Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Wednesday, September 9, 2015
Thursday, September 3, 2015
Saturday, August 29, 2015
Monday, August 24, 2015
Monday, August 17, 2015
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
Monday, August 3, 2015
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
It is not always easy for people without mental illness to understand it, but most people know what it feels like to be extremely sad, and everyone experiences moments of irrationality and delusional thinking. Irrational thinking is not a mental illness by itself, because it is so normal. A mental illness is when something is happening in your brain that causes your mood to be unstable enough and your thoughts irrational enough on a consistent basis that it interferes with your life. People with mental illnesses may often be seen by dramatic films as violent, highly delusional stereotypes, but most mental patients are completely normal people who just happen to have an illness. In my case, it was a severe depressive episode.
A family member had been sexually assaulted. It was the first and only time I had felt a literally murderous rage shake my body, and I understood that "seeing red" is actually a pretty much literal phrase. I had always been afraid that I would be raped, and I had of course feared for other family members, but it still felt like something impossible had happened, like a monster I had dreamed of had walked out of my nightmares and was lurking in my every shadow. Watching her go through the pain of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - crying, screaming, grabbing for a knife to cut herself with right in front of us while I wrestled it out of her hands, not wanting to be touched by anyone for any reason, always needing a light on and not wanting to sleep on a pillow because her rapist had used one to try to suffocate her while she was intoxicated and helpless but trying to struggle and scream, knowing how her body had been damaged as she went to doctors to get medical treatment, watching people in her life blame, shame, and deny her as they continued to hang out with a rapist whose ex-girlfriend was also terrified of him, the entire family going to court to get a restraining order because we were unable to get criminal charges filed because she did not at first think a man holding her down, hitting, choking, and suffocating her was really a rape.... the experience was not only traumatizing for the direct victim, it hurt our entire family, and the person who did that is still free today, because of how our society mistreats rape victims.
At the exact same time, I had just lost my independence and my home due to my work hours being cut back and difficulties finding a second job.
But it wasn't just those things. Something chemical was happening inside me, in my brain, that caused a Depressive Episode.
I have been poor and struggling my entire adult life, and I had for the most part been perfectly happy that way. There is a difference between depression and regular stress or feeling "bummed out" or ennui. When I am not having a depressive episode, something terrible like a family death can occur, every day stresses of poverty like barely having enough money for groceries can wear on me, but I do not hit the depths of sadness - barely able and totally unwilling to summon energy to do basic things like clean my room, obsessive self-hatred, paranoid thoughts that long time loyal friends secretly hated me, little ability to find even a few moments of joy in my life.
Depression runs in my family. More than one family member has "successfully" committed suicide, and many of us have tried, or at least become obsessed with the idea. So when I became so obsessed that the part of me that still wanted to live and still was sane enough to want to protect my family from the pain of losing someone in what I knew damn well was the most terrible way to lose someone, I turned myself in to a mental hospital because I believed it was where I needed to be to recover and keep myself safe.... from myself. Because part of me was still sane enough to know I could be happy again, and I desperately wanted to be happy again (and now I am!). After all, when it really comes down to it, the idea of living your life in misery so other people can be happy (to have a miserable loved one in their life rather than losing that loved one) is a terrible proposition. A suicidal person can be persuaded to endure a painful life for their family, but it is far better to be able to know that you will not always have to endure constant pain - and the intense sadness of depression is very painful.
When I went to get help, I thought the hospital would be like the other hospitals I had been in, back when I was still on the family insurance. Strict, constant monitoring by guards who kept us safe. Really good food, better than I ever ate on the Outside, food that I could just feel repairing my weakened body and brain with serious Nutrition; boiled eggs, fresh burgers, crisp broccolis, a different feast every day that we were able to choose for ourselves. Consistant groups and classes. Sure, there were downsides, too, it wasn't a paradise - only compared to Madden.
