textualdeviance: (trapped)
Random thing I just realized: I find it hard to post about anti-fat hatred in more-general fora. I'm always afraid that if I even bring up the subject, it'll call attention to the fact that I'm one of the fatties, and the bullies will smell the blood in the water and descend upon me. And because being fat is something that's still considered a "genuinely" bad thing for various reasons, people simply aren't willing to step up and have my back when shit like that happens, which leaves me to try to fight off the raptors on my own. And that? Is freaking exhausting.

The sheer amount of victim blaming that happens when anti-fat prejudice flares up is breathtaking. Somehow, people have got it into their heads that the mere state of being fat is physical evidence of character flaws--ones that are apparently so bad that sentencing us to discrimination, harassment, pain or even death is justified.

And then there are the concern trolls. "Oh, but it's so unhealthy!!" Um. OK. So why is every iota of the health and fitness industry polluted with messages about how I'm utterly worthless because I'm not decorative enough, and never will be no matter how healthy I am? Why can't I find a gym that will simply let me use some equipment to help improve my blood pressure without being flooded with stuff telling me I'm ugly, and that's the real problem? Why are people so judgmental about the bodies they see in locker rooms? Don't tell me this is about health when even my doctor's office has a bunch of brochures for cosmetic surgery. If berating people about how they look actually worked to improve health, Americans would be the healthiest damned people on the planet.

I'm just so fucking tired of it. I'm tired of being faced, literally dozens of times every single day, with people telling me that I'm not worthy of love, of respect, of even being alive because I'm fat. And I'm even more tired of otherwise-sensible people who are doing nothing at all to stop this from happening, or--even worse--propping up the industries that perpetuate it. If you're too tired or busy or whatever to actively work to end this, fair enough, but at least stop giving money to companies that make fortunes off of making fat folks feel like shit, yeah?

I've managed to survive as long as I have because I've done everything I can to be valuable in ways other than how I look. I've studied hard, worked hard, tried to make myself a kind, loving and generous person. I've learned to be charming, to be witty, to keep people entertained and amused and informed and cared for. I have done everything I know how to make up for the fact that my body is not what my culture says it should be. And yet it's still not enough, and I'm not sure it ever will be. I'm not sure there are enough social Hail Marys I can say at this point that will ever absolve me of the sins of my flesh.

I'm just tired of living like this. I'm far too stubborn to take the easy way out, of course. For every ounce of me that's hurting and bleeding from the constant beatings, there is an equal amount of rage and defiance that bubbles up to make me refuse to succumb to the will of the people who want to see me defeated. But I admit: this fight would be a hell of a lot easier if I knew there were more people out there who are willing to fight by my side.

I sincerely believe that I am a person who is worth the air I breathe no matter what size I am or how I came to be this way. I also know there are--thank you--several people who also believe that, and who have worked hard to support me. I just wish there were more. This is not a fight that can be won by one stubborn-ass chick and her tiny army, because this stubborn-ass chick is not the only one who's being constantly attacked. People who aren't as stubborn as me are still, quite literally, dying because of how much the world is telling them they're worth nothing. And for the love of fuck, this has to stop. Please.
textualdeviance: (Default)
Am hashing out a very long, navel-gazing post about this sparked by Tumblr events from earlier today. Will bore you with it later, but the short version: Trying to decide whether it's inherently icky, or at least disrespectful, to be an openly lecherous fanthing. Also, whether there's a right and wrong way to be a fan (assuming one isn't actually being directly obnoxious to the people one is fanning.) And also whether being a fan--or at least a lecherous one--automatically kills one's credibility as a media and/or creative professional.

Also-also, there's some stuff about personae and "knowing" people and at what point it's acceptable to be attracted to them.

Messy stuff, this.

On top of all that, there's meta stuff in there about how audiences are really supposed to think and feel about creative works and the people who make them. And how we're supposed to express those thoughts and feelings. (This has to do with the notion that storytelling art is all about creating characters we become emotionally invested in.) I may post that over on my Wordpress blog, though.

ETA for a small epiphany that will help me condense the eventual long version:

My own attraction to/interest in the Famous People I like has to do with liking (what I know of) who they are as human beings. But, because prurient interest from fans is so often shallow, objectifying, starfucking, posessive, blah blah, being openly attracted to FPs will be assumed to be that kind of disrespectful stuff, and thus seen as tacky, at best. And, sadly, there's no way around that, because the communication protocols necessary to keep out the icky people also keep out us not-icky ones.
textualdeviance: (80's hair)
If you ever want to know what growing up in Reno in the '80s was like, read this blog.

I'm not sure I actually knew Courtney. We ran in similar circles, but she's a few years younger than me, so we likely didn't actually cross paths. But her stories feel like my stories. To a frightening degree.

