WordPress says I now have the ability to link directly to Tumblr. Which should, in theory, make my Tumblr more than random weird geekery I feel like sharing. And also set up an insane feedback loop to my Facebook, but that’s what tests are for, right?
We’re replaced our subject’s normally screwed up brain chemistry with pregnancy hormones! Let’s see how long it takes her to burst into tears!
There are all these sites online that talk about pregnancy and depression. “It’s perfectly normal,” they assume me. “It’s just the hormones!”
All of those sites assume that the depression is caused by the pregnancy. Which is all well and good for women whose brains functioned at something passing for normal to start with. But I have yet to find a site to help me deal with the depression I came into this pregnancy with.
The nausea, at least, seems to be passing. Either we have finally worked out the appropriate feeding times to keep my stomach happy, or I’m just finally past that phase. Whichever it may be, I am grateful. Now, however, I seem to be moving into the Randomly Crying phase. The suddenly overwhelming urge to cry is something I’m used to and have managed to control over the years. I have my coping mechanisms and they do me just fine, thanks. Or rather, they did.
I’m finding it hard to tell the difference between Pregnancy Random Urge to Cry and Depression Random Urge to Cry. I’m honestly not sure if there’s a difference, but it has become harder to cope with that urge, no matter which one might be causing it. I recognize that I’m probably not always going to be able to rein in the wonky brain chemistry, but it would be nice to know that this is normal, for my particular framework of “normal.”
In the meantime, I’ve had a chance to talk to the various providers about the pills I was on and got a green light on the Prozac. Sadly, the pill that helps me sleep is a no-go. So my dreams are back to being insane, vivid, and constant. Naturally, this resulted in a nightmare last night. I think it’s the first one I’ve had in a long time. At least, the first I’ve woken up Moose with in a long time. I do not miss them, let me tell ya.
On the plus side, I’m told that I won’t get much rest after the baby is born anyway, so maybe I will be able to sleep deeper without the pills. Or at the very least, the screaming I wake up to won’t be my own.
Or How I Found Out I Was Pregnant in a Truck Stop Bathroom
In July, Moose and I set off for a trip to Arkansas to see some friends and celebrate the independence of our nation by lighting things on fire. My period had been a little bit late and I’d taken a pregnancy test earlier in the week that came back negative. But since going to see friends usually meant drinking, I took another one, just in case.
And got nothing. I don’t mean negative. I mean NOTHING. I didn’t even get the little bar that shows you it’s working. Moose and I chalked it up to me buying cheap generic brand pregnancy tests, which come to think it may have been the cause for the first result, too. So in addition to the usual last minute road trip supplies we always wind up having to buy on the way out of town, I bought a much fancier pregnancy test.
Naturally, I couldn’t simply take the test first thing. I was stubborn and waited until we made our first pit stop. Equally as expected was the unlucky woman who rattled the doorknob just seconds after I’d closed the door. I prayed that this considerably fancier pregnancy test was also considerably quicker than the ones I’d taken before. No messing around with lines or pluses this time. I’d bought one with a nice, clear, easily readable electronic display that blinked once, twice, three times…
Which is why I spent a weekend in Arkansas with some of my favorite drinking buddies sipping on ginger ale and mooning over all the glorious beer I couldn’t have. Fortunately, there was also Rock Band, Cards Against Humanities, and fireworks, so shenanigans were assured no matter what.
Moose and I kept the secret as best we could for the next few weeks. Which is mostly to say that I only told my boss, neither of us posted it on social media, and pretty much anyone else we saw in person knew within seconds. Which proved itself a particularly useful choice during the get together with my mother’ side of the family that included a truly terrible reservations snafu which was more than made up for by the restaurant we wound up going to instead. The simple phrase “She’s pregnant and needs to eat” got me a piping hot loaf of fresh bread within seconds of being seated. Sadly the nausea had taken over at that point and despite sitting at a table surrounded by some of the most amazing steak I have ever seen outside of my brother-in-law’s kitchen, I could only eat a little seafood.
It’s been rough, though not as rough as it could be. The nausea has been almost constant for the past five weeks and I am still adjusting. After some experimentation, Moose has declared that I should eat a small something every two hours, regardless of whether or not I am hungry. Either it’s working, or I’ve finally suffered enough that The Kid has decided to settle down into the more serious process of growing teeth and internal organs.
