My Roommates are weird.

In what feels like a short span of time, I’m tiring of roommates.  The ones I have now…my one official roommate whom I’ll call “Lisa”, and her boyfriend “Jason” who unofficially now lives in her room…they’re kind of weird.

This isn’t going to be a roommate horror story, because they’re not that bad. We haven’t told them to leave since they’re nice, they’re pretty clean, and don’t clutter things much. But there are a few things I wanna vent. My boyfriend and I just returned from a weeklong trip away for the holidays, and it’s made me notice a few things I had to get out.

THIS IS PURE VENTING.

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Inappropriate At Work #7

It’s been a while since the last time I felt I should write one of these!

So I work in post production, doing the visual effects for the commercials you see on TV.  I make stuff pretty; it’s like Photoshop for video.  After I do my work, I need to hit the “render” button to actually create the video….Rendering is somewhat akin to sticking a pan of raw ingredients in to the oven and letting it “bake”.  Once it finishes, everything marries together and you have the finished product!

I’m working at a different studio than usual, one that I don’t particularly like…but I need the money.  I’m working hard.  The producer comes in, balancing his aluminum Macbook Pro on one hand like a waiter.  “Hey Jelliefishie, you gonna put out soon?”

My male deskmate makes a face, looks up from his phone, and goes, “What–?”

Laughing, the producer said, “See what I did there?  You gonna PUT OUT?  Haha!”

The producer was laughing alone on this one.

Unrelated: I’m 25 years old and today is the first time I successfully wore pencil eyeliner for the whole day, WITHOUT it smearing!  I am extremely happy and proud.  Do I get my girl-diploma now?

Halloween, How You’ve Changed!

Did people of generations past feel old and outdated by age 25?

I don’t recognize Halloween anymore. When I was little, which really wasn’t that long ago, Halloween was awesome and Halloween made sense. Here is what one of the coolest holidays used to be like, if you grew up in NYC.

Trick or Treating Happened at Night.

If you were really little, a parent would come along, but most of my memories have me and my friends trick or treating without an adult.  In NYC, most parents let you go to school and back, and navigate the subways and streets alone, by the time you hit middle school.  Not to mention, by the time you’re at least 10, people trust you to babysit other kids.  So you’re not only entrusted with taking care of yourself alone, but taking care of another kid alone, pretty early on in life.  When you travel in packs, you feel very safe.  Even in the early 90s, NYC was not a brutal place to grow up in.

Now we have Daytime Halloween.  It’s not even dark, it’s not even 4pm, and I would see kids and their parents wandering around in costume, plastic orange pumpkin container in tow.  I don’t know why they are doing this.  Are they afraid of the dark?  NYC is in darkness by 6:20pm in October, you don’t have to wait that long….a lot of people aren’t going to be HOME yet, so you’re not going to get a good haul either.  I rarely see big groups of kids anymore, it’s usually just 1 kid, siblings, or 3 or less children and parents.  Newsflash, parents….the New York City of the 2000s is way safer than the New York City of the 1990s.

You Get Enough Candy to Last More Than a Year

Seriously!  Think about it this way – New York City is the densest city in the United States, with a population of 8.5 million.  People literally live on top of each other here; you can hit up over 75 families per building. Per BUILDING.  Then walk next door to the next 75 families!  We were constantly filling our sacks – SACKS, because those tiny orange plastic pumpkins only last like 3 apartment floors – which would sometimes rupture from the weight of SO MUCH CANDY :D  We would ring every bell on the floor and rush, little feet stampeding, towards the first one that you hear unlock with an echoey snick sound.

