Blog

Taking a Break

I’m definitely out of sync with the universe right now. The replacement of my work computer started with a 30 minute slow down due to an accident on the way. Then I can’t find a “legal” parking space. Then the computer that was supposed to be ready to go had some sort of Bios glitch, whatever the heck that means other than another 30 minutes added to my time.

Then I find out none of my friends except the host is going to be at trivia. There would likely have been some of the new folx, but I was so looking forward to that friendship energy where you just get to be. Hanging with a bunch of new people requires way more energy than I had to give. So I didn’t go.

I’m just not in a good place and don’t have much to give right now, so I’m going to take a couple of days away from writing this blog. I need to refocus and find some balance before I start my Camp Nanowrimo project on Saturday morning. I’ll be back soon. Take care and be well my friends.

Breathe

I know no one expects me to be bubbly and positive all the time, but this morning I feel as though I have nothing but angst and negativity. I’m not sleeping well, haven’t since I got back from Tennessee. Not one single night have I gotten more than 5 hours. This does not lend itself to a positive outlook.

My mother is not coping well with her forced dependence and restricted mobility, and it came to a head last night in a stupid fight. I have a busy work week that I’ll have to interrupt today to get a new computer which requires two hours on the road for a 30 minute appt.

And I can’t seem to stop watching the news. Tornadoes killing people in March?? Another mass shooting-123 in the first 86 days of 2023. Really?? Anti-trans, anti-LGBTQIA+, anti-women laws multiplying like mutant rabbits. Book bans. When did this country become so fascist? How did we not see it?

Ok full stop.

Breathe.

Tonight is trivia night. It’s been three weeks since I last saw my friends and existed in their midst. I need a dose of their insanity, their shenanigans, their acceptance, friendship, and love. It’s been a while since I’ve needed them this badly. Thank all the beneficial deities of the universe for my friends.

Project Visibility

One Sunday morning each month I meet with some extraordinary women to discuss books and catch up on their lives. Several of these women recently leant their talents and time to a documentary entitled, “Project Visibility Creating Inclusive Communities for LGBTQ+ Older Adults.”

The goal of the video is to bring awareness to the project itself but also to the unique needs of an aging LGBTQ community.

I wasn’t aware until I saw the video that many seniors end up back in the closet when they enter a nursing home or senior facility. These places are typically a bastion of conservatism and bigotry which makes total sense if you think about it.

Project Visibility is based in Boulder, for now. It’s aim is educate “managers and employees of nursing homes, assisted Iiving facilities and home health care agencies” with the goal of creating “an aging services community that is informed, sensitive to, and supportive of LGBTQ+ elders”. It’s a worthy cause and I am hoping it moves beyond Boulder.

Project Visibility – Boulder County

I’ve seen this meme

and variations of it floating around social media. Because there are so few left they deserve at a minimum to be cared for with respect, dignity, and acceptance. I think one of the women in the video said it best though, they deserve more than that. They deserve to be celebrated.

MMIW

I’ve been watching “Alaska Daily” on ABC with Hillary Swank. It’s very well written and the acting is really good too, but none of that is why you should watch it if you’re not already. Despite the fictional aspect, this show is telling the very real truth about the MMIW movement.  MMIW stands for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.

Like many people I was aware on some level that violence against indigenous women was a real problem, but it was abstract and lumped in with the violence against all black and brown women.

Through this show I have learned that Indigenous women have the highest rates of violence, sexual violence, going missing and being murdered than any other demographic in the United States.

The most recent show I watched last night showed a map of Alaska and then they started loading the faces of the women who had gone missing or been murdered at their last known location. They started with just the past week, then two weeks, then a month, and so on. By the time they reached a year the tears started welling up ad by the time they hit 10 years I was actively sobbing. (Even as I write this just now I am weepy.) Thousands of women missing or murdered just in Alaska. It didn’t even count any domestic violence or sexual assaults either, unless of course it ended in death.

According to the Bureau of Indian Affairs 84.3 percent of American Indian and Alaska Native women have experienced violence in their lifetime, including 56.1 percent who have experienced sexual violence.

And these are the reported cases. Meaning there are even more occurrences. Those numbers are so large as to be nearly incomprehensible. Like when we started seeing the covid deaths rolling in that moved into the millions. The sheer numbers make it almost seem unreal.

