Saturday, February 27, 2010

What the Fuck?

Okay, so it's another sleepless night for the Queen of the Universe, and I'm watching late night tv and there was nothing else worth watching, so I settled on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. I don't normally watch this show, because the families always make me cry, but there was literally nothing else besides footage of the earthquake in Chile.

So, the episode I'm watching is this one. This kid, Garrett Yazzie, who asked the show to help his family...this kid blows my mind. Not just because of the selflessness with which he devotes himself to his family, but because of the reason they decided to help the family.

You see, Garrett's family is Navajo and they live on the reservation, in a trailer that was falling down around their ears. They were heating their home with coal or wood, but his younger sister has asthma and the fire was making her sick. So, this kid, this junior high school kid goes out to the junk yard and with nothing but his hands, his brain and crap he finds in the junk yard...namely soda bottles and an old radiator...this kid builds a solar powered water-heater that also heats his house.

And this is where the "What the Fuck" comes in...because this kid...he's a kid, you know? A junior high school kid with no fucking education can build a solar powered heating system out of trash. We have fucking scientist and government agencies supposedly devoted to this shit, and it's "too expensive" and real change is "years away." It's fucking bullshit. If a teenage kid can do it, why the fuck can't our government get their shit together and figure it out?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Body Image, Bravery and HNT

I have struggled with body image issues my entire life. I don't remember a time when I didn't hate my body, whether it was my freckles, my hair, my pallid skin, my body size or shape...none of it ever pleased me. I never looked in the mirror and thought good thoughts. Like so many other girls, I have never been able to look in the mirror or at pictures of myself and not tear to pieces what I saw there. No matter what cruel things have been said to me by various people at various times, I have always been the person who treated myself the worst.

I am a recovered(ing?) bulimic. It's been awhile since I purged, but rarely a week goes by without the compulsion rearing it's ugly head. It's a compulsion like nothing else I've ever felt. But, now, there is always in my mind that beautiful young girl I'm raising, and the idea that I could relapse and she could find out about that relapse is a pretty decent defense. It gives me more strength than I'd ever have on my own. Because, you see, as a mother of a young girl, I am painfully aware of negative body image and the effect that media has on a young girl. I try really hard to make sure she knows that she's beautiful, that she's perfect the way she is. I try to help her love who she is and the body that contains who she is. But I am just one tiny voice, and the media is everywhere, telling her in subtle and blatant ways that she is not good enough, that she will never be good enough. And the idea that she could hate herself the way I have always hated myself sickens me in a way I cannot ever describe.

Just recently, she had an assignment for school and she had to do a project about her biggest hero. To my utter delight and surprise, she chose me. She wanted to talk about how smart I am and how I deal with being sick and how I'm still a good mom despite that. And, wow, nothing in the world makes you want to be a better person than the realization that your child admires want to feel like you deserve that admiration. So, we had an evening where we went through my old Academic Decathlon stuff, and pictures of me and we talked about me. Which was...disconcerting. I mean, certain things I love to talk about, like Academic Decathlon, and my friends and things I like to read and basically anything dealing with my intelligence, of which I have an inordinate amount of pride (or vanity). But when she asked me why there are hardly any pictures of me, I had a hard time coming up with a good answer. How do you tell your child that you hate yourself? You can't. Not if you are a halfway sane and decent parent. So, I stuttered about and made excuses about always being the one taking the pictures, which she called me on because I never let her take my picture. So, I made some more lame excuses and changed the subject.

But, later on, and over the past few weeks, it's been gnawing at me. The best way to lead is by example, right? Because that whole "Do as I say, not as I do" thing is ridiculously ineffective. And I want to keep her respect, and being a hypocrite isn't the best way to do that, I think.

I was reading one of my favorite blogs last week, and the writer had posted her HNT picture. For those you who are unfamiliar with HNT, it stands for Half-Nekkid Thursday. You can read about it here. HNT is different things to different people. For some, it is an opportunity to let out their inner exhibitionist, for others, it's about the art and for still others it's about bravery. But, the basic idea is to celebrate the human body, in all it's wildly imperfect perfection. HNT is not pornography nor is it about sex, though, of course, given the subject matter, many HNT pictures are sexy or provocative. But, they can also be silly or sad, serious or light hearted.

I've been looking at HNT pictures for a long time, as I do truly admire the human body, and yeah, some of the bloggers I look at regularly I find attractive, but that's not why I keep reading their blogs. They have substance, or their pictures are beautifully artistic or they give good photography tips. So, I've been sort of ruminating and I've decided to begin HNT here on my blog. I'm hoping that by forcing myself to take pictures of myself, I will have to look at my body through different eyes. Not hating, loathing eyes, but objective eyes. I'm hoping to gain acceptance of myself, and wow, does that sound awfully corny to my cynical mind.