Nowadays, there are sign up sheets in apartment building lobbies.  This is technically a good improvement, since you can see right away who is guaranteed to open their door and shower you with sugar.  But less and less people are signing up for those things….I feel sorry for the kids when I look at the list.  Can they even fill one pumpkin when only 5/75 families are giving out candy per building?  Over the past 10 years, the kids who adored Halloween have grown up, but never abandoned Halloween festivities.  In what I do see as rather selfish, we adults have our own costume parties and dance all night.  From house parties to warehouse parties to fancy clubs, people will spend over $65 per head on Halloween.  More like $100, actually!  And while I’ve gone to a bunch of Halloween house parties myself, this means there is a huge scarcity of people who stay at home and give out candy.  I rarely see anyone bother leaving a bag of candy at their door for kids to take from.  So Halloween in the 2000s sounds really lame for kids.

Sorry, children.  We’re a generation of selfish kids in adult bodies, and we’re not giving you our candy anymore.

Halloween Happened ON Halloween

Yes, there would sometimes be the parade or events and what not happening on days that weren’t Halloween.  Sometimes you’d go trick or treating on whatever weekend was closest to October 31.  But this year, I see kids and their parents out trick or treating not just in the daytime…but a full week prior to Halloween week.  The subway this past weekend was also full of adults in costumes, heading to or from various parties.  Halloween is no longer just a single day; it extends over two weeks.  While I see why this is good for parties, because then you can attend more than one and show off your costume….I don’t understand why this is good for trick or treating kids.  People aren’t going to be expecting you to come by asking for candy!

Has anyone else noticed ways Halloween has changed compared to when they were a kid?  Was it any different from my childhood?

No Work = Even More Work

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You’d think taking a break from work means a vacation. You’d think of long hot showers, getting lost beneath the shadows of skyscrapers in New York City, watching the people go by. Window shopping for hours. Reading at a cafe, where you sip a latte, its frothy milk shaped like a leaf. You’d think of enjoying video games (and actually finishing them!) for hours, just like you did during high school, when you had no responsibilities.

But that’s just the thing. Taking off from work doesn’t mean you also shed your responsibilities…actually, it just brings even more to the surface. Without work to exhaust me, there’s no GOOD excuse for me to avoid getting things done.

Things I have been trying to accomplish on my time off:

  1. Plan a Philippines trip for me and my sister. Less than 30 days till it happens!
  2. Create a new demo reel to become employable again.
  3. Construct my first Halloween costume in years!
  4. Finish all the random errands I put off for months.

Caveats

It sounds like a small list, but everything has become infinitely complicated, with branches and branches of smaller-but-still-important decisions growing out of each. Add to that, despite having an awesome L-desk and monitor set up at home, it is incredibly hard to concentrate here. Not only does my computer house my work tools, but it also has my Steam games and the INTERNET (goddamn you all), and all the temptations to draw something in Photoshop. My 2nd screen is also a TV, connected to my PS3. Pokemon X and my 3DS XL are always just an arm’s length away. And worst of all….MY BED IS 2 STEPS AWAY!!!! I constantly feel its gravitational pull, sucking away my self-control. And once you’re in it, this full-sized bed expands to 10 x 10 miles long. There is no escaping it, once it has you in its fluffy clutches!

What Keeps Me Sane

My To Do list, pictured at the top of this post. I need the constant reminder of what I’m supposed to be doing, else I just squander this time. I could have all of eternity to do something and still not get it done, if I’m here in my room! I also use Evernote to jot down non task items that I want to remember. At first, I tried to just remember them….because as my high school history teacher often said,

“We don’t take notes to remember – we take notes to forget.”

I tried remembering. But you know what happens when I do that? “Hmm….there was something I was supposed to remember instead of putting it in to Evernote…what was it?” How sad is that – all I remember is that I was supposed to remember something!! Pointless! So I give up, I’m jotting down everything I can. And if you never used it before but have a similar problem to me, Evernote is AMAZING. They have a desktop version and a smartphone version, for all platforms, and they synchronize to each other. So whatever I write on my computer-Evernote will show up on my phone, and nothing gets lost. It’s got a cool “web clipper” function too, where you can take snapshots of webpages and read it later on your phone, without internet access. Great for subway reading :) Oh yeah, also it’s free!

