Shiny Time

June 29, 2009 at 12:33 pm (Art, Fun) (, , , , , )

So, in order to kill some time this week, my aunt and I stopped by Michael’s because they were having a huge-ass sale yesterday. My aunt’s been making a lot of jewelry lately, so I thought I might try my hand at it as well. I am not particularly good or talented at it, but the results are pleasing enough and now I actually have, you know, shit to wear and gifts to give. Onwards!

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Update! Adding these two that I made earlier today.

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I Call Shenanigans

June 28, 2009 at 1:04 pm (Writing) (, , , , )

I was rereading Shirley Darsgaard’s series last night when I came across a section in “Witch Hunt” in which the protagonist’s friend, Darci, is putting up with a MAJOR red-flag guy. Ophelia, the protagonist, notices this and immediately bitches and moans about it. Her grandmother, Abby, is supposed to be this loving mentor figure who understands everything.

And, guess what? Ophelia points out Danny’s red flag behavior and all Abby has to say about it is to the effect of, “Some men just want to be the center of their partner’s universe. That’s Darci’s problem, not yours.”

Seriously, ma’am? I get that you’re older and were raised in the Appalachians and whatever other stupid-ass excuse you can come up with. But how DARE you hold Abby up as a prime example of good female knowledgability and matronliness, and then have her say something like that?

Danny is a red flag male. He controls Darci, pushing different clothes and different beliefs on her. He tells her what to think and what to say. He tells her it’s “for her own good.” He isolates her from her friends and loved ones and forces himself on her by pushing Darci to let him move in with her after a murder occurs in her house instead of letting Darci find other real estate. That kind of behavior is a warning sign of future abuse to come, and you basically have your character green-light this because it’s “Darci’s problem”?

I call bullshit. I feel angry enough about this to actually write to the author.

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Countdown Starts Now

June 22, 2009 at 10:43 pm (Life, School) (, , , , , )

Three more days of school, then the summer session will be over. Another week after this and I’ll be on my way to England to spend some quality time with my mother, the dog, and presumably Orla and Helen. (Bitches, I WILL hit you up. Be very afraid.) Unless they plan on being dicks, in which case bad things will happen.

My parents are going to replace my MacBook; which means I have to make my way to Montgomery Mall tomorrow to return the MacBook I ordered (it should arrive tomorrow morning) as well as the keyboard cover. My father gets a not-so-small discount with Apple Germany. My parents also want me to have a German keyboard, for whatever reason. So. I don’t feel TOO horrid about the cat destroying my current one. (To make a long story short: I had a glass with Coke next to my laptop. Not Diet Coke. REAL Coke. The cat jumped onto the desk and when he landed, he knocked over the glass. Let it suffice that I was NOT a happy camper.)

I think I will spend a significant amount of time in July exercising, sewing and writing. And practicing. Yeah. My voice teacher would murder me if I did little to no work for two months because you can seriously regress in terms of muscle memory. I’ve got a skirt or two in mind that I would like to sew, and I bought some neat boots I had been eyeing for a while so I would have fun shoes to go with costumes and for just because.

151405BRN1ZThat is all!

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Nonsense!

June 19, 2009 at 2:15 pm (Life) (, , , )

When I was eight or nine, I got sick.

At the time, I was very independent. Sleeping with my parents was for babies. But I was so sick my dad put me into our parents’ bed because the room was fairly dark. It meant I would be able to sleep. I was running a really high fever, so high I started having auditory and visual hallucinations.

I kept hearing drum beats. Superimposed over the view of the wall, large steamrollers threatened to flatten me. I couldn’t move. I kept having visions of myself swollen, my arms stick-thin but my outer extemities, fingers, swollen and infected. I had the same sensation you get when you bite into something too-sweet and gritty, the texture sending my body into shivers and jerks. The drumming was all-encompassing and I’m sure I must have started yelling. The light coming in through the window was too bright and it allowed for unholy shadows to lurk around it. We don’t have curtains in our houses because of me, they collect dust.

I remember Papa, who worked at home at the time, waking me up. I was drenched in sweat, tangled in sheets and yet the pounding in my head was still there. It wasn’t a physical sensation, it was the actual sound of drumming. The large rollers were still at the edge of my vision. My limbs still felt alien and swollen. I kept getting those grit-biting jerks. Papa took me to the Emergency Room, where they just looked at me and said I would be fine.

