textualdeviance: (Default)
Finally got in to see my reg doc to discuss the giant pile of labwork and figure out wtf is going on with me, and got a tentative diagnosis!

Doc thinks I have something called Polymyalgia Rheumatica, which was something I suspected when I first started looking into this. I'm awfully young for it--it's rare in anyone under 50--but since I have so many other oddball problems, doc thinks it's certainly possible in my case. It also often comes with a far more serious thing called Temporal Arteritis, which is inflammation of cranial arteries, but I don't have symptoms of that, so crossing my fingers it's not involved.

PMR an icky disease, but it is treatable, to a degree, and eventually goes away on its own after a few years. A long while to wait, definitely, but at least I know there's hope somewhere down the road. She's sending me to a rheumatologist to absolutely rule out anything else, and in the meantime, putting me back on prednisone, which is the primary treatment for this.

Interestingly enough, one of the common symptoms of this is anemia--particularly the microcytic/hypochromic stuff I have. Other parts of my labs rule out this being caused by actual iron deficiency. Rather, it's caused because the body's response to infection, inflammation, etc., is to hold back circulating iron to avoid feeding whatever bug is there. Theoretically, if I cure the inflammation, I can cure the anemia, too. Being able to get some energy back along with killing the pain would be fantastic. The better I feel, the easier it'll be to mind a little one when we finally get one.

Something else I also wonder: I've had many of the same symptoms, in a much milder form, for quite some time. Though sudden onset like this is possible (and may be triggered by infection or something) it also might be that I simply had a colossal flareup of something I've already had for a while. Without getting regular bloodwork to test for inflammation markers (sed rate, c-reactive protein), I would never have known about this. My ongoing aches, stiffness, etc. would be--and are--chalked up just to getting old and being fat, and everyone would think the reason I don't exercise is due to laziness, not anemia-caused exhaustion and inflammation-caused pain.

Come to think of it, it may be that I got this a year and a half ago. I remember having flu-like symptoms when we went to Dragon*Con in 2011, and feeling tired and achy ever since. I went from happily traipsing all over the UK earlier that summer to feeling utterly miserable just from walking through a grocery store now. Having this thing even back then would explain so, so much. And knowing it's treatable and limited, if annoying? Even better. It'd be fantastic to be able to be more active again. I want to go bird-stalking, dammit.

Oooh. I just got mail from the doc saying the rheumatoid factor test was negative. So that's another possibility eliminated. Looking more and more like this really is what's going on. It sucketh mightily, but knowing is half the battle, and now I do.
textualdeviance: (Default)
So, in assembling this photo collage for our adoption agency profile, I went looking for pics of the two of us.

A while back, my mom gave me a CD full of pics she'd had stored--old family pics, a bunch of stuff from her camera, etc. I'd not gone through them--my mother takes tons of pics and most of them are pretty repetitive. But I wanted to see if there were any shots she'd gotten of us that I hadn't seen.

I did find some interesting pics--not of us, but of the rest of my family. Some interesting old ancestor pics, and a few of me and my dad. There was a little bit of "huh. These are my people, I spose." Not nostalgia, really, but wondering whether there might be any merit to including them as part of my family now that I'm adding a child of my own.

And then I opened a folder called "great pics." Which was full of all sorts of horrible racist "jokes." Like really, really horrible ones. So horrible I don't even want to describe them.

Oh.

Given that we're still considering a transracial adoption, and may well end up with at least a mixed-race child, I just ... I wanted to throw up, quite frankly. The idea of exposing my kid to people who would think that kind of hateful garbage is funny is nauseating.

The weirdest part is that there's already a PoC kid in my family. One of my cousins on my mom's side has a daughter (now a teen) whose father is half black/half Japanese. She's gorgeous and sweet and a nice kid. And I wonder exactly what the rest of the family says behind her back. I know that my late grandfather, on seeing her first pics, said something to the effect of "that child's going to be black!" in a horrified tone. But beyond that, I'd not heard anything. She's featured in plenty of family pics, etc., so it seem like she's accepted, but who knows what people really think or say when they think they're in like-minded company?

And honestly, if having a POC grand-niece hasn't cured my parents of their racism, will having a PoC grandchild help? I doubt it. I'm guessing my dad probably won't be around much longer--not long enough for my kid to really know him. But my mom may even outlive me, so I'm going to have to find a way around that. If my child and her birthfamily--who will be part of our family--aren't white, how are my parents going to handle that? And what will be the effect on these new family members whom I want to feel loved and welcome, to know that the extended family of the adoptive parents is so awful?

The obvious solution--and the one I've been operating from for quite some time--is to simply keep my family at a distance, so their toxic hate doesn't affect me or the other people I love. I already have PoC friends, and the idea of having my family around where they can say stupid things to them is horrifying to me, so that's just not an option.

