Sunday, October 4, 2015

Migraines and Tears

I, like several people I know, am subject to migraines.  They go in phases, sometimes.  In a bad phase, I'll get one every week, sometimes more.  In a good phase, I'll get one once a month, though rarely less than that.  Migraines are evil.  They affect one's life in a myriad of ways and they are invisible.  I look perfectly healthy, and it's just a headache, right?  Except, it's not.  If you've never had a migraine, you can't know how debilitating they are.  They affect your vision, your digestion, your mental capabilities and your emotional well being.  I can't drive when I have a bad migraine. It's not that I can't see, it's that I can't see properly.  I no longer get migraines with aura, thank goodness. When I had those, I literally couldn't see.

I miss an unfortunate amount of work due to migraines.  Thankfully, I currently have a job with sick leave, so I don't lose money when I miss work.  But, I miss work.  And I hate that this affects my job. Because it is an invisible illness and because a headache doesn't seem like that big of a deal, it makes me look bad when I leave work or miss work due to a migraine.  It makes it look like I don't have much of a work ethic, when nothing could be further from the truth.  Because of this, there are days when I manage to get to work and stay there despite a migraine, but it isn't easy and I don't get a lot done.

Migraines can be socially embarrassing as well.  There's nothing like collapsing on your date's floor in tears of agony when one comes on like a bullet train.  Nothing like having to ask to be allowed to stay the night because driving home isn't a good option, especially when you know you are trespassing on their good will.  Today, I missed my SIL's performance, one she has been working on for months, because I had a migraine.  It's terrible.  I wanted to go, I wanted her to know I support her and am proud of her and I couldn't do it.

Here's something I don't think a lot of people know about migraines.  They can induce a profound depression.  I don't know if it has to do with blood flow in the brain or the being in intense pain for a protracted amount of time or the loss of control over life or what it is, but migraines send me (and many others) into depression.  We know we miss things, we know we don't perform like we should, we know we make unfair demands on our friends and family.  Those things hurt.  I recall one time after a particularly bad bout, I fell asleep on the chaise in my room and woke to find my little daughter (she was 3 or 4 at the time) sitting on me reading a book.  She had made me a little snack of salami and cheese and bread.  And I cried.  I cried because I should have been the one taking care of her and I failed.  And not only did I fail, she had picked up the slack for me as she could and was taking care of me.

So, there you go.  I'd say, show a little compassion for those that suffer, but most of my friends do, for which I am very grateful.  But, compassion or not, I still feel awful for getting them, for making unfair demands on my friends and family and for missing things I oughtn't to be missing.

Sunday, August 2, 2015


It rained a few weeks ago.  Torrential rain.  Monsoon rain.  It was a prodigious rain.

I'd been having a massive anxiety attack that day, and anxiety attacks make me feel very raw.  In a way, they sort of reduce me to my bare bones self and all of the niceties with which civilization covers me are ripped away and I am left exposed.

There are a few...not remedies...but aids to getting through an anxiety attack for me, but they are not always convenient nor available.  One of them is to crawl in bed, bury myself in blankets and pillows and calming music and wait it out.  Another is running, partly because it takes a lot of energy and partly because it makes me feel like perhaps I can outpace it.  A third is to be wrapped up in the tight embrace of one I trust.  None of these were available to me, as I was at work, so I did what I normally do in that situation and shoved it down to be dealt with later.

Later came, and my intention was to go home, crawl in bed, bury myself and hopefully go to sleep. Anxiety is exhausting and pushing it down and trying to function properly at work is even more so.  I stopped by my dear friend's house to drop some things off, planning to leave shortly thereafter.  He convinced me to stay and have dinner and I knew I did need food, as I hadn't eaten properly that day. He wrapped me tightly in his arms afterwards, knowing I wasn't ok and as we talked about this and that, it slowly entered my consciousness that there was a raging storm going on outside.  Finally, I got up to look.

There it was, the rain.  I love rainstorms, especially thunderstorms.  Especially torrential thunderstorms.  They are raw and magnificent and beautiful and untamed.  (I don't like tornadoes, even though they are also raw and untamed, they are massively destructive)

I stood in the doorway watching the rain come down in sheets.  And the rawness I felt in me connected to the rawness I felt out there.  So, I stepped out into it.  It was, literally, breathtaking. The cold sting of the drops of rain, the quick, hard gusts of wind and the constantly rolling thunder stole the breath from me.  I was soaked to the skin within seconds, but I did not return to the house, I stepped out further into the tumult, daring it to take me, knowing it couldn't.  I wanted to join it, I wanted to be part of it, part of the chaos, part of the power.  I ran out into the road, which had become a river, the water swirling above my ankles.  The lightning flashed across the sky, not in bright branching slashes, but in sheets above the clouds, followed by low, chest rumbling growls of thunder.

