Put Out

This is a status I posted to my Facebook. Currently it’s hidden because Zolfyer wants to take a look at it, however his family doesn’t know about this blog and I’ll happily post it here. The status is really for his and Cousin’s family, to alert them to why he’s been kicked out. It’s been edited to exclude their names, but otherwise this is the status as I wrote it.

Yesterday evening I put Cousin and Fiancee out of my house. Two days ago I argued with Cousin about using the slur “midget” in my house. I had not intended to start an argument, I wasn’t even angry, I simply said “I don’t know if you realize, but midget is a slur.” He first told me “I’m not trying to get into thiswith you right now.” When I stood my ground because I A) was not tryingto fight, B) have a right to control the use of slurs or other insensitive language in my home and C) I can get into it with whoever I want over whatever I want and he must either shut up and listen because my house, my rules or get out. In the end he told me “Lots of people use lots of slurs everyday.” I told him I don’t care, this isn’t that house, we are not those people. If he wants to make a house where they use slurs all day everyday, he can go right ahead, but while they were here, he would not do that.

For all of Friday and all of yesterday, neither he nor Fiancee spoke to us in any capacity. They were rude to my guests on Saturday, one of whom is supposed to be Cousin’s friend as well as ours. They didn’t so much as tell our guests god bless you when they sneezed. Instead they spent the entire day on our internet, pretending we didn’t exist and completely isolating themselves in our living room. While we were in there.

This morning they broke some rules. They say they don’t remember me giving them the rule that whenever they leave, they must tell someone they are leaving. I gave them this rule so that we can lock the door behind them and be aware that they are leaving and where they are going so that, in the event of an emergency, they can be located. I’m ok with them not remembering that rule. I’m not ok with them speeding out of the house so they can avoid interacting with us, and more importantly leaving their ferrets without food or water.

When they returned I told them I wanted to talk. That I wanted to tell them some new rules, and make clear what behavior is and isn’t ok. I made them agree to listen, because we weren’t going to argue. There is nothing to argue about, they don’t have a right to argue, because it is my home and I have a right to dictate rules and what is or is not ok behavior. Fiancee agreed, Cousin remained silent and I had to ask twice more just to get an “mhmm”.

I started with this morning, asking them if they remembered me giving them a rule about telling people when they were leaving. I also made it clear that it wasn’t ok for them to act like we didn’t exist, and it wasn’t ok for them to scramble out of the house to avoid us. I also told them it wasn’t acceptable for them to leave the ferrets without food or water just because they had a problem with us. Cousin decided that he could argue that point, dismissing my issue by saying “Ferrets can go without food or water for 24 hours.”

It doesn’t matter. You don’t leave your pets neglected and stranded for any reason. He insisted that I didn’t have a right to dictate that since they’re his ferrets, and I told him that as long as they are here, in my house, I did. It is not acceptable to leave your pets neglected while they are living in my home. He continued to talk over me and blow me off, as well as saying that he wasn’t required to speak to anyone if he didn’t want to. Nevermind that I had just told him that wasn’t ok in my house and that is a rule. Silent treatment is not allowed, it is manipulative and mean-spirited. He continued trying to argue with me, so I told him to leave.

He said he was happy to leave, since I always try and have these conversations when Zolfyer isn’t here so I can “step over the line”. I told him, in no uncertain terms, that I have a right to step over the line. It is my home, my name is on the lease, he is a guest, allowed to be here at the risk of us getting evicted, out of love and generosity. I get to draw the line, and step all over it if I so desire. Further, Zolfyer made clear to me that he would stand behind whatever decisions I made and anything I said to them, so that’s a moot point. I am also not stepping over the line by asserting my boundaries and my authority in my house for him, a guest, to abide by. I am not stepping over the line by demanding he respect me and my house and my rules and right to make rules.

I will no longer tolerate being disrespected, dismissed, or made to feel uncomfortable and miserable in my home. I will not argue with anyone about what is or isn’t appropriate in my home. This is my home, I get to dictate where the line is, what the rules are and what is or isn’t acceptable. I will not be talked down to, I will not have arrogance flaunted in my face, I will not have my rules broken. I will not be told that my rules don’t have to be followed or that I can’t say what is or isn’t appropriate behavior for every creature living in my space. They are not unreasonable or extreme in any fashion and I have a right to set them and give out consequences.

You were MY guests. Not my roommates, my guests. I and Zolfyer allowed you here out of the kindness of our hearts. No one else took you in, so without us you’d be stuck in Georgia. Yet you have the gall to treat us and our house with contempt? To post memes on facebook about how you’d rather work hard for everything than say anyone gave you something? We gave you a roof for you and your pregnant fiancee, we have allowed you to stay here for only 100$ a month so you could save quickly and in large amounts. We have let your disrespect and contempt for our rules and our right to set them for too long. You are not allowed to speak to us that way, as if you have equal rights to this house, as if we have no authority over our home. You will not take pot shots at my integrity either and stay here.

You do not get to ignore me and Zolfyer, or treat us poorly. How dare you come into our home, on our dime, our space, our love, our kindness, our generosity, and treat us this way. How dare you be so nasty and rude and callous to me. How dare you dismiss my feelings and my needs, my right to control my home and feel emotionally safe in it. If I had said no that day he asked if you could stay, you wouldn’t be here. How dare you do that to your cousin. How dare you make him feel miserable and unsafe in his home, a home he pays for in its entirety, including taking care of you and your fiancee. You are not allowed in this house again, except to retrieve your belongings. If you cause any problems for us while retrieving your things, we will have an issue.

Your ferrets are safe here. I won’t leave them hungry and thirsty just because I have a problem with you and your behavior.

If any family or friends have any questions about this situation, please feel free to contact us, as this was a long time coming, because Cousin and Fiancee have not been good house guests. Cousin has been disrespecting Zolfyer and me for longer than this one week. We were trying to be good cousins, generous and loving and forgiving. We were hoping to be able to work this out, and this is not our first time having to reestablish rules with them because they were breaking them. We were trying to not be hardasses and we didn’t want to ask them to leave, however, our home has become emotionally volatile and unsafe due to Cousin’s behavior and the fact that he doesn’t respect me and treats us with contempt. I will not allow this behavior in my home, I am not beneath anyone and I will not be treated like I am.

For any friends or family who want to know, they have until Wednesday to get their things. They MUST CALL ME before they arrive, or they won’t be allowed in. Not Zolfyer, me. Their ferrets are allowed to stay until Friday, after that they become ours and will likely be taken to a shelter unless they make arrangements with us.

It’s nice to have them out of my house, I will say that.

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Zep Tepi is Coming, and I’m Bringing It

Right now I’m sitting next to my Anubis statue, thinking about lunch. Earlier had this strange desire to bring it out of my room to hang out in the living room. I know it seems strange to be out here considering my post the other day. However, I am actually completely alone in my home right now. I am delighted at how much better my house feels, and I haven’t done more than the dishes and clean the bathtub.

So, I’m sure you’re all wondering what happened. Today Zolfyer is going to a tournament. This was planned two weeks ago, so whatever. Technically Cousin was supposed to go, he even got off work. Then he and I argued and Cousin found out that he wasn’t able to take Fiancee with him (his reasoning was he wouldn’t get to spend a lot of time with her next week because of work, everyone going was like, we need room for a person who is actually going to play and not be a distraction because pregnant people get exhausted really fast and have a lot of needs, so it isn’t a good idea to bring her out to New York for a late day trip) and decided not to go. He claimed he didn’t know about them only taking one car, even though Zolfyer most definitely told him that our car Maxwell was not going out to New York. Either way, he didn’t ask clarifying questions up until the night I argued with him, and he outright refused to ask our friend, who is the one driving (and also the one he was rude to last night) any questions. Like whether Fiancee could come.

To clarify about last night, Cousin and Fiancee decided that acting as if no one else existed was a good course of action. Whatever, Zolfyer was at work half the day and I was asleep for a good portion because my sleep schedule is whack. However, we had two friends come over, T and S. Now, they don’t really know S, Cousin has met her maybe twice. T, however, is their friend too, and is the leader of our Cardfight! Vanguard team. Further, he’s done them a lot of favors in respect to that team. Card games can get pretty expensive, and T went out of his way to try and include Cousin in the team and make sure the other team members treated him and Fiancee with respect. Apparently Fiancee doesn’t actually like him, T can be a little callous and he is very straightforward. He’s still very caring, he’s just an asshole about it. Z and I have other friends like him, so it’s not really a big deal to us, especially if you tell him you’re not cool with something, he usually changes his behavior and/or apologizes. This is another example of how communication could save Fiancee and Cousin a lot of trouble, but they choose not to. Anyway, T comes in and, not really aware of the tension of the house because of the argument, tries to talk to Cousin and Fiancee. Cousin says literally three words to him and otherwise ignores him for his computer game. (Notice how they’re perfectly content to use our internet while completely ignoring us) Fiancee says nothing. They say two words to S.