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
Wednesday, July 8, 2015
Call 800.656.HOPE (4673) to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area. (via RAINN)
edit: I was thinking a bit more about the racial aspect of the Cosby case in particular. I won't go too much into it, but I would like to say that (1) black men are certainly more likely to be seen a predatory (see my open letter to Dylann Roof), and more likely to be punished for rape. White men like Bill Clinton (who, yes, was accused of sexual harassment and sexual assault) are more likely to get away with it. (2) Of the very, very, VERY rare instances of actual false rape accusations, black men have disproportionately been victims (ie lynching), although in some of those cases a rape had actually occurred, the lynching victim just didn't get a fair trial and may not have been the actual rapist; in some cases, consensual sex may have been misconstrued as rape by white men (not by the female in question) with proprietary attitudes towards women. This is also true of most unjust rape accusations that are later exonerated - a stranger rape did occur, but the wrong offender was imprisoned. (3) Black women deserve to be protected from rape. Black women were systematically raped by white men, but they have also been raped by black men, and some of Cosby's victims were women of color, so while it is certainly racist that Cosby gets more negative press than men like Woody Allen, it is also racist to presume that the women of color are not victims of rape deserving of protection.
Tuesday, July 7, 2015
tentatively titled "The Machina Treatment", the story takes place in an (alt universe) earth city called Shikaga not long after earth is invaded & colonized by aliens. Some humans, called "homs", have been essentially transformed into cyborgs. This is a flashback scene, but the main narrative will take place thousands of years from this point, at which point there will be very few homs left, all of the cyborg variety, basicly in hiding - until a young hom of unknown origins appears & ignites a revolution....
Other the shit you should know about this world : there is a zombie-like plague that the aliens brought with them, & the cyborg technology was partially modeled after a biological process call "vorm-ing" that some aliens are capable of, which is essentially changing your body from a solid to a liquid &/ gas.
Yip realized he was shivering, shaking the sticky rotten visceral guts he was stuck in like a giant tape-worm thrashing around in the beast’s corpse, as if it were still fighting for life. He fought to keep his body still, focusing on the sound of moaning, scraping feet coming closer, but he still had no power to control his limbs. He opened his eyes slowly, a sliver at a time, seeking through the bloody slit of furry skin. He could see the faces of the Dead Men glowing, just in sight, through the weeds – bony fingers like claws outstretched - & in the distance, lit up by a giant red moon, his eyes struggled upwards through the bloodied fur & guts, reaching up to grasp the lone loping shadow staggering over the highest point in the Black Hills with the small body of a fresh kill slung over its’ back. As he clutched his teeth together to keep them from chattering and shut his eyes tight to silence their light & their horrible visions again, Yip thought bitterly that when had dreamed of adventures in the wild, this was not what he had pictured.
this thought had first come to him early on- after weeks of aching feet and aching bellies crossing endless expanses of Nothing, silently listening for danger, searching the dry cracked ground for weeds to eat – if this was adventure, he thought, how much more exciting to be safe at home in bed with a viewscreen! But all that was gone now – he’d be lucky to live through it. No Hom had- why did he think he would be any different?
As the days wore on, Yip’s hope that the food would last the journey through the Dead Marsh had slowly drained away. Griff did not mind – Marlocks store nutrients in the large bumps sticking out all over their skin like bulbous zits. & Zelop was a small, spiky reptilian, he could go a very long time with very little but bugs to eat.
Griff did what he could to comfort Yip, carrying him for long stretches.. Yet Hyana, a mere hom like himself, did not seem to fear death, tho she herself had said that no hom had crossed the Dead Marsh and lived. With her it sounded like a challenge.
Nothing ever seemed to worry Hyana, the Shadow Huntress. She may have been a hom, a primitive Earther ape native, but Yip often thought she must be part machine. She wore a cold stone mask no matter what happened, whether tredging hours through sinking mud or starving or skinning a fresh kill, it made no difference to her – she never seemed to suffer, to feel the slightest pain, never complained, always moving steadily & silently – she could kill as easily as one swats a fly, with that much emotion. It was only when she was hunting – stalking her prey – that Yip could almost see almost see light behind her eyes - hidden though they were behind a thin bent panel of black glass. She was grim, but not solemn, exactly– the corners of her mouth seemed permanently lifted in a smug little smirk, as if she were always laughing at the expense off the rest of the world, holding deep within her a cruel joke that only she had the wisdom to understand.
