Waskesiu

Aug. 4th, 2011 11:05 am
treefrog: the chinese character for love (Love)
My family has been going to Waskesiu, in Prince Albert National Park, ever since my dad was a little kid. It's been a long time since I've been able to go, but I'm glad I got to go this time. I've missed the place, and missed seeing the aunts and uncles and cousins who go every year as well.

When I was a kid, it was the most beautiful place in the world. My parents told me so, and I could see it with my own eyes. The lake was a perfect lake, good for swimming and sailing and watching the sunset. The hiking trails were clearly the most interesting places in the universe, what with all the squirrels and birds and mushrooms and fascinating bugs. And it was the same every year. Nothing really changed, except for maybe a few of the stores in the town.

My family warned me I would be surprised this year at some of the things that have changed. For instance, after the cabins my family had stayed in since Dad was a kid changed owners and became a favored place for noisy partying, we were staying in a different set of cabins. The playground was gone, and some rather ugly cabins had been put in next to where we used to stay. It was a bit weird, yes, especially the playground being gone. That had been there forever. But what really blew my mind was the stuff that hadn't changed.

The souvenir store still has those kitschy deer statues in front of it, and the same fountain I used to toss pennies into as a kid. There are two ice cream stores, one of which is exactly the same as it's always been, and one of which is in the same place, but rebuilt after having burned down a few years back. But do you see what I'm saying? Stuff burns down and comes right back in the same spot. The nature center, which was one of the highlights of the trip for me when I was little, still has the same taxidermy animals and the same displays, though it's been refurbished several times and doesn't look that old.

You all know from previous entries that I took an inadvertent swim in the Waskesiu river, but I also went swimming (on purpose) in the lake. It was wonderful. I have missed swimming in Waskesiu lake. It wasn't even cold, just pleasantly cool. I didn't even shriek when I got in. Gawd, it felt absolutely wonderful to just drift out there, surrounded by beauty. Oh, and dragonflies. OMG dragonflies. They were everywhere. Tremendous rains led to a tremendous mosquito population which led to DRAGONFLIES EVERYWHERE. There were the usual enormous blue ones, but there were also red ones and yellow ones and greenish ones in a variety of sizes. As bugs go, dragonflies are pretty freaking awesome. They're lovely to look at, they don't crawl on you, bite you or jump out at you unexpectedly, and they keep the mosquitoes down.

We only went on one nature hike while I was there, but it was everyone's favorite: Boundary Bog, which is, as you might expect, a trail that leads through a bog near the edge of the national park. I realised while we walked along the trail that this place is what I think of when I'm told to think of somewhere beautiful. This is the place in my mind where I go when I need to feel calm and safe and centred. I'd almost forgotten it was a real place. The ground is covered in a thick green carpet of deep, springy moss. The trees are all thin, straight pines and birches, their roots lost in the moss and their branches lacy with lichen. Sunlight comes down through the trees and makes shadow patterns on the moss and sparse bushes, lighting up what it touches like lanterns. There are mushrooms everywere, small yellow ones scattered on the moss like bright coins, luminous white ones like ghostly flowers, ruffly brown ones clinging to the sides of trees, a few large flat red ones that looked for all the world like emergency buttons, like if you pushed them you'd be dropped down a trap door. We even found some puffballs, but they weren't old enough to puff yet.

Once the trail leads out into the bog itself, the trees become short, soft-needled tamaracks growing right out of the water along with reeds and tall grass, and a profusion of flowers clinging to the floating peat. There were lots of pitcher plants this year, each with a single leathery red flower and a clump of "pitchers" at the base. If you've never seen one, look them up (and feel free to snicker). Matt and I went out onto the platform in the water and watched a damselfly shed its skin while clinging to a lily pad.

I think what strikes me the most about the bog is that it has a feeling of ancient quiet about it, a soft stillness not broken by the waves or the rush of wind through the trees. It's like a cathedral with trees for pillars, and a sense of wonder for worship.

All in all, I'm glad I went. It's good to know that Waskesiu really is as beautiful as I remember it.
treefrog: a road sign with a treble clef (Music)
So, the hikers who fished us out of the river just found us. They found Mom's camera on the bank not far from where we fell in, and her backpack (and one of her shoes!) fetched up against another bridge a mile or so downriver. The backpack had our cabin key in it, clearly marked with our site and cabin number. So we've got everything back except for my hat and Mom's other shoe. My glasses were in the backpack, not on my face, so I've got those back. So I'm stuck with these perpetually crooked glasses, but I won't miss the headaches I get without them.

We don't know whether the camera and phone will still work, but Dad says their insurance will cover most of it anyway. I still think it's damn stupid to put anything that valuable in an unstable floaty thing on a river, but what do I know?
treefrog: treefrog silhouetted through a leaf (Default)
If you think the current up ahead looks a bit on the strong side, trust your judgment on this. Don't wait for your point to be proven by an overturned canoe, a terrifying dunking, and a miserable stint clinging to a reed bank up against a bridge pier, getting in touch with your inner drowned rat, waiting for some kindly hikers to fish you out. There are bugs in that water. Slimy ones. And you'll get hit in the mouth when you fall, so you'll find that your inner drowned rat has a speech impediment. None of this is fun!

