naamah_darling: Picture of a treasure chest with a skull and crossbones on top. My art! (Artistic)
[personal profile] naamah_darling
Wow, so. I had a whole post written, and it got et. We made goal on The Shadow Princess, which is awesome. I didn't think we would make it this time, and we did, and I want to thank everyone who donated or signal-boosted or otherwise helped out with good vibes/goat sacrifices/etc. Thank you.

Smooch has been to the vet having Grand Adventures. First, to get an opinion on his stinky breath and possible tooth infection, then to get his teeth cleaned. No tooth infection, just a nasty eyesocket. So he's good. Although he was really stoned when we brought him home, and was tiptoe-tail-rubbing all over everything, looking just as pleased as can be to be home. He didn't care about his brother. Just the vacuum cleaner, wall, couch, table, chairs, etc. Then he peed on himself and slept for like twelve hours off and on.

It was . . . well, you know, it seemed to be a really good day for him, based on his rolling around and purring and hugging me every chance he got, but I had less fun. I had to wash pee off my already smelly cat, and I slept badly because I was worried about him being away from home. Anyway, he's on a Banfield plan now and has free office visits. I've already saved a shitton of money, since the tooth cleaning and a bunch of his bloodwork is free on the plan.

I went to the vet, too, for reasons about which the less said, the better, and while it's not serious, it's still stressing me out and making me really sad to have to deal with. So I appreciate y'all's forbearance while I try to deal with this. I'm not going to be tremendously accessible. Between this and the general depression-fueled inactivity, I've been accomplishing very little that could be called "constructive."

The best news I have besides making goal is that I've managed to clean my room pretty thoroughly, so for the first time since I moved in, it's not embarrassing. I'm rather pleased with myself for that.

Date: 2014-03-22 11:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] black-rider.livejournal.com
Just be careful to read the fine print on the Banfield, they have benefit caps, and don't so much consider themselves pet insurance as a pre-paid health plan. If he does get sick, there's no incentive for them to work with you on additional fees. (When my dog broke her leg, they wanted $1250 to put a pin in it, and were not at all willing to let me make payments.)

Date: 2014-03-22 07:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] naamah-darling.livejournal.com
Yeah, I'm treating it more as a way to distribute costs for basic services I KNOW I will be using over a wider area, since it only covers certain things; the plan was a lifesaver for Etrigan, who got free office visits when we were dealing with his asthma, and that alone would have run us into the ground because he was in and out like eight times.

Date: 2014-03-22 07:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ladybugpurple.livejournal.com
I'm glad you made goal!

Ugh, what's with this depression? I'm not completely out of mine either... Bleh... :( *hugs*

Date: 2014-03-24 01:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] deltachild.livejournal.com
Glad Smooch is feeling better, although I hope he stops peeing on himself.

Ducky had managed to snap his bucket holder off the wall this morning, no big deal except the last time he got it off I got one of the guys from work to attack it with parts they use to hold the F1 car together....lucky for us our car doesn't have to contend with the strength of a thoroughbred! He's getting a bucket on the floor from now on!

Sorry you're having a Not!Constructive time of it - but I would totally count getting your room cleaned as a major achievement. I sit & look at mine, then the next day I'm think about cleaning it up all over again ;)

Date: 2014-03-27 06:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stella-down.livejournal.com
hey Naamah, since the Shadow Princess thing is done, is there a place where I can Paypal you some money?

this could end up being the weirdest, most awkward post in the apparently-10-year history of your LJ, but I have something of a confession to make. I've been reading your journal since 2006. back then I was anorexic, full-time job/school, and I kept these random LJs bookmarked as sort of an inspirational "bad example". the common thread among these people was that none of them worked or went to school, they "used" mental illness to "explain" their lack of success in life, they were overweight and they had "settled". they gave themselves credit just for waking up, getting out of bed and not going crazy. at the time, I thought that was ridiculous - I was out here being independent and working my ass off despite a long history of trauma, abuse, etc., and I never made excuses for myself. I looked at these journals to warn myself what would happen if I slowed down, and I even used their photos to feel better about the way I looked.