The stories are horrifying, of course. Basically everyone who wasn't middle class or higher who grew up there at that time had similar levels of life suckage. But they're comforting in a way, too. It's validation that what I remember actually happened; that it's not just my imagination that life did, indeed, suck like a jet-engine-powered Dyson. It's validation that the scars I bear are real, and evidence that I didn't do anything wrong to earn them.

There were things about my life that were better than hers (my parents were considerably more sane) and things that were worse (living out in the boonies = social isolation) but the overall quantity of suck was pretty much the same. And there's comfort in that. Comfort in shared experience that makes it all real, and helps us acknowledge that we went through some truly horrible things that no kid should have to experience, and managed to survive anyway.

D and I were chatting the other day and lit upon a rather cool-but-sad epiphany: somehow, being odd/queer actually helped us survive our trailer-trash beginnings. We knew early on that we were weird, and not like the other kids (and were, of course, constantly reminded of this by said other kids) and that forced us to find community elsewhere. We gravitated to the other odd kids, and were united in our oddness, and that helped us avoid getting sucked into the downward spiral of the lifestyle that all the other kids eventually grew into. We knew there was life beyond where we were right that second, because we'd found other people who were determined to make that happen. We knew survival was possible, and that made all the difference. So we worked our asses off, and made it happen.

Now, of course I'm always going to be at least a few steps behind where I really should be (on an effort-to-result scale.) Starting out the race of life while wearing concrete running shoes means you're pretty much never going to make it to the finish line ahead of anyone else. But I kept on pounding, and eventually the concrete disintegrated, and now I can see that line. And dammit, I'm going to give myself credit for getting here even despite those handicaps. Because they WERE real, and they DID take a monstrous amount of effort to overcome.
textualdeviance: (jazz hands)
Discovered that being able to create things is directly tied to my mood:

A day in which I've made something? Generally satisfied with life.

A day in which I've been prevented from making something? Generally hate the world.

Putting my behavioral self-analysis hat on, I imagine this is probably a coping mechanism. When life gets sucky due to forces beyond my control, my gut response is to go make something, so I can get a sense of control back. And if others boost my ego/sense of community support by giving me good feedback on what I've made, even better.

The thing that's kind of awesome about this is that that's actually a pretty healthy coping mechanism. Some people react to a loss of control by getting destructive or controlling of others. Me? I write dorky stories, make pies and play games that let me build stuff. Some people want to play God to squish other pathetic mortals. I want to play God so I can rebuild the world and everything in it.

Of course, there are some caveats to this. Anyone who gets in the way of my creative process will generally piss me off. Having to create something to someone else's specs, or--even worse--by someone else's method will also piss me off. And micromanagers are very likely to have their heads on spikes before they've even got their first "oh, how about you try doing ..." out of their mouths. I'm also generally not fond of creative collaboration except with (very rare) people with whom I have perfect creative synergy (though, when this does happen? It's better than sex. Really.)

But, yeah. It's nice to know that I do have a fairly surefire method for keeping myself from going completely mad when life throws the inevitable shitquake my direction. The only tricky part is making sure I have the time, energy and freedom to make stuff when said quake hits.

Side note: I suspect this may end up being my parenting philosophy, too. Parenting goal: creating a functioning, self-sufficient adult out of a squalling, pooping little bundle of raw Id. Sounds delightful to me.
Feb. 8th, 2012 02:42 pm

It's a sin

textualdeviance: (Faith Healer Lee)
Even though my conservative religious upbringing was comparatively mild, and ended when I was 12, I think I still have some lingering fuckery from it even now. In particular, I have ongoing wars with myself over anything I enjoy, especially food or leisure-related stuff, because I still feel like it's sinful/wrong/immoral to indulge in something pleasurable without paying for it with subsequent pain. Bleh.

Realized this because I was just thinking about the Puritanism involved in the anti-gay/anti-abortion crowd, and how their greatest fear is the idea of pleasure without painful consequences. Poke the "but the baybeez!" anti-abortion arguments, and you'll get to the root of it: believing that the pain and risk of pregnancy and birth is a just consequence for a woman's sin of enjoying sex. (Some will even put it in so many words--birth is a woman's burden because of Eve's sin. Bleh.)

But even among the non-religious, there's still a lot of lingering Puritanism of other kinds. In secular society, we've mostly accepted the idea of consequence-free sexual pleasure--we're down with contraception, pre-marital sex, etc. But we seem to have transferred that idea that pleasure is a sin onto other things. We can't rail against Lust, so we're railing against Sloth and Gluttony instead. (And Greed, but that's a different thing, as there are consequences beyond oneself for Greed-inspired acts. Same with Wrath. Envy is more or less victimless, unless it leads to stealing, and excessive Pride just makes you an asshole.)

