Monthly Archives: October 2013

Halloween, Now and Then

It’s Halloween (I love to start by stating the obvious). Halloween has always been an odd day for me, and now it’s an odd day for my kids.

I don’t remember Halloween as a younger child. Memories start to kick in when I was ten or eleven, probably because that’s when it started to be a big deal. The jargon gets pretty thick – comment if you need a translation of anything

My family were very Christian, and Halloween might as well have been a dirty word. Every year (until I was about 14) we got the same lecture about how Halloween was Satanic, and that it really was possible to summon spirits. By participating in trick-or-treating kids were allowing demonic spirits into themselves and the spirits would infect the family, because the children had invited them into the house. I always thought that it was vampires that couldn’t come in unless they were invited. Anyway, Halloween was the biggest night of the year for Satan and his minions, and we must spend the evening praying and fasting to stand against the legions of evil.

Church ‘Saints and Angels’ parties were also banned, because they were just rebranding the works of Satan, and the demonic spirits would still enter into whoever participated. Churches that held these parties were not real Churches, because they did not have the Spirit of the Lamb in them. These fake churches were dead in the Spirit and so it was understandable that they would unknowingly served Satan.

I always felt sorry for the kids that came trick-or-treating to our door. If my father answered the door (which was rare) they would be gently told that we didn’t believe in Halloween and send them on their way (how can you ‘not believe in it’? It’s a thing that obviously exists! Maybe not believing in the principles you perceive to be behind it, but you cannot not believe in something that is blatantly in existence unless you’re delusional). If my stepmother answered? Well. She would scream at them about how Halloween was evil and they were opening themselves up to the devil, punctuated by periods of yelling in tongues. Those poor kids, set upon by a madwoman, were probably lucky that their adult supervisors pulled them away quickly, but I’m sure that some of them had some hard questions that needed answers.

I felt sorry for those kids for being on the receiving end of such bizarre behaviour, but I also felt sorry for them because they were going to hell. After all, no-one who was saved by the blood of Jesus would ever do a thing that would allow a demonic spirit to enter into their household. So every single one of these kids, and all of my friends that went out trick-or-treating or went to a Halloween party were all going to hell. It was a distressing thought. and if something that appeared so innocent could condemn you to hell, what if I was making some innocent mistake? The mental space it all put me in was not a good place.

Today, Halloween is more complicated but less stressful. I have chocolates on hand for anyone who comes around, and I’ll hand it out with a smile. I’m too apathetic to take my youngest out, especially on a night as nasty as it is tonight. But my elder daughter is another story. She wants to be out, probably with her friends, wearing crazy outfits and knocking on doors. But she’s with her father tonight, and I met him while I was in my crazy Christian days. He still clings to the faith that I’ve fully abandoned, and so she is not going anywhere tonight. She was really upset about it. Should I have tried to talk to her father about it? It would probably not get either of us anywhere, and tonight is his agreed night with her so he can do as he wishes. The best I could offer her is the leftover candy from what we bought to give away, which looks to be a hell of a lot. It’s a poor substitute.

I don’t have a particular position on trick-or-treating. I simply don’t care. As long as the kids doing it are safe, then they can go for it, but I won’t go out of my way to get the kids dressed up unless they really want to. I don’t believe it’s dangerous – for goodness’ sake, the kids have an adult with them, and the lovely little old ladies aren’t handing out poison candy.

This is all a roundabout way of saying that my youthful Halloweens were rubbish, and I’m improving on them for my kids by not being a fruit loop. Dressing up and doing things? Meh.

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Bunny Trials

I’ve just discovered that being out all day, coming home and cooking a good meal, and taking sleeping meds, can make one very tired indeed. Who’da thunk it? So instead of something lyrical or logical, have some bunnies.

When Should ACC Draw The Line?

Today’s heartbreaking story comes to you courtesy of the New Zealand Herald. A woman who was raped needs surgery in order to live a pain-free life, and ACC says no.

