lipstick fun

I only found out this year that I ought to be wearing dark lipstick — like dramatically dark stuff. And not even red!

How dark is dark? I’ll show you in a moment.

Now I want to comb all the local beauty shops to find dark blue shades. I might even be crazy enough to try green, but again, it has to be super dark shades or it won’t look right on me.

this or that

Two shades of lipstick here, one in very dark plum and the other in — well, the other one is black. :)

So, informal poll, which one looked better?

On the left: plum lipstick on the top lip and black lipstick on the bottom lip.

On the right: black lipstick on the top lip and plum lipstick on the bottom lip.

Let me know what you think — and suggestions for other lipsticks and dark shades are very welcome!

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radio mumbo jumbo

I will name no names in this post.

But let me start this post off with this, because maybe you’ll catch the drift of my irritation quickly:

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I was hauling my tired self home from another shift in which I was running on too little sleep. (Thanks, Manila summers packed to the rafters with high temperatures and high humidity, ugh.) I was cranky, I was ticked off, I was thirsty (and I had already polished off half a liter of fruit juice), and I just wanted to go home — so I took a cab from one of the central transport hubs in Metro Manila.

Tail-end of one radio show on an inexplicably popular radio station: the hosts reading off a convoluted list of greetings and credits and sponsors. That led into a quick jingle and the opening spiel of the immediately succeeding program, which ought to have been useful, because it featured a lawyer and a prominent broadcaster who had joined forces to offer legal advice to people in bad relationships (family, spouse/significant other, et cetera).

(Some of you will already know what program I’m talking about.)

Anyway, the legal expert on the show was talking about how this particular episode would be a little shorter in duration because that radio station on which the show was being broadcast would be switching to sports programming in the late afternoon. In comes the prominent broadcaster, and I thought that would be the cue for them to start the show.

Instead, the prominent broadcaster decided to sit down and unburden herself of a homily on earthquakes, claiming that earthquakes were concrete proof of the existence of an all-seeing all-powerful deity.

First off: as Karen Owens neatly and succinctly put it,

Can omniscient God, who
Knows the future, find
The Omnipotence to
Change His future mind?

Which basically means, if a bog-standard god is capable of seeing everything all at once, how will it be able to make any one decision at all? The god knows every single consequence of every single action that it might ever undertake, good and bad and neutral and all — so how even can that god act at all?

So, first spurious claim, that earthquakes are a manifest sign of the divine presence.

The thing that bothers me, and ought to have bothered the program listeners, is this: either the divine presence is completely removed from morals and consequences (and boy, isn’t that a troubling thought, if this same deity is invoked over and over again to uphold some standard of “morality”), or that divine presence is an evil shit (because it sends earthquakes on a whim, heedless of the damage that an earthquake causes, heedless of the deaths and the injuries and the suffering that follows especially intense incidences).

Want to discuss that? Okay. Think of it this way, as the prominent broadcaster did: an earthquake is supposedly a sign of displeasure or warning from some divine presence. What is actually good about a deity that punishes its believers with the widespread fear/paranoia/death/destruction/PTSD that an earthquake can inflict? And what’s more, that punishment is for — what? For being human i. e. living and loving and all that? What is good about that kind of god?

And what kind of a warning is an earthquake? Warning against what? Obvious answer is obvious: far worse things. And earthquakes already cause panic and fear and nightmares. An earthquake, to prominent broadcaster, is just an amuse-gueule and a harbinger of far worse things. So, question, prominent broadcaster: are you looking forward to these far worse things? Or are you just sowing fear for your own amusement?

Second spurious claim: there is nothing, nothing that human beings can do in the face of an earthquake. Um, prominent broadcaster, the scientific community — and the local government agency that deals exclusively with the effects and consequences (and the causes, natch) of earthquakes and volcanic activity — wants a word with you. Let me repeat that: this prominent broadcaster effectively said that the local government agency tasked with dealing with seismic activity is without any function or benefit.