Honestly, I had it better than my mother. I lost my hat and my glasses. She lost her entire backpack, including her iphone and $2000 worth of camera equipment. No, I don't know why she thought bringing that stuff on a canoe was a good idea.

We're fine, but I can tell you this: if I hadn't been wearing a life vest, I don't know that I would have made it. The current sucked me under so fast I would have been swept away in a heartbeat if I hadn't been clinging to the canoe, which was tangled in the chain of buoys strung across the bridge. I was okay once I hauled myself up onto the reed bank, but holy crap. I don't know how I would have gotten my head above water without that life vest.

Y'know what? I never liked those glasses anyway. Dave's got benefits now, so when I get home, I'm getting new freaking glasses.
treefrog: a word bubble with punctuation indicating swearing (Swearing)
We went and saw Captain America on Saturday, and it was... okay, but something about it annoyed me, and I've only just now clued in what, exactly, was bothering me.

So, you've got this scrawny guy, and the movie is at pains to emphasize that being scrawny causes him no end of difficulty. They put in the obligatory shots of him being clever and good and nice so that we remember to come away with a lesson about appearances or some such Hollywoodish thing, but it doesn't work because these scenes are outnumbered and overshadowed by scenes intended to demonstrate that being physically sub-par makes you, well, kinda lame. And according to this film, no matter how awesome you are, if you are not physically awesome, you're probably stuck being kinda lame, because you probably don't have access to...

...a magical Hollywood doodad that gets rid of the one thing that was the source of every single one of your problems by making you tall and buff.

Seriously, that's how it came across. He loses his physical limitations and immediately becomes badass and awesome and adored by everyone except the Nazis. There is no adjustment period, no discovery that moving into new territory generally means the discovery of new problems, no looking back at all. A magic button is pushed, physical sub-par-ness is banished and *poof!*, awesomeness ensues!

I hope I don't need to point out what this implies about people in real life who have body-related challenges, but it goes even further than that. Nobody has one thing, mental or physical, that is the source of all of their problems. Nobody has one thing that is "what's holding them back".

I'm reminded of people who start taking antidepressants and expect the whole world to fix itself. Antidepressants (if you're lucky) will clear the trash out of your inner landscape. If you want the world around you to be affected, you still need to do it yourself. Or, for that matter, people who find out that I grew up in a conservative, religious family and immediately assume that that's why I have trouble with [insert problem here]. The fact is that, if I could go back in time and cleanse my past of all contact with the religious right, I would still not be some sort of magical problem-free woman!

I could also grumble about wasting a perfectly good story about a scrawny asthmatic dude who is just as effective at taking out Hollywood Nazis as a large, scuplted bruiser-type guy, but I'm aware they were working with a pre-established character and couldn't do that in this movie. Even so... no love at all for small, wimpy-looking characters who can still kick your ass? Not even an attempt at admitting that this guy could still have been awesome even without looking like a model? Really? Well, movie-makers, to you I say: *facepalm*.

Oh, and next time you want to portray a little guy, get a real one. Whatever photoshoppy stuff you did to Chris Evans to make him look small only succeeded in making him look subtly, but hair-raisingly, Uncanny-valley-esque. His head was ever-so-slightly out of proportion with the rest of his body, and his whole self was just the tiniest bit out of proportion and... out of phase? Out of whack? Out of something... with everything else on the screen. It was hella creepy. If you really must attempt to shrink people, go watch the Lord of the Rings movies and do whatever they did.

*subsides and slinks off to find dinner*
treefrog: screenshot from Iron Man (Selfcreation)
Sometimes, the puzzle pieces in my brain click into place at the strangest of times.

Due to a financial screw-up and a lack of hot water at home for the past month or so (one more week to go on it, too), I’ve been showering at the pool when we go swimming. Because these showers are aimed at proper cleanliness instead of just rinsing off the chlorine, I’ve had to get naked. This has been surprisingly difficult, but has led me to some encouraging conclusions. I’ve never had a comfortable relationship with my body, and I’m pretty sure this started as soon as I was old enough to understand what a body was.

I left the Mormon church in my early twenties but the damage had been done. My body was a burden, an unfortunate, awkward part of existence.

Mormon girls are raised with a convoluted and contradictory set of ideas regarding their bodies. It boils down, more or less, to “So, uh, yeah. Bodies. Unfortunately, you have one. Try not to let it show.” Having nothing else to internalize, and being conditioned to fear non-Church teachings, I left adolescence wracked with shame, with a barren space in my mind, barbed-wired off by paranoia and guilt. That was the space my body occupied within my mind.

