Thursday, June 29, 2006

In Which The Protagonist Starts Deleting Posts!

Ah, yes, Delete is a useful function, as any good LJer will tell you, so I've deleted this one!

I'll be taking a blogging break until late next week.

Just Keep Upping That Insulin

Upping me another 4 units: 24 in the morning, 18 in the evening.

I'm no longer spiking above 300 in the afternoons, and I can get myself under 200 at night by working out.

Calling him again on Monday for another dosage check.

This is such a bitch.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

In Which The Protagonist Fucks Up, Again

Well, I dig my own holes.

Sex Talk

Well, the one good thing that came out of the whole "blowjob" fiasco running rampant in the feminist blogosphere are a couple of threads over at Bitch PhD. She's opened up a women's and men's thread for "honest" talk about sex: what you like, what you don't.

In this case, I actually like that she broke the threads up by sex; likely, it avoids some fighting/disagreements that would undermine the whole idea of the exercise, which is to feel that you can speak honestly without being attacked for it.

One of the things I don't talk about here is intimate sexual details, because, well, that's between me and my partners. But hey, you can post anonymously over at Bitch's place...


My parents both worked when I was growing up; still do. I have fond memories of helping my mom mop up the burger joint on Christmas Eve. Sometimes they worked nights, weekends, holidays, so me and my brother and sister spent much of our time, until I was about 12, at my French grandmother's house. She had fantastic stories about growing up in Nazi-occupied France, and she was also a devout Catholic.

When I was old enough to read - and tall enough to see it - I read a poem that hung in the dining room. It was called "Footprints," and if you haven't read it, one version goes something like this:

One night a man had a dream. He dreamed He was walking along the beach with the Lord. Across the sky flashed scenes from His life. For each scene He noticed two sets of footprints in the sand. One belonging to Him and the other to the Lord.

When the last scene of His life flashed before Him, He looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of His life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times of His life.

This really bothered Him and He questioned the Lord about it. Lord you said that once I decided to follow you, you'd walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life there is only one set of footprints. I don't understand why when I needed you most you would leave me.

The Lord replied, my precious, precious child, I Love you and I would never leave you! During your times of trial and suffering when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.

Something about this poem really touched me, and I'd come back to it again and again and read it over and over, especially the last part. I wanted that, I think. I wanted to know someone would carry me through the darkest times. I wanted to believe it.

Though my grandmother took me to church whenever she could get away with it, and I grew up reading gory children's Bible stories (growing up on Bible stories and stories about Nazi-occupied France, it's really no surprise I write what I write), I never took to the idea that there was somebody out there who would carry me during the worst times. I didn't take to the idea because during the worst times, nobody carried me. The older I got, the more obvious that was. I was the one responsible for my choices. If I was lucky, loved ones might try and bail me out, but well, my dad's the one who agreed to come bail me out of my bad choices in Bellingham, when I was evicted from my apartment. My mom wanted to leave me there to stew. "She's 18. Let her make her own mistakes." So I've never felt any sort of *guarantee* that even family members would carry me out of anything.

No, the only one who could pick me up was myself.

I lost it this morning on the bus. I had Coldplay's Fix You on repeat, and I just started crying. In public. On the bus. I was so heartsick. The other side of anger is deep sadness, grief.

I feel like I'm working so hard, and nothing is working. I don't feel great. And the worst part of that is that for three great days I felt so totally wonderful and normal and then my sugar took a nose dive again. And it's so frustrating. I'm living mainly on protein and vegetables and working out every day, and this is what I get: I feel terrible, my numbers don't come out right, and I'm stuck drinking decaf fucking coffee.

I cried on the bus, and transferred to the train, and thought of that poem. And I steeled myself again. I buttoned everything back down, I stopped the tide of grief.

Suck it up, Hurley.

No one's going to carry me. No one's going to fix me. At the end of every day, all you have is yourself, and it's you who gets to decide how you'll handle what you'll feel: it's you who decides if you'll hide under your bed and weep or open up that goddamn book file and *concentrate harder* and get some goddamn work done.

And I sucked it up, and I walked off the train and I wiped off my face and thought, OK, it's going to be hard. You knew it was going to be hard. It's OK if it's hard. It doesn't mean you've failed at anything. It doesn't mean you're a bad person. It means it's fucking hard. Suck it up.

When the cardiologist (from Durban, of all places) came into the ICU room (once I was conscious) and told me I was going to be an insulin dependent diabetic the rest of my life, he talked a lot about my heart. Being the doctor on duty the night I came in, he'd had to oversee my care, despite being, you know, a cardiologist and not an endocrinologist. So it's no wonder he talked so much about my heart, and so little about my pancreas.

"You have a really strong, healthy heart," he said, and he said it as if he was slightly surprised that a 180 lb insulin dependent diabetic could have such a healthy heart. "Your heart is very strong. You'll do well."

I trekked 120 km into rural Africa. I left a bipolar, schizophrenic Marine who wanted to kill me. I jumped off a bridge. I saw peguins on the other side of the world. I've lived without love, without money, without self-respect, without a clue.

I can live without a fucking pancreas.

Because if my fucking pancreas can't get me through this, my heart will have to do.

Oh, For Fuck's Sake

I've cut carbs until I'm down to one serving per meal (I'm supposed to be eating 3-4), and the best # I could get was 180, last night, after working out. I increased my goddamn insulin dose agoddamgain




I am so done.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

I Remember

I've been tossing and turning in bed, thinking of Durban.

I don't know why I'm thinking of it again, now, suddenly, when I've gone so long without talking about it, ruminating, thinking anything beyond, "I drank a lot in Africa."

But I remember. I'm lying awake remembering things; leaning out the big back window of my little one-and-a-half room flat and watching the storms come in over the Indian Ocean. Watching the big red sheet I kept over the living room window billow in the wind and scatter the light. I remember long, drunken nights of dancing. Shots of tequila. Rum and coke. I remember the way the air tasted, how it clung to my skin; I remember the crazy rides in the overpacked taxis and the dust that clung to everything. I remember chain smoking while writing a thesis and a novel, and yes, I remember the bugs. The flying cockroaches, the geckos that lived in the cupboards, the nest of unnammable creatures living under the bathtub. I remember stumbling home drunk and waking up in my own bed wearing only a towel. I remember hot nights.

I remember the people. The sound of Zulu. And I remember Julian's house, this stolid, quiet little house with the front porch and the big dining table under the awning out back, and I remember the good wine and the good coffee, and the dinner parties. I remember laughing. I remember being asked what I thought my worth was, in cows. I remember a woman at a noisy dance club asking me for aspirin, because, you see, her stomach hurt; she'd just had an abortion. I remember being driven home by some pretty drunk drivers. I remember never quite feeling like I fit in. I remember not being pretty enough. I remember not being smart enough. I remember the art parties, the bottles of wine.

I remember running away from everything and ending up there, on the other side of the world. I remember monkeys perched on top of garbage cans. I remember figuring out, for the first time, what love was. I remember lying awake and tossing and turning and trying to figure it out, and suddenly understanding, and thinking, "Ahhh... this was my lesson. This is why I had to come to Africa. Not for the cockroaches or the banana trees or the ocean storms, but this, here, yes."

And I remember looking back at Table Mountin from a boat in the harbor and thinking, "I have come to the ends of the earth. I can stop running now."

I'd spent five years running and running and running. Running from an old life, an old self, and I was ready to stop. I was ready to live again. I was tired of running because I was afriad. I wanted another reason to get up in the morning.

I wanted the storms to be enough.

Joss Whedon is My Secret Boyfriend

If you haven't seen it yet, Joss Whedon's award acceptance speech for Equality Now:

"Why aren't you asking a hundred other guys why they *don't* write strong women characters?"

I got to the end of the speech and burst into tears, because he said so succinctly what I've been trying to say with so much of my fiction.

Whedon is my new Secret Boyfriend.

Sugar Sick

Well, I've been feeling like absolute shit the last three days, so I called Dr. S. today and updated him on my numbers, which, like my physical state, are shit.

I've been having trouble concentrating here at work (sugar headache, blurry vision), my sex drive tanked (yes. I notice these things), I wanted to lie around in bed immediately after coming home last night (I couldn't do this, of course, because my sugar was so high that I had to work out immediately after coming home just to get it reasonable), and all of a sudden water was looking *really* good again, and I was spending more time in the bathroom.

Well, at least I know what all of these things *mean* now, even if I wasn't sugar testing 5 times a day.

Dr. S. told me to up my insulin from 18 morning, 10 night; to 18 morning, 18 at night, and call him again on Thursday.

This is exhausting. I just want to get these goddamn numbers back on track before I get another fucking yeast infection.

This is like some kind of fifth ring of hell.

Jagged Little Pill

When my computer(s) died, I lost a lot of music along with them, and have been re-installing music piecemeal. Yesterday I finally re-burned a copy of Alanis Morissette's first album, Jagged Little Pill.

And I was reminded of what I love it so much.

Oh, sure, she got the "you must be a femi-nazi bitch who hates men" label after this album, which secrely pleased me. I love You Outta Know. I think it's the star of the album, though every single other song ain't bad either.