Third spurious claim — oh, and let me remind you that I was in a cab and that meant I was not going to be able to listen to the entirety of this idiotic speechifying effort because I would be getting home at some point — only the third spurious claim! Which was, all of the earthquakes happening all over the 7,000+++ islands of my poor archipelago of a country originated in one single fault system.

Facepalm! Facepalm! All the facepalms!

Okay, I will break this down as best as I can. I live in the Philippines. The Philippines is an archipelago of 7,000+++ islands. These islands are located along the eastern edge of the Pacific Ocean. The entire rim of the Pacific Ocean — and that includes all the countries with coastlines on the Pacific Ocean — is known as the Ring of Fire. Why is this rim known as the Ring of Fire? Because beneath the Pacific Ocean, the crust or outermost terrestrial layer of the planet Earth is very prominently in motion. As in huge plates of crust moving and colliding and sliding — meaning, NOT STILL. The increase in geologic activity very logically begets seismic activity: and yes, we benefit from seismic activity when we see it in the form of — hot springs, and sources of geothermal energy.

But seismic activity also includes not-so-fun things like, well, I don’t know: how about earthquakes? How about volcanoes that can and do erupt?

The Philippines is literally crisscrossed with multiple fault lines, which is as can be expected of nearly all of the countries on the Ring of Fire. Yes, there are connections between those fault lines and their respective branches — but the idea of the country being ripped right down the middle by one single massive catastrophic chasm is pretty much illogical.

Which leads me to the thing that terrified me about that particular installment of that particular program: the sowing of fear and, worse, disinformation. That prominent broadcaster was spewing out a tale of woe and doomsday and death in the service of — what? Talking about the broadcaster’s preferred deity? Please refer to the comments on an evil shit of a deity. Worse, a fear-mongering one, all in the service of gathering in more prayers and worship and supplications!

How even can this fear-mongering, demanding deity be considered moral?

And how even can this prominent broadcaster have delivered such an impassioned and stupid tirade? That the earthquakes are happening: that’s undisputed. So is the broadcaster’s preferred cause of action in the face of such a situation to scare the shit out of people?

That’s a fucking waste of air time and a complete and utter failure of logic right there.

Fairly prominent radio program helmed by a prominent broadcaster: what is the task here? What should have been the imperative? Of course:  CORRECT AND USEFUL INFORMATION. Let me say that again: we’re already scared! We’re already nervous! DON’T RUN AROUND SCARING US SOME MORE! Do your fucking job: which is to give actual solutions and useful advice!

The more I think about this — and I’ve been thinking about this for a couple of days now — the more I want to tell you outright who that prominent broadcaster is. I mean, you are probably going to come up with better statements to broadcast than I am. You are probably going to think of better presentations related to earthquakes and disaster preparedness than I could ever come up with. You are probably going to do a much better job than this so-called prominent broadcaster’s speechifying and evangelism!

I don’t need homilies and divine signs and harbingers and shit, if I’m faced with a perilous situation such as an earthquake. I need correct and current information and advice because I want to stay alive okay. I want to stay alive and more importantly I want other people to stay alive and survive such an eventGet away from me with this ignorant superstition and dumbshit moralizing.

And because I want to help: there’s this thing commonly called a bug-out bag, which contains essential tools and gear to help one person survive the 72 hours immediately following some kind of disaster (whether man-made or natural). I think it’s a good thing to keep in mind when talking about places as prone to weird shit happening as my country. So, let me present a sensible-sounding guide to packing a bug-out bag. And perhaps you might have your own ideas for things to add to this kind of survival preparations. That’s a better thing to think about, I think, not the least of which because it totally bypasses the shitty so-called logic being peddled by the prominent broadcaster I’ve been decrying all throughout this post.

This prominent broadcaster has just turned out to be one of the reasons why my poor country finds itself hip-deep in shit. Broken pedestal, anyone?

Farewell to the New World.