My body was ugly and troublesome, a source of Inappropriate Thoughts and Sinful Feelings, a thing to be hidden and ignored because nothing good could come of it (unless I used it to make babies, and I’m still not ready for that). So I hid it and I ignored it. I changed clothes in hiding, even when other girls changed out in the open. I never got involved in discussions about who was “hot” or “cute” because I couldn’t admit to feeling those things.

Mind you, not all of my body issues come from my religious upbringing. Biology doles out bodily inconveniences with a complete lack of personal prejudice. It saddled me with hormonal imbalances, clinical depression and anxiety, and mildly deformed foot bones that cause me all manner of pain if I don’t wear orthotics (and sometimes even if I do). Having a body, even when I’d managed to kick “sin” out of my thoughts, was usually annoying and often painful.

So I ignored the damn thing. I didn’t take care of it. I let it get overweight, weak and sloppy. This made me hate it more, so I avoided clothes shopping and often wore ragged, saggy clothes, and this cemented an image of myself in my mind that I no longer wish to be mine.

Taking off my bathing suit in a semi-public place meant admitting that I have a body, which felt weird because I hadn’t really realized I wasn’t admitting it, but it also meant seeing for absolute certain that there’s nothing horrendous about this body. It meant actually thinking about it enough to realize that while I don’t currently like my body, it’s nothing to be ashamed of, nor is it a threat to me.

Which means that next time Dave and I do a vegan cleanse, and I start to lose weight, I don’t have to feel freaked out and start overeating because my body is changing and therefore drawing attention to itself. It means that it’ll be okay to keep going to the pool and the gym even after we can shower at home, because it doesn’t mean that I’m treading on forbidden territory.

It means that this body is mine, which means that it's okay to lose weight, eat right, and get in shape. I hadn't realised before that any of these things weren't okay.

I’ve never really been comfortable with myself, body, mind or soul, but I think I’ve gotten a bit closer to being okay with who, and what, I am.
treefrog: treefrog silhouetted through a leaf (Default)
LIFE isn't fair. Get over it.

Vancouver

Jun. 28th, 2011 03:11 pm
treefrog: an old-fashined radiator (Radiator)
The Vancouver trip went very, very well. Everyone was on their best behavior (except my father-in-law, but I don't think he has a best behavior) so I didn't have to yell at anybody.

Cut for Length )
treefrog: Jack Sparrow asking why's the rum gone (Rum)
We're leaving tomorrow instead of today. Dave's schedulers screwed up and didn't give him the day off, and one of our cats has a nasty gash on his shoulder and needs to be taken to the vet, so it's just as well that we're still here.

This is all quite grumblesome.
treefrog: an antique pistol (Gun)
Dave and I are leaving tomorrow for a trip to Vancouver to visit his family. I'm looking forward to it, for the most part. It'll be nice to get away from here for a while and we're planning to do some fun stuff like visiting the Stanley Park Aquarium.

I'm less psyched about the whole Visiting-Dave's-Family part.

Fretting about it behind the cut. Writing this stuff out makes it easier to deal with. )

So wish me luck and hope I don't need it.
treefrog: treefrog silhouetted through a leaf (Default)
Y'know that feeling when you want to write something, or talk to somebody, or connect somehow but you can't think of a single thing to say?

All I can think of right now is that I'd like to dress up. Hair, makeup, pretty dress, the whole works. It's been so long since I've wowed anybody. I wore a nice shirt and did my hair to go see a movie a while back and it felt like a night on the town. I've been catching up on series I want to watch (recently got sidetracked by one my husband wanted to watch and found it stupidly addictive) and watching nice-looking people doing interesting, if entirely fictional, things. I am capable of being a nice-looking person and although I can't do anything fictional like fly or look sexy while shooting people or discover that I am some sort of goddess, I CAN do interesting things. I just haven't been.

I listen to music and so many songs remind me of so many things... but I haven't found a new artist or band to follow in what feels like years. And everything that songs remind me of are things that happened ages ago. I'm still treasuring days (and nights) from years ago, still using them as my compass and wishing they could happen again.

I used to fence, but an injury took me out of that and my husband's divorce fallout kept me out. I used to be precocious but who ever heard of a precocious 30-year-old? I used to break rules, keep secrets, do things I shouldn't have done but relished, really relished. Now I... don't do anything. It almost feels like there's no point, since we're moving away in a year and why put down new roots in this place?

But I need to find some way of feeling like I'm still alive, because right now I'm just sleepwalking through life, and I hate it.
treefrog: a ceramic turtle (Turtle)
For the first time in a few years, I'm not on hormonal birth control. No, I'm not trying to get pregnant, and am in the market for a form of non-hormonal birth control that I'm comfy with. The reason for this rather scary change: hormonal birth control kills my sex drive.

It sounds petty, but there it is. My "placebo" weeks were great... but the rest of the time, as far as sex went, I could take it or leave it. I still enjoyed it, but didn't think about it at all and rarely thought to ask for it. Songs and images that were meant to appeal to the sexual side left me somewhat perplexed. I remembered I used to feel things like that. I was pretty sure I'd outgrown it. I was kind of annoyed by that, because it felt like the whole world had left me behind.