Her skin seemed to shift into the shadows or whiten in the sun like a DawnScraper, seemed to Yip she could be black as night or white as the sands of the Endless Desert.
If Yip was puzzled and awed by Hyana, the Marlocks were staggered by this strange hom. “Our fem Hom there, it no sleep?” Griff grumfed, shifting his aft-hump closer to the watch fire.
“All homs sleep, Griff, even the Huntress- sometime.. right, Yip?” Zelop said.
“yup” Yip said. Yet he thought to himself that he had never once seen her so much as close her eyes completely.
“that one there, no sleep. Griff watch. Huntress has open eyes – starlit, dark, every breath. Homs is Darkers, no?”
Zelop snorted. “Shit, Griff, how long you been on this planet? Homs ain’t Darkers or StarSiders. This planet rotates, scumsucker. Even the slowest shadow stalker could see that! Day and Night are a matter of time, not distance – or didn’t you notice?”
Marlocks never laugh, so Griff did not, but he did seem amused – “Homs is Dawnscrapers, then – dark & light- sun & shadow.”
“yup. We sleep at night cuz we can’t see so good, tho.”
suddenly he felt himself grabbed from behind. A squeal emerged from his throat into a leather gloved hand. It was Hyana.
“Never tell anyone your weaknesses, noob.” She hissed in his ear, “& especially never attempt to discern mine.” she tossed him lightly back to the ground. With her other hand, she pulled a string of critter corpses from her shoulders – all she’d been able to catch on the dry plains –little birds & rats.
“meat” she glowed, picking up a knife and bending to strip away the skin.
Yip looked around at his companions, who didn’t seem to have noticed – they were drooling towards the meat. Hyana set the naked meat on the spit. Her eyes glittered as he glared at her – but his eyes lowered to the meat and he held his tongue. Hyana did not-
“take what we call Firebirds. Guess what their weakness is?”
She flicked her fingers and flames shot out into the sky,
Yip shrieked and cowered under a rock.
The flames exploded colors into the blacknesss. Orange and purple and shades the hom-eyed watchers could not see. Glinting off Hyana’s shark-teethed as she grinned against the lighted sky...
Yip watched as two red & yellow winged birds suddenly appeared, screeching, flapping down at them as if to stamp them out or scratch them up and eat them. Hyana drew her bow, shot them down, & began carving them up.
“how did you do that?” Yip asked Hyana wonderingly, “what was that thing?”
Firebursts”. Hyana grinned,”a hom spawn, scum-ape earther , who does not know firebursts? Tsk, tsk, what is this world coming to?”
“Well, I didn’t come from Homs…”
no shit, let me guess - you were raised by Japners? those pointy headed little spider fucks with skin like jagged rock?”
“don’t call them that. They’re Jasperians. They’re my family.”
“Our Huntress is Speciesist.” Griff grunted.
“How can a Hom be Specieist?” Zelop said to him, “We’re the ones who took over their planet.”
“you’re their dog,” Hyana taunted Yip, “They cut off your balls and teach you to do tricks?”
Yip blushed and scowled. “you don’t know anything.”
Zelop made a screeching sound & flicked his upper tongue in the air like a razor-edged ribbon – “Japners are scum. They take other species as pets.”
“My Jasperian family respects me!” Yip protested, rising, cheeks flushed red.
Hyana did not even look at him. He threatened her about as much as a small child might. “If you like them so damn much, why aren’t you with them instead of out here crossing this death trap like a fool?”
“Same reason as you – I wanna lay my stakes on that Asteroid.” Yip pulled his small pickaxe from his belt where he kept it for use as a sort of multi-tool. He didn’t have the first clue what he’d be mining, but a giant hunk of rock fallen from space had to have something useful inside it, if the memes of smiling miners on his viewscreen’s book of faces were true as they felt.
Hyana seemed to creep forward, through the shadows, her white eyes gleaming- “Seems to me like you’re running from something. I know the scent of desperation, and it’s all over you.”
Yip said nothing – swallowing hard, he slumped back down in his seat, put away his axe, packed up & pulled smoke from his pipe to keep water from flowing from his eyes. He had started to think he should hide himself from Hyana, curl up inside his shell. Bow your head and follow. Good Dog.