I got that sensation again last night, as I lay in bed. All of the sudden, I was struck by the image of my swollen arms and the jerky shiver ran through me. Next thing I knew, I was semi-awake and responding to a text message bringing bad news.

I don’t know why I wrote this down, but it felt right.

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Braincrazy

June 18, 2009 at 1:37 am (Life) (, , , , , , )

Mental illness is a recurring theme here. My family has a history of it in various forms. I am severely unstable when not medicated and, while it makes me a little sad, I realize that this is in no way my fault. My body has a faulty configuration. I have no influence over how much or how little serotonin it produces – my medication patches up a hole in my body’s programming. I will not find out for quite some time how effective this medication is or will be in the long run; I have had too many breakdowns – episodes of major depression, if you will – that went untreated  to say how long I will be on medication.

I was told two years for one or more major depressive episodes. More than that, and a patient is never taken off the medication.

I sometimes forget how fortunate I am to have grown up in a family where, for most part, it was understood that I had little to no influence over my irrational, sometimes violent, behavior, my self-injury, my low self-esteem and my anger. It was understood that it was a matter of genetics. It was never something I had much control over – gaining even a modicum of control takes years of cognitive therapy. I have no ability to put that much trust in one person nor the strength to start over each time as I physically move away and have to find a new therapist. I am not seeing anyone right now and I am quite comfortable with this.

It’s outside of my family that the misunderstanding and the queer looks started. People do not know how to separate the symptoms of the invisible illness from the personality of the person fighting it. In the minds of the unafflicted, they merge and you, I, we become the disorder. Suddenly a nameless, looming, silent evil part of the psyche has a face. Suddenly they do not know how to treat you anymore or describe you.

And thus, we remain silent to save face. We become bearers of a stigma and feel as though we carry the plague into the unwitting masses. We are taught by others that our illness could be contagious, even when we rationally know it is not. When we are found out, we are shunned as lepers for something beyond our control.

My aunt’s friend has a severely ill daughter who was recently hospitalized for her mental issues. This friend, let us call her Joanne, had never let on how sick her daughter – henceforth Hanna – truly was. Hanna spent her first night in the high security ward under suicide watch and remained in the institution for a week. She was released on a combination of three medications, mood stabilizer, anti-depressant, anti-psychotic. I had assumed Hanna was severely depressed and had equally awful body dysmorphia. What I did not know was how she would sneak up on her mother when Joanne was brushing her teeth until she was inches from Joanne’s face, only to start screaming incoherently. What I did not know was that Hanna randomly threatened to kill herself in order to pressure her parents into pitying her. What I did not know was that Hanna’s therapist was somehow unaware of his client’s behavior and the true extent of her mental illness.

I am sad that Joanne did not feel as though she could turn to either my aunt or someone else she trusted. I know Hanna was sick; sometimes, in those rare instances when Joanne and I had a spare moment together, I would reach out. I told her my parents had almost institutionalized me at one point. I told her I, too, was ill, much like her daughter, and that it would pass if they all pulled their share. I told her Hanna would have to be ready to make changes because her parents were currently doing all the work. Medication and treatment would make Hanna better, I promised, and if there was anything I could do, I would do it. I offered to reach out to Hanna once she was ready.

My own experiences make me capable of empathy, but I also find it almost too easy to be judgmental. Hanna is deeply entrenched in her illness at this point in time. She does not see that she is acting immaturely, that her hostility will eventually wear even her sweet parents’ patience thin. I do not expect her to make sudden changes and see the light of how stupid she was acting, but I still find myself wanting to be angry about how she treats others.

I did this. I should know better.

I hope I did the right thing in opening myself up to Joanne that way. I wanted to let her know that her experience was not out of ordinary, that it happened to other families as well. I wanted her to see that, with the right help, her daughter would be alright. Most of all, I wanted to comfort someone who needed it.

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Firebird

June 14, 2009 at 1:41 am (Music) (, , , , , )

I watched Fantasia 2000 on the treadmill tonight because I had not yet seen it. (Way late, I know.) My expectations were low, my younger sister had said she didn’t like it. Some pieces were better than others, but I enjoyed all of them immensely. Which brings me this next clip, set to Igor Stravinsky’s “Firebird Suite.” I think it is the most gorgeous piece of animation I have ever seen.

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At the OK Corel

June 13, 2009 at 9:36 pm (Art) (, , )

Oh ho ho ho. I am so incredibly punny. Shoot me.

