willkommen! bienvenue! …you get the idea

From Elen Woderose of the Industrious Barony of Thescorre, come greetings unto all who enter here. [switching hats] Hi, I’m Lunochka, and I’ll be your blogger this evening. What can I start you off with?

I have a rich fantasy life. I write fiction and some verse; current works-in-progress include the bloody doomsday thing that isn’t really doomsday after all and the heavily-edited Immigrant Songs, poems stretching over oh ye gods it really has been eight or nine years since I wrote some of those. I indulge in fanfiction from time to time. I’ll be writing songs this year. I don’t promise they’ll be hits, but I’ll try not to offend your artistic sensibilities too badly.

My pop culture interests bridge the gap between geek and chic. I’ve gone vaguely boho and vaguely prep (see Gravatar), and my favorite trousers are basically a skirt cut in two and stitched up the middle. Send me your old, worn-out peasant skirts with drawstrings in and I will make more skirts. Uh, tell me in advance if you want them back. ;) I sew chiefly by hand, and I have been dragging my bottom on that, so I’d better hop to sometime this month.

I’d like more Downton Abbey, Call the Midwife, Archer, Grey’s Anatomy, Lost Girl, and Bomb Girls (that one’s a long shot). I don’t know whether The Mentalist got cancelled. I know The Good Wife is coming back, which, yay! My idea of a good horror film is a few hours’ worth of Public Information Films. Or Threads. (The Day After is a little sanitised.)

I finally think of myself as this woman in this place and from it, but I cannot forget, not ever, that the path to serenity wound through a lot of brambles. I’m only technically native to Western New York; for all intents and purposes, I’m a German immigrant. We moved before I began to form memories, and as a result, yes, the worst culture shock I’ve ever had was coming here. I still don’t get a lot of things, but I have friends now, and a beloved man, and for them I would put down my roots.

In order of fluency, I have English, German, and French; I can usually make sense of Spanish in context; I read Arabic script but can’t tell you whether that is written Urdu, Farsi, or Arabic proper, nor can I differentiate between Arabic dialects. I address my loved ones using Russian diminutives and my liege lords and ladies by their titles.

i suppose this is inevitable.

As I age, I do have to face the fact that I will start running into health care professionals who are my age or younger. Sometimes it is magical, watching people begin their careers, taking the things they have learned and applying them in the real world — doing it well. It’s when they botch it that I sigh and despair for my generation.

Take my psych nurse. (Please.)

I admit I was not in the best of moods on intake. I truly was not. Then again, I had gone about a month and a half doing squat to improve my life because motivational anhedonia had its claws in me. Also, it isn’t the client’s job to be in any particular mood. I was sullen. I was tired. But I knew what I needed and I managed to convey that, I thought. By contrast she was… “suburban” is the best way to put it. It’s the only adjective I’ve got for polished-blonde-looks 35 at the most. She looked like she’d never not fit in a day in her life. Like she’d always belonged.

So she intimidated the hell out of me. But I was game. I needed to try. Right? Don’t give up until you give it a chance. We decided I’d try going up to 20mg of Celexa. Nice thought. I was queasy for four days straight. I went back down to 15mg, because that trial failed. I told her I needed to take it slowly, but that I was still interested in going up to 20mg. I was just… splitting pills.

When I got tired of splitting pills into eighths, I asked — or thought I asked — for 10mg tablets. I got ‘em, all right. Enough for 15mg. Which hadn’t been working over the summer. Okaaaaay. I called for my next refill and said “Hey, uh, I need to have enough to be able to go to 20″ which got interpreted as “Let’s give Elodie 20mg tablets again!”

Wegmans was kind enough to get it changed to two 10s instead of one 20 a day. I appreciate Wegmans.

This morning I walk in with my crochet, yes? Prepared to be amiable enough. Not chummy like sisters. Just. Amiable. I get one question about how well the Celexa’s working and then she starts in on the two benzos I’m on.

I expect this from people who don’t hang out their shingle as psychiatrists or equivalent. I do not expect it from people who make their living prescribing these meds, specifically these meds, only these meds, to people whose case histories they should understand well enough to know that I have had enough trouble finding prescribers for one lifetime. That I came to her because the office has no policy against prescribing one person two benzodiazepines. I suppose I assumed this meant their practitioners, all of them, had a handle on said drug class.

From people who do this for a living, I expect, at most, “How do you feel about…? No? Okay, no. Cool.”