Practical advice v. moral righteousness )

Now, the practical stuff still applies, of course. Saving for retirement, for instance, is a smart move even entirely unconnected from ideals of morality, and too many rich people don't understand exactly how connected their bottom line is to the well-being of the working class. Sometimes indulging in short-term pleasures can have exponentially worse long-term consequences, and shooting yourself in the foot in some sort of ill-advised rebellion against people telling you what to do is just stupid. But if you've already done the practical analysis, and know at which point you need to stop before you hurt yourself or someone else, there's no sense whatsoever in denying yourself pleasure just for the sake of doing so. Live it up.

Of course, some people will get on your case for this. Some have so committed themselves to such righteous suffering that it makes them furious to see someone who isn't also doing the masochism tango. They also consider your wanton displays a cavalcade of temptation for them to sin. Why else would half those Family Values sorts get caught with their pants down?

Cultural bulimia )

The thing many (including yours truly) need to learn is that as an adult in this earthly life, you don't get gold stars for being a martyr. Yes, some folks are still true believers in the idea of earning heavenly Brownie Points, and will continue to deny themselves any pleasure in order to make a sadistic deity happy. But if that's not your personal theology, why let your behavior be driven by what boils down to the same motivation?

Of course there's some courtesy and compassion involved. It's rude to grossly enjoy oneself in a way that rubs it in the face of others who are suffering. But, assuming you're not being a mocking jerk, if you didn't have a hand in that suffering, and what you're doing has no bearing on whether it will end? Go to it. It's not inherently mean to indulge in a passion for painting just because some are blind. If you got in their face and said, "neener neener! I can see all these cool colors and you can't!" then sure. You're being a total dick and deserve a slap. But the mere open enjoyment of something you love is not a mockery of those who don't have that thing. Enjoying a pint of ice cream doesn't mean you don't care about starving kids in third-world countries. Driving to work because you get claustrophobic on buses doesn't mean you don't care about global warming.

What it all comes down to, I think, is this: for most of us, life kinda sucks fairly often. Unless you're born into every privileged class imaginable, you're going to suffer on some level. And because there's so much suck in life, why on earth would you voluntarily increase that suckage if there's no benefit to doing so aside from some vague sense of moral purity? The only people who will be impressed by such wholly voluntary suffering are assholes, sadists and control freaks. They are not worth it.

And on that note: I think I'm going to go take a nap. ;)
textualdeviance: (Default)
It's past my bedtime, and after spending most of the last 5 days busy as hell with adoption and chorus stuff, I'm exhausted and should go sleep. Need to blather just a little, though:

Why is it that I feel so overwhelmed being surrounded by a lot of people, and yet when I'm alone, I spend an awful lot of time living vicariously through the social lives of others?

Lonely in a crowd )

So, yeah. Not anti-social. Just easily overwhelmed. Really, I think I've always sought out genuine connections with other human beings, but before I figured this out, I was, as they say, looking for it in all the wrong places. People don't go to clubs or cons or whatever to have three-hour conversations about philosophy, French politics and cat behavior. So I'm not going to find that there. And given how much bandwidth they take, why would I even try? I'm not being rude or stuck up or think I'm better than other people when I avoid big parties or dances or, well, endless rehearsals. They just take so damned much energy, and fry my brain so much that I can't do those things without having a lot of downtime in between them.

The happiest moments in my life are when I'm chatting and cuddling with the people I love. And I'm not going to find that stuff in a sea of random people.
textualdeviance: (XKCD Complicated)
Agonizing a bit about difficult life choices. For those who've not followed this saga elsewhere: I'm trying to decide whether to go back to work, and if so, which job and when. There are some big concerns with mental health, bandwidth and money involved:

Job A and B )

Now, in an ideal world, here's what would happen: I'd get Job B, and they'd be fine with me starting in February, so I could survive January's nightmare schedule. I'd work there through our waiting time in the adoption pool, and then either quit entirely or take leave when the baby shows up, or maybe even only take a couple of weeks and then go back, as the schedule is childcare-friendly enough. And if the job turned out to be hell, I could find a way to leave without burning too many bridges. Ditching a contract before its end is bad form, definitely, but not unheard of, especially for parental leave.

Theoretically, I could also leave Job A at any time without too much drama--the open-ended contract helps a LOT with that---but the time/mental-health drain of it in the short term would make doing everything else really difficult. Really, the biggest reward of Job A comes down to one thing: Money. Quite a lot of it. And fast.

The dilemmas:Money vs. time/mental health )

Or, in summary: We don't absolutely need money from me working in order to make this all happen. It would just make things easier, faster and more secure.

Summation and decision making )

The Bottom Line:

The next phase of my life, in my ideal world, will consist of five things: Kid, writing, singing, friends/family and travel. Anything that doesn't fall into furthering one of those five categories is something I don't want to have to spend time/effort on.

I realize how very lucky I am to even have this choice to make, and I'm grateful to M's brain and the luck of the stock market from 15 years ago that made this happen. But I do have this choice, and I don't like feeling that I'm being selfish or irresponsible if I choose to do what will make me happy over what will fatten our bank account. Money for its own sake doesn't interest me. We have enough of it to have and do the things we want, so long as M keeps working. More of it isn't nearly as necessary to me as feeding my soul. And stuff that will take away my bandwith for singing and writing, without giving me anything in return but a paycheck, is actually starving it instead.