This then is the value of this show. They are telling one woman’s story specifically while sharing the horrifying statistics. It makes it feel real. It allows you to be angry at the cover ups, collusion, corruption, incompetence, and just plain indifference.

There are ways you can help. Become aware. Share their stories. Donate your money. Here are some websites to get you started:

https://www.niwrc.org/

https://mmiwusa.org/

“This Poison Heart”

I recently finished a duology by author Kalynn Bayron. The first book is “This Poison Heart” and the second is “This Wicked Fate”.

It is a YA fantasy where the main character, Briseis, has an unusual gift she inherited from her birth mother and a creepy estate she inherits from her aunt requiring her to move from Brooklyn to rural New York. The estate comes with unusual gardens and a fully stocked apothecary. It seems to be the perfect opportunity for her and her adoptive parents to start over.

Her parents are a lesbian couple who are fully supportive and fiercely protective of Briseis despite being in way over their heads. Her love interest is a 17-year-old girl who is older than she looks. In fact, the entire cast of characters are almost all unique and not at all what they first appear to be.

It’s a classic hero story with all the required elements told in an engaging and exceptional way. There is plenty of danger and intrigue with betrayal, greed, and murder. It is also filled with magic, adventure, love, redemption, and a little divine intervention.

You’ll learn some interesting botanical facts about poisonous plants and get a fascinating retelling of some Greek myths too.

I listened to the audio book version and really liked Jordan Cobb’s narration. It is available at the library and its hugely popular so you may have to wait a bit to get it. The author lives and works in Colorado Springs and is a recent winner of the Randall Kenan Award for Black LGBTQ fiction.

I highly recommend this series even if YA fantasy is not your normal genre because we all need to support our local black and queer artists and because its a really good read.

Enjoy my friends.

Outreach Time

I’ve been very worried about a family member who has been in crisis mode for too long, They had literally been living under siege in their own home under dangerous and toxic conditions but yesterday a judge granted them a protective order and the offender is gone from the home.

 I know that there is more drama to come as there will be a divorce to wade through, but I’m hoping this relieves some of the pressure on them. They’ve been so worried about the danger to the physical self but now I’m worried about their mental health, as they have struggled with that for most of their life. Hopefully they will get a reprieve from fight or flight, but they are facing a long road to recovery.

I’m feeling seriously in caretaker mode but there is absolutely nothing I can fix. I’ve had to do caregiver and it totally sucks, because as I’ve already established I totally suck at it. It’s especially hard as I can ‘t even give them a hug because I don’t live nearby.

So here I am, not a proper caregiver for my mom, unable to caregive or caretake for this family member or my girlfriend and also I received two texts in as many days from friends who say they miss me. I gotta say I’m not feeling so good about my relationship skills at the moment. Even got my son’s therapist bill in my inbox too so as to remind me my son is still recovering from my bad mothering.

This is feeling very woe is me. Sorry. I know I’m not perfect, but I have great friends who are surprisingly forgiving. Time for me to do a little outreach I think.

Caregiver vs. Caretaker

I would have made a terrible nurse. I’m not so good at caregiver either. Especially before coffee.

I originally wrote the word caretaker down instead of caregiver, but it didn’t look or feel right. So naturally I googled the difference between the two. There were several different variations as to the differences but the one I found most interesting was the one from a counseling website about codependency.

“Caretakers start fixing when a problem arises for someone else, caregivers empathize fully, letting the other person know they are not alone and lovingly asks, ‘what are you going to do about that?’”

My default is definitely not caregiver. I’m not sure it’s really caretaker either if I’m being honest. It’s more like–do I have to? I’m fundamentally a selfish, lazy person who would rather not be bothered. I’m only sort of, kind of joking and I am not proud of that, but I hate that it’s considered a flaw in my character. Why do I have to be one or the other?  

I’m talking about a patriarchal false binary: women as caregivers and men as caretakers (but only if they want to be), woman as nurturers and men as fixers.

I’m not naturally nurturing, and I point to my son’s therapy bills as proof. In all my important relationships I am definitely better at fixing than nurturing and I am working on that. Not because society says I should but because I know that it’s necessary to have a healthy relationship.

So back to where this started. I can’t help feeling that mom desires a better caregiver, but I love her and want to take good care of her, and I hope she knows that I am doing my best.