I was surprised to read this piece (scroll down) over at The Hathor Legacy that, while affirming the fanasticness of the album, expresses frustration about the rap Alanis got for this album, and particularly, for You Outta Know. She argues that there are a lot of really powerful songs besides You Outta Know on the album (which is true), and that Alanis got tagged as an evil, angry woman unfairly, and you should look at the album as a whole, and blah blah basically "Hey, she's not *just* an angry woman! She's a talented artist!"

It's really shitty that we feel we have to defend angry women by pointing out that they're really great artists (I'm trying to think of angry men whose artistic talent gets overlooked because they're too "angry" and I'm not coming up with anyone. Feel free to correct me). But I don't want to defend angry women artists by saying they "aren't as angry as you think they are."

I WANT her to be that angry. That's what I fucking love about You Outta Know and the album as a whole. All of sudden there's all this honest emotion: not cutesy little, "Oh, I love you and all the shiny flowers even though you cheated on me" crap, but real, "I cared about you and you fucked me over you asshole" anger. And "I thought this relationship was something it really wasn't" anger. And "this isn't quite the life I was looking for" anger.

Anger is good.

Lack of anger and frustration actually really turned me off the second album. Not that I *hated* her second album, but it doesn't connect with me the way Jagged Little Pill does. I mean, maybe once you make a lot of money and run off to India for a few years, you aren't angry anymore. But, you know, Pink has a lot of money, and I think she had some great ass-kicking songs in I'm Not Dead.

I don't want to feel I have to defend an artist cause she's angry. I want to go, "She's really angry! Isn't that cool!?"

Because it is cool. What nobody seems to get is that the flipside of anger is often sadness; anger is just a more powerful way to express oneself than sadness (and more socially acceptable among men. Men are encouraged to get angry instead of being sad. Women are just supposed to be sad). If you want to know what the song's really about, try listening to You Outta Know again - particulary the slow, sad, alternate take she did at the Grammies.

That'll stop your heart.

But most days, I prefer the pissed-off version. Most days, it feels truer. And it's telling the truth that's going to connect with people; or piss them off.


You know what the *real* problem is with the BBC production of Gormenghast?

The problem is, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers is really fucking hot, and the director even manages to employ several ingenious ways of getting gratuitious shots of JRM without his shirt on. OK, yea, that's good, I know. But here's the bad part:

JRM plays a Sneering Villain. And Sneering Villains: not so hot. So while I sigh and squirm over the long, lingering shot of JRM's beautiful bare back and shoulders, I am then thrown out of said reverie the moment he turns around and *sneers*.


Can't somebody please put him in more roles like the one in Bend It Like Beckham instead of Misogynist Jerk #4 in Vanity Fair? I have the same problem with Ryan Gosling. I found him incredibly repugnant in Murder By Numbers, and then wanted to leap out of my chair and drag him home after The Notebook. I'm wondering if this is the real mark of a good actor: they can transcend their good looks, so you'll find them appealing or disgusting based entirely on their performance, and not based purely on their looks.

This is why I couldn't watch Red Eye, either, though Jenn loved it. Not only is the uber-cute and lovely Rachel McAdams getting terrorized (and the idea of Rachel McAdams getting terrorized makes me want to run out and save her!), but the Bad Guy is Cillian Murphy, who I mooned over (once he shaved) in 28 Days Later, but is far, far less appealing as a Crazy Jerk.

Bad guys just aren't sexy.


And I still have one whole disk of Gormenghast to go....

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Workouts Will Continue Until the Sugar Improves


Quote of the Day

“If you act like a rock star, people will treat you like a rock star.”
- Marilyn Manson

Switching to Decaf & Blowing Up People's Heads

I'm not giving up butter or regular cheese (oh yes, dieticians prefer you eat fat-free cheese, which has the taste and texture of plastic), but I'm switching to decaf coffee at work (caffeine increases the body's resistance to insulin).

So, no more getting drunk, no more plateloads of mashed potatoes, and very little regular coffee (1 cup a day).

There's something *good* about all of this, I just know it!

Ah, yes: living longer. Living longer. Writing more books. Hm, yes.

Anyway, going to work out some of this pent-up aggression by pushing through the last two big fight scenes of God's War today. I get to cut off some more people's body parts and write a big boxing scene!


Sunday, June 25, 2006

Diabetes: What Fun!

Since I started the new insulin on Thursday, I've been checking my blood a little more often, including between meals, just to gauge where I'm at on the new stuff. Every time I tested, no matter what time of day, I was under 200, which is quite respectable, and it was usually near or below the perfect 100-150 mark.

Today I wandered into my room after an afternoon walk to Borders and found my sugar had spiked to 317.

My sugar hasn't been above 300 since I was in the hospital.

When it hits 400, you're supposed to call the doctor.

I tested again, and once more on my other monitor. Still over 300.

How the hell had this happened? Sure, I had a lot of coffee today, but I have lots of coffee on weekends (caffeine increases your body's insulin resistance), and yea, I added some chicken nuggets to my usual soup and sandwich lunch, but even with BBQ sauce, that shouldn't have come out anywhere *near* where I was.

So I put in half an hour on the elliptical machine while watching Gormenghast, and that brought me down to 260. Better, but not great. I tested half an hour later, and I was starting to go up again, to 279.

WTF had happened?

Then I remembered how I had trouble finding my insulin this morning. I store it in the refrigerator, but last night, I got distracted, and somehow it ended up spending the night on top of the television stand, next to the phone (it was a really distracting day). If insulin gets too hot or too cold, it loses its potency, but this place was nowhere near 88 degrees last night, and that's the upward temp where it starts losing potency.

So I popped open my second bottle of insulin, had an early dinner consisting primarily of salad, and went for a walk around the graveyard out here by our place. I came home, and my sugar was 222. Still not ideal.

I stared glumly at the elliptical machine again.

Did *another* 30 minutes of cardio.

Came back down to a reasonable 138.

Now I'm eating some string cheese and nuts because I'm freakin' starving; sadly, these are the only low-glucose snacks I've got around. I don't even want to risk the low-carb yogurt or berries. I just want my freakin sugar to stay even.

I'm so tired of being a defective person. I just want to nail down this goddamn routine. I just want everything to work the way its supposed to. I can work out half an hour every day, fine, fine, fine (my regualr weight routine is great for building muscle, but it doesn't lower sugar immediately the way cardio does. In fact, in the short term, my sugar goes up when I lift weights).

Even on weekends? Seven days a week? My whole life? For an hour on days when things are bad? Can't I lie around in bed on weekends? Why can't I sit around and drink coffee and write ten pages and not worry about my goddamn blood sugar? And why the fuck did I have to get a disease that everybody's going to hear I have and immediately think, "Oh, she must not take care of herself?"

When Stephanie told her mom I had Type 1 diabetes, her mom said, "You mean *Type 2* diabetes."

Oh, fuck you.

What I hate about this disease is that it takes away my choices. If I want to be anything like healthy I *have* to exercise an hour a day. I *have* to eat mostly salad. I *have* to blah blah blah or my feet will get chopped off.

I don't want to *have* to do anything just to live like a normal fucking person. It kind of takes the fun out of exercise if you *have* to do it, if you'll die without it, if your blood becomes sluggish and turns to acid if you don't (look, I have a superpower!).

And I hate it. I walked around the graveyard (oh, the irony!) with an internal monologue that went something like, "I should just be fucking dead. I should be dead. They should have let him die in the hospital. I'm a freaking genetic freak. We shouldn't reproduce or even exist. I'm defective. Why the fuck am I still here? What fucking purpose does it serve? Am I just here because it makes other people happy? I should just let myself die. I hate this. I hate this whole thing. I hate my stupid dead pancreas. I hate myself for being alive. What the hell is there to do when you're a genetic freak? Isn't that the whole idea of evolution, to get rid of people like me?"

And on and on and on and on and on and on.

I have to work harder. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it.

And the alternative is not to do it, and get my feet chopped off.

And you know, I really like my feet.

I just have to work harder.

Every. Goddamn. Day.

And there are days when it makes me really fucking frustrated.

Still Writing

Oh, thank gawd, I FINALLY got them OUT OF DADFAR.

This book can ACTUALLY END SOON.

What a bitch. I'm going to get some lunch.

Ballsy, But Stupid

16-year-old girl runs off to Jordan to meet 25-year-old guy she met on My Space.

You gotta admit, the girl's got balls. Sadly, she ran off thinking there was a well meaning guy on the other end who'd take care of her (that's the assumption anywhere. Nowhere in this article is she allowed to speak for herself and her own motives, and her parents are baffled, as parents usually are). There certainly could have been a well-meaning guy on the other end (sure, uh huh), but I think a lot of women think that in order for them to go out and have adventures and live exciting lives (it didn't surprise me that she's from a small "agricultural" community), they have to partner themselves with some random guy in order to do so.

I'm just as guilty of this, of course, I ran off to Bellingham with a high school boyfriend three days after turning eighteen (my parents wouldn't let me out of the house before then), thinking that now I was going to have all sorts of great adventures. Sadly, not every guy actually shares in the idea that his partner should go off and have adventures - with or without him, and you wake up one day with 100 extra pounds, three kids, and a drinking problem.

I totally blame Disney movies. I mean, you get this whole idea into your head that life doesn't really start until you find your prince charming and get married. What you don't wonder about until later is why all those romantic stories *end* when the characters get married. Well, likely they *end* because all of the adventure stops after they get married, and a movie all about how Mr. & Mrs. argue about who put the spatula in the wrong drawer gets boring (this is why I love the Shrek movies and hope they keep making them. I love that the story goes on and there's still adventure to be had *after* the couple gets together. And they aren't always fairy-tale happy, but they love and respect each other).