Obviously, I'm aware that since some of my readers (most, actually) know me in real life, this is sort of a pretty big minefield to navigate. Americans are incredibly prudish and while it's totally okay to look at pictures of people we don't know, looking at naked pictures of our friends and family members is a huge taboo. But, even though I'm embarking on this learn to love my body project, I'm not looking to change my basic personality, so you aren't going to see something vulgar or horrifying. I mean, my mother reads this blog, as do other family members, and there's a contingent who know about and read this blog in what I feel is an attempt to find things to use against me. So, while you're going to see more of me than you ever have, you're not going to be seeing anything R rated, let alone X rated.

I thought about starting a different blog, or just posting on one of the many sites that allows random posting of HNT pictures, but I rejected that idea almost immediately. First of all, I post here erratically enough as it is, splitting my posting energy between this blog and another blog is unrealistic and would lead to the demise of both pretty quickly. Secondly, starting a new blog would mean having a blog with zero readership, so there would be no accountability. And, I really think this is important for me. It will be good for me to in that making this commitment guarantees that I blog at least once a week, but I think it'll actually lead to me blogging more than that, because I'm going to not want it to be all about HNT, so I'm going to be forcing myself to blog on other days about other things.

I took this picture in bathroom mirror. My bathroom has the best lighting of any room in the house, and since I'm new to this, I wanted to keep it simple, so I didn't want to try to set up a scene and use the timer function on my camera, though another perk of this project is that it's going to push me to be a better photographer.

Without further ado...Welcome to the first edition of the Queen of the Universe's Half-Nekked Thursday...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

It All Comes Back 'Round Again...

My younger sister mentioned this song the other day on Facebook, flashing back to a whole other time in our lives, and it's been on pretty much constant rotation on my iPod since.

Back in the day, this was just a fun song to sing at the top of our lungs over and over again while a friend played it on the guitar. Good times, great, it's got another layer of meaning for me since the exgirlfriend was one of those singing along and things ended so spectacularly badly between us, but I kinda like that. I love when something familiar takes on new meaning...

This is the only version I could find to post, and it's edited, which kinda sucks, but that doesn't mean you can't scream "you fuck" at the appropriate moment. I highly recommend it, it's very therapeutic.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I Can't Decide If This Is Sad or Funny

Why The Queen of the Universe Should Really Learn To Read Labels

So, the other night, when this cold kicked in, I was coughing up a lung and in an effort to keep from dislocating something I went looking for cough syrup, and when I found some in my medicine cabinet, I did a happy dance (which caused another coughing fit....idiot) and promptly dosed myself, then went back to bed where I waited for the coughing to subside so I could get my three hours of sleep. The coughing kinda slowed, but sleep eluded me...also I started to get the urge to organize my kitchen, at like 3 am. At which point, I went back and read the label on the cough syrup, and there, in bright bold letters it said...Non-Drowsy formula. So, I read the ingredients and there it was...ephedrine. Shit...

See, I have no thyroid, and I take thyroid hormone replacement, and one of the first things you learn when you are taking thyroid meds is that all the good cold medicines, you know, the ones that contain ephedrine that make it so you can breathe and all that are kind of off limits. So, I haven't had any ephedrine in years. It was like someone shot speed straight into my nonexistent veins. So, there I was at 3 am with a racing brain and weak and tired body, feeling very spacey because I was all hopped up on cough syrup. I'm sure other people would have handled themselves maturely, but, me...I cruised the internet and ended up on Craigslist in the personals section. Which, really, isn't so unusual for me. I spend a lot of time trolling Craigslist looking at the all the animals I want to adopt, but can't and reading the silly and misspelled, grammatical nightmare ads in the personals section. But on this particular night, someone was clearly fucking with me. Because they obviously knew that I was hopped up on cough syrup, and had posted a rant against bisexuals.

Now, I've posted before about how much it kinda sucks to identify as a bisexuals, so needless to say, in my addled state the rant, which was vaguely illiterate and ridiculously insulting struck a nerve and because I was hopped up on cough syrup kinda ticked me off...particularly this part...

when you're bisexual or a man looking to molest, rape, or whatever you predators do

Umm...what?!? What the fuck is that? Because I like women and men I'm a predator??? Now, normally, I'd laugh and shrug this off. I mean...we are talking know. the site where you can get a goat and a used vibrator and hook up with meth-seeking hooker, all for free? Not that anyone should do any of those things, and probably not all at once, but, hey, I'm not here to judge...well, except the goat part. Leave the goat out of the equation. I mean, if you want to hook up with a meth-seeking hooker and use someone else's used vibrator, by all means...but leave the goat out of it, okay? We have to draw the line somewhere...

So, okay where was I? Oh, right...getting all worked up because some anonymous Craigslist idiot was calling bisexuals predators. So, anyway, because I was hopped up on cough syrup I got the idea in my head that for some reason I could educate this woman about how bisexuals are people just like anyone else. I wrote her a very polite e-mail explaining that bisexuality was as valid a sexual identity as lesbianism and how I was sorry that some bisexual girls are skanky asshats who use lesbians as experimental objects, but how we weren't all like that. To which she replied that I was a dirty slut.

Erm...okay...I've slept with all of two people in the last 13 years, but I'm a dirty slut?!?