Angel’s First Rejection

Angel got her first rejection. I thought I’d be more disappointed but I’m really not. The call for submissions was not entirely clear on what they were looking for and what I submitted was apparently not it. But it was a kindly worded no thank you, so it didn’t hurt too much. Also, not a lot of me went into the piece so it didn’t feel personal, which also helps I think.

It’s possible though that it wasn’t right because I didn’t put enough of me into the piece. I have only ever submitted one other thing before that was not a school assignment and it was for a contest where there were thousands of entries. That was mostly just an exercise in learning to let go of something I’d written and finished. Again not much of me in it so the rejection didn’t feel so personal. I’m not going to lie though; it was a bit disappointing too. Worse than not getting an ‘A’ on my creative writing assignments in school.

I know it won’t be the last rejection I get, but I also know I do not do rejection well. Rejection takes on betrayal vibes for me and that is not a healthy reaction for anybody let alone a writer. Even assuming I get something published and more than three people read it, there will likely be people who will not hesitate to tell me how awful it is.

I think part of the reason it’s taken me so long to finish editing my book is because once its finished I need to take the next step and let somebody read it. Intentionally exposing yourself to criticism feels masochistic. So far the only people who have read my novel are people I trust not to be cruel.

Here’s the funny thing about all that though… I’ve been pouring out lots of intimate things about myself for months now in this blog, knowing that anybody could run across it and eviscerate me. And yet I’ve been doing it every day. Why is this different? How is it that my truth makes me less vulnerable than my fiction? I wonder if I’m unique in this or if its normal. Maybe I’ll reach out to my writer friends and ask.

In the meantime, I’ll just say thank you to each of you who read my thoughts and ramblings and are so kind. Be well my friends.

Surgery Day

Short post today. Mom’s surgery is this morning. I had planned on writing a blog post yesterday to drop this morning, but I was wiped out from my late night arrival and early morning work meeting. I crashed for a nap and then had too much to do to get ready for a really early morning start today.

Mom was so nervous, but they have her sedated by now. She’ll sleep through the next several hours while I’ll likely struggle to stay awake. I’m writing this on my phone, another first for me, while sipping my second cup of coffee.

We’re as ready for her forced immobility as we possibly can be, but it should be an interesting couple of weeks. She does not sit still well. We have one of those knee scooters, and I foresee her on that as soon as humanly possible. She’s been practicing. The dog is afraid of it and not at all happy.

Well wishes for her speedy recovery and my intact sanity are welcome.

Tennessee

The things I loved about my week with Tennessee include: the obnoxious rooster next door, her dog Buddy’s consistent attempts to insert himself between us, the quiet interrupted only by birds (and that damn rooster), how green it is here, falling asleep as little spoon, and waking up next to a loving body which was sometimes Buddy.        

The feel of promise and potential is very real. I could really write here. The sun on my back as I write each morning in the kitchen. A coffee cup warmer so no matter how long I’m immersed in the words, the coffee is still hot.

I got to meet a couple more of her friends this visit. The most adorable gay couple who were sweet and welcoming and had the most gorgeous, envy inducing house I’ve seen outside of HGTV. I got to know her roommate a bit better too and I’m grateful she’s there to help out Tennessee.

I also learned that Tennessee takes baths. Oh my Goddess is there anything sexier than a woman taking a bath?

I really could love it here. Except…

To get anywhere from her house you have to drive by a house that has a Confederate flag prominently displayed. Abortion is illegal from the point of conception. Drag queen performances are illegal on public property or in places where they could be watched by minors. The state senate just passed a bill to codify sex (meaning gender) to be unchangeable from what you were assigned at birth. Discrimination and conversion therapy are legal here.

How can such a beautiful place have so much ugliness?

It’s way more affordable to live here. Gas is at least a dollar cheaper per gallon, there is no state income tax either. But can you live with cheaper goods at the cost of your authenticity, peace of mind, possibly your freedom, or even your very soul?

I have no answers to that. And it is too soon to even be having such worries anyway right? Probably. Maybe. I have no idea.  Doesn’t really matter right now anyway because I’m back to my life in Colorado with work, my mother and her surgery, still needing to file our taxes, and preparing for camp Nanowrimo.

I’ll do what I frequently do and procrastinate it away for now. There’s time in the future for such worries right? It’s not like I’m well into the second half of my life or anything. Or that each time I have to say goodbye it’s getting harder instead of easier. Hmmm.