But getting back to my To Do notebook, I do find that the routine of writing with a nice pen on real paper is something that really helps me. It’s like when you’re studying in school, doing rote memorization…the only way I could do it was by writing my notes over and over. The act of writing it helps my mind remember and, most importantly, focus on what I’m supposed to do. No computers to look at. No distracting game apps on my phone to “accidentally” boot up. It’s just me and this notebook and the things I have to do.

My goal is typically to get 3/10 things done from my list. Anything more than 10 is unrealistic. Anything more than 3 is bonus. If I don’t get 3 things done, well, I’ve officially squandered the day.

Welp, I’ve written too much already and procrastinated too long. Back to my non-work work!

Paper Feminist

Chances are, you know someone like this. The first time you meet her, she seems strong, confident, in control, with her eyes on the future and her career. She talks about injustice in the workplace, about the difficulties of being a woman in a male dominated industry. You think to yourself, this woman knows how to handle life. Why can’t more women be like her? Maybe then we can, as a first world society, finally have both genders treating each other as equals.

There is such a woman where I work – the only other woman at our company besides me. The only woman in the hierarchy, albeit she is at the bottom of The Top. For ease of writing, I’m gonna call her Amy.

Amy would talk sometimes about how much it sucks to be a woman in a man’s world. As someone who’s in that situation, I can agree with that statement with no hesitation, because of firsthand experience. Amy talked about ways guys treat us like subordinates and the various ways things are unfair. I commiserated, and I extrapolated that because she was so aware of the problems….she knew the solution.

And surely she does. But knowing and doing are two different things, and action is really what defines a person. 

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Things I don’t Understand: Female Roommates

Why do they sound so awful?  Okay, I know it’s not true for everyone.  I know there are bad guy roommates and bad girl roommates.  Recently I was looking at a thread on Reddit about what to expect from having female roommates, and it was pretty irritating…mostly because my boyfriend has 2 female roommates, and most of the annoying things I was reading were TRUE.  Why?!  It sucks extra hard because people already expect women to be incredibly demanding and crazy!  Here are some things I gleaned from various threads.

The stereotypical female roommate….

1. Is bad at taking out the trash.

Some women said they find it gross and would even do a male roommate’s laundry in exchange for not having to take out the trash.  A lot of men said their female roommates refuse to take out the trash so they end up doing it.   My boyfriend’s female roommates also suck at taking out the trash.  They don’t do it at all, just let it keep piling up and piling up.  They also don’t seem to remember that Thursday is trash day on their block, and also apparently have no idea how to sort the recycling!  There are only a few categories – paper, plastic, glass, metal.  Is it really so difficult?  What is even more annoying, in his situation, is the trash is near the fridge.  When they don’t toss the trash, it actually piles up and you can’t open the fridge.

I don’t get why throwing out the trash is so disgusting….If you don’t allow the bag to overflow, and USE A BAG (of course, there’s a bag, you’d THINK, but I’ve visited some homes where people don’t use a bag. Now THAT is gross!), why is it disgusting?  There is a layer of plastic between your hands and the garbage.  Another solution I can think of – if it’s getting so heavy and gross you don’t want to touch it, you should get a smaller trash can and toss the trash more often, before it gets a chance to fester and get too voluminous.

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Selfishness VS Self-Preservation – Where Do You Draw the Line?

“Not everyone has a sob story, Charlie, and even if they do, it’s no excuse.”
– Charlie’s father, Perks of Being a Wallflower

I’ve read that book so long ago, and yet this quote still stands boldly in my mind.
There are many trials that come your way in Life, and it is these trials that either make or break you. You either choose to be a victim, you either choose to get carried away by the current of Life and let it dictate what you do and where you go. Or. There is another option, and it is by far the HARD CHOICE. You choose to rise above this. You choose to defy the current, defy the negativity that Life bombards you with, and change your situation. Change how you are. Grow. Become stronger. Become something that can withstand challenge.

