June 24th, 2010


Odin's Day

State of the 'Song
This category replaces Medical, because this year, for the first time in seven years, I don't have daily pain/fluctuations/nasty side effects to chronicle for doctors. Y'all, if you have any chronic pain and fatigue, ask for the blood test for celiac. If you do have it, going off gluten is a total life-changer. Also I am loving Gabitril as an anti-seizure med; I've been on it for a year now, and if I'm having any side effects, they're so mild compared to what I had on other meds that I'm just not noticing. The Gabitril's probably responsible for my continued fatigue (which is much milder than my previous fatigue, which would not be hyperbolic to describe as crippling); all anti-seizure meds have that as side effect #1. But I can walk a straight line, finish a thought, read a book; I do not have double or scrolling vision, I do not feel drunk for hours after taking my medication, et cetera.

So state of the 'song today = slightly underslept; woke up at 3 and 5. Also missing my daughter. When I woke at 3, I went to the bathroom, and just beyond, there was her door, hanging open. *sigh*

Elayna Is
in Newark, buying the stuff she and Adam forgot to pack yesterday; mostly toiletries. Must text Mom that she left her hat. She's flying out to Israel today, and will arrive around midnight my time.

Her being gone for 11 days provides me an opportunity to buckle down and get some work done. So if I say "Can't do lunch, gotta write!" - you are prepared. I have the flash/poem commissions to do first, and hopefully something csecooney told me to write last Readercon. And something for upstart_crow. Basically I'd like to get short fiction/poem committments handled while she's in Israel so it'll be all novel all the time when she's at Explo.

A Question
What would you want to see me offer in a charity-auction community? What would you bid on from me?

I Love This Post So Hard
Autonomy, by Silvana @ Tiger Beatdown. "But no. Just, no. I am not a slave to trauma. I am grown. I have chosen this. Because sometimes there is no rhyme or reason for why people do the things they do, and giving even one of the people who hurt me the power to determine my life is too much already. I respect what Jessica Stern has to say about the healing that understanding her PTSD has brought her. But I can’t forget that feminism taught me that there isn’t always a reason. I don’t do this work because I am damaged and trying to avenge some other injustice. I do it because this is who I am: I identify with the underdog. I am motivated by challenge; the harder and more intractable a problem seems, the more I want to solve it. It may be comforting to think that there are reasons for the choices we make, but we also have to embrace that there is chaos.
I am not pre-determined. I have autonomy, and I chose this road. And I will choose to choose, and not be chosen."

Yes yes fucking YES.

I am a social justice superhero (I fight crime!), but also there is more than a little bit of engineer in me. I see a problem, I start working on solving it. Rape culture is a problem. Okay then, brew up some coffee and hand me my sword, let's get to the bottom of this. That's who I am. That's who I always would have been, I think, trauma history or no. In my prehistory before I had a trauma history, my parents said I looked like I'd've made a great lawyer - but that's more because I was persuasive and logical than for any prekindergarten fascination with lawyering. Persuasive and logical: That was me at 3. This has always been me.

Link Soup
* Zoe Keating's new album is streaming for free. (My pre-ordered CD is hopefully en route.) YOU GUYS, "Escape Artist" trips my choreographer wires so hard. "Lost", too, especially the pizzicato part.
* heavenscalyx is doing a series of posts about neurobiology! This is Relevant to my Interests, and perhaps to yours as well.
* Speaking of neurology, I love amberite's post about the Doctor Who episode "Vincent and the Doctor".

Daily Science
For the first time, scientists have determined the absolute mass of an exoplanet. And the new technique they used revealed high winds in the atmosphere of Osiris, a Jupiter-like planet orbiting a star 150 light years from Earth.

I'd like to say I'm going straight from work into Intensive! Writing! Mode! but realistically, I need to get my house in order today so I can focus on writing tomorrow. So today is cleaning - including some of her areas - and taking care of all of these action items in my tabs, like gathering all of the reviews of "Valentines", ordering yarn to finish the second Blogathon knitting project and do the third, shelving Elayna's books and stripping her bed, et cetera. Mundane, but I'll play the new Zoe Keating album and dance while I'm doing it.
Typewriter - tell me about it

(no subject)

Ask me a question.

Tell me a secret.

Questions will be answered without your name, so feel free to ask things you wouldn't necessarily want others to know you're asking. Secrets will never be revealed.
  • Current Mood
    curious curious

(no subject)

I was an unattractive teenager.