A footnote about M )
Oct. 13th, 2011 05:11 pm

Epiphany

textualdeviance: (Flamewars)
Thanks to being nearly done with A Feast for Crows and watching Cersei Lannister do her worst, I think I've just figured out one of the reasons I tend to have issues communicating/getting along with many other women: I'm not passive-aggressive enough.

Women are often taught that being direct equals being aggressive and confrontational (and unattractively masculine), so instead of bringing up a concern with the person causing it, they go about trying to solve it via stealth and subterfuge. And when they do get into direct conflicts, they default to personal attacks and derailing, instead of dealing with the issue head-on.

Me? I generally don't do that. Occasionally, my directness borders on overly blunt and tactless, but I simply don't believe in bullshitting or talking around something/someone. It's a waste of time, and causes far more problems than it solves. But because people don't expect that from a woman, it ends up seeming far more harsh and confrontational than it would coming from a man. Add in the other issues that brings up, with violating gender roles, etc., and it's not surprising that a lot of women would find me infuriating. I don't play by the rules of engagement they're familiar with, and it throws them off their game.

There's a lot of (legitimate) concern about how men are taught to solve conflicts with violence. This is clearly a bad thing, and should stop. However, there is one advantage to that kind of problem-solving: It's direct, it's quick, and there's never any question about who's on which side. A single punch in the mouth will heal pretty fast. Six months of rumor spreading and other catty social aggression takes far, far longer. If a man doesn't like you or has a problem with you, he tells you. If a woman doesn't like you, you may never know until she's taken you down behind the scenes. She may even be downright friendly with you to your face while she's savaging you socially in other ways. A man will kill you. A woman will kill everything you love. And that? Is horrid.

Fortunately, I'm lucky enough to have found quite a few women friends who don't play that game. I've even had disagreements with some, and yet we're still friends, because we got it out in the open well before it could fester and rot. Problem is that it's so hard to tell on the surface whether a given woman will be like that, or whether she's a backstabbing coward. Which makes me really wary of making new female friends. I have to spend enough time on the periphery of them to be sure that they're not like that before I feel comfortable trusting them.

In some cases, that caution has been misinterpreted as being cold or snobby or selfish. My lack of interest in pursuing instant sisterhood with any woman I meet bothers a lot of them. Then again, the ones who are bothered by it are probably the ones I'd rather not be around anyway. Because if a woman expects me to engage in the initial friendship dance the same way other women do, she's probably going to expect me to do everything else the traditional way, too. And the first conflict we have? When I say what's wrong in so many words? Will earn me the social death penalty from her.

So, yeah. This is probably why I tend to have a lot more male than female friends. Just not interested in the mean girls' art of war. Call me Brienne, I guess. ;)
textualdeviance: (skwirls)
Just finished a rewatch of the amazing In Her Skin, which is based on a true story of a murder in Australia. Watched it the first time since one of my Primeval actors plays the villainess in it, and it's easily one of my favorites, now.

Most of this comes down to the amazing work done in that role, and how familiar so much of her story feels to me. There are some scenes of her freakouts that honestly could have been me at various times of my life. I don't know what she was diagnosed with--I'm guessing bipolar, or some sort of personality disorder--but the mix of obsessiveness, self-loathing, rage, etc., is definitely something I can identify with.

So what made the difference? Why did this girl get so far gone that she ended up killing someone, and I'm now in relatively decent nick?

People who cared and the government funding that paid them )

I am, and always will be someone who has a mental illness, but thanks to people who cared, I can manage it basically on my own now. As long as I have access to my meds, a partner who loves me unconditionally and the tools I need (hi, Livejournal!) to work through the bad days when they happen, I'm functional.

I just wish the same could be said for the millions of others out there who are falling through the cracks. Not all of us will turn to murder, of course, but there's enough suffering of other kinds out there that it's unconscionable that a first-world country like the US isn't properly equipped to manage us. Millions of lives are lost to suicide and indirect self-harm. Millions more are affected by people who aren't getting the help they need. When are we going to realize that this is a major public health crisis, and do something about it?
Jul. 12th, 2011 02:18 am

Infidels

textualdeviance: (trapped)
Been finding myself in a few Someone is WRONG on the Internet! debates of late, primarily around queer/ss-marriage issues. Keep running into the assertion that ss couples just want to "destroy" marriage, The Family (tm), etc. I can usually run interference on most points of fact these folks get wrong, but this one is always a head-scratcher for me, because I just don't get it. I just can't figure out why anyone would consider someone else's relationship, and the legal status thereof, to be somehow threatening.

But I think I sort of get it, now, and I think it comes down to two things: Insecurity, and a cultural sensibility that translates to, "If you're not us, then you're them, and therefore the enemy." And I get that because I've felt that way, too.

