blemish

look right through me, look right through me

somehow i ended up in a private facebook community for neurotypical creative writing instructors and it is triggering as fuck.

i am dismayed by how many threads go back to "OMG, must semi-publicly shame student who is annoying me so bad with their [harmless/potentially beneficial but clearly neurodivergent behavior demonstrative of why student accrued that much more academic debt in the belief they might somehow benefit from taking this class which, regardless of neurotype, sounds like it ain't going to do nothing more for the vast majority of students than contribute to the reason they trade in written self-expression for variations on the agonizing "oh this dedicated creative writing teacher i once had! who so desperately wanted for me to be a writer(1)! but i could not do it, alas, alas! for i could not write to their standard(2)! and so now i do not write at all, for shame, for shame" monologue within the decade], any advice on how i can shut them down?"

dismayed, but not remotely surprised. i've been that student. what about you?



_____________________________
(1) ON THE INSTRUCTOR'S TERMS, which is a PROBLEM: many students take creative writing classes in the hopes of learning how to write sustainability, and that means helping them figure out how to write on their own terms. this means devoting resources to meeting your students where they are, acknowledging and honoring their existing processes, even being open to the possibility that students might have stuff to teach you. never just assume a creative writing student is a nowhere fool with their annoying love poems and "it was all a dream" stories. they're able to write that stuff, they know stuff, they're already writing. forcing someone who knows the basics around how to access their writer to start from scratch with a process that doesn't work for them can be incredibly destructive.
(2) the fuck?!
darkest leaf

i got nothing to say i ain't said before

well, you just guess who just got her ass plunged into months and months of advanced screening purgatory because she might have cancer again.



no! really! guess!

i ordered the halifax book a few weeks ago, when i realized one of the core issues driving my recent long term spiritual health crisis involved a chronically injured relationship with death. fortunately, it arrived the day after i got my happy news, when i was slightly less doubled over myself with denial, bargaining, rage, and despair all at the same damn time.

nobody really talks about the three or more all-at-once grieving whammy, but it is real. and exhausting!

hey! ya'll like, "is there anything i can do to support you during this time of layered and indeterminate difficulty?"

so like, money!

money would be amazing!

even just a little bit would help me with my synthroid copay or creature comforts for my approaching adventures:






thank you.
blueglass

i gave at the office

labs for my annual physical and preliminary screening for autoimmune disorders, plus my annual thyca blood work that i stalled on for seven months: five vials full in the bin.

now, we wait.

this is the annual check for elevated levels of thyroglobulin, known for post-thyroidectomy thyca patients as "the tumor marker" because a spike in the protein can mean there's thyroid tissue and/or a cancerous nodule somewhere in the body. or it can mean rare antibodies, or it can mean i dunno, bodies are weird. in any case, it necessitates all kinds of follow up screening, some of it invasive, all of it exhausting, especially right now.

as you can imagine, it's not my favorite wait. and at least as of a few years ago, only one lab on the west coast tests for TG, so it could be a good week before we get results. this had scaled back to being a pretty mild healthcare stressor, then all the advanced screening stuff in 2015 and it's back to portal checks ten times a day during business hours.

two pieces of advice to the medically uninitiated:

1. maybe you've done some research, maybe you know somebody, maybe you've needed some advanced screening yourself, but unless you are a fellow survivor or a medical professional in the field with whom i have consented to discuss the matter, do not presume to explain thyroid cancer, treatment, or follow-up care to me, someone who actually lives in that world. there's all kinds of shit you could not possibly know. even if you're smarter than me, you haven't lived here for the last nine years, you haven't had hundreds of conversations with practitioners and other survivors, you haven't lost friends to it, you don't have the books and the reports and a two inch scar across your throat where part of you used to be. strive not to be that person, the one insistently and repeatedly droning on about what's really going on, suggesting supplements, reiki, changes to my medication or lifestyle, eating "keto," accupuncture, naturopathy, homeopathy, positive thinking, conspiracy theory or critiques about "western medicine" (which, no, what people are actually talking about with that racist verbage is institutional, secular, regulated medicine, medicine that was not solely developed in the "west," medicine for which there are at least structures for accountability and supportive networking, all things that can save lives and money. p.s. fuck you, forces in my life that have repeatedly given me cause to defend our dangerously compartmentalized, classist, racist, sexist, ableist healthcare system! this was not the hill i wanted to die on.) just, in general. don't be someone who explains thyroid cancer or how to "cure" it to me, a thyroid cancer patient, as a healthy spectator with little to no investment in the realities of living with thyroid cancer. no matter what my demonstrated response, the amount of emotional labor these conversations necessitate is incredibly exhausting. suggestion? if you are interested in this topic, or maybe do the work to realize that what's driving such lectures actually goes back to fear about it, consider listening to my lived experience, instead.