I do not say this to fish for compliments, to ask you to soothe my ego, to get assurances that everyone feels that way. I was a cute *child* - hell, I did runway modeling as a child. But I had a tremendously awkward adolescence, compounded by the dread big '80s glasses/braces combo and hair that couldn't decide if it was straightwavycurly (it's still like that, but I have a better sense of what to do with it now), and why did I have bangs? Bangs were never a good idea for me. I had bangs because my mother had bangs. I was scrawny and chose clothes poorly, sometimes deliberately, because I did not actually want people looking at me.

Because when people noticed me? Bad stuff happened.

You know that girl. There is always that girl, the one *everyone* picks on. The one who gets the worst from the boys *and* the girls. That, dear reader, was me, through middle and a chunk of high school.

So the first umptyzillion times a boy told me he liked me, I knew for a fact that he was lying. That he was trying to catch me out, make me believe someone could be interested in me, and laugh at me with his friends. Because the chorus of friends would be snickering just around the corner. Middle and high school boys? Not actually very subtle!

Things changed in stages. My later adolescence was pretty much spent in junior loony bins, which did not help, and in the wilderness survival camp, which... sort of did? It helped in that, removed from my situation and plunged into a different one that was abusive in a different way, I started lashing back. I got verbal, but I turned into a little rage monster for a while, in the junior loony bins and there. It didn't help, but it showed me that this was not static, that at least I could react to things in a different way.

Living in Utah my senior year helped. I had the closest thing to a clean slate I'd ever had. Everyone knew I was some sort of juvenile delinquent, because I was living in a group home, but otherwise? None of those people were there in that middle-school hallway. Which is something for a girl who'd been in a closed school system, where no one ever forgot that one thing you did in first grade. I dyed my hair purple and cut it asymmetrically, I went to school in menswear and granny boots; I was Not From Around Here, so I could pretty much do and be whatever I wanted. Exotic!

I married the first boy who ever liked me for my brain. You totally should marry someone who likes you for your brain! But not necessarily the first one, and not necessarily straight out of high school. That did not last.

Honestly, I did a lot of flailing. I dated way too many people just because they were genuinely interested in me, because it felt like I should feel lucky that someone was. (I bold that because it is key and because I only freaking realized it a scant few years ago, and because maybe you were doing the same thing and had not yet realized. I bold because I care.) Because I never feel like anyone is.

This is not a plea for reassurance! I'm saying this not so people can pet me and tell me I'm pretty! I'm just saying that, due to how I grew up, I am sort of conditioned to think that the default state of humans = not interested in me in a romantic way.

This bewilders people. Because if you hang out with me, or even just see me dashing by at a con, you know that I am a fairly confident person in general. I am confident and self-assured and an excellent public speaker. I have skills! And I'll joke about having a fabulous ass, because y'know what? I do. I am not blind to this.

But I am confident in my writing. I am confident in topics in which I Know Stuff, whether it be physics or comic books or mythology. If I know I know something? You will never know I'm shy. I pretty much know how to dress for my body shape now (it keeps changing, argh, but pretty much), and I have learned that if I stick nifty things in my hair it looks not-bad, and I have learned that fabulous jewelry makes me feel fabulous. I have a big laugh and I am very at ease with my friends. Yes.

Which is why, after the second time she pointed out at Wiscon that someone was interested in me and I responded with a o.O, sterling_raptor asked as tactfully as she could, "Are you always that oblivious?"

(Seriously, that was not rude; Sterling and I are like that.)

And I admitted with a laugh that I really, really am. And I think my history is probably why.

I can look at myself objectively and say yeah, I'm smart, I can be funny, there's the ass, sure, I can see how someone would be interested in me. But I always assume that the default is that they aren't, because why would they be?

I never claimed to make sense. I totally kick ass/why would people be into me? Six impossible things before breakfast, and all held in my brain simultaneously.

And thus I am always abjectly terrified to ask. Someone can be giving off what seem to everyone else to be massive signals of Interest. And sometimes I just don't see them because I think we're just chatting as friends - and sometimes, the big self-doubting times, I'm back in the middle-school hallway with one of the Popular Boys asking me to the dance and not quite hiding his smirk.

I am always afraid to ask because I am afraid the person will laugh. That I'll get a "...me? Interested in you?"

I mean, damn. Do we ever get over middle school?

This post brought to you by me wondering if a particular person likes me. Y'know, likes me likes me. Because my radar is broken. So, y'know. If you do! Keep in mind that my radar is broken! Obvious statements are required!

Really obvious!

I am saying!

That is all.

