Saturday, November 17, 2007

Choices, choices

A few days ago, I decided that the new medicine I've been taking was worse than the original disease. It made me sleepy and unable to write or think or even speak with my normal wit and snark. I'd only been on it for a month and I'd only been on the full dose of it for a week. So I stopped taking it.

The first day was great. Then the dreams started and I felt like I spent all night watching horror movies instead of sleeping. The second day I spent in a fog, but I figured it was just because I didn't sleep well the night before.

Then yesterday I spent the curled up on the couch wondering if this is what schizophrenia feels like. Everything was both fuzzy and too intense at the same time. When the Kid and I walked to the store to get dinner, I thought the bright lights were going to kill me. It's freezing here and I was hot and sweaty like I'd been hiking through a jungle in August. Sounds were freaking me out. I thought my head would explode when a car alarm went off and the Kid talking to me was like being swarmed by every mosquito in the world. It took every ounce of concentration to put one foot in front of the other and get home.

I came home and called a dear friend with massive drug knowledge. She's taken this drug before and had the same problem.. "Take a pill now. You're in withdrawal". It took her two months to ween herself off a drug she had only been taking for two weeks. As it is, I'm having a problem just getting through the everyday stuff on medication. The idea of spending two more months on it is depressing. I hate having a brain that won't do what I tell it to. I hate it even worse that I am stuck on a drug that doesn't work because the withdrawal from it makes me think that a padded room in a mental hospital is an ideal vacation.

My doctor wants me to stick with this drug for another month. I want off it now. So do I play nice and do as the doctor says, or do I try to ween myself off it and hope that I don't go nuts in the mean time?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Weird dreams

I am writing this here because 1) I like to overshare and 2) I want to have it written down somewhere so that I don't forget it later.

The last couple of nights I've been having these wild, cinematic dreams. Last night's was by far the weirdest and worst. It was so bad that I woke myself up from it several times only to go right back to it when I fell back to sleep. It also woke the Kid up because apparently I was yelling out in my sleep.

It started off with the beginning of a dream I've had a couple of times. I am back in high school and I am having a party in my bedroom closet, only my closet is a huge walk-in. Everybody is dressed fancy and prom like and leaning up against the clothes hanging on the walls. All of a sudden some popular girl (which is weird cause I was a popular girl and never afraid of losing status) starts going though my giant shoe collection. She pulls them out and keeps saying "they're the right brand but they're ugly". I get pissed off "I don't see you wearing those brands of shoes".

Then everyone is gone and I am in the closet holding a tiny "rabbit" only the rabbit looks more like a hamster. I name her Ruby and she is the sweetest, softest thing I have ever held in my life. I don't ever want to put her down, but I have some construction work that needs to be done on the closet. Some giant famous basketball player in a basketball uniform(I don't know which one) agrees to do the work for me, he just needs me to help him move the lumber for the job into the closet. Ruby is terrified that I'll put her down. Her soft furry body won't stop shaking from fright. I decide to put her in the bathroom sink because I think the basin will hold her for the few seconds I need to move stuff. But she escapes and scurries into a crack in the wall. When I come back for her, she is still shaking and scared and I can't make her stop.

(this is where I first woke up- or actually woke myself up. I was freaking out about not being able to fix Ruby and my conscious brain dragged me to awakeness)

Next, it is winter and I come out of the closet into a neighborhood much like where I grew up. It has mountains and dangerous hairpin turns for roads. There is a boy there who in real life has the exact same first, middle and last name as my brother minus one letter. (The entire time we were in school people confused the two of them but they were so different I didn't understand how they could be so stupid over one letter.) I have on ice skates, but I haven't skated since I was a little kid. It's just like riding a bike though and very shortly I am doing complicated twirls and turns on the ice.

Then it's summer and I am marching by a lake carrying a flag. The boy with the name like my brother walks towards me and as I go to hug him hello and give him a kiss on the cheek, he pushes me away. It's very important that the flag I am carrying stay straight up. The flag is some nautical warning to the boats on the lake.