I actually disagree with the first half of the above quote. I do believe everyone has a sob story, unfortunately “sob story” is subjective. Everyone has something deep down that they are disturbed by, something that causes them pain and anguish and anxiety and depression. Something in their past that threatens to guide their hand.  But, not all sob stories are created equal. Some sob stories, when viewed with perspective on the world and all its possible tragedies, are downright petty and pointless. But even if your sob story is legit….even if you have the worst life ever, where your father would rape you every night he came home drunk while you were growing up or something like that, your past is NOT AN EXCUSE for how you deal with the present or the future.

It might make your actions, especially the shitty stuff you do, more understandable.

But that still doesn’t make it okay.

Just because you were abused as a kid doesn’t mean it’s ALRIGHT for you to become a kleptomaniac. A shitty childhood doesn’t excuse a pathological liar. It doesn’t excuse a serial cheater. Just because some man in your past tortured you in his basement doesn’t mean it’s okay to hate all men on the face of the Earth.  If your family raised you on a diet that made you fat, and you’re an adult now, guess what? You have the power to control what goes in to your mouth, in what quantities and (very important) what qualities in terms of nutrition. It’s weak to allow your past to control yourself. It may make your situation more understandable, for sure. There should be NO SHAME in the past. But you are in control now and you can make that choice every day to change your situation and BE WHO YOU WANT TO BE. Why would you let your past and the trials of Life dictate who you are? It is the easy choice to give up. It is the easy choice to pretend that there ISN’T a choice.

There is ALWAYS a choice.

To everyone who thinks they can’t help themselves…to everyone who blames something in their past for what they are…to everyone who uses their past as an excuse for how shitty they are in present day and in days yet to come….

MAN THE FUCK UP, AND GROW THE FUCK UP!!!!!!!

Take charge of your life, because no one is gonna do it for you. We all have our own crap to deal with. You don’t wanna be an asshole? Stop being an asshole. You hate your friends? Stop being their friend.  Of course fighting against your circumstances is hard, of course being a good person is hard.  If it was easy then we wouldn’t have so many assholes covering the world, now would we?

Which brings up the whole “Selfishness VS Self-Preservation” thing – where do you draw the line? Is one inherently part of the other? Is true altruism the lack of self-preservation?

I was talking with my boyfriend tonight and he was torn up, emotionally. His ex-girlfriend called him up out of nowhere, with an unknown number, past 10PM. They dated for 1.5 years, got a dog together, and split some months later. They shared custody of the dog at first, but at one point she took the dog and wouldn’t answer any calls, emails, or messages from him. Complete radio silence – she didn’t want to give the dog back. The dog is technically in his name, legally speaking, and this was kidnapping/stealing. He eventually got the dog back, thank God. It’s been ~2 years since then, give or take a few months, and she called to ask if she could see Jasper again. Now, the very idea of seeing her again, even on the street, fills my boyfriend with complete dread and panic-attack-like-fear and stress. He turned her down….but felt guilty. “Sad,” he had said to me. He felt bad for her, and he said that even though the things she did (which caused them to break up prior to the kidnapping) were horrible, awful, shitty things to do, he felt bad for her because she “Couldn’t help herself.” Because of her past, because of her terrible childhood, it dictated and explained all of her actions in adulthood.

FUCK.
THAT.

She’s not the only one who had a terrible childhood, and no I’m not going to make this in to a contest of who has the worst life before age 10. It’s not about that. Because it doesn’t matter. You can be sad about your past, you can learn from it, but do you let it control you and turn you in to an awful person? No! People need to stop being a victim and take charge. I’d be more sympathetic if a person actually tried but still got awfulness in return. That truly sucks. But some people, a whole hell of a LOT of people, don’t even try. They give in, they play the victim, they resign themselves and let the waves of Life yank their body around like a ragdoll caught in the tide.

