Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Lets talk about fear.

Fear is on my mind today.

Because something happened today, something entirely insignificant, but it made me think about the fear that has been quietly taking hold of me for the last couple of years (or if I want to be really honest about it, since I first started getting sick some 20 years ago).

You guys all know I'm going to Armageddon Expo in Auckland, and you know that my primary reason for going was to meet Paul Blackthorne, who I think is just fabulous. In the stupid hope that maybe I could perform whatever magic it is I've done on various other souls and make a friend of him. 
And now he's not going anymore, which has bummed me out a little, and not for the obvious reasons. Well for the obvious reasons AS WELL, I mean I'm bummed that I don't get the opportunity to meet this lovely person, but on a completely different level it is something else altogether that actually has me upset and it's taken me several hours of turning my head upside down to figure it out. Because I knew I was far more emotional than I had any reason to be. That I would normally have just shouted FUCK very loudly and moved on, instead I wangsted myself into a corner.

And here's why (at least here's the conclusion that lightbulbed me an hour or so ago). My STILL undiagnosed medical issues are STILL deteriorating. I'm SCARED that I'm not going to find an answer, I'm scared that even if they do find an answer there won't be anything they can do about it - it's quite possible that that is projection, the Fibromyalgia I've been living with most of my adult life resists treatment, it's more or less default that very little helps. But as I lose more and more function in the left side. Well. Lets just say I had a moment of thinking "what if this is my last shot at something cool?" And things went downhill from there.

Fear isn't real. I know there's actually a reasonable shot that the neurologist assigned to me will figure it out. And that once he does there's also a reasonable shot they will be able to at least improve things for me. It's just a matter of more tests, more poking and prodding, until they're looking at the right thing. But Fibromylagia makes a paranoid of you. I've had so many negative tests in my life that it's actually hard to see testing as a hopeful process anymore. 

I didn't start this to whine about my sad-arse situation. I started this to talk about fear, and what a bloody killer it is. Because no matter how stupid I know I'm being, it still sits at the back of my head nagging at me. And it still leaps up and tries to throttle me whenever there's some thing that I used to be able to do but now can't. And if I, with my unnatural ability to stop, remove myself from the black hole and analyse the shit out of my behaviour, can still manage to get so bloody wound up it, it does not bode well for the less prepared. Did I mention my ego? I have a really big ego too. 

But seriously. Fear is the mind killer*. And chronic illness is a big driver of fear. I'm usually in excellent control (or at least I WAS until all this new shit came up), usually very able to understand the difference between the imagined and the real and tell the imagined to just fuck off. But this stuff has been creeping up on me and today grabbed me all unawares. THE BASTARD. 

So all my fellow sufferers, and sadly I know far too many of you are. Feel the fear and tell it to FUCK OFF. Or to put that another way, if you're struggling for the love of ME talk to someone. Me if you like, though fair warning to those unused to unburdening themselves to me I'm quite harsh. The marshmallow is only on the outside**. But talk to someone. And never feel like no one cares, because I absolutely guarantee you I DO. 

Peace. Out.

* Recognising where this quote comes from earns you bonus points
** What marshmallow? I hear you say. Let's say that compared to the cast iron on the outside, my soul is dark star matter. My heart is another story. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

It's not about being the same, it's about equivalency

So I'm stuck in bed, I might as well write.

And since the topic of Gender Theory is in the air already, courtesy of Pope Francis, I'm going to go there. Heavily around the idea of parenting because that's where Mr. The Pope seems to have the biggest knot in his undies.

Gender Theory, about walking a line where people get to be what they want to be rather than fulfilling a role that outdated societal norms have established for them. It is not about being the same, it is about the expectation of being treated as equals REGARDLESS of differences. The expectation of having the same right to decide the course of our lives. We should all have this as a right, regardless of all the options to our humanity (whether those add-ons are chosen or thrust upon us).  

I'm not really cut out for being a traditional wife and mother type. Which is not to say that I'm not a pretty great mother, the evidence is in, my now adult daughter is an excellent addition to society. I have absolutely NOT raised her by normal standards and expectations. Part of this comes down to the non-standard way in which my father raised me, complete without gender stereotypes and with open communication (that may all come as rather a surprise to my siblings, who probably had a very different experience of our dad, but mum was still around for them.) 

But standardised gender roles are pretty much rubbish in my eyes anyway. Surely to be at our best we should all be trying to do the things we are GOOD at, and the things that we ENJOY, rather than being shoved into roles we are unsuited for? I mean obviously there has to be some leeway - because if we all WANT to be astronauts, that's totally not going to work out for society as a whole. But to some degree there has to be give and take over which roles we assume out of need.

