Slag

There’s another part to the Patreon saga that I’d like to discuss, but it really warranted its own post. Everything I said there is true, but it’s also incomplete. Not just in the way that every story is necessarily incomplete, but specifically that there’s aspects of what’s been happening over the last four or so months that aren’t specifically related to the expenditure of money that have been weighing on me.

I’m fucking exhausted.

First off, I don’t think anyone needs to hear more shit about politics or the election, but it’s absolutely the truth that it’s more weight. I’ll start by owning the ugliness in the room: I was a fairly vocal Stein supporter. I was willing to write off most of her weirder commentary — and boy howdy, it is not hard to find — even when I thought she was wrong, because she was at the time the best chance for breaking the five-percent mark in a way I could tolerate. Turns out the Greens aren’t any better organized now than they were in 2000, though I’m almost grateful. If they were any better at this, people’s attempts to misguidedly use Stein’s vote totals to justify why Trump won might actually have bearing in reality, as opposed to the white elephant in the room.

I’m not going to play a round of the world’s worst board game. I’m here to explain why having to play the game is exhausting. The Democrats are far, far closer to me than the Republicans are in policy, but do not confuse proximity with alignment: the Democrats do not represent me. To be sure, I’m incredibly proud of the work Representative Jayapal has done since her election, but the Democrats’ principles are a good opening hundred-meter sprint, but the Race to Sanity is a self-transcendence, double-entendre totally welcome if unintended. They’re a fine first step, but we cannot stop there, and the party’s senior leadership doesn’t seem to want to acknowledge there’s a lot more work to be done.

Yeah, yeah, I know: “if you don’t like it here, go somewhere else.” There’s really only one answer to that. America has a three-hundred year legacy of racism, sexism, colonialism, and religious bigotry that it must resolve. Homophobia and transphobia joined that list as soon as those were things people could be, and they did so with a passion usually reserved for religious madness. America, and Americans, must repudiate this history, and honestly… given recent events, I don’t know if it wants to do so, or could even if the will were present. And yet, for all the disgust and misery, there are within America’s narratives a few seeds of greatness. This is my America, this promise that we won’t let you fall, that everyone deserves a second chance, a better life, a brighter future. That no-one who opens their door to others is a stranger to me. I’ve never used the phrase “mother of exiles,” but the concept so neatly fits what I’ve tried to be and to do that I’m surprised nobody else has used it for me before. It’s a beautiful ideal, but a difficult fight.

There is plenty for all.

The augmentation surgery I mentioned before has indeed been amazing, but the convalescence was awful. I joke about waking up on the table after the operation and being on just enough morphine to be indignant about my pain levels, but I can joke about it now that it’s over. It was about two months of misery, not being able to lift more than twenty pounds and not being able to exercise because I was still healing up. Most of the time, I didn’t have any energy, and even when I did, I couldn’t do anything with it because I might pull something. It wasn’t as bad as the recovery from bottom surgery, to be sure, but I lost a lot of progress on my exercise charts and it was the dead of winter in a half-deconstructed house; the environment made it feel a lot worse than it was.

And this year, the winter has just lingered. It’s May now, and we’re only just starting to get consistent temperatures in the teens. Part of this is the global weirding, but part of it is also the fact that, for four months, I’ve been in a house missing a good chunk of its insulation. We were dumping heat through a literal hole in the floor into the crawlspace because we had no way to thermally isolate the kitchen, so the house has felt colder. Given the symbiotic effect that temperature and mood have on each other, I’m absolutely positive this has had a lingering effect on the moods of everyone in the house, not just me.

Living with exposed beams, holes in the wall, dryer fans, and all that probably did a number on all of us as well.

Cooking has been a passion of mine for years; I lost easy access to my favorite hobbies. I grew up watching Justin Wilson, Martin Yan, and a host of others. I bought Julia Child’s French Chef just so she could tell me how to cook lobster. One of my favorite go-to background entertainments these days is old copies of Good Eats, despite some of Crazy Uncle Alton’s bad attitude. Note: I didn’t buy Alton’s DVDs; I have some pride. Cooking has been one of my favorite leisure activities for decades, and if I dare say so myself, I’m pretty good at it. I’m not the best around, I’m still learning, but I love to do it and my style is impetuous. Losing my kitchen cost me one of my best stress relief tools at a time when I couldn’t replace it with exercise because I was recovering from surgery.

It also meant that my weight loss has been in something of disarray. As I mentioned, I’d lost about fifty kilos — from 185 to 132 — with my endocrinologist’s and nutritionist’s support. I’ve done, quite frankly, an amazing self-transformation. I’d (re)started an exercise regimen (again). I’d been tracking my weight and calorie intake daily. I had charts and graphs, all the tools I needed to keep my weight under control… and then I lost the ability to cook for myself. And slowly, steadily, I’ve slipped from my peak. Eating out makes dieting hard. It just does. Portion control is harder, ingredient management is nearly impossible, and costs go up, incentivizing towards cheap at the expense of good

And yeah, there’s always “eat at home,” but even then, eating healthy is hard without access to both a dishwasher and a stove. It’s harder to ask a bunch of roommates to try to do the same, and I used to make a lot of group meals. Now, my weight’s back up to 140 and it’s… holding… but my reserves of will are pretty much shot right now.

So of course now I need to factor in my job, ’cause as if I hadn’t had enough stuff on my specially-diagrammed plate, I’ve had a bunch of fun here too. The project I was hired to produce at work received a ton of attabunis, so of course when things went wrong in the core product that fed that system data, guess who got asked to help work on analytics and code clean-up? So, I’ve moved out of my comfortable Java/Linux/AWS/Software Development gig over to the C++/C#/Windows/SRE world in which I’m currently sitting, which is… less comfortable and much less agile. I’m surrounded by technical debt and higher expectations, and I’m working in an environment in which two VPs of engineering have left in five months, one with twenty-four hours’ notice. As a company, we only got sixty percent of our bonus payout last year. And just this week, I got into a… spirited discussion… with a coworker sufficient to make both of us take mental health days which is still only partially resolved. I think these things are solvable, or at least navigable, but I won’t lie: I suffer a lot of personal stress when my work environment is upset because I put such a huge personal stake in my ability to spread my metaphorical wings and shelter my friends. My job being in a state of disquiet puts me in a state of disquiet.

I actually made a conscious decision to delay my New Year annual card reading until the house was done, declaring a temporary calendar shift so that the house and all its repairs could be part of L.C. 0011. Or better yet, to simply build a new calendar and move to it when the house is done, the better to put all this behind me. I needed to engage in a reform program anyway to shift to sidereal time, to line up the months with the constellations instead of the seasons. There’s simply no reckoning them, so really we need two calendars and accept that they’ll drift against each other over time. But that’s my madness.

I haven’t even really gotten into the social schism that happened the weekend I was visiting my in-laws as I mentioned or the ongoing fallout from it. That’s had a dramatic and serious impact on my emotional health, but this isn’t the space for dealing with that particular situation. All I’m really comfortable saying is that I ended up at or at least near the center of a pretty spectacular conflict in my community, I’ve spoken with one of the people involved and gotten an apology for which I’m very appreciative, I hope the others involved come to understand the impact of their actions in the fullness of time, I haven’t much felt like I could turn to the old haunts for comfort, and I haven’t had enough emotional or physical space to build new ones in their absence.

Anyway. the upshot of all this is that, over the last four months, I have simply run out of room for new sources of stress. I’m sure there’s more out there, but they’re going to have to wait their turn a while. As a result, I’m instituting a Twitter Hiatus, at least until the kitchen is functional. I just cannot handle the Outrage Machine right now. I just can’t. I can get my news in other forms, I can stay on top of 5Calls. I cannot deal with all of humanity in its unfiltered state while I’m so low on personal reserves in so many ways.

For staying in touch, I have the blag, of course. I also have Mastodon, or more to the point I have an “awoo.space” account, which federates with some subset of the Mastodon universe. I don’t read the federated timeline, but I do glance at the local TL from time to time. I have Telegram, and I’m fairly active on there. I still have Gtalk, though apparently there’s some debate as to whether or not the end of the Hangouts API means the end of the service or not, and admittedly my primary tool for interoperating with Hangouts is about as crufty as the service itself. I’m on a couple of Slacks, including the community one, one for the Furry Writers’ Guild, and one for queer writers.

I’m still here. If you need help, please reach out. I will continue to look for you. I’m not leaving. I swear I’m not going away. I just… I’m exhausted and I’m fighting like hell to reach land and I need fewer waves right now while I try to right the ship, patch the mainsail, kiss the shark so she’ll stop trying to eat the rudder, and speak soothing words to the storm so it’ll stop tossing us overboard. Thank you all for understanding. I hope to be back to full strength, extra strength, prescription-strength buni soon. Use only as directed, see store for details, void where prohibited, some bunis not for use with some sets.

I wouldn’t stop you if you wanted to stay.