Now, logically, this is unacceptable behavior. You don’t treat guests like that! You don’t treat a friend like that! Especially when they have no idea and nothing to do with whatever reason you’ve got a foul attitude. You certainly don’t act that way to someone else’s guests, certainly not while a guest in someone else’s house. We didn’t want to slap that hornet’s nest while our guests were here, because we wanted to hang out with them. Cousin and Fiancee did not interact with any of us for the entire night. Not so much as a “god bless you” for a sneeze was given, although Fiancee did say excuse me to our cat.

You read that right. She excused herself to the cat, but couldn’t say hi to our guests or even bless their sneezes, much less mine. They did talk to each other, and Cousin, still on his game, on our internet, was happily yammering to his online friends. He said three words to Zolfyer, “Adrian says hi”. Otherwise he’d have gone completely without speaking to us for day two. Adrian is Zolfyer’s friend first, so Cousin couldn’t avoid passing the message without betraying his petty motives. We decided it wasn’t worth it to pester them after our guests left. Z needed to sleep because he had to get up early, so we left it for today.

Now to really explain why I’m home alone.

Let me give you a little understanding of how my house works. How I work as well. I’m paranoid. I am aware of this, I am honest about it, I tell people as much. I am a small woman, at this point in my life, partially disabled. Safety is a huge priority for me, if only because I get a lot of intrusive thoughts of danger and assault. This means I have some rules related to that. Close the windows at night, draw the blinds, leave at least one light on at night if we’re going out and lock my door. This might seem like a given, but you’d be amazed at how many people don’t lock their doors, or how often I end up fussing at a guest because they didn’t lock the door behind them.

I check the door at least once per day, regardless of whether or not I can clearly see that both the deadbolt and the doorknob are locked, regardless of whether or not I was the one who locked it, or if I just watched someone lock it. In fact, I often check the locks immediately after a person that isn’t me or Z locks it. It’s a big deal to me. You know which of my friends sees me the most by who either gets out of my way so I can lock it, or double checks the door is locked behind them before I even get to the door. I demand that my door is locked properly at all times.

Cousin had a hard time with this when they first got here. In Georgia, he and his roommates didn’t lock their front door. Look, I can understand that it’s a house of boys in a small town in Georgia, but come on, there were still neighbors and they didn’t know any of them. The entire first month you heard me every single day asking why my door wasn’t locked, or me commanding him to lock my damn door. It wasn’t unreasonable, though I probably could have been nicer about it, I’ll admit. However, to me it is a carelessness that can get us hurt or robbed. Lock my fucking door.

This leads to a very important rule: Tell us when you’re leaving. They don’t have a key, which means they can’t get in unless someone is home, and they can’t lock the deadbolt. Since they lost their car early on, they don’t have a key, and they don’t know my city, it’s for their safety and my peace of mind to know when they’re leaving, where they’re going and how long they’ll be out. At the very least it means we have a direction to go in if something were to happen to them while out. It also makes sure my fucking door is locked. Considering I have a wacky sleep schedule, this is especially important when I’m asleep and they’re going somewhere. I need to be alerted that the house is about to be empty so that I can LOCK MY DOOR. Being unaware that I’ve been left alone, especially with an improperly locked door, is very scary for me. Just like how I nearly throttled my cat because she somehow kicked one of the window screens out, giving me a rush of panic that she might have gotten out and could be lost, and that someone might have broken in while I was out. I was extra angry when I came in to hear her meowing an “I didn’t do it!” But also extremely relieved because she was safe, all our stuff was safe and she hadn’t damaged the screen. It only occurred to me after I’d taken a deep breath that the door had been properly locked and no idiot would burglarize a home in broad daylight and not at least leave through the front door instead of the tiny ass window only a toddler can fit through.

This leads to this morning, with Zolfyer getting up at 7 to get dressed. He wanted to get his hair cut (he was pretty scruffy, and he doesn’t shave so he gets his goatee shaped up at the barber) before meeting up with T so that they could head to this tournament in New York. Now, I had planned to either confront them about their behavior or force them to visit someone anyway, but I wasn’t expecting Z to come in incredulous and pissed off before 7:30.

You see, Cousin and Fiancee heard him get up. I assume they were awake already or something, since the living room was straightened up (though not enough, since they still left a dirty napkin, a piece of plastic and crumbs all over the table, while their laptop took up space) when Z went out there. They heard him get up and as soon as he went back in our room to get dressed they dashed into the bathroom and rushed to get out of the house before he left the bedroom. Yep, they were that desperate to avoid any interaction with us whatsoever. In fact, I had to feed THEIR ferrets and give them water, because they hadn’t done that in their rush to avoid us.

That in itself made me mad, but I didn’t know about that at first. No, I was more angry, and am still more angry, that they had acted so immaturely over these past two days, and were being so petulant and passive-aggressive that they dashed out of the house. Violating my two most important rules. Z hypothesizes that they assumed, since he was up and would be leaving soon (not that they knew what time he planned to leave, so what does that say about how determined they were to treat us with contempt) that they didn’t need to lock the door or tell us they were leaving so that he’d come lock it.

Except that isn’t what the rules are. The rules are, you must tell someone when you are leaving, regardless of whether they are leaving shortly after you or are awake. This way they can lock the door after you and know that you’re gone and where you’re going. These rules have been in place since they got here. In addition, they’ve been flaunting other rules we set for them, such as clean up the livingroom every day, especially putting the air mattress down and folding your shit up when you choose to sleep on the couch instead. We also asked them to get off the internet at 3am (technically to turn off all electronics, but really we meant get off the internet since that’s primarily what they do), which Cousin doesn’t adhere to, which I wasn’t aware of otherwise I’d have made a big deal about it.

We also had to throw out three sets of tupperware because they make food for Fiancee and then she doesn’t eat it all or throw it out. I didn’t see them all the way in the back of the fridge (and was confused why we were missing tupperware, but we lose them all the time so I didn’t think anything of it) until I saw something weird while putting groceries away. Low and behold moldy food. Her moldy food, because it wasn’t anything I had made for dinner.

I’m tired of them acting like our rules are optional. Like they have an equal stake here and have the ability or luxury to treat us poorly and with contempt. I’m tired of them not caring about our space and our needs and the fact that we get to dictate what is and isn’t appropriate behavior because by Anpu’s fangs this is our fucking house. Our name is on the lease. We allowed you in here. I ALLOWED YOU IN HERE. If I had told Z no, they’d still be in Georgia, stuck hardcore. Yet I’m always the bad guy, shoving my words down their throats, making them miserable and scared to speak up, attacking Cousin for no reason. Always making everything he says a problem. Yet they can’t even follow some simple rules or even clean up after themselves consistently. They can’t respect Z and what he does for them, or his hard work to provide for everyone.

I had to pick up a dead roach a few days ago. Z and I are very clean people. There were two dirty bowls on the coffee table and all four glasses were out of the cabinet, only one in the sink. Crumbs from food everywhere. We tell them to clean up after themselves. To not leave food out. To put their dishes in the sink before they go to sleep. The day before the roach they had pizza and I told them to put their crusts in the garbage and plates in the sink. I come out the next day, at noon and they’re still there, the two of them asleep. It took all of my strength not to go off, Cousin’s excuse was “damn, I knew I forgot something”. They’re right in front of your fucking face, you nasty motherfucker.

So, when they get back, whenever that might be, there will be a discussion. It will not be an argument, because I am not going to argue with them. There is nothing to argue about, because they don’t have the right to argue with me. I have the right to dictate what is and is not appropriate behavior inside my home, and my rules are law. I will not be mistreated, dismissed or treated with contempt any longer. I will not be made uncomfortable in my home by bad guests who disrespect me and my rules. Who think it acceptable to argue with their host about whether they’re allowed to use slurs, or ignore them in totality, who do these things while still using their resources. Who think it acceptable to mistreat friends and guests just because they’re having a tantrum. Who have fucking tantrums all over facebook. I don’t have to tolerate immaturity, selfishness, arrogance or passive-aggression. I’ve had enough of emotional manipulation and abuse. I’ve had enough of being belittled and dismissed and ignored, of having my boundaries stomped on and treated callously. I’ve had enough of somehow always being the bad guy just because I have high standards and expect people to bring their A game if they step to me.

I will not, I will not, I will not have pests in my home because of them or anyone.

Whether they get two weeks or two hours to get out of my house depends entirely on how they act when I lay down my law. I will reestablish ma’at in my home. Zep Tepi is coming, and I’m the one bringing it.