The rain pounded me, the wind bit at me and I turned my face to the sky and laughed with sheer exhilaration.  It was glorious, being out in that, connecting to that power, knowing that I could return to the calm warmth of the house, that I could escape it should it get out of hand, that I could be victorious over the storm because in returning to the house, it could not get at me. (It got back at me for my hubris later with an exceptionally close lightning bolt and such a clap of thunder that I screamed in fright from my bastion of safety within the house). I stayed out in it for some time, splashing and playing and reveling in it.

I finally did go back in, teeth chattering, drenched and drained of my anxiety.  The wind had whipped it out of me, the rain had washed it away and I was free again to cloak myself in civilization... and a hot shower.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Strengthening the Family

So, I've gotten a bit of pushback from various sources about my post here, the primary pushback being that gay marriage can't strengthen families.

This does not make sense to me and no one can really explain to me how it weakens families or weakens marriage.  From my POV, it seems like it can only strengthen both.  A family that previously could not be legally bonded now can.  Seems stronger to me.

What is your opinion?

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Demise of the Traditional Family

What with the SCOTUS ruling last week about the legality of gay marriages, there's been a whole lot of brouhaha about the demise of the "traditional" family.  I've a few points to make on that family.

First off, I don't think that word means what you think it means.  In the minds of many religious conservatives, Mormons being the flavour I've most truck with, this means the demise of the mother/father/2.5 kids, who all love each other and live in a house with a white picket fence and a dog and a cat.  This is not reality.  This is also not history.

Historically, "traditional" has meant many things, but if you want to look at modern "traditional" Western European/American families, what traditional means is this.  A white male/white female bond, sometimes performed religiously, but always including state sanctioned benefits and rules.  A white male head of the family, effectively owning his wife and children, daughters continuing to be owned even after reaching adulthood, unless they marry and come under the ownership of their husband.  It meant women without any rights to property, money, safety, her person or her children except as her husband chooses to allow said rights to her.  It meant children with no rights of their own until reaching adulthood.  Well, male children come into their own rights when they reach adulthood, as I previously mentioned, female children never attain those rights.  If their male parent dies and they are unmarried and have no one to care for them, well, they are on their own.

Thankfully, we have progressed beyond this, to a certain extent.  Women and children here do have rights accorded by the state, although some conservative religions deny these rights and continue to keep women in submission to men.

In my own Mormon religious history, traditional and approved marriage meant polygamy.  One man and many women.  That's pretty recent, let's be honest.  We are awesome at redefining marriage, ourselves.  Can we fault others for attempting to do so?

Another point being made about the demise of the family is the rise of the me generation.  Millenials are supposedly fundamentally selfish, which, to a certain extent, many are.  But they are also some of the most UNSELFISH people to ever exist.  Part of the proof brought up to show their selfishness is the fact that the marriage rate is going down, and people are waiting longer to have children or not having children at all.

Now, I will agree that a good part of this is based on the morally downward path of our society, but I don't think that path comes from selfishness, gay marriage, more people choosing to live together, more hedonistic lifestyles, etc.  It comes from the moral downfall of our economy, which is, oddly, fully supported by the religious right.  I'm talking about the Koch brothers.  I'm talking about trickle-down economics (they don't work), I'm talking about corporate tax breaks, for profit healthcare, for profit insurance companies, the rise of inflation with no corresponding wage increases.  I'm talking about the fight against useful government aid, the fight against government regulations that prevent the morally corrupt from taking advantage of their employees.

This is where the demise of the stable family stems from.  If you can't afford YOURSELF when you get out of college completely buried in debt, how on earth can you afford a family?  The idea that if you are righteous and have a family like you are "supposed to" and God will take care of you is lovely and delightful, but it simply isn't true.  Righteous families go into bankruptcy and lose everything.  Righteous families rely on welfare.  Righteous families get sick and lose their livelihoods.  Righteous women get left behind by their provider and are expected to raise all those righteous children on their own.  And some manage it.  And some don't.

If you have health issues and can barely afford your own insurance and medical care, how can you possibly afford the health care costs of a family?

If you can't even manage to afford college and all that debt and therefore can't get a well paying job to begin with, because the minimum wage is a joke, how on earth can you afford a family?