You're a fan of the books rather than the movies? DIE, TRAITOR! )

I think a lot of homophobes who aren't irretrievably brainwashed are people in minorities themselves. They're poor, or POCs, or have little access to a larger, multi-cultural community. And those things result in isolation, and the sense of digging in for shelter. They hate queer folk not for any real reason or as a matter of religious idealism, but because they're unfamiliar, and not like the traditions and cultures in which these people feel the most safe. It's the same reason they hate people who live in cities, or people with extensive education, or people who speak a different language. They're afraid of being out in a world that isn't guaranteed to be supportive and familiar.

And I get that. I also get how incredibly hard it is to get out of that habit.

I'm not quite sure that understanding all this is going to help me get anyone else out of it, of course--homophobes least of all. But I do think I can at least work on it for myself. I'd at least like to get to the point where I'm perfectly happy saying "Yay, me!" without an attached "Boo, you!" on the end of it.

Of course, my paranoid side could well be right, and trying to do this is just going to turn me into the world's doormat in some way or another. But if the world really is that threatening, then it's going to take me down eventually whether I'm bravely facing it or not. And because the potential benefits of that bravery are pretty damned high, then, well... It's time to stop being a gutless wonder.

And who knows? Maybe in doing so, I'll at least set an example for someone else, and they can unlearn some of that paranoia, too.
textualdeviance: (*headdesk*)
Sometimes, my weird gender stuff is really damned tiring. Most of the world is cisgender-oriented, and I'm just... not. Which can feel uncomfortably isolating sometimes.

Was just thinking about this WRT to fandom, since I had a slight epiphany that the reason I'm interested in a canon "het" OTP for the first time in basically ever is because it's gender-role reversed (yes, in canon. Yay!) I've seen a couple more of these here and there (would love to see more of the Claudia/Fargo crossover stuff, for instance, and I love Gwen/Rhys in Torchwood) but it's really quite rare.

IME, most adult (AKA: sex-friendly) fanthings are primarily attracted to traditionally masculine men, whereas the more-submissive guys I like tend to attract younger/more-delicate-minded fans who perceive their submissiveness as asexuality (which is pretty much never the case; they're just as horny as any other guy.*) Just not a lot of other fans out there who share my yes-quite-prurient interest in guys like that, which makes the squee-sharing adventures a little less than fruitful at times.

And finding other folks who appreciate a strong woman? Even harder. Some straight guys are into them, of course, but most of the ones who are are the creepy sorts who are primarily interested in the challenge of breaking her (see: Whedon, Joss.) There are, of course, many women who appreciate strong ones (as opposed to finding them threatening, as is most often the case) but that tends to be in the hero-worship/role model vein, rather than the "Daym! I can haz?" one I usually have in mind.

The other challenge? Most of the folks who fit my type are usually gay. Theoretically not an issue for the women, but IME, the married-bi-chica thing tends to act like dyke repellent. Dammit. :(

Ah, well. I spose my life would be a lot less interesting if I happened to be more mainstream. So maybe this is just how things are supposed to be for me. Always a little on the odd side where most folks are concerned.


*Side note: Must say I was very amused watching the first couple of Wilfred eps. In the back of my mind, I could hear Elijah's sexphobic fantwits going apoplectic at some of the stuff he was doing. Heh.
textualdeviance: (skwirls)
Another bout of insomnia, dammit. So here's a small ramble:

I wish I didn't feel so guilty for not being a large consumer of others' creative works. I have my favorite things, of course, and frankly, a huge chunk of my free time is spent consuming various kinds of pop culture. But I also don't do all the stuff I'm "supposed" to, especially wrt books, indie films, etc. For one, I just don't have the time/bandwidth, for two, I don't have the interest, and for three, I generally dislike consuming stuff in a genre/format in which I'm also creating, because it throws me off-track.

I don't think that makes me a bad person. Nor do I think it makes me a bad artist. Of course there are things one can learn from the work of others who have gone before. I certainly wouldn't be writing the stuff I write had I not read stacks of SFF novels when I was a kid. But now that I'm actively creating, I find consuming other stuff is just a distraction--not an inspiration. All it does is either give me ideas that I can't use in what I'm working on, or make me feel like what I'm doing is utter crap, and I should just set fire to it and not bother.

Also, my attention span is so awful to begin with that anything that could possibly throw me out of a creative groove is dangerous for me. My biggest failure as a creator isn't the quality of what I create, but the fact that I have a hell of a time actually finishing any of it. So if I want to get anything done, I have to stay away from everything else that might go leaving footprints on those parts of my brain. I can always improve on the finished product later, but I have to get there, first.