But I said no. I said a flat no. Three times. Which should’ve been it. No? Cool. Instead she started in on me like I knew absolutely nothing about the drugs. I told her I’d been on them for eleven years. I told her I knew where my cognitive decline came from. Correlation. Causation. I have fibromyalgia. It does that. I remember when my brain turned soupy. I know what a drug-related decline should look like — a hell of a lot more gradual than what I’ve experienced. As for tolerance issues, honey, I passed the “uh-oh, she’ll have withdrawal!” threshold three months into treatment. I’ve stayed within reasonable limits since then, and that is usually enough for doctors to nod and be okay.

I did all that while she was a sophomore in undergrad. Turns out she graduated high school two years ahead of me. Somehow I’ve tripped blithely through eleven years of medication not caring what it does to me? Somehow I have managed to know nothing about my own case history? Do I really look that ignorant at eleven-thirty in the morning?

I asked her how old she was. Apparently that’s some kind of inappropriate. Okay, it was the wrong question entirely. I should have asked “Exactly how long have you been practicing?” I had to Google to find out she’s only been doing this for nine years and I’ve been stuck with it for eleven!

I told her I needed to function, and that things staying the same would be my best bet. I had — have — people counting on me. I have a degree to finish. I have a family whose patron saint is Murphy. I do not have time to screw around with teensy gradations of benzos, feeling like crap the whole time. There may come a day when I can check myself in and let the doctors screw with my meds all they like! This is not that day! That day is not even remotely in sight!

On my way home, I called the office to request a new prescriber. I’m done with her. Carol on the phone said the practice would have to discuss it. I told Carol my reasons for asking. Maybe that’ll actually matter. I like Rachael a lot; she works with me, understanding that I am a person with agency and sense. In other words, she’s a social worker. Nurse Wretched there must’ve hatched from her university floating happily above real people and their lives, because for the life of me I can’t imagine any better reason for her complete disconnect from who I am and where I’ve been. She’s not discussing this stuff with Rachael? She’s not understanding it? Whatever. New. Prescriber. ASAP. I cannot deal with the cheerleader any longer.

every nerve glowing like

I’ve seen more ladybugs in twelve days than in twelve months. As omens go, that one is positive enough, but better still, the writing of Shonda Rhimes. I don’t care if I’m spoiling you for tonight’s Grey’s Anatomy.

Callie is standing on her own.

Callie is learning how to be herself first, too. And that’s where I need to be. I don’t want to live resentful; I want to live free, joyous, loving. He doesn’t want my love if it shackles me in any way. (Well, he will keep the love, but we are who we are: we keep love forever, because in our hearts it doesn’t spoil.) He doesn’t want my promises if they shackle me in any way.

We knew that we would step back and apart if the day came when we were obliged to choose each other instead of saying “Yes, this is how I am best.” We cried, together and apart. We miss what was, but would we take it back unchanged? I don’t believe either of us would. He wants me to go walkabout. He won’t have me back on a pretense. If he and I are ever again together, and one of us doubts as deeply as I have, then when we step apart the second time, it will be for keeps. No possibility of reconciliation.

You must understand that I do still consider reconciliation on the table, somewhere. But it is a large table with a lot on it. My things. To sort, to throw away or embrace as I will. I did the physical cleaning this summer. The emotional comes next.

Elodie N.O.S. Not Otherwise Specified. It’s the term they use in medicine when they’re sure something fits the category, but it expresses itself atypically, or there are no good words for it. That’s me. I am not otherwise specified in a ton of ways. Some I can live with as open-ended questions, some I am still figuring out, some are defined now because not defining them hurt.

move forward and walk under a brighter sky
every nerve glowing like a firefly

I have to try.

I have to try.

the nature of grief.

One week. Nearly a week and a day. I think about beginning to move forward. I even begin to begin to move forward (that is not a typo). Then I look around me, terrified, wondering what on earth made me think I was ready? — Well, bravado. A good day’s sleep (seriously, seventeen hours). But when I am tired again I remember who I am missing. When I am tired I am vulnerable.

vulning: to wound oneself by biting one’s own breast. a pelican vulning is a pelican in her piety, much revered.

I take my medication in the dead of night; I have kept myself too busy at inane things to do so earlier. Maybe then I’ll sleep, except that the bed will be so cold. But it would be cold anyhow. Six days out of seven it was cold. What’s the seventh? The seventh is the difference between someone having my back and no-one. Someone in my life and someone out of it.

How can I think about moving forward when we are both still hurting? I have those gaping holes in me, too. I am overcome at unexpected moments. It hurts to move; it hurts not to move. This is shit, I think. This is the kind of shit feeling that makes me want to run straight back to what we had. It wasn’t perfect, but it was us. Connections like ours don’t happen often. I have had similar that went unrequited because it had to; those loves ranged from slightly immoral to downright dishonorable. Even when one of them dishonored himself, I could sleep easier knowing I had not been part of it. I could despise him and learn not to want him. But I never had him. I’m glad I never had him. I think now perhaps the people who knew us both were protecting me.

Eleven (I erased the word “my”) protected me. He would have been right to veto that, had it been likely.

. . .

I run into the question: am I polyamorous? I was in a polyamorous relationship for six and a half years. Could I even be monogamous?

If this is a matter of orientation — I’m panromantic and demisexual. What’s one more grey area? So it could go either way, so long as I’m cared-for. But the world is binary. You have to explain these things. I will have to explain these things. Fine. I want to be accepted for who I am, and there are far stranger aspects of my identity. Immigrant citizen (subject of a kingdom that does not exist), grown daughter at home, intelligent science-loving believer in woo. The name I call mine is not the name on my birth certificate.

I will always be explaining myself.

. . .

How do I prove to myself that leaving was the right thing to do, even if only to find that it may ultimately be wrong? By putting one foot in front of the other. Standing still is no proof that I have loved, because I have loved before and never forgotten, only learned to despise those who disgraced themselves. Going forward is no proof that I cease to love. And none can ask me to stop loving, because it won’t work. So if I’m only going to keep loving and stand still (which is not the same as reconciliation), all I get from it is pain and neither of us will know any more than we do today.

I would be satisfied at right this moment to undo what I have done. At other moments I see the wisdom in what we talked about weeks before I made the call. I do need to try. I have changed. I need to see how much and in which direction.

. . .

Yes, we talked about it, and I had been thinking about it, but I had feared the pain of even discussing it. Yes, I cried on him. Yes, it was at least a week or two before the actual split.

I do this thing. It has a name: anticipatory grief. I mourn before the loss if I see it coming. Loss in the near future is loss now; emotionally I have a difficult time separating what will be from what currently is. I look back and I was mourning us for ages, even before we spoke. I did that when my uncle was dying. I still missed my uncle fiercely. The loss still burned like cheap office coffee smells: bitter, acrid. I was in the middle of Remeron withdrawal when they held the funeral and couldn’t leave the house. That probably compounded the pain.

It didn’t linger like my grandmother’s death. That death hit me from behind. She was okay. She was doing pretty well, all things considered. One February evening, my aunt called. She never calls in the evening. She sleeps, because she’s in fecking Europe, not New York. I still can’t wear that tank dress without remembering. What followed was either flu or the ugliest fibro flare that calendar year. I know I had a sore throat by morning (we were all awake all night). I can’t fly. I couldn’t go to her funeral, either.

From this I can conclude that anticipatory grief helps, but so does closure, and I can have no closure until there is a real and true end to this story. There will not be an end to this story for some time. (Watch me tempting fate.)

. . .

I need to believe something good will come of this, and not some trite “Elodie learns to stand on her own” pishiness. No, I assure you, losing Eleven is not going to make me independent. Driving, graduating, job, these are what I need. I am not better off alone. I have known literally for half my life that I wanted very much to be part of a close-knit kin group not my family of origin. I have longed to interdepend. I haven’t cared about the number of people, just the relationship. The family I build, that surrounds me and loves me and lets me give love back. I know now that I have lots of extended family of choice. Will that extended family of choice yield a closer one? I don’t know. If they can help me find it, I welcome their help. For a non-Jewish woman, I am awfully enthusiastic about the prospect of matchmakers.

My dad’s finally had some good out of his hell. My mum’s hell is passing. So why is mine ongoing? Why is the very thing I have longed for more out of my reach than ever? Whatever and whoever is listening, can this be fixed, please? I’m doing my bit Below. Now you do yours Above and we’re solid!


Five days and sixteen hours ago, I told Eleven I needed to leave him. I had spent a terrible night, one of many terrible nights. We had missed each other that week due to illness. If I had only understood the week before — I regret, I regret, I regret — I mourn.

Because that’s what it is when you don’t have someone anymore, someone who has grown into your world. The loss is as if he has died. We were inseparable. I thought we were. I thought I was not so stupid as to throw away someone who loved me as I was. But I have, I’ve hurt him, and I am deeply ashamed. No matter what was imperfect or even bad between us, I am still spending terrible nights. I wonder if we needed to break down in order to rebuild. I call myself stupid and I call myself careless. When you are unusual, the people who are unusual with you are to be treasured; when one of those is somehow more distant from you than before, where do you look for others who are unusual in just the ways that complement your own?

