Word Updates

The absolute last thing I want to write about is how I feel right now, which is crummy.  Not sick, per se, though my tummy is sad, but that’s only because the rest of me is depressed.  There’s this whole brain-body thing happening where my depression and anxiety aggravate my digestive system and also my achy back and then I feel like hot garbage all morning.  That’s where we are right now, with me typing these words by force and also trying to figure out how to get myself into the shower at some point today.

Major Depressive Disorder at it’s finest, folks.

Now, I’m not worried because this sort of thing usually only lasts a few hours to a day, and the doc upped my Xanax so I am well equipped to deal with any issues.  Alas, I feel like crap.  But, I must solider on.  Bringing me to today’s blog, where I discuss a couple of endeavors. 

It’s been a few weeks now since I stared my Patreon account, and I have two very excellent subscribers right now.  They are extremely biased however, one being my aunt and the other being my mother.  But then, they are probably also my biggest fans.

So right now, I am creating content for them but also for new subscribers, who would have access to everything I’ve done on there so far as well as something new on a weekly basis.

If you’re not familiar with Patreon, it is a platform for creators to earn a monthly income.  It’s a subscription service, so, for example, you would pay 5$ a month and I would send you subscriber-only content each week, including poetry, stories, essays, newsletters, videos, and more.  If you want to check it out, here is a link to my page.  Just sign up and click “Become a Patron!”  But don’t go crazy…it has you set up tiers so my price goes from a 5$ plan to like a 15$ plan and i strongly advise you go with the cheap one, especially if I know you personally.  As I said to my mother, don’t pay for what you get for free.

So today one of the tasks I must complete is the making of this week’s content, which will be a vlog about one of my poems, which Mark and I are going to shoot as soon as I get myself out of the aforementioned shower.

In other news, I had a poem come out this week, and I have posted it below for you, because it was just a one-day run.  Pink Plastic House, A Tiny Journal is one of my favorite lit mags and they are doing a countdown to Halloween with spooky-themed poetry.  I was day 56, with a piece called The Squirrel that’s about the change of seasons.  It’s one of my “story” poems.  I don’t do them often but when I do, I always love them a little harder.

Speaking of “story” poems…I’m on pins and needles over here.  This is me, putting out into the universe, that my editor needs to email me back, because I’m freaking out here.  Last year they accepted my piece and I didn’t hear anything for months, and when I finally did, he said we could go at my pace…well, my pace dropped edits in his inbox a month and half ago and I haven’t heard a thing.  I’ve sent follow-ups.  I tried him on Twitter.  Nothing.  NOTHING.

Impatience is my worst quality.

So that’s what’s going on, writing-wise.  Just chugging along.  Obviously, my personal life is a shambles because I can’t even get myself into the shower.  But maybe I can do something else.  Afterall, I just finished this blog.  One less task to complete, and it didn’t kill me.  Perhaps now I can take a shower?

Nah.  Probably going to take a break.

My Mental Mistresses

I got dumped last week, by my therapist. 

She got a job at the agency I’ve been badmouthing for two years, assuring me that things have changed now that said agency has changed from a zero-tolerance policy to a harm-reduction model for substance use.  That’s why I left.  They were going to put me in the drug program because I smoked a little pot.  They also yanked my Xanax out from under me and when I had a full-on panic attack in my doctor’s office, he slammed the door in my face.  No thanks, I’m out.

Anyway, I found a swell spot after that large Buffalo-based agency that may or may not have a rising sun as their logo and started seeing a woman named Jamie.  My prescribers have rotated a little over the past two years there, but that is to be expected anywhere.  You don’t need to bond with the person giving you your pills; that’s what your counselor is for. 

Jamie was fine.  She was very good at her job, and I liked her very much, but I didn’t feel the “click” I have felt with other counselors in the past.  These are the people you open your mind to, and it is important that you mesh well on every level.  Jamie did a fine job.  But she was no Carissa.