To say this experience has changed us would be an understatement. It is a neutral change, because there are good things and bad things. Zolfyer says he feels angrier and more petty and vindictive. I have to say I feel the same.However, we’ve also learned quite clearly what and where our boundaries are, and we are developing the strength, courage, desire and determination to protect those boundaries and protect our home. It is likely that the negatives will end up hurting innocent others at some point, since we are now more sensitive and liable to lash out or cut off. Beaten dogs bite and all. Nonetheless, we must protect ourselves from abuse and being taken advantage of.

Anubis is a god of many things. Lord of thePavilion. Protector of His Father. I intend to rebalance my home TODAY. For my god is also He Who Is One with Ma’at. More importantly, he is also He Who Brings Calamity on His Enemies. I am his daughter, and this bitch bites.

 

When Ma’at Becomes Isfet

Since March, Zolfyer’s cousin and his fiancee (henceforth to be referred to as Cousin and Fiancee) have been staying with us. They were about to get kicked out of their apartment, one of their roommates ditched them–like, packed up all his things, moved out in the four hours the house was empty, cut his phone off and hadn’t paid his share of the final rent or utilities, ditched– and Fiancee is pregnant. Further, Cousin’s mom is unstable, with a house that really isn’t fit to live in and Fiancee’s parents are racist (Cousin is black like us, Fiancee is white). Since they wanted to move north anyway and they didn’t have money or time to find a new apartment down south, they begged all of our family to let them stay. We told them they could stay here, although technically Fiancee was supposed to go back down south to finish school and graduate. Did I mention she’s 18 and he’s my age? No? She doesn’t have her high school diploma, her birth certificate or her SSID card. To say it’s a lunatic situation is an understatement and mostly irrelevant. That’s her life, I’m only going to get but so involved.

They came here in March. There is now four people in a one bedroom apartment, and a baby on the way. They also have two ferrets, and it was lucky that Fiancee had someone who was able to keep her snakes. We already have a cat, she’s currently lounging on our clean laundry with her pure black fur. Our house is very busy. Zolfyer and I accepted this and we’re doing our best to take it in stride. We assisted Cousin with his job search, having two HR professionals detail his resume, suggest jobs they knew were hiring and we even paid for some of the things he needed, such as bus fare, car insurance before he lost his car (no job=no money=repo) and something to wear for an interview. We scraped, scrounged and asked for money from our parents and siblings to make sure everyone was fed. We took them to one of the city’s biggest festivals as a treat and a distraction from the hard first month. Cousin got a job and we told him he’d only have to give us $100 a month so that he could save as much as he could, as fast as he could. We thought the baby was due in September, so first week of August you need to be out.

This is ma’at, helping others in desperate situations. Helping the people you care about and love. Making the world a little more orderly, more awesome. Being generous.

Then we realized, slowly, that this was not nearly as ma’at as we thought.

Cousin is argumentative. He has bad communication skills. He likes to give people the silent treatment when he is angry. A post he made today made clear that he believes he is never in the wrong, that he is always a victim.

People get upset with him unnecessarily because of the things he says. Why isn’t he allowed to have an opinion? Why is everything he says supposedly sexist, racist, wrong, hurtful or messed up? Why are people always attacking him? He’s also passive aggressive. He and I argued fiercely yesterday because I do not allow slurs to be used in my home. In this case it was “midget,” directed towards a short character, who may very well have been a child, in some inane video he posted on facebook. He’s made rape jokes in the past, though he wasn’t living with us at the time. I was in the wrong when I got upset at him and ruined his gaming mood. He ruined my gaming mood. He didn’t consider at all my feelings and why I was upset and took offense to it. He spent all day today posting passive-aggressive memes on facebook since I won’t let him say “midget” in my home and called him out for being sexist the day before.

I quote:

Normally i dont post my feelings on pictures and social media..but why..why..When i open my mouth its sexist, mean, assholish, or coming of wrong. I justthink shutting up and not saying anything like i did before i way better.People wouldnt get offended and attack if i did that.

For those who like pictures: Cousin's Nonsense

His passive-aggression doesn’t end there. We also discovered, over these painfully long four months, that he’s emotionally manipulative. Zolfyer used to have an anger problem because he spent his entire youth being bullied mercilessly and experienced loneliness and abuse at home. He was in anger management for seven years. I have only seen him angry enough to hit objects ten times, and that’s an overestimation. Somewhere between five and ten. I’ve only seen him angry enough to break objects twice, with the third time being an accident. The second time was last month, when Z was trying to explain to Cousin why he was angry and upset that he had blown him off, been passive aggressive and otherwise very dismissive, callous and belittling. The situation was that we were planning on going to a tournament (we play Cardfight! Vanguard) and Cousin and Fiancee were coming with us because they wanted to participate. Cousin was supposed to put up for gas and potential tolls. Coincidentally we had received news about unexpected extra money (debt really, increase in credit limit) and Cousin commented that he didn’t have the money to put up for gas like he’d promised. Now, not once earlier in the week had he mentioned that he’d be short the money. We wondered when he intended to tell us, and we knew why he was short, he’d purchased cards off of the internet. Both Cousin and Fiancee admit to not being very well educated in finances and being irresponsible, we were teaching them, Z had gone so far as to draw up a savings plan and carefully explain it.

Then Cousin and Z got into an argument about some cards that were worth money. I missed what initially started this, but the point is that it was part of the gas money disagreement and was also calling on their words and memories of events earlier in the week. Namely, the budget, what Z had written down for Cousin, which cards were supposed to exist, who was supposed to get them and why, and where they were supposed to be. Everything was supposedly recorded, and Cousin, in an attempt to be correct, tried to find proof he was correct. The paper didn’t say which was correct, although it supported Z’s story more. Z insisted he knew what he was talking about and what he had said. Cousin gave an angry non-apology (I’m sorry you think I’m wrong, sort of deal, I’m sorry you’re upset and arguing, type of thing). This made Z angry. Not only is it disrespectful, but it’s also dismissive, and manipulative. It’s belittling, contemptuous even.

Zolfyer largely hates conflict. He experienced it too much as a child, and being tormented and isolated makes him afraid of being disliked, however he pushed off the fear of backlash to confront Cousin about his behavior. Cousin continued being distant, passive-aggressive, dismissive, belittling and emotionally manipulative. Acting cool and collected, like he’s reasonable, never once admitting that he was wrong. Constantly turning things around and making non-apologies and double-bind statements to make it seem as if Z was being totally out of control and his memory was suspect. Eventually, when Z said that he wasn’t trying to fight but he was so totally frustrated by Cousin’s arrogance and his refusal to take any responsibility whatsoever, Cousin said “I’m not fighting, you’re the only one who is fighting. I’m totally calm.”

Thoroughly upset, frustrated and angry, feeling taken advantage of and like his memories and thoughts and feelings were being dismissed, ignored and feeling twisted into the bad guy position (which, considering his past history with emotional abuse, bullying and dealing with unintentional emotional neglect from extreme poverty, is totally triggering) he goes into our bedroom, slams the door and puts a hole in it. Then dents his mini fridge, mostly because he wanted to avoid putting a hole in the wall. I spent fifteen minutes cleaning and bandaging his hands. It took two weeks for his knuckles to heal.

This is an intense example. This is one of the most intense examples. Most of my other examples are much smaller, more low key. Cousin refused to go to the tournament, which meant that the two friends who were also going (this was a team tourney, you need groups of three, now they were one short) were assed out. Because he couldn’t grow up and get over himself, he failed two people who he made a commitment to. I had to go instead, because I tell our friends that I will always play if they need me. I’m not competitive and despise crowds, enclosed spaces and especially crowded enclosed spaces. Traveling also takes a lot of energy from me, and this tournament was in Maryland. I was extremely cranky and exhausted from the beginning, especially since, as an empath, arguments take a lot out of me just to be around (on top of that my deck was behind everyone else, so I was at a huge disadvantage because support for my clan didn’t exist yet). Cousin also acts this way towards Fiancee, including frequently getting angry at her and yelling at her when she confides or vents to us, then follows it up with telling her he’s “glad she has someone she can talk to and confide it.” Then, when she vents and confides, gets really angry at her again. Also gives her the silent treatment, going so far as to lock her out of their bedroom while they were still down south.

My intense example was yesterday, about him treating me with contempt. I don’t hit people or objects, so there won’t be any of that. I did, however, rant a metric ton to other people. If you’d like to see the rant detailing most of the situation, you may do so here. More clarifying information for that is this: Cousin was insistent that his future daughter could not have sex in his house before she turned 16, but his future son could. BGF and I asked him repeatedly to clarify, to elaborate, and all he had to say was “because that’s my girl, my princess and that’s my boy, my prince”. We asked why the boy got to but not the girl, we asked why was there a double standard, we asked why did it matter, we asked why could he but not she. We phrased it about six different ways, each, and he still gave the same answer. He insists I jumped down his throat and never gave him the chance to answer. He also told Z that I am always shoving my words down his and Fiancee’s throats. Among other things. He basically ranted to Zolfyer that I’m a huge problem to them and that I act in an unfair and antisocial manner. He hasn’t spoken to me all day, never even looked me in the eye.

