Demons in the Internet: my article for The Mary Sue

I wrote an article for The Mary Sue about an episode of Buffy. It lives here. Warnings for me talking frankly about the Ex of Doom.

I don’t want to repost it, honestly because I want to give my original post web traffic and justify the shiny $20 they paid me for writing it, but I’ll talk about it a little here.

Writing this was easy; having it out in the world was hard. I had a panic attack the day it went up, actually. The Ex would find it, he would find me. He would try to talk to me. It’s horrible enough that LinkedIn keeps trying to tell me that I should friend him; the idea that he might have any inclination to turn my way fills me with a cold, sweating dread. I don’t want it in the same way I don’t want to be stung to death by bees.

I’m lucky to currently have a kind, warm boy who understands all of this, and understands me. But it’s still hard, to be so afraid. It used to be that I thought about the Ex every day, that my thoughts would be a constant undercurrent of anger and heartbreak. These days, I can go days without thinking about him, but he creeps in in unexpected ways. I get a song he wrote stuck in my head. I remember a thing he does. My good, sweet boy innocuously asks why I have a random string of numbers in my e-mail address (it’s my birth year and the Ex’s birth year, a thing he insisted on). It’s weird how I can delete all the pictures of him from my collection, and move on, mostly, and he can still linger in my life. I wish this wasn’t how it was, but I think I’m dealing with it pretty well, considering.

Overall, I’m not the girl who was with him, anymore. That’s what’s worth remembering.

I Might Have A Chronic Illness And I Feel Fine [Updated]

I’ve been tired recently.

Actually, I’m always tired, and have been for as long as I can remember. I need at least 10 hours of sleep, I say, in order to function properly. I never wake up well, and go to sleep and stay asleep like the dead. Whenever anyone asks me how I’m feeling and they’re talking to me before noon, I smile a little and say, “tired.” It’s been a part of my life since I stopped taking Adderall and Concerta (AKA barely legal amphetamines) for my ADD.

I listen to a podcast called Interrobang, which is an excellent podcast where two people talk honestly about what’s making them frustrated. It’s more therapeutic than you’d think. Anyway, last week I listened to their episode “From Being Super Tired to Successful Communication.”  One host, Travis, is having a baby any day now, and he was talking about the idea of “overtired,” which is when a baby is tired, but doesn’t have the mental capacity to understand that they can solve their problem by going to sleep. They then become so tired they’re uncomfortable, and then they can’t sleep, which causes the baby to melt down because they’re miserable and nothing is fixing it, and the parent has to step in and try to force the baby to be comfortable and thus asleep. The other host, Tybee, replied, “I feel like that sometimes, too, with my thyroid issues,” and talked about becoming so tired she became extremely emotional.

I felt like I needed to pull my car over to the side of the road. Holy fucking shit, they were talking about me.

It felt like my past had reorganized itself in front of my eyes. I’m not crying in the Publix on a regular basis just because I’m a wimp. I don’t feel terrible all the damn time because I drink Diet Coke or I don’t exercise enough. Well, maybe I do feel terrible because of all those things, but here it is, this concept that this could be something that was not simply how I was, but something going wrong. And I don’t have to keep living like this.

The doctor says it’s probably either a thyroid issue or pregnancy. Pregnancy is unlikely, since I just had my period, and also this has been going on for at least a year and I don’t think I’m magic like that. I’m worried in a very dark part of my mind that it’s thyroid cancer; my very best friend has had thyroid cancer and I think the universe would love that horrible irony. More likely, though, is that my thyroid is probably just broken in some way. That makes ironic sense, too, since I’ve had a lot of people assume or discover that I am broken, over the years.

Unlike when I was twelve, when the ADD diagnosis made me feel like a freak for not being able to fix myself, for being broken, I’m glad for the idea that I might be broken. I don’t have to keep trying to fix myself on my own.

UPDATE [Nov 2, 2016]: I have a vitamin D deficiency. I feel gypped.

Talk to the author on Twitter @yipp33kiyay.

Banned Books Week, Library Censorship, and Common Sense

So, I work at a public library. I’m not a librarian; you get that title only upon completing your Master’s, although most library employees will reply to “librarian” just to save time. I work full-time creating programming for teenagers, in a big, decently well-funded, flourishing library system, and for this I’m extremely fortunate. I see my job as an extension of an institution that does some of the greatest good there is to do in communities.

Not everyone agrees.