Who will love or understand an immigrant girl with disabilities and a wish to mother the world?

I have a long day ahead of me tomorrow but sleep is as far away as Eleven. My head aches. My stomach churns. I cannot remember feeling lower in spirit. I walk in fog. I contemplate telling my professors and my dentist to leave me in peace for a week so I might truly rest. I have spent much of my day sewing. Do you know that in two weeks I have taken three and a half yards of red and wheat plaid flannel and made them into a winter gown? By hand? Every seam is sewn from rolled, hemmed pieces, selvage to selvage. Those rolls are slipstitched into place. When I am stronger I will tighten the sleeves; they are ungainly. Tonight I am (I cannot use the word satisfied) able to leave it at “finished, relatively attractive, suitable to be seen in court”.

And all I wanted as I stitched was to lay my head on that chest one more time.

tonight your ghost will ask my ghost
who put these bodies between us?

never blog in anger.

I try to be better. This is why, despite my grumpy-old-woman affect, I am actually quite fond of some inspirational blogs, and today’s Message from the Brightside comes from Louise at Sprinkle of Glitter.

She titles her post “Inadequacy”, and immediately my brain connects two ideas: yes. Anger and feeling inadequate often go hand-in-glove for me. While I’m not on board with the whole “I let myself be hurt” thing just yet — because I live in a reality where it has been true that other people actually hurt me (sometimes the hearing is enough) — I can distinguish between the two and I think I’ve felt her way recently.

And while I’m decidedly Team Grim Reality, I hope I’m relatable to someone. ;)

Louise, my duckling, what better topics are there than the ones that make you happy? If fluff is what makes your heart leap and your fingers fly, please indulge! You have this beautiful life, and I do not begrudge you your joy. So you went awhile without confronting feminism? As a woman, that means you were probably blessed with good men and privilege that allowed you to grow up fairly well-adjusted. Feminism was all around you, like some fairy godmother, and I think you must have benefited from what our foremothers did — that doesn’t mean I’m angry you don’t blog about it! (Or seem to blog about it. I am new.)

I don’t see much of the world. When I was young I was the girl who had. Now I am the girl who is content to make a home and a life. If anything, finding culture has been a journey in this place, to discover what is diverse about this place. If you do feel inadequate, culturally, wherever you are, find who and what is not of that place. Learn. Embrace. That is impressive all on its own. In fact, an awareness that one wishes to learn more is impressive.

This is an “Oh, did you hear what Louise did?” moment.

I’m not looking to stroke your ego. I’m looking to reassure you. Who you are is good enough. Been there, done that, always going to fight it because everywhere you and I go, someone’s going to try and tell us we’re wrong, eh?

And if your mind’s all over the place, you bring the tea, I’ll bring the sympathy.

I am On Track for my semester so far. Yes, it is in fact verging on Day Two. I know. But small victories count, and I consider having my weeks mapped out a major achievement. I’ve struggled for years to find a system that suited me.

One of my textbooks came decidedly not as advertised, so I communicated with people about it. I told the people who sold it me that they’d best come up with an access code ASAP (next step: getting my cash back/trading up to Edition the Third). I let my professor know that this might be an issue for current students, because she did say “get the 2nd Edition” and that’s no longer handy on Amazon with codes guaranteed. She thanked me and said she’d start recommending the 3rd, and in the meanwhile if nothing could be done she would find me a workaround. See? Reasonable.

I began to read this unit’s required textbook today for Music. It’s nice reading. It’s got “yes!” moments.

My Disabled in America text isn’t actually here yet, so I can begin thinking about the things I’ll need to do later in the semester. Right? :)

There is still an eight-hundred-pound essay in the room, which problem I wish to address Wednesday with the new therapist. Please, please, let her and her smart-people CBT work on me. Please let it not suck.

+4/+4 and then it dies horribly

“Look out there!” my mum tells me while I’m playing Hearthstone — in the middle of my first match against an actual opponent. I’ve been hearing something beep, and yes, I know it could be brilliant, but I have to defeat this player first. But she’s very excited, so I get up mid-turn and hope I don’t come back to a Game Over screen or some such. I have to admit I’m curious myself, now. She’s acting like this is something I’ll really enjoy.

“I see the truck,” I say through about a gallon of snot. Oh, allergy season, piss off.

“Look through the window!” She points. Finally, frustrated with my utter cluelessness about Good Things What Come From Home Depot, she says, “We bought a grill!”

It’s a very nice grill, I’m sure, and like she says, the old one nearly killed us; it was rusted through and the gas had begun to leak everywhere. So that was what she was smelling. But I stand there, dumbfounded, sniffling. Did it occur to her that I’m not going to care what they grill on given I don’t eat what they grill?