I don’t think it’s selfish to have self-preservation. My boyfriend feels it is selfish to deny her the chance to see Jasper. But there is no good that can come out of this. Say we look at this from a Utilitarian, Humanistic point of view – does the good outweigh the bad? What good can come out of making the choice to allow her to see Jasper? NONE. The answer is none. Not enough good to make it worth it, at least. You can argue that one should be giving, and FORgiving. You can argue that even assholes deserve some niceties – what right do you have to judge them and deny them things? You can argue that it is selfish to stop giving in to their demands.

That’s the thing though, with assholes, it’s ENABLING their bad behavior. Assholes are like petty spoiled children. Say a 2 year old is crying his ass off, begging you and screaming for more candy. Do you give it to him? NO, because you’re enabling him to be a little asshole (who will grow up to be a bigger asshole). Giving him candy isn’t even good for the kid, and the kid would pay for it later, despite thinking he really wants the candy right now. You can’t just keep giving people what they want. At best, you will absolve YOURSELF from the guilt of having to deny that person what they want. But cutting him off, that is not selfishness. That is self-preservation, overlapping with TOUGH LOVE. People have to stop being enablers. Actually, if all you do is absolve yourself from guilt while enabling the other person to continue down a harmful path, it is arguably SELFISH of you to choose to give in to them. People have to realize it’s okay to say no, in fact, it could be beneficial in the long run…not just for you, but for that asshole in question….because this gives them an opportunity to grow from the challenge. This gives them an opportunity to look at where they are and change things, hopefully for the better.

After getting off the phone and still feeling somewhat enraged by tonight, I found an interesting post on Reddit that speaks in regards to Selfishness VS Self-preservation, and where the line is. It actually lines up with the “enablement” that I was talking about. I don’t think I am explaining it in a convincing and logical way, so please read this post instead. Found it through Reddit’s search bar.  I think I even explained the concept of enabling much better to my boyfriend, in the heat of the moment, better than I have here in my blog post. Screenshot and transcription below.  Click the image for a bigger, more readable view.

Here is the main comment, transcribed:

“Upvote for you, I think this is a great question.

True Story: I know a family who had 5 kids. The kids grew into adults, but continued to feed/leach off their parents. The parents continued to enable their children by helping them in every way they possibly could; money, food, transportation, housing, etc. The adult children married and had many children of their own, and the practice continued, with none of them giving back to the parents what they had used/borrowed/taken.

Eventually, the very harmony of family fell apart as the income from the parents was no longer enough to sustain them all, and so the kids moved away. The orginal family home now showed signs of neglect. The floors began to fall in, the roof in dire need of repair, and yet there wasn’t enough money to fix any of it. The parents had given all they could, sacrificed everything they had, for their kids and grandkids. The mother died not long after, and the father sold what was left of the house and moved to another state, with the money from the house being split between the 5 kids. (The house sold for only $30k.)

Now, today, the cycle continues. Only one of the kids graduated from college, two from highschool, the remaining two dropped out. They continue to leach off each other, but primarily the one who graduated from college. None of the grandkids (young adults now) have learned any life skills and now have kids of their own. A very sad story, imo.

I would defend another and sacrifice myself for another’s life who was in danger. But in daily life I think the sacrifice we should make is to teach others how to care for themselves. How to stand on their own and make a life for themselves. I think that we should be careful not to let others ‘tear us down’, as then we couldn’t help anyone else.

I didn’t say it very well, but yes, OP, I think we should drawn a line at the point where it would jeapordize our own livelihood.”

Ranty rant rant rant. I’ve been wanting to write about something with more substance, more opinion, and more meat than a diary post. Guess I got my wish. But there’s still a little diary in there. ;)

Does anyone else have any thoughts about anything mentioned here? Especially where you draw the line between Selfishness and Self-Preservation?  I don’t care if you disagree with me, but I won’t approve any ad hominem attacks.  That’s not arguing a side, that’s being petty.

On Being a [Depressed] Introvert, Part II

Part I of the angst here.