But when it comes to my kid, there WILL be questions. She'll have birth grandparents, and with luck, those will be good people, but we won't be able to give her that experience on our side. Trying to explain to her why we don't see our bio families is going to be excruciating even if she is white. She'll have to understand, for instance, that we're not out to M's family because their religion doesn't allow them to accept us the way we are. And that's going to be hard enough to deal with. She'll otherwise be surrounded by all sorts of queer and queer-friendly people, so she'll know that we and the people we choose to have around believe it to be perfectly normal, natural and worthy of support. She'll know that the vast majority of people in our lives believe in voting in a way that supports human rights. But there will still be this one segment of her adoptive family--a big one--that doesn't, and I'm lost for how to explain that to her in a way that won't mess with her head. She'll know about homophobia, of course, but to know that her own family is part of that problem? Depressing, to say the least (just as it is for me.)

And then to add racism on top of that ... I just. Ugh. We ourselves can be role models to counteract the homophobia. But we don't have the framework around race established well enough to offset that, and I'm terrified of not being able to give my PoC child enough support in that area.

Generally speaking, we already believe in the idea of chosen family, and adoption is just a part of that. We'll be establishing the idea that family is the people who love you, regardless of whether they're legally or biologically related. And, out of necessity, we'll have to explain that sometimes the people we're legally or biologically related to aren't actually family. We'll have to make it clear that just because DNA or a piece of paper says someone is connected to you doesn't mean they love you. Love is demonstrated by actions, not words, and people who have not chosen to act in a loving way aren't qualified as family. But there's SO much cultural framework built up around blood family that undoubtedly this is going to be upsetting for her, and that breaks my heart.

I'm dreading the moment--and there will be one, I know it--when my kid realizes that there are people who don't like her--or even hate her--because of her skin color, or because her parents aren't straight, or because her mom's fat, or because she's adopted, or because we're not religious, etc. And it'll be even worse if it's not just random strangers who dislike her, but people she's legally related to. I will likely choose not to really expose her to those people, so she won't develop a bond with them and thus be hurt even more by their prejudice when she discovers it. If they're effectively strangers, that revelation will sting a lot less.

But it's still going to hurt, and I'm still furious that my kid is inevitably going to suffer just because there are so many ignorant, hateful, small minded people--some of whom I have the misfortune to be related to.
textualdeviance: (trapped)
Dear The World:

Asking you to stop requiring people to be either butch or femme doesn't mean I'm denying those gender identities to others.* It certainly doesn't mean I'm denying gender identity itself. I'm not trying to take away your lipstick. I'm just asking you not to support a cultural paradigm that says I'm a worthless, pathetic creature (or should at least have the decency to identify as butch instead) because I don't wear it.

See also: just because I'm an atheist doesn't mean I'm trying to burn your church down, asexuals aren't anti-sex, blah blah blah.

This isn't like voting, where abstaining can have negative effects on others. It's just a matter of how one goes through the world on a personal level. If you can't enjoy playing a game without coercing everyone else into playing it, too, the problem lies with you. It's possible--really, it is!--for people to be different and yet have equal value in the world.

*Assuming those identities are, in fact, natural or at least freely chosen. If I see someone who's trying to do the femme thing but it's obvious she's not happy with it, and is only doing it because she feels obligated? I'm still going to call her on it.
textualdeviance: (Button Monkey)
So, since I haven't updated about this since my last bellyaching ...

I first sent mail to my teammate, confirming that it wasn't just me--there's really next to no work for us. In the middle of that, I also discovered something else that's a roadblock for the team, with larger-scale potential repercussions. So, I broke down and wrote a long mail to my boss about it all late last week.

Things post-mail are still settling out, so I don't really know what's next. But it does seem like our workload is slowing down to a trickle--and a trickle of stuff I really don't want to do. I already suggested that if this really is just a one-person job, then I'm happy to train my teammate on the stuff she doesn't know, and let her have it. Having my position go away due to budget reasons would be the best course of action, I think. It'd mean I wouldn't lose brownie points with my agency for quitting/breaking contract (and thus can get another one later if I want) but it'd also get me out of this mind-numbingly boring and degrading position I'm in now.

There is still a dilemma, though, and I've come to realize that it's why, despite the adoption process going well, despite the upcoming London trip, despite the great weather and everything else, I'm actually kind of miserable right now.

Downwardly mobile dog )

It's weird to look around and see how much I have and yet still feel so desperate. I'm sure people look at my life and think I have it all, and wonder why I worry so much. But that's just the thing--I don't have it all. M does. This stuff isn't mine. It's his. And if we split up, it'd all go away. I'd keep some of the material goods, and we'd split whatever pittance we could get from selling the house, but that wouldn't last. He'd be perfectly fine--financially, at least--if we split. I'd be fucked. This is not how my life was supposed to go. I did well in school. I went to college. I worked like a dog as soon as I could, stopped only when my stupid body told me I had to, and started again as soon as I was able. This shouldn't be happening to me.

I suppose this is probably why I have so much sympathy for other people who are on various forms of public support. I know very well that but for the grace of my husband's paychecks, I'd be one of them. Not through any fault or laziness of my own, but just because this is how things are sometimes. Where you get in life is only about half what you put into it. The other half is where you start and fate. People who are fucked on that other half shouldn't be assumed to have fucked off on the effort part. Unless you're lucky enough to have 30 years of living expenses set away somewhere, anyone can come to ruin at any moment--even M could, if he lost his job. Sure, we could've lived closer to the edge all this time and saved more rainy-day money, but it wouldn't be enough to make that big of a difference, long-term (and the mental health benefits of travel, the safe, comfortable house, etc., go a long way to making the rest of it possible anyway. I don't regret what we've spent so far--it's been its own investment.)

So, no. It's not weird that I'm so worried about my future survival when my ability to support myself is so fragile.

At the moment, all my hope lies in one thing: being able to sell at least one of my novels, and write/sell more while I'm home with the little one. That doesn't pay a lot, either, but it's at least possibly steady work if I'm able to sell enough of one to get contracts for more. It's also something I could do while doing paycheck-earning work of other kinds until I got better established as a writer. Best of all, it would be something I could take pride in, rather than something that made me feel like a particularly technical worker bee.

But that's hardly a guarantee. And with the current gig having hit the iceberg, just waiting around for that lifeboat to maybe show up so I don't go down with this slowly sinking ship is agonizing.
textualdeviance: (Default)
Job is driving me so far up a wall I'm starting to think I'm Spiderman.

Dilemma:

-What I'm doing is boring and a total waste of my skills and education.
-It also only takes me 3-4 hours/day to do--on a busy day.
-Leaving me stuck at work, trying to look busy, and feeling guilty for stealing the company's money to fuck off on the intarweebs.

What I'd like to do:

-Ask boss if there's something I'm missing about my duties and/or whether I can be useful helping out elsewhere to keep me busy, or whether I can just go part time, work from home, blah blah. Or ...
-Quit entirely, because this isn't what I signed on for.

Why I can't:

-Teammate's job is more or less the same as mine, just on a different section. And unless I'm unaware of something else she's doing, she actually has less to do every day than I do.
-Which means Teammate is ALSO being paid to fuck off all day. Or she's a total idiot who actually needs the time to do something so simple.
-Therefore, speaking up about not having enough to do would call out that she's been fucking off and/or an idiot for the last 6 months.
-Which would likely put her job in jeopardy. Ack.
-I could quit entirely without giving that reason, but then they'd just hire someone else in my place who'd ALSO get paid to fuck off all day. Which wouldn't be fair to them.
-Quitting without a Damned Good Reason would fuck my reputation with this team and my agency.

So ... there it is. My options are to suck it up and drown in boredom and guilt every day, or speak up, and risk fucking someone else out of a job she needs. Meh. Double meh.
textualdeviance: (Default)
Been thinking a lot--well, more than usual--about discrimination and bigotry and other such things lately. Most of this has to do with the controversy around the HBO show "Girls" which is pretty much self-deprecation porn for pampered, white urban hipsters. (See my quasi-legit blog for more babble on that.)

Have also been thinking about my own stuff on this. I tend to focus mostly on the three big things--size, orientation, gender--I get the most crap for, but there's really quite a lot of other stuff, too.

In particular, I've been thinking more about my various health crap, and reconsidering whether I need to think of myself as someone with disabilities. I've avoided that concept for a long time, because I've always thought it was presumptuous to think of my "minor" issues that way when others suffer so much more, but ... dang. I really do have one hell of a laundry list of stuff that gets in the way of having a normal life. I've managed quite a lot of it, and am considerably more capable now than I was 10 years ago, but I still do have some very real limitations. Now that I'm wearing hearing aids (as of yesterday's fitting for them) there's one more to add.

Authentication failed: Access to services denied )

It sucks that there are so many areas in which people can fall through the cracks. If you're able to help yourself even a little, people assume you don't need any help at all, and that's just not right. You shouldn't have to be completely fucked in life in order for people to want to help you. Of course the people who are completely fucked need help, but so do people whose fuckedness isn't entirely complete. Someone earning minimum wage still needs help to get by even though they have a job. Just being able to stand and move your legs doesn't mean you can climb eight flights of stairs to get to a workplace.

I realize that if I start thinking of myself as a person with disabilities, there may be people with more serious ones who think I'm being obnoxious about it. But I suspect the reason they'd think that is that they've come to believe that justice and aid are limited commodities, and therefore only the people who need them the most ought to be helped.

But I don't think that's the case. In terms of how we manage social services budgets, for instance, yes, we need that kind of triage. But the reason that's so fucked is because the people holding the purse strings have for decades tried to convince us that unless you're entirely incapable of caring for yourself, you can do your own bootstrapping. Our concept of charity is completely bass-ackwards. We give handouts to the people who are in desperate need, and then don't actually do the hand-UP aid necessary to help people help themselves. Somehow, the teaching a man to fish principle has been completely lost, and our culture only supports those who have their own fishing fleets and those who can't even hold a rod. That's so incredibly broken.

It unnerves me that I'm so conflicted about thinking about myself this way. I've obviously been pickled by the same poisoned brine as the people who would deny me help. But I can't exactly expect them to change their minds about me if I don't change my mind about myself. Maybe if I stop expecting myself to do things at the same level as people who don't have my limitations, I'll become more confident about asking others not to have the same expectations of me.
textualdeviance: (Eowyn pen)
Ran into some essentialist bullshit today (of the "women warriors are 'mannish' and therefore gross" variety.*)

Really damned tired of how we categorize traits and behaviors that support self-sufficiency as "masculine" and traits and behaviors that support dependency as "feminine."

Even more tired of the notion that women don't need to adopt "masculine" power because they have "feminine" power via the ability to sexually attract straight men and bear/nurse offspring. Such "power" is an illusion: it lasts only as long as the woman wielding it has those weapons available. Once they're gone--once she loses aesthetic appeal or reproductive capacity--she's left with nothing unless she has other skills. Women who spend the majority of their youth on aesthetics or childrearing, rather than on getting their own education, job skills and other self-sustaining experience, are utterly screwed once they hit 40 and can no longer lure shallow men into providing for their needs.

Even if you have the best husband ever (hi, M!), who really does support you, and pledges to do so no matter what you look like or whether you're rasing his kids, what happens if you lose him or lose his ability to support you? What happens if he loses his job or his ability to work? What happens if he becomes seriously ill or dies? What happens if, against all promises, he changes his mind and decides to leave you for a 20-year-old trophy wife? Shit happens. And if you don't have a contingency plan in place that relies only on YOUR skills and experience, you are setting yourself up for catastrophic failure.

I wish more young women understood this, because it's heartbreaking to see so many who obviously wasted their teens and 20s being acceptably decorative and fecund getting utterly lost when they can't get men to support them anymore. There's a reason that poverty disproportionately affects women--and especially single mothers. If you don't have the ability to support yourself (and your kids, if any) entirely on your own, you are completely screwed. Alimony, child support, survivor benefits and insurance don't go far, and welfare certainly isn't reliable. Your own job skills are all that really stands between you and being homeless if you lose your man and aren't young/pretty/fertile enough to get another one right away. If you have no job skills, you have no hope. It's that simple.

FWIW, I agree that there's no point in women adopting the worst of "masculine" traits in a bid to gain power. But when your culture's power-granting structure is built on some of those traits, if you don't adopt them, you have no power. Period. In a culture in which power is held largely by combat, for instance, people without those skills have no power. Women, therefore, who learn to become warriors aren't trying to be men. They're trying to survive.

*Yes, this was a Game of Thrones thing. General grousing about Arya and Brienne. General support of the idea that women in that culture should only be trying to gain power via sex and marriage with powerful men. Barf.
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)
A couple of hipster chicks are apparently upset at a meme calling them out as geek poseurs, and are crying sexism (because having your geek cred questioned is just like rape.) Hooray.

Have written at length on it on my other blog, but I have a few, more-personal notes to make about it, too.

Specifically, I cannot express exactly how much I hate it when conventionally attractive, cisgendered women whine about how oppressed they are when they're not taken seriously by some group or other. Honestly? STFU. If you are femme, attractive, white, straight, healthy and at least middle class, the chances of you actually suffering from oppression in any real way are next to nil. Quit pretending you're more oppressed than those of us who really DO have to struggle to be taken seriously because the gene fairy didn't smile on us.

What angers me the most about this is how they seem to want the best of both worlds. They not only want to be judged on the merits they've actually worked to achieve, but want the extra competitive boost that fitting social ideals gives them. I can't count the number of times I've seen someone who's actually more qualified for something get passed over for someone who sort of fits the bill, but also has perky tits, and who does everything she can to play them up.

And of course, when this chica runs into someone who's not just indifferent to her attempts to show off her assets, but actually sees through that bullshit, she starts bellyaching about sexism. But, but, but, you don't understand! You hate me because I'm byoootiful and that's not fair! No, honey. I don't hate you because you're beautiful. I hate you because you know you're beautiful, and do everything you can to make sure everyone else knows it, too. Making a fuss about that tells me where your real priorities are, and if it's obvious you care more about what brand of shoes you're wearing than the topic at hand, you're not going to win my respect.

Wearing a low-cut shirt or a ton of makeup as a way to try to impress someone is the femme chick's equivalent of casually flashing a Jaguar keyring or yammering on about who your parents are or what Ivy League school you were legacy admitted to. If what you're trying to sell me on is something you didn't actually work to earn, I'm not only going to be unimpressed, but I'm going to show you the door. If you're not concentrating on your actual qualifications and are instead trying to impress me with what you're wearing, I'm going to wonder what you're trying to hide.

I'm not saying that people who just happen to have been born with good bone structure shouldn't be taken seriously. On the contrary, I think that judging people on bone structure at all is stupid. So when you're trying to convince me that I should do so, I'm gonna get turned off. I'm not judging you on your looks, but on your character.

And that? Is not discrimination.
textualdeviance: (Whole Lotta WTF)
In the past four days:

Good:

-Had our first proper intake meeting yesterday with the adoption agency counselor we'll be working with. It went quite well, I think. She seemed to like us. Next step is getting the home study together. Should have that wrapped up within the next month.
-Killed time between appointments yesterday by wandering around Pike Place Market. Haven't done that in years. Came home with tons of awesome from DeLaurenti's and other food purveyors.

Sorta good:

-Finally got a new job. Start Tuesday. Sort of my old team, but under a different boss, working on a different product, and doing something with more editorial/writing stuff. Less button monkey = probably won't want to set the place on fire. It's a 12-month contract. Not sure if I'll finish that out. Depends on how well I like it and how long we're waiting for a birthmom to pick us.
-Money, CV fodder and something to keep me occupied during the wait = good. Extremely fucked-up timing in the short term = bad. See below.

Bad:

-Got a hard-drive-mangling virus. Necessitated a reformat, which meant scrambling to back up data. Just barely starting to reconstruct the machine now.
-Called in the washer repair folks for the THIRD time, since the thing still wouldn't properly spin.
-Found out I have "mild but significant" hearing loss. Will be fitted for hearing aids Monday.

Worse:

-Penny went into sharp decline, and we decided to let her go. In-home vet was here just a few hours ago. It was peaceful and kind, and I'm glad I was able to be with her, but I'm pretty shattered. Also, all grieved out at this point, having lost four cats in five years. Glad the remaining two are young.
-Khaleesi, freaked out by Penny, decided to pee on the bed last night (this is very unusual for her--she's normally quite well behaved.)
-This woke M up, so he's had 3 hours of sleep.
-I've not had a full night's sleep in three days, either, due to raging anxiety induced by all of the above.

I really wish my body could handle alcohol, because I'm tempted to spend this entire weekend very, very drunk.
textualdeviance: (Default)
It's really kind of frustrating to see so much "food addiction" BS directed at me and other fat folks when it's coming from people who couldn't get through a single day without caffeine and/or alcohol (and it occasionally comes from smokers, too. WTF?)

Not saying that indulging in those substances is a bad thing, but if the point of the scorn aimed my direction is that it's somehow morally bankrupt to use something to improve one's mood then yo, that coffee and beer you love so much? Kinda in the same bucket.

I may indulge in comfort food sometimes, and I also use sex, gaming, TV, writing and shopping for mood-improvement purposes, too. But I don't drink, I don't do drugs, I don't do caffeine, I don't smoke ... Yeah, maybe that plate of pasta isn't the healthiest thing for me, but if it's a choice between that and booze to calm me the fuck down so stress hormones don't destroy my body? Yeah, I'll do the ravioli, thanks. Hell, even with the comfort food thing, I'm still probably eating better than most Americans because I don't eat mammals, most of my cooking fats are the heart-healthy stuff and I get probably considerably more fiber than I need. If the two worst things I'm doing for my health are mashed potatoes and indulging my slothful side, I think I'm doing pretty darn well.

Don't mind me. Just tired of having my choices judged by people who think that because their habits don't make them unattractive then they're above reproach. Seriously, fuck right off with that shit.
textualdeviance: (bi slut)
This whole chorus drama thing is reminding me that a lot of people think I'm Not x Enough. Which is pissing me off. It's also especially pissing me off because I've had some moments recently that remind me that there are all sorts of uniquely stupid fuckery that we bi folks face that the Gs and Ls don't.*

To wit:

I'm sure they mean well, but I'm getting quite tired of folks acting surprised at the fact that we're being open about who we are for the adoption. I've actually had several people now wondering why we even bother telling anyone about it (one even used the "it's none of their business!" argument.)

What?

No, really. WHAT?

It makes me wonder if the same people would argue that a single gay man or lesbian ought to hide that fact in order to adopt. After all, it's not like they have a partner they'd have to squirrel away. They can just pretend to be straight, and no-one will ever know the difference.

You know, like closeted people have done for hundreds of years?

Welcome to being an invisible minority. Baggage Claim is to your right AND left )

We are queer identified, and given my gender stuff, we're actually considerably closer to a pair of gay men than we are to Ozzie and Harriet. Do most of our neighbors and co-workers and distant relatives think we're straight? Sure. Because that's not a subject that's all that simple to bring up in a conversation about the weather, and we can't just prop up Convenient, Same-Sex Partner at the annual office party to instantly and non-confrontationally disabuse people of that notion.

But we are NOT straight, and when we have the opportunity to inform people of that, we do. Especially when said people are potentially going to be entering into a lifelong family relationship with us. We're not going to lie about being atheist or growing up poor, either, even though those things aren't readily apparent, because those things are important parts of who we are as well. I'm not interested in carving off parts of myself in order to impress people, and if I can at all avoid that, then I do. Maybe some people like the idea of pretending to be something they're not. Me, I find the whole idea abhorrent.

* )
textualdeviance: (trapped)
OK, so I don't really fancy myself at that level. Hardly. But I think I've nailed down why I'm dreading tomorrow's preview show, and why I'm glad this chorus term is almost over: I am seriously musically/creatively frustrated, and it's driving me up the damned wall.

I don't mean this to be an indictment of the group--there's nothing wrong with it, for what it is. But ... I really, really, really need to be singing more hardcore stuff. The one challenging piece we're doing is being slaughtered because it's beyond most of the folks in the group, and everything else is pop songs and Kirby Fucking Shaw arrangements of hoary old standards. Fun for a casual singer, definitely, but for me, it's just jaw-achingly tiresome.

Add in all the other issues I'm having with it--being surrounded by 200 chatty women, for instance--and it's all coming up to be an exercise in ennervation. What I wanted from this group--reminding myself what it feels like to sing--happened in the first three weeks I was in rehearsals. I stuck with it this long, thinking it would get better, but it just didn't. I'm completely behind the idea of the group--it obviously fills a niche both in a political and social sense for most of the people in it--but it's just not giving me anything I need. Instead, it's only reminding me of what I wish I was really doing. Which is very, very depressing.

I know this probably sounds impossibly snobby. I get that I'm hardly some elite diva. But imagine any other occupation in which one has a fair amount of skill and ~20 years' experience, and then imagine being stuck in a job that's journeyman level, at best. There's no shame in being a journeyman, for those who are legitimately at that level, but it's hardly soul-satisfying for someone who is years beyond it.

I'm not haughtily declaring that I'm too awesome to hang with the unwashed masses. I'm just saying that singing is so incredibly important to my emotional well-being that not being able to cut loose and do it the way I've spent half my life training to do feels like a massive case of creative blue balls. I would rather not sing at all than sit around in rehearsals while everyone else is getting drilled on rhythms when I've been off book for a month.

All of this, of course, is compounded by being frustrated in my other passions, too. The journalism thing is a bust, for various reasons (and I can't even seem to get a job right now.) I'm stymied on the novel writing for a reason I can't nail down. My fandom stuff is kind of blowing up. The adoption stuff is a bone-achingly slow and bureaucratic process. And I can't even get my damned cat to stop harassing his feline housemates. Argh.

If I thought it would do me any good, I'd hop in my car right now and just take off for god knows where. But, as a wise person once said: no matter where you go, there you are. I'd only be taking my frustrations with me.

I will most likely do these concerts, out of my own sense of duty and professionalism. But I'm not going to enjoy them the way I ought to be enjoying performing. And I can't describe how much that breaks my heart.
Feb. 9th, 2012 01:42 pm

Blah

textualdeviance: (XKCD Complicated)
Have errands to do today. Have zero motivation. Got plenty of sleep, though, for the first time in a week or so. Might be my body's still recovering from the deficit, and is telling me to rethefucklax.

Our first concert for this chorus term is coming up Sunday (two more to follow next weekend.) I don't think I've ever been less excited about a performance. There's really nothing wrong with it, save the fact that there's one very difficult piece we've yet to sing all the way through without the damn director stopping us for some reason or other. The music's decent. I just ... I dunno. I just can't work up any excitement about being on stage, and I'm not sure why. I love performing. I love singing. But something about this show is just blah for me. I'd rather sleep and play video games this weekend.

Spose I may be in a depressive episode. Wouldn't surprise me. I've been on and off the edge of one since about September. Crashed hard in early December and then bounced back a little last month. Might also have some sort of quiet creeping crud weighing me down. Either way, I'm a slug right now, and it's frustrating, because there's stuff I wanna do. Which, of course, makes it all worse.

So, yeah. Blah.
textualdeviance: (Default)
What with this whole KomenCorp/Planned Parenthood funding debacle, I'm seeing an uptick in folks talking about abortion. Most of this is sensible, of course--I try to stay away from places where people think women are obligated to go through pain, misery and the risk of death for the sake of an amorphous clump of cells--but I've also seen a bit of the "oh, abortion is such a tragedy" sort of thing, too.

Ugh.

Abortion is NOT a tragedy.

You know what really is a tragedy?

-The fact that contraceptives aren't 100% effective, healthy, free, and readily available to anyone who wants them.

-The fact that so many girls and young women think their sexuality is the most or only valuable thing about them, or who are afraid to say no to sex they don't want, or to ask their partner to use contraception.

-The fact that so many boys and young men think that marriage and fatherhood are inherently weak or uncool, and that sexual conquest without respect for their partner is a badge of honor.

-The fact that we don't immediately remove children from abusive homes, and lock up sexual predators for good.

-The fact that sex education is incomplete, wrong, or utterly nonexistent for millions of kids because we've allowed religion to trump science, and because we treat sex as something inherently dirty and immoral.

-The fact that we don't have universal health care which would improve reproductive health across the board, and also ensure that women facing an unintended or complicated pregnancy don't choose abortion solely because they otherwise couldn't afford the medical costs.

-The fact that many poor women choose to abort solely because they can't afford to raise the child.

-The fact that we have a horrible cultural split in how we see mothers: as either saints or demons. We create a cultural standard in which mothers are revered beyond any other role a woman can play, and then wonder why so many girls and young women choose motherhood before they're ready. And then, when they have gone down that path, if they didn't do it the "right" way, we call them lazy sluts, leeching off the government.

-The fact that adoption is a minefield of both cultural stigma and overly-complex (and expensive) bureaucracy, making it incredibly difficult for women who want to choose that to find waiting families. (Seriously: don't get me started on the horrific class divide involved; so many girls/women adopting out only because they can't afford to parent, and so many parents of modest means unable to adopt because they can't afford it. Gross.)

If we weren't such a borked country, the number of abortions would be next to nothing because the number of unintended or problem pregnancies would be next to nothing. But because we are so borked, it's ridiculous to call abortion a tragedy when it's quite often the best solution under far-more-fucked-up circumstances. Abortion will and always should exist, because there will always be circumstances in which it's necessary. But for the love of FSM, why can't we fix all that other stuff that has the rate so damned high to begin with?
textualdeviance: (WTF Tasty Bite)
Just because a guy gets a boner for you doesn't mean you have any actual power over him. Your twat is not kryptonite.

If you want to feel truly powerful, stay in school, get a good job and achieve financial independence that has nothing to do with something as fragile as what you look like.

Because trust me, if you make it to 40 and the only thing you have going for you is that your formerly perky tits used to please shallow men? You're screwed. And not in a fun way.

If you want to fuck around like a crazed weasel because you enjoy it, please do. I will cheer you on every step of the way. But if you're tarting up primarily because it makes you feel in control? Don't. Because you're not.

Sincerely,
Been There

P.S. The same goes for women who think they can marry into power and then just sit back and play wifey while he takes care of everything. Several million divorcées struggling with money and single parenthood would beg to differ. Being a kept woman--whether for sex or domestic duty or both--is no longer a woman's only or best career option. Pick something else, or expect life to suck ass when you're older.
textualdeviance: (Babies R Us)
This rant about abortion rights is well worth a read.

I do have to quibble a bit about the adoption thing in it, however.

Most adoptive parents are pretty much exactly like us (on the surface): Infertile, childless, middle class or more, and yes, white. The race issue is a separate thing (and largely connected to issues of class and secondhand teaching of cultural identity) but I think the rest of it is key to understanding why healthy infants are the most wanted by adoptive parents. Simply put: Most of us are rookies, and we have no damned idea how to handle a kid with special needs. Giving one to people who are that clueless isn't just cruel to the parents, but to the child as well.

I have no doubt that some adoptive families want perfect designer babies. But most of us just want a kid who isn't going to die in five years, need constant care, torture the cat or never be able to leave home. Parenting is never easy in the best of circumstances, and throwing people in the deep end of Advanced Parenting just as a matter of principle strikes me as, frankly, pretty stupid. If the goal is for the child to be in a safe, healthy home, giving her to people who don't know how to handle her needs is probably the absolute worst thing you can do.

Do I know how to handle a baby born with drug addiction? No. Do I know how to handle a baby with brain damage? No. Do I know how to handle a four-year-old whose father raped her? No. Do I know how to handle a kid who's autistic, can't move or feed herself or will never learn how to spell her own name? No.

Could I learn these things? Possibly. Should I learn them on the job when doing that job well is so critical? Fuck, no. There are a ton of things that I could and likely will pick up as I go, including handling some mild special needs. Hearing impairment? Dwarfism? Club foot? Needs daily meds of some sort? Bring it on. I can handle that. Fetal alcohol syndrome? Severe attachment disorder? Not so much.

As I've mentioned before, I have a great deal of respect for those experienced folks who are not just willing but able to care for kids who have these needs. I ain't one of them. And neither are a heck of a lot of other adoptive parents. That doesn't mean they're selfish or vain. It means they're realistic. I'm not against taking on a child like that because I'm lazy or afraid she won't go with the drapes, but because I'm not so damned full of myself as to think I can take on anything and do a good job of it. I'm going to screw up enough as it is with a relatively healthy and resilient kid. Screwing up when the kid is already fragile to begin with would be disastrous. Not gonna go there.

Two other notes: )
textualdeviance: (Beardy Connor Not Amused)
(Inspired by some ongoing discussions about slutty Halloween costumes for little girls)

So tired of people assuming that being anti-objectified-sexuality means being anti-sex.

I wish there were an easier way to explain the fact that hardcore specialty porn is actually less damaging to women's sexual autonomy than dressing six-year-olds as sexy vampires.

90% of the women (and men) involved in niche porn are there because they enjoy the activities in question, have an exhibitionist streak, and like getting a bit of money to do something they'd be doing already.