I don’t even want to know what they paid.

. . .

Summer’s end, and the livin’ is definitely not easy. I’m titrating up on my Celexa because I guess my body notices when I go from 15mg to 20 in one fell swoop. Settling in at 17.5, the lows aren’t so extreme, but I’m missing a particular high, and it’s not mania, I’ll tell you that. I have no periods. Sometimes Pepsi gives me hot flashes. Now I’m barely alive below the waist anymore. Good grief, I’ve managed to induce menopause in myself somehow.

No, I haven’t. But that’s what this feels like. It goes with the general sense that I am getting old. You can laugh, but I feel caught between ages, as if I am both too old and too young for where I want to be. I miss dorm living, of all things. I miss what it might’ve been. At the same time some part of me wishes I were part of a DINK couple where he’s normal but he understands my quirks because we can’t all be Suits, you know? Some of us have to be people-helpers. And maybe he’s widowed, maybe he’s divorced, but he’s never younger than forty. Maybe I am even a soccer stepmom ferrying my preteen and my teenager to all their activities while I keep house and quirk my days away.

Too much “Modern Family”.

I do feel a little like I’m shambling along, though. Going through the motions. Because where is the good excitement? My aunt’s not coming this year. She’ll try to make it in time for something spectacular next year, and after she’s bailed on us twice I’m not sure I trust that. I’m twenty-eight and I think I’m middle-aged, because the most I can hope for at this point is a nice double-occupancy house in the city, with me living on the top floor and my parents on the bottom. Maybe a foster child. I think my thrilling days may be done. The romantic scenarios that normal women use as consolation prizes when they are pushing thirty are closed to me. Is this why I don’t want to be a therapist in a nice suburban practice? Is this why I hope for a job with the police or an ER or something else that’s meant to be taxing?

Really, I’m surprised you’re still reading this, if you are. I could make this private. I feel like I’ve made so much private lately, though, filing the less palatable slices of myself away. Withdrawing because I don’t want to hurt anyone. Hiding so you all think I’m perfectly normal, the Cass girl who started this blog, when I think I turned left somewhere out of her skin. So I’m going to leave this pretty public (ugly public?). The sneezing’s died down, as has the revulsion from last night’s dream — and it felt like a warning, and I think I’ve got it now, but will I do anything about it?

Will I hell.

watch over them.

I can’t sleep for guilt. My next session with Rachael can’t come fast enough. It’s hot tonight, yeah, and I can’t get comfortable, but I think if I weren’t so very sure I was reaping karma I might be out like a light.

I am not allowed to forget that at best, I was a bystander when they bullied him. They were hurting me, but like I said on Facebook, at least I was clever, at least I was that. I had places to hide; where did he hide when he was feeling beaten down? I never saw him in the library or the band room.

If he was bright we never saw it because I think he might have been quite poor. I remember he smelled a bit, and I think his clothes had holes. Otherwise he was quiet, I realise from fifteen and sixteen years’ distance. He didn’t bother me. I don’t know that I outright bothered him, either, but I joined in the general disdain and I’m certain I made sure never to partner with him on projects.

He vanished sometime between seventh grade and high school. Where did he go? Did he kill himself? Did he just change schools? Please, if there is mercy in the world, let him not have believed that middle school mattered. Let him have moved on with his life understanding that people can be awful and cruel and it wasn’t his fault.


h/t Rue Morgue on Facebook, I give you:


Reasons to have been admitted to an insane asylum. Let me count the ways:

♥ hereditary predisposition: On both sides.
♥ immoral life: I grant you, that is subjective, but according to the morals of the day, oh, yes.
♥ laziness: Because I prefer books to dishes.
♥ medicine to prevent conception: What the sodwockets were they using?
♥ mental excitement: I take it that’s what they called panic disorder?
♥ novel reading: Unrepentant.
♥ over action of the mind: Sometimes I can’t quit.
♥ over taxing mental powers: And sometimes it hurts.
♥ dissolute habits: Oh, lovey, I am positively louche some days.
♥ domestic trouble: You can’t say our home life is brilliant.
♥ suppression of menses: A nifty side effect of “medicine to prevent conception”.
♥ superstition: Last night I went a bit mental looking for the third in a set of three blue feathers that I’d found. Not because I wanted to fletch an arrow. Because I was afraid that throwing away the third feather in a set represented throwing me out of a polyamorous relationship.
♥ grief: Not just for people!
♥ self abuse: Using multiple definitions.

Suspect I would have remained an inmate for life.