Tuesday, October 25, 2016

I Miss Carbs and I'm Sweaty and Angry and Everything Hurts but Now I Can Blog Again So YAY RANT AND CHICKEN PUNS AND EXISTENTIAL DREAD

Yeah so this is basically like a stream of consciousness post that probably doesn't really make linear sense even though I kinda tried to add some kind of logical flow to it but like WELCOME TO THE AUTISTIC THUNDERDOME FRIENDS LETS GET WEIRD AND EXISTENTIALLY UNCOMFORTABLE



Since starting on ADD meds, I've noticed a really dramatic change in my attention span. I think in the back of my mind, I've always kind of resisted my attention deficit diagnosis because I thought I was misdiagnosed, that it was just autism. But ADD is part of the autism profile, a pretty intrinsic one at that, and the difference I feel on this teeny, extended release dosage is marked. I'd been on a stimulant before my autism diagnosis, and whether it was the medication itself, the fact that it wasn't extended release (because I couldn't afford it as it was not available as a generic at the time), or if the dosage was too high, it pretty much just made me tweak out. To its credit, I did get some stuff accomplished--in all honesty, it's probably the only reason I graduated--but it took a big toll. I thought it was amazing at first, like I could see sounds and hear colors, but I also didn't sleep for about three days and my heart rate was probably through the roof. On my current medication, though, I can finally concentrate long enough to form coherent thoughts, and even blog for the first time in about eight months! What follows originally started as a Facebook post, but as I noticed how long it was getting and how I was kind of diverting from the actual article, I decided to just blerg about it. The post was a piece written by a weight loss doctor (to my knowledge, not a bariatric surgeon--a "traditional" non-surgical practitioner) about achieving long-term weight loss and avoiding the pitfalls of "The Biggest Loser," whose contestants overwhelmingly gain all their weight back (and more) and destroy their metabolisms. I shared with the following quote:

"If you want to succeed with long-term weight loss, it's crucial that you embrace both reality and imperfection.

Remember, too, that your best efforts will vary. Your best when facing a challenging time in life will be different from your best when everything is hunky-dory, just as your best on your birthday, or on a vacation, or at a holiday meal will require indulgence.

The truth is there will come a point where you can't happily live any better — where you can't happily eat less and you can't happily exercise more — and your weight, living with that life, is your best weight. In every other area of our lives we readily accept our best efforts as great, and we need to do that with weight and healthful living too."

It really resonated with me, because I'm in a seemingly constant struggle between desperately trying to lose all the weight I've packed on--nearly 100 pounds--and accepting and loving my body for what it is, what it can do right now, at this moment, and what it can be capable of.

I recently found out that I'm now insulin resistant on top of everything else: probable endometriosis (having surgery to confirm next week); Hashimoto's Disease, wherein my stupid immune system, rather than do its job, is attacking my perfectly healthy thyroid and slowly but surely destroying its function, which will require a lifetime of thyroid replacement meds (which have up to this point been fantastically useless at alleviating the fatigue, sweatiness and weight gain); fibromyalgia, which causes all-over body pain and fatigue, as well as general feelings of malaise and hopelessness; phantom chest pains; medically inexplicable stomach pains that I no longer seek treatment for, as I am treated as a malingerer; Severe, chronic knee pain that can't be explained by x-ray or MRI, which both came back normal--I believe it's arthritis, because both my grandmother and aunt have/had rheumatoid, and both had no indication of it in traditional bloodwork panels, x-ray, and MRI; and finally there's just good ol' depression and anxiety, my oldest friends--though I would say that I don't really feel sadness in my day to day life (mostly because I just look at dumb internet memes all day so I do a lot of laughing), but I do have an overarching existential dread type-deal because in looking to the future, I'm realizing more and more just how impossible the lives of disabled women who don't *look* disabled are, how insanely fucking rampant institutionalized ableism is, how I'll never escape poverty because I was set up to fail even if I wasn't disabled, all that jazz. Plus now I have these fun little panic attacks sometimes about being trapped in air vents, because why the fuck not.

So in an effort to not become full-blown Type II Diabetic, I've just begun a low-carb diet. I was originally planning on following a ketogenic diet, but it's extremely stringent--5% carbs, 25% protein, 70% fat. I may eventually work up to it if I don't have any success with a moderately carb-adjusted diet, but carbs are my jelly, my jam, and my peanuts. I basically bleed marinara.

