Character and Song #39: Cassie

So, enough heaviness for now. Let me share with you the tragedies of my characters instead.

Meet Cassie. Poor Cassie. She can see the future. She has direct contact with several gods. She’s also really into history. Too bad she’s haunted by the spirit of the ancestor she’s named for. Too bad no one believes her when she tells them what’s coming. Too bad hell is coming to Earth and the god assigned to her is next to useless. If Athena is supposed to be the goddess of wisdom and war, then why does she suck so bad at saving people? Help Cassie figure it all out (or simply just laugh at her misfortune) in Cassie, the series. Um, which won’t be out for a while…

Anyway, her song is Nobody’s Listening by Linkin Park. That aptly sums up her situation.

The Illusion of Health and Other Things

These past few weeks have been so exhausting. Not because I was working hard (though I have been), not because I’m still in mourning (which I am), and not because I desperately miss my family and friends (which I do). No, the reason is much more insidious than that. My body is giving me hell right now. I am utterly exhausted, ravenously hunger, and in agonizing pain every day. Thankfully, the pain medicine keeps it down to a level where at least my brain can sort-of-kind-of function.

Another oddly beneficial occurrence is my burst of creativity. These times where I am limited physically, mentally, and emotionally have often led to wonderfully creative bouts in which I complete my stories. It’s always fantastic. Though, this price has become far too high. I’ll be visiting the doctor soon to discuss my surgical options. I just can’t live like this any longer. I’ve discussed it with my characters and we’ve come to an understanding.

One of the things I’ve really been thinking about recently is my view of myself. Plenty of people think I’m younger than I am (which I’ll eventually be glad about, I suppose). They assume I’m the epitome of health. They rarely accept the possibility that my past could be as dark as it is, that I could have experienced so much more than they realize, and that health is an illusion for me in all its forms. Yeah, I know better. I know who I really am and what I’ve gone through.

There may have been a day…wait, no. From the very beginning of my life, I was unhealthy. My mother was stressed during her pregnancy with me. I was born two weeks late. I had a period as a baby (not a real period-I just bled because of an overload of hormones received from her). My skin is uber sensitive; I can’t wear most perfumes, I break out if I wear cheap jewelry (which is a nice way to tell if it’s genuine, at least), and winter brings about annoying outbreaks of excema. I have allergies out the wazoo when near anything with fur, leaves, and dust (but thankfully I can still devour some shellfish like there’s no tomorrow). My eyesight sucks ass. I have sensitive teeth and my mouth isn’t big enough for my tongue (there are permanent marks in the side of my tongue from my teeth). And you all know of my PCOS and endometriosis (kind of the whole damn reason I need surgery in the first place, in case you missed it).

The first time I was molested and abused, I was very young. Then it just kept happening and never seemed to stop. I haven’t managed one 365-day period without a repeat incident. Literally, not a single year until this one! That’s pretty fucked up. I still deal with anxiety. It used to be much worse but I guess practice makes perfect; I’m able to work through it fairly quickly now. I spent many years in a deep depression-to the point where I attempted suicide-both due to my life circumstances and the effects of my random-ass hormone levels (thanks, PCOS!).

With all of that shit, how could I ever possibly be considered healthy? For me, the entire notion of health is alien. What can it possibly mean to me to be free of any ailments, to not have a past that can’t be shared in polite company, to have nothing to worry about? No, I was not and never will be healthy. But I’ll tell you what I am and can be.

I am whole and not broken. I am strong and not defeated. I am full of love and life and curiosity. I am full of possibilities and wonder and splendor. I am queer and intelligent and perceptive. I am empathetic and compassionate and understanding. I know the difference between my pain and my personality. I am improving every day, learning and growing and sharing. I am full of hope, hope! I had never hoped for anything before. I’m not religious and I find no need for a god, but I am spiritual and I do believe in the energy and intent of everything in this universe. I am a survivor, a warrior, a conqueror.

I can be whatever I want to be. I can finally be fully myself instead of being buried under the pain or hiding behind my fear. I can be the person I always wished would save me, would love me, would care for me. I can be the best of myself. I can turn on the light.

I may write sporadically in the coming weeks, just due to everything with my health being settled. But rest assured, I’ll be back with my irreverent humor, sexy stories, and shameless plugs soon enough. I’ll be resting (as my boss ordered me to do) but I won’t be gone.

And for those who need some inspiration, do you remember me posting about Angie’s documentary? Well, it’s been released. You can see it here:

Thorntree Press on Indiegogo

For mostly selfish reasons, I do hope they accept fiction soon as well as non-fiction, but I’m excited that they are starting out. I think they have the right idea for approaching a niche market. I love the emphasis on evidence and rationality. In my stories, I strive to show the good, the bad, and the ugly about all kinds of people, choices, and ways of living. True, it’s usually set up with a super-crazy backdrop, but that’s neither here nor there.