Of course, it’s more complicated than that. Whatever happened to this woman must have been pretty bad, because she needed a pelvic mesh to hold her organs in place so they didn’t try to escape via her vagina. This surgery was carried out in a marathon surgery, and appears to have been paid for by ACC. Her innards stayed in, and the operation was deemed a success. Life should be going slowly back to normal.

It wasn’t. Pain in her abdomen, back, and legs got worse and worse, and standard diagnostic techniques showed nothing amiss. Finally, she found out that her mesh was eroding. Bits of it were breaking away and wandering around her abdomen. Not great. It needed to come out.

This is where it gets complicated. She’s the only person in New Zealand with this implant, and there’s no-one in here that knows how to remove it. She needs to go over to the US to get this all fixed. And that will cost around US$200,000. And ACC say they will not pay.

The outrage is almost reflexive. This woman was raped so badly that she needed her pelvis rebuilt. She’s suffered so much, and now she’s expected to suffer more because ACC won’t pay out? What do our ACC levies go to if not ensuring that people like her can get the care they need? She deserves better. After all, the surgery that ACC paid for is somewhat responsible for what happened, and ACC needs to step up and help put it all right.

An ACC case worker said that if they approved this, it would open the door to other claims. And they may have a point. This is a hugely expensive surgery, and if she gets it, then who knows what kinds of cases will apply for who knows how much money, using her case as a precedent. Their budget can only stretch so far, and there are many competing demands on their resources.

What about the mesh company? Their products are known to cause some problems, and Ms Scott is not the only one to have suffered from defective products. Well, there’s a lawsuit overseas that may pay out damages, but there is a time limit here. she needs to leave the country for the US on March 5th, 2014. There’s no way any damages will be paid out by then.

So, without the money she’s going to die in pain, although how long it will take is unknown. With the money she can have her quality of life back. And someone needs to pay.

Should it be paid by ACC? Perhaps. They paid for the original surgery, and I think they should pay at least part of putting it right. Maybe the DHB should put some into the pot as well. But she needs to be on that plane in March, because it’s not fair at all that she should have to live in pain caused by a rape. The psychological effects are bad enough. She shouldn’t have to live with these physical effects.

She has set up a page on Givealittle. Maybe the people’s charity will get her where public insurance fails.

The Drooling Shambling Mental Patient

The stereotype is an old one. The ward full of crazies drugged out til all the do is stare glassily, saliva dripping from the corner of their mouth, and moving with an odd shambling gait. When speaking, they make very little sense. It’s something that’s always scared me – I don’t want to be one of them.

Well, on my current medication cocktail, I produce far more saliva. It’s ok during the day, but if I get tired it can overflow, and while I’m sleeping it gets a little bit ridiculous. Drooling. Check.

I also have much more trouble with my balance, and I have a nasty habit of falling over when I lift my foot to walk. It’s not too bad yet, but I see the advantages of shuffling. Odd gait. Getting there.

I guess the staring glassily I get a pass on, because it mostly resolved on upping my seizure medication. I can still get lost in my own little world, even mid-conversation, and end up looking a bit odd. Glassy stare. Check.

Making little sense when speaking is a touchy one. I’ve always been pretty good at expressing myself, but that’s slipping away as I grope for the words I need. I substitute completely inappropriate (but slightly related) words for very familiar things quite often. The descriptions of  “the kitchen! You know, the one you shower in!” are usually pretty funny, but they worry me.

Drooling, shambling, staring, odd speech. I’ve got a little touch of all of them, and now I understand how those stereotypes feel. I don’t think I’ll ever get that bad. Well, I hope. It gives me a little look into the lives of people more ill than I.

Misogyny Of Epic Proportions

I’ve come across an article that makes regular misogyny look like a cute game of pole-tennis in the backyard in the middle of a balmy summer. One that most regular misogynists would want to distance themselves from. It’s so bad that I wish it was satire, and I would be thrilled to find out that it is. Looking at the context, though, I’m pretty sure it’s real. “The Case Against Female Self-Esteem is the sort of title that never precedes something good, and this time it precedes something reprehensible. Irony is thick in the air as I read the website’s byline – “The man who shouted love at the heart of the world”. He has a very special definition of love. Anyway, on to the content.