Sometimes I see situations that beggar logic. Mum stays home to look after the kid(s) while dad works, when mum is actually better qualified to earn bigger money and is stifled at home. And dad hates his job. BUT if they reversed the situation, dad feels like less of a man... because being the stay at home parent is a) not what men do & b) not valued in the same way as a *real* job is. Fuck that. Raising a kid to be a productive member of society IS a real job, it's long past time we treated it as such. 

It SHOULD be a fulfilling job, for either and both parents. It shouldn't be a decision that isn't so much made as assumed, it should be the decision that is best for the child(ren) and the family unit as a whole. The family unit being whatever the family unit IS not the imposed ideals of others.

The Pope is worried about the traditional family. I'm not. I'm not anti-tradition as such, I am anti-tradition when it's only there for the sake of itself. The traditional family unit, with mum, dad and all the little kiddies a lack of reasonable precautions brings into the world is all very well and good - but it is not the be all and end all of the definition of a healthy family unit. Children are raised best in an environment of love and concern. With parent(s) who care about their continued well being. The simple act of being the biological parents does not guarantee for even a second that this will be the case.

My ex-husband and I were well on the way to creating a toxic environment for our daughter - because we were not actually very compatible. I'm far too much of a *free spirit* (or pain in the ass if you like) for his rather more rigid view of the universe. Staying together for the sake of our daughter would have been a terrible move. It was for the sake of our daughter that I ended it. And sometimes that is the best decision. Ours wasn't even a difficult situation, there was no physical abuse to muddy the waters. Our child was never in physical danger. But it was still a bad environment to raise her in because watching your parents grow to hate each other isn't good for anyone. And we would have, resentment was bubbling under the surface in me, I won't even begin to assume what was going on in his head. 

I'm not a traditional mum. I was never a traditional girl. I played rough sports. I excelled at technical subjects. I hated wearing skirts. They get in the way climbing trees. I expect to be treated equally. I will not shut my mouth and demure. Fuck that shit. I have opinions, damn you to hell if you think I shouldn't share them because my plumbing is on the inside. I have raised my daughter nearly single-handed, and she is AMAZING. To say that she is less because she was raised outside of the traditional family unit is just rubbish. She is more. Because the traditional family unit would have stifled her in our case. 

And this is the important bit. Each case is individual. We should do what is best, which is not always what is expected. The universe is a place of shades of all colours, black and white exist only as extremes. We should colour our lives accordingly. 

Traditional family, the concept excludes so many options for happy family while including many possibilities for extremely unhappy ones. The Pope is very anti the idea of children raised by homosexual couples. Because it breaks the traditional family *rule* again. But it's not outside of the loving family possibility - in fact from my perspective it's a better guarantee of a good environment for the child, because the hoops you have to jump through to have children as a gay couple cuts out the majority of people who are just hitting parenthood as a mistake. My child was happy accident, not all cases are so joy filled. 
The idea that same sex parents are somehow less able to raise a child *correctly* (whatever that means) is offensive to me, partially because by extension it also says that no single-parent family is acceptable either - and that negates my experience both as mother AND as child. My mother died when I was 10, the majority of my formative years were in the hands of only my father. Do I think this made me less of a person? NO. Am I sad about it? In so far as I miss my mother, yes absolutely, but I also got to know my father in a way that my siblings did not, which is a testament to the wrong-headedness of the traditional family concept to me. They missed out on knowing so much about their father. Of knowing him as a person rather than a nearly external force in their lives. Because until my mother died our family was a fairly *traditional* family unit. Dad was aloof to the day to day raising of the kids. because his role was provider. Mum also worked, she was a nurse in an old folks home for most of my young life. The upshot of this was that before she died I actually had LESS parent in my life than I had after she died. because with dad in the back seat, and mum working nights and hence in bed for much of the time I was home from school and then out the door soon after rising I just fended for myself a lot of the time. I developed a very close relationship with my dad after my mother was gone. I regret that she was gone, I do not regret that it allowed me a chance to know my father properly.

Dad's; don't make the mistake of being a back seat parent. Your children want to know you.

Mum's; don't feel like you have to stick to the role assigned you by outmoded thinking. Your children are not improved by your unhappiness, they never will be. 

Humanity do not cling to old ways without reason, change can be good for the soul. Humanity's soul could do with some good.

Peace. Out.

Friday, October 2, 2015

I'm getting really sick of this.

There wasn't a specific event that set this off, rather a series of events - a systematic degradation of the country I have lived in and loved my whole life. It's getting harder to keep loving it. 