ADHD? Neurosis? Depression? I’ve never been diagnosed by a doctor, but a diagnosis is not going to suddenly put my life together in a perfectly wrapped package. There is no magic bullet, no panacea that can suddenly make me in to a functioning and affable member of society. There are things I do know, problems that interrupt life and frustrate me to no end. I’ve read that a lot of adults with ADHD become depressed because they get frustrated with their inabilities to focus and control their mind, while most adult peers can do it so easily. I fall in to this camp.

Other people don’t fidget, don’t pick at their nails or constantly have to move and shift. Other people take up knitting because they like making things. I took up knitting because even while watching an engrossing television show, I still need to do SOMETHING with my hands. Otherwise I can’t watch the show, I can’t focus on it. My feet, if bare, always rub against something or each other. I prefer one on one hangouts with friends because any more and I don’t know who to pay attention to.  Little sounds, like chair squeaks, freezer hums, birds chirping, they all distract me while talking to someone or watching TV.  I feel like a nervous squirrel, always on high alert for any new thing on the premises.

As an introvert, I tend to like being alone.  But even we can get depressed, and this manifests itself as such….I come home, look forward to being alone, but upon realizing I’m alone I become horribly, uncontrollably lonely.  I feel abandoned, and I don’t feel that I am alone by choice, I feel like I am alone because no one wants to be with me.  Which is irrational, completely untrue, and yet I find myself believing it wholeheartedly in those moments.  First, the emotions all hit me, and then after experiencing the emotion my brain comes up with reasons to be sad.  I imagine possible futures, but all of them sinister.  In my deepest fantasies during this time, where anything can happen, my mind imagines the worst scenarios.

Every day is a struggle to control my mind.  With the way I get distracted by things in an ADHD way, I have to cull the triggers….avoid certain websites or the internet all together.  Avoid talking to certain people.  Avoid instant messangers, though I leave it on in case there’s something important (we communicate through it at work).  There are so many moments in the day where I make a choice to avoid this, don’t do that, so I can concentrate on doing something productive.  But all it takes is one little slip…one tiny misstep.  And I slide down so far.  There is no room for error.

This is the best way I can describe it.  It’s like my mind is a runaway train. I can see we’ve flown past the sign that reads, “Point of No Return”, I can see the train tracks are wrecked in front of us and things need to stop or it’ll go from bad to worse.  I can see all that, but all the levers are greased, and no matter how hard I try I can’t regain control of the train.  I can’t stop this disaster from happening, despite being painfully aware that what I’m doing should be stopped.

I strayed from the first idea I was trying to expound….but going back to it and to reiterate, a diagnosis is not going to help me.  I don’t need a pill to sedate myself.  What I need is coaching..what I need is practice and hardwork.  I need to perfect the techniques that steer me away from the distractions, that teach me to put myself in a scenario where I can focus and get things done.  I need to know how to manipulate the world so that I can function like a normal human being and not just cry myself to exhaustion.  However, when I do cry myself to exhaustion, it leaves me bereft of any more feelings.  Then I can finally focus on getting work done.

Overwhelmed.

Schedule for today:

