Oh look, it's Officer Friendly!
This cartoon is "snark" for me, because this is how I deal with things sometimes, but with all of our issues regarding police, our needs and wants and our realities, and also not forgetting their needs and wants and realities, I still hold by my original idea. It may be wrong, and it is probably, almost certainly, more expensive in a time when no one wants to spend money to solve these issues. Then again, we seem to be able to afford all of this military crap, so maybe it's just about allocation of the funding.
Anyway, my idea (in addition to the decriminalization of drugs and the removal of prisons for profit) is that police have a forced rotation where they spend a significant amount of time doing community service. And by that, I don't mean idiotic programs like D.A.R.E., which are all about teaching kids what not to do or they will get arrested. Programs where police actually serve instead of look down upon the community from some position of glorified authority. At least
25% of their time, in fact, and that they do it in large chunks.
I think these breaks from the stress of police work will help to lower the incidence of PTSD. I think less folks with "hoorah chest-thump cowboy" mentality will join up if they know beforehand that they will have to do things like work in soup kitchens, candystripe, and advocate for the homeless so that they can find permanent shelter. I think we need more people in those inglorious positions, and that we would feel better, and possibly even safer, knowing that those whose job it is to "protect and serve" are instead, "serving and protecting." I think that somehow, we need to break the "us or them" mentality that exists between police and the public, in both directions, and while I'm not sure how to do that, I think that a conceptually well thought-out program might.
And, maybe not at first, this chunk of time might be when policemen weren't so festooned with weaponry and equipment that they look like a walking arsenal, which frankly is intimidating as fuck when you're a kid. I went to a school that had a pretty divided line between those with money and those without. While they always taught us that we should go to the police for any kind of assistance in school (that's the money and privilege side talking), as a child my only feelings about police have been first fear, and then later resentment, or maybe both.
My D.A.R.E. officer was the one who wrote my first police report, for running away, which I only did to convince my best friend at the time NOT to run away cross-country, rather, to tell someone that her step-father was coming into her room at night. Did it help? Her mother threatened her for potentially ruining her relationship. The world is a fucked up kind of place. (For those not in the know, D.A.R.E. stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education, and basically taught you "lighter drugs" like cigarettes or weed or alcohol, which I don't consider a light drug anymore, were gateway drugs to things like heroin and cocaine, and constantly stressed that addiction was possible the first time you used a drug. I learned not only quite a number of words of marijuana, but also the conceptual idea of cooking up crack from cocaine during a Q&A session; it also backfired, because when I discovered that I wasn't instantly addicted when I tried "light drugs", I decided they had also lied about things like crack, and thus here I am today. In essence, it was their own teachings that turned one set of drugs into the "gateway drugs" they perceived them to be.)
At 16, I was pepper-sprayed for being an eyewitness and doing no more than standing around, because an officer decided it was better to "spray everyone first and sort it out later." He had the spray out and ran past depressing the button; thankfully it wasn't a direct hit to my face, but since that stuff gets everywhere I still got a goodly portion in my eyes and nose. Can you blame me if my first instinct when in danger is not to call the police?
At 17, I went to the police after my (ex?)boyfriend raped me as I tried to break up with him. Did it help? Hell no, the whole legal ordeal was an epic nightmare, even just the police station was hell, as I sat in a chair all night long, picking his skin and blood furiously from under my fingernails (I DID fight), because they of course don't want you to wash, smelling of sweat and semen (once I just gave up fighting and let it be over with, he came on my face and hair), in a soiled dress, and when I expressed my exhaustion and wanting it to be over soon please, the officer in front of me just said, "well, you shouldn't have been up so late." In the end, my ex got probation with a suspended sentence and no jail time.
Yet there are so many good officers. Every night in Adams Morgan they are there, tirelessly having to deal with drunken fight after drunken fight, a neverending stream of harassment and argumentative resistance. They deal with thieves and vandals and drunk drivers. When the mentally ill gentleman in another popular neighborhood suddenly decided a random passerby was stealing his things (he'd walked too close to the plastic bags), it was one of the policemen on the corner, already involved in a traffic accident, who came over and gently diffused the situation. I have done security and it is no pleasant task from the other side. They are as stressed and unhappy as the people they are supposed to protect.