I want the story where the 16 year old runs off to join Green Peace and gets hauled out of the ocean because she's trying to blockade a whaling ship with her little rubber boat. Or the girl who goes off to Thailand and starts a rural school for tsunami orphans (I did, in fact, read a story about a 17 year old girl who did this, with her parents' blessing, and who raised all the money for the school and helped build it with her own two hands).

Because, you know, you don't need to hang on some guy and wait for him to take you on adventures. Cause he probably won't. And some of the more deviant ones will think it's a great adventure to keep you locked in the closet in a foreign country and only bring you out for the occasional gang bang.

Like I said: ballsy, but stupid.

Go buy a one-way ticket to Fairbanks and build a log cabin in the woods and brew your own beer. Believe me, it's far more exciting than attaching yourself to somebody who probably doesn't have your best interests in mind.

You're the only one who knows what your best interests are. Don't rely on somebody else to decide them for you.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Strawberries and Sunsets on a Saturday Night

For the first time in a very, very long time -

I feel alive.

And it's really beautiful.

Sugar Sugar

Phone update, reading sugar numbers to Dr. S.

No dosage adjustments. Whew. Will update him again on Thursday.

Also, I am out of computer ink.

Dammit. Off to Best Buy.

In Which the Protagonist Realizes Why GRRM Has Character Names as Chapter Titles


Just.. Arg!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Writing Today

Will... finish.... God's War draft... dammit...

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Sugar, Sugar: or, Why I Love My Endocrinologist

New insulin regimen = perfect sugar levels all day!


"Where's My Adolescent Power Fantasy?"

... individuals who call strong women characters "men with breasts" or "Amazons" (same tone as "Unicorns") are missing something very important. They've probably realized that superheroes are an "Adolescent Power Fantasy" because that much is obvious. But they think of twelve year old boys when they think of it. They haven't looked beyond their own gender to realize that woman also have "Adolescent Power Fantasies." It's unheard of, because females are supposed to fantasize about love and romance and world peace and crap like that. Women don't want to be punch out the people who offend them. That's ridiculous, only men have those impulses.

Travel Grant For Spec Fic Writers

Want to run around the world doing research for your latest novel?

Apply for a travel grant from the Spec. Lit. Foundation here.

It might cover your airfare, in any case...

Boys & Bodies

The researchers, from the University of Glamorgan's Health and Exercise Science Research Unit, say bodybuilders turn to steroids because they see themselves as too "weedy" - in a condition which is the opposite of anorexia.

So sad. Dorky little weedy boys are quite sexy.

It does interest me that both men and women seek media-hyped perceptions of beauty that aren't neccessarily appealing to the sex(s) they're trying to attract.

I suppose it's easier for us to pretend we have only one standard of beauty, so companies can try to turn all of us into that. Acknowledging diversity - particularly the attractiveness of diversity - means smaller groups of potential consumers.

If everyone in America is "overweight" it's a lot easier to sell us all diet products. If all men are "weedy" it's easier to sell them on gyms and steriods. If all women need big breasts, they'll go to great lengths to inhance them, including surgery.

A handful of people are making a lot of money by making other people feel terrible about themselves.

(Thanks, Cheryl)

Transamerica, or The Uterus-Only Treehouse

Last weekend, Jenn and I watched Transamerica, a movie about a pre-op transwoman, Bree, a week away from her surgery date who discovers she has a 17-year-old son, the result of a college affair she had back when she went by "Stanley." (oh, watch my pronouns get tricky!). She bails her son out of jail, posing as a Christian missionary, and they proceed to go on a roadtrip from New York to California. Along the way, there's a scene suspiciously like one from Geoff Ryman's Lust (which I've read three times), with a nearly identical "oh, gawd, don't do that!" audience reaction, and I wouldn't be surprised if the director had read the book....

Anyway, what I loved about this movie was its avoidance of a smarmy, feel-good, romantic ending, only it didn't ruthlessly slaughter its characters, either. Nobody dies, thank god. Nobody's beaten up and left mutilated on the side of the road (movies with gay, lesbian, trans, or crossdressing characters always seem to end or include at least one character getting killed and/or beaten up for being "other." This was a nice change). Even better, it was a movie that acknowledged the humanity of its characters: the good, the bad, and the ridiculous. You genuinely care about Bree, and you really, really want her to get her surgery. You watch her work her butt off to save the money. You watch her walk around at work, on the street, trying to be smaller, hunching down into herself, hoping to "pass." And it reminded me of the feeling I still have when I walk past certain men or groups of men, hoping I won't be noticed, won't be harrassed, thinking, "Please don't look at me. I'm completely normal and not worth noticing. Please, please, leave me alone."

Bree's parents are a little over the top, particulary the actress playing her mother, but Bree's emotional reactions were both funny and heartbreaking. She tries so hard at stealth, and when an 8-year-old child questions whether she's a man or a woman, she completely breaks down, and at that point in the movie, you understand exactly why. When she and her son end up in a hick bar in the middle of nowhere, you feel real fear that she'll be "found out." Because I've seen these kinds of movies. I know exactly what people do to those they think are "different." I've seen prejudice, and I've felt that kind of fear that because of how I was born, how I present myself, I'll be attacked for it.

Every year I've gone to Wiscon, I always end up going to the trans panel, or the panel most likely to talk about trans people and trans issues. The idea that somebody had a disjoint between the way they perceived themselves and the way their bodies were fascinated me. I kept thinking, "I hardly notice my sex at all, unless it's pointed out to me by people on the street, unless it results in catcalls, lost job opportunities, or sexual advances." And then I realized: that's the point.

I don't really notice my sex because I don't have any sort feeling of disconnect between the way I perceive myself and my biological sex. When I was very young, four or five, I didn't identify so much as female because I believed women were all fem and liked nail polish and makeup. I didn't like those things, so I figured I must be some sort of gender-neutral being. You can do that until puberty, but then you've generally gotta take a good hard look.

I did sometimes fantasize about being a guy. But that was mostly when I was 17 and had my first crush on a girl in my speech class, and I kept hoping to wake up one day and not only be a man, but be a stronger, thinner, smarter, suaver, more outgoing version of myself. If I was truly in the "wrong" body, that disconnect was happening because I had a stronger, fitter version of myself in my head, and that wasn't the body I presented.

For the record, I no longer feel that disconnect, and though I've often thought about what it would be like to be a guy during sex, I've never felt the need to alter my body in order to do that.

Jenn and I talked about a lot of these issues after watching Transamerica, and she said, "You know, I never really wanted to be a guy."

This puzzled me. "Never?" I said, thinking, don't *all* women fantasize about being men? I mean, *I* did. It's fun to think about switching things around sometimes, viewing things from the other side.

"Not really," she said. "I thought it would be cool to be androgenous, but it never occurred to me to be a man."

"But... even when you had all those crushes on girls?"

"I just never thought of it."


Imagine.... different people will have different ways of viewing themselves inside their own skins.

Imagine that. Everyone is different. I can't take the way that I feel about myself, my body, my sex, my gender, and assume everyone feels the same way.

How stupid would that be?

It's one reason why I'm always surprised at the intolerance shown to mtfs among some self-identifying "radical feminists." A debate ensued here.

Quoting from "Men in Ewes' Clothing: The Stealth Politics of the Transgender Movement":

Look at what happened at the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival last year. Apparently, pre-op mtfs entered the festival and disrobed by the showers where women were also naked preparing to shower. If these wannabe "women" had any real understanding of what it is to be a woman in patriarchy they would have respected, not violated, women's space, and they would have understood what a horrific violation it would be for a woman to be confronted with a strange naked biological male, penis and all, when she herself is unclothed and vulnerable.

Why, it appears that Trans Stealth Politics are a lot like the Secret Gay Agenda! Only the trannies are doing it to disrupt Womyn's Music Festivals.

How stealthy is that???? Sneaky trannies!


Well, first of all, nobody's actually come forth to corroberate that "disrobing" story, but like all urban legends, it says a lot about the underlying fears of the people who perpetuate it.

It's the Fear of the Penis. I'm wondering how she would have been able to freak out about this if the transwomen in question had been post-op: or, indeed, if anyone would have known that they'd been born men. Because why would it matter? Oh, well, because obviously transwomen are all out to rape and murder women. *That's* why they spend years in therapy, scrape and save all their money for surgery, and reinvent themselves, risk losing friends and family, and undergo a long and painful surgery (sometimes several), and take hormones. Cause they couldn't figure out any better way to cruise for chicks and disrupt the feminist movement.

Yea. Sure.

One of the political problems that I see with the whole notion of transgender politics is the idea that by changing one's appearance, presentation, or body, one can change one's gender. As a radical feminist, I believe that gender does not reside for the most part in our bodies--it resides in our heads, where gender socialization occurs.

Actually, no. Gender *socialization* occurs when one is out and among other *people.* Hence, the *socialization* part of it.

There are all sorts of arguments about how women who grew up as boys aren't "real women" and therefore can't understand "women's oppression," because gender is a socially constructed thing, and they'll always "really be men."