But, due to some forgetfulness on my part, I spent a little extra time off the pill and felt great. My skin is more sensitive. I actively seek out my husband for, uh, quality time. I think about sex and enjoy thinking about it. I feel excitement and curiosity that I haven't felt in years. I love it, and I love feeling this when I don't have religious taboos turning it into a guilt-fest. Hell, just being able to go to a movie and drool at the fanservice is a huge treat.

But it does give me a lot to think about.

Not long after we got together, Dave told me that I'm free to do whatever I want, with whomever I want, so long as I tell him about it. When we got serious, he didn't change his stance on this except to say that he didn't want me to let another relationship overshadow our relationship. I've never given this any thought before. I'm not what you'd call promiscuous. I've had a few one-night stands and they weren't anything special when friendship wasn't involved. Also, I don't want to take up Dave's offer unless I feel able to extend the same offer to him, and right now I'm not ready for that. Besides which, there isn't anyone to take up his offer with right now. Not within easy reach, anyway.

But the fact that I could, given the opportunity... it's driving me quite nuts at the moment because in an itchy sort of way, I want to, even though I'm not sure whether I really want to or if it's just the newfound hormones talking.

There have been a few crushes, somewhat to Dave's amusement. They were safely inaccessible, and contained more amusement than actual desire. One of them, Dave actually thinks I should sleep with, just for the hell of it. I don't agree. One of them was a teacher, who was married, and I wouldn't mess about with a teacher anyways (although he holds the distinction of being the only person I know in real life who has appeared in an erotic dream. Embarrassing). One of them was female, which was somewhat confusing but not actually worrisome. Which surprised me.

Crushes viewed through a hormonally-activated lens would me much, much scarier, I think. I don't feel ready to deal with that.

Simply put, I'm not thinking straight right now. I'm worrying and wondering and trying to figure things out, which is hard when I'm about ready to crawl out of my skin with wanting unspecified but undoubtedly naughty things. I'm also adjusting to the shift of chemicals in my system. So I'm not going to take Dave up on his offer just now. Not until I feel a little more certain of my ability to make good choices. After all, my marriage is more important to me than games and amusements and crushes. My marriage is... well, it's half of my life, and somehow, when I think of Dave being hurt by something I did, the libido shuts right up for a while.

So for now, I'll just sit back and enjoy the fact that while my brain may be a bit of a wreck, the rest of me feels quite nice.
treefrog: a girl reading a book (Booklove)
I've been re-reading, of all things, the Wheel of Time series. I got pissed off at it shortly after high school and quit reading it because the story wasn't going anywhere. I stayed mad at it for years and refused, with some venom, to give it another try.

But a few weeks ago, I bumped into a picture on the internet--a piece of fanart that I loved when I was in junior high because it was the best picture I could find of my favorite character in the series. And that reminded me of reading them when I was 14 years old, when they were my favorite books ever. And it wasn't just the books, it was, as with so many geek things, common ground with friends and strangers. Feeling sentimental, I picked up the first book at the Wee Book Inn and started reading, expecting to hate it.

I didn't hate it. The same things pissed me off as pissed me off back when I first read them... but I love the same things, too. Some things, I like more because I'm older and have met more people and recognize things I didn't before. The things that bother me are mostly writing-related things; I wouldn't phrase it that way, and I don't see why anyone in their right mind would. And there are some plot points that irritate me, and a few characters I still loathe just as much as I did when I was a kid, and more so, because everyone else seems to like them.

I figured I might be upset, this time around, by Jordan's infamous "issues with women". Somewhat to my surprise, I'm not. I love that his women are often pissy, sometimes obnoxious, and prone to being wrong. I love that they make mistakes, yell at the wrong people, jump to conclusions and, in a pinch, will resort to blowing shit up. But somehow their fights and friendships, mistakes and triumphs, ring true to me in a way that few fantasy-book females do. They remind me of myself. Make of that what you will. The only thing about them that I have a problem with is that they're almost all like that, and even the exceptions act like the rule when they get mad. But even the ones I don't like are better than most of the men, who sit around sulking until someone prods them into doing something, then sit around sulking about the results of whatever they did.

I'm on the fourth book, and planning to keep going (reading other stuff on the side because I never have just one book on the go). It's been a fun trip down memory lane. We'll see if I get pissed off and quit again.
treefrog: treefrog silhouetted through a leaf (Default)
Been awhile since I posted. Fact is, everything that comes to mind when I sit down to blog nowadays is usually stuff I should probably write about, but don't really want to write about.

So, on a less headachy topic, Dave and I are planning to move to Vancouver in a year.

We've been thinking about it for a long time, but put it off for a number of reasons, not the least of which was that Dave's father was living in Vancouver, and we wish to avoid him. However, he has moved to Abbotsford (and, we're pretty sure, taken his evil girlfriend with him) so Vancouver is once again a desirable destination.