The major thing I simply was not prepared for was how FAST my body would change. I knew that eventually there would be a watermelon sized protrusion where my little pooch used to be, but I pretty much went from “I think I have too many jeans” to “Huh, I just busted out the ass on my favorite fat pants” in a matter of weeks. Granted, I’m fairly certain those jeans are at least 8 years old and they were getting a little thin in places, but still. I have always before considered jeggings to be an insane invention that could never compete with a good pair of real jeans. Now I find myself seriously considering displays of jeggings and corduroy leggings wondering if it might just be easier to buy something that will accommodate my rapidly growing… family.
It’s been less than a year since the Little Red Spot. It’s been a rough year, but a good one, I think. I’ve had time to heal, time to grieve, and time to rail against what happened with a very nice professional who let me sit on her couch and knit while I cried.
I did start therapy in January. I had a bit of a breakdown in December, due mostly to something that only gamers will truly understand, and which most “normal” people would be absolutely baffled by if I even tried to explain. Suffice to say that “roleplay” edged a little too harshly into real life, and it made my outlet more of an irritant. But because I love it and love the people in it, I kept going back. Even towards the end, when it became impossible to look at the character who was the source of the irritant (not the player, mind you, who is amazing), I still kept going because the whole was beneficial.
Through therapy, I worked through a lot of my feelings about it. I was angry a lot, with most of it stemming from things that I normally would have simply arched an eyebrow at and moved on from. It has gradually become easier to watch pregnancy stories on television (oh god, so many pregnancy stories), though Moose and I skipped an episode or two that there was no way in hell I was subjecting myself to. I no longer felt a deep resentment upon seeing other pregnant women or babies in the grocery store, and I have even managed to be around the babies of those close to me without too much difficulty. I took small steps, dipped my toe in to test the waters, tried to gradually become accustomed to a world where this pain was just something else from my past. Something which used to hurt, but now no longer hurt quite as much. Like one of the many joints I have turned or wrenched or damaged over the years. Just a pain that happened, which took time to recover from, but which was now nothing more than ambient noise.
Except for Mother’s Day.
I had managed to fix it firmly in my mind that Mother’s Day was about my mother. How much I loved her and grown to appreciate her in my adulthood. About my sisters’ and their children. How much I cared for all of my nieces and nephews, both in blood and in spirit. About my friends who were mothers. How they loved their children, and the amazing things they shared every day. It had nothing to do with me. Nothing at all.
Until someone, someone who was very likely a loving and caring soul who just wanted to reach out to those of us who may be hurting, posted an image which read something along the lines of “Happy Mothers Day to those who are suffering infertility, the loss of a child, or a miscarriage.”
It was like a punch to the gut. I couldn’t even look at Facebook any more. From there on out, every message someone posted wishing their mother a happy day was just one more reminder of what I was not. Of what I was supposed to be on that day, but couldn’t manage to carry through. Of the red pain which I had managed to tuck away inside of me and oh how it hurt.
I can’t blame the person who posted the message for causing that pain. I don’t even know who it was. Honestly, I don’t want to know. What I do know is that they couldn’t have known how much it would hurt me. And that my reaction is not the only valid one. I know that there may be women out there who found comfort in such messages, reminders that they had not been forgotten on that day when others were being praised for something they themselves were not. It took me a lot of time to be okay with that message and my reaction to it. To stop feeling Less Than.
That feeling became extremely pervasive over the past year. I’ve always had a bad habit of starting things and then setting them aside, but this time around it manifested in an inability to stick to a single project for very long. I started compartmentalizing. Setting smaller goals. One hour knitting, one hour writing, fifteen minutes cleaning, one t-shirt design, one necklace. Just one thing at a time, so that I could look back on the thing I had finished, instead of all of the things I was leaving unfinished. I still do it. Simply staying with this post instead of flitting away to something else is terribly difficult. But I need to finish this. Because I need to write an epilogue to that part of my life before I can write about the part that is coming.
I know that life is not a story, that it doesn’t break down into neat little chapters with a beginning, middle, and end. And I know that writing this will not really close the book on what happened less than a year ago. I will always be a little broken, I will always be a little tangled, and I will always have that place in my heart that aches for what happened at unexpected times. But while this may not be an ending, there is a new beginning in the works. And that’s more than enough right now.
Edited to Add: As it turns out, the “official” link I posted was not, in fact, official. Ah well.
It’s official. American Gods is going to become a six season HBO series. So. Much. Squee. Sadly, the Dream Casting that article links to is… less than optimal. So here’s mine:
Shadow is an ex-con who gets hired by Mr. Wednesday as his bodyguard. He’s smart, tough, and very clearly not white. He also looks younger than he is. So I feel that this role needs to go to someone who can embody intelligence and toughness, while also being of indeterminate racial origin (to the ignorant, at least). With that in mind, I submit to you:
Williams has already shown that he can portray smart on Grey’s Anatomy and Cabin in the Woods, and after some time on the 300 workout routine, I think he could do tough just fine. Most importantly, Shadow is a character the audience needs to be able to really connect to and I think Williams will pull that off smashingly. (Also, I’m a bit of a sucker for guys with dark hair and blue eyes.)