I've technically only been on it for two days, and I've only been taking my Metformin (idk what it does actually but it's for Type II diabetics) once (supposed to be twice a day but honestly the side effects scare the bejesus out of me, the lady who read me my test results was like "LOL you will have it coming out of both ends but it should subside after a while"), but it's awful. Sugar is my everything. Sugar is IN everything. Honestly, the FDA really fucked us with that food pyramid of theirs--I know human nutrition is complicated, but christ on a cracker, 6-11 servings of grains, nearly all of which have some goddamn form of added sugar? Get everyone fat and addicted, then make it impossible for poor people to access more nutritionally wholesome foods, then shame the fuck out of them when they get fat and diabetic from the nutritionally deficient shit you peddle to them.

/soapbox

I know some of my frustration is from not fully understanding wtf "net carbs" means, or how fiber content offsets the total carb content, or not even knowing or having the faintest idea of ideal target percentages of what I'm supposed to eat--protein, fat, carbs. I know I'm supposed to snack on stuff that has 15g of carbs or less, and meals shouldn't go over 30g total, but what am I substituting for those lost carbs? Fat? Because I'm also reading that I shouldn't be eating a lot of fat. So, I should just be eating shitloads of protein? My issue with that is that most of my protein sources are beans and grains, which are carbs. I'm really not much of a meat eater, and I can't really afford to eat fish on the reg, which leaves eggs. I can get a dozen from Aldi for 79 cents, which is an amazingly good deal, but I'm also very cognizant of the horrors of factory farming. Being poor and dietarily limited has really highlighted in the worst possible way how dietary moralities are wrapped up in privilege. A friend of mine posted a referendum from her state that would force farms to not be huge dicks to chickens, which sounded awesome to me. But her point was that these things that seem so simple and easy and good can have unintended consequences--the consequence, in this instance, would be a cost increase that could potentially be prohibitive to folks living in poverty. Enter Moral Compass White Man, whose insistence that the possible inconvenience to poor people was a small price to pay for improving chicken lives. He reasoned that poor people could eat anything--beans! grains!--as an alternative protein source, neglecting to understand the complexities of poverty, human nutrition, differing dietary needs, taste, or the simple fact that those folks probably already fucking eat beans and grains because meat is expensive, and eggs are versatile and a dietary staple for many, particularly children, who tend to like simple, bland foods. I would fucking love to have my own chickens, to raise them with love and name them funny names like Roger and Francis/Ajax and Cluckers McRoosterface and let them roam freely and enjoy their fresh eggs without feeling like an asshole, but I'm just not in a position to do so. I don't know that I ever realistically will, but I'm cautiously optimistic. (Okay now I'm just thinking about good chicken names, so I'm gonna need like twelve chickens minimum--Johann Sebastian Bach Bach Bach, Anne of Green Gobbles, Kimmie Gobbler, Alice in Chains, Yippie Ki Yay Mother Clucker, and they will be my BOCKScar Children, omg someone stop me)

ANYWAAAAAAY this was kinda all over the place and my tailbone is killing me because I've been sitting upright for an hour so I guess I'll just end with this: the reason why I'm even attempting some facsimile of keto is because these people BELIEVE me. When I tell them that no matter what I do, I can't lose weight, they don't question me, gaslight me, or give me a goddamn poorly-xeroxed sheet of the fiber content of different fruits. No fucking joke, my doctor did that when I gained just ten pounds--so, 165 pounds as someone who is 5'8 1/2 or 5'9, depending on who does the measuring. I heard dick all about nutrition before I started gaining weight (in earnest, not ten pounds because of a switch from running to an elliptical because of knee pain), and I'm far more nutritionally literate than I was at 155, when I was eating a lot more crap because I was burning so much of it off because I ran so much.