Hyana tore off a small chunk of raw Marshrat in her claws and began chewing it as the fire crackled over the tiny bodies tied in a line to the spit. Griff had begun chewing on the feathers the Huntress had discarded. Zelop, uninterested In meat or fire, had crawled uphill to stare at the sky.
“Ice storm coming” He screeched.
Hyana nodded. “gonna stick your head in the mud, Lizard-man?”
Zelop bit at his front claw “& sleep away my share of the bounty? I’m a better digger than any of you hot-bloods.”
He scuttled out to the edge of a rock to catch moon-rays while the mammals settled under furs before the fire.
The next morning when Yip woke, Zelop was gone. They looked all over, but there was no trace of the lizard. Finally Griff said he must have dug himself a hole and hibernated after all. The ice storm never hit.
Soon there were fewer and fewer animals to kill for meat, less edible vegetation, & only the greenest of water. Yip began to really understand that the Dead Swamp was not a casual nickname, & it finally occurred to him that he, too, could die. The fear he would be the next to fall gripped him like ice.
But he was wrong. It happened shortly after a rare miracle occured, & Hyana was able to catch a snake & make snake stew with some foragings. As they crossed the muddy swamp on fallen trees, suddenly Griff kneeled over in the mud. He began to sink.
“pull him out!” Hyana screamed. She had already fashioned a rope, which she threw around his head. “Get down there & push!” she called to Yip, cracking her whip against his ankle. Yip was afraid to go in the mud, but he thought of all the times Griff had carried him, and he struggled against the big body. Griff seemed dead already, seemed to push against him as if to bring him into the swampy afterlife with him, but Hyana pulled hard on his neck and they laid his massive body out on the shore. Yip thrust his head to one of the creature’s hearts and listened until long after it stopped beating.
“What do we do now?” Yip asked mournfully, looking up at Hyana through Griff’s still silent fur.
“We eat him.” The Huntress said calmly.
“We can’t!” Yip cried.
“What if he’s poisoned? We could get sick.”
“Oh, he was poisoned.” She grinned, “ but we won’t get sick.”
“What do you mean?”
“carrots.” She growled. “they’re poison to Marlocks.” She began slitting open Griff’s sagging hump, “but not to us. “
“how do you know that?”
“Nevermind how I know. He’s dead. meat’s meat.” She flicked her hand and out shot her knife.
“Griff isn’t meat!” Yip protested. He wanted to get down and hug his friend’s carcass, but he could not make his leaden legs move. He trembled.
“Fuck’s sake, Yip, you dumbfuck Jarp-licker, he’s just a shaggy scumfuck humpback alien fatsacks. If we don’t eat him, we starve, it’s simple as that. Why do you think they call it the Dead Marsh? There’s no food anywhere, as far as I know there’s no other way to make it forward or even back & I know better than anyone; no way to carry enough food... Marlocks, on the other hand, carry their food on their backs. & now he’s dead, and it’s our food.“ the corners of her mouth twitched.
Far off, Yip thought he heard a Mad Dog laughed. He gazed out at the rocky, jungle swamp around him, thick weeds reaching dead fingers towards dark clouds reflected in still green water. He wanted to look anywhere but Griff’s giant shaggy corpse being split under Hyana’s knife. Suddenly a fury overwhelmed his more sensible cowardice -
“You – you – you only brought him here to kill him!” he screamed at her.
Hyana considered him a moment. She seemed to hold his eyes with hers, a shock of white ice and deep midnight jungle black. Yip felt wild panic but could not will himself to move.
“yes.” She said finally, rising slowly, body twisting towards him, bloodied knife in hand at her side. Yip could not help it. He sprang back a pace and yelped. Hyana chuckled low & spread her fingers, dropping the knife; both homs knew this didn’t truly disarm her. “Yip, my hom bro, I ain’t got shit against you if you got nothin’ on me, dig?”
“As it happens, Yip, I’m the only way in hell you’re going to survive this, even if it’s only for a few days.... All you have to do is listen to me & try not to do anything stupid, you understand?”