I don’t remember when I had Carissa.  I know it was at that aforementioned agency I went to for ten years, and I know it was at their Hertel branch and I think it was while I still lived in Kenmore.  The thing is, my meds weren’t right at the time, so all of that time period is a mishmash of memory.  When Carissa dumped me for a job in the Southern Tier, I was depressed.  I was devastated.  She was my favorite, and she was gone, and it was over.  It was then that I recognized a peculiar thing: these women have no last names.

My first counselor was named Sarah.  I saw her at D’Youville College because my friends dragged me there one afternoon.  I never knew her last name.  When I moved over to what I refer to as the “Fancy Suburban Drug Dealers” agency, I had three other counselors, whose first names I couldn’t even tell you.  Of course, they pumped me so full of meds based on a misdiagnosis that I was practically a zombie the whole time.  Then, The Rising Sun, where I ended up with Carissa, who left me with no last name and no forwarding information.

Alas!  One day, she found me on Myspace.  I was very happy but I still don’t know her last name.  And now, Myspace is dead and I can’t find her on Facebook without a surname.  After Carissa, came Katie.

Katie and I were together for years, and I actually got to know her last name.  However., The Rising Sun implemented their zero-tolerance policy, and one day she told me they would be tox screening everyone.  “But that’s not a problem for you…” she says.

I tell her, right away, that it is a problem, that not only will I test positive for cannabis but that I believe it is an infringement on my privacy.  She becomes shocked that I have never mentioned cannabis use before and our relationship starts to crumble.  Now, I have only good things to say about Katie, who from what I understand is running some things over there now, and I am hopeful that her experiences with me and other clients has opened her eyes to other possibilities.  The trust between us was broken, though; she felt I had kept something important from our sessions.  I felt it was none of her gotdamn business.

An impasse.  Fortunately, she was promoted up the ladder and I was thrown over to the Orchard Park location, where I met Ashley.

Ashley was great.  She totally agreed that it was nonsense, the whole bit about the cannabis, and did her best to keep me out of the drug program at The Rising Sun, always stating that I wasn’t abusing the substance.  Then she moved to Colorado and oh my heart!  But…I knew her last name.  In fact, we exchanged emails, and after she was settled she got in touch.   We still occasionally email, and yes, there are topics I am more comfortable sending in a letter to her than expressing via speech to my therapist. 

In many ways, she reminds me of the feeling I had with Carissa.

However, after her departure I was moved to a woman named Liz.  She was fine, in the way that Jamie was fine.  But she didn’t fight for me. 

When I became a number at The Rising Sun, I was furious.  They were making me into a statistic…showing me on graphs as someone with mental illness who also had a substance abuse problem.   They insisted I start drug counseling.  I told them to fuck right off.

Which brings me to now.  I found a little place that was like “oh, you smoke pot?  Well, let me put you in touch with a medical marijuana doctor,” and I was sold.  I feel like my doc actually listens to me, which is new in general, and I never feel like a number because it’s a small place.  AND, I’ve had two good counselors so far.  I mean, not great…but good.

Anyway, I’m seeing a new woman named Rachel next week, and I am hopeful.  I hope we “click.”  Jamie thinks we will.  I’m actually going into the office to meet her too, which is something I haven’t done in a year, so that’s kind of exciting.

I wonder, will I know her last name some day?  Will I be gifted that knowledge after a year or two of counseling, when the bond is formed?  Will I look back ten years from now and remember her fondly?

Or will I not remember her at all?

Blind Fury

I started writing a blog about therapy and then I had to stop because of “the feeling.”  You know, that mixture of exhaustion and rage that we’ve been dealing with for about 20 hours now?  No?  Just me?  Maybe the ladies know what I’m talking about.

When Ruth Bader Ginsburg died, I cried.  I sobbed on a boulder in the middle of the woods on a camping trip while my husband held me and promised it would be alright; everything would be fine.  Then, yesterday, the Supreme Court made my husband into a big fat liar.

All I can think of is how scared those women in Texas must be.  How terrified.  This has nothing to do with saving human life, and everything to do with persecuting it.  I am so grateful to live in NY where anti-choicer’s are outnumbered in state government, but that doesn’t mean I’m not scared of federal possibilities.  That doesn’t mean I’m not horrified by the Supreme Court’s violation of the constitution. 