your journal was one of my bookmarks. at one point I literally used your name as a joke for being lazy and making excuses - "I'm going to be all Naamah_Darling today and just call in." you reminded me of myself and you were my biggest target.

it's told to insecure people all the time that the bullies who pick on them are "just jealous". in your case, Naamah, I was seething. you weren't skinny, but you were fucking sexy as hell and you looked like you knew it. I had childhood dreams of being a writer that I'd stifled because it wasn't a realistic goal, but you were turning out story after story and your writing wasn't even the kind of stuff I could laugh at; it was pretty good. you were putting yourself out there and getting published, which was more than I'd ever attempted to do. the fact that you didn't work gave you the time and the energy to do what you loved. your relationship sounded so fucking happy. everyone thinks they're an artist, but even your art was unique - I secretly loved your skulls. your cat stories made me lol. I saved this one picture of the Mocus about to sneeze or something because it made me crack up every time. basically, I wanted your life and I wanted the freedom you had. your life just terrified me at a really primal level.

in 2007 and 2008, I started having panic attacks, dropped out of school and pretty much spiraled down. I was miserable and lonely. all my goals had just been blown up by the mental illness I'd spent all that time ignoring. I figured out what you meant when you said it took effort to drag your ass out of bed in the morning and that some days it felt like a victory just going to sleep and knowing you weren't dead. everything started to make sense in hindsight. I reread your old entries. you wrote a post about how proud you were of your body because for the first time in ages you looked like yourself in your fantasies instead of pretending you were someone else, and I bawled my eyes out. I used a picture of you making a funny face at your sci-fi writers' group as my wallpaper once because I wanted to be as brave as you were and have friends again and do things like write again. your journal was inspiring me the way it was supposed to - there was no irony anymore.

after that I was in the hospital off and on and I didn't read your journal and honestly hadn't thought about it at all until today. my life has been great for the last three years. I literally just saw someone reblog one of your posts and it all kind of hit me at once.

I hope my stupid confession hasn't insulted and/or creeped you the fuck out. you're under no obligation to care about any of this. I'm just here saying that you have no idea who I am, but your journal played a part in giving me something to hope for when I was near death, and I still feel guilty for how I used to motivate myself with your "flaws" eight years ago, and I'd love to send you some money because it's the least I can do to return the favor. you're a fucking genuine person and you deserve it.

and that's it - weirdest post I've ever made on LJ.

Date: 2014-03-27 07:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] naamah-darling.livejournal.com
*hugs* Oh, sugarplum, no. I'm so sorry you were ever in that place. That sounds like the absolute literal pits. I'm glad you are better off now. I am so genuinely glad.

I am actually really glad you said all this. Thank you. I'm not upset, or hurt, or anything.

((I'm clipping out a huge thing I wrote and will put it in another reply.))

"Your life just terrified me at a really primal level." On the one hand, that quote taken out of context is awesome, and that's maybe the nicest thing anyone's said about me in a long time. *wipes tear* On the other, for different reasons, goddamn, it was and is fucking terrifying to me, too, on a daily basis. A lot has happened, no doubt, since you stopped reading, and most of it hasn't been what I'd call great. I'm in a down phase now, not able to work, not able to really even play. Just hanging on, because it's worth the struggle.

I could go on, but I'm in urgent need of a shower and then bed, and my asshole cat will no doubt want to be reassured that I still love him even though he steals my earplugs and squirts his nasty butt-musk on my bed and my hairy yeti cat will no doubt want to be scritched and told he is beautiful despite being thoroughly ludicrous.

You are awesome. Don't ever doubt that.

We aren't perfect, but we can be strong.

Thank you.

You sincerely and truly don't have to send me anything, but since the assholes at the SSDI office think I'm worth less than $10,000 a year alive, I will never turn down money. naamah@gmail.com is my personal paypal. If you send anything, make sure I have your address. If I can get my shit together, I would like to send a card or something.