If you’ve chosen to read this far, and have even read my rant, you’ll understand what I’m about to say next.

Ma’at is decaying. It is becoming isfet. It needs to change.

They are creating one hell of a toxic environment. They are literally taking up space, food and energy without giving a significant balance back. My house is dirty and smells from their ferrets. I’m tired of being confined to my room or the kitchen because their things are spread out in the livingroom and they can’t be bothered to clean up after themselves consistently unless someone starts cleaning. My bathroom stinks and is perpetually dirty because of the extra people taking long showers. They don’t seem to know how to get out of the shower without dragging water all over the floor, which means my rug gets soaked and nearly had to be thrown out from mold and mildew.

I am angry. I am perpetually angry because of things they do, or things they say. Usually to Z, but also to me. I am tired of being disrespected and treated with contempt in my own home. I am tired of my boyfriend being treated with contempt and disrespect in his home. He pays for literally everything, almost $2,000 per MONTH, with two jobs and freelance work and we only ask for $100 from them. He should not have anyone say to him, but especially not the person in his home out of the generosity of his heart “well, be glad you don’t work nine hours a day.” (I actually nearly went off on my mother for saying something about his work hours. People like to demean the fact his jobs are part-time and discount their value and the toll they take) He shouldn’t be experiencing the anxiety, insomnia and lack of appetite he got from the mortgage job on his way HOME. He shouldn’t feel like he can’t be in his living room or kitchen because of the dank energy and nasty, petulant, cocky attitude of his cousin.

I should not have to argue with anyone about whether it is or isn’t ok to use slurs in my house. 

It occurred to me, that I haven’t been able to connect or focus as well on my spirit work since they got here. Now, part of that is Dapper being sick, another part is that I quiet my plants and Dapper when there are guests over. Some of my frequent guests are sensitive, so it’s only considerate. However, a lot more than that has taken a toll on my practice. I do still think it best for me to reach out to other gods and explore other paths and ideas, but I do know their being here has significantly impacted my spiritual health as much as my emotional health. It isn’t ok. They need to go, we were already thinking about moving up their date because it turns out Fiancee is due in August, not September, but now we’re getting to the point of being thoroughly fed up.

I’m not saying I’m completely in the right. I know that I’m not. I am not exactly a “fair” debater. I have very intense emotions and extremely strong opinions. I also want people to mean what they say and say what they mean. I expect people to back their statements and opinions up, and not expect me to take them at face value. I don’t like it when people try to dodge. I do attack people sometimes, or otherwise “jump down their backs.” Could I have handled my particular intense example better? Hell yeah, I could have. I did try and be calm from the get go, since I was calm and wasn’t trying to fight when the disagreement began. I genuinely didn’t think he knew that the slur “midget” was a big deal since lots of people use it. I know that I can handle things better and that doubtlessly some arguments I’ve had with Cousin or Fiancee are my fault and escalated because of me. That doesn’t excuse their behavior either though.

This cannot continue. When ma’at turns to isfet, you must turn it back. When they leave, my home is getting the most thorough cleansing I can possibly give it. There will be execrations, to say the least. I don’t know what else I’ll do, I’ll figure it out.

 

On Being Chronically Ill, Black and Poor

Today isn’t a great day for me. Really, the whole week hasn’t been that good, and December was a terrible month too. Actually, scratch that, 2014 was a positively awful year for my health. It’s not looking too good so far for 2015 either, but I’m trying to be hopeful.

See, I’m a Chronically Ill Person (CIP). I’ve been a sensitive, sick person most of my life. I always got the virus or germ going around as a kid, god forbid it was a stomach bug or a respiratory infection. Seriously, have you ever had a cold and asthma? No? Let me tell you, it’s terrible. What is normally a three or four day adventure in illness becomes a two week adventure with the chance of a hospital visit when you add asthma in. Flu or bronchitis? Better bundle up until you can’t move to protect your chest from the cold weather, because even walking pneumonia (aka, pneumonia lite) can hospitalize you. Be prepared to be so high on albuterol, cough medicine and prednisone that you shake in your sleep and cough until you vomit (I’ve done both). That is, if you can sleep, because sometimes you’re too jittery to sleep.

And asthma is actually the one problem I have that is the most controlled and least troublesome. Mainly because I’m supremely used to it, and there are a lot of resources and knowledge at my fingertips. Except medication, that shit is expensive. I manage my asthma on the least expensive vitamins I can get (ionic minerals like magnesium, calcium, selenium and zinc are good for asthma), caffeine, and judicious use of “fuck walking up this hill right now.” Also, by least troublesome I mean that I am used to it and handling it, not that it isn’t severe and ridiculously reactionary at the most random times (seriously, what bothered me last week may not bother me this week, but I’ll have an overblown reaction to something I’m constantly exposed to out of nowhere). Fun shit right?

But that is not the least of it! My life would be much easier if all I had to deal with was asthma. No, I have to deal with lots of other chronic health ailments. The fun life of a CIP is that, very often we get avalanched by new shit. Oh, you got used to asthma and chronic insomnia? How about worse asthma! We’ll throw in depression and anxiety too, and interpersonal issues! Worse insomnia! Crippling exhaustion, joint pain, muscle pain, brain fog, dizziness, even worse depression and anxiety.

Some of my issues improved when I graduated high school. Asthma improved, and the horrid exhaustion, brain fog and dizziness hadn’t started yet, those actually started in 2010, along with palpitations (which are sporadic nowadays) on a regular basis. My health did not improve, it hovered for a while from then to 2012, when my mental health took a dive. My health improved some in 2013 when I partially moved out, and initially improved when I completely moved out in 2014, however it took another nose dive close to spring. I ended up hospitalized with “atypical, seizure-like symptoms.” I was hospitalized for five days, had two CAT scans, an MRI, an EEG and several blood tests. I was discharged with a diagnosis of psychopathic movement disorder (a nice way of saying, your brain made you sick, aka, you crazy). I still have muscle spasms and twitching, sometimes that disrupts my strength and ability to walk unaided. Did I mention the dizziness, brain fog, nausea, abdominal pain, and such? Feeling lightheaded, unbalanced (like I could fall over or collapse, but not dizzy), weakness (generalized and specific), muscle and joint pain, and what is probably nerve pain? Yes? Good. Let’s not forget, that despite cold weather, especially cold, dry air, being a serious asthma trigger, it is the only thing that provides even a modicum of consistent relief, especially if I was just overheated, which I get easily. And being overheated makes me feel infinitely worse and always has.

See, but I can hear people already. Go see a doctor. Get a new one. Go see a specialist. Go to therapy (cuz all depression and anxiety everywhere always responds to that). I’ve done all of that already. I’ve seen five doctors in the last four years (we’re only a week into 2015, so I’m still operating from 2014), which is actually a miniscule number compared to what most undiagnosed CIP’s go through. I’ve seen five therapists. The issue, is the matter of money.

I live in America, the land of Fucking People Over, especially poor people, like myself. This means that I have limited options for receiving low cost health care, if I can find it, because there isn’t universal healthcare and I have shitty insurance. Insurance companies hate me, because they hate all sick people. They like my boyfriend, because he’s rarely sick, and only went to the hospital over a particularly bad stomach virus, because I forced him to. I have the hospital I went to calling me three times a week to collect the 500$ I owe them because I don’t even have 20$ to get a new inhaler. So, I’m actually in physical danger of another hospitalization (because asthma can kill you! Fun shit right?) since I can’t afford a basic medication. Oh, and this was after my insurance initially denied to cover my hospital stay and denied covering the ambulance. That would have left me thousands of dollars in debt, for a five day stay that yielded absolutely no viable answers or treatments as to what the fuck is wrong with me. Did I mention the ambulance was eight thousand dollars? Yes, a rolling box that took me from one hospital (the one near my house), to the hospital I was admitted to an hour away, cost 8,000$. Our car doesn’t cost that much in a year, even with gas, maintenance and insurance thrown in, and it’s a new Volkswagen. I’m twenty-three, and they were going to leave me with as much debt as my school loans because I got sick.