I trust the folks who run keto and other "alternative" nutritional blogs instinctively because they treat me like I'm a person. They don't tell me all my medical problems stem from my weight, because they don't. The weight doesn't help, and in a lot of cases probably exacerbates my symptoms, but the problems were there long before I put on weight. When someone experiences a dramatic change in weight loss, they run a bunch of tests (as was in the case of my parental unit, who had developed latent type 1 diabeetus). When it's the opposite, they gaslight and shame you. It's no goddamn wonder fat people hate going to the doctor--I could be impaled in my abdomen, and they'd still tell me I'm having pain because I'm fat. And it's to the point where I actually want to lose weight before I see another rheumatologist, because I just can't fucking take the gaslighting anymore. My gym membership lapsed at the end of September so it's been nearly a month of not going to the gym, and I'm definitely in a lot more pain than usual, but what can I do? I've been unemployed for a full year. There's an amazing complex near my house that actually fulfills my exercise needs--aka not a tiny two person pool like my former gym, but THREE pools, two of which are heated, one of which is specifically for physical therapy--but it's $700 a year. My mom offered to pay before she knew how expensive it was, and I'm kinda hesitant to ask, because it's not fair of me to ask. Well, none of it is fair, really. Unfair City: Population Me, forever and always it seems. It's like I can't catch a single fucking break, and I have my AS therapist and my mom encouraging me to file for Disability, which I know will be a long series of being gaslit and denied and told over and over that I'm not X% disabled enough to qualify. Then there's the matter of also not fucking wanting to be on it--I WANT to work. Nobody graduates from fucking Allegheny and thinks, "Gee, I think I'll live at home for for the rest of my life in a shit town where I hate everyone and just languish for a few years until I just die inside! Yas!" I thought I was going to get an amazing job, set the world on fire, and pay my mom's house off for her. I was gonna grab the world by the balls, and instead I just wilted. My body imploded upon itself, and I learned just how fucking hostile the world is towards neurodivergence when I was fired from a fucking AUTISM CHARITY for being autistic. Where the fuck are you supposed to go from there? I would literally be homeless if it wasn't for my mom. And dead probably. I sometimes have panic attacks about having to surrender my cats because I can't care for them financially. I cry for no reason. I'm crying now. Because of something that I know won't happen. I know I have people in my life who would step in and step up and help me take care of my cats, even if that meant them fostering them for a while if I couldn't bring them with me to a relative's house. Logically, I know that, and I can sometimes bring myself down from that sense of panic, but not always. Not sure if that's more of an anxiety thing or a poverty thing--knowing that things can and do bottom out, that control is an illusion, that in an instant you can lose everything. It's actually kinda happened to me a lot in my life, but I think it's worse now that I'm an adult, because no one is legally obligated to care for me.

So anyway life is terrifying and I'm terrified and my body is actively trying to destroy itself but like I just jammed to 80s Pandora for the like two hours it took me to word vomit this out and in the interim I did put Pickles' name into a lot of the songs and she LOVED IT so there is that at least that I have going for me--80s cover songs with cat names interspersed throughout because OHHHH PICKLES IS HALFWAY THE-ERE, OHHH OHHHHHHH LIIIIIIVIN ON A PIIIICKLES

oh my god what even is happening

Friday, February 19, 2016

Processing

It's been nearly two weeks since the news broke about Kirk Nesset's sentencing, and I'm still processing.
I think I will probably always be processing.
Skeezy as he could be, I doubt anyone expected the level of depravity he stooped to.
Some people just can't process that someone they knew, trusted, and even loved could participate in the rape and exploitation of children.
Of babies.

Half a fucking million of them.

I obsessed over this for months.
Over the course of the past year, I've obsessively been checking news outlets and googling for any updates on his case.
It was all I could think about.

I chose to dig deeper into the case, to read the files and affidavits that were made available to the public. In a way I probably knew that digging deeper would make my pain and outrage that much worse, but I couldn't stop. I wanted to bear witness. I felt like I owed it to the half a million unknown souls.

After I read the affidavit, I spent the entire day balled up in the fetal position in my darkened room, unable to think, unable to breathe, unable to move. It brought up a lot of unwanted memories and flashbacks of my own abuse--something I've been working a long time to bury. I don't have access to all the memories, and even though that keeps me up at night some days, I'm almost thankful for it. I know something happened, and I know who did it. I know who was complicit in it. Even though there's a part of me that wants to know more, I'm thankful that my brain has blocked this part of my life from me. It's too much to bear.

The Kirk Nesset trial has brought out a lot of ugliness in my life. It's triggered memories and feelings of my own childhood sexual abuse. It's triggered memories of being physically assaulted, sexually coerced and emotionally manipulated as an adult. It's caused me to remember all of the times Kirk Nesset was predatory towards me, and how in the few times that I actually realized how wildly inappropriate he was being, I doubted my own judgement because I thought he wasn't capable of being shady because he was a respected authority figure. It's caused me to lose friendships--mostly tertiary people who in the long run don't matter much to me, but one in particular who I really loved and valued as one of my closest friends.

Everyone processes their grief and anger differently, and it's something I have to remind myself of when folks don't immediately jump on the "Fuck Kirk Nesset" bandwagon with me.

But some people are burying their fucking heads in the sand, and that is entirely unacceptable.