I’m just gonna come out and say it: I love insecure women.

 That’s not a good start. Do you know what kind of people like insecure women? Abusers. If she’s insecure she’s more likely to accept the abuse doled out to her – mental, emotional, physical, sexual. And later on we see that the author seems to be quite in favour of physical abuse.

The idea that women should have self-esteem or need it, beyond a low baseline to ensure they don’t commit suicide or become psycho stalkers, is one of the most disastrous social engineering experiments of the modern era. A woman with excessive confidence is like a man with a vagina. It’s an attribute that is at best superfluous and at worst prevents women from fulfilling their natural biological and social functions.

So apparently the little ladies don’t need to feel good about themselves, because it makes them manly. Now is it making women manly, or is it threatening the male grip on social power? If women are encroaching on the male domain, masculinising them makes them less threatening and more acceptable (but not too acceptable, the little ladies should really be back in the kitchen). and let’s round this all off with a nice naturalistic fallacy – because this is how women were created/have lived for years/centuries/millenia (we shall ignore completely the constant changes in the role of women in society) then that is how it should be. Sir, you do not get to define women’s social functions according to your own weird little definitions. The world is bigger than that.

In order for America to right itself, there needs to be a massive and concerted war on female self-esteem.

Oh. Well, at least he’s going straight to the point.

1. Most girls have done nothing to deserve self-esteem.

What, so you have to be something special before you get to feel good about yourself? You can’t take the little things that you achieve as little victories for yourself? I think that you have your definitions screwed up, Mr Forney. Self-esteem isn’t something you earn by gaining the approval of other people. It’s not even necessarily related to what other people think or do. And sir, the truth is that it is the same for men. Getting the approval of others feels good, but self-esteem begins inside. It’s not earned. 

The vast majority of girls work useless fluff jobs: government bureaucrats, human resources and various other makework positions that exist to give them the illusion of independence. The jobs that keep the country running—tradesmen, miners, farmers, policemen, the military—are still overwhelmingly dominated by men. If every girl was fired from her job tomorrow, elementary schools would have to shut down for a couple days, but otherwise life would go on as usual.

Let’s for a moment ignore the pigeon-holing of women into “makework” jobs, and have a look at what would actually happen if every girl was fired tomorrow. Most of the nurses would disappear from hospitals. Good luck with that. Most cleaners would disappear. Have fun cleaning up your own shitty mess, gentlemen. And would you like to go out to a restaurant? Well, good luck with getting any service. And some of those “makework” positions that you’re so disparaging of are things you might miss – things like the payroll girl. That useless one answering the phones? Well, you can do it, because it’s actually kind of important to your business. And the girl who serves at the lunch counter down the road that you all get lunch from? Sorry, useless and gone. and finally, sir, where are you going to find girls of negotiable affection if they’ve all been fired? After all, they’re just doing “makework”.

Feminists can screech as loud as they want, but they will never change this fundamental reality; men accord respect based on merit, and if girls want to play in our world, they’ll have to obey our rules. Otherwise, they know where the kitchen is.

This couldn’t get any more stereotypically misogynist. ‘This is our world, and you don’t belong”. But it adds an interesting contradiction to his earlier stance that women who work are manly – of course they are, you’ve demanded it of them. They’re playing by men’s rules, and to your eyes that makes them manly. You can’t have it both ways, Mr Forney. And somehow, despite it being the most overused trope in the stereotyped misogynist armoury, he’s brought in the ‘Get back in the kitchen’ trope. Boring, overused, makes no point except that the writer has no original thought.

Given their lack of physical strength, a woman on her own should be frightened as hell without men to protect her.

Because of course the little ladies are completely helpless and useless. Given that the biggest threat to women is men, maybe instead of being protectors, they should focus on not being threats.