I’m a student, I’m black, and nobody wants to hire me to work. I cannot afford to visit doctor after doctor, or even try new medications, supplements or even change my diet. I want to change my diet, I don’t have enough plant food in my house. I love fruits and vegetables. I can’t afford to buy fresh veggies, and I sure as shit can’t afford fruit. I can barely afford meat. If Zolfyer was willing to be vegetarian I could stretch the budget more, but he needs calories and fat, because he’s a healthy, slender athlete and I would like him to stay the first and the third, and he would like to gain weight. I can’t feasibly add more fresh, whole foods and variety to my diet. I can’t plant a garden, I can’t afford pots and soil and seeds because we live in an apartment. Being poor sucks ass. I don’t want to be poor. I’d like to work, but my resume is skewed towards childcare, and because I don’t drive and am a student, no one will hire me. Most decently paying childcare jobs need very specific hours, and require a car, luxuries I don’t have. I can’t afford a second car (we really can’t afford the first one, but because we’re young and have no credit history, the only place, literally the ONLY place, that would give us a car was Volkswagen, and they made us take a new one and get super insurance on it, and Z absolutely needed a car. It was impossible for him to keep his job without it) or the scooter/bike I would be more comfortable learning to ride.

I desperately want to get better, but I can’t even afford to improve my diet from cheap, boxed and processed foods to the more expensive, healthier options. Good food is for people with money, I need to fill my kitchen on 100$ a month, for the whole month. Getting diagnosed and treated is also for people with money, because I can’t afford a copay at my doctor, or a specialist. I can’t afford to shop around for a doctor or a specialist. I can’t afford to receive tests, nor can I afford medications. I simply, can’t, pay for it. The only reason I have a phone is because someone else pays the bill. Z’s phone is about to get turned off. We’re praising the gods that gas has gone down, because now we can fill the tank on 25-30$ instead of 40-45$ We’re happy that my transferring to a new school means I won’t need a transpass or tokens (because public transportation).

Oh, and in case anyone was wondering, I’ve tried all the usual avenues before now too. I’ve tried eating healthier when I could afford it or was living at home. Didn’t work. I got a ton of tests done. Told me nothing. I’ve had ultrasounds and scans of my internal organs and brain, normal. I’ve tried working out, made everything, including asthma, worse. I’ve tried herbs, supplements, yoga, prayer. The only things I haven’t tried are osteopathy and other body work, like acupressure/puncture and massage. I’m sure you can guess why I haven’t, it rhymes with runny. Oh, and cleanses, also because of that funny “m” word and also because I’m not in the mood to sit on the toilet for days.

Let’s move on to the next part of the title, because I’m sure you’re wondering what my being black has to do with any of this. Well, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, part of the Department of Health and Human Services, says:

Racial and ethnic minorities are more likely than non-Hispanic Whites to be poor or near poor. In addition, Hispanics, Blacks, and some Asian subgroups are less likely than non-Hispanic Whites to have a high school education.

Disparities in quality of care are common:

  • Blacks and AI/ANs received worse care than Whites for about 40% of measures.
  • Asians received worse care than Whites for about 20% of measures.
  • Hispanics received worse care than non-Hispanic Whites for about 60% of core measures.
  • Poor people received worse care than high-income people for about 80% of core measures.

Disparities in access are also common, especially among Hispanics and poor people:

  • Blacks had worse access to care than Whites for one-third of core measures.
  • Asians and AI/ANs had worse access to care than Whites for 1 of 5 core measures.
  • Hispanics had worse access to care than non-Hispanic Whites for 5 of 6 core measures.
  • Poor people had worse access to care than high-income people for all 6 core measures.

Few disparities in quality of care are getting better:

  • Fewer than 20% of disparities faced by Blacks, AI/ANs, Hispanics, and poor people showed evidence of narrowing.
  • The Asian-White gap was narrowing for about 30% of core measures, the largest proportion of any group, but most disparities were not changing.

That’s what being black has to do with it. Along with the fact that I’m plain disbelieved. My doctors don’t believe me when I tell them how severely sick I am. They look at me (especially as an overweight asthmatic) and don’t believe that I’m sick without cause. Being female doesn’t help, since females are “hysterical” anyway right? They just tell me to exercise. That’s it. Eat less carbs and exercise. It’ll magically give you more energy, and if you tell me it doesn’t work or makes you worse, I’m just going to tell you to keep doing it, because “it always feels worse before it gets better.” Or, “it works for my other patients.” “I have asthmatic patients who are athletes, surely you can take a walk around the block every day.” No, I can’t, I live in an unsafe, polluted neighborhood because that’s what I can afford, and my marital status, credit, and blackness aren’t used against me. I’m also horrifically paranoid about getting attacked or kidnapped and who wants to deal with getting catcalled? So no, you myopic bastard, I most certainly cannot walk around the block as a pollution, weather, and exercise sensitive asthmatic. Not when I can barely make it up the hill that I walk up every day for months. Oh, I thought your body gets used to exercise after time. WHY AM I NOT USED TO IT SIX MONTHS LATER THEN?

Sorry, touchy subject for me. Still, I find that I really can’t even fully express my symptoms to my doctors sometimes. If they don’t start talking over me as soon as I mention my pervasive exhaustion, they blow off other symptoms. I can’t even get to articulating some of my more alarming symptoms, especially the mental illness ones. Every physical issue I have has some “explanation” and well, my tests are normal, so it must just be in your head or not as serious as you’re making it out to be. Except it’s not, I know what’s in my head, and it’s a pretty scary place by the way, but I don’t know how you’d react to exactly how scary it is, and you’re questionnaire doesn’t ask or is too specific (or not specific enough), so I’m not going to tell you doctor. As well, I know these symptoms aren’t in my head, because sometimes when my mind is being a loser, my body gives me a brief break, and vice versa. Besides, I can’t afford a worse diagnosis than depression and anxiety, not when I can’t afford an inhaler, because the closest pharmacy wants 50$ for what should be a 10-20$ prescription, much less whatever it’ll cost for you to give me the crappy SSRI or anti-psychotic instead of the shiny, new shit you’ll give to your skinny, white patient which are still expensive. I can’t afford to have to go through multiple medications to find one that works either. I can’t afford it because it means my insurance company will discriminate against me even more. I can’t afford it because, even though it would probably benefit me to have such a diagnosis to access services, I don’t have the energy or patience to jump through the hoops to get those services. Nevermind that if I can jump through all the hoops, well I’m not quite as sick as I am trying to make out to be am I? Oh, silly me, it wouldn’t matter since services discriminate against me as a black female too. Heaven forbid I’m a drug-addled welfare queen! Seriously, having kids fucks you over only slightly less than not having kids when you’re seeking assistance, especially considering that many states require you to jump through hoops of flaming shit in order to keep benefits, and that is extremely difficult with children, but without children you might not qualify at all, or qualify for less than you genuinely need.

I say all this, to complain about being sick. I’m extremely frustrated with my health, especially my mental health, and my inability to even attempt to fix it. Meanwhile, my health is hobbling my efforts to get the resources I need to try and fix said health. Fun times as a sick person.

Shut Up Motherfucker, I’m Delicate Dammit

For some reason people (me included) just can’t grasp the fact that words mean things. The whole “sticks and stones” spiel always was, is and will be, total bullshit. Words fucking hurt. Sure, sticks and stones do break bones (there’s a reason you can stone and beat people to death), but words. Words can destroy you like a tap of a chisel against scattered rock. They can turn you into sand.

Words burrow into your heart like an insidious horde of termites. See, the thing about termites is that they leave your house full of holes. Millions of tiny holes that cause the wood to be hollow and weak. You wouldn’t even know until something collapsed, because they’re sneaky little bastards. And even when you eradicate them, your home is still ruined. Unsafe, unsound, capable of complete disintegration, at any moment on your head.

Words are termites. They crawl in unseen (or seen, depends on the words and who they’re coming from), and start chomping on you. They break down your bones to feed their thousands of offspring, they tear up your muscles to feed the queen. Your mind falls apart as they consume the juiciest tidbits and the support of your body fails. You might forget they’re there, and all the worse for you, because then you won’t know what’s picking you apart.

Words squirm like maggots, feasting on the dead and dying remnants left by the termites. They weaken you further, and some become the nuisance that are flies. They buzz around until you’ve hit yourself at least once trying to shoo them away or slay them. Words are a difficult pest to exterminate. Worse than bedbugs I would think. Bedbugs at least only bother you at night, as if that’s really a pleasant situation. Trying to rest, sleep, escape from the weariness of the world, and all night they crawl on you, biting and itching. Is that a normal itch? Or one of those pesky words?

Even if you manage to squish the words into oblivion and force the termites out, you’re still left with a dangerous house. Unfortunately, you can’t repair or replace your brain, your spirit. You can try repairs, but you’ll never be the same. It is impossible to make whole what was broken, decayed, dessicated. The category “like new” and “refurbished” comes to mind, but unfortunately you actually can’t get that good. And you become more vulnerable to the treacherous nature of words in the future.