Here is the Texas law, explained a little, with my reasonings for why it is horrendous:

  1. Abortions are banned after six weeks.  Many women do not even know they are pregnant at that point…I myself probably wouldn’t even think about it until after week 4 went by.
  2. There are no exceptions for rape or incest.  Disgusting.  You’re going to make a victim carry around their trauma for nine months?  Then what?  Where’s the pro-life bit there? (Also, can we retire “pro-life” when what they really are is “anti-choice?”  I mean…it’s not like they’re going to raise the baby, are they?)
  3. You can be sued for helping someone get an abortion.  So, whether you are a doctor performing it or a nurse assisting or a friend DRIVING you there, you can be sued.  So, if I lived in Texas, I would be sued, because I will absolutely always drive a woman to Planned Parenthood, if need be, and we will go get ice cream afterwards.
  4. The citizens who choose to sue don’t need to show any connection to the person they’re suing.  So, a random could totally decide to sue you.  Or, more likely, an angry ex.  Gross, on so many levels.

Now, I have questions.  Say someone says a woman is planning on getting an abortion. What if she isn’t pregnant?  Does she have to prove it?  Does she have to go down to the police station and pee on a stick?  What if she is?  Does she need to submit her private medical files?  At what point do we get into invasive exams?

Give me a little bit, I’m sure I will come up with even more questions.

God, I’m tired.  God, I’m angry. 

I don’t have much love for Texas to begin with.  My friend Molly’s parents lived in Texas and she told me they had scorpions in their shoes sometimes and I said “nope” and swore I’d never set foot in the state, but this really takes the cake.  I have a cousin from Texas, and he is a nice guy.  I think he leans conservative and that’s cool because I know he reads my blog (Hi, Kevin!) and knows that I lean the other way, but he’s the type of man that knows how to look at different points of view.  I think he truly just accepts people as they are.  Which is how I like my conservatives.  So, in my opinion, him and his wife and their tiny dog are the best things to come out of the state.  And were it not for them and their kin, I would be perfectly happy with Texas seceding and calling it a day.  That’s how mand I am.

God, I am so mad.

So that therapy blog will be upcoming, because I am drowning in angst right now.  Happy Thursday.  I guess.

Inking

When I was 15, my mother told me that I could dye my hair any color I wanted, but I could never get a tattoo or piercing. (PS this was pre-crazy colors.  She would later eat her words when I dyed it purple.)  Her logic at the time was sound; she had worked as an HIV counselor at the Red Cross and was understandably wary of tattoos, especially back in the day when there weren’t as many sanitary precautions in place.  Also, I recall her saying something about only sailors, soldiers, and prisoners getting tattoos.

Then one day I was watching an episode of The Nanny, and Fran was debating getting a tattoo.  Her mother forbade it because it meant she could not be buried in a Jewish cemetery, which I thought was bonkers, of course.  Still, it certified in me that tattoos were not something that I should aspire to. 

Then came 18.  Many of my friends ran out to get tattoos and piercings, but I declined. My mother’s words echoed in my head, telling me that I would have it forever, and what if I regretted it?  Still, I picked one out: drama masks. 

Cut to today, at 38.  I never got that tattoo, and I’m sort of glad I didn’t, because my stint in theater wasn’t as lifelong as I had hoped at the time.  I mean, I could have adapted the meaning.  Mark has a similar tattoo, after all.  Alas, I’m glad I never got it.  But, I am furious I never got anything.

I let all those old fears hold me back, worried about what my parents would think.  I am damn near 40 and I’m WORRIED ABOUT WHAT MY MOTHER WILL THINK OF IT??  My sister got a tattoo when she was like 19 and hid it for years.  I even knew a guy once who got a white ink tattoo so his mother wouldn’t notice it…I mean what is even the point there?

Also, now that I am older there are several tattoos that I want that I don’t think I will ever regret.  The first is a St. Brigid’s cross.  Preferably with a flame behind it, to represent the goddess as well, and I’d like it on my wrist.  The second is one I want to get with Bernie, a Celtic sisterhood symbol, which would be large and colorful and on my shoulder.  And if I mange to go though with those, then I’m going to get a crown tattoo on the back of my neck, which I surmise will hurt the most.  Alas, they all represent things about me that are never going to change.  So how could I regret them?