If part of the demise of the traditional family is because we now have mostly two income families, why are there so few ways to make a single income family work?  And what happens when the single income has a problem and can no longer be relied on?  The non income earning half of that couple (the mother, if this is a traditional family) suddenly has to pick up and find a way to earn a living.  If she's been out of the workforce for some time, this is more difficult than you can possibly imagine.  I speak from experience, here.  I was a WAHM for most of 10 years.  I suddenly found myself needing to provide for myself and my daughter on my own, and while it was not difficult to find a job, because of my skills, those 10 years out of the workplace seriously reduced my ability to earn a livable wage. I was fortunate in my ability and opportunity to keep my skills sharp while being at home, but the hit I took on the wage front has been incredibly difficult.  And I only have one young child.  I cannot imagine the plight of those with more and those without a strong support network.

The prevailing economy has at least as much to do with the demise of the traditional family, and in my opinion, much more to do with it than the legalization of gay marriage or the immorality of millenials.  Something has to happen to make having a family a workable option.  The religious right has co-opted the family values platform, but abortion, gay marriage and pre-marital sex are not the culprits.  The inability to make a family life due to the lack of money or the dangers of losing one's livelihood because of health, divorce, etc, that's where the real problem lies.   If the family is supposed to be the social building block of society, why aren't we doing more to support that building block?  Allowing non-hetero people to marry only strengthens the family unit.  Allowing families to go bankrupt because of sickness weakens it.

Let's try and remember what our priorities are.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Who Cares, Anyway?

I really should blog more.  I enjoy writing and find it very cathartic.  But, I also find that a lot of the time when I write, I am angry or ragey about some unfairness or stupidity or what have you, and people don't like to read that so much.  So, I mostly write about that stuff in a private blog or in my journal.

I've been told to not worry about stuff and just focus on myself and my daughter, but I often can't let injustices slide without comment or fight.  That just perpetuates the injustice.  Even if my comments or actions don't change anything, at least I tried.  And, I have changed a few minds.  And had my own mind changed.

Sunday, March 1, 2015


I cannot handle it anymore, so here I go, ranting on my blog.  If you aren't interested in my soap box, stop reading now and go look at pictures of kittens.

Today, I am rather disgusted with my fellow Mormons.  Now, I think that most Mormons maybe don't think like this, but since most of them don't want to get involved and want to stay silent, I'm honestly not sure what to conclude.  I am hoping that it is simply the case of a vocal minority, though I wish more people would speak up if they don't agree, because allowing the vocal minority to be the loudest makes us look BAD.  Does it matter what the rest of the world thinks of us?  Well, yes, it does!  Why?  Because part of what we believe to be our calling and responsibility on this earth is to bring souls to God.  Hard to bring souls to God when we look like a hateful, small minded bunch of bigots.

Now, don't get me wrong.  I'm not advocating the "so open minded your brain falls out" mentality either.  What I am talking about is the most basic tenets of the Gospel, which seem to have gotten lost in our bid to out-righteous one another.  In a FB thread, I was told, multiple times by multiple people that I did not understand the doctrines of the Gospel in any way and that I was on my way to apostasy if I hadn't already arrived there.  Why?  Because I advocated less vitriol and hate and more kindness toward Kate Kelly and those who support her, as well as others with differing opinions about issues.
In case you want to know what some of the vitriol was...
-Good riddance
-The Church is much better off without her
-She's probably a lesbian
-Why does she even want to be a member?
-She has so many similarities to Lucifer
-I hope she disappears, I'm sick of her.
-Tara, the fact that you think women might ever have the Priesthood shows how little you understand the Gospel or Heavenly Father. (This is after I said I thought God would be the one to decide if women are ordained in the future)
-Women who ask about having the Priesthood are greedy and should be happy with what they have.
-I don't need to read what these women have said because I already know they are all apostates.
-Kate Kelly and her ilk are arrogant and juvenile.
-when my daughters detail how people like Kate have lost their way, well, it makes this daddy very proud.
-When I mentioned (after some snark on my part) that if this was a test of how Christlike we are, I thought we had failed, and I apologized for being snarky, due to the rude remarks slinging back and forth, this was the response.
"May we all be as humble as you, Diane and Dan.  Stellar folks you are, preaching philosophies of men mingled with scripture.  Isn't that what Kate Kelly does?  Yep, you need to learn doctrine."