So, why do people misuse words so much? We purposely fling “barbs” and “jabs”. Shouldn’t that be a fucking clue? Why is it so easy to make a hurtful joke or make a prank? Why is it so effortless to be cruel and nasty, even when we truly, genuinely don’t mean to? For some it’s that the offending person doesn’t realize that the person they’re talking to is vulnerable, one who has been badly damaged by a word infestation. Of course, this opens the discussion for why are those words ok period if they hurt the susceptible? Wouldn’t they cause others to be hurt and contribute to future pain? For others the offender is clueless, stupid, or mean-spirited. Somehow words are always just fine until someone gets hurt, and then it all falls apart because the offender was simply hoping to not get called out for being an ass. And still there are those who lash out because they’re in pain, usually because of words, whether freshly ground into their skin or old maggots chewing at their joints.

The reason I’m going on about this is because quite a few of my family members (most of them male) have a disconnect about words and how they mean things. Not only that but a distinct lack of understanding of my personality, mental stability, resilience, and sense of humor. Basically, they say stupid or fucked up shit and it hurts my feelings and they’re always either baffled, offended, uncaring or a combination thereof. Sometimes it’s because there’s confrontation. Whatever, everyone has had nasty words flung due to confrontation. What I’m referring to specifically is jokes.

Anyone with sufficient access to the internet knows these kinds of jokes. Assholish, mean-spirited, cruel, nasty, discouraging, bigoted, and a bunch of other adjectives, these jokes are the ones that are harpoons undercover. They’re demeaning and unpleasant, and they’re often defended when challenged. Not always, since they sometimes come from a genuine place of cluelessness/stupidity/innocence.

From the time I was little I’ve been subjected to such types of jokes. Height, weight, hair, eating habits, talents, and personality have all been fair game for these quips and jibes. I’m not a particularly fastidious person. My feelings are easily hurt, I get offended regularly. I get defensive. I’m softhearted, emotional and empathic. I think deeply, I feel deeply. I’m not that resilient. This isn’t new information. I’ve always been sensitive and acutely aware of others. I’ve also been born to a family that has suffered, and that lashes out and attacks. I have suffered. My mind and spirit has been flogged by words and actions, drained and broken by the parasitic nature of words.

So yeah, when I mention I’m sensitive about a particular subject, like being anxious, shy, and pathologically stage-fright, don’t make a joke about how I “should sing solo so no one can hear you.” Like, are you fucking serious? How is that funny and encouraging to people who are confident in their ability to sing and perform, and who aren’t so easily shattered? This isn’t the first time I’ve had to deal with unkind, thoughtless and downright cruel, things being said about any talent besides writing that I’ve tried to cultivate. (Never mind that the pressure on me to write because I’m good at it is strong). No one meant to be critical, but I lived with critical commentary, heavy expectations and destructive words.

It’s interesting that some of my friends comment about how strong and vocal I am. They don’t realize how much the iron claw, powerful voice, assertiveness, viciousness and aggression I show hides a quivering, crying puppy. And how much I only show “strength” to keep others from getting beaten with words, or to shore up their failing beams and sagging ceilings. Truly I’m quite fragile. You can see it whenever I get into an argument with those who can hurt me the worst, and when I get hurt. I bite, with force, to keep others and their infectious words, their deadly parasitic language, away from my weak and broken spirit.

So for fuck’s sake, shut up you assholes. I’m delicate dammit.

People, the Media and Mental Illness

If there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s the media on mental illness. What else I can’t stand? Drama swarms. That’s what’s occurring right now, just like it does every time a famous person falls to mental illness (of which substance abuse is part). This is the same nonsense that happened when Michael Jackson died, or any other celebrity who has passed away because of their sickness since then. Don’t get me wrong, I love Robin Williams. He was a wonderful actor, a fabulous comedian and a fucking amazing human being. But because he died due to mental illness, the noise surrounding his passing is pissing me off.

You see, the illness is overshadowing his death and the media is using that. They aren’t reporting on the tragedy of losing a wonderful man, they’re reporting, in dramatic fashion, how a mental illness killed him. In some sense they are preventing his family and his fans from rest and mourning because they’re blowing things up that don’t need to be lambasted all over everyone’s computers and televisions. Yes, he was ill, yes it was his illness that killed him, but they don’t make so much noise over cancer or heart disease. Report it the same way you would if he had died from cancer or heart disease, because you’re just taking advantage otherwise. You’re just being sensational and annoying.

What really strikes me though, is how the same old narrative comes up again and again every time this happens. The fake, shallow, disinterested and evanescent pity and sympathy. The cries and pleas to people to “get help” and “be brave” and “find support”. The moaning and groaning of the horrors of mental illness that don’t mean jack shit. It means nothing because it’s all a farce. Nobody cares. Nobody, fucking, cares. The media doesn’t, and plenty of people who reblog and retweet and instagram and pinterest and facebook all these bullshit memes about depression and mental illness and go on and on about how they want to see change and be supportive and yammer about how people should get help do not care. 

Wanna know how I know? Because in two weeks, if that, those same people, those same media outlets, won’t have anything more to say on it. Well, the media will, actually, but it’ll be how a mentally ill black man, or serviceman hurt someone, or a crazy bitch drowned her kids or sold them on craigslist for crack money. It’ll be about how “omg that white man was such a nice person how could he shoot all those kids?” And “those fucking immigrants are stealing our jobs and killing each other!”

It’s the same bs that happens over bullying and student-led school shootings. “This kid was severely bullied, that’s why he shot those kids, we should do something about bullying and gun control!” Ha, hahaha, yeah, ok, where are you the next day then? Where is your noble ideals (which are so myopic and vague as to be useless), your renewed dedication to helping these people and kids have better lives and healthier minds?

It’s all bullshit because they don’t live up to their promises, they aren’t there. They don’t fucking show up because they don’t fucking care. That’s what I hate about this. There are a ton of people I know who care, and why do they care? Why, because they’re sick of course! There are healthy people who care too, but you’d be amazed at how even the genuine ones can be so damaging and short-sighted.

I would rather people say go fuck yourself than harp on in their self-righteous statuses and tweets. Here’s the thing, mental illness is not simple. Even for people with the same diagnosis, no patient is the same, no one experiences the illness in the exact same way. My depression does not strike me down the same way it does to my best friend. My other friend’s bipolar disorder doesn’t present the same way my aunt’s does. The meds that work for my online friends don’t do shit for me, or make me feel worse. I know more people who have given up on therapy because they’ve tried every kind out there at least three times than I’ve ever met people who say it works for them. In fact, I don’t think I know anyone it’s worked for, and if I do, I definitely can count them on my fingers, probably one hand.

These pointless narratives that crop up every time a famous person’s disease is plastered all over the internet drive me insane. They mean nothing because no one is invested. And moreover, this seesaw of interest and disinterest is hurtful. It hurts people. It hurts causes, the same way that an idiot volunteering for something they don’t know anything about is hurtful. The same way lying about your credentials hurts people. Worse than that even, because lives are at stake. I don’t think people really get this point.

All this talking about how mental health care should be more important, and more available and how more people should seek it is empty. There isn’t any follow up to actually make these things more important, available and affordable. I need mental health care, but I cannot afford it, I cannot find it and what I can find and afford is low quality and therefore useless to me. On top of that, those same people telling their sick friends cheerfully and forcefully about how they’ll be there for them abandon them or mistreat them, all while thinking in their minds how cool they are for being “supportive”. And out the other side of their mouth begrudge the ill for their illness, sometimes to their sick friends’ faces.

It is difficult to trust the healthy, because they see with clear vision and think with clear minds. They see things as easy because they are not mired in the swamp and covered in fog. Moreover it is difficult to convey to them your suffering and what they learn from casual conversation is so ridiculously oversimplified and full of prejudice that it doesn’t help them understand. Gods forbid if they’re willfully ignorant. So they tell you go to the doctor, go see a therapist. They tell you about all the articles on facebook they read and the advice columns they’ve seen, articles and columns you’ve read already and tried. They keep bringing them because the genuine ones are trying to help, but they’re not listening and they aren’t understanding. And if they’re the shallow ones who shout at the top of their lungs how helpful they are and yell the loudest about the torment of mental illness but don’t do anything about it, well they’re just stroking their own egos if they deign to help poor, weak-minded you. Why, you just need to get out more, or stop listening to that music, or try this yoga class, or eat this food, or try this supplement, or go see a doctor for heaven’s sake otherwise you’re not feeling that bad are you?

I truly hate the stigma around mental illness. Everyone has an opinion on it, but no one actually cares to learn about it. It’s weakness they say, it’s stupidity they say, it’s laziness, it’s attention whoring, it’s a personality flaw. You’re not feeling that bad if you don’t do xyz, you deserve it if you’ve ever done abc, if you would just blah blah blah then you wouldn’t be yadda yadda yadda. It’s easy to get rid of, it’s fake, there’s resources everywhere! Try harder! Oh my gods, your life isn’t that bad! There are happy kids starving in Africa, get over yourself! I know someone worse off than you who isn’t sick! I’m in just as bad or worse of a situation than you and I’m fine! Get a grip, pull yourself up by your bootstraps! Who do you think you are, having feelings, having sickness, losing strength? Who do you think you are, having difficulty? Who do you think you are, struggling? Who do you think you are, suffering?