Dude, if gender is socially constructed, and you present as a woman, then won't society treat you like a woman? So if there's oppression against women in our society, and society views you as a woman, won't you share in that oppression?

But mtfs have been raised male! They will simple "appear like women" but will interact in society just like those evil male patriarchs!


That's like saying that any woman who was raised "really masculine" won't understand what it's like to be oppressed, because she'll be more forthright in conversations, speak with a deeper voice, and will take less shit.

Sorry, people are still going to treat her like a woman, no matter how ball-busting she is going into a boardroom meeting.

We're all on the same team here, folks.

But what about ftms!? They're participating in the perpetuation of patriarchy because they present as men and have penises! Evil, evil penises!

Likewise the increasing popularity of lesbians becoming transmen forecloses their forming solidarity with other women against oppression, and instead they join with the oppressors.


I think some of the best people at understanding said patriarchy are those who've lived as both sexes. They've seen the way society treats you when you live as a woman and as a man, and how it's the same, and how it's different.

And assuming that because you have a penis that you can't "form solidarity" with other women is the stupidest thing I've ever heard, particularly in reference to an ftm, who's, you know, been in a woman's body.

To ignore that men and masculinity have been oppressors of women and to pretend that wanting not to just identify with the oppressors, but actually become like them is, if not anti-feminist, then at least oblivious to feminism. To identify as a man in a woman's body as an essential identity means never having to face or be accountable for taking on the privileges and sometimes oppressive behaviors of men. The ftm just "is" a man, so if he swaggers, doesn't do the dishes, and is silent and uncommunicative with partners, oh well, he just "is" that way.

I think the author's getting confused here about what being trans is (please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, too). She's confusing "gender" and "gender performance" with bodies, with biological sex. Not all ftms "swagger" or are "uncommunicative" with their partners. In fact, I know a lot of women-born-women (including myself) who perform that way, and don't feel any sort of sex-swapping is neccessary in order for us to act that way, just as many men who perform "fem" don't feel the need to have women's bodies. There's something else going on there, and I have a feeling this author is focusing so much on the performance of gender that she hasn't stopped to wonder if there really is a difference in the way *she* perceives her body and the way a transperson percieves their body.

Because neither she nor I feel uncomfortable in our bodies and don't often notice our sex doesn't mean everyone feels that way.

How superficial, individualistic, and simplistic it would be for me, as a white american raised by a white family, to come to feel that I was really a black person inside, to change my skin color and other features to begin passing as black, and to demand to enter people of color space! In that case we could clearly see how outrageous such a demand would be. Being black in the United States (and elsewhere) is so much more than a matter of adopting skin color. It is an insult and the mark of privilege to miss that point so entirely.

Sure. But if you could change your race; if you were perceived in society as being of another race, society is going to treat you as the race you present as. You won't have the experience of *growing up* under those conditions, but you'll definately be treated like a person of that race once you switch over.

The transgender movement, by dwelling so much on freedom of choice to identify as whatever gender you want, takes our eyes off the consequences of choices and the way our choices are structured by oppressive forces, in short, it does nothing to eliminate a system based on power and privilege. Such a system values competition over connection, control over cooperation, aggression over compassion, and individualism over interdependence. Freeing people from gender roles means they are free to hold whatever values they choose including the values of power: they can be controlling, disconnected from others, or aggressive if they want to.

So should we all be gender neutral? Is that the only way to "fight" oppression? Can I only do it from a born-woman body? So everybody who's born a man values control and aggression and doesn't want to cooperate?

I guess she's asking whether or not mtfs and ftms are *really* challenging gender roles, or merely perpetuating them.

Which is like asking if all men or all women are challenging gender roles, or merely perpetuating them.

Depends on the sort of person you are. Some people feel weird unless they act ultra butch or ultra fem. Some people feel weird if they aren't expressing both their butch and fem characteristics. Some people feel so totally neutral that they don't think of any of their actions in those terms at all. Not every transperson tries to "pass" and not every transwoman is ultra fem, and not every transman is ultra masculine.

Acting as if there is no problem with male violence and aggression, as if women are not living under the threat of it every day of their lives, as if the problem of patriarchy is merely one of exclusion and not of power and violence, as if male socialization is not intimately linked to power relations and deeply rooted even in those who wish to eschew it, is a smokescreen for conservative forces in the guise of radicalism to destroy the few vestiges of feminist space that we have.

Oh, sure, there's a problem with male violence and aggression. Transwomen and transmen and transvestites get that violence and aggression lashed out at them just as women - queer or not - and gay men do. Violence comes down on those who are perceived as weak or different; those who (usually) men believe they can hurt because there will be little consequence. That needs to change. And I think that fighting a culture that accepts that kind of violence is something that all the little GLBTs can get behind.

This is a real danger of the transgender movement. Somehow we have a movement whereby men's interests have found a clever way to siphon off lesbian and feminist energies into a liberal agenda of identity politics, individual freedom, and inclusion which make us forget altogether about challenging patriarchy. To the extent feminists partake in this, we have nursed a viper to our movement which is now out to destroy what precious little women's space we have managed to eke out.

Um, once again: ignoring the ftms? Because now that we've got the advances in surgery, there are about as many women as men going through surgery. So there's something going on here that's not all about "men trying to invade women's spaces" or "women trying to join patriarchy." And I don't think this author is doing any thinking beyond her politics.

If the festival operated under the idea of inclusion, why wouldn't we just invite in those guys who ride cars up and down the road outside the festival trying to get a glimpse of naked women?

Because that's the whole point of hormones, therapy, money-saving, surgery, the potential upset of one's relationships to friends and family:

It's all about harrassing women and getting pussy!!

If that was the goal of every mtf, why didn't they just keep their men's bodies? Think real hard.

Fuck inclusion! We'll have inclusion when we live in post-patriarchy.

After we've alienated all of our allies!!!

To the extent we nurture this boy-based glbt movement and take on its politics as our own, we seriously imperil our ability to fight patriarchy and challenge male violence.

Because men and transpeople can't be feminists. And only women-born-women have any interest in curtailing violence. And, obviously, the transmovement is boy-based: it's all about men - you're either trying not to be one or becoming one.

But, wait!

Couldn't you say it's all about women - you're either trying not to be one or becoming one.

But that would be too women-centric, and transexuals are all about the boys.

It's about the penises, again. Whether you got one, whether you don't.

For a radical lesbian feminist, there sure is a lot of talk and concern about the phallus.

The whole transgender project is really faux liberalism dressed up as a radical chic. While claiming the opposite, its actual effect is conservative in that it does nothing to challenge oppression and hierarchy. And it is a dangerous and insidious diversion of lesbian energies away from feminism at a time when we can least afford it.

Did you hear that, my fellow queerfolk? The trannies are out to get us. Better hide under the bed, or better yet, stone them.

Funny, I can think of a lot of people who'd love to stone all the queers, too.

But we radical feminists are liberal and inclusive, and all about love, nurturing, goodness, cooperation, tolerance, and acceptance.

Just like good Christian fundamentalists.

Go us.

Goals for the Weekend, On a Thursday

Get three stories in the mail.

Finish at least 30 of the remaining 68 pages of God's War.

Finish tDW rewrites as suggested by 2 of the 4 readers (still waiting on the other two).

Work on finishing at least one of the half dozen *new* short stories that should be in the mail.

Read a lot.

Drink a lot of coffee.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

30 Minutes on the Elliptical

And I *still* didn't die.


Weights in the morning, an hour of walking during the day, cardio at night... add in some jump roping and I'll be totally ready for boxing classes in August.

God, I'm feeling better.

Have I mentioned how much better I'm feeling?

You're going to hear that a lot for the next couple of months. I apologize for the repetition. Deal.

Fuck, I was sick.

The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

Walked over to the hospital and went over my numbers again with Dr. S. (the best part about this whole experience is probably that the hospital is within walking distance).

He'd put me on a one long-lasting Lantus shot every morning, then two or three more shots as needed every day before meals. First, the Lantus was too low, and I had really high sugar. Then the Lantus was too high, so I was bottoming out all the time and getting shaky and had to eat more to keep my sugar on track. So he cut the Lantus back a little, and cut my noonday shot out. Now I'm running a little too high again (over 200) in the evening.

So, I have two choices: add a small noonday shot back in, adjusted for the effect of the Lantus later, so I'd be up to four shots a day again; or, try a mixture of high and medium lasting insulins (premixed) and only take two shots a day, period.

I said, well, fuck it, let's try the two shots.

Well, OK, I did not use the word "fuck," however. My doctor is this older, skinny little Indian man with a long white beard, hooked nose, bushy eyebrows, and a tendency to smack his lips before and after he speaks. He always looks terribly serious. He has no bedside manner, and while he was with me, he took a call from some hysterical-sounding woman. From his end, this is what I heard: "Oh, he's fine, he's doing well.... yes, I think so... Then don't let him go out... Just don't let him go out. He's just going to go out and rape some woman... if he says he's going out looking for women, that's what he's going to do... Then go with him when he goes out... no, no, he's not serious... then let him go out for five minutes, OK?"

Don't ask me what that's about. I have no freaking idea.

So anyway, despite the lack of bedside manner, the guy absolutely knows his shit. I feel comfortable that he knows what the hell he's doing, and I trust his judgement. Which is what you really need in a doctor. I'm forthright enough to ask the questions I need to ask despite his gruff manner, so it works for me.

