Creating Positivity in a Split World.

On Tuesday night/Wednesday morning I fell asleep sometime after 1:30, which was the point where Josh and I turned the TV over to Futurama and decided to just find out in the morning. When Josh was woken up at 7:15, my eyes crept open just enough to see him go to the CNN page on his phone and read the headline: PRESIDENT TRUMP.

And how that headline made me and so many others feel is…categorically awful. For me and many other young-ish liberals, it has felt like we have been at the spearhead of a great wave of change. So many rights have been granted, protections given. We saw the truly astounding day where the Supreme Court granted marriage rights to all couples across this nation. To find out that, out of the people that voted, a full half of them either fully support a violent bigot or thought he was a better option than our first woman president (or a third party!), is devastating. We thought we were slowly but surely changing the majority, either by changing their minds or by slowly but surely overpowering the voice of those who would break us down. We stand on the precipice of a presidency with a man who has said many vile things, and our leaders have had to stand before us, smile, and tell us to give him a chance.

I have seen people on Twitter say that they understand what depression must feel like, every day, and I understand perfectly because I myself feel like I was transported back to late 2013, when I was in an abusive relationship, a shitty job, and wanted to die. It doesn’t help that my birthday was Monday. I don’t want to die anymore, but it’s hard to do my job, right now. As a library employee, I consider it my almost-sacred duty to help everyone who walks through our doors as much as I can, but looking directly in the eyes of a smiling, triumphant Trump supporter made me realize the cost of my neutrality at work. I know people of color and LGBT people who can’t hide their LGBT-ness must have felt this many times, but I have never before looked into someone’s eyes with proof that they wish me harm, and had to smile, nod, and do what they say.

The summary of this is that it is very, very hard right now, and I have been looking for some light. So I indulged my indulgent side, and went to Facebook Live.

In case you’re reading this in some internet archive in 2047, or you’re not that into Facebook, Facebook Live is a function of Facebook where a user can stream whatever they’re doing live, and the people on their friends list can watch and comment in real time. It’s a really good way to engage with everyone on your feed. I’ve never used it before because, frankly, I hate being recorded. I never know what to do with my face and my voice sounds 1000% more scratchy and high than it sounds to me. But I turned the camera to something else–my LEGOs.

LEGO Dimensions is a video game where you can put RFID-enabled LEGO figures on a pad, and they will magically appear in your video game. The toys-to-life gaming genre is gaining steam, and I’m a LEGO fan, so I got into it. I love how LEGO Dimensions reflects the real-life flexibility that makes LEGO so special; each figure is a real LEGO piece, that can be taken off its base and treated as such, and the game is interactive, making you reconfigure and reconstruct things as you go along, as well as shuffling things around on your game pad to use special abilities or avoid attacks. It gives me that feeling of play that I had as a kid, of creating and using my imagination. Plus, it lets me have Chell from Portal and Harry Potter run around Middle Earth; that’s a selling point right there.

So I went on Facebook Live and talked about my LEGOs. I think I talked for…about ten minutes? Like I said, I don’t like my voice on recordings, so I haven’t gone back and watched it myself. I showed off my figures, talked about the details I love about them, which ones I’ve gotten recently, which ones I plan to get soon (a new wave comes out November 18th! Excite!). It was blatantly nerdy and self-serving, which usually makes me feel worse about myself, but it was just so nice to talk about something that gives me joy, to create joy in myself by choosing to think about something positive.

A friend of mine even responded in kind. Malcolm, who also writes  (see here for some really excellent stuff), made a Facebook Live of his Disney Infinity collection, talking about why he likes his figures, which ones are his favorites, etc. He mentioned in the video that I had inspired him, and that felt really good, honestly. The idea that my positivity reached someone outside myself–that matters.

Positivity is elusive, right now. For those of us invested in the rights of LGBT people, in people of color, in immigrants, in women’s bodies, there’s going to be a long, hard haul to prevent rights from being taken away. People keep comparing Trump’s election to that of Hitler–saying that his campaign of fear will turn into a totalitarian administration that will devastate minorities. If that is so, it is our obligation to resist this insistently, to speak out intelligently on every issue, to support organizations who have greater power to hold the line. But I am increasingly realizing we also have an obligation to positivity, for ourselves and others. I don’t think we can last long in our resistance if we subsist on our own anger and fear; an administration may subsist that way, but a resistance requires that we choose every day to join it, and we will find our breaking points if we go too long without the nourishment of hope and joy. We must live happy lives, and with our activism demand the happinesses that we and others are denied. We must remember that the world has good if we want to bring that good to the fore.

I’m going to keep reaching for positivity, as well as change. I hope we can reach it together.

Come talk to me on Twitter @yipp33kiyay.

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.