creative during their periods and I wonder if it is a good time for me to begin drawing again. I might have more to express during that time of the month. I might try to find a reason to look forward to that time too. I want to take time to pamper myself more and be a little selfish. There is no reason I should be miserable and deal with it the way my mother said I would have to. I see it as a time for fancy teas and bubble baths, comfy clothes and relaxing. I still have to work yes but I will take a break from the extra stress and expectations of the world and focus on me. At the end of my period I want to feel rejuvenated and ready to take on the world for the next 3 weeks.

I ancient cultures, Native American, African, and Chinese for example, women often gathered in a lodge during times of menstruation and child birth. The Red Tent is rooted in ancient Christian history. In biblical times women gathered in the Red Tent in order not to contaminate men with their biological processes. In the Red tent women were permitted to rest and they cared for on another. In these times it is hard to be able to get away for a week out of every month but me caring for myself during these times is like creating a Red Tent of my own. I will live in the spirt of the Red Tent and rest and reflect as much as I can.

“The great mother whom we call Innana gave a gift to woman that is not known among men, and this is the secret of blood. The flow at the dark of the moon, the healing blood of the moon’s birth – to men, this is flux and distemper, bother and pain. They imagine we suffer and consider themselves lucky. We do not disabuse them.

In the red tent, the truth is known. In the red tent, where days pass like a gentle stream, as the gift of Innana courses through us, cleansing the body of last month’s death, preparing the body to receive the new month’s life, women give thanks — for repose and restoration, for the knowledge that life comes from between our legs, and that life costs blood.”

― Anita Diamant, The Red Tent

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The People with Sensitive Souls

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I think about this quote a lot. I am one of those people who feels so much and all of it so deeply. In fact I often, very often, find myself overwhelmed not only my own emotions, but by other people’s as well . My poor girlfriend often has to pull me out of a dark well of emotion. She doesn’t feel all of the emotions all the time like I do and that is probably for the best. If we both did I would probably never get out of my emotions. I would live curled up in a fetal position, alternating between a deep depression, an incredible anger, and a joyous happiness.

Throughout my life people have seen me as weak. Feeling so much is bad enough, but showing all of that feeling is just pathetic. I have taken on these views and whenever I find myself crying and carrying on I am also filled with an intense self hatred. I’ve tried to change. I’ve tried to be “strong” like other people but I’ve noticed the more I try to repress my feelings the stronger and more intense they become. Almost as if my mind will not let me hold anything in. I must feel, and I must express whatever I am feeling.

Some say I am to sensitive but truth is I just feel too much. Every word, every action, and every energy goes straight to my heart.

― nofacewrites

I have started talking to more and more people about it, friends, family, and co-workers, and I have found that I am not alone in being a deeply feeling person. It’s just that the world has forced so many of us to pretend. The world has no time for us. No time for anyone to stop and just feel things. Sensitive people are not to be tolerated. If only everyone could see us for who we are. We are very loving, compassionate, and caring people.

We are not weak. If only everyone understood how much strength it takes to hold all the world ills in our hearts and at the same time work to help others and make the world a better place. We push on with big, heavy, hearts filled with empathy and we love easily and fiercely. We have qualities that the world needs more of.

People who feel deeply, in my opinion, are also more susceptible to depression and low self esteem. We cannot let things roll off our backs. Everything goes in, straight to our hearts. That’s why we all need to be more compassionate. You never know if you are being harsh to, talking down to, or being rude to someone who will take the words you say into themselves and be hurt. While a deeply feeling person can be nice and loving and happy, the bad feelings run deep for us too.

So please have patience. Do not make fun of or invalidate someone who is sensitive. Do not try to toughen them up or tell them to “deal with it”. We all know life is hard, deeply feeling people know it too, but we cannot grow the thick skin the world tells us we need. We cannot help who we are.

If you know someone whom you think is “too sensitive” or “weak” or maybe you even see them as “pathetic”, try getting to know them. You might find that they are some of the best people you know. Someone like that could really shine and show the world their strengths if only the world would give them a chance. We need them more than we know. Imagine how much colder and unforgiving the world would be if we lost the people who really felt things.

Never apologize for being sensitive or emotional. It’s a sign you have a big heart, and that you aren’t afraid to let others see it. Showing your emotions is a sign of strength.

Brigitte Nicole

If you are a deeply feeling person, I want you to know you are beautiful. Life is too short not to feel deeply. Your life will be poetry. Your life will be filled with real love and compassion. You will find people who will see you for the amazing person you are and will appreciate your love of the whole world and all the people in it. Never change who you are. Do not grow a thicker skin. You don’t need it! You are not weak! I promise you you are stronger than you know. Do not hide who you are. Do not pretend to be like everyone else. Instead inspire others to see the world the way you do. Show the world how beautiful the full range of human emotion can be.

My Prince Charming is a Princess

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This morning I couldn’t think of anything to write about, I asked my girlfriend to help me and she told me to take a look over at the daily prompt. I read it aloud to her, “What is the one word or phrase that immediately cheers you up when you hear it?”, she looked at me and said, “how about ‘I love you’?”. I Thought about it and decided that was actually a really good idea. She does so much for me when I’m down and nothing cheers me up more than hearing her say I love you. So today I want to write something for her, for my love, Chardonnay, for everything she does for me.

In the mornings when I struggle just make make it out of bed, get ready, and get out of the door, you help me. When I am feeling down and angry, you make sure I start my day with an I love you and a kiss. You help me get going, you make sure I have breakfast, and you make sure to give me a moment of your time. When I leave the house feeling like I look horrible and myself esteem is low you reassure me that I am beautiful, capable, and intelligent. Before you leave the car you hug me and tell me you love me and you hope I have a wonderful day.

When I’m having a bad day, I know you are busy and you don’t always have time for me and my emotional shit, but you try, you do your best. You come visit me when you get a free moment. You let me know you love me and that as soon as we get home you will take time just for me. You send me texts with sweet words and cute emojis. You send me funny pictures and you take breaks so I can call you when I need to.

Every night when we get home you get right into cleaning the house and cooking us dinner. I whine and moan that I miss you and that I need you but you let me know that you need to do these things so that you can devote the rest of the night to me. You motivate me to do the things I need to do in the meantime and afterwards we sit down and eat the delicious meal you cooked. You listen to me complain about work and I do the same for you and you reassure me even more that you love me, that you are happy, and that I am everything you want. When we go to bed at night we go together and you make sure the last thing I hear every night is that you love me and you are happy with me.

When the days are really bad you take me out to dinner and possible margaritas. This is my favorite time because then we can talk, just me and you. I tell you about all all my crazy ideas and schemes and you listen and you support everything. You look at me like I could do anything and you tell me I should try. I feel so insecure and embarrassed then. I feel stupid and small and you always, always tell me that u love me and nothing I think is stupid. Nothing I want to do is stupid. You let me know that I am not stupid.

So thank you, because when I am down you are always the one to make it all better. You have been the single greatest thing that has ever happened to me and you understand me and what I need in a way that no one else ever could.

I love you too Chardonnay, and I always will.