(Would that picture of Tazendra be this one? It's my favorite, and I have it framed beside my bed, next to the box her bones are in.)

Date: 2014-04-06 05:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stella-down.livejournal.com
yep, that's the picture. I was actually just backing up my files from my old computer and found that and the one of you at the sci-fi group, where you're raising your hand like someone's calling roll (the file name is literally "do this").

Date: 2014-03-27 07:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] naamah-darling.livejournal.com

In return, I'll tell you a thing I haven't actually told anyone but my husband and my bestie yet. I'll post about it when I have the wherewithal, but I'm not done writing the post.

I haven't posted pics of myself in ages. The last ones were these ones from several years ago. (No, I don't really give a fuck about duckface, why do you ask?) Like, those are literally the last pics I took of myself. None of them show my body. So most of the pics of me on my LJ are of me when I was at my very thinnest, and I look back on those and it hurts, because I can see now I was really pretty, nothing wrong with me at all. I was just really, really sick.

By accident, I found out the other day what I actually weigh now. It's THE NUMBER. The number I tried to run from for years. The number that basically became my life. The number that RUINED my life and sent me into a downward spiral that ended with me just wanting to die.

It's TWICE what I weighed at my thinnest. And when I saw it, I had no reaction except to snort and go "Huh. I weigh twice what [tiny friend of mine] weighs. I weigh as much as her and her husband put together. That is kind of kickass."

At some point, without realizing it, I had passed one of the outermost milestones of recovery. The number has no power over me. None. And that felt like . . . not a weight lifted, but realizing that a weight had been lifted some time ago, and I only just now tried to stand up and found out that . . . actually . . . I could. I will be vigilant forever, that's part of the deal I made with myself, my friends, my imaginary people, and my fucking cats, but I honestly don't think I'm going to backslide. I think I'm good. I think I'm safe.

That is nothing short of a fucking miracle. A miracle that I worked my ass off for. And some days that work was simply "Survive. Just survive."

And that's the same miracle you stuck with long enough to realize. And that deserves a high-five of awesomeness.

Even when we think we aren't making progress, we are making progress.

Truth: I did the same sort of thing. Like, there was this schadenfreude when I read about people whose lives were terrible for reasons I thought were pretty much pathetic bullshit. A kind of voyeuristic impulse, to look at these people and say not only "At least my life is better than theirs!" but to say "I am better than them. I know better than they do. They are making stupid mistakes, and I am smarter than that. Smarter than them." An impulse to say "DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND?! YOU JUST HAVE TO TRY HARDER! IT'S EASY IF YOU REALLY WANT TO DO IT. YOU MUST NOT WANT TO CHANGE! HOW PATHETIC!" And then I would feel better about the miserable things I was having to do to make myself feel not-horrible about my body.

And all it was, really, was me desperately needing to feel superior, to feel like I was getting it right, which required that I be able to watch people getting it wrong. I was torturing myself, working too hard, eating nothing, exercising more than would be good for anyone, and I NEEDED to feel like other people were wrong and I was right, because being wrong about all that would literally have been the end of me.

Pretty sure you know what I mean, there.

And over time, as I realized the depth of my own sickness, I realized that these people and I were more alike than I had thought. I only realized I was broken when I crumbled. And these people, who I had either never spoken to, or had spoken to and had, honestly, been perfectly civil -- but it was two-faced because I was still sneering up my sleeve -- suddenly became people who had done or were doing the work I needed to do and I realized they knew things I not only didn't know, but now NEEDED to know to survive.

The only way to pay it back has been to pay it forward, which is why I talked about this shit as I went through it and why I talk about it still. And that is why what you said is getting to me -- because that means I was doing it before I was even trying to do it. I was doing it just by existing.

So I've been there, and it's at once really strange and really sort of reassuring to know that someone else has, too, even if I was the one on the other end.