There are many many good people in New Zealand. I would say the vast majority of Kiwis are likeable, amiable folk. We help strangers when we can, we pull together when times are hard. We fight for the underdog. 

But in this THIRD FUCKING TERM of bastard government, I cannot believe we haven't said enough is enough. What has happened to us New Zealand? I really want to know. We used to be a Nanny State (I know a lot of people say that with derision, but I think it was something to be very very proud of - we LOOKED AFTER our most vulnerable citizens). But more and more we are dropping that stance in favour of out and out douchebaggery. 

- slashing aid for the ill
- benefits failing to even attempt to keep up with the accelerating rise in the cost of living
- a public health service that spends too much of it's time faffing about failing to deliver - because it's been made next to impossible for it to deliver
- public education standards falling, and stupid shortsighted decisions on how to *fix* this
- The living wage & zero hour contracts
- Housing crisis in Auckland
- STARVING KIDS, for the love of all that's dear to you STARVING KIDS IN THE LAND OF MILK AND HONEY. W.T.A.F!!????!!
- failure to address the international refugee crisis
- failure to protect indigenous species
- beneficiaries being made a scapegoat while corporate tax evaders are ignored - just doing the math, it's completely obvious that someone needs to turn the binoculars around
- ridiculous pet projects - I like pandas, but fucking feed the kids FIRST. I still think the most appropriate flag for us right now is this:

I'm getting really fucking angry making this list, so I'm going to stop. Also I could probably go on forever, which is suboptimal for anyone reading this.

And so much of these nearly fascist level capitalist decisions are being so fundamentally piss poorly managed it's starting feel like some kind of whack job conspiracy. Or a really really bad joke. If the systematic dismantling of the fundamental decency of New Zealand was the aim, it's hard to see how they could have done a better job of it. And we still have years more of this bullshit to put up with. 


Look, I know I'm a hard core lefty, so I'm pretty much bound to disagree with a fair chunk of National policy - but usually I'm just a bit mad about it. In the last few years I've tended to feel more a sense of creeping nausea and real, deep ANGER about the direction our beautiful country is being driven in. 

F.F.S. people, where has our compassion gone? (I know it's still there in many people, but it's so hard to do anything with it). There was a time when we basically had no homeless people to speak of, now we have the beginnings of a crisis of people on the streets. In New Zealand. I never, ever thought I'd be saying that. I've given blankets to people I found sleeping in the reserve near my house, I've handed cash I really couldn't spare to people living in fucking tents on the street. In winter. With kids. I'm not trying to toot my own horn here, I just have real trouble juxtaposing this against the image of New Zealand that I have in my head. Godzone. F.F.S. 

On to my current pet peeve. Health services.

Hospital waiting lists are - I'm not even sure I have an appropriate term to describe them - FUCKED UP. In order to alleviate the problem of crazy waiting lists... wait for it because this is fucking epic... the decision was made that lists would be limited, if the wait was going to be longer than [insert time frame between 3 and 6 months] then tough shit, you aren't getting on it. If you aren't categorised as very urgent, in many cases you simply WON'T get the diagnostic service you need. Everytime I am put on a new waiting list I get the same depressing speech from my doctor - who is clearly sick of having to tell patients this - that there is a chance that I will not get an appointment, in which case private is the only option left to me (actually to be fair it isn't the only option, the only option is continuing to suffer without diagnosis because I can't fucking afford to go private) *fortunately* my file tends to make specialists go "we should totally take a look at her", so I am yet to be refused a waiting list position. Not everyone is so *lucky*. 
So to *fix* the problem of waiting lists being too long, rather than getting more specialists, or looking for better methods of processing people, the decision is DON'T PUT SO MANY PEOPLE ON THE WAITING LIST. Bugger the fact that these people are sick, and that their health professionals are recommending intervention. As long as it looks good on paper.

And that appears to be the fundamental flaw of this National government. As long as it looks good on paper, fuck the consequences. As long as the 1% still have their silk sheets, fuck the consequences. 

One day the consequences are going to creep up on the 1% and bite them in the nads. The trickle down effect may be complete rubbish, but there is a reverse system of creeping despair and poverty that will eventually impact EVERYBODY. 

This is not someone else's problem. If we want New Zealand to be the country it wants to be, and I think most of us want a country that is kind and caring (I choose to hope that I am right about that, despite some evidence to the contrary) that looks after all of its people. And its flora & fauna. That isn't judgemental. That holds its hands out to the world with compassion and love. We all need to be willing to speak up, or show up, or put our hands up. BE COUNTED. That's the New Zealand I want, and I'm prepared to swear my way to the fucking top to get my point across. 

Peace. Out.