We need to fix this,
we need to start now,
and we need to do it for everyone.
There are no sides except humanity.
Either everyone wins,
or everyone loses.
The answer is in ourselves,
in healing, and in peace.
Please help me...or gods help us all.
Sun, Aug. 10th, 2014, 06:14 pm
As most girls know, being on the pill generally makes your periods lighter (it's one of the things they are prescribed for). I take mine on a continuous dose, which means I'm not supposed to have periods (yes, this has been proven to be safe) but sometimes I'll have spotting. I missed a pill, meaning I had to take it late (you double up the next day) and that generally causes a period to happen.
It was probably the worst of my life, which is pretty shocking for being on birth control. I use Insteads, the menstrual cups, so it is pretty easy to figure out how much blood you are losing, unlike with pads. I estimate I lost almost a full pint of blood over the course of three days, and then it stopped.
Well, now it's about two weeks later, and I was a little late on another pill. Not even terribly late this time, but apparently that didn't matter because I've started bleeding again. I wouldn't have thought there was any blood left. And today has been bad. In two hours, I actually overflowed the cup and made a mess; thank heavens I was wearing a full pad instead of just a pantiliner under it. It almost happened twice (thus the pad, because I'd put it on after the first almost horrible accident). I think I've lost 4 ounces of blood in the past 4 hours.
I'm surprised I don't have vampires knocking at my door by now. I really need to see my GYN. So far as we know, I don't have fibroids (did a check for lumps since we took the lipoma out of a nearby region), and my pap smears have all been clear (so no cervical polyps or cancer); I can't think of anything else that would cause this kind of horrifying bleeding.
...and when I look it up I find endometrial polyps, lupus (joy!), various types of cancer (double joy!), bleeding disorders (I was checked for those already), and PID. Huh. None of these sound particularly fun. Then again, I am not having a good time right now.
The worst nightmares are the tactile ones, where I can feel something that happens in the dream. You cannot prove to me that other worlds don't exist so long as my dream universe remains real enough to touch me.
I can't recall most of the first dream anymore (it's been awhile since I woke up), but at the end I was very much aware that I was dreaming. Everything had gone monochromatic, in shades of red to black. I knew I needed to get out of this nightmare soon, but I had turned and there was a table with a bunch of clutter on it, and everything was blurry. I couldn't see anything clearly in the dream, as if the red light was also a haze. Something on the table had caught my eye.
It became clearer and clearer as I approached, but there was something still about this mystery object or objects I felt was important so I went to pick something up off the table, to inspect it or maybe to read something off written on it. As my hand stretched out before me, there was the impression of a dark shadow behind me. For a moment I stood above my dream body, with the awareness that the silhouette was going to impact me in some fashion, then I tried to step aside but it was too late. We collided and this thing ghosted through me, insubstantial but still harmful.
When I woke, the entire left side of my body where the creature or person had passed through me was both tingling and somewhat asleep. I was laying on that side, but I've never had half a torso fall asleep and then wake up before. The briefest thought, "stroke" passed my mind before I replaced it with "nightmare" and tried to wake AgtOrange, who didn't stir the slightest at anything I did. So I did my best to curl up close with my back to him and fall asleep again, hoping that near proximity of another human person would stop any more nightmares. I was not so lucky.
I remember that much of the second nightmare involved trying to find dry land while traveling through a swamp, one potentially full of hazards in the water. And hopping or floating, not quite flying (I can never fly in my dreams, only take extended hops) as fast as possible to get away from something that could only swim, while searching for a safe place to rest.
There's a gap in the dream, which I've forgotten, but it ends with me in a crowded room of people, and this guy walks up to me and grabs my ass. And it felt like the same electricity from the first dream; I woke instantly with the bottom of my right glute feeling like I'd been hit with a TENS unit and almost burning. After that, trying to sleep just felt pointless.
I feel like I'm trapped in limbo, gliding along but not really going anywhere and pretty much aimless. It's a little suffocating, not having any meaningful goals or feeling truly synced in with the rest of the world. On some days, it's nice to be able to sit back and just look at stuff, all the things you didn't have time to check out, all the flowers you didn't have time to smell.