And why am I so held back my old stereotypes and concerns?  Almost everyone I know has a tattoo nowadays.  I recall being petrified bringing Mark home to meet my mother, because of the ink on his forearms.  In the end, she didn’t care, just like she didn’t really care when Bernie got hers.  Which is probably the same reaction I will get. 

The way I figure it, I have been poked and prodded so many times during this illness, what’s a little pinchy-scrape feeling?  I think I’ll be fine.  And I think I will love what I get, because the more I age, the less I give a crap.

Idk whose knee this is, but I love the work.

Witchy Women

I never had a bachelorette party.  Some ideas were thrown around between me and my Maid of Honor, Jaime, but we never came to rest on anything and the year surrounding my wedding was so crazy that it just didn’t seem feasible at the time.  So, I never had a night out with my girls.

Not that I really have girls.

In grade school, I had three girls I hung out with, Christina, Sabine, and Jamie (a different one.  Note the spelling.)  But my best friend remained Kevin, and I hung with him and the boys as much as I did with the girls.  In high school I was surrounded by women, and had a group of about ten that I spent my days with.  Of course, now, that group has dwindled to two that I speak with regularly, Jaime (my MOH) and Chelsea. 

Recently, Sahar’s sister posted some photos on Instagram of her and her girl group out on the town, and I felt a twinge of jealousy.  I never had anything like that, and it turns out, I want it.

So, I decided to plan a girl’s trip.  I enlisted the help of my cousin Sarah who is a travel planner (check out her page here) because I am just nonsense when it comes to hotels and reservations and tickets for things.  I picked a place, Salem, Massachusetts, and a date: Sept. 15 2022.  I compiled a list of my nearest and dearest, as well as my sister and her nearest and dearest, and I think it will make for an excellent group excursion.  I have already made a list of things to do, and am super excited to share it all with my friends.

I went to Salem as a kid and had an absolute blast, but I do recall many things I wanted to do that my age had restricted me from.  Now I can go see a psychic and the satanic temple and go in the magic shoppes!  Very exciting.

I asked Twitter if they had been on girl’s trips before and the results were mostly positive, save a poor girl who lost her wallet shortly into her excursion.  Most chicks seem to want to travel to beachy areas, and I love a good beach, but Salem in September is more my speed. 

And so, like I did when I had a year to go until the cruise I took with my sister, I will start saving my money now, because I don’t want to worry about it down the road.  I told Sarah I didn’t want anything fancy, but I definitely want fun.  I’d rather spend more money on attractions than lodging, y’know?  I mean, we’re only going to sleep there.

Alas, I have never planned a major trip before, so this should be fun.  And I am fortunate to have an awesome planner in the family, too.  I am very excited, even though it is a year away.  Something to look forward to; something to work for.

.com

Hello again, my friends.

I was terribly ill for about a week, resulting in a hospital overnight that was, in the end, exactly what I needed all along.  The combination of meds and a saline drip did wonders for my disposition.  The docs think I caught a bug that aggravated my gastroparesis that caused dehydration and exhaustion.  I thought I had Covid, and freaked out, but my test was blessedly negative.  I went home Thursday morning feeling much improved, better than I have felt in weeks, actually. 

Then came E.  She spent her week with us and we had a lovely time together as always, and she continues to amaze me and make me proud.  She is turning into this beautiful and fun young woman and I am just in awe of her.  We went out to dinner and to the beach and hiking and to the farmer’s market and the family reunion and last night we had dinner with my parents and played Nightmare, this game from the 90’s that Kevin and I loved as kids.  Kev won the game, the first time in our history that ANYONE has won the game before the clock ran out.  It was great fun.  She headed home this morning and now I am sitting here, playing catch-up.