This week we’ve gotten on the national news for choosing not to buy the graphic novel version of a book that has previously been released, and acquired by us, in a variety of other formats. The reason this made national news is because the book is critical of the Democratic presidential candidate. In an example of truly bad timing/incredible irony, Banned Books Week starts September 25th. This is exactly the kind of press you don’t want, as a library.

Now, all of this could come back to bite me in my professional ass, so let me preface: I’m offering my own, private opinions here. I don’t think my opinions have any place in my workspace, which I do my best to make a welcoming place for everyone. My library is not responsible for my dumb thoughts.

Besides, I don’t want to really talk about politics or right or wrong. Saying that we have been slandered might be a bit much; to say that we have been misrepresented by all the news outlets that have repeated the story seems to be true. Choosing not to buy a book can come down to any number of reasons, from “I don’t think it’ll circulate well” to practical reasons like money and what exactly we can get from our suppliers. We have, like many larger library systems, a complex policy system in place regarding what books we can acquire, from where, and what can be done with donated books. We have a lot of good responses to a lot of people who have a lot of beliefs about what we do that are being fueled by the kind of close-but-not-quite purposefully inflammatory statements that make my skin itch.

The beliefs about libraries is, really, the part that gets me. I think the most common consensus among the comments I read on these articles is that librarians are all old, liberal lesbians; the next most common was that there’s always a homeless man pooping in the corner. I was genuinely surprised by that one. A homeless man, pooping in the corner? Always? It’s true we have a lot of homeless people in libraries, but it’s for the same reason that you run at the gym instead of around your neighborhood–why do what you do if you can do it someplace with central A/C and wifi?

You can imagine how the other common threads went. We are controlled by liberals who want to destroy everything. “The brown shirts are out,” “soon they’ll be burning books,” etc. Of course we don’t burn books; we throw them in the dumpster. More people should throw away books, actually. I’ve contracted at least three serious illnesses from mildewed, blood-stained, fluid-covered books that people just won’t throw away, because the spectre of Fahrenheit 451 flickers in their brain. Most information is immortal these days; you can’t take anything away by occasionally putting a book out of its misery.

(I’m genuinely not kidding about the diseases. If you leave a library book out in the rain or your cat pees on it, please, for the love of everything. Write down the title, throw away the book, and tell the library you need to pay for it. Our immune systems will thank you.)

I think it’s easy to tell from my dyed hair and public profession and bisexuality that I’m a liberal. I admit openly that I don’t know anything about financial issues and generally vote on social issues and keep my mouth shut about things I don’t know about. And I generally don’t go where conservatism lives. It’s just not a place where I would feel comfortable, and I know many conservatives wouldn’t much like me. But reading those comments was like stepping into a shadowy other-world, not only a world deeply ill-informed about libraries, but also a mirror reflection of the one I’m used to. It seems like everyone is concerned about the wrong people controlling us and screwing us over; we just disagree on who those people are.

So while my knee-jerk reaction was to align with my liberal self, as a library employee, here’s what I want to say:

Please come. We would love to have you. We would love to circulate as many anti-Hillary and pro-Hillary and Hillary Duff titles as we realistically can. We don’t buy books sometimes, and it is not censorship, and you are free to talk to our board of directors if you think it is. We do buy books sometimes, and we will never remove them from the shelves if they offend someone, unless we are truly terrible at our jobs. Homeless people abound, and mostly they sleep, play internet games, and apply for jobs. This is also true of literally every other library demographic. We have storytimes and teen read-ins and craft projects and a Wii and DVDs and movie nights and books, books, and books. We do our best to be what every human being needs when they walk in, and if we’re not, we’d like to know. We’re here for you.

Please come. If there are any homeless men pooping in the corner, I’ll buy you dinner.

Come talk to me on Twitter at @yipp33kiyay.

An Introduction

Exhibit A of void-screaming.

I think everyone has an itch to write, in the same way that everyone has an itch to speak, to tell others their story. I think it comes from being sentient beings–while realizing your own existence is great, and language is great, it create an inherent yearning for a connection, to reach out to other people and touch them with your self-ness. It all comes from wanting to not be alone, in our own, self-centered ways.

That’s my best guess at why I’m deciding there needs to be a place on the internet for my silly thoughts. I don’t have a lot of urgency or professional need for this; I want to be a published writer one day, but I’m currently working full-time at a library as well as going to grad school two nights out of seven. I’m also planning my wedding and volunteering at the local natural history museum, so frankly, I don’t have the time.

But I want to have the time, you know? I want to write. I want to scream out into the void, with the vague hope that the void will scream back.

Or at least, talk to me about fanfiction.