Dave is homesick and wants to be away from a lot of the bad memories Edmonton has for him. Very little good has happened to him here and he wants out. We'd also like to be out of reach of his ex-wife. She's toned down her insanity quite a bit lately, but she still spreads rumors that make Dave's life difficult. For instance: did you know that I had sex with him while they were still married? And that I did this at an SCA event that I was not at? It's better to be away from that sort of rubbish.

I just... want out of Edmonton. I want away from the places where I grew up. I love my family, but living back-to-back with my parents is turning out to be a lot harder than I expected it to be. Being in school and practically living with my parents makes me feel like I've been forced into a second childhood, and I'm not enjoying the experience. My Dad is wonderful as always, but Mom seems to think we're in some kind of contest. She keeps reminding me that she's richer and lives in a bigger house than me. To which I can only say "So?" I don't understand where she's coming from and I don't want to understand it, I just want away.

I'd also like to be far away from everything even remotely Mormon. Being around that stuff makes me feel angry and depressed, and there's a HUGE MASS OF IT in the house behind mine. When we move, I'm going to instruct my parents not to forward my church paperwork with me. They've done it before without my permission, and they might do against my express wishes, but I have to at least try.

We'd leave a lot sooner, but I need to do another year of school here. I'm... not looking forward to that. I just have a bunch of elective stuff to take, none of which is going to feel even remotely relevant. And while being at school doesn't exactly make me feel old, it does make me feel horribly out of place, and it makes me remember being that age, and... ugh. I don't want to remember being that age.

Finally... BC is green, and after last winter, I could really use to overdose on trees and flowers and little chirpy birdies. One of the things that kept me going in California when things got bad was the abundance of trees and flowers and little chirpy birdies. I love our winters, but dammit, green sounds so lovely right about now.

I need to blog more. I'm pretty sure I've forgotten how.
treefrog: treefrog silhouetted through a leaf (Default)
Getting out of bed has been damn near impossible this past little while. So I finally stopped talking myself out of going to see the counselor at school. Contrary to what I fear every time I go looking for help, I wasn't told that the answer was that I'm weak, or pathetic, or just not trying hard enough. It helped, somewhat, to go over everything that's been weighing on me and understand that there is a reason I'm feeling burned down to nothing, that it's not just a random failure.

People have been telling me all my life, usually in am amused sort of way, to relax, to not be so tense. I always knew what they meant, but it was always so much easier said than done. I wanted to relax, I just didn't really know how.

It was kind of a relief to be told, not just to relax but to be given some things to do in order to relax. There are two things I need to work on this week:

1. Stop grinding my teeth. I brought this up myself, because I've been so tense that I've given myself headaches by constantly grinding my teeth. My jaw hurts, and my right ear feels tingly and weird from ache in my jaw. I'm working on consciously relaxing my jaw. It's harder than you might think. Part of that habit is that I have this weird revulsion for breathing through my mouth when something smells bad, or when there are a lot of other people around me. When the depression/anxiety kicks in, pretty much every smell is somehow upsetting, so I clamp my mouth shut. However, I'm finding that by consciously relaxing my jaw, I concentrate on things other than whatever is upsetting me, and I inch a little nearer to the realization that tensing up doesn't help, and relaxing doesn't hurt.

2. Finding physical things that I associate with feeling safe and relaxed. The counselor noticed that I fidget a lot with my jewelry. I'm supposed to pay attention to my fidgeting and see if conscious fidgeting helps me to relax. I told him that being with Dave makes me feel safe and calm. He told me to find something that reminds me of Dave, be it my wedding ring or something else small and portable, and try to focus on that when I feel tense and/or threatened.

Another idea that came up a lot was the reminder that I am not Superwoman, and that a lot of people are coming down with some pretty heavy depression after a cold, mostly lightless winter with a late spring. Everyone runs up against their own breaking point sometimes. Right now, I've found mine. I'm still going. I'm still fighting. I'm told it's okay, that I can forgive myself for this hurting. I'm not quite there yet.
treefrog: an antique pistol (Gun)
So, I found myself involved in an altercation on my school program's facebook community the other day. I politely disagreed with someone, and found myself the target of rudeness, insults and some very strange accusations.

I was accused of leading at least one online community dedicated to discussing one of my instructors' personal lives. Apparently she has the screenshots to prove it. Needless to say, I'm doing nothing of the sort. I have no strong opinions about this particular teacher and I'm not interested enough in him to say much of anything, let alone run a community about him.

I was also accused of stalking the student doing the accusing. Again... no. I don't stalk people I don't like, I avoid them. But apparently I've been sending her all kinds of unsolicited emails.

Finally, and the only one that really hurt me, she claimed that everyone in the program is terrified of me, and that she's the only one with the guts to stand up to me.