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You’ve seen this screenshot on my blog before, and now it’s back to mark a somber occasion. I heard the news last night that after ten years of operation, the Singapore servers hosting Granado Espada (Sword of the New World) are finally closing down. I became a little bit famous in the community of players in SEA because of my NineMoons Family blog — well, famous and notorious at the same time. And now the game is gone and the only way to play now is on the North American servers (accessible via Steam, I think?) and — well, that’s a lot of memories for me to look back on and remember.

(Unfortunately, the links on the blog that used to go to the Singapore-based home site for sGE no longer work.)

a Twitter story, 1

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Thoughts from Friday night.

The Ann Leckie referred to in screenshot 3 is the writer of the Imperial Radch series of novels (Ancillary Justice / Ancillary Sword / Ancillary Mercy).

The statement “The point is, there is no point” continues with a declaration: “Choose your own!”

So this is a thread in which I am trying to look for a point of my own, considering what my starting position at present is.

just something I’m happy to keep showing off

And also, sort of a goals thing, because there are one or two really lovely blue inks I want to buy this year and so I hope to put them to use on the pages of my current journal, soon.

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In photo: three fountain pens on a page of the journal in this Instagram post. Above the three pens is the line “meet the pens!” written three times, to correspond with the various nib sizes of the three pens. The fountain pen at the top is a fine or extra fine Manuscript with its own proprietary ink cartridge, while the two lower pens are both Lamys using converters.

my hat is very pink.

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and I am wearing it because I am a woman and I am fighting for all my sisters all over the world, whatever the bodies they are in, whatever the colors of their skins, whatever languages they might speak. I stand with my sisters all over the world.

(I came up with this particular pattern on my own after looking up several other crochet and knit versions online. The yarn and hooks came from GantsilyoPH.)

my anniversary

About two years ago, I saw a mental health professional for the first time. I was diagnosed as having major depression / clinical depression. I started to take medications for my condition. (Two medications to start with: escitalopram and aripiprazole. I eventually dropped the latter one.) I started to go to therapy sessions with that same mental health professional.

At roughly this time last year, give or take ten days, I got broken up with, and had to get out of the house that had been my home for a while, in a big hurry. I moved back in with my family. I was forced to face the facts and the root causes of the problems that I had been having with my ex.

So today is 16 March and I am celebrating the fact that I am alive.

In fact, right now I am not just surviving. I am actually doing well. I have a steady job, I am writing, I turned in a story for submission to a national anthology of new fiction, I am out as a queer woman, and I have shoes and lipstick and crochet and I am alive. I am well.

I got through those dark days. I have no doubt that there will be hard days ahead, too — but I’ve survived, I’ve gotten through, and I was able to ask for help in order to get through those terrible times. I got help, I got meds, and now I have my life in some semblance of actually better working order than it once was.

I had no hope two years ago, and then one year ago. I had no hope. I had no strength left.

I am here, today, and it is my anniversary of life, and I am alive. I am doing well. I am here.

something I had made, because I thought it would be a good idea

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(In image: single dog tag with embossed information, on a ball-link chain that also includes a military-style mini can opener. The dog tag contains the following information: a last name, a first name plus initials, blood type, date of birth, and nature of chronic illness.)

I don’t need or want to tempt fate. But I had this made in case of emergency, and as an additional means of identification, should it ever be needed. *knocks on wood* Maybe it might give others an idea, too, I don’t know — but if it should be useful, I offer it up here as an example.

a little less trapped, a little less helpless

In one of my previous posts, I talked about why I thought that I needed to hurt myself in small but very painful ways, and one of the major reasons for my self-harm has to do with fighting to stay anchored inside my own body, with trying to stay grounded.

Since I was a child, I have had these terrible moments (sometimes longer) of being a disembodied thing: that my mind and body were fundamentally separated from each other. That can lead to two different feelings, both of which happen to be pretty scary.

One: my mind was trapped in my body.

Two: my body was unable to follow the commands sent to it by my mind.

Those are some of the extreme reactions that might be linked to dissociation: and that is exactly what I have been struggling with for a long time. I read somewhere that one or two instances of dissociation is pretty normal, like maybe when you wake up for the first time in a new place, or next to someone new. Or maybe when you’re in a high-pressure situation and you’re trying to convince yourself to perform. We all dissociate from time to time.