Anyway, more about this new company:

Thorntree Press is a new, independent publishing company based in Portland, Oregon. We specialize in non-fiction books on relationships, love and sexuality, with particular focus on non-traditional relationship models. We’re also focused on rational, evidence-based approaches to sex and relationships, as well as sharing real-life stories. Our first book, More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamorywas published on September 2, 2014, after a successful Indiegogo campaign in the fall of 2013.

We’re asking for your support funding the three books we have on the slate for 2015: two memoirs and an anthology, all by three well-known, highly regarded and previously published authors on polyamory.

Creator-Friendly.

Thorntree Press supports its authors with personal attention to detail and hands-on dedicated niche marketing, in addition to the high-quality editing and design standards expected from larger publishing houses.

We want to publish great books – without being assholes. That means we make our contracts as creator-friendly as possible. We don’t take any rights we don’t need to, and we only take those for a few years. Plus, by funding production costs up-front with crowdfunding, we’re able to give much higher royalties than the bigger publishers – as well as creating advance buzz for sales.

If you feel like it, if you’re interested in another way to love, or if you just really like Kimchi Cuddles please donate using the link below.

http://igg.me/at/thorntree2015/x/5622909

Aromantic Love… A Gradual Loving Feeling : Multiple Match – Ethical Non-Monogamy, Sex, Love & Relationships

My post on aromantic love is up! If you have no idea what that is why don’t you take a look. I promise I won’t bite. Much.

http://www.multiplematch.com/2014/11/aromantic-love-a-gradual-loving-feeling/

Speaking of Journeys…

Over 4000 miles. 39 days. Mountain ranges. Brutal weather. One bike.

I recently discovered a new fount of inspiration. You see, when life really, really sucks you have to find something even better to balance it out. You can never settle for just okay. You have to find the extraordinary, you must learn to create the beauty that life seemed to deny you, you have to be amazed that you even exist or you will get sucked under and disappear. I have a huge appetite, one as big as Queen Aeryn herself.

I love knowledge; I’m addicted to learning. I think I’m also addicted to the fight. When one has spent so much time fighting, struggling, and generally being in all sorts of unbelievable pain you get used to that being the default. My partner often scolds me for never relaxing. “You are the most uncomfortable person I’ve ever met!” he often tells me in loving exasperation. I feel like I can never stop, as if I will never be comfortable, as if I will never be satisfied. To be comfortable is to grow complacent, it’s to stop being aware, it’s to slowly atrophy. I had to adapt to survive and I know no other way.

You’ll probably be able to see this in the way I write my stories. I write as if I am dying. In a way, I feel like I am. I’ve seen so much death, pain, and agony. I know time is not promised. And so I write as if I will die tomorrow-leaving out the fluff and getting into the meat and matter of things. I appreciate other minds which do the same. I’ve always been drawn to those who dared, those who challenged, those who conquered the pain and the struggle to create beauty and joy.

What does any of this have to do with a 4000-mile bike ride done in all kinds of weather in only 39 days’ time? Well, it’s my latest source of inspiration. In the form of a female Malaysian triathlete, a warrior comes to life and endures what most people would believe to be an impossible task. Her name is Angie, and she’s simply amazing. She documented her time riding across the US, her talks with people about their struggles and dreams, and the times she felt like giving up. She rode over 100 miles each and every day. And the best thing is, she did this all with a smile on her face.

She has such a big spirit. She gathered together stories from people all over the country to share with everyone. The ride is not just a ride. It is life itself. We all have struggles, hopes, and dreams. To hold them up in the light more often would help all of us, I think. I can’t wait to see the documentary. For now, all I have is her wonderful blog and this trailer to get me through.

I may only walk instead of ride (at least until I get my rollerblades back and pick up some parkour skills after my surgery) but I definitely understand pushing through the pain and still managing smile, to love the world, and to remain open to the possibilities. So, thank you, Angie, for sharing your journey.

Butterfly  Element

It’s About That Time

It’s not going away. I mean, it never does, but the medicine is at least supposed to leave me able to function. But it keeps creeping back. Like a multi-tentacled monster it grabs ahold of my body and refuses to release it. It is agony just to sit. To sit! It leaves me shaking and crying and helpless. All I can do is breathe through it. The medicine doesn’t stop it. The pain reliever only takes the edge off enough for me not to feel insane with the intensity of the pain running throughout my entire body. I finally had the thought…

it’s time. My last surgery was only last year. My recently-deceased lover let me rest at his home and it was so peaceful. I still remember the first surgery. I remember him then: running his fingers over the scar and then just looking at me, wondering how someone so young could have been in so much pain that a cut and burning was the only solution. He was there for me both times, along with my family, along with my current lover and my dear friends. But now it’s back again and he’s not here to see me through the big surgery.