Now, I inquired which doctrine I was misunderstanding in my apology and my desire to be more Christlike, love one another and all that, but he never answered me directly about it.  He simply said that many people had tried to show Kate love and she didn't show any in return, so basically, because she didn't, he doesn't need to.  Towards anyone.

It went on and on and on.  I finally withdrew because it was making me disgusted with my own people (he wasn't alone in his opinions).

In addition to this thread, I read another one on the Healthy Utah bill and what people thought of it. The general consensus was that health care is NOT a right, it's a privilege.  If you can't earn enough to pay for that privilege, that's your own fault.  You should get a job with benefits.  Can't find a job with benefits?  Well, that's also your fault, you should have gotten an education so you could qualify for a better life.  Couldn't pay for an education?  Your fault.  I did it, so you could have as well. (Never mind the rampant privilege oozing out of a statement like that.)

Can't afford insurance?  You should work more hours so you can.  Oh?  You have children and can't work more hours because you need to be home with them?  Well, that's a sacrifice you will have to make if you want insurance.    Can't afford daycare for them because you don't make enough and the gov't aid has been cut?  You shouldn't have spread your legs if you couldn't afford to care for your own kids.  (This coming from members of the LDS Church, which, I would like to point out, counsels it's members NOT to wait until they are financially secure before they have children.)

There's also the birth control shouldn't be covered by insurance or gov't aid bit.  I shouldn't have to pay for you to sleep around.  Don't want to get pregnant?  Don't have sex.  No, we do not want comprehensive sex education, even though it is proven to reduce teen pregnancy.  I don't want my children learning about CONDOMS or TEH GAYZ.  It might make them go gay or think sex is ok.
And no, abortions should never, ever, ever be allowed because BABIES.  But, while we are on the subject of babies, no I don't want my tax dollars going to gov't aid programs for you people who don't want to get off your lazy butts and earn enough money to provide food, clothing and housing for those babies you had because you didn't use birth control (that you can't afford) or didn't refrain from sex (which you should do even if you are married).  I will make sure that baby gets born, even if it is only a zygote right now, but once it is born, you need to take care of it.  No safe and affordable daycare in your area? You should move to a nicer area.

Besides, there are enough infertile couples who will want to adopt your sweet new baby that you don't want because you are an evil, lazy welfare queen.  Unless that baby isn't white.  Or has special needs.  Or stays in the foster system for so long that it is no longer a baby, because I don't want to raise your older child who now has attachment disorder due to being shuffled from house to house because you were to poor to keep her.

Oh, and yes, please use tens of thousands of my tax dollars to do drug tests on women who apply for food stamps, because I do not want my money going to provide food for the children of those kind of people.  The children of drug addicts do not deserve to eat, apparently.  Forget about the fact that the tens of thousands of dollars spent on those drug tests only saved $3600 in food stamps, it's totally worth it to keep their children from eating.  If she can't feed her children because she is a drug addict, that is not my problem.  If she wants her kids to eat, she shouldn't do drugs.  She does drugs, so her kids just have to suffer.

BUT, those same kids should really be able to pull themselves out of the cycle of oppressive poverty because, reasons.  Doesn't matter that they don't have the same privileges that I have.  I know this one guy who grew up like that and he succeeded, so obviously, anyone can..

I could go on.  No, I am not advocating against personal responsibility.  Not in any way.  I think we should be personally responsible and I do my damnedest to be just that.  But, I also recognize my privilege.  I am an educated white woman with a good skill, surrounded by family and friends who can help me.  I only have one child, so it is infinitely easier to afford things on my small income.  I was also taught how to manage money very well, a privilege not everyone is blessed with.

I was lucky enough, while pregnant, to be married to someone who could earn a living and had insurance, so when things went bad during my pregnancy and I could no longer work, I still had a roof over my head and insurance to pay what were sure to be large hospital bills.  I shudder to think how things might have gone were we reliant on my income and benefits, since I lost them.

I was lucky enough to have insurance when my delivery went wrong and I nearly died, but didn't thanks to blood transfusions and a lot of IV meds.  I was lucky enough that my insurance covered the medical bills, because there is no way I could have paid them off without it.  Did I deserve to nearly die?  Well, I could have avoided it had I kept my legs closed and not gotten pregnant.

I was lucky enough to have insurance and a skill that allowed me to work from home on my own schedule when my daughter got meningitis and was hospitalized for a week and nearly died.  I didn't leave the hospital because I was terrified she would die if I did.  I had the privilege (unearned, I might add) of being able to stay with her until she recovered.