Date: 2014-03-27 08:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] brightlotusmoon.livejournal.com
"...has no power over me. None. And that felt like . . . not a weight lifted, but realizing that a weight had been lifted some time ago, and I only just now tried to stand up and found out that . . . actually . . . I could. I will be vigilant forever, that's part of the deal I made with myself, my friends, my imaginary people, and my fucking cats, but I honestly don't think I'm going to backslide. I think I'm good. I think I'm safe."

Oh. Oh. Oh. Oh. Oh I am crying. In a good way. It is a cleansing cry. I am sobbing and wailing and about to be fetal in my bed whilst all three cats stare in bewilderment. Inside I am screaming words, "Yes yes exactly yes exactly indeed oh indeed" and my fictional coping mechanism spirit guardian characters are gathered around me touching me in my brain and whispering in dead languages older than gods of chaos.

This is one of the most beautiful heart wrenching heartwarming confessions I have ever read. I remember your terror at doctor offices, your sheer phobia of even a hint of The Number. Those stories burned themselves into me. And now you have said this. You let it free. I want to hug you and yowl with joy. Facelicks and headbumps and loud loud purrs.

Did you see my FB video of Luna loving on me? Because that is how much I love you right now. I facebite love you.

Date: 2014-03-27 09:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] naamah-darling.livejournal.com
I could not find the FB video, noooooo! "I facebite love you" needs to be on a Valentine's day friendship card.

*hugs* I make you cry a lot and I feel sort of bad about that, even though it's good crying. *more hugs*

I still have horror of doctors, for all the horrible shit they have done to me and probably have yet to do to me, and I don't see that changing without damn good reason (and I can't imagine what that might be), but at least I don't have to avoid the number, you know?

Date: 2014-03-28 12:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] brightlotusmoon.livejournal.com
Check your FB PMs. I sent you the video. :)

I figure you will never get over that fear of bad doctors... but this is one less fear and avoidance.

Date: 2014-03-28 01:37 pm (UTC)
elialshadowpine: ([wow] Vervain - art)
From: [personal profile] elialshadowpine
Morgan was watching that video earlier! I was looking over their shoulder. Aww. :)

(I also replied, further down, if you want to read it. My own confession.)

Date: 2014-03-28 01:36 pm (UTC)
elialshadowpine: ([wow] Vervain - art)
From: [personal profile] elialshadowpine
tw numbers

Confession: I have my weight done every so often at my rheumy's office. I do not normally pay attention, and they NEVER tell me my weight (even without my request, which I think is pretty awesome of them). Except, this one time, I happened to pay attention, and it was just over 200.

Even after getting involved with body acceptance, something I would tell myself even when I was 190 something was "Well, at least I'm not 200." Like there was something shameful about that number. And I dreaded -- dreaded -- the day when that would change.

Except, when it happened... it was like, something in my head had changed. I looked at that number, and I found myself thinking, "Cool." And almost a weird sort of pride... that doesn't make sense at all, but I think it's not so much number as the pride that I could look at that and not feel horrible about myself, but instead think "Okay, so I'm 205lbs and you know what? I'm still pretty damn cute and sexy." If I dress up nice, I regularly get comments, and NOT the dreaded "Oh you have such a pretty face!" ones, genuine comments about how beautiful and gorgeous I am. I may be fat, but I fucking OWN it, and it doesn't mean I'm any less beautiful. In fact, I think I look better than I did when I was super-thin. It's just not conventional -- but conventional beauty standards are pretty crap and fake to boot -- when gorgeous women in stardom or modeling have to be photoshopped to be considered "acceptable", what's being fed to women is just a goddamn fantasy.

Truth: I thought the same things too, when I was younger, for similar reasons to you and Stella_Down. It wasn't until I got sick myself and then had my mental health collapse in my mid 20s that it shocked me into realizing that no, these people weren't faking or using it for attention, they were doing literally the best they could, just like I'm doing the best I can (or close to it; I could be doing more on my writing but right now with everything going on in my home I do not have the mental spoons. I love Emma, and having her here is not a problem, but having someone else in my home for so long is a major stressor, and it does affect my ability to do things like write).