Another thing that happened is an angel came to visit me.  They gave me something special…a sponsorship of sorts.  While I was stressing about where to get the funds to run my website another year, not to mention buy my domain for my blog, fate moved as it does and the angel came and gave me a gift. Brigidhannon.com soldiers on for another year, selling books and connecting me to the world.  And now, hamneggs716.com, my baby, my darling, my little pumpkin-faced peanut, finally!  20 years I have had a blog, and I never bought her a domain.  Now, we exist.

So, that’s what has been going on.

Now, I have to write.  I have to finish this blog and start on one of the other three I have up and coming.  I have to work on content for my Patreon account, and plan out a video poem that I am going to use to raise some funds for the AFSP.  Then, I have to pray St. John Bosco, the patron saint of publishers and editors, that my editor will email me soon.  Also, I guess I should do the laundry?

On Money and Brainstorms

I remember my grade school English class, when we learned about thought bubbles, or whatever they are called.  It was a way to teach us how to brainstorm, which was something I had already been doing but had no word for.

I brainstorm A LOT.  Likely because of my anxiety and the fact I am an overthinker.  I use it in my writing life, of course, as I am supposed to, but I use it for other things as well.  Today, we are brainstorming.  We, being me, Kevin, and Sahar, as they are the two friends I have spoken with already this morning. 

See, I need about 200 bucks.  $250 would be better, but I can cover some of it.  I need money so I can make money, which is a sad truth that I hate but alas, here we are.

My webhosting is up on brigidhannon.com at the end of the month, and I also need to host this blog, which is something I could actually monetize in the long run.  But that means about $250 due at the end of August.  Since it is unlikely that I will sell 40 books this month, I must look for other avenues of income.

Sahar suggests a “Mommy Day Package.”  She says I should charge $150, take care of kids all day, and provide a meal prepared for when mom returns home.  I could do this easily…and honestly all I would need is two takers by the end of the month.  Though it would be better if I could say I was CPR certified…sigh.  Another instance of needing money to make money.  Still, I am considering it.

Kevin and I talked about Patreon.  It’s a platform for creators to share their work with subscribers, and I think I might give it a go.  I don’t know if I could make my goal, or anything really, but it might be worth a shot.  You get subscribers to pay a couple bucks a month, and each month you put out content just for them…so I would post stories or essays or poems a few times a month that would be solely for the viewing pleasure of my subscribers.  It could earn me a few bucks and use my talent to make money, which is the dream, y’know. 

Then there’s the option of selling things.  I don’t know where to even start there.  I have quite the bag collection, but truth be told, none of them are in resale shape.  I love my bags HARD.  I have one pair of rarely worn Kate Spade Ked’s that I adore but are slightly too snug on me.  They are about the only sellable thing in my house.  No…this won’t work.  I don’t even have enough materials for a garage sale.

(From the far reaches of my brain, a whisper: “you have Mulder and Scully Barbie dolls still in the box up in the attic.”  Me, louder: “NO!  My aunt Barb gave me those!  Also…Mulder.”)

Anyway, I’m off.  I’m going to research this Patreon thing.  I think that might be a solution, if not immediately, perhaps for the future.  More to follow…

Change Your Mind

I live in the state of New York.  In 2018, I voted for Andrew Cuomo to become our governor. Why, you ask?  Well, I’m a Democrat, so I wasn’t interested in Marc Molinaro, whose platform wasn’t that bad, actually…I just don’t vote against the ACA if I can help it, which he was not on board with.  Otherwise, he wasn’t so bad.  I research all candidates, including…perhaps even more in depth…Republicans, so that I know what I’m getting.  But Cuomo had the added benefit of running mate Kathy Hochul, a Western New York native.  Of course, I’m going to vote for the hometown girl, especially when WNY seems to get the shaft a lot in state-wise instances.  Seems like the focus is always downstate, on NYC, so having someone from the area in Albany was a definite pro.  Also, if you know me, you know I vote not just for the person, but for the team they assemble.  I’m not a huge Biden fan, for instance, but I like who he has hired.  That’s why I voted for him.  It’s also one of the reasons I voted for Cuomo.