I love my Lantus, but I almost always say "yes" to new things. If you don't say "yes" you'll never know if the other stuff would have worked better than what you're currently using. So I'll risk a week or two of the "new" not working so great... At least then I'll *know*. And there's the possibility that it'll work *perfectly* and I'll have found the exact right fit. And a couple weeks of glaring at my sugar levels again is worth that.

The cost of this new medication, and a new, more compact glucose meter with a faster testing time?



Speaking of health expenses, I also went and sorted out my hospital bill. I couldn't understand why it said I owed only $3300 of the $27,000 because it didn't say who the hell had paid the other $23,000.

"Oh, it's a contract the hospital has with your insurance company," the billing woman told me.

"Does that mean they paid it?"

"The hospital has a contract with the insurance company. You wouldn't understand."

"Uh-huh. OK, back up again, then. Did they pay it?"

"It means you only owe the $3300 if your insurance doesn't pay it."

"What about the other $23K?"

"Oh, don't worry about that."

"But... has my insurance paid it?"

"It's a contract the hospital has with --"

"OK, OK. Does that mean I don't ever have to pay the $23K no matter what my insurance says?"

"Exactly. All you'll ever be obligated to pay is the $3300, if your insurance won't pay that," she said, and grinned. "I bet you had a heart attack when you got that bill."

"Not really," I said, "I just laughed."

I was also ready to laugh when Dr. S. put me on the scale. I had already steeled myself for the numbers. Was I already over 190 again? Was my body totally freaking out and out of control and everything was going to explode and go to hell?

I stepped on the scale -


I've only gained 7 pounds since I got sick.

I assumed I'd put on twice that.

They say people with a history of eating disorders tend to suffer from that whole body dimorphism thing, where they think they're bigger than they actually are. Seven pounds is a really fucking healthy amount of weight to put on, thanks. 183 is a perfect weight for me, and I'd love to stay there, but shit happens, I know. Maybe my body will surprise me. I don't know that I've ever felt all that in control of my body. So getting diabetes really isn't changing much of anything, as far as altering my perception of self.

I always felt like there was something fundamentally broken with all of my systems.

After blowing money on medical supplies, I went to the local used bookstore where I have store credit and bought some Conan novels.

Because when all else in life is incredibly frustrating and out of whack and your endocrinologist is advising hysterical women on how to keep rapists off the street, there's always Conan novels.

Off to the Doctor

Sorting out insulin dosages.


Then, I will come home and feel sorry for myself for awhile.

Then, I will move on.

"Barbossa is Hungry" yum

Does anyone have an MP3 of the track, "Barbossa is Hungry" from the original Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack?

All of my music was eaten when my other computers crashed, and the actual disk I have is scatched up enough that it's ruined that song, and that happens to be the title track in my head for the second book in the fantasy series, Over Burning Cities.

Email me at my public address: kameron_hurley AT, and I'll send you my gmail address for swappage.


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Dinner & Drinks

Jenn and I did dinner and drinks with James & Ysa last night. It was the first social outing (Wiscon doesn't count) I've done since I got sick, and if I didn't like James and Ysa so much, I probably would have bailed. I've still got a lot of strange fear bundled up inside of me.

I've been passing again and again on the multitude of Mary Anne's functions (brunches, buffets, writing get-togethers, dinners, teas, discussion groups, readings, etc), and was just too tired to get to Jennifer Stevenson's this weekend for a backyard pig roast (yea, yea, I know. I totally would have had fun, I'm sure).

But it was time to get myself out of the house. I had no excuses. James & Ysa live within walking distance, for fuck's sake.

Also, they have good cheese, good sausage, and good beer. I have discovered the greatness that is cheese curds (I like cheese, yes. Also: it's a low glucose food, which makes me happy).

I think the best part about finally being halfway normal for the first time in a year is that I get to drink beer without worry. Sure, I can only have *one* beer, but that's a huge improvement over the last six months.

So, slowly but surely, things get better. I get less fearful. The idea of shooting up insulin in someone else's bathroom doesn't weird me out anymore, cause it's a done deal. Now I can stop chewing over all this shit and just... well, live.

It's funny, the little things you worry about.

"Will it look weird if I only have one beer?"

"What if I get blood all over the bathroom?"

"What if they serve stuff I can't eat?" (which is dumb. I can eat anything, just not much of it)

Perhaps the weirdest thing of all was this morning. I insisted that Jenn and I leave James and Ysa's by 10pm so I could get to bed and be up by 5:20am. I was dreading the whole thing, because I knew how exhausted I get if I'm not in bed by 9pm. 10pm on a weeknight really pushes it...


When you've got super high blood sugar, you *do* need to sleep a lot more. Toward the end, I had to get 9 to 10 hours. The last week in Indy, I was going to bed at 8pm and getting up at 7am. Barely getting up, because I was still so groggy.

Last night, I went to bed closer to 11pm, and woke up at 3:30am and tossed and turned for awhile before finally getting back to sleep and jumping up again with my alarm.

No problem.

All of a sudden, all of these restrictions I've had for the last year - in bed on weekdays by 9, making sure my water bottle is full before my commute, making sure I go to the bathroom before said commute, carrying three different drinks and a full water bottle on plane rides as short as 36 minutes, making sure I got a drink for the ride home after every shopping trip, stocking up on bottled water, getting up three or four times a night to go to the bathroom, avoiding all liquor for fear that it exacerbated yeast infections, $30 a month in heavy medications for yeast infections, nightly baking soda bathes to soothe said yeast infections, an inability to wear my contact lenses because of poor blood circulation in my eyes - are gone.

All gone.

God, I was so sick.

You know, I could sit around and complain about the insulin, but it's the insulin that's helped make me stronger and healthier than I've been for an entire year.

You know what the best part is, though (after the beer)? I accomplished a lot of shit last year. Not nearly as much as I wanted to, but quite a bit just the same, and I did it while my body crashed and my health deteriorated.

Imagine how much ass I'm going to kick now that I'm a functional human being again.

heh heh heh

Pencils Made From Human Remains

There's so totally a good story in this.

Monday, June 19, 2006


For the luxurious digs at Weiss Hospital, with the fine view of the skeletal in-progress parking structure and the oh-so-helpful nurse "Mary" with the fantastic "wash yourself" bedside manner and the neurotic young doctor who got down on one knee and apologized every time he ruthless dug into my arteries and splashed great rivulets of blood all over the bedding:


Amount of piecemeal physician's costs still trickling in:

About: $1500

Amount I've spent out of pocket for medications to date:

About: $600

Amount of every check up with Doctor S., every three months for the rest of my life:

$178 (amount included in above total)

For a Grande Totale of:


Or, roughly, about how much it cost me to get a Bachelor's Degree in 2001.

Not bad, for saving a life.


I've rather be living in Canada, thanks.

P.S. At least I know how much my book advance(s) need to be! Oh yay.

In Which the Protagonist Completes 20 Minutes on the Elliptical Machine & Doesn't Die

So, it turns out I can work out (you know, doing more than walking) and not die. Which should have been a no-brainer, but you know, after a lot of low sugar days the week before last, well, I was pretty primed for the possibility of failure.

I'm also really liking having biceps again. When my body was eating itself alive, the muscle was going right along with the fat, despite my regular morning free weights routine. I didn't realize just how much said muscle had been eaten until I posed the other day and discovered how kewl my biceps look.

Also: 68 pages of GW to go. When I have a fucking draft of this book, there's going to be a BIG PARTY.

I would invite you all, but I think we'd run out of beer.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Blogging Break

Well, that does it!

I'm going to take a short break from the blog to sort out some personal stuff and avoid allowing BW to become a morass of random postage.

See you all on Monday.

“A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.”
- Franz Kafka

"Freedom is what you do with what's been done to you."
- John-Paul Sartre

"I worshipped dead men for their strength,
Forgetting I was strong."

- Vita Sackville-West

"Life isn’t about finding yourself. It’s about creating yourself."
- anon

Your Ideal Pose

I am a tandem cycle!
Find your own pose!

Oh, god, now I'm doing a quiz. This really IS becoming an LJ.

I need to write something quick about blood, fighting, abortion and the lack of women authors in SF&F.

Sweet fuck.

(via bond)

Ah, Solitude

Well, Jenn's out tonight, which is actually nice, because even though I love her, we've spent a lot of time together since I got sick, and I know she's been avoiding social stuff.


I'm not an invalid.

It's also good for me, I think. I'm reminded of why I both love and hate living on my own (a state of being which will soon come to pass once again). I love having space to myself, having time to breathe and think without worrying about how someone else is reading everything I'm doing, and trying to come up with ways to make sure they're happy. I hate it because, well, it's easier for me to sit around feeling sorry for myself. I spent all those lonely hours in South Africa drinking bottles and bottles of Laborie pinotage and chain smoking. But, you know, I also finished writing a 200,000 word novel. 60,000 words of which were worth keeping.

Eh. I'm going to go read something, and drink some diet Coke.

I Really Need to Stop Buying Books

This is getting ridiculous.

But you know what? I can't stress or comfort-eat anymore. I mean, about the best I can do is be like, "Whoooo! I'm going to go all out tonight and have three graham crackers after dinner!" or "Oh, man, I'm *totally* going to live on the edge and eat a 1/2 cup of those honey roasted peanuts instead of a quarter cup!" Rockin'.