I'm in a good spot. I should be grateful. I should stop using the word "should", especially when it applies to me. There are people whose entire goal in life is to reach the point where I am at, so why can't I relax and just go with it? I know why, because I'm me. And because I'm me, because I'm a person so used to fighting my way out of the deepest and darkest of pits from which there is usually no form of redemption, when I'm in this good place, hell, this great place, it's hard not to jump off a cliff. It's hard not to seek out a depth, not to dig oneself a nightmare, just to give myself something to do
, something to strive elegantly and furiously and gloriously against, pitting myself versus the impossible mountain and veering towards the top, only to find myself once again torn up, crushed and broken, somewhere on this nice plateau about two-thirds of the way up.
It's a good spot. It's a safe spot. It's the spot where broken people rest, where people who overreach themselves can mend their wounds. It's still frustratingly far from the summit, well below the snowline, but high enough in altitude that every step up from here is going to be dearly paid for, and once you hit ice you'd better have the equipment or you're dead and done. Usually, only the rich reach the top, those with the extra to squander on fancy rigs. If they aren't rich themselves, they have someone rich backing them. Or maybe they have oodles of social capital, another kind of wealth.
It's high enough that if you take a plunging leap you have a long, long way to fall. If you look over the edge you can see just how far down it is, and your voice echoes when you call out to folks climbing up. They don't believe you were ever down where they are; sometimes, you don't believe it either. It must have been some other you, some primordial descendent of you. The person you are now must have gone through an evolution and you wonder where exactly it was you emerged from your chrysalis. Or maybe you never did. Maybe you are a ghost of you, maybe instead of metamorphosis something wild and alive inside you died, and what reached up high to this point is just a shadow of you. Maybe you are no more, who are you now?
Who is this aimless, shapeless wanderer, this sniffer of flowers and scents and secrets without meaning? Is there a purpose to being, to realizing all these things, if we can't shape and move and enervate them with our wants and aspirations? Who am I? Who do I want to be?
And can I escape this danger, this plunging recklessness, this need to cast myself down if only to create the illusion of motion
, however momentary, however damaging? I am a heart, I am a human soul; this fire is not a yo-yo. I can't seem to stop hurting myself, because the destruction feels like freedom and the return feels like redemption, at least until I find myself back here, having circled back to the same point on my return.
I must trust in spirals. I must create this, my forward motion, to always trust that I can inch forward. I just wish I could remember which direction was up.
Mon, Jun. 30th, 2014, 06:39 pm
Today I discovered that I hate Robert Frost. He's a good poet, I'll grant you that, because only an excellent writer can give you the means by which to hate him long after he's dead. I'm reading a book in which each chapter is headed by a quote from one of his poems, and I've been looking up the poems as I go along. Some I like, some love, some I'm merely indifferent to, but I've come to the overall conclusion that if he were alive today and I met him in person, I would have the overwhelming urge to punch him in the face. He strikes me like an immensely pompous ass.
Then again, he was an English professor and a Nobel Laureate. It's probably not that far off the mark.
Carpe Diem by Robert Frost (1923)example of poem I adore
Age saw two quiet children
Go loving by at twilight,
He knew not whether homeward,
Or outward from the village,
Or (chimes were ringing) churchward,
He waited (they were strangers)
Till they were out of hearing
To bid them both be happy.
"Be happy, happy, happy,
And seize the day of pleasure."
The age-long theme is Age's.
'Twas Age imposed on poems
Their gather-roses burden
To warn against the danger
That overtaken lovers
From being overflooded
With happiness should have it.
And yet not know they have it.
But bid life seize the present?
It lives less in the present
Than in the future always,
And less in both together
Than in the past. The present
Is too much for the senses,
Too crowding, too confusing--
Too present to imagine.
A Serious Step Taken Lightly by Robert Frostpoem that makes me want to strangle him even though he's already dead
Between two burrs on the map
Was a hollow-headed snake.
The burrs were hills, the snake was a stream,
And the hollow head was a lake.
And the dot in front of a name
Was what should be a town.
And there might be a house we could buy
For only a dollar down.
With two wheels low in the ditch
We left our boiling car,
And knocked at the door of a house we found,
And there to-day we are.
It is turning three hundred years
On our cisatlantic shore
For family after family name.