9:00am – Leave for work.
9:20am – Catch a train to Queens.  Read “All You Need is KILL” and escape from reality for just a bit.
10:00am – Arrive at work; drink coffee, eat a banana. Read the news.
10:30am – Begin work.
1:00pm – Interrupt work to order lunch. Bathroom break.
1:10pm – Back to work.
2:00pm – Lunch arrives. Ignore it. Keep working.
2:40pm – Phone call from mom with bad news about my medical bills. Get scolded by mom for not getting enough stuff done. Feel judging eyes and ears of coworkers as I talk on the phone instead of working. Hang up.
2:50pm – Back to work.
3:30pm – Restart work because something got messed up.  Fight with boyfriend.
5:50pm – Bathroom break. Eat lunch.
6:00pm – Back to work.
7:15pm – Boss leaves, tells me to leave too.
8:05pm – Save work, hug boyfriend. Try not to cry. Feel overwhelmed. Feel reluctant to return home because there’s so much to do.
8:10pm – Pass by high quality pancetta and salami, laid out for grabs. Get offered a piece, then refuse it because of a feeling of nausea. Who can eat when there’s so much to be done?
8:20pm – Catch a train ride home.  Read “All You Need is KILL” and escape from reality for just a bit.
9:00pm – Arrive home.
9:01pm – Bathroom break.
9:02pm – Wallow in self pity.
9:15pm – Finally reply to some emails that have been waiting in my inbox for 5 days.
9:30pm – Eat a dinner of cheddar cheese out of the refrigerator.
9:40pm – Wallow in self pity.
10:00pm – Attempt to write letter of appeal to insurance so I don’t have to pay $4000 out of pocket.  Stare at blank paper on computer screen.  Wallow in self pity.
11:00pm – Cry. Stare at ceiling.  Cry.  Deliver thoughts of hate to everything.  Wonder why popcorn ceiling is so unpopular on HGTV.  Wonder why I can’t get things done.  Wonder why I can’t be smarter, faster, more clever, more adept, more better at everything.  Wonder why doctors keep billing me for the wrong things.  Wonder how I’ll have time to call them when I have so much work to do during office hours.  Wonder if I can pay for it all if my appeal is rejected.
11:52pm – Write up this blog post of my shitty day.

Does the Good Outweigh the Bad?

Although we are technically past the halfway point in the year…!

After seeing the “State of Your Year” prompt at the Daily Post, I casually polled my friends about how their 2013 has been so far.

Overwhelmingly, it’s been negative!!  At best, they would say their year was “meh”.  Life is as such that there will always be ups and downs…the question is, does the good outweigh the bad?  And can you roll with the punches?

The Bad

Every new year begins with hope, but unfortunately mine began with a conspicuous mole.  On one hand, you could say that going to a good dermatologist and getting a suspicious mole excised was a good thing.  And I know that has to be true, in the long run.  But we’re not in the future yet, we’re in the present.  I’m in the present and this one, “routine surgery” became a second surgery, then a third, and then a fourth, big, operating-theater-we-must-put-you-under surgery.  Dealing with the first three was already awful, especially because local anaesthetics SUCK and I could feel my flesh getting snipped away.  The fourth surgery went well, technically, but it’s in dealing with the fallout that really sucked.  And I’m STILL dealing with it today:

I can’t take Tylenol anymore because I might be allergic or something.  Since the first pill of Oxycontin after my surgery, all I get are adverse side effects and rebound headaches, even with the over-the-counter Tylenol.

Post-Surgery anti-biotics RUINED MY LIFE!!!!  Okay, I still have a job and a roof over my head.  Now, they don’t want people screwing up with taking antibiotics (by taking too little or too much), so nowadays doctors prescribe single dose pills.  The thing about this is, it’s a STRONG dose of medicine…and antibiotics are indiscriminate   So while it will kill bacteria that may infect my incision, it also kills the “good bacteria” in my gut that helps me digest and function, biologically, normally.  It also ruins…surprise surprise…the delicate balance in your vagina :(   My digestion problems cleared up in a month of taking probiotics, but yeast infections now plague me.  I HATE IT.  I never had these before my surgery, then got it just a week afterwards – the doctors were not surprised, and apparently it is common to get yeast infections after surgery like that.  Since my surgery 3 months ago, I’ve been getting a new infection (or the resurfacing of the old one…) every month, before my period.  This is also common, according to various internet advise sites….because of the estrogen drop a week before my period.  I say “resurfacing” because pretty much everyone has yeast.  Sorry, I know it’s a gross thought.  But it doesn’t hurt you and become an “infection” because your body is in balance…the antibiotics wrecked me enough that I can’t seem to get back “in balance” yet.  So I’m taking probiotic pills, changing my diet so carbs (AKA sugars) are rare, and my mom just dropped off some home made yogurt for me to eat.  Fingers crossed that this gets fixed, cuz it also means no more alcohol :(

Some people get itchy when they have a yeast infection.  My reaction is burning, searing, hideous pain when I’m trying to sleep.  You know that quote from the movie, Heathers?