I'm also limited to one alcoholic beverage a day, with meals (maybe two beverages, if I eat some extra bread at dinner).

I don't smoke. I don't do drugs. All I shoot up is synthetic insulin.

Reading and writing are the only vices I have left.

Why do books have to cost money?

Preying on Human Curiousity

How to hack a bank. It's a lot easier than you think:

We figured we would try something different by baiting the same employees that were on high alert. We gathered all the worthless vendor giveaway thumb drives collected over the years and imprinted them with our own special piece of software. I had one of my guys write a Trojan that, when run, would collect passwords, logins and machine-specific information from the user’s computer, and then email the findings back to us.

People are fascinating.

Nick, on Wimmin's Work

Nick's got a post up about.. basically, how to actually make money writing fiction.

And yea, it means stepping out of the ghetto.

I remember getting a ton of very nice rejections from various SF/F mag editors for my story "Two Girls." The most frustrating rejection came from an editor who suggested I send it to a feminist magazine. I raged for at least ten minutes. I already fucking write in the ghetto! I don't want to further ghettoize myself!

But you know what? Bitch Magazine's got a higher circulation count than any of the "big three" genre mags.

Personally, I want to be a regular writer for Oprah Magazine.

Because I'm like that. Then maybe I can move on up to National Geographic....

As much as I'd like some in-genre recognition because I'd really like some decent novel advances and sales, the more shit that goes on in my life, the more I realize that what I should really be doing is trying to make some fucking money.

I've got credit card and hospital bills up to my ears, and medication alone for the diabetes shit is going to cost me an extra $2500-3000 a year. That doesn't include the every-three-months visit to the endocrinologist and the yearly visits to the optician and the podiatrist.

Other people get paid to write stuff that's far less interesting than some of the blog posts I shoot off in the course of an afternoon.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Fucking Sweet

Interview with Christopher Priest in this month's Locus.

Christopher Priest is my hero.

I recommend this (I've read it four times) and this (ah, my inspiration for war and bug tech), to start. It's fantastic mindfucking fiction.

In a totally literary way.

Wow, I Hate My Job

Really, really hate it.

Respond to my resumes, oh Google corp, oh Starbucks Corp, oh Various Businesses Downtown looking for coordinators/admins/assistants/secretaries/receptionists - I will even bring you coffee! Yes! I will stoop so low!

Anything but this disaster, this lowering of the bar one cell tower at a time...

Feminism Is Not A Fucking Dating Service

This whole "nice guy" thing is really making the rounds on the internets.

What's a poor, well-meaning young male to do?

The thing is, Pete continued, I don’t think girls want feminist guys! You know that whole thing where girls aren’t into nice guys but would rather have bad boys? It’s like they say they want one thing, but in reality they want another. If I want to meet girls and have fun, I have a lot more success when I don’t try and be pro-feminist. I mean, why should I be more feminist than the women around me?

And, as we all know, feminism isn't about being a decent human being and adhering to ideas of basic human rights. It's about getting laid.

McBoing gives our intrepid hero some much better advice than Hugo's gentle chortling about how difficult it is to be nice and get laid.

Nice guys do get laid. Trust me. But that's got nothing to do with feminism.

I could tell you that I really wanted to be a smart, strong woman, but men just aren't attracted to strong, smart women. So it wouldn't be in my best interests to be strong and smart, cause then I wouldn't get laid. So I'd make myself less of a person in order to make other people feel better?

People would tell me I was nuts.

And smack me upside the head.

Not chortle coyly.

Some Feminists at the "Feminist Fiction is So Five Minutes Ago" Panel

I'll be damned. Sombody *did* get a photo of me at Wiscon.



I REALLY don't want this to become a whiny LJ, dammit.


Twenty-One Steps to Writing/Publishing a Novel


Just... yea.

On Fear, and Being Stronger

"I'm through accepting limits
'Cuz someone says they're so
Some things I cannot change
But till I try, I'll never know!
Too long I've been afraid of
Losing love I guess I've lost
Well, if that's love
It comes at much too high a cost!
I'd sooner buy
Defying gravity
Kiss me goodbye
I'm defying gravity
And you can't pull me down"

- "Defying Gravity," from Wicked: the Musical

"Look before you leap. Then leap."-anon

Jenn suggested that we go out for dinner to celebrate the fact that I've been out of the hospital for a month (this then prompted a long discussion about what should "count" as the date of my "defying death" anniversary. Should it be the 14th, when the paramedics arrived and I got to the hospital? Or the 15th, when I was actually brought into the emergency room [just after midnight], or when I was stabilized, which would have been a few hours after that. But then, I took a turn for the worst and don't remember much of anything from the 15th. So should it be the 16th, when I was finally fully conscious? Or the 18th when I was released from the hospital? Oh, who cares? It's just an excuse for a decent meal).

It feels like it's been a lot longer than a month, mainly because about a hundred significant things have happened between now and then. It's been a busy month, without a lot of time for thinking. I've been doing a lot of... doing -

- visiting friends, Wiscon (including my first panels!), tDW rewrites, insulin routine maintenance, relationship maintenance, movie watching, book reading, contract signing, note writing, long-mad-email-fiascos, weird emotions, low blood sugar nights (again, and again, and again to the point of exhaustion), doctor's appointments, weight lifting, cleaning, sorting, ordering, filing, writing letters to shitty healthcare providers...

I've put on a little weight, which is a relief. When I first got out of the hospital, I'd just spent four days without eating followed by two days of hardly eating because the nasty case of thrush I had made swallowing unbearably painful, to the point where I'd thrash in bed every time I swallowed. At some point that first day back home, I was talking to Jenn and put my hands on my hips. I've got pretty big, wide hips, and I've always had at least an inch of cushioning between the bone and the surface of my skin. But when I posed with hands on hips, I didn't even have to squeeze to realize that I was mostly just skin-over-bone there.

My deep fear of out-of-control weight gain, however, doesn't seem to be materializing. I wasn't eating all that bad before I was sick, but "eating well" and "eating in moderation" is now an enforced state of being. My blood's been high all week, mainly to do with the fact that the doctor cut my noon-day insulin shot. I see him next week, and we'll likely either adjust my Lantus or bring back the noonday shot, which I'd like. I hate the high sugar. It's why I measure what I eat and why I've cut back a carb serving from breakfast and lunch, to try and get it more manageable. I'm trying desperately to keep the sugar levels low because 1) I feel better 2) I don't want to get my feet chopped off

Over the long run, it means keeping me from losing my legs. In the short term, well, having high sugar all week means more problems with my feet, the return of the yeast infection, and a much longer sexual response time.

And that really sucks.

Overall, things are much better: the blood will get sorted out with the doctor again next week. I've been doing my weights routine regularly, and today was the first time in - I dunno, months - that I've been able to add reps without feeling like I'm going to die. I feel a *lot* stronger. Jenn and I are going to make a pilgramage to the local sports store and get me a 50 lb free weight (just one, for now), which'll mean upping the weight, lowering the reps for a couple of my morning exercises.

Jenn also suggested I go back to yoga this Friday. It's been a month, afterall. I'm mostly as "better" as I'm going to get.

I've been putting off a lot of things, like getting back to the gym.

A lot of that has to do with fear.

As much as I want to not be afraid, or just pretend I'm not afraid, I am.

But life goes on (unless you die. ha ha). I can't just keep coming home and reading books. Not that that's a bad thing, but I realized the other day that I've been hiding a lot at home lately. I've gotten better. I took a couple long walks on my own this weekend (with some hard candy in my pocket, just in case), and I walk a lot at the nature preserve across the street from where I work, which is how I get in my hour of walking every day. But mostly, I've been afraid.

Jenn's going to be gone several weekends and a couple of weeks this summer for various business psych conferences. I'm looking forward to it because there's a secret part of me that's really terrified of being by myself in the house again. I need to spend time by myself just to get my confidence back, just to convince myself that I'm not going to fall into a coma and die alone and get eaten by dogs.

Back when I was 19, I decided to change my whole life. I wasn't going to rely on anyone else. I wasn't going to become attached to anyone else, and I sure as hell wasn't going to be dependent on anyone else for the rest of my life.

And I still want those things, even now. I still find strength in it.

I have some traveling coming up as well. I'll be flying out to Ohio for Thanksgiving with my buddies Ian and Stephanie, and in October, my parents are flying the whole family out to Florida for a trip to Disneyworld. And all of that will be good for me, too.

It's a bit like being in a car wreck. Afterward, you really, really don't want to drive a car again. And the best thing to do is drive yourself home again right afterward.

Yoga on Friday will be good for me. If I collapse, there's a whole roomful of people who can call 911.


And I think that there's still a small, secret part of me that worries now that the summer's spinning out and Jenn's going to all her conferences and getting ready to start the job markets process (her whole last year here will basically be sending out applications and flying out for job talks), that worries about What Happens Next.

I've started brainstorming the module I'm writing for the gaming job in Edmonton, and if I *do* get the job, I'd like to take a couple weeks and do some traveling between the end-date for Chicago and the new-date in Canada. I want to scream a big fuck you at the world and do most of it on my own.