Now, when the scandal broke that there were women claiming that he sexually harassed them, I did what I always do in these situations and took a “wait and see” approach.  I’m a big believer that everyone is innocent until proven guilty, so I waited patiently for the AG’s report and went about my life.  Cuomo has been a figure in it the past year, because of his Coronavirus leadership, which I will admit was very good in the beginning, but I feel has become a little muddled as time has gone on…likely because of the allegations taking up some of his time. 

Then, the other day, our Attorney General Letitia James released a report saying that Cuomo had sexually harassed 11 women.  He denies it and refuses to resign.  Every Dem in a 2000 mile radius has told him to resign, including Biden.  Alas, no.

This leads me to an interesting observation.

As someone who voted for Cuomo enthusiastically in 2018, I can tell you honestly that I have now dropped him like a hot potato.  Why?  Because you are allowed to change you mind based on new information, which is something that my Republican brothers and sisters sometimes seem to just not understand.  You don’t HAVE to support a candidate after they do something screwed up.  I just want you all to know that.  You are allowed to change your mind.  Just like I changed my mind on Cuomo

You don’t need to “stand by your man” if your man is an asshole.  That’s called being in an abusive relationship.

And furthermore…what’s with this new breed of politicians who just do not see a losing battle when confronted with it?

In my home city, Buffalo, we are having a mayoral race in the fall.  The Democratic primary was won by a woman named India Walton, a Democratic Socialist.  Our incumbent mayor, Byron Brown, did absolutely no campaigning, certain that he would win the vote, and was flabbergasted when he didn’t.  But did he concede politely, as expected?  No, he started a write-in campaign and now there are signs on every other lawn emblazoned with his name.  Excellent, Byron.  Go ahead and split the Democratic vote so that the Republican wins.  Brilliant strategy to support your party!

You know what it is, don’t you?  Ego.  The male ego, to be precise, because I have been researching and men far outweigh women with this kind of behavior.  Losing is foreign to many men, and they have trouble accepting when they have lost.  Even if it hurts other people, they may continue to insist that they have won.  Is it something ingrained in them by society, or a reflection of the more primitive aspects of their DNA?  Probably both in my opinion, just another form of the patriarchy ruining perfectly good men.

Anyway, I’m boiling this down to two basic truths:  when you’re wrong, admit it.  Take your scolding, and move on to something else.  And when something no longer lines up with your ideals, you don’t have to keep pursuing it.  You can move on to something else, too.

That’s enough ranting for today.  Happy Thursday.

Pep Talk

Sometimes, I will be super hyped to do something and then my brain will be like “haha, no,” and then I end up sitting on the couch eating cereal straight out of the box and watching old episodes of Fringe.  Oh depression, you vicious mistress.

So, I drag myself into the office and check my email and socials and try to prepare myself for the day.  I open a word document to start writing and then suddenly there is a garbage truck outside my door, banging and clanging its way slowly down the street.  No hope for concentration, so I pop over to Submittable to check on my poetry submissions.  No change.  Ho-hum.

Then, to the blog!  Alas, no topic.  Nothing, because depression ate it, like a hungry teenager raiding the refrigerator in the middle of the night.

I can’t focus my thoughts.  I look at my yellow umbrella that hangs off the bookshelf to my left and think that I should have taken it to the beach with me on Saturday.  I look at the star on the wall that says “One Day at a Time,” and I think gee that’s great, now someone give me a cigarette!  I look at the ceiling.  There are cobwebs in the corner.  Perhaps I should sweep them?

Anything, anything, anything but write.

After this, whatever this is, I am going to attempt to put my chicken-scratch notes on my chappie into type,  Then, put those typed words into an email, and send it to my editor.  Real, actual, needs-to-be-done work.,,but my serotonin levels don’t give a crap.  I also want to work on new submissions since it is August now, but that seems like a faraway chore at the moment. 

Oh, and I want to clean my house, because I had my four kiddos plus G this weekend and the joint is wrecked.

First, I guess, I will drink some coffee.  I will be grateful that the street is now fairly quiet, and I can write and work in peace.  I will sit here in this office chair until all my tasks are done, because while my brain and hormone levels and all that garbage may be telling me one thing, my heart is telling me another: you can do it.