“Fuck me gently with a chainsaw.”

That’s what it feels like, but a chainsaw is never all THAT gentle!  I scream and cry till I fall asleep from exhaustion.

The medical bills.  They’re awful.  They’re everything anyone has ever complained about when it comes to hospital bills in the US.  Though I have insurance, I still have to pay another $10,000 out of pocket.  I’m getting billed for things that I’m not even sure I should be billed for, which is sometimes the case (I’ve read) with hospitals….they are a bastion of incompetence when it comes to billing.  I have a literal stack of bills on my desk to sort through, with tons of triple-digit codes whose true meanings I’m not privy to.  All this has been accumulating over the past 3-4 weeks.  I think everything is finally in, so the massive amount of phone calls I’m doing to figure stuff out has begun.  I still need to write an appeal letter to my insurance, to see if they can cover a bit more of what the hospital is charging me, call the hospital to see if a certain $300 charge was erroneous or not (I thought post-op follow ups are supposed to be included with the surgery price, not count as a separate appointment), attempt negotiations with my 2nd surgeon and beg him to lower his bill….complain to another doctor about how they submitted my tissue to an out-of-network lab instead of one that’s in-network….that’s totally their mistake….and ….damn…there was 1 more thing.  I’ve forgotten what it is.  It just sucks.  Oh yeah, I need to ask my insurance for a partial refund for something and ask yet a different doctor for a refund as well, because I’m short on money now.

I hope this isn’t how the rest of my life is going to be like.

The Good

  Despite all that crap, there’s been some great things happening this year.  The biggest technically started at the end of 2012 – I got a new boyfriend!!  And I know it’s unhealthy to compare your ex to your current guy, but I keep doing it and my current boyfriend keeps ending up on top.  He’s better in 99.998% of all the match ups!  He’s been really sweet and supportive to me throughout all of that horrible surgery stuff, which can’t be fun for someone who just got in to a new relationship with a girl.  It’s like, the anti-thesis of a honeymoon period.  I remember one time when we were working together….it was after the third surgery, and I finally got a call from my dermatologist with my biopsy results.  Margins were positive; my dermatologist then told me to see an oncologist because this was too much for her to handle without an operating room.  It meant that all this pain was not over, and I burst out crying at work.  With barely any time to hit “END” on my cellphone, I dashed down the stairs and ran in to the back hallway, where no one goes, to cry in secret.  My boyfriend followed me out and gave me a shoulder to cry on….and I’ll never forget that.  Oh yeah, and his dog is a sweetie, too :D

There’s also a lot of good to look forward to, in the future.  I’ve got some vacations lined up!

  • September – I meet my boyfriend’s parents for the first time…!  We’re going to Provincetown, MA, specifically since we can take his dog there.  There’s a lot of dog-friendly hotels, restaurants, etc. so it should be fun!  I’m really nervous about this and hope it doesn’t end up on the “Bad” list for the end of 2013.  I’ve never been good with meeting parents, even with platonic friends.  I’m not good at meeting people, period!  Social awkwardness can be a real curse.
  • November – FIRST INTERNATIONAL TRIP in 3 years!!!!!!!  You have no idea how antsy I been getting by staying in the US for so long!!  My sister invited me to this wedding in the Philippines with her, and I’m soooo excited.  We’ll finally get to explore the Philippines without our parents, and go do tourist things, enjoy 5-star white sand beaches, cheap yet amazing food, $5 USD massages…!  I am not looking forward to the bugs.  Last time I was there, I counted 30 mosquito bites and 1 infected spider bite.
  • October – not a vacation, but I’m doing the Electric Run with my sister and a good friend of mine…and I’m really excited for this one!

So was it a good half year or a bad one?  It’s a mixed bag, just like everything in life.  There’s a lot I want to put behind me, and even more I’m looking forward to.