I wake myself up again, this time pissed because WTF was up with that boy. Damn I was just trying to be friends.

When I fall back to sleep I am at my family's house. All my cousins are there (Hi Wonder!) and so is the Kid. I am getting ready to take the Kid to the airport so he can make his annual visit to Atlanta. He's flown alone plenty of times and I'm not worried. I drop him off at the airport and then park a little ways away so I can watch his plane take off. I sit on the side of a hill in the sunshine and all of a sudden everyone from the airport starts running towards me. Something has gone horribly wrong. I am looking for the Kid, but he doesn't come. I wait for a very long time after everyone else has left and suddenly he walks up behind me. He is coming from the wrong direction.

I can tell that something is wrong, but he won't talk to me. I go through his backpack and start pulling out papers and drawings. There is a cartoon in his bag that teaches kids how to be terrorists and suicide bombers and why that is a good thing. There is also a sheet of paper, the newsprint type with the big lines that little kids first use to learn to write their letters. In the Kid's handwriting is a note about how he is becoming a suicide bomber. It's his suicide note. But underneath his writing I can see the carelessly erased letters that he was made to copy to write the letter. I beg him to talk to me. When he doesn't I call the FBI to tell them that I know what happened at th airport and that they should be looking for someone who is turning Unaccompanied Minors (airline speak for kids flying alone) into suicide bombers and terrorists. The operator on the phone seems bored with my call and says they already know.

I go back to trying to make the Kid talk to me, but he won't. I am terrified that I can't change his mind if he won't talk to me.

At this point , the kid wakes me up because I was screaming out loud. He promises me he's not a terrorist, and I tell him that the worst part was that he just wouldn't talk to me.

So now you know, I am a complete freak. Next time I might tell you how I once sold my soul to the devil in a dream, and the devil was Nicholas Cage.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A pink cog in the political machine

First- I skipped my meds today (tehehehe) and have not only been able to stay bright eyed and bushy tailed all day long, but I was able to write most of an essay. Hip hip hurrah for clear thinking and snarkitude.

So this post at Feministe (which I'll link once their site is working again) reminded me of a story I haven't told in a while. I thought I'd share it now.

I am a political science major, but I have absolutely no interest in working as or for a politician- ever. I'm more of a theorist and a writer anyway, but there once was a time where I entertained working for a political campaign or party in some way. So I joined the Young Democrats. After attending meetings faithfully for awhile, I ran for vice president and won.

The chapter that I belonged to was in the deep south in a county known for creating some of our most hideous Republican politicians (Newt Gingrich's home office was next door to the Kid's preschool and Bob Barr was in his Clinton hating heyday at the time). Being a Democrat was not an easy thing, being a Democratic single mom was the next best thing to being Satan. But that didn't stop me. I had bumperstickers on my car that proudly proclaimed my voting habits and regularly got harassed at gas stations and stop lights by conservative nutbags. I could take take it though. I've never had a problem arguing with the opposition.

I was the only girl in the leadership of our chapter, it was just four boys and me running our little show. But it was cool, right. I mean, they're Dems after all. So when my first official task after being elected was to decorate for the annual holiday party, I didn't think too much about it. When it became clear that all I was going to get to do was organize who would be bringing drinks and snacks and doing the decoration, set up and clean up of all of our events. I got a little huffy.

There were some good moments. We did a voter registration drive where I hiked miles through low income neighborhoods and signed up many new voters. I got a free ticket to the annual Jefferson Jackson dinner (a $500 a plate fundraising event) where Al Gore was the speaker. I ate bad chicken and drank cheap wine and met a bunch of politicians. I discovered dirty martinis.

Then we held a meet and great at a local university for a guy who was running for state senate. During the course of his speech he announced that his platform would include a law that would make committing a crime against a woman carry a punishment double the ordinary, because "women are natural victims, like children".

