Sunday, October 23, 2011

Please hold your applause till the end

Quick announcement: I am the proud owner of FIVE new pounds! Apparently the Hershey bar/ensure diet is working.

Friday, October 21, 2011


I have been resisting defining myself as disabled, even temporarily. I have no doubt at all that this is because of ableism on my part, with a hefty dose of good old New England Puritan work ethic thrown in: those who can't do for themselves are lazy; not working is sin; anything other than complete self-reliance is weakness. Well, that last bit may be some of my own issues as well.

I've been working since I was 14. The only time I have not worked was because of layoffs. I returned to full time work after 7 weeks of maternity leave. I've worked up to three jobs at a time to make ends meet. I work.

But when my short-term disability claim was denied, I had to reconsider. I reflexively thought, "what are these people thinking? I CAN'T work right now, even though I want to." And then I recoiled against the truth of that thought.


It's the truth. I am temporarily unable. I am lucky in that this is not (I hope) a permanent situation. I will get better, with time and care.

But for now, I can't, and now I need to prove that for an appeal. That means embracing my status without judgment or shame. It's not easy, and it adds to my stress and depression, but it's the absolute truth.

When I used to do anti-oppression trainings, I used to say that if you don't see some kind of -ism as a privilege, you probably have that privilege. It's easy to recognize your own lack of privilege: ask a woman if sexism exists and she'll most likely tell you a dozen stories that prove that it does. Ask a queer person if heterosexism or genderism exists and they could open magazine and show you six examples in six seconds. But while I have recognized ableism as a sort of abstract problem, I had never experienced it on my own, and never had to confront it in my own self.

And here it is, another lesson sent to me by the universe to be learned the hard way. I am learning, I am getting better, and I will carry this lesson forever.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Opiate abuse and Occupation

Good article in the Press Herald on opiate abuse; the first of a five-part series. It's like they've been hanging out at my job. (But still really do a good job not demonizing poor people.)

The epidemic has affected Mainers of all ages and backgrounds; middle schoolers and senior citizens, clam diggers and doctors.

"No family is immune from this particular issue,"; said Troy Morton, chief deputy of the Penobscot County Sheriff's Office. "They are the youngest of kids, in their early teens, and people in their 70s. They are the poorest of the poor and the richest. There are no boundaries."

Abuse often starts among teens, who don't understand the danger and are more vulnerable to addiction. Addiction, meanwhile, is most common among young adults who were in their teens when the pills first flooded into Maine communities.

Link to the full story:

Painkillers in Maine: A cure that came with a curse

But I think the real solution is a rift that is very deep in our society. The tea party and the 99% exemplify this in a (relatively) positive way (in the sense that all activism is positive, not that I always agree with it).

I think that everybody feels it to some extent--those that don't hide their feelings behind addictions to drugs, alcohol, shopping, tv--all the things that distract us from what's really happening around and within ourselves.

I don't know what it is that is broken. Or the many things, more accurately. Maybe it's a lack of hope, explaining the popularity of Obama's campaign messaging and why it resonated with so many people. We want change; we want reason to hope. We want to find hope and love within ourselves, and reflected in the society in which we live.

I'm not nostalgic for a time that seems simpler in retrospect. I'm interested in how to move forward, using those lessons of history, to see a completely different society.

I don't know if it would work, given the size of the united states. Perhaps it would help to divide the country into regional blocs. Perhaps it would help if gas went up to $6 a gallon and people were forced to interact with each other on public transportation, and local food became cheaper than imported. 

Maybe if student loan debt were forgiven, like some of the 99% propose, a generation would see hope instead of a crushing future of debt payments. Maybe Internet should be funded and provided by the government, like libraries, so that people can communicate with each other in the modern day versions of traditional coffee-houses, exchanging ideas, debating, and engaging with each other. (And watching videos of cute kittens too, of course. And pr0n, inevitably, people being people).

Until this is done, people will continue to numb themselves from the incredible stress of 21st century living in whatever is the cheapest, easiest way. It's not even about the drug itself, I think--although addiction makes stopping incredibly difficult--it's about a people divided and confused, inundated into apathy, hopeless and lost, waiting for the bright shiny future we were promised--a future that actually waits just on the other side of a collective demand for it.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Shared with permission

I Am From
by The Teen

I am from Jen, [grandpa], [grandma]*
I am from ham and potato eaters, raw vegetable eaters, and bay leaves
From people who love to sing and play word games

I am from “love everyone” to “lieblings”
I am from Christians and Pagans
From a secretary, a president, a seamstress –but mostly from social working

From Munjoy Hill and the blueberry field
From gardens and deer surrounded by green

I am from bubbly, fanatical, but also confused and angry.

I am from tea, a bunny, embroidery and walking

I am from all over the world, but the best place is home

*I did not have their permission to link their names with this blog, so they are redacted.

Saturday, October 08, 2011


The last two posts may have given the impression that I am despairing and lost or whatever. But the truth is that, while I am going through a tough time, I think that this time serves a purpose.  The last few years have been tough, and it's catching up with me. I have been given this grace period to recover both my body and mind and soul. It's a gift, and I'm grateful for it. Thank you for the support of my friends who read here; it means a lot to me.

Moving right along... here's some handy info if you find yourself in a bad situation during, say, a demonstration (with the caveat that NOBODY should DEFY the POLICE, of course, and also there has been a report that police zipties use metal clips and that this method is much harder in that situation. Not that you would run away from the police, OF COURSE. Because that would be ILLEGAL.)

Friday, October 07, 2011

All The Things

I do seem to be living under my own personal mercury retrograde. These last two weeks have been not just a shitstorm, but a shit pancake with a shit cupcake for dessert served on the nice silver.

I made a list tonight with my bro (not a relative, my bromance bro) of things that I don't want to talk about tonight and they include:

1. My atrophied intestines*
2. My ex-fiancee and the circumstances surrounding the end of our relationship
3. Celiac disease
4. Facial tattoos**
5. Money
6. Disability insurance
7. Medical records
8. Nonpayment of child support

I of course want to avoid these subjects because my mind does a crazy squirrel dance around these things all. day. long. I think about almost nothing else, and none of it is under my control, which leads me into a crazy stress spiral.
This is my brain.

Instead I would like to talk about

1. Occupy Maine. I spent a little time down there on Monday (was it Monday? I have zero sense of time/day/time of day right now). I'm excited about the movement, while simultaneously leery of the effectiveness of demonstrations. They were still getting organized on Monday, and seem to have made some progress, but I still feel burned by the lack of effectiveness of the GLOBAL demonstrations against the war in Iraq in 2001-2002.

And also, because of the nature of the demonstration ("occupation"), most of the people occupying are college-age people, because many people, myself included, have families, obligations, and/or chronic illnesses to care for. I'll spend some time there this weekend, I think... maybe I can convince them that being shunted off into a park is less effective than, say, occupying One City Center, where the Portland branch of Bank of America has its headquarters.

But I digress. I hope that this is a sign of real changes to come, but I'm an old, jaded activist these days.

2. Caramel Apple Dip:
Why is there even "apple" in the title? You/I know you/I just eat it with a spoon.

3. Amanda Palmer
I'm pretty much always willing to talk about Amanda Palmer. Seriously, any time.

4. Hanson Flash Mob:
I'm going. Are you? I spent some time flailing around in front of a youtube tutorial today. I'll probably do some more of that tomorrow.

*these are not mine because thank goddess I do not have cartoon intestines, but they look like this. Except not cartoon. I'm a 3.

**Just. Why?


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