Depression and mental illness are little demons that eat you. They eat your mind, your heart, your fucking soul. To use a concept from my religion, it is isfet, it is unmaking. These things are terrifying in their power to destroy, and they are not destroying to make room for growth. They are bombs, they are chemical fires, they are nuclear radiation. They are destroying in an attempt to crush, to vanquish, to wipe out. They are trying to make it impossible for things to ever grow again, and when things do manage to grow, because thankfully life is fantastically stubborn, they come back. And they are cruel in their working. They find the little bugs and weak seedlings, and crush them between fingers before pouring poison on the ground of your heart and mind.

And they keep coming back.

If you were alone in your house, and a gang came in with guns, knives, flamethrowers, rocket launchers and grenades, what would you do? You have weapons sure, but you’ll probably run out of ammo first, if your ammo is even useful. You might even have an army, you might be able to push them out and keep your house, but you’ll have problems. Your house is damaged, you might be injured. Things are broken, things are burned. You’re exhausted, you’ve used a lot of your ammo and your supporters are either dead or exhausted. But those bandits come back. Maybe it’s not the next day, maybe it’s not the next month even, or maybe it’s the next hour. But those motherfuckers are back, and they’ve got fresh bodies and more ammo than last time. You haven’t regained your strength and your ammo is either still low or just back to where it was before the first assault. Your house might be back in order, or it might not. Gods help you if you’re on the bad end of recovery. Let’s say you make it through that battle. Well now you’re even worse off. Guess what though? Those fuckers are coming back. Each time with new recruits, more and probably better ammo. Eventually you’re going to fucking lose.

Let’s say you go to your friends, family, coworkers for help right? Some of them will definitely help you. They grab their guns and are at your house within minutes. Some say they’ll come but never show. Some tell you no, at least they’re honest, and others ignore you. Still, after the second or third time, even the help you receive is going to be pointless. The commendable people who step up are going to get exhausted, and if they don’t, you’re all still too low on energy and ammo to hold the house. Well, maybe call for more back up? Those people who tell you no or ignore you are whatevers. There will always be people who just don’t care. But how about those who say they’ll show up? You have hope! You have reinforcements! And they don’t come. You call them again, and they might come up with some bullshit excuse, or tell you no. What was more hurtful? The people who said no or ignored you from the getgo? Or the hopeless disappointment from broken promises and careless betrayal?

Now we move on in this scenario. You keep reaching out. The bandits have your house, they’re hurting you and your supporters. But what do people say?

“You’re just full of it, those bandits aren’t that tough. You aren’t fighting hard enough.”

“Why don’t you just go get more weapons and ammo?”

“Why don’t you get used to it?”

“Why haven’t you called the Army?” (You have, they just can’t get to you. There are more important things for them to deal with. Or they expect some sort of compensation you can’t afford. Maybe they have a complicated process that makes trying to get their help pointless, or perhaps you just can’t get the right phone number. Maybe they’ve already come and only made things worse, or temporarily better).

“Have you thought maybe you attracted these bandits?”

“Your house is too cushy and well-guarded for you to be really suffering from such horrible bandits.”

“You just need to learn how to defend your house properly.”

What would you think? What would you do? These bandits aren’t going away. They’ve burned your house down. You’re hiding in the woods, trying to keep up guerrilla warfare. And oh gods, now they’ve got you. And they’ve locked you up in a cell. They know all the right ways to torture you. Maybe it’s drugging you, maybe it’s forcing you to suck down booze. Perhaps it’s throwing you into a dark pit, then suddenly turning on a hundred flood lights. Maybe they lock you in chains and then throw you on a roller coaster or strap you to a train. Or, it’s putting you in a tight closet, with just a match, for months.

Maybe they let you out every once in a while, or your supporters manage to break you out. It’s often a farce though, they know exactly where you are and they’ll come back for you. They’ll do even worse things then. Maybe they’re cruel enough to leave a little something for you. A gun with a single bullet, a belt, a bottle of pills with some water. A knife. Those drugs or booze they keep giving you. After a few more rounds of torture, maybe torture with a short lived freedom (which is its own kind of torture), those little things look better for yourself than the enemy. After all, a bullet won’t get you free of a house full of bandits. Nor will a belt or knife unless you’re James Bond or Jason Bourne.

This is mental illness. This is what you’re telling your loved one or friend or colleague to suck up, or what you’re trying to tell them to get rid of with sunshine and fake smiles and yoga and whatever else is the popular one-size fixes all thing. Sure, some of those things help, sometimes, but by themselves, especially for someone in the very depths of pain and sickness, they mean nothing but another thing to fail at and despair over. It’s shallow advice that doesn’t care. It is advice that does not care and is totally blind to the destruction of their hearts. It is simple to the point of being asinine and useless. It is myopic to the  point of being able to see your nose. You cannot just think away, or eat away, or exercise away, mental illness and for fuck’s sake stop telling people to do it.

Then there’s a little psychological phenomenon called learned helplessness. You see, when creatures are tormented and can’t escape, they learn there isn’t any point and stop trying to get away. The psychologist Martin Seligman first studied this phenomenon with dogs. He chained them inside a box where the floor delivered electric shocks (although some accounts say they were locked in a cage that did the same thing) and noticed that eventually the dogs stopped trying to escape. Even when they were unchained (or the door was opened) they didn’t move and wouldn’t move. They had to be dragged out and shown that now they could escape the situation.

People with mental illness experience learned helplessness. It is a chicken and egg case here, because sometimes it is the learned helplessness that contributes or causes the mental illness and sometimes it is the other way around. It doesn’t matter, people with this particular syndrome (and any sickness) need to be shown with love, compassion, sincerity and patience that there is a way out. But the way out needs to be clear, well informed and tailor made. Good intentions are not good enough. Anything less is insulting and damaging. Sometimes the way out is simply being the one who actually shows up when they say they will. It might not mean putting on your armor and grabbing your M-16 and C4, it might mean being the shield, it might mean bringing the food. It might mean just saying “I’m fucking here, no matter what happens.” You don’t have to try to fix everything, most times we don’t want you to, mainly because you can’t. You can make things better, but the problem, the broken program, the house being overrun by bandits, is in our heads, so you can’t directly fix it. We don’t need you to fix the problem, but we do need you to fix the IT center that handles our calls, we can’t just turn it off and back on again. We need you to fix the Army that should come and help us kick the bandits out of our house and keep them away. We need you to be there to back us up, to break us out, to bring the rations, the ammo, the shield, the attitude and dedication that you’re not leaving us stranded and broken no matter what. You don’t have to bring us everything at once, you don’t need to give us the newest shiny “cure” or suggestion. You just need to love us, to be compassionate to us, to be patient, to be sincere. You just need to do your damndest to understand and to listen.

What we need is love, not this loud and empty yelling to your ego. Not this pointless, hopeless charade that people call “helping” and “supporting.” What we definitely don’t need is yet another clueless asshole inflating and insulting the death of a person in a two-faced narcissism contest. What we don’t need is another person yelling at us to go get help when we have tried so hard to get help and simply can’t because the help doesn’t exist or doesn’t work. We don’t need another person telling us we’re frauds or fools or weak because we’re supposedly not listening to them. We don’t need people who will twirl their wands to make it look like they’re doing something and then walking away as soon as the shininess wears off, or turning around and slapping us in the face for asking them to make good on their promise to be there, or help or make help more available.

 

Something that many writers will tell you is that characters often take a life of their own. I have one character, a little girl named Elizabeth. She’s gutsy and sweet and way too honest as most kids are, and her dad is a recovered addict who suffers anxiety and depression. She asked her father what an addict was.

“An addict is a sick person who uses medicine the wrong way and for the wrong reasons.”

“Why would they do that?” She asks.

“Well, it’s because for a lot of them, they’re in pain. But, not just physical pain, like your arm hurting, but emotional and mental pain too.”

She ponders for a moment and climbs into his lap. “So, it’s like love pain?”

Now her father is laughing. “Love pain?”

“Yeah, like, not getting enough love hurts right? It hurts you all over, in your head and your chest and stuff.”

“Yes, it does.”

“So they’re hurting because they need more love. They have love pain!”

Chuckling. “Yes, I suppose many of them do have love pain.”

“Why do they stay addicts when they get more love?”

“Sometimes they can’t feel it. Being an addict makes you sick. You can’t smell when you have a cold right? So how would you know something is tasty?”

“Well you would tell me!”

“But, you still can’t smell it or really taste it yourself. You have to get better first.”

“Is it hard to get better from love sickness?”

“Haha, yes, it’s hard to get better from that, in both senses of the phrase, even when you’re getting lots of love and attention and good medicine.”

“You got better.”