But buried deep in me, as well, is the idea of moving on past this life and into the new one and figuring out who the hell would want to hang out with somebody like me. It's not a big thing, but I think about it. Sick people aren't terribly attractive. I worry about my limits. I worry about my restrictions. I planned an 11-day Macchu Pichu hike for my 30th birthday. I'm wondering if I have to postpone that until my 40th. I'm wondering what I can do. I won't know until I try.

I think I'm afraid I'll find limits.

I think about all the things I want to do. Things that I *will* do out of sheer stubbornnes, but... but I think about it.

Because as much as I try to stand up straight and get my shit together, things are harder. I knew they would be harder, and now the anger's starting to get to me, the anger everybody said would come.

Mostly, I'm angry at myself.

I'm angry at my fear, my self-loathing. I'm angry that I spent so many years figuring out how to be strong and live on my own only to be hit with a dependency. I've worked very hard to do what I've done and be the person I am. It's why I react so strongly when I'm with people who want to change me, who say I'm emotionally distant, too aggressive in my speech, too straightforward, too intimidating.

Oh, fuck you.

I was not always this way. I know that better than anyone. I've been the screaming, crying, blubbering housebound who kowtowed to an overbearing boyfriend, back in the day. I hate that person, and anybody who wants me to go back to being her can kiss my ass.

I remember that when B and I broke up, he spent the following days and weeks writing terrible stuff to me and about me. He insulted my friends. He said I "disgusted" him. He insulted my writing. He said I'd never make it as writer (one of the greatest things about allowing somebody to get close to you is that they know *exactly* where to hit you when they decide they never really loved you). He insinuated that by breaking up with him, I was giving up on love. I didn't understand love. I would never be in love. I would always be alone, exploring dead cities. He said I wasn't a fighter. If I was really a fighter, I'd have kept pushing through our masochistic relationship, which was killing us both.

Oh, fuck you.

I'm not a perfect person. Strong emotion scares me. Getting out of bed in the morning scares me. Going into a coma and dying scares me.

Not living the life I want because I'm afraid scares me even more.

At a certain point in my life, I realized I couldn't blame anybody else for the way I lived my life. I couldn't blame my parents because I overate. I couldn't blame my parents because I was bad with money. I couldn't blame crappy boyfriends for my terror of committment (Me: "I don't want to get married. I mean, being with Crappy Boyfriend #1 pretty much put me off that. He kept pushing and pushing, like a ring was a collar, like once I say yes I'd never be able to leave." My buddy Ian: "So you're basically avoiding marrying other men or forming strong committments because of some high school boyfriend you had." Me: "Yes. It was a bad experience. It formed my conception of what marriage meant to most guys." My buddy Ian: "Well then, he wins, doesn't he?" Oh. Shit). I couldn't blame a lack of physical activity on my historically sedentary lifestyle. I couldn't blame teachers for convincing me I was stupid, or assholes who told me "you can't." And I can't blame my pancreas for exploding and leaving me to figure out how to live my life without it.

Instead, I'm caught in this neverending loop of fear and anger, anger and fear. And it drives me, it drives me, because if I stop too long to think, if I think too much, I'm going to feel sorry for myself. I'm going to spend too many nights crying for no reason at all and saying, "I can't" when I don't even know what's possible.

But you know what? It fucking occurs to me that the sorts of people who cry and say I can't every night and never get out of bed because it scares them, they aren't the fighters. They're just tired, because it's too hard. I understand that. I understand how hard it is. But it's not the life I'm living, nor the one I want to live.

So what the fuck does that make me?

I've been called some pretty terrible things in my time. I've called myself even worse.

I remember my mom telling me once that she could never do the things that I've done or am doing because she'd be too afraid.

There's a false assumption in those sorts of statements.

It assumes that people who "do stuff" aren't afraid. It assumes that when you step into a ring, that big motherfucker in front of you doesn't - just for a moment - scare the living shit out of you. It assumes that I never have a crises of confidence, that I don't sit around fighting myself, my own assumptions, my own fears, everyday.

But I am afraid, and I do fight, every day.

I am getting better. I will be better, if only through sheer determination.

Because that's pretty much all I'm running on right now -

Blind faith, anger, fear.

And maybe a little hope.

Hope that I made myself into the sort of person who can get up and push back. Hope that I already know myself and my limitations (none), and that where I can go from here, what I can do, will surprise even me.

"You're the only person I know who can leap off a cliff into empty air and fly." - Jenn

Monday, June 12, 2006


A brand of yogurt with only 8 carbs!

It takes so little to make me happy these days.

OK, back to work.

At Least I Know How to Keep Myself Occupied

A Little Chat with a "Nice Guy"

I am so amused.

Tootling Around

The Day Job had me working on updating databases yesterday for 4 hours, so I'm working from home today, mainly so I can get shit done that was supposed to be done yesterday.

Also, I just acquired a bunch more books.

This makes me happy.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Sugar Sugar

Die, pancreas, die!

Oh, wait. Already dead.

Oh well.

First Antho

Looks like they're going to try and launch the anthology that my story, "Wonder Maul Doll" is in at World Fantasy in Austin (barring disaster. Which does, of course, happen), and I have an email from one of the editors asking how many of us authors are going to be there.

It's the first story of mine that's going to be in an actual book, and I'd love to be there just to stare over a handful of copies, but tickets to Austin are running at $300. Also, I'm not sure if anybody I'd know really well would be there, and Jenn can't afford to go, so I'd be pretty solo the whole time.

WFC tends to be more of a "pro" con, and if it's anything like last year's WFC, the programming is likely to suck. And you know what? For $150, I want some decent programming.

Perhaps I will be content with my free author's copy and call it a year.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Shit I Need to Do Today/This Weekend

Got back the first of the reader-edits for tDW from my buddy Patrick yesterday.

He pointed out some typos (oh! It's soooo nice to be at the stage of this novel where I'm like, "Hey, yea, check for typos, because I don't intend on trashing this whole book and starting again!"), pacing issues, one rather irritating "but if it's an egalitarian society, and you could only really know who the *mother* of any one kid is, wouldn't the line of succession be through the mother, and wouldn't that hose up this whole problem with the bastard?" bigger sort of issue that I do need to deal with (that's the problem with having written the first half of the first draft of this book when I was 19. You end up with a lot of silly assumptions that end up being important to the plot, but don't really jive with the new society you came up with at 23/25).

The summation of the critique, however, amounted to: "Take this book and SELL IT."

For some reason I had one of those nights last night where I got home and just wanted to feel sorry for myself, but I sucked it up and input some of the edits into the first few chapters of tDW and started on the revisions of the last few chapters I wrote of God's War, which I completed just before the coma. It's a little weird to look back at those chapters because they've got some oddly put-together sentences and very little setting and description of any sort (and what's there is... weirdly worded). Instead, it's full of choppy action scenes involving pistols, whips, blowing up a woman's head, kidnapping, and finding a guy's head in a box.

I'm keeping all of those events, of course (how could I not???), but giving them some setting/padding (yes, sometimes you *need* some padding) and cleaning up the weird sentences.

So, my to-do list for the weekend:

1) finish contract writing passage (I have no idea why this is taking me so long. Denial. Fake writer's block. A need to not pound through it as slap-dash as I did the last one [which I completed with blurry vision and a sugar headache]. I'll push through it this weekend)

2) finish inputting Patrick's edits into tDW

3) finish GW revisions and start on those last 75 pesky fucking pages

4) write thank-you note to Jenn's parents

5) send in prescription claims to health insurance (had to make copies of my reciepts, which I've just finished here at work)

6) write out Strongly Worded Letter to said health insurance for their denial of my last half-day of hospital care. They argued that I was out of "immediate danger" by that time. I'm not sure how I would have a) known this in my sugar-dazed state b) been able to demand that the doctors release me in my sugar-dazed state c) would have been able to go home and give myself insulin shots when most of that day was spent going over how the hell I was going to care for myself post-hospital.

I FUCKING HATE insurance companies.

7) pay the most pertinent of the bills (ie the ones due before the 20th) with the paltry $650 paycheck I just received (oh, the joys of PTO that accrues at a snail's pace of 5 hours per pay period, and no sick pay!).

8) finish reading "On Beauty."

9) order books for as-yet-unnamed Genocide Novel research

10) spend today catching up on all the actual work at work I was supposed to be doing this week, but decided to spend writing emails instead....

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Jon Stewart: Still My Secret Boyfriend

"Divorce is not caused because 50% of marriages end in gayness."

Telling Stories

I was chatting with Jenn last night about Meghan's post - some thoughts on sexuality, desire, and labels. And at some point I said something like, "Yea, people really like labels. I mean, I was white and a woman my whole life, but now I'm dating a woman and have a chronic illness. Does this mean I get more diversity points?"

"Yea.. how are you doing with all that?" Jenn asked.

"What do you mean?" I said.

"Well, within the last six months you've become visibly queer, and you've got, well, a chronic illness. I mean, how do you feel about all that?"

"I don't know," I said. "I don't think about it that much. It's all kind of happened so quick, I haven't had time to really think about, look back on it, create a narrative, you know?"

"Ah," Jenn said, "it's like asking you how you're feeling before you've had time to figure it out?"

"Exactly. Why do you think I blog? And before that, sent those huge 17-page stories about my life to the Clarion list? And before that, kept up long correspondences with people? I can't make sense of things until I can get some distance and make stories out of it. I need to know what it all means."

"And as you get older, the stories sort of shift, the more distance you get from them."