And I hear you about being two-faced -- because I did the same thing. I was sympathetic and never said an unkind word, but what I thought? Was pretty shitty. I feel horrible for that, but like you, I try to pay it forward now, and it is also why I talk about it as much as I do. I could talk about it more, but, spoons, plus not wanting to totally depress people all the time.

(I do want to add I never personally felt that way about you. But there were some other people in my life that yes, I absolutely did. I always believed you, because it was so very clear that you were doing the absolute best you could and fighting even though sometimes it was just too much. There were other people that I ... well. I can't say I felt very kindly to them, and snarky. Some I felt were doing it for attention and sympathy, and it was wrong of me.)

*hugs and much love* (And should you decide to post more recent photos, I can say at least I would love to see them. Even if you only feel comfortable sending by e-mail. <3)
Edited Date: 2014-03-28 01:39 pm (UTC)

Date: 2014-04-06 06:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stella-down.livejournal.com
thank you for this - I legitimately don't know how to express how weird it was to not only get that off my chest, but have you forgive me (god that sounds pretentious). also you have an uncanny resemblance to Britney Spears - not even (http://theantifeminist.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/britney-spears-16-years-old-10.jpg) kidding (http://cdn01.cdnwp.celebuzz.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/13/The-X-Factor-Britney-Spears-Shock-Top-4.jpg).

what you're saying about the number is so true. I weighed double my lowest weight at one point, too. like two mes stuck together. I had had this concept that if I ever got to "that point" it would be impossible to live, like I would just collapse in shame and go into a coma until I was "presentable", and it was kind of this quiet revolution to realize that I still had to eat and sleep and go to Safeway and pay bills when I was 220 lbs and that it was actually possible to enjoy myself and do the same things I used to do and the world wasn't flipped on its axis, up is down, cats and dogs, etc.

I'm in a different place now but I think what makes us strong is that we've already been there and so we know what we've "lost". there's a quote that goes something like "I know I have nothing to lose because I'm secure in the knowledge that I already lost a long time ago." I was skinny once but it was a battle and I lost. I don't have to fight that battle again because I already fought it and I know it can't be won. so what that means is that I can spend the rest of my life doing whatever the fuck I want to instead of having to continuously fight that battle. the "loss" is actually a victory. that's freedom, dude, and we've earned it, because we DID try harder and we DID really want to do it, and we lost anyway, and that's the reason we're still here.

(on a semi-related note, I work at a residential mental health facility for kids and wish there was a way to sneak your lycanthropy = bipolar metaphor into the curriculum, because I think they would grab onto it. I also forget that livejournal still exists and this layout is driving me crazy so I'm going to finish this post now.)

Date: 2014-04-06 06:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] naamah-darling.livejournal.com
I'll get to the rest in a minute but right now I thought you should know I just fucking LOST IT laughing at that second pic of Britney. Yes, yes, that is the sort of face I make all the time.

Date: 2014-04-06 05:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] naamah-darling.livejournal.com
I had had this concept that if I ever got to "that point" it would be impossible to live, like I would just collapse in shame and go into a coma until I was "presentable", and it was kind of this quiet revolution to realize that I still had to eat and sleep and go to Safeway and pay bills when I was 220 lbs and that it was actually possible to enjoy myself and do the same things I used to do and the world wasn't flipped on its axis, up is down, cats and dogs, etc.

Oh, god, this. I felt like I didn't deserve what I had. I felt like I'd screwed up, failed. Life kept going on and I wished it would just stop. And when it didn't it was kind of a relief, and kind of just super-frustrating. I had to live with the consequences of what I had done . . . which where limited almost entirely to myself. The recovery phase was really hard and really scary. The pits, actually. The social consequences . . . nearly nonexistent.