We'll make it three hundred more
For our name farming here,
Aloof yet not aloof,
Enriching soil and increasing stock,
Repairing fence and roof;
A hundred thousand days
Of front-page paper events,
A half a dozen major wars,
And forty-five presidents.
I tell everyone that life is always in spirals. You always live somewhere on the spiral. You are either in the growing part, where you go up the spiral, learning new things and making new friends and connections, or your are turned around and traveling down the spiral, drawing away from people, shutting down. You could call that the dying part of the spiral, but really it's the same spiral, and it is natural to travel up and down it in cycles. It's as natural as breathing. You just want to generally have more upward motion than down, and then you know you are really ALIVE, and that's true even if your actual physical body may be dying.
That's the difference between "dying" and "disability". When you are disabled you hoard. You hoard energy, you hoard time, you have to because it's in such short supply, and because of that you stop doing things. People pull away from you or you pull away from them. There are people who may be dying but who don't become disabled by it. It doesn't suck the light from their eyes and the joy from their hearts, their desires and wants and curiosity. Likewise, there are people who are disabled and go on to live for a very long time; you can travel a long, long way down the spiral, longer than a single lifespan.
The reason things don't seem to change, or we seem to repeat the same dumb patterns as before is because we learn and grow in spirals. It's not a circle, even though it looks just like you made the exact same mistake you promised yourself you wouldn't do like the last time. You didn't. You made one almost like it. And hopefully, you made it a slightly lesser mistake (up the spiral) rather than a slightly worse mistake (down the spiral). Sometimes, when you are up close to a thing, it's hard to tell. And if you are going down the spiral, if you continue to make the same mistake over and over and worse and worse than before, you'd better ask yourself why. Because, you see, the only thing you need to do fix it is just turn around and start walking up, and remember -- it's going to look like you're still making the same damn mistake for a long time to come, only this time, if you work at it diligently, it will be a little bit better each time instead of worse. Perfection is not required; slips and slides are what make it a spiral and not an arrow straight up.
Wed, Jun. 11th, 2014, 10:54 pm
You and me, past tense
I never thought I could miss a body,
Breathing in breathing out,
blood on the bathroom floor.
Hope sending, catch a star
I never thought I could hurt somebody
falling rain shower thunderstorm,
flood on a tile, no doors.
Sat, Apr. 26th, 2014, 10:39 pm
Issues in Pain
Hating my GP right now, although I can understand her reluctance to keep prescribing me pain meds. She sent me to pain management to "fob me off" on them, but pain management understandably didn't want to have 57 different drs writing me prescriptions. So they agreed to consult with my GP and tell her what to write for me, only somewhere along the line she's never been getting information from them. Last appt, my GP told me this would be my last prescription, until she received something written from the pain dr, while of course doing no effort on her part to really get said thing because she really doesn't want to be writing for pain meds. And I can't just flip drs for pain meds, because that WOULD look like I was drug seeking. Although I suppose technically I am; it's not my fault my GP is being difficult with medication I actually need.
I'm counting out my pills, and scrimping, and in pain. I will probably have to cancel my weekly therapy session just because I don't have the meds necessary to go. I also can't do anything this weekend.
When I complained during my last appt that she was only writing me 40 pills at a time (I take 4-6 a day if I am active, 2 if I stay in bed all day resting on a non-pain day), my GP went through a song and dance routine about:
*you've been on these for a long time (duh I have a CHRONIC pain condition, it's why you sent me to PAIN MANAGEMENT)
*you take a lot every day (I used to take 2-3, now I take 4-6, I've been on them about 2 years...it's not like I'm swallowing them by the handful. I told her my pain dr said it was ok, I can take up to 8 pills a day safely. After that, I need to switch to a different drug.) She seems to not believe me or be skeptical of this information, saying that was only short term amounts. What, I'm going to lie about what is safe for my liver/kidneys? Fine, go check all of those myriad resources you have at your fingertips, being a doctor. Have your nurse call a pharmacist. Run a check of my liver and kidney function to make sure all is working properly.
*I take more recently because I'm trying to be more active, not because my tolerance is that much higher. It is somewhat, but I just deal with the extra pain. I need pain meds in order to do stuff, period.