I realize some people probably think this is snobby of me or something--like I feel I'm too good to look at what other people do. But that's not it at all. I just can't be a consumer and creator at the same time, because both things take up so much of my creative bandwidth that one inevitably goes by the wayside. And as being a creator is so hugely important to my mental health, that's the one I have to choose. Frankly, if I were prevented from creating, I'd probably be too bitter to enjoy consuming anyway, so it's a better choice all around to leave it alone much of the time so I can do any of that at all.
textualdeviance: (skwirls)
Am very post-partum-y right now. Things that have ended for me in the last several weeks, or will be ending soon:

-Any chance of pregnancy (the surgery)
-The big UK invasion
-Current job contract (a week from Thursday)
-Several of my favorite shows: Fringe, Camelot, Game of Thrones, Sanctuary (done), Ideal and Primeval (2 more eps each.) And the Primeval finale will probably be its last, ever, which is seriously depressing.

Plus, though it seems summer has finally arrived here (nice blue skies), it's also Solstice, which means the sun's now on its way out again. Sigh...

In some ways, I'm kind of looking forward to a couple of months without a major occupation of any sort. Gives me time to read, write, cook, park in the back yard, stare at birdies, socialize, traipse off to the coast, etc.

But I also know myself well enough to know I'll be twitchy, and wanting a new Big Thing to get into soon. My summer shows (True Blood, Leverage, Eureka, Warehouse 13, Torchwood) will keep me amused (as will continuing our Criminal Minds DVD run), but none of them are really appointment TV for me, nor do they inspire any delving into fandom. They're passive entertainment, in other words, and not the sort of hands-on stuff that I'd need.

There's the possible adoption, of course, but some of that depends on some money stuff we won't know about until September, so there isn't much we could do with that except for initial paperwork. Also will be shopping the novel around to agents, but that's not a time sink. And we have Dragon*Con and a potential fall Orlando trip, too, but those aren't major projects, either.

Kind of hoping that this lack of a Big Thing doesn't mess with my head, actually. When I'm not Doing! something, I start feeling useless and parasitic, and thus become an insufferable whiner (more than normal!) Might just have to make myself enjoy the sabbatical time, instead of feeling guilty for it. Ooo.
textualdeviance: (Cascadia)
One of the movies I watched recently had a plot involving the common trope of a country boy gone city, whose family resents him for it. There's the typical accusation of how he undoubtedly thinks he's too good for his country folks now, never visits, etc.

In a lot of stories with this plot, it resolves by the city boy learning the value of family, and that his city life has robbed him of his soul, blah blah. This one? Not so much. In fact, it was entirely the other way around. It was made clear that the reason the city boy left in the first place was because family drama pushed him away, and when he returned, he returned only to that drama, which almost ruined the relatively calm city life he'd had. The experience of "going home" again only reminded him that he made the better choice by leaving, and reinvested him in the life he'd built for himself beyond his roots.

While the movie was kinda cheesy in general, I was actually impressed by how the plot went there, since I'm so used to being shamed for having left my hometown/family, and it also got me to thinking about how inherently dysfunctional small-town life--or indeed, any sort of insular community--can be.

Sameness =/= safety )

If you scratch the surface of any seemingly prosaic world, you'll find potential dangers. Which is why the only real safety is in leaving your front porch and seeing the rest of the world and all the people in it, and giving yourself at least one other place to go if the place you are now fails you somehow.

Taking these ventures outside your door doesn't mean you're leaving everything else behind for good. It doesn't mean you don't like the old life, the old people, the old hobbies and cultures and familiar places. It just means that you understand that a life built on eternal sameness doesn't guarantee happiness. The fewer options you leave yourself, the more likely you are to be bereft if/when the only thing you have goes away. I have felt that profound sense of emptiness before, and I don't ever want to feel it again. I will, of course mourn if the big things in my life go away, but I don't want to have a sense that they are the ONLY things in my life, and thus if they go away, I'll have nothing left.
textualdeviance: (skwirls)
Weird contrast when we got off the plane in MN: Suddenly, a heck of a lot more fellow fat folks around.

I loved the trip, of course, but had had quite a few instances in which I felt uncomfortable because I was the largest person in the room. Got more than a few rude stares, etc., unrelated to the tourist thing (we mostly dressed like locals, and this often happened before we spoke) which kinda dampened my mood a time or two.

This happens to me a fair amount in general, of course. The Northwest has its share of chubby folks, but we also have a lot of tree-climbing health nuts who are of the opinion that my ass is going to single-handedly (double-cheekedly?) destroy the planet. So I do get the occasional bit of flak here at home. But it's a trade-off, because every other weirdness I have is generally accepted well enough. We have a high enough geek population that open-mindedness WRT the queer, atheist, gender-non-compliant thing is pretty common, so long as you're West of the mountains.

I did get to thinking in MN, though, about how much more accepted my body might be if I lived somewhere that it weren't so unusual. If I'm 1 in 100, instead of 1 in 1000, I'm not going to stand out as much. Flak would still happen--it always does--but I wouldn't always feel like the sole target of it. For a moment, the lure of being able to walk around in public without always worrying if someone's going to harass me was pretty strong.