Your Questions Answered, Part One

Do you ever wish you could just adopt new parents?
I actually wish I could be unadopted! My birthmom is awesome. My life would have been very different. (My birthuncle built a house with secret hidden rooms and passageways in it for his sons. That's how different.)

If you had to decide, right now, where in the world IS Carmen Santiago?
She's chilling with the Silurians down in the core.

no a question so much as an admiration: I'm really impressed that you do what you do with what you have.
I do my level best!

May I have a cookie?
You may.

Why do you like knitting?
Hm. Well. Few reasons.
1. I fidget. I can't stand in line without dancing. I can't watch TV without doing *something*. I'm always in motion. So this gives me something to do with my hands, and for an awesome added bonus, that something is productive. I fidget and a scarf comes out. And it gets auctioned for charity. And I did that while I was watching Babylon 5.
2. I learned when I was on meds that left me severely brainfogged. I had a short-term memory of oh look a butterfly teacup pig! what does your shirt say I'm tired did I eat dinner yet? And, due to this, I had become epically unable to learn anything new, to retain knowledge. Which, to me, was horrifying and unacceptable. So the very patient emilytheslayer sat me down and taught me. And I doggedly pursued it. And I MADE IT STICK. Partially because I changed meds, but still. I looked at my years-long inability to learn new skills and I said "Fuck. That. Noise." And I persevered. So now every nifty shawl I turn out is a testament to that.
3. I like deep, saturated colors. I like the feel of silk and bamboo and baby alpaca in my hands. I like the feel of knitting. I like the sound of my needles - the click of bamboo or the slide of aluminum. Knitting is a sensual pleasure.

Do you remember any other life?

I know the first step is admitting that what happened was assault. What is the next step?
That varies strongly from person to person, but it's very often "talk about it". Google your local rape crisis center, or call RAINN at 1-800-656-HOPE to be routed there directly. If you have a therapist already, talk to them. Talk to family or close friends. But once you've realized that it was assault, you are almost certainly going to be thinking about it a lot, and so my recommendation is to talk, ideally to a crisis counselor or therapist who knows what this process is like. I can't imagine how much smoother my recovery would've gone had I just spoken to someone in the know and realized that everything I was going through was normal and that there were time-honored things that could help. Good luck.

Do you believe that attractiveness is a privileged state?
I think it can be, but I think that, in some situations, it can also be a disadvantage. I think that's pretty situational.

How do you find markets for your work?
1. I look at where I read. I started submitting to Lone Star Stories (RIP!) because I found that I consistently really enjoyed the magazine.
2. I look at where my friends are getting published.
3. I look markets up on Duotrope - have a 1,500-word SF story? Duotrope will let you check those boxes and many more and produce a list of markets that want that.
4. Some you just know about. Asimov's, et cetera.
5. Recommendations from friends. nihilistic_kid suggested ChiZine because they had a superfast response time, so if I was going to get rejected, I'd be able to turn the story around quickly! They bought it! I was unprepared for that!

Is it patronizing to be extra cautious and stating you are being so, when dating someone who was sexually assaulted? How can you be polite without patronizing? Especially with the guys make the first move paradigm?
Oh, that's a good one. I would say it's not patronizing, as long as you don't keep saying it. I'd say tell them once - just "I know you're a rape survivor/have a sexual assault history, so I want to make sure I'm not pushing or pressuring you," or words to that effect. But if you say it on every single date, your date may want to punch you in the face after a while. Acknowledging that they may have PTSD is good; walking on eggshells isn't necessary.

How did you manage to not break under the strain of everything you've been through?
I... don't really have the luxury. I feel like maybe I had that luxury before, maybe not, but as a parent, I totally don't anymore. Essentially, I feel like when bad shit happens, you can curl up and die or you can get up and keep walking. For me personally, every time I'm sitting there making that choice, it's a little easier. Because I know I got up and kept walking that last time and the time before, so I know I can. First time's the hardest, because you may not know that you can get up and keep walking. But I know.

What is an aspect of fantasy settings that bothers you that someone might not expect, even if they know you?
Tolkienitis. JESUS CHRIST PEOPLE BE ORIGINAL. As a writer, Tolkien was an excellent linguist. But his characters were for shit and his plot was basically the Norse Eddas. Do not copy the man. Make your own damn world. (The most recent novel I read that was dude awesome worldbuilding was The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemison. That was all out of her own head, and it's great stuff.)

Am I attractive, and not just charming or manipulative?
You are attractive! Charming, too; I haven't seen any manipulative going on, but my in-person interaction with you has been pretty limited.