*She used to give me NINETY pills at a time, with REFILLS, and I didn't abuse them then. In all the history of all of my pain meds (and sleeping meds, for that matter), I've never had issue with them. So why get all anal-retentive with me now, when I've been on them for years? You can see exactly how much I'm getting; call the flippin' pharmacy if you want. I was totally honest about my issues with addiction then and now, and they have nothing to do with pain meds, and at this date, considering how long I've been on them, it is unlikely that I will ever have problems with them. I even have a genetic test that says I'm not predisposed toward heroin addiction (which I assume has some relation since the drugs are related, although I'm not sure). I have a problem with uppers, not downers, which is related to low dopamine levels in the brain, rather than opioids and endorphins etc. We'd be on a whole different page if I were asking for Ritalin.
*There is this invention called the TELEPHONE and FAX MACHINE. If you aren't getting the information you need, you have staff and nurses that work for you, including a whole records department. Why won't you just request the records from my pain doctor? Your excuse is that the pain doctor didn't send you information, but I don't see you asking for it either. The pain doctor says she sent it, but obviously between their records dept and your records dept, something isn't getting through (they are both horrible, by the way). Still, someone could request stuff. Instead, I'm forced to have the pain doctor hand write a letter, which I will then have to go back to pick up, and then sneaker-foot it to you during an appointment? What is this, the 1800s? Next will you request it be sent by pony express? And if you tell me that me bringing you the information directly doesn't count, I will probably do something I regret, like start breaking things and screaming, or at the very least pull out my own hair by the roots.
That was when she told me this was the last rx she'd write for me. I could have kicked myself. If I hadn't have complained, I'd still have pain meds now. I have 12 pills to last until my appt next week...make that 10 pills since I just had to take two of them. This weather is not cooperating with me, as my joints flare up when the barometric pressure drops (basically, anytime before it rains). I also have to take one to sleep, at least if I want to sleep well. I haven't needed sleeping pills besides melatonin in awhile, so I've been considering trying to skip the pain pill at night in exchange for the stronger prescription sleeping pill. I'd be in a drugged, pain-filled sleep.
If she doesn't write for them next week, I don't know what I'll do. It was bad enough I was curled up in a ball, crying with pain tonight, debating whether or not it was worth it to use up my pain pills, and whether I could tough it out on one instead of two. For those who have no experience, you can't just take one, and then take another if the first doesn't work; pain pills are less effective that way. Taking two at once is more effective than taking two separately, even though they overlap and common sense tells you both should be working at the same time so it shouldn't matter. But it does.
They work best if you take them before the pain is bad, of course, that's actually how you take the fewest overall, but I don't have enough left to be reasonable and take them in that way. That's why often times I'll take them before
an activity that I know causes pain (pretty much leaving the house or going to do anything), so the pill is working before pain ever hits in force. In that way, I can take a single pill and it will last the full amount of time, instead of wearing off an hour before I can take another one.
This all feels so hopeless. Counting and hoarding pills makes me feel like an addict. It's no wonder if this sends me tailspinning back into addiction. It's enough to make one suicidal, considering I could be at the brink of endless pain with no relief in sight.
First off, I would like to state that while you might survive a particular disease or trauma, you will not survive life. Life is a very terminal disease and there are no survivors. It is up to each of us to make our time here as worthwhile as we can, with the means at our disposal. I detest the term survivor, because so often the people that use it constrict themselves down to how they bested whatever trauma or illness. Sure, you are a cancer survivor, in that you bested it to eke out a few more years until life claims you anyway, but if those final years are spent looking backwards and expending all your energies in a fight against the ravaging cancer beast, who has really won at the end? I am still, at heart, a dancer, although I can no longer dance without massive pain. I am still, at heart, an artist and a musician. I am not a "fibromite", that fatuous term those with fibromyagia like to stand tall under. I suffer under my illness; I may accept it as mine but I do not "survive" it.
We are not heroes. You do not become a hero because you become disabled, or, if you do, then we are ALL of us heroes, each and every single member of humanity, whether disabled or not. Because every one of us who lives long enough will become disabled. That is a fact. Old age is the mightiest disabler of all. It makes weak the strongest of men and makes barren the most fertile of women. When was the last time someone was declared a hero for becoming old?