The problem, however, is that most of the areas with a higher population of fat folks also have a higher population of anti-queer religious folks. And they're quite often the same people. I won't speculate on why that is (though I have ideas) but the fact remains that while most of the folks I'd run into in, say, Texas might accept my surface existence, once they got past that, it'd be a whole 'nother story.

I do sometimes wish there were a magical land in which I could be a fat, queer, atheist, gender-non-compliant, progressive geek (etc.) without having to constantly worry about whether a given stranger was going to have a problem with one or more of those things. It wouldn't even have to be everyone--as long as I felt like at least half the population had my back for all of those things, I'd feel better As it is now, though, there's no guaranteed place or group of people where I know I'll be safe, so I feel like I have to keep my guard up at all times. And that's a pretty sucky way to live.
textualdeviance: (XKCD Complicated)
The biggest thing on my horizon at the moment, of course, is the fact that in 72 hours, I'll be on a plane on the way to London. Yay!

But I'm also looking ahead of that, since I've been tying up loose ends at work, and figuring out what I'll need to do there when I get back. And I'm realizing that I'm probably in for one hell of a bout of post-travel depression, because the adoption is the only big thing I can see in my near future, and hanging my hat solely on that isn't exactly a recipe for mental health.

Don't mind me. Just feeling icky at the mo and need to write to get it out of my system )

In truth, I envy people who can content themselves with friends, family and a non-soul-sucking job that pays the bills. I've always--always--felt my life had to have something more. I've cut my expectations down from the worldwide fame and political power I imagined at age 10, yeah, but I still need something else--something uniquely mine--to point to. I have just this one life, and I have above-average skills in certain things, and I can't stand the idea of wasting that just... existing. I want to leave more of myself when I die than a kid, a paid-off mortgage and a crapload of vacation photos.

The question is: What?

Maybe three weeks on another continent will give me some epiphanies this direction. I hope so. I'm never content unless I'm working toward a big goal, and too much time being less than useful will drive me batty.
textualdeviance: (Default)
I just now realized that Mother's Day is the day before my surgery. I.e., the day before I say goodbye to ever bearing children. Theoretically, since my ovaries won't be affected, I could use a gestational carrier and still have bio kids, but since my stoopid eggs wouldn't get fertilized in the first place, and the fertility clinic basically refused to do egg extraction on me anyway, that's not an option. So any future kids I obtain are going to be someone else's. I've known this for a while, now, of course, but it's still kind of hard to swallow. It would help if my stupid culture wasn't so bloody obsessed with bio mothers, as if they're the only people in the world capable of being proper parents.

---

Speaking of the surgery, I had my pre-op consult for it yesterday, and they confirmed that they're knocking me entirely out. I'm a little worried about this (anesthesia is the reason the clinic refused to work on me, after all) but mostly, I'm just not looking forward to waking up. The last time I did general, I was horribly miserable when I came to: Thirsty, headachy, confused, scared, etc. Nastiness.

Also not looking forward to the drug I need to take the night before, as it's supposed to cause horrible cramps. Yaye.

---

Fortunately, I shall have glorious fandom goodness to distract me from all this, as there's a premiere event going on Sunday at which a fandom friend will be. There will be pics, I hope! Also still hoping there will be some folks at the event I'm going to at the end of the month, too. They haven't announced many guests at all, yet, so I'm still hopeful. Would kinda suck to spend 3 weeks traipsing around the show's home countries and not see at least someone from it. I'll be seeing some filming locations, of course, but that's not quite the same as real live humans. :)

---

My fannish creative muses came back. In hordes. In the last 10 days, I've written 9 fics (about 20k words) and put together a new vid (which I'm also retooling a bit for submission to a Dragon*Con fanvid contest.) Amazing what happens when new promo material gets me salivating. ;)

---

Good thing I've kept myself creatively busy, though. Got turned down by the first agent. Sigh... I kinda wondered if that might happen, though, as she's mostly doing modern fantasy/paranormal right now, and my thing is definitely a traditional fantasy setting, even if its plot and themes are less so. Will go hunting for other agents when we get back from our trip.

---

Semi-related, I was realizing yesterday that each decade of my life has some fairly clear definitions, in terms of a snapshot of who I was/what was important to me. 0-10 was school/reading/being a tomboy, 10-20 was school/politics/socializing/radio, 20-30 was school/performing/socializing/sorting out my love life, 30-40 was fandom/journalism/establishing a home/getting money sorted. What's 40-50 going to be? Not entirely sure, yet, but I think it may be novel-writing/parenting. And then probably add travel into that for my 50s. Not a bad life, I guess. At least I didn't spend most of it (so far) intoxicated or in jail.