The truth is that I didn't drop out of the game because I learned that society's expectations are bullshit and I have a right to be happy in my body no matter what it looks like. I didn't drop out because I suddenly reached an ideal weight and magically felt better about myself. I didn't drop out because I knew I was hurting myself and many of the people who love me. I dropped out because I learned I couldn't win. That's it.

I read Rethinking Thin by Gina Kolata, I read about the Minnesota Starvation Experiment, and the guy who cut off his own fingers and didn't remember why, and I realized that no matter how much I wanted this -- and I wanted it, I was doing more than those full-grown men in that experiment, and I was doing it on less food, and I had been doing it for years, not just a few months, so I had to want it pretty fucking badly -- I couldn't actually have it.

So I took my toys and I quit the playground in a snit and I went home.

I didn't quit because I learned it was a mug's game, rigged by both social standards and my own biology so that I could never, ever win. I quit because I couldn't have what I wanted. Simple as that. And why go to the effort if I could never have it?

I stopped restricting food that day, I went cold turkey, and I never restricted my food again. Not once. No matter how scary it was devouring everything in sight, eating until I couldn't eat anymore and still being so goddamn hungry. I had to trust my body would find its balance again, and that the hunger would stop. It eventually did. And that is a victory. That I never once backslid, that I was able to stick to it as hard as I stuck with getting myself into that fix in the first place.

True story: Last night I had a dream I was in some sort of godforsaken upscale organic food market place, like Whole Foods, and this really cute woman came up to me and tried to sell me her weight loss plan thing. She was like "We have this revolutionary new system that will allow you to--"

And I was like "Get. The FUCK. Away from me."

And she kind of backed up and sat down in a chair that was by the wall, eyes wide, and I felt a little bad for being so angry so I explained the whole deal to her. I told her I was an eating disorder survivor, that my body was nobody else's business unless I chose to make it so, that I might not be happy with it but that it still deserved love and shouldn't be starved, and that what she was doing -- I was adamant on this point -- was genuinely hurting people. I told her about the books I'd read, took her notebook away and wrote down the names and titles, and gave it back. And because it was a dream, I knew that I had planted the seeds of doubt, and that she would change her mind and stop doing what she was doing.

And I think that was a pretty amazing dream to have. I've had others like it, but that was especially good.

So yeah, I think we won. I think that's freedom. And I think we have both earned it.

Date: 2014-03-28 01:43 pm (UTC)
elialshadowpine: ([wow] Vervain - art)
From: [personal profile] elialshadowpine
Oh Stella... *hugs offered* I know you only from F!S and you posted an incredibly kind thing to me just the other day. Some of what you have said here... explains a lot about some of your comments over there, and where you are coming from, and I feel so much for you. I am so sorry you have had to go through that too -- because I have, myself, and I also come from having been derisive of people that I felt were letting their illness control them or use it for attention -- I made a longer post/confession in response to Naamah, if you want to read it. You aren't alone.

I am glad I have grown from that, and I'm glad you have too. And I'm glad things have gotten better for you. They have for me in a lot of ways, though I still struggle. I didn't know you were over here as well; do you mind if I friend you? (Or over at DW if you prefer... I have always liked your comments at F!S but I always feel weird about asking to friend people over there.)

Date: 2014-04-06 06:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stella-down.livejournal.com
lol oh dear you found me. yeah, I found naamah again through your journal, bless her heart.

I try to keep my personal history separate from F!S because I feel like it would put an unnecessary weight to any of my posts about mental health when I would rather put the emphasis on my professional experience (if that makes any sense). also, people there still occasionally give me shit about how I'm a "self-medicating alcoholic" because I posted a lot on F!S during the time I was in and out of the hospital, and that's what they remember. it doesn't offend me exactly, but it is one of my few triggers and I don't like it. I would rather not give those angry anons more ammo from my worst days to throw back at me when their toes get stepped on.

tbh I literally never use livejournal and have never posted an entry on my dreamwidth - it exists just for F!S - but I'll friend you anyway because what the hell. :D

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