Some of us become infirm sooner than others. Of these, some will die at a much earlier age, and some will simply live many years in the grip of their infirmities. For the most part, in the case of disease, this is often the result of simple bad luck. When it came to the hand of life, you were simply born with a bad set of cards. There is little point in shouting "WHY ME?" to the unanswering Heavens, but if you must shout, I have a twofold response for you:Why not you?
Why not you? What would make you so special, above the human race as a whole, to be above the tragedy we will all of us face should we live long enough? But just as you are not a perfect being, neither are you a monster. We will all face calamity at some point. The fact that you may face it sooner, or what may be more than the average share, is simply a matter of numbers. Someone has to be on each side of the median line, so why not you?
...and also...Who is better than you?
Who is better than you to face such an ordeal, you who have up to this point handled and dealt with everything in your life, for better or worse, and still made it thus far? We are all of us part of a race so adaptable it has braved the ocean depths, the vacuums of space, the icy north, and the scorching desert sands. Even now, I am communicating to you an abstract idea from one mind to another, a feat of one soul touching another through thoughts and a language constructed of sounds and written symbols. Something we take for granted would make us mystics in another age, and is beyond the realm of primordial thought entirely. You who are given the capacity for conscious choice, for of those whom I've met once diagnosed with a chronic long-term illness, there is not a single one that cannot adapt and grow once they choose to manage that illness. Not all of them decide to do so; I have met many a soul for whom the pain exceeds the value of life--but still they have the capacity to make a choice
I have found the adaptability of the ordinary person, the ordinary frail, insecure, often scared, often confused, person, to be only limited by the complexity of the challenge set before them. Given only minimal teaching, and paltry supplies, the ingenuity of even the meanest intellect is awe inspiring to behold. It isn't hard to imagine how we have conquered our environment, even to our own detriment. We are, each and every one of us, superbeings in waiting. To place a title such as "hero" anywhere on top of that always seems to me superfluous. A hero is nothing more than an human being given the correct situation for that particular individual to shine, someone placed by chance near an obstacle at the time of their life when they were ready to tackle it.
At some point, we will all reach a stage in our lives where we are ready to be heroes. If we are lucky, there is no calamity nearby to test ourselves against. Would that the world could always be so perfect there were no "heroes", and only humans, only the untested. Would that each of us could forever see the hero potential in each other that exists.
Please, do not call me a survivor. I will not survive. Call me a dancer, even if I never dance again.
Please, do not call me a hero. I have performed no heroics. Call me a human, for we are heroic enough.
It's 0600, and I'm about to go to sleep, but before I forget, I need to put down last night's dreams. There was some kind of Indian (Native American kind) teaching me all kinds of stuff. First about a lesbian woman who did all sorts of great things, and I knew I was learning these incredible lessons, but the second I woke up, I forgot all of the stories. It was if he was teaching them directly to my subconscious instead of my waking mind.
When I went back to sleep, I had another series of dreams, practically fables that I was living, of which I only remember the last one. Someone, myself or someone else, was in a hospital room getting a cancer removed from their hand, only we were all drugged by the nefarious "doctor". It was more a scene from Hostel than a hospital, only we(really, I) overpowered the bad guy in the room with us and were keeping the bad guys outside of the room. Somehow I had done this, but it was the wrong choice. At the end of this "tale" I got the sensation that all of the particulars of the dream were meaningless, but only the message attempting to be conveyed was of important, in this instance that by attempting to do everything for everyone, instead of giving them a chance to assist, somehow I had screwed up our chances. Not only was it an untenable situation, but it denied them something in their growing process. I needed to allow everyone to help.
Too bad I couldn't remember all of the previous "fables", as I felt that each one was of importance and they were NOT being transmitted direct to my underbrain. I just couldn't hold them all; there were too many of them.
Strangely enough, AgtOrange had a dream about a popular celebrity figure who also happened to be one of the very first news articles I pulled up this morning, and not anyone I would read about ever as a general rule. I think my dream energy is bleeding over to him just for sleeping next to me.
p.s. Spirit Dog continues to hang around. My therapist approves. I've been thinking about ways, if there are any, to call such creatures to those in need, but I think that's just the thing. They come to people in need, when they chose to do so, and if people are willing to have them.