My problem, and likely the problem of some others who might be drearily familiar with this phenomenon, is that I dissociate a lot. There are no actual triggers. There is no visible proximal cause. I could be reading a book and be hit with that terrifying sensation. I could be sitting at a desk working and feel that dizzying awful disorientation.

I could be walking or commuting and feel that I am actually literally not part of the body that I am in — and believe me, that turns into a horror show really fast, especially when traveling late at night.

I could never find out the causes of my dissociation.

I only found out later on that dissociation was very very frequently linked to major depression — but yeah, I did sort of heave a sigh of relief, because then at least I could see that there was some kind of twisted sick sort of sense in my feeling the way I did. Dissociation in and of itself is a stressor — and stress, as we know, does contribute to depression. So combine the two and — yeah.

I am writing about the topic now because I was surprised to realize that right now, the spells of dissociation have been sort of receding. I mean, they still happen — but they’re not as intense or for as long, and that really does tell me that the circumstances of my life have changed.

Next week will mark the second anniversary of finally getting something to help me fight my depression.

So it’s really — it really makes me feel a certain kind of relief to say that things have sort of improved in my life, and things are not as desperate and painful as they used to be.

I’m actually not just surviving. I’m actually thriving in my own way, though my idiot brain refuses to understand that concept completely. Hence the still-recurring bits of bad things like being depressed and being joyless and dissociating.

But I’m still here. And that’s an important thing, not just for myself but for, maybe, others who might read my words. I got help and I got support and things changed in my life that were shatteringly painful at first but have actually contributed to my overall better state of being.

I was hopeless and nearly suicidal two years ago. I was nearly suicidal one year ago.

But today — today is a good day.

I hope you find the courage to find your way out, too.

happy International Women’s Day, all.

Don’t forget the mothers and the sisters and the daughters and the grandmothers and the nieces and the wives.

Don’t forget those who want to become female, those who are already becoming female, and those who cannot become female in their bodies but are in their minds and in their hearts.

Don’t forget the sisters all over the world who are working to make the world a better place.

Don’t forget the many many many sisters who have died to right injustice both great and small.

Don’t forget the sisters who are struggling through the days and the nights with illness whether of the body or of the mind.

Don’t forget the sisters in whatever form or body they might take.

the razor dance of memory

Dilemma:

I want to talk about the forms of abuse that people might be subjected to: and while it’s probably easier to recognize the signs and reasons and manifestations of physical abuse, it’s not really so easy to do the same for things like emotional abuse, and the kinds of subtle hurting that can take place within different kinds of relationships.

Like, yes, it’s often true that a person who will not listen to your concerns — and particularly if those concerns are about that person and their behavior and their treatment of you — is probably going to wind up really not caring about whether your concerns are addressed or not. If they don’t listen to you when you say, “Could you maybe please help me do the dishes?” they may well wind up not listening to you when you say, “The things that you are doing to me hurt me.”

And if the general response to this kind of concern is, “Yes, it’s all my fault, I am a monster, please care for me” — well, I think that the other person might have problems, and that you might not be the best person to help them solve those problems.

Also: the stark contrast between two and sometimes three sets of Holmes and Watson. Yes, as in Sherlock and John, or in my case, Joan.

The BBC version, with Cumberbatch and Freeman, depicts a friendship that quickly turns abusive and manipulative — I mean, just the first day in that lab is the prime example. Sherlock is at the microscope doing science, and his phone goes off, and he asks John to get the phone — but the phone is in Sherlock’s own jacket pocket, and Sherlock is wearing the jacket. This Watson enables this Sherlock’s assholery by reaching into the aforementioned pocket and extracting the phone for Sherlock to use, which sends a signal that, basically, Sherlock can and will inconvenience or outright hurt Watson just so Sherlock can continue on his merry way through the world, without inconvenience or hurt, because he is forcing Watson to be his shield and his defense against those things.