I’ve lost jobs over this shit. I’m so grateful now to have a job where they understand and give me the time to rest instead of just firing me because I’m sick. It does help that I can also do many work tasks from home. My coworkers are awesome; they care about me. I’ve told them…

It’s time. Time for that surgery I always feared. Time for that surgery that I wrote about in my stories, except it was performed by my characters. I wrote those stories nearly ten years ago. I suppose I already suspected it was coming. That there was no other way. Maybe others can live with it. Maybe others can stand taking pills every day. Maybe they hold on because they want to have more children. Maybe they have less severe cases where it only bothers them every once in a while.

But I don’t like it. I can’t live like this. I want to be able to have sex without worrying about hitting one of the many spots that hurts. I want to be able to walk without feeling like my legs and feet are swollen and stiff. I want to be able to sit in a goddamned chair without feeling like there’s a fire in my back spreading through my veins. I want to not have to go to the bathroom every 15 fucking minutes. I want to thrive all the time and not just survive the pain.

It’s time. The surgery won’t take everything away. It won’t fix the way my nerves misfire and send pain signals to my brain because I’ve been in pain so long. It won’t fix the time I’ve lost laid up in bed like an invalid. It won’t cure me. But it’d be a hell of a load off. So, as frightening as it once seemed, it may be the best option right now. I’m only 26. A lot of people would say that’s not fair that I should be so unhealthy, that I should have lost two lovers within the same year, or that I should need such a surgery, but life is life. It’s not pretty, it’s not fair, and it damn sure doesn’t listen to us. We deal with what we are given. We accept what is. We make our own beauty.

I’ll see the doctor in a few weeks. And I’ll tell them…

It’s time.

Character and Song #38: Iris

Ah, now here’s a character. Her story is rather tragic. She starts offin The Black Tree series as a seemingly oblivious young girl and is pursued by both Stuart and John. She has dyed hair that’s blond with blue streaks yet this is no dumb blond (why is that even a thing? Seriously- who started that?). Iris is constantly underestimated by those around her but this actually lets her slide under the radar. She’s Lombardi’s little sister, so you already know there’s a bit more than meets the eye. She’s just as possessive, jealous, and manipulative as he is, embodying everything that is unhealthy about romantic ideals. You can see this playing out in her relationship (and obsession) with Stuart. She’d do anything to make him happy-as long as he belongs to her entirely. Like Sam, this is one Other that is eventually led to break her Promise. She also has another purpose in the story but I can’t tell you what it is. Because it’s a surprise. So enjoy this light and airy song while also thinking about what these words really mean.

The Power of Words

Beautiful and meaningful expressions of the myriad ways that education occurs, lacks, and sneaks up on us. This resonates with my experience of learning so much more outside of the curriculum set forth for me. I always did well in school, spent the free time I had helping other students with their work, assisting the teachers, and writing my stories. I researched voraciously on my own time the subjects that interested me. I had a problem with history until I went to college and realized what it was that irked me; there was a severe lack of perspectives and truth in those history books.

There are so many contradictions in this society and I am so glad to see a light being shined on them by Queen Latifah and these youngsters. I hope this program continues and I’ll continue to share my story the way I want to share it. History, truth, and other perspectives are so important and I won’t see them washed away.

I won’t hide. I won’t be silent like I used to be. I won’t keep my head down anymore. Those behaviors instilled in me as a child and as a student only left me open to the monstrous in the world. Without the words that spill onto the pages, without my left hand working its sinister purpose, I would be invisible, nothing, disappeared. I was the perfect student and it nearly killed me. Being a student of life serves me better.

I only wish I had better words to describe how this video moved me. I suppose I shall just have to finish the ten thousand words describing how the ten thousand things and I are one. Yeah, that’s a reference to Daoism. Cuz why not? Those words brought me light as well. I certainly hope this program continues to grow and spread. We need more like it in this country.

US currency reimagined to celebrate ideas, not the dead | The Verge

In both physical and emotional pain today (health probs and reminders of dead lovers on Doctor Who), yet still able to appreciate the beauty and wonder in the world. Not only was that Doctor Who episode fantastic but then I see this gorgeous currency designed by someone who wants to go forward as much as I do. That’s gold (figuratively not literally. It’d be hard to waste this. How much do we take it for granted?

http://www.theverge.com/2014/10/28/7082169/us-currency-redesign