I was aware that Nesset had supporters in the Allegheny community, and I was subjected to a lot of their bullshit when I attended the community meeting in the wake of the initial report. "I had dinner with him, he can't be a bad guy!" was the most asinine, but the faculty member who stood up and said she supported Nesset because "we don't have the whole story!" even though he FUCKING CONFESSED TO THE FBI ABOUT WHAT HE DID and she was the GODDAMN CAMPUS NEWSPAPER ADVISOR was the absolute worst. Though I suppose in a way it was brave of her to be outright and forthcoming about her support, rather than sending letters of support to the judge more anonymously (to the community, I mean).

David Miller, tenured English professor, also publicly voiced his support for Nesset in a subsequent Campus Newspaper article following Nesset's sentencing. Miller, who was present for his sentencing, said he was impressed with the "compassion and deliberation of the judge." The Campus reported that Miller "felt the prosecution’s suggested sentence was unreasonable." It was originally reported that he would be sentenced somewhere in the ballpark of 10-15 years, but he was ultimately sentenced to 76 months, or a little over six years. It's a small cry from the mandatory minimum of five years, which is what a friend and I predicted he would get because of his status in the literary community. Miller was actually quoted as saying that he was "relieved that it wasn't more [time], because of fucking COURSE he did. White men of status always rally around other white men of status.

Well, David Miller, fuck you.
Congratufuckinglations on never being personally victimized by Kirk Nesset like so many of my fellow female classmates were.
Congratufuckinglations that your daughters were not among those half a million daughters whom he exploited.
Congratuguckinglations that you belong to the protected class, and that you'll never fucking know how absolutely fucking terrifying it is to be a woman or female-presenting in the world.
Congratufuckinglations on being in the protected class, I hope you enjoy it.

And look, I get it, not everyone wants to see Kirk Nesset's head on a fucking spike like I do.
And that's fine.
But there's a major goddamn difference between acknowledging him as a person and his obvious mental health struggles and still holding him accountable for his actions, and just outright excusing him, making him the center of trial when it should be those half a million unknown children.

One person who later unfriended me for views on Nesset disclosed that she had been sexually assaulted on campus, and that Nesset had been a source of support and comfort for her.
Honestly, I can't even imagine what it would feel like to know that the person who supported me through a sexual assault had participated in the sexual assault of children and babies.
I don't know how I would process that.
But see, that's the thing about psychopaths like Kirk Nesset.
They earn the trust of people around them.
They establish themselves in the community, and are viewed as pillars of respect.
That's how they get away with it for so long.

It's honestly entirely possible that Nesset's concern for this person was genuine--contrary to popular belief, psychopaths can form relationships and attachments to some people--and even if he was faking it, it doesn't make it any less real to the person who was assaulted.

I can understand why she wanted to sever our friendship, and I bear her no ill will.

I do, however, bear ill will towards faculty members who wrote letters of support for Nesset.
Who ignored or looked the other way at his inappropriate behaviors towards the female population at Allegheny.
While I didn't realize it at the time, there were faculty in the English department who advocated for my safety around him, who warned me in subtle ways that I didn't pick up on at the time.
I am forever grateful to them.
One of them just directly asked why I was always hanging around after hours--to see his little Pomeranian Ryan, of course--and even though it went right over my head at the time, I'm thankful that she was watching out for me.
Another just straight up told me to go home another time--I wasn't sure why she was being so gruff towards me, but I get it now. So to them, I say: thank you for helping me, for watching out for me and other young women.
I know of a couple instances where they reported him for inappropriate behavior, and that the Dean DeMeritt routinely dismissed them.
Thank you for doing the best that you could within a system that protected him and the reputation of the College above all else.
I've thought about reaching out to these women for some time to thank them, but I honestly don't know if they'd even remember me. I don't know how they would react.

There's one person in my life who I've been processing this with over the past year or so, and I am forever thankful to them as well.
A lot of folks have taken to tone policing me, or unfriending me, or ignoring me, which (beside the tone policing) are valid responses, because some folks aren't ready to engage or don't want to engage for whatever reason.
There is no right way to process this.

There is, however, a wrong way, and that way is to gloss over half a million victims and focus solely on poor Kirk Nesset, who, as it was nauseatingly reported in The Campus, "will probably never see his ailing parents as a free man."

To those (statistically speaking at Allegheny: white, male, tenured) faculty who wrote letters of support to Kirk Nesset:

Fuck you.

To those who turn their backs to the suffering of half a million victims because you had lunch with him or some shit and he seemed like a "cool dude" (actual fucking quote):

Fuck you.

To those who will never understand what it was like to live and learn under the shadow of a person who consistently violated the personal boundaries of his female students:

Fuck you.

Fuck your willful ignorance.
Fuck your silence.
Fuck your complicity.
Fuck you for your continued participation in the marginalization and victimization of women.

Fuck. You.