For Mr. Wednesday, you need a grizzled old con man. One who can have sex appeal, charisma, and be likeable while still not quite trustworthy. To that end, I’d suggest:
Bridges is fully capable of pulling off the role of charming rouge. Mr. Wednesday repeatedly manages to charm the pants off of much younger women (literally), and I don’t doubt that there is many a young woman out there who would be perfectly willing to be charmed by Bridges. With a light wash of red through the hair and beard, he’d be perfect.
Low Key Lyesmith
For those of you who know me and have also read the books… No, I’m going with the obvious choice. Mostly because that would be weird and he needs to work on the movies he’s already got in the cue. Tangent…
Low-Key is an ex-con who sees nothing wrong with playing both sides. Or all three. Or as may as possible. The more, the better. He’s mercurial, capable of being purely evil while making wisecracks, and a big damn sociopath. Who could fill the role better than…
Between his role on Dollhouse as the murderous Alpha and his role on Firefly as the lovable Wash, Tudyk has demonstrated the range required to play a witty sociopath. They’ll just need writers whose talents are up to the job and good prosthetic artist to give him a scar flexible enough to keep up with his changes of moods.
Mr. Nancy is a storyteller, a comedian, and while just as much of a trickster as Lyesmith, he’s considerably more humane about it. In as much as a God can be humane. I have personally always pictured Mr. Nancy as a slim, shorter man, but someone else made this suggestion and I simply couldn’t resist.
Alright, I’ll admit that I just want to listen to him talk. I love his voice, and the smile in this particular photo is just the sort of grin I’d expect from Mr. Nancy once Shadow realizes he’s being teased. The book specifies that Mr. Nancy wears a checkered suit with a green fedora and yellow gloves, but I think Davis is fully rocking the white suit and lavender vest in this photo. Whoever is in charge of costuming should keep that in mind when planning Mr. Nancy’s wardrobe.
Shadow’s wife, Laura spends the entire story as a ghost. She guides him through some troubling times, but she also has her own agenda. Since she died in the middle of cheating on Shadow, she’s the source of a lot of pain for him. He still loves her, but seeing her hurts in a lot of ways.
For Laura, I wanted someone young enough to play against Jesse Williams and more of a Girl Next Door than Hollywood Bombshell. Laura needs to be someone the audience can feel sorry for, despite breaking Shadow’s heart. Meester has already proven herself more than capable of pulling off a conflicted character in the form of Gossip Girl’s Blair Waldorf and I think she’ll bring a strength to the role that a good Laura needs.
I’m having some conflict over some of the other characters I want to explore, specifically the Egyptian gods. There’s a lot of debate about the “race” of the ancient Egyptians and I can’t decide where to go on that. On the one hand, given the setting of their story arc and the “Americanization” of the various gods, the stereotypical modern Egyptian look would probably work best. On the other hand, I really, really hate the white washing of ancient people and I’m tempted to cast more in line with the look of Egyptian Nubians. If any of you have any particular thoughts on the subject, I’d love to hear them.
So, I’m still here. Still writing. Still existing. Still creating, though I’m being particularly sporadic about *what* I’m creating these days. Shirts were a thing for a while, then drawing, now it’s back to writing. And yes, I’m still knitting. I’m down to my last unfinished project before I get to play with the new yarn. But that’s a story for another day.
I’ve been turning over this story in my head for a while now. It started out as fanfic, but I honestly hated the idea of writing so very much of something using someone else’s characters. So I tried to reframe it. And it’s sort of set off at a mad dash.
There’s lots of dialogue written right now. Shockingly, the voices in my head do a rather fine job of talking to each other. But finding that crowbar into the story itself has been interesting. I tend to write from front to back. I always have. I think that it’s all the essay writing I did in school. But that only gets me so far in my longer stories. I get to the middle, and there’s a hazy idea of the end somewhere in there, but I have no idea of how to get to it.
So I’m trying something new. I’m writing down the dialogue as it comes to me. Just basically tacking it on to the end, for me to come back to later. And rather than trying to flesh out the story as I go along, I’m sort of stream of conscious-ing the general feel of the story. It’s helped me to work through some of the snags I’ve come across and a few short scenes have even popped out in the process. It also keeps me typing away for whatever time I’ve allotted myself (an hour or so, usually), rather than stopping when I get to a snag and then getting distracted by Candy Crush or something.