I was supposed to be nice. I was not supposed to ask questions of the candidate during the open question part. But there was no way in hell I was going to let him get away with categorizing women as "natural victims". So I raised my hand, and when called on I asked him if he realized that he just insulted half his audience.

The other Young Democrats started loudly hushing me, though the candidate was generally interested in my opinions. Eventually the chapter President interrupted to say "Elizabeth, I think we've heard enough from you". I sat back down and steamed in my seat.

After it was over, the candidate came up to me to apologize. His campaign was new and it was an idea he was just trying out. He seemed earnest in his desire to actually help women. So I talked to him for a bit. I told him that if he really wanted to help women, he would make it easier to punish people who commit crimes against them, like rapists and wife beaters.

At that point, some of the old money wives of the grown up Democratic party organization joined us. They were just what you imagine, big hair, sparkly jewelry, brightly colored silk blouses and enough makeup to spackle a bathroom. One of them, in the best southern drawl I have ever heard, put her hand on the candidates shoulder and said "Honey, I don't think you eveh wanna meet any one of us in a dark alley, victims we are not". Then she introduced herself to me and said "Thank you for bringing that up".

I left that night and did not return to the Young Democrats. What I realized is that even though they were supposed to be the party of equality, beliefs had not yet caught up to practices. Those fabulous jeweled wives had power in their own way, but they would never get a chance to drive the machine, and I would be forever relegated to event decoration if I stayed.

I am still a Democrat, old habits die hard maybe. Or maybe it's that I believe we can pull the party back to it's progressive ideas and put those ideas into real practice. We are still the only party in the country to have ever passed progressive legislation. The Green Party may seem like a more progressive party, but Democrats have actually gotten elected and that counts for a lot. I may volunteer for a campaign (or two or three) in the future and I may even volunteer my time to do phone banking and voter registration drives, but I will not work as a pink cog in the political machine. I have had my fill of the political flavor of women's work.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Brain not work so well

I am taking new meds that make me sleepy like a heroin addict, so no substantial posts for you (all 3 of you). Instead you get a meme hijacked from ShapelyProse.

The rules are that you type the answers into a Google image search and pick a picture on the first page.

Age at next birthday

Place I want to go someday

Favorite place (I cheated- this is a picture I took in Rome. I liked it better than the Google pics)

Favorite object

Favorite food (I'm cheating cause I've got 3 in there- proscuitto, olives and CHEESE ! It;s CHEESE Grommit!)

Favorite animal

Favorite color (duh!)

The town I was born in

The town where I live now

The name of a pet

The first name of a past love (hahahaha- he's a freaking clown!)

My best friend's nickname

My screen name

My first name

My middle name

My last name

My bad habit(s)

My first job

My Grandmother's first name

My College Major

Scenes from a lab

The Canadian fiance of a favorite student walks into my lab. Student introduces him.

Me: So your from Canukistan? The people's republic of Canadia?

Him: Yep.

Me: I am jealous of your health care system.

Him: Most people are.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Every woman in my family could have told you this

Fat girls are smarter than skinny girls

Ok- not to hate on the skinny girls. But for the love of Pete- I am tired of hearing how "OMG the fat is going to KILL YOU". Even when science proves otherwise, we are still treated to "But OMG the fat- the scary scary fat!"

So I come from a family full of brainy girls with hips (we need the hips to hold up our gigantic noggins). But maybe we aren't smarter because of the fat- maybe it's because we don't waste time counting calories and starving ourselves. Maybe putting yourself into perpetual hunger mode impacts your ability to think clearly. I mean, we spend a lot of time telling kids that they need to eat breakfast everyday because it makes it easier for them to learn. Couldn't the same thing be true for grown ups?

Inappropriate Conversations WIth Children

Kid: Flowers use butterflies to have SEX!

Me: and bees

Kid: They use bees and butterflies for SEX

Me: I think that means all flowers have threesomes

Kid: I think that means flowers are gigolos!