2. got blood work? do yourself and the phlebotomist a favor and pound 20oz of water a half hour before sitting down in the chair. it will be easier to find a vien, probably you can receive the standard needle, and the whole thing is over with a lot faster when you aren't dehydrated. especially when you've been fasting for 12 hours and need five vials worth, yeesh.

cicadas everywhere. ben's carried up two to the apartment so far. we let them out through the window. they've landed on me in the park, down the walk, in the doctor's office parking lot. a week ago, waiting to unload groceries:

light escapes me

i sure could use a vacation from this




i need to
renew my drivers license
which expired last august and
which will expire this august
both statements are true and
neither statement is true
what is truth!
my current driver's license does not exist
this is not a driver's license

but then again

there's me.
at this renewal i scheduled
finally
after getting that
muddy mucky stuck feeling i get when i'm tired of dissociating on a matter
forgetting distracted oh yeah i should do that i meant to
for weeks and months and months and
now a year

at this appointment
i must provide documents
to verify my identity

except one of my fundamental mental health concerns:
do i actually exist?
is there me?

because there have been
SIGNIFICANT
periods of my life
when i did not believe
in the fact of my existence
when i was agonizingly incapable
of believing such a dangerous falsehood
i fell into mirrors
i clawed up my skin
i cut off hair
chewed my lip raw
trying to prove it
trying to feel it
accumulating evidence

i didn't sleep
i wouldn't sleep
i couldn't sleep

close friends made judgements
about how much i wasn't sleeping
but if i slept
i might forget
i might lose this tangible thread of awareness
never to track it again
something is there is something there what is it what is it
all around me everywhere is evidence but
i can't bring it into form
i can't make a phrase with it
i can't shape myself from the void

then, you know, it's fine.

is it?

also my sleep issues are even more complicated than that but you know that because yours are worse

this seems unlikely but i like to pretend there's somebody like that in my readership
my readership which might not exist
so that's something we have in common
let's swipe coffee from tinder or whatever

this appointment for my real ID
it is taking place on the assumption that i definitely exist
even if it happens on a day when i can't believe that

anyway, i made the appointment.
i have time to prepare for it
but it will happen before the extension on my license expires

so it's all working out
in spite of everything
of course that's what made me cry
[rs] sofa

i could not foresee this thing happening to you



seven objects portrait, no. 8, 5:31:2021
___________
happy 20 years, anonymousblack.

that's journal no. 2 (1997-2000) as the backdrop, described my last year at iowa as my "satisfactorily anonymous black journal." i don't generally like elaborate (really any) journal embellishments. it was technically the first journal i finished front-to-back. the key isn't the one i started wearing around my 15th birthday as it was stolen my first year of college. that key was from one of my maternal grandmother's collections, and fortunately i have others. ben gave me this doppelganger shortly after i moved to baltimore, symbols that combine for me in an important way here. the chain i've had since i was a kid and i'm pretty sure i used it for my first key back when. the red thread is a long term magic working related to my writing.
the meteorite is from my collection of trauma glass. i bought it from the bookshop a million years ago.
blemish

gently close her eyes

soldiers delight may 2021
well
found a glowing green grotto anyway
unfortunately due to the serpentine content in the soil at soldiers delight cicadas were not abundant enough to get a strong drone in this spot
you could hear a wall of trilling miles in the distance
but here there were just a few strays lacing the edges of the soundscape

the search continues
fox

a slate-gray cloud comes through the dust



such dreams i've been having.

sat with the shrine cabinet for a while today, dusted, cycled some objects in and out of view, made repairs.

more masking tape here than you could possibly know.

i'm proud of how much of my art, history and sacred work is present on this altar. i've been attempting to revitalize my journey practice so the piece i chose from my neurodivergent icon series crowning auset is the station for journey. i also reworked the athame on the right as part of the icon series - a tangible act of soul retrieval that is still in process.

i want something for the shrine about the brood x cicadas but i haven't found it yet. the population in our neighborhood is more dense than i've previously experienced, and with the heat these last couple days, they've become much more active. i haven't yet found my glowing green grotto of cicada drone, but hopefully i've got a couple months on that. i'd like to make some field recordings and experiment with the sound. maybe i can make something trance inducing.

i got a blutooth headphone headband from dormi. i thought maybe for sleep, but i might end up using it more with the weighted blanket for for relaxation practice or just.... listening to podcasts without needing to be so mindful of my phone. