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Sunday, January 15, 2017

A New Year, A New Hope

You didn't really think I was going to make a Star Wars reference
and NOT include something from Carrie Fisher, did you?
A pioneer for speaking out against the stigma on mental illness,
but so much of her inspirational work applies to chronic pain as well.
You will be missed. 
First and foremost, let me say- Happy New Year everybody! 2016 was rough for the world as a collective, between beloved celebrities dying and what felt like so many more attacks on each other for extremist reasons than we've seen in past years.
I don't remember if I talked about it on here, but I gave up Facebook for a while this past year. I remember it was right after the shooting of that The Voice singer immediately followed by the nightclub in Orlando ordeal. I saw the candidates for President turning it into a political talking point LITERALLY before the victims bodies were cold, before their families could be notified. Then the last straw was the little boy who was attacked by an alligator at a Disney Resort and died. The news itself was almost too much to cope with, but the absolute vile rudeness I saw  when people talked about  the parents. "Where were the parents??" (They were right there, horrified as one tried to protect their other child and the other hopelessly fought against a wild animal to save his son, By.The.Way.) There was too much hate. There were terror attacks in Nice, France, who was still emotionally recovering from the attacks the year before. I couldn't take the hatred coming from "sane" human beings that I had chosen to be digitally connected to, and so, I cut the connection. My account still existed, and pictures still got posted from Instagram, and tweets still got posted from Twitter. But I didn't log on. I deleted the app from my phone and my tablet. If I really needed to look at something I could get on my computer.
And that helped. I meditated a lot (Using a program I've mentioned before called Calm), I sought out news articles about the good that was happening. The programs to raise money for those affected, the people sharing pictures of that Disney beach just hours before saying "It could have been my child, it could have been anyone's child." Those warmed me, and I started to see the glimmer of humanity shining through.


This is a different year. This is a year that we can all change, we can change it ourselves by being nice to each other. By taking the half a second that it takes to think through a situation from the other person's state of mind (Maybe the parent of the eaten child needs, like, a WEEK before you start tearing into them? Just to cope a little?) We can change it ourselves by remembering that we all have a back story, but we learn about each other like an episode of Lost: you don't learn the crucial information about a person until AFTER you kinda needed it to happen.

Basically, why don't we all just chill?

Just. Chill.


You don't like the President? Fine. But do something other than flap your mouth. (And honestly, if you could learn about the political system before you do anything that would be GREAT.) You want a new group of people to be able to marry some other group of people? Super! But, again, DO something about it.

This year can be different because we can DO these things, and we can do them with the aforementioned chill.

Carrie Fisher was buried in an urn shaped like a Prozac pill because she was an incredible mouthpiece for the movement to destigmatize mental illness. So let's all take a page and be a little more chill for 2017.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Belated post from just after Thanksgiving

Holy shit, what a ride the past month has been.

I had Thanksgiving dinner with my family for the first time in like ELEVEN years. I've never been so happy for family drama. Although, apparently, it never stops happening, so it looks like I've got plenty of entertainment ahead.

It is stressful as fuck moving, I think I made that pretty clear. I doubt I even NEEDED to make it clear, because it is universally known that moving is the fucking worst.

But being new sucks too. I don't know where anything is anymore. If it weren't for Google Maps I would probably A) not have seen the Wes Craven style bumfuck areas of Pennsylvania and B) only know how to to get to the strip mall a half mile down the road because I only have to make one turn. So everything in life is balanced, I guess. Even still, I barely know how to get to the grocery store, the Wal-Mart or Target, the mall, or the fast food places. I'm lucky because in this town they're all located within 1 square mile of a main intersection. All I have to remember is what stuff is to the right and what stuff is to the left. (Read: What stuff is behind White Castle, and what stuff is behind Chic-Fil-A.)

And looking for a job. Oh. My. God. I think I'm pretty good at my job, but nothing will make you feel like an idiotic fraud faster than an interview at a new office. Every question feels like a trick, and you start to question the fact that for years doctors have been letting you interact with patients when you are so clearly a moron. Yet, then you get the job.

Then you're the new person. You have to learn new things, new people, new culture, and in my case the specific way each doctor wants you to do your job. For any given medical problem there are probably at least 3 different words to refer to it by, So,[WARNING- OPHTHALMOLOGY NERD ALERT!!!] even though I know that when Dr. A says "cellophane" it goes in the macula, then I work with Dr. B. and he says "epiretinal membrane" I end up looking at him with a blank face, and he thinks I have brain damage. One diagnosis can be called cellophane, cellophane maculopathy, epiretinal membrane, ERM, or a macular pucker. If you don't have an in depth knowledge of the layers of the eye and the way they work together, you can't necessarily just "figure out" what the doctor is referring to.

Most people probably don't have THAT problem, but I'm sure you can think of something similar to relate to. It's emotionally draining to go from being an expert to being the new kid with a notebook, who knows WHAT to do but not HOW. I am terrible at being the new person, I hate it. I don't stand still well, I have a hard time just standing by and watching something I know how to do happen. So I end up interrupting, getting in someone's way by trying to be helpful, that kind of shit. You're desperate to prove yourself, but there's also that nagging voice (in my head, anyway) that points out how embarrassing it would be if you were wrong and you don't want them to think you can be wrong.

By the time I get home, my whole body ached from working, my brain aches from learning and trying to be extra super good, and I don't even have the energy to browse Facebook. Tonight I fell asleep while looking through Instagram, I was so sleepy that before 6:00 I was straight up drool out the mouth asleep with a cat and a phone on my chest.

Honestly, if I never moved again I wouldn't be super upset about it. This apartment is nice and, frankly, I would rather set fire to my stuff than pack it again (and again, if a fire detective is reading this, that is only a joke. I am Smaug with my pile of golden sundries.) I know it has to happen, though, if I want to also have that nice life living in my own house. Because the chances of being able to build a house around this apartment are PROBABLY pretty slim. And the people upstairs may notice.