“It took me a while, but lucky for me, a pretty little girl with more love than anyone was given to me. Even then, I still needed lots of help and love from others. I’m still sick, but not as much.”

“Well then I’ll just have to give you more love!”

We need more love, not more hype.

And the Coaster Never Stops

I’ve had this problem before. It isn’t new. I can’t sleep. Insomnia isn’t special, especially not in my family. Sometimes I simply suffer from an inability to sleep despite being utterly exhausted. Whatever, normal insomnia. Sometimes it’s from stress or anxiety, mostly normal insomnia. Then there’s this.

It burns. The way my brain is working friking burns. Like hot oil and water, when you toss that not wuite thawed piece of meat in. Oh it pops and snaps, it crackles and fizzes. My whole body is a fury. I feel a false trembling, a shiver that doesn’t exist. My skin crawls and my innards creep. I am not actually shaking, I am not actually itching. I just burn. It is hard to type this. My brain is moving faster than my poor fingers. Oh my sorrowful fingers, how they wish to be unfettered by the limitations of my nervous system’s reactions. If they could move like my brain! Sometimes my mind spins, my thoughts race and I see myself doing all sorts of things. Breaking shit, flipping shit. Climbing, running, hitting, punching everything until I break and bleed over everything. Throwing shit, and taking weapons to random passerby. Suicide, cutting, all sorts of “nice” things to do at 3 am right?

Sometimes I can’t sleep because I just don’t want to. I’m not ready for bed yet, even though my body craves it and I know I need it. Sometimes I stay up to the wee hours, wasting time on nonsense. Surfing chatboards or forums. Desperately searching for someone to be awake who can tell me that I’m not crazy, that I do have a problem and my doctors just aren’t listening. Because they’re not. Oh it’s not the drama of mania they say. It’s not so long or debilitating. Nevermind that there’s a such thing as dysphoric mania and hypomania, that it doesn’t always look exactly alike. Or that depression is the most common swing for bipolar 2. Forget that bullshit. You’re not way up in the sky, even though you’re agitated and cranky and have these nights, sometimes in a row. Because you don’t have the energy of a cracked out two year old and stay awake of your “own free will” there’s nothing special wrong with you. never mind the flying thoughts, racing around like greyhounds and pulling you in a dozen directions. Don’t think about being so anxious that you can barely sit still, or so physically and emotionally agitated that you close yourself in a room to avoid tipping off family to your dilemma. Or that it took you six tries to spell fucking dilemma and you’re an excellent speller!

Think nothing of using all your power to control your voice so you aren’t shouting or speaking as fast as your blazing saddle brain. Or wrapping your body with what little power you have over your mind to keep from fidgeting or pacing or running, or destroying. It all makes sense! You’re just depressed, just anxious, it isn’t mania. You’re not so fucked up after all! fuck you retarded ass doctors. Screw you for not seeing inside my head. How could you miss the sickness with your fancy scans and special questions? I’m only a fucking lunatic! I’m only in the right age bracket! There’s only family history of the disorder and disorders related to it and symptoms reminiscent of it! Now why did it only take me two tries to spell that nonsense but six to spell dilemma? Fuck this noioise. Oh it usually only lasts a few days. Once as long as a week. It wasn’t so deep before thouhg, not until I did the naughty naughty thing. In search of relief for depression I increased my zoloft without permission. Oh just so foolish of me. And now it burns. Gods it burns. And those gods are driving me crazy. So crazy. Who knows if it’s even really the,? Maybe I’m just hallucinating. Am I a crazy motherfucker or what? Kay Redfield Jamison chose an appropriate title for her autobiography as a bipolar woman. Touched by Fire. oh because that is what it fucking is. Fire. burn baby burn.

But sometimes I stay awake because I’m not ready for bed, or I can’t lay in bed because I’m not ready for bed yet because my brain or my body or both is saying avast ye fool! Rush around until you cannot! bleed your eyes and brain and everything on your soul. your soul is in your writing, you have to write! but then I can’t, because nothing can organize. and sometimes I can, and it’s brilliant! ah sometimes I’m so fucking brilliant, even when I don’t have the buzzing energy of a hummingbird on Ecstasy, but sim[ly the ragin agitation of a riled up rattlesnake. See? fucking brilliant. And yet somehow no one ever noitices. ever. ever. I’m so invisible in this world of people who care about me, because insomnia is normal for me and depression is too and no one ever considerst that maybe I’m not having a bout of normal but a bout of violent crazy even worse than wanting to stab myself out of torturous pain and sadness! because in this state my creative side goes into overdrive. tehre are all sorts of crazy ways to kill yourself, and I know so many. Isn’t that pleasant? because fuck this world right? screw this universe!

on monday I didn’t sleep too well. Most of this week I haven’t gotten quite enough sleep. Not enough. close to enough on some nights, not enough on others, not nearly enough nope. not my fault. not my fault. niggas in my head, maybe there, maybe hallucinations, keepin me up talkin. always yappin away. or i was talking to them because i couldn’t sleep and had nothing else to do. one of these nights i couldn’t even stay in bed. i got up and paced, put things in order because that was a better use of the uncontrollable need to pace. my poor z, worried sick about me. he’s loving and patient and kind. i couldn’t even tell him what was wrong. i have this thing where sometimes i can’t talk. the words just won’t come out, no matter how hard i shove them up my diaphragm and through my lungs and to my trachea and past my larynx. they get stuck right there at the good ole voice box. can’t move em for shit. not for shit. but i can write. and i do. so that’s how i get this bullshit out and spread it around to infect everyone i love with its stench. irony is only two people really see even part of the whole story. tellin others doesn’t seem to be worth it. i can’t even imagine what they’d say, probably get mad at me for not saying something sooner. I can’t even tell doctors everything. sometimes it’s a matter of forgetting, sometimes it’s a matter of fear or shame. sometimes it’s them words getting caught in my vocal cords, finding their way out through my little fingers. gods i am crazy. gods i an crazy. GODS I AM FUCKING CRAZY. i hate this shit. shut up brain and go the fuck to sleep, or shake your little nonsense out with the twist and shout. ya did it last week, what’s the harm in doing it again? ain’t that how these conversion disorders are supposed to work? random ass physical symtposm and i don’t even know i have stress! somatization for the win yeah? except even at that you suck. better than getting calleda hypochondriac. i have reasonable concerns about my health i think, since i was a sickly child. overprotected and babied and punched and yelled at and slapped and pressured. haha, the pressure in high school. go central go! you sure know how to make someone feel like a fucked up, stupid failure. it was easy and boring, it was tedious and hard, all at once! way to go for combinging the worst aspects of challenging and boring. yup, i love wasting so much of my life on homework and classwork alike. so fun for me. i loved being shamed for being smart and fucking up so badly. woot. best thing ever. can i kill you now, best high school ever? can i shoot you and burn you up and dissolve you in acid for noticing my abuse and lack of support? or caring about my weird rollercoaster grades? did that mean anything to you? were such inconsistencies signs of something? no? bueller? help? care? or were there just too many of us smarticle particles floatin up in that overcrowded school? best budgeters ever, like on the not sarcasm, cuz yall managed to have all your students have every physicla thing they needed to succeed. nice job, too bad you left out the psychological and emotional parts! because screw that! it’s totally normal for teens to be shit in the head! yup, totally normal, they don’t need help AT ALL. not all , it’s cool. totes cool, no prblems here.

NO PROBLEMS HERE.NONE.AT.ALL. FUCK PROBLEMS, TEENS DON’T HAVE PROBLEMS, EXCEPT THE ONES THY CAUSE THEMSELVES TIGHT?Riight? you can admit it, if teens listened to every adult and thought like adults and acted like adults all our special teen issues would vanish! except adults are pretty fucked up, and adult hood is horrifyingly disgusting. oh gods adulthood sucks asss. in hihg school they told me those would be my best years! that’s such messed up shit it’s not even funny, especially since being a teen is awful!!! horrible bullshit. why can’t i just be dog? i mean really, much easier life being a dog. get food, get kids, i mean really, what’s not to love? disadvantage to every life, but being a dog just seems nicer, easier, less complicated. repreating phrases in my mind, fuck this bullshit with a tine. gods i hate my brain, why can’t it just WORK  goddamit, work? it just flagrantly disobeys, knocking shit down and flipping shit over. bleh. bleh.

I’m sitting in this dreadful mire

writhing, seething, in desire

to not be touched by this fire.

i can’t escape, i can’t erase it

nor can it be confiscated

but in this room so bright and cheery

i can see my world get bleary.

is it spinning like a portal

or is it running like a paint whorl?

my mind is like the Starry Night,

shining blue, with yellow light,

and yet I cannot seem to stay

on this path that leads to day.

even if I could I see

the twilight coming speedily

and in this moment I realize

that Night Falls Fast upon my eyes.