---

Some of the above epiphany comes courtesy of the electronic attic-cleaning I've been doing the last couple of days. I've had several layers of poorly-filed crap sitting around in my docs folder for years. Most of it's from multiple backups, so there's a lot of duplicate and frankly useless crap in there I've been sorting through. And because I'm an idiot, I can't easily tell what most of these are about just by their titles, so I'm having to open them up and scan. And some of my old writings and such? Good grief.

I think for most of my 20s, I was dead convinced that if I didn't have a ton of lovers, it meant I was pathetic and useless. Granted, I'm still a randy little perv even now (hi, fanfic?) but I'm also not falling in lust with my friends all the time. Still a bit here and there, but not to the ridiculous degree it used to be. I think the difference is that while the libido is still there, the desperate need for approval isn't anymore. At least not that way. These days I'm pining away more for the approval of agents: writers' and adoption. Whether people consider me fuckable is of far less importance to me now than whether they consider me creatively skilled and good parenting material.

Which, I suppose, is one of the benefits of being near 40. Frankly, I don't think I'd ever want to go back to that state of being again. Feeling like my entire identity and self-worth was dependent on whether I was attractive enough was horrid. Still feel like that a lot now, but it's not as big a deal as it was then, at least. That monkey is still clinging to my back, but it's at least losing its grip, which is a damned nice feeling. I just feel sorry for the millions of other young women still beating themselves up every day because shallow idiots don't think they're decorative enough.

---

At any rate, this all kind of feels like I'm going away to the UK for some sort of major personality overhaul or something. Like I'm going to undergo some sort of rite of passage and come back a totally different person, and be ready for the next phase of my life. Which may be true. Three weeks of being 5,000 miles from home might give me a good and necessary brain scrubbing. We'll see whether I'm a Whole New Me come mid-June.
textualdeviance: (Can't Talk)
In advance of my usual year-in-review post...

Have been kicking myself lately because I feel like I've wasted this year. Unlike most recent years, I haven't been working toward some sort of major goal, and I have very little to show for these past 12 months save ~18k words on my novel, a few more video/photo skills, and a shitton of fanworks. The few months I've been working have helped us pay off some bills, but that's about it.

I've felt guilty for this because I wondered if maybe I'd distracted myself from doing something more valuable by drowning in fandom stuff. But now I'm realizing something even more sad: The fandom drowning is because there's nothing else to do.

Our next major goal is the kid thing, and that requires so much money that all I can do to try to reach that goal is the daily grind at a soul-sucking job. With the money thing so critical, that means cutting back on travel and other big expenditures. With most of our friends busy with little ones, school or other stuff, that means not a lot of social time (even though we'd love more.)

So what's left? What can we do to keep ourselves from going mental while we're waiting for the bank account to fill up? Entertainment/hobbies. We're both watching a hell of a lot of TV, M's up to his ears in geocaching stuff, and I went ass over biscuits for a random British actor and his silly little dinosaur show. It's not sexy, but there you have it.

I suppose theoretically, I could have healthier, more sensible hobbies. I sort of did over the summer, what with puttering in the back yard and watching birdies. But somehow, the fandom thing is more... hmm... psychologically satisfying for me. I have suspicions about why that is, but regardless, that's how things are.

Once I have a squirmy, tiny human around to occupy my days, I'm sure my fascination for all things Cute Dino Geek will subside. But for now? It works.

Yeah, I wish I had something more tangible to show for this year besides several dozen fics, vids and graphics of questionable morality and artistic merit, but I could certainly be doing far worse.
textualdeviance: (Button Monkey)
I feel like a fraud most of the time. The things I can do--writing, singing, etc.--are so easy for me that I figure I must not actually have any skill at them. I feel like what I can do is simple enough that any idiot can do it, so I'm definitely nothing special.

I'm also, however, horribly envious of people who can do things I definitely can't--drawing, dancing, etc.--and I figure those things must require considerably more skill and effort than what I do.

In other words, I assume that if I can do something it must be universally easy, and if I can't do something, then it must be universally difficult.

I probably should get over this, not just because I'm shortchanging my own skills (not to mention the real effort that went into developing them), but because it sometimes leads me to think that people who can't do what I can do so easily must be kind of pathetic. (What, you mean you can't hand-construct a basic web page? What's wrong with you?!)

But how do you know if you're actually good? )
textualdeviance: (Le Connor Temple)
Though I feel like I've made progress in the last five years, I'm a little frustrated at the moment.

2010 is already sort of feeling like a waste because the first half of it has been spent sitting around staring at a particularly cute and charming Yorkshire actor because I'm waiting for us to have enough money to pay off debts and buy a kid. I hate feeling like I'm waiting at an arbitrary red light like that, and I hate that there's really nothing I can do to make more progress toward that next step just yet.

But the cute Yorkshire lad is certainly a nice distraction from that damned red light. And, unlike my previous fandom insanity, I'm not using that distraction to avoid facing Painful Personal Issues. Just to keep from going mental with frustration while I'm waiting for other things outside of my control to happen in their own time.

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