If a girl needs me, feels that her life would end if she were to lose me, I’m doubly inspired to be there for her, to shield her from the cruelty of the world. Frankly, it’s pretty hot. 

Or maybe, it’s pretty worrying. Are you sure you want to take on someone that unstable? What happens when you move on, and she’s left with a hole in her life? You’ve dated a few women, and you’ve left most of them. When you’ve stopped sheltering her, and she’s emotionally damaged as well as unstable. To do that to a girl is cruel.

In order to love someone else, you need to be emotionally vulnerable, more so women than men (as girls are attracted to confident men). You need to be willing to open yourself up, to give yourself over to their judgment, to risk being hurt and rejected. Without this emotional openness, any relationship you have will never go beyond the infatuation stage. But girls today are told to erect gigantic walls around their hearts, cutting them off from an crucial part of their humanity. The emotional dissonance from this feminist social engineering is why antidepressant usage and mental illness are skyrocketing among young women. Ordinarily a depressed or insecure girl would seek solace in the loving embrace of a man, but daily hits from her good friend Saint Xanax short-circuit her feminine instincts.

And here I get REALLY angry. The first bit it sick – you need to open up and be vulnerable to we can judge you and crush you, and a throwaway assumption about what women want. Ho-hum, misogynist prick, getting a bit used to his outrageousness, and then he starts on mental illness. And he is so painfully under-qualified to do such that I am furious. Blaming mental illness on “feminist social engineering”, whatever the hell that means, is bizarre. Blaming it the lack of a “loving embrace of a man” is just bloody offensive. Many of the mentally ill women I know have a loving man, and that doesn’t bloody cure them. There is nothing special about snuggles that makes someone well again. Support and feeling loved can help, but it’s not a magical cure. And enough with the idea that women are acting against nature. Naturalistic fallacy bullshit.

Essentially, “confident” women are incapable of viewing men as human beings.

Bull. Confident women are just as able to see men as people as underconfident women. It would be nice, though, Mr Forney, if you would start treating women as people rather than as puppets just waiting for you to pull their strings.

If I’m not the center of a girl’s world, I’m not going to be in her world period.

Is it just me that finds that a bit creepy? Make me your everything or I leave you. Next we have confinement to the house to keep her away from men who will want to seduce her and female friends who are a bad influence. And when the house burns down due to an oil fire in the kitchen, she’s found in the ashes chained to the stove (yes, I exaggerate).

Why do you think the average urban slut machine is downing enough Prozac to poison the water supply? Pharmacological assistance is the only way she can make it through her day without slitting her wrists, or alternately realizing that her life is a complete lie. Every day, women show through their actions that they despise their strong, independent lives

So here we have slut-shaming (and branding swathes of the population with a nasty epithet). We have misunderstanding of mental illness. And then we have an unfounded assertion that mental illness shows that women are denying that their lives are a “complete lie”. More bull, less energy by the minute. The guy’s slimy to the touch.

They want nothing more than for a man to throw them over his knee, shatter the Berlin Wall around their hearts, and expose the lovestruck, bashful little girl within.

So what women really want is to be spanked until emotionally they resemble little girls, and what men really want is a “lovestruck, bashful little girl”. Beating up a woman is, of course the perfect way to render her lovestruck. And all men really want to deal with emotional children. I don’t even want to think to closely about that.

Feminists can claim that women don’t need men, but their actions put the lie to that; they need us far more than we need them. Girls will all but die without masculine attention.

Are you kidding me? Men and women need each other just about equally, because otherwise we just die out. Any other concerns about who needs who the most is semantic rubbish.

I’m even starting to think that the feminist agita about “rape culture” is part of this as well. Pushing lies like the claim that one in three women will be raped during her lifetime and their constantly expanding the definition of rape are ways for feminists to indulge their desire for vulnerability in a way that doesn’t conflict with their view of themselves as “strong” and “empowered.”