The major drawback to do it this way is that the result tends to look like I’m talking to myself. I write down questions, and then a little later may decide on a general answer. And trying to pull my inspirations together makes things a little muddled. It’s really hard to have the “Quirky female tech geek” character without invoking Claudia from Warehouse 13 or Abby from NCIS. It’s not a bad thing, I suppose. At least knowing where my inspiration stems from helps me to pin down the general voice for my characters.
One of the things I’m worried about right now is the depictions of race in this group. I want a diverse group but it’s hard to avoid the idea that my desire for a diverse group may stem from a degree of token-ism. And of course, there’s the issue of writing realistically for some of these characters when I don’t feel I have the experience to really represent their background cultures in the well thought out and respectful way I want to. The Traitor Voice thinks I’m going to say something stupid and offensive and people will get mad at me. And I probably will. If I never finish this, it won’t matter. If I do manage to finish it, I hope I have friends who are kind enough to point out those places where I have crossed the line.
So anyways, here’s some of the random bits that got me down this particular path.
This is me trying to work out where the thing should open. There’s a bunch of stuff before this, but it’s mostly background plot stuff and me trying to figure out where the crowbar should go.
Action and quips right off. Set the scene. This is what they do. Go out, track down the big bad, take it down. Don’t want to be too Agents of SHEILD or Warehouse 13. Or MIB. But frankly if you’re going to have a world with aliens and alien technology you’re going to run into this cliche.
Later, while trying to figure out the role of a secondary character:
Fish out of water. Hi, howdy, hello, this is our spiffy alien fighting team welcome to it. Introductions and expositions all around.
And a random conversation snippet, just for the hell of it:
He lifted his chin and gave her an icily proud look. “Beards are for vainglorious fools who think their strength of their arms is measured in the length of their facial hair.”
She nodded sympathetically. “I knew a guy like that. Couldn’t grow a beard to save his life. He claimed it was because he was part Cherokee.”
He frowned at her, frustrated once more by her uncanny astuteness. “I do not know what a ‘Cherokee’ is.”
“It’s okay. I don’t think he did either.”
This letter is for the students of the club I advise, some of whom graduated this weekend and are moving out into the world. But it’s also for all of the the young men and women who I have had the privilege of knowing over the years, as supervisor, teacher, or simply friend, who I never got to say this to.
First, I want to apologize for calling you my kids. I will fiercely defend your right to be treated like the adult you are, and woe be unto the person who does otherwise. But it’s hard to explain to other people what you are to me, and so I default to “kids.” You are not my students, because you often teach me as much as I teach you. You are not my peers, because I hold a certain authority over you. And while I have grown close to many of you over the years, it is hard to call you my friends until that authority ends. So to all those who don’t understand the bonds which this group forges between its members, you are my kids.
Next, I want to thank you for letting me be a part of your lives. I wanted so badly to teach high school when I first came to college. In a way, you have taken the place of those students. I wanted to touch minds, change lives, and challenge my students to think critically about the world around them. I get to do all of that and more with you. I get to sit down, have lunch, and talk with you about everything from current politics to social justice to the latest news of the geek world. I get to dress up with you, work beside you, and make jokes with you. I get to share my dreams with you and get to listen to your dreams in return. I get to be there when you fall in love, when your heart breaks, and when you fall in love again. Best of all, I get to see your smile when you ask that special someone to be yours in marriage. I get to listen when you need someone to talk to, and I get to help guide you when you need more than just someone to listen. I get to laugh with you, cry with you, and be amazed by you. All of this without having to grade a single paper (though I’ve polished up my share of resumes).
It is a bittersweet time for me. I know that each and every one of you will do amazing things with your life, because you redefine amazing to be whatever you want it to be. I know that you can’t do those things unless you go out into the world and find your way on your own. But I am so sad to see you go. I have known many of you since your senior class t-shirts were still unfaded and unfrayed. In the four or five or six years since then, I have grown to care for each and every one of you. I may not have always agreed with your choices, or you politics, or your opinions, but I still care for you. And I will miss you.
Know that I am proud of you. Know that no matter what happens from here, I will always be proud of you. You may slip. You may fall on hard times. You may feel lost in the world outside of this tiny town. You may long for the days when you sat at a table of your fellow geeks and had nothing more to worry about than upcoming midterms. Know that those people are as much your family as any other. Those that were there with you, those that came before you, and those that will come after. And me. Because while I may let you go for now, know that you will always have a place in my heart.