A rational person would have given in at this point. Okay, a rational person would have never gotten involved in any of this, but you get my point. But, since I'm me and I was all hopped up on cough syrup (Did I mention the cough syrup yet? Because I'm certain that the cough syrup is why I did any of this, not because I'm a somewhat irrational drama queen.) I wrote my own Craigslist post, asking lesbians to be somewhat more understanding of bisexual girls and admonishing bisexual girls to stop posting ads looking for a "gift" for their boyfriends and posting pictures of their vaginas. Seriously? I was trying to reason with strangers on Craigslist.

Needless to say, I got lots of replies, ranging from "Shut up, you dirty bisexual pervert" to "thanks for standing up for bisexuals" to "I'm looking to surprise my boyfriend with a threesome, here's a picture of my vagina." I finally took down the ad because I get enough spam in my inbox, and it was confusing and upsetting to read insults in one e-mail, propositions in the next and heartfelt thanks in a third.

So, what have we learned, dear readers? We have learned that the Queen of the Universe needs to read labels before she ingests cough medicine, that Craigslist is a black hole of all that's wrong with humanity, that the Queen of the Universe is open-minded to other's sexual perversion so long as they leave the goat out of the equation and that it's probably best if none of this ever sees the light of day.

The Old One, Two

So, now in addition to the flare I've been experiencing, I've got a cold. Colds suck quite enough on their own, thank you very much...I don't need this two for the price of one thing. Headache, cough, sore throat, all compounded...viruses and chronic illness don't have an additive effect, they have an exponential effect. So, instead of the fun filled shopping I could be doing this weekend, I'm bed and couch bound. Sigh...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Not Fair, Not Fair, Not Fair...

I've been busy, I've been happy and accomplishing things and I've felt pretty dang fantastic. The last week or so I've felt a little icky, nothing too bad, but I slowed down, tried to take it easy and ignore the mess, and steel myself against the snarky comments that would be coming my way from my sister because of the mess. I spent time with family, yes, because regardless what happens, I'm not isolating myself again, and I won't be sad and lonely and sitting by myself all the time. Bad enough that I'm sick, I'm not going to be miserable and alone, too. But, I've said no to a few family gatherings, or cut them short to try and conserve energy.

My body, however, decided to remind me that I'm not in charge, that I'm sick, and that sometimes means that life sucks. It started yesterday morning, feeling icky, tired and nearly hungover, which was hugely unfair, considering that I didn't drink and haven't drank in nearly two weeks. Then the vague headache that had been building all day became one of those crippling, shattering headaches, and I had no pain relievers at all in the house....not so much as a single aspirin. I dragged myself to the convenience store because it was that or wait for at least two hours for someone else to be available to get them for me, and by them I'd have been crying on the floor, vomiting. Not my idea of fun, and if it got to that point not only would I be in bed for a week, I'd likely have ended up at the ER because my headaches have a point of no return for ordinary painkillers and once I pass that point the only thing that brings relief is Demerol.

An hour after taking Excedrin Migraine and Motrin (yes, it's safe...they're two different types of medications and I was within safe dosage range) and thankfully, the pain faded. I had acted in time...but not in time to keep the headache from recurring four hours later, which it did...and not with a gradual onset, but with sudden, raging intensity. And so another hour of waiting for the pain to subside. Which meant about two hours of sleep last night. After dropping the munchkin off at school this morning, I came home and went back to bed, hoping against what I knew, which was that I wasn't going to feel better after a few more hours of rest. And I didn't. I woke up nauseated and dizzy and in oh so much pain. I had to cancel a meeting I had, and have the midget's father pick her up from school, which I hate to do because I feel like asking him for help gives him ammunition to use against me, because we have a somewhat contentious relationship, but my sister had to work, the exgirlfriend is out of reach (not that I even seriously considered asking for help from that direction), my cousin is watching her sister's kids due to a family emergency, which sort of left me with no options.

The feelings all this caused...the anger and sadness about being sick, the guilt about not being able to pick up the midget, the fear of what asking the midget's father for help might mean, anxiety about missing my nearly sent me into a full-on panic attack, something I distinctly did not need. I made myself relax, tried to accept that I was going to be in bed all day, possibly tomorrow as well, and spent my afternoon reading blogs. I'm still sad and angry and slightly anxious, but also a bit resigned and determined not to fall into that deep, dark hole called depression, and hold onto the fact that yes, today sucks, and tomorrow might as well, but I'll feel better again, I'll be up and around again, and I will make the most of a shitty situation.

Okay, chronic illness...this round goes to you...but I'll be back...

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Things have definitely picked up around here. Between school for me and the midget, cooking, family gatherings and whatnot I'm a busy little bee...Which I rather like. I'm concerned, of course, about keeping my activity levels low enough that I don't end up in bed for a week from exhaustion, so I'm trying to be smart about my activity..saying "no" when I should and all that. It's hard, though, because I'm enjoying my life so much these days and "sitting this one out" is so patently unfair it makes me want to scream. But the reality is that if I don't do this, I'll be sitting on the sidelines for everything for awhile and that holds absolutely zero interest for me, thank you very much.