"It's creating history. You can see how myths end up being myths. At the core of the story, you've got core events, core feelings, but the way you interprete those changes based on where you are in your life, where you end up. If you go through old letters and correspondence of mine, you can see the emphasis shift as things I thought were important ended up not being important. Also, the older I get, the more I learn, the more I'll reinterprete events."

What I realized while we talked was the reason I write fiction, and the reason the reason I took to the blogging form so well.

I figure out what I'm feeling, dissect emotional responses, what events mean to me, by creating narratives, by telling stories. Until I can step back and look at how everything fits together, I have a difficult time talking about it. Ask me how I "feel" about something, and I'll struggle to find some sort of inarticulate response that "sounds good" at the time. Ask me in writing, when I can tell you the story - and that I can do.

I had to hear Jenn tell me the story of my time in the hospital for nearly a week before I could get it all together in my head and try to work out a narrative that I could post here (and I still think a lot of that post doesn't make much sense. Which is probably more truthful, since nothing made sense to me either).

I wonder if I'm just weirdly divorced from my feelings while I'm feeling them, or if storytelling is just my way of coping with strong emotion.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

What I'm Reading

And, this.

This is what I do when I'm prentending I don't owe writing work to anybody....

Sweet! Liberation Means Not Shaving My Legs...

(via Feminist Reprise)

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


I hate measuring pasta.

It feels so anal-retentive.

I mean, I have good reason. But still.


Well, the altered dose of insulin is working out well - no low blood sugar episodes since I cut back from 30 to 26 units in the morning.

Now we'll see how that changes with intense exercise. I do my free weights in the morning, and about an hour of walking a day, but if I'm going to start the boxing classes again in August, I need to know how pushing up my heartrate for 45-60 minutes is going to alter my sugar levels.

Have an appointment with Dr. S at the end of the month for follow-up. That *should* be the appointment where we lock in my insulin dosage. It generally takes some time for sugar levels to even out to the point where you can gauge how different types of insulin interact with you personally (everybody's body reacts slightly differently, as I understand it).

Deep breath. This is manageable.

There Are Days...

As regular readers know, I've struggled with coming to terms with my weight for a long time. I'm always thinking I should be smaller. Even when I realized what a benefit it was to be 5'9" and pushing 200 lbs (if you know how to hold yourself, people get out of your way), I still sat around angsting about it. When you're told that any woman over 120 lbs is undesirable, you get a little jumpy (Sex is a powerful motivator; I like sex). Who doesn't want to be movie-stock beautiful?

Pair all that with concerned relatives adding their two cents about how you need to lose and lose and lose for "health" reasons, every magazine cover screaming "thin!", and a society increasingly worried about all the fat people (oh, no, *I* don't want to be a fat person who puts a drain on our non-existent healthcare system!), and it becomes a backbrain obession.

During some of my worst days, I'd contemplate getting gastic bypass surgery. For better or worse, of course, I would never qualify for it. The one time I hit the 100 lbs overweight mark, I did so for a very brief period. And here I am, sicker than snot, 176 lbs and *still* overweight by society's standards.

The rules weren't made for me.

And you wonder why this country has a food obsession?

Of course, the real reason I could never seriously contemplate cutting my stomach up until it was the size of my thumb is because I like to eat.

Oh yes.

Even while on the strictest of diets I could give myself a celebratory meal. I could go out and eat whatever I wanted. Oh, sure, if you do Atkins too long and try and eat a plateful of pasta, you might get sick, but eating it *is* possible. Even after I broke my binge eating cycle, it was still really nice to just be able to sit down and eat a whole box of macoroni & cheese every once in a while. B & I used to order great heaps of nachos and hot dogs and waffle fries and watch old episodes of Dr Who during the weekends I'd fly to NY. We went all out. It was great. We had enormous breakfasts at the local diner, and I could drink cranberry juice and eat bagels and hashbrowns all in the same sitting. It was a social thing, a celebration thing. We sat and talked and ate and ate, and then I'd go home and get right back into my usual routine.

For better or worse, I can't eat like that anymore. Not even on "special occasions."

Oh, that fucking shovel.

One of the things my doctor said to me the day they released me from the hospital was that I was going to feel a *lot* better once they let me out and started me up on the insulin.

He was right.

Best I can figure, I started getting sick sometime in late July/early August of last year. That's when I went into PP for the first time with the recurring yeast infections. That was almost a year ago. I have no idea how I pushed through this for so long. No idea at all, except through sheer delusion; an inability to link all my symptoms to one core body failure.

The increasing thirst began not long after I started continuously combating the runaway yeast (high blood sugar = happy yeast who thrive on sugar), until the last couple of days where I did nothing but drink and pee, drink and pee. My formerly healthy sex drive was unraveling for months before the final fall (I justified this with the "I'm so tired and stressed" excuse as well). Climbing up the stairs got tougher and tougher. I just thought I was tired. I couldn't get up at my usual 5:25 am alarm. I started going into work late one day a week, then two, then three. Me, late for work! The startling weight loss started, I think, in September/October. I bought new clothes at Christmas and more clothes after I dropped a size - a whole size! - six weeks later.

And oh, how I ate! I was hungry all the time. Sure, I kept to "healthy" stuff: yogurt, popcorn, soup, omelettes. But toward the end I was stopping off and getting stuff to eat that I hadn't touched regularly in over two years: hot dogs at the 7-eleven, BBQ potato chips, cheese dip & chips. I stopped ordering my cheeseburgers without the fries. I *needed* those fries. I ordered dessert more often.

I started noticing increasing problems with my gums. They were receding. And bleeding. I realized I was going to have to go into the dentist soon. I bought some Listerine, but that didn't seem to help.

And oh, the yeast infections! The never-ending, anti-fungal cream resistant fuckers! PP told me it was the IUD, likely. Just irritating my uterus, no big deal. And I thought, I'm stressed out. It's just stress. That's why I'm so tired, that's why I'm falling apart. I'm falling apart because I'm just doing so much. Trying to be better. Trying to be the best at everything. I'm just falling apart.

That's something I've been thinking a lot about since I stabilized: I was falling apart. I was really, really, sick. But there I was, flying to NY every other month until February, then flying every week to Indy. Doing my weights routine every morning (the last two weeks before the coma, this got tougher and tougher. I was just so tired, and no matter how I tried, I couldn't seem to increase my reps, and I wasn't gaining any more muscle mass). I finished rewriting tDW, cutting 100 pages, cleaning up logical inconsistencies. I wrote over 200 pages of God's War. I kept sending out stories (and sold two of them). I went to World Fantasy and somehow managed to get out of bed before 10am (and kept wondering why I was so tired). I started taking yoga classes (I also stopped going to these the last few weeks before the coma, as well). I ended one relationship and started another one. I got a work promotion that meant more responsibilities, more stress. I blogged right up until two days before I was hospitalized.

I remember thinking, this last year or so, how I just wasn't getting anything done. Everything felt so goddamn hard, and I figured it was just hard because, well, I had to work harder than other people.

I beat myself up because I wasn't writing enough, wasn't going to the gym enough, wasn't teaching myself Arabic, hadn't gotten back into boxing classes. There was always something I wasn't doing enough of, something I should be doing.

Looking back on it, I'm amazed at how high-functioning I was. Either I was 1) really strong and delusional 2) just delusional.

And you know what the worst part is?

When I got home from the hospital, taking the stairs one at a time, resting on the landing, my vision blurry, suffering from a massive high-sugar headache, I went to my room and opened up the closet and looked for my favorite sweat pants.

They weren't there, of course. The doctors had cut them off me at the hospital.

I stood there beneath the lintel in a pair of loose size 12 jeans, my wrists and arms covered in bruises and half-healed wounds, and the first more-than-this-moment thought that my addled, mixed-up, sugar-saturated brain thought was, "Oh my God. I'm going to gain all the weight back. I'm going to get fatter again. I'm going to have to buy new clothes, again. Oh God, oh God."

If I'm angry about anything regarding this whole thing, I'm angry about that. About that thought; angry that the first real thought I had outside of, "Take this step. Then this step," was "Oh God, I'm going to get fat."

I'd been given back my life, and I was hysterical about how much bread I was going to have to eat.

That's fucked up.

And then I sit here and stare at my lunch - soup, peanut butter sandwich, some peanuts - and I'm so hungry I could cry. I want to eat and eat, because even during the worst days, when my parents had money problems and we were living on scrambled eggs and macoroni and cheese, we were still OK so long as we could eat. There was such comfort in food, in abundance, in over-indulgence. It was something you could choose, control - or not - as you wished. It was warmth and comfort on a cold night, when the whole world was going to shit.

Now I have to measure out my comfort in half-cups and quarter-cups and teaspoons and chocolate pieces.

It's a small - so small - price to pay for being alive.

I've always hated some part of this body, some terrible fatty, imperfect thing about it. Some stupid thing. Now it's really broken. Some core system has malfunctioned, imploded.

All I could think about was, "Will I gain 20 lbs? Am I going to start the cycle all over again?"

And what I want to think, the place I want to be, is:

"How much longer until I can run out into the world and kick somebody's ass?"

Because I'm blessed. I know it.

A dead pancreas doesn't mean I can't write. Or teach myself Arabic. Or go back to boxing. It doesn't mean anything like that at all.

But there are days when that's hard to remember.