I have been playing around with Corel Painter Essentials 4 lately, mostly in an attempt to really, truly get a hang of the Bamboo tablet my mother gave me. It’s definitely much nicer than working with a mouse or a trackpad as my laptop has, but most importantly, I can actually use it like a pen. I haven’t busied myself with art in a long time – I concentrated on music and writing, for most part. I will never be REALLY good, especially since my style is extremely cartoony, but I am definitely not unhappy with the result of a concentrated play session. I like the lack of smudging and the fact I am no longer shredding paper thanks to furiously trying to erase something stupid.

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Day Terrors

June 10, 2009 at 10:30 pm (News) (, , , , , , )

I can shrug off many things, but the shooting at the National Holocaust Museum earlier today has left me shaken. Jezebel compiled a bunch of information on the shooter, James von Brunn. It turns out he is a white-supremacist, anti-Semite, pro-Aryan nutjob. The sole person he shot has died. His website includes gems such as:

The “American myth” (created by JEWS) alleging our Founding Fathers intended that all races, from pygmy to Ainu, be invited to our shores, is based on Thomas Jefferson’s words in the Declaration of Independence: “…all men are created equal.” The meaning of this much quoted statement has been distorted by the ILLUMINATI which subjectively is re-writing history and wielding the “HOLOCAUST” like a battle-ax at the heads of those proclaiming genetic certainties: Men and races are NOT created equal. Jefferson’s statement can be understood only in context of his Era. Our Founding Fathers were Aryans, men of good breeding who understood, empirically, the great differences existing between strains of horses; strains of live-stock; races of men; and between individuals: knowledge confirmed today by the natural sciences of Genetics, Eugenics, and Anthropology. Hitler, as American boobs are beginning to learn, was not all wrong.

I am, in all honesty, terrified. The kind of hate-speech he promotes seems to be directed at me. I am Jewish – but do I not look Aryan? What about those who do not have the protection of such genes?

I did nothing wrong. I have never participated in conspiracies against anyone. I believe in social justice. He does not know me or my family, nor does he know any other Jewish family. He does not know our friends. This, however, would mean he had to think and get treatment for his brand of crazy.

So why does he hate us so much?

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An Act of Kindness

June 10, 2009 at 12:13 am (Fun, Life) (, , , , )

My aunt is a devout Catholic. She is very involved in her church – she goes to mass every Sunday and sometimes even on Saturday, she teaches ESL classes there and cantors Tuesday Novina masses. She sings in both of the church’s choirs, teaches the children’s hand bell choir and the adult bell choir. I hardly see her in the evenings for all this.

So. The Novina mass. She and her accompanist usually are the last to leave the church, which means they need to lock up. Tonight, her accompanist had to leave because she had family in town. My aunt locked up the church.

On her way out, she found a stack of anti-same sex marriage propaganda flyers. She is a good woman. She took them and “put them where they belonged.”

Where that might be?

Our dumpster.

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Under The Weather

June 5, 2009 at 3:46 pm (Life) (, , )

In which I start planning and brainstorming the construction of a truly epic ark. For those of you who do not live in Maryland, it has been raining incessantly since yesterday afternoon and throughout the week, the rain only let up on occasion. My aunt’s plants are drowning. There have been repeated flash flood warnings for the area. It is a sad state of affairs.

However, when the flooding does occur, I WILL BE SAFE IN MY GREAT BIG BOAT.

Or something to that extent.

The situation with Class Voice has improved significantly. I no longer sit next to Ms. Tonedeaf, but instead next to T, the other Jewish girl. She is full of snark and win. We’ve been getting on very well. I have settled on which two songs to perform for the Class Voice finals (Brams’ “Sonntag,” which forces me to work on the lower end of my register because we all know how much easier it is for me to play around on the higher end, and presumably “Vaga Luna” by Bellini, depending on how badly I hate myself.) Dr. D has been kind enough to inform me I’ve been steadily unlearning one of my bad habits – pushing air out – and that pleases me a great deal. It’s a habit I presumably learned while I was still a semi-functioning autodidact and then when I had a male voice teacher.

Singing’s easier these days. It feels like less work, and that’s the way it’s supposed to be. On some level, though, it scares me. It shouldn’t be this easy, some part of me tells me. I’m most afraid of that fear creating a new thing for me to work on. So I will try not to tense up, think too much and just work on posture and breath control. ONE DAY, MY FRIENDS.

So. Life has been okay, for most part, if you ignore my incessant whining. Less than a month until I can go home!

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