She has also threatened to bring her "evidence" against me to the Dean and/or the President of the university. I don't believe she'll do it, so I called her out on it.

All throughout this conversation--and I admit my involvement went on about two posts longer than it should have, since I should have realized you can't argue with batshit insane and found a better use for my time--other members of the program were chiming in yelling at us and telling us to stop it. Some of them were quite rude.

Thing was, today, I was approached by no less than eight people, most of whom had yelled at me online, telling me they were glad someone had stood up to this woman, and that they were on MY side, really, but they were too afraid of her to stand up for me. But they swore, up and down, that now, they've got my back.

I didn't point out how useless it is to say you've got someone's back when you're too afraid of what they're facing to help them out with it. The only involvement they'll have with my back is to hide behind it if this woman attacks them. And I get that. The woman in question is charismatic, attractive, aggressive and utterly batshit insane. She is quite a bit older than most of them, having a daughter in the same program. And of the people who've talked to me, several of them have been insulted and/or threatened by this woman.

It was sweet of them to band together and assure me that really, they're on my side and will stand up for me, even though I don't believe they will (and I can't really blame them). But even sweeter, and with real meaning this time, was what they said in response to me being a gossip and a bully, feared by the whole program. "Come on, Erin", they said, "We know you better than that".

That meant something to me. I don't really fit in at school, being something around a decade older than most of my fellow students. I mostly hang out by myself. But I like my classmates, and I'm glad that they can see ugly things written about me and dismiss them without a second thought, because "they know me better than that".

I smiled all the way home.

Now, however, I'm aware of two other people who've been bullied by this woman. One of them was directly threatened... and I have evidence of that threat in my inbox. I wasn't going to do anything about this whole thing, because I figured she's just a bully and was just blowing smoke... but now I think I'm going to report the incident, just to find out what I should do if she does follow through with her threats to report my fictitious "behavior" to some sort of authority. I need to be sure that nothing is going to end up on my academic record... but more than that, the school needs to know how this woman is acting. The people who spoke to me today are frightened of her, and not ashamed to admit it.

I hate the feeling of holding a can of worms and knowing I'm going to have to reach for that can opener...

So. Angry.

Jan. 3rd, 2011 01:13 pm
treefrog: Words in the heart cannot be taken (Words)
My youngest brother Nathan is on a mission in Florida, recruiting members for the Mormon church. I send him emails. I receive the mass emails he sends home in what little time he has to write home. I don't read these emails; I skim them, because there is absolutely nothing of my little brother in those letters. Everything he says is framed in Mormon language (this is hard to explain but ask any ex-Mormon and they'll know right away what you mean), and he talks about nothing but church stuff.

I've been supportive because it's his choice. He didn't turn away from me when I left the Mormon church, and I've said before that I will not turn away from anyone I love because they are still Mormon.

But Nate's letter this week contained the following paragraph:

"Hey family!!! We received an email from [the Mission] president today that we are not to use the pronouns "I" or "me" or words like "myself"! So you won't be hearing those words in these emails anymore. Wow is it ever a hard habit to break. Those words are used pretty frequently in ones vocabulary."

Read over that again and let it sink in. Do you see what's being said here? Do you see what's being done? Do you see how obscene this is? This upsets me for two reasons; two things I love dearly are threatened here.

First, of course, is my little brother. HE IS NOT ALLOWED TO REFER TO HIMSELF. He must excise from his personal vocabulary the means to be an individual. I'm not sure what the "we" he used for the rest of his letter is meant to refer to. Himself and his ever-present mission companion? The entire Mission? The Mormon Church as a whole, because in that context is isn't an individual? Nate isn't like me; he isn't as susceptible to language-inflicted pain as I am. Maybe this will slide off his back and won't affect him. But I read that paragraph and I see that to the people charged with his care, he is not himself. He is not a person. He's a number without a soul, a suit without a name. I want to stomp all the way down to Florida, grab someone by the lapel of their cheap suit and tell them that that kid, see him, the tall skinny blond boy over there? That's my little brother. His name is Nathan. He's a he, not an it or a they. He is a person. He is his own person. If he wants to be your person, fine, that's his choice, but at least let him be a person, you dumb fucking fucks.

And while I'm at it... the English language. You can't have it. It doesn't fucking belong to you. You can control your own little patch of linguistic ground, the same as anybody else, but YOU CANNOT CONFISCATE THE PRONOUNS. I WILL FUCKING FIGHT ANYONE WHO WANTS TO TAKE MY PRONOUNS! I know what you're up to, you slimy little villains. You're trying to re-enact Nineteen Eighty-Four. You think that what can't be said can't be thought. You're trying to steal people's thoughts. You're trying to break people's minds. You should be ashamed to breathe. But let me show you something: look at me. I grew up with a similar assortment of parasitic linguistics (though nobody ever tried to forbid me the use of personal fucking pronouns), and I took it all back. My mind, my words, my self... I took it back. I debugged, I defragged, I rewrote and I regrew. ENGLISH, you fuckers. Like the Doctor said about Earth: It is defended. YOU MAY NOT HAVE IT.