Good. Homs gotta stick together, right? Build a fire.”
She stripped & flayed the meat and made a thick soup and pemmican balls out of the fat that had been stored in the hump. Hyana made Yip help her drain the water first, through a bladder. Yip kept thinking of Griff rubbing his big shaggy face against his in greeting and it made him dry-heave.
Hyana gave him water and warned him, fingers lightly tapping the back of his neck, “If you puke him up after we eat him, you’ll have to eat up the puke. We don’t have enough to be wasted.” This, of course, only made him sick, but there was not yet anything in his stomach & he gasped dryly like a fish, half hoping he vomited his guts up and died right there.
He did not bother to ask if she knew what had happened to Zelop.
It was that night that the hail storm finally hit. Hyana did not allow them to make camp. They struggled against the rocky stones below two great shields Hyana had made from Grif’s circular bones. Even in death, Grif was still protecting Yip. And so was Hyana-
“So why do you keep me alive?” he shouted to her.
“You won’t stay alive long if you don’t pay attention.” She said flatly, just loud enough to be heard.
He ran a few paces and swung around to stand in front of her. The ice rocks hit against his spine.
“Why didn’t you kill me, too?” he moaned, staring into her silvery eyes.
“I need you, Yip. Sometimes two do better than one. Besides, Homs have to stick together.” She pushed past him and continued climbing against the storm. Yip ran after her.
“How do I know you won’t betray me?”
“I would never betray my own kind.” She said. The corners of her mouth dancing.
In the morning when the storm settled Hyana made Yip another soup of Grif’s innards – she herself ate only the pemicin -& insisted on carrying him on her back so he could sleep. He dreamed of riding inside of one of Griff’s humps, stuck inside the viscera, unable to breathe - He woke to the sound of howling. Night had fallen. Hyana, with him on his back, had shot a giant Darkwolf and her cub, which lay at her feet.
you’ll want your pick.” Hyana told him, handing the simple miner’s tool to him.
“I don’t need it. I’ve already got one.”
“What?” he gasped groggily, hoping this was still a dream.
A shadow fell across Hyana’s face. The flashing panel wrapt tight below her eyes turned deep space black – the corners of her mouth still teasing a smirk, the deadly snaggle-toothed grin of a shadowcat – only her eyes betrayed a flashing light – she spoke in a low purr, a growl as she slunk closer-
“don’t you know why homs never cross the Marsh Wastes? It’s a fuckin’ breeding ground for the Corpse Plague, man. The Dead walk deep in the Dark Marsh Waste – and you know what they like to eat, don’t you?”
Yip began to tremble. Of course he did. Homs everywhere still spoke of the Corpse Plague in hushed voices. The bodies of the dead rising to feed on the flesh of the living – suddenly he thought he could hear them groaning through the trees
“No!” he sputtered – “it’s not true! They’re all dead!”
“oh, they’re dead all right.” Hyana said. “they’re dead and they smell blood. Can you run?”
“I can’t m-move my legs.”
Hyana grinned. “Marlock liver. Poison to homs. Paralyzes you. Those Dead Eaters love blood – especially hom blood.” She reached down and shoved Yip into the wolf’s carcus. In one swift motion, she lifted the cub over, onto her shoulder. She grinned down at Yip, tucked inside the wolf.
“This bitch was following us long time, waiting for us to die. They’ll smell her first, then they’ll smell you. They have a preference for living hom hosts.”
“W-why are you doing this? Yip called, fighting & failing to move his leadening limbs.
Hyana grin never faded. “sometimes two go better than one” she growled. “ I needed another hom to keep these fucks busy while I get past.”
“you said you’d never betray your own kind” Yip whined, eyes filling uselessly with water.
“I lied to you, Yip. I hate homs more than any other creature. You’re just meat to me like all the rest of them.”
As he pleaded weakly to her, she turned her back on him and continued her journey East as the Dead Eaters began stumbling from the woods towards the fresh meat.
Years later they would talk of seeing a single figure walking alone down the mountain, and wonder how it was that all of Hyana’s party died and yet she seemed so unchanged, well fed and cheerful even, when she returned alone.