90% of the women doing swimsuit calendars do them because they've been taught from birth that being a brainless, non-autonomous object is not just the primary thing they're good for and the only way they're going to make much money, but the ultimate expression of female sexuality.

And as someone who likes actual sex, and thinks every consenting adult ought to have as much of it as they'd like, that pisses me off.

I'm not against depicting women in sexual situations. I'm against a cultural definition of female sexuality that takes all the fun out of it for the women in question. If your primary experience of sex is laying there like a mindless mollusk while some guy uses your body as a sex toy with a heartbeat, you're missing out. And yet that's exactly what we keep training our girls to believe women's sexuality is all about.

I am not one of the conservative harpy brigade who wants to lock up girls in chastity belts until their wedding nights. I am not interested in "protecting" kids from the very idea of sex. I am interested in a model of sexuality that encourages autonomy, and a holistic sexual self-definition, because that's the only thing that allows for truly good sex.

Sue me, but I mourn for the millions of women who have had very little good sex in their lives because they've never known there was something else out there. I mourn for the millions of women who think the only way to get laid at all is to tart up, catch some drunk guy in a club, and get exactly 30 seconds of aimless humping before he rolls over and snores. Oh, ye woeful women. Stop dressing up in a way that only attracts such useless lackwits. And for the love of fuck (literally) stop dressing your daughters that way, too.

Side note: Really also tired of the people complaining about these slutty costumes only b/c of the idea that they're just attracting pedos. Um, hai? Sexual predators don't need their victims to be dressed like that. Burqas don't protect women from rape, and slutty costumes aren't putting your kid on a platter for the nearest creep in a van (or, more likely, "kindly" Uncle Charlie.) What BOTH do, however, is rob the women/girls in question of a chance to have a good sex life on their own terms, because such practices teach them that their sexuality exists for someone else's control and pleasure, rather than their own.
textualdeviance: (Babies R Us)
So, we're finally ready to start the adoption process, and were all set to fill out paperwork. And then we found out that the coordinator we wanted to work with isn't taking new clients.

Fuck.

That means our options are now really, really limited. Problem is, there are only two agencies in the region that affirmatively support queer families. One primarily works with state adoptions, the other only does open. All the rest are international, religious, etc.

The problem with state, of course, is that virtually all of the kids are special-needs, which we're not equipped to handle.

And the problem with the open agency is that they heavily promote ongoing visitation with the birthmother (and even her family, in some cases!) Not just contact and communication, which we're OK with, but actual, in-person visits several times a year. Ack.

I'm up for adopting a kid. I'm not up for adopting her entire birthfamily, too. If I wanted an extended family to come along with the baby, I'd ask one of my fertile friends to have one for us. At least then I'd already know and like the people who'd want to still be a part of her life.

I think the thing that really makes me uncomfortable about this is that it doesn't seem like the birthmothers really want to give up their kids. It seems like adoption in these situations is more like extended foster care. And I just don't want to do that. I don't want to be made to feel like I'm stealing her baby; that she's only giving it up because she's too young or poor or whatever to raise it herself.

And I really dislike the impression that we poor, barren people are subordinate to the queen of fertility who's deigning to give us a gift, for which we owe her hosannas. Not that I'd want the opposite, of course. I don't like the idea of agencies that make birthmoms feel like dirty Jezebels who should be grateful that someone else wants to clean up after their mistake. I don't think either party has moral high ground, here. Hell, I don't think there's a moral ground in the first place.

Ideally, I just want this to be sort of a business transaction. She has something she doesn't want, we want something she has, the agency does the paperwork, and then we all move on with our lives. We'd stay in contact, of course, especially in case the kid gets curious and wants to meet her someday. But we wouldn't be trying to make the birthmom part of the family--because she's not.

All I want is what fertile people get solely by virtue of their functional reproductive systems: A child of our own, to whom no-one else will lay claim except the kid herself.

Is that too much to ask?
textualdeviance: (Beardy Connor Not Amused)
Irritating me at the moment:

-"Let them eat cake" attitudes.

If you're lucky enough to be in a position of privilege which means you've never had to experience a given hardship, please don't prescribe behavior to people who have.

-The implication that bigotry is just a difference of opinion, and it should thus be no barrier to making friends with someone, especially if you have other things in common.

Let me guess: You'd also suggest that rabbits ought to try to make friends with cougars just because they're both mammals, right?

-The implication that fighting for one's rights and complaining about discrimination means you don't care about anything else.

It's true that sometimes people get oppressed-person's-myopia, and that does consume their every waking hour. But chances are good that if all you see about someone is that they're (insert trait here), it's not because they're making a bigger deal about it than they should, but because YOU are.

-The implication that having a non-standard gender or sexual identity, and being open and honest about that, means you're obsessed with sex.

Yes, said folks may on average be more aware of and in touch with their own sexuality, but that has jackall to do with how much shaggery they think about/want/have. Yes, Virginia, there are celibate queer folk.

And for the cherry on top of this: The implication that having a big interest in sex is a bad thing, regardless of one's gender or sexual identity.

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