The Elementary version, with Miller and Liu, depicts an actual friendship between two human beings with their own agency in the world. Living together in the brownstone, the first few days sees Joan making a pot of coffee for the two of them to share, and she tells him that the coffee is ready to drink. Sherlock, being engrossed at his computer, holds out his coffee cup, expecting her to walk over to him to fill it from the pot. But she says, “The coffee will be right here when you need it” — and leaves it on the kitchen table, where Sherlock is not working. She provides for him, because that is part of what people who share a dwelling space do, but she does not do it in a way that enables his assholery, because she does not bring the coffee over to him, and tells him that he can get his own coffee because he is capable of doing so. And that is basically the dynamic of their relationship — and bless this Sherlock, he comes to think that this dynamic is important to his own well-being, which is key to him becoming an agent in sustaining it.

As for the third — well, only briefly, I think of the Downey Jr. and Law version, and I think, well, they are more of codependent on each other, but then again Watson in this case does not take all of Sherlock’s shit sitting down, so it is a half-point in their favor.

The problem with talking about abuse like this is that I will have to — well, I have to remember how I was abused, right? I have to remember the incidents that hurt me, in order to use them as illustrations, in order to glean the warning signs that I can then tell everyone else about. I have to remember how and when I was abused in order to tell others how not to be abused.

And that means having to think about the person who abused me, having to remember the things he said and did to me.

I don’t want to think about him at all.

But, look, this is abuse: after he declared that he was a polyamorous person, I went off and did a little research of my own, and also fortunately at that time I was already reading the blog of a pair of people who seemed to be happily polyamorous. I even went so far as to contact the man in that pair of people, asking him for advice about this kind of relationship.

I brought my knowledge to my abuser and suggested that he might want to speak to someone who was, shall we say, of his persuasion — get some insights, get some pointers, that kind of thing that I thought was good for self-improvement and also good relationship management.

What did my abuser do? Run the fuck away from my advice. He didn’t want to speak to a man who was openly polyamorous, who had some advice and hard-won experience to already back him up. I wondered, at the time, why he shut himself off from the idea. Now I know better. Now I know that he didn’t want to speak to the others who were actually already living happily in polyamory because some small part of him already knew the disgusting truth: he was either going to get raked over the coals for doing polyamory wrong, or he was going to be confronted with the knowledge that he was an abuser. He didn’t want the aggravation and certainly did not want to hear that he was an asshole.

It should have been self-preservation, except that he did it at my expense.

And like I said, I don’t don’t don’t I really don’t want to talk about my abuser, and I hell to the no don’t want to relive the things he did to me, and yet I have to remember if I want to share those stories with other people so that they can get away from their abusers, and — well, I want to know, what do I do in order to take a break from this dance upon my sharp and painful memories? I don’t intend to bleed out for the sake of others.

It’s a bloody balance to find.

oh. that was a thing I always wanted to do

I’d been seeing those — well, they’re not really ads — calls for submission, anyway, to a local anthology of new Filipino fiction. The idea seems to be that you had to be under 45 in order to submit? And of course you had to turn in something that had never been published anything else. That’s the whole point of an anthology of *new* fiction. That anthology would have been the first place that published that piece.

Anyway, so in the past couple of weeks there had been such a deadline coming up — that deadline was for the very end of February and I finally thought, well why the hell not?Really, what was stopping me?

So there. Item on my bucket list, checked off. I turned a story in. I had been sitting on that one for about a year, maybe. And as far as I know, it had never been published or anything. Maybe there’ll be an unpleasant surprise related to that coming up, I wouldn’t know — the past year has been a little bit hazy to me, no thanks to getting my whole life uprooted and turned topsy-turvy.

But yes. I did turn it in. I submitted the story for submission to an anthology and that is one thing I have never tried before, and — so. It’s out there. I don’t really want to dwell on its chances for publication, and either it will or it won’t and that is out of my hands. Short story was short — less than 2000 words — and we’ll see what happens in the next few months.

I just — it feels a little nice to have overcome that particular set of fears. Accomplishment? I think so. *tentative smile*