*whew*. I haven't been this angry in a long time. My family and my language are both rage buttons, I guess. Nate's not stupid, and even if he never leaves the Mormon church, he'll have to rejoin the real world eventually. He'll find his "I" again. And if he doesn't, I'll hit him over the head with it.

Christmas

Dec. 25th, 2010 11:02 pm
treefrog: A starry night, the words O Holy Night (Holy)
It was a nice day. No family drama, got to see my brothers (and talk on the phone to the one who's a missionary) and chat with them. I have Chapters gift cards, of course, but not as many as usual. That's cool, though, because people actually got me stuff they thought I'd like. Danny, for instance, got me a coil-bound journal made from an old book. It's super-cool. Russ got me the new Lynn Miles CD, which is also super-cool.

Yes. It was a very good day, and that's about all I could ask for.
treefrog: an old-fashined radiator (Radiator)
We looked at the potential new house today and we've decided to take it. It really is a lovely house, nice and bright with plenty of room.

The top floor has three bedrooms. The master bedroom is smaller than our bedroom now, but that's ok because we won't need to fit my bookshelves into it. I'll be claiming the leftover upstairs bedroom as a library/office sort of place. The living room is nice with two large windows and a new laminate floor. There are two linen closets in addition to the entry way closet.

The kitchen is smaller than I would like, with less counter space and less cupboard space than I have here. We figure we can put up cheap wooden shelving to make up for the lack of cupboard space. The cupboards need to be stripped and repainted, too, which we might do over the summer. We're also going to need a throw rug in the upstairs hallway because the laminate tiles there are old and falling off. The previous occupants moved in halfway through renovations, from what I can tell, so the balance of new and old is a bit odd.

The basement is about half-finished and has two bedrooms in addition to a large common area. The bedrooms are unfinished and not really suitable for use as bedrooms, but that's perfectly fine. One of them is oddly shaped and will make an excellent storage closet. The other one is totally unfinished, but has a window. Dave will be claiming that one as a workshop, because it won't matter if he makes a mess there. We're planning to set up the TV downstairs along with our more cat-scratched furniture, and put the less cat-scratched furniture in the front room.

The back yard is awesome. It's huge and has a tarmac area and—major selling point for us—a concrete fire pit. We are great fans of cookouts, and while I'm sure we'll still drive out to Hawrelak Park on occasion, it'll be nice to have them in our own back yard.

So far, the only thing that really, really annoys me about the house is that it is yellow. I hate yellow. Yellow is for flowers and butterflies, not houses. Ah well. I can deal.

We tried not to rant to our landlord too much about our downstairs neighbor, but that only opened the way for him to rant to us about her. He's been dealing with her shenanigans longer than we have, and will probably have to clean up after her when she leaves. They're working on putting together a case to evict her, because they know that they can't rent this suite as long as she's infesting the basement.

I asked why we're getting this place for so cheap, and he said that the previous family had been there for years and they had never raised the rent. They're doing just fine getting that amount of money from the place. He admitted that yes, they could probably get quite a bit more for it if they put it on the market. What it boils down to is, they're doing us a favor. We're grateful. We're very, very grateful.

Now... moving. Finding boxes, getting packed, hauling stuff around... siiiiiigh. I'd hoped it would be a couple of years before I had to go through this again, but it appears to be worth it.

Um... yay?

Dec. 15th, 2010 09:23 pm
treefrog: treefrog silhouetted through a leaf (Default)
So, Dave and I are moving. Again. Okay, so we're maybe moving again but it's one of those 99% chance type of maybes.

I haven't blogged about the problems we've had with this place. This is mostly because, from a storytellers' point of view, they don't even come close to topping the problems we had with the last place. Nothing, for instance, has exploded.

However, we do have an infestation: a one-woman infestation in the form of our downstairs neighbor. I'd almost rather have the cockroaches back.

A long, cranky rant describing the Basement Pest and her unsavory habits )

Anyway, our landlords are good folks and, more to the point, old family friends. They realise (fuck you, American spell checker, it doesn't have to be "realize"!) that they can't get this woman to behave herself, and even if they evict her, it will take forever to actually remove her from the premises. So, when they discovered that another one of their properties is coming available, they didn't put it on the market. Rather, they offered it to us.

Now don't get me wrong. They made it perfectly clear that they're not trying to make us leave this house or trying to pressure us in any way. If we stay here, they'll try to work with the situation. But they figure that the new house would solve a lot of problems for us.

For instance, it's only $30 a month more than this one, and they figure that 100% of the utilities bill over there would still be quite a bit less than what we pay here, so it would be cheaper to live over there.

For this decreased price, we would get an entire house, not just one floor. We would have three bedrooms instead of two (with, apparently, some added-on bedrooms in the basement). We would have two bathrooms instead of one. We would have basement space for Dave to do leatherwork in. I could devote a room to my books and my desk.