You know what? Screw you buddy. You’re jumping into a reality you don’t know the first thing about. It’s not something women just make up this stuff to feel vulnerable. Feeling vulnerable in the way is devastating. And really, until you walk that road or somehow find yourself a new perspective, your place is not in the auditorium shouting. It is in the bathrooms cleaning.

At the end of the day, there are no Strong, Independent Women™. There are only shrews pleading for a taming. All the posturing, the pill-popping, the whining and demands for “equality”; they’re a cry for help. Girls don’t want the six-figure cubicle job, the shiny Brooklyn 2BR, the master’s degree, the sexual liberation, none of it. They want to be collectively led back to the kitchen, told to make a nice big tuna sandwich with extra mayo and lettuce, then swatted on the ass as we walk out the door.

Earth to Forney. Come in Forney. You’ve wandered off onto Planet Horseshit . . . Forney? FORNEY? Dammit Jim, we’ve lost him. Another one drowned.

Big Days

My idea of what constitutes a big day has shifted quite a bit from what it once was. It used to begin at 7am and go on til 3am, with kids and work and classes all in there, and a pile of essays keeping me going on into the night with a half-bottle of wine to keep me company. Now it’s much less impressive – getting up around 9, going out for two or three hours, and then collapsing for the rest of the day, and heading off to bed by 9. A stark difference.

Recovery is different too. Where once a couple of naps during the week would pay back enough of my sleep debt to keep me functioning well, and able to continue with a normal schedule, now things are much more dramatic. Going out for a couple of hours sends me off to bed for a couple of hours’ sleep, and being utterly worn out the next day. It sometimes means that the next day is a bit of an emotional rollercoaster, with tears well-distributed. It sometimes takes more than a day to rebalance after going out for a while.

I feel ashamed to be so fragile, for not bouncing back even a fraction as well as I used to a couple of years ago. I feel like the only person on earth to be like this – sadly unable to process the world to the point of ridiculousness. Sometimes I think that if I just tried to do things like I used to, then I would be better.

I know it’s not like that. I’m not the only one like this, and there’s not a lot I can do to make myself better except to keep going and do the best I can with the mental resources I have. I need to accept that I do not have much in the way of mental and emotional reserves, and live on what I do have. It’s hard though. The way is lonely and unmarked.

I Just Think That . . . What Was That Word?

There’s just nothing like the feeling of knowing the general form of a word, grasping for it, gazing into the fog where it is, and just utterly failing to catch it. The frustration, sitting on the edge of tears trying not to cry (because it’s a silly thing to cry over), knowing that it has escaped you. The wondering if you’ve lost that word forever.

I’ve always been a good writer, with a very good vocabulary. It helps me pick the precise word I want at the time. I’ve never been as verbally eloquent as I am (what’s the written equivalent of ‘verbally’ or ‘orally’?), but I could hold a decent conversation. It’s been a part of my identity for a long time. What’s causing the change?

I’ve been unwell for a very long time, more than ten years. So I don’t think it’s just my illness. It’s never affected me badly before, or a least not in writing. My ability to speak well has come and gone with my wellness, but I don’t need to orate anything so that’s ok. It’s just that this time, I’m reaching for words that will not come, both in the immediacy of a conversation, and the slower, more deliberate pace of writing.

So, I’m pretty sure it’s not my illness. Is it perhaps the medicines I take to try and be well? Perhaps the medicines that keep my brain well are affecting other parts of my brain as well. I wouldn’t be surprised, brains are complicated and all sorts of odd things occur when treating it. Is it a side effect I can live with? . . . I don’t know. It’s taking a core part of me away.  I write, I always have, even if about six people read what I write. Taking away my tools is frustrating, painful, even depressing. If I can avoid that and stay well, I would be happy.

The worst option is that for whatever reason I’m losing my vocabulary. Maybe it’s not used enough, or maybe my brain is broken in another way, or maybe I’m just getting older.  That’s a scary thought, that my mind is failing. I hope it’s not.