My grand point is this.  It is all well and good to pull yourself up by your bootstraps.  To a certain extent I have done this.  But, you can't do it if you haven't got the straps, much less the boots to begin with.

As a Mormon and a Christian, I firmly believe it is my GOD GIVEN DUTY to do what I can to help provide those boots, those straps and a way to learn how to pull, whether in life or as a member of the Church who struggles.  "As I have loved you, love one another"   It seems that many of my fellows disagree with me.  Get your own damn boots.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Oh, to be in England

I went to London last week, somewhere that I've not been for nigh unto 20 years.  It was...painful, beautiful, exciting, depressing and altogether beautiful.

I first found myself there immediately after graduating from college, in 1996, with a group of my lovely friends from college.  And, I fell in deep, lasting love with the city.  I fell in love with the history, the architecture, the museums, the underlying pulse and scent of a huge place that has been there for centuries, millenia, even.

I was young, single and college educated.  I had the world at my feet and I could do anything, and London is a good place to be when you feel like you can conquer the world.

My trip was important for me for a number of reasons, one of them being that it was the first time in a very long time that I had done something strictly for myself.  And, oh, was it glorious.  I was there for a couple of months, living in a grubby little flat with 4 other girls, just doing what I wanted. Museums, shows, castles, shopping, food, walking, history, textiles, beauty, travel.  I felt completely free there.  Free and happy.  So, you see, London is a bit of a fairy tale for me.  I had dreamt about it before I went, and it lived up to it's expectations.

And, fast forward to now.  I hadn't been back to London since, for so many reasons, but, this Christmas, a dear friend was talking about going and it put an idea into my head.  By providence or luck, I got a bonus at work, and that, coupled with the ideas that said friend had put in my head, made me jump on the internet.  You know, just to see what flights looked like.  And I found one.  A cheap one.  Right after the show at work opened.  What did I do?  I didn't think, that's what, I just bought the ticket.  And promptly had a bit of a freakout.  It's a lot of money, buying a plane ticket to England.  And I'm so careful with my money.  But, despite the website having a 24 hr return policy, I bit my lip and hung on, waiting for the panic to pass.

Suddenly, it was real.  I was going to LONDON.  I needed a passport, I needed to do a budget, I needed some clothes and some travel accoutrements.  So, I hustled my butt and got things done and before I knew it, my trip was here.  I wasn't ready, but it didn't much matter, I was going.  By myself, which could have been a bit nerve-wracking, except it's LONDON.

I got off the plane, took the Gatwick Express to Victoria Station, ditched my luggage and walked out into the cold London damp.  I would be lying if I said it didn't take my breath away.  Oh, it did.  So many memories.  So many delightful, perfect memories.  I had a Tube pass, but I didn't want to waste my time or the view, so I walked from Victoria Station over to Westminster Abbey and Parliament, snapping photos of all the buildings on the way.

London is a huge, old city, full of twisty narrow roads and tight alleys.  Old buildings and modern office structures.  And so, when you are walking about, you might be in a narrow street of Victorian Terrace houses with a modern building stuck in the middle.  Or walking next to and between a couple of concrete high rises with only the grey sky above to accompany the grey blocks on either side.  It smells of exhaust and cigarette smoke and Indian food and sweat.  Then suddenly, you turn a corner and you are transported back.  The noise dies away, the traffic disappears, the smells change, because suddenly, you are face to face with history.  Beautiful, unchanged, exquisite, real history.  And it beckons you on and in.  This is what London does to me.  It sucks me in,  catches me tight in it's embrace and it won't let me go.  And I don't want to be let go.

Westminster Abbey, the Palace of Westminster.  Complicated, elaborate, overblown gothic perfection.  And it sneaks up on you out of this modern, whirling, bustling city, to take your breath away, to steal you out of your own space, to boggle your mind with it's complexity.  Well, my mind, anyhow.

London is my happy place, my fairy tale, my dream come true, which in some ways, also makes it profoundly disheartening, because it doesn't belong to me and never will.  A trip to London every 15 or 20 years is not enough to make it mine.  London has my heart, but I don't have London.

Friday, January 30, 2015


If you love me, you should read this.  Hell, if you don't love me, you should read this, because you probably know and love someone with this problem.

9 things I wish people understood about anxiety

#9 really gets me.  I know how much I can exhaust those close to me.  I know what a pain in the ass I am.  So, I tend to keep to myself or try to focus on the other person, because wearing out someone that you love is really hard on one's self-esteem.