Of course there would be drawbacks. It's even further away from school than where we are now. And... I know this house. I've been inside it. I've babysat some of its past occupants... because it is directly behind my parents' house. We share a back fence and could, given proper lighting, see into one another's kitchens. This gave me pause, of course, but I know my parents. Whatever else their faults may be, they aren't nosy, nor do they try got get me to mind their business. I won't like being this close to them, but I'd rather have them than many neighbors I've had. They like the idea of us as backdoor neighbors because some fairly awful people have lived in that house and they know we won't do anything too upsetting.

But really, it seems to be worth it. We haven't looked at the place yet, and it's been renovated since I babysat there, but Mom and Dad know the current occupants and have been there since the reno and say that it's very, very nice. We'd have more than twice as much space as we do now and no noisy, money-leeching neighbor in the basement.

So, unless we look at it and see something we can't live with, we're going to be moving. Again.

The thought of it exhausts me, but not quite as much as the thought of continued dealings with the Basement Pest.
treefrog: an old-fashined radiator (Radiator)
I am tired. I've got finals chewing on my brain and my mother being ridiculous and my husband's father being evil and my little brother sending letters home that have nothing in them of him and everything in them of Mormon brainwashing and my husband needing all my support but not understanding that I need his too.

Everyone wants to talk to me, but anytime I try to talk back, I get shut down. I tried to tell my parents that December is going to be way better than last year but still tight and I wished it wasn't like that, and Mom said that I'm a newlywed and I'm not supposed to have money. She then refused to understand why it hurts to take Grandma's inheritance. She flat-out says that I didn't know Grandma and that I don't feel anything for her, really. Not "can't", not "shouldn't", just "you don't have any feelings for her".

I tried to tell Dave that I'm tired and that I can't always be tough about it and some days I'm going to cry, and he told me maybe I should go back to my parents for a while. He didn't mean "you're a baby who can't handle your own life and needs to go back to mommy and daddy" but it sure came across that way. But it's okay for him to talk endlessly about the things that are bothering him and expect my full attention. He needs support. His family are being shitheads again and he hates his job... but it's okay for him to rant and fume and stomp about going to a job he hates, but it's not okay for me to rant and stomp and fume about school because "don't worry, it will make life better in the long run". I'm fucking sick of that line. The mysterious "Long Run" is still years away and right now, I am poor, stressed and tired.

Now, it's not that I can't handle it. I've handled much worse than this. It's just that I'm expected to be everyone else's strength, too. I'm supposed to be the supportive one for Dave's kid because his mother is useless. I'm supposed to be okay with dealing with other people dumping their rage and tears and problems on me because "she's so strong, she's so smart, she's so powerful, she can handle it". What people don't seem to understand is that I need a moment off from handling other people's problems so that I can handle my problems. Right now I'm not strong enough to handle their problems because mine aren't getting dealt with.

I mean, fuck, my husband joined me in the shower last night, which is normally a very good thing, but while he was washing my hair he started talking about our financial situation again. Not even the shower is a place to relax anymore. I've gotten to the point where I've been telling people directly "Please let me rest for a while. Please let's not talk about this right now. I'm too tired to handle this right now." I've even gone so far as to tell Dave "I know you're speaking English but when I"m this tired all I hear is noise". He knows I get like that... but this time he just kept talking. He's hurting right now and doesn't want to be alone. I'm hurting and I'm desperate to be alone... but he keeps skipping shifts at work, which scares the hell out of me for money-related reasons, and deprives me of my alone-time. It's not that I don't love people, but I need, need, need my alone time, and it's been weeks.

Really, it's not that I don't care. I do care, and I would like to be there for the people who need me to be there, but right now I'm just not strong enough. It's finals week, a fact that I have repeated until I'm blue in the face and nobody will cut me any fucking slack. And then they tell me that my studies are the most important thing in my life. And then they replace the most important thing in my life with whatever is bothering them right now.

And if I had someone to dump on the way they're dumping on me, I might be okay, but no, it's "You're supposed to be poor, you'll make money someday so you should like having to struggle right now, you're ever so smart and talented but you have no feelings, especially not for your Grandmother who just died, you're needed, you're doing a good thing for other people, we need you so much, we need your strength and because we need you, we can't stand the idea that you might not be strong, so don't fucking talk about it, just shut your mouth and be what we need, and no, you can't take a nap right now, you said you'd cook dinner tonight".

Well, I've got nothing left. My favorite singer said it better than I can just now: "... I need somebody to take the wheel, navigate for a while, tell me how brave I've been and try to make me smile, oh and I need something for the shakes, I need to fix the brakes, I need a road to take me home that's straight and true, I need to lay my burdens down in an understanding town but most of all I need someone to talk to..."

I'm done. I'm just done. It's come down to a judgment call: exams or Everything Else. Well, sorry, but exams win. You want your precious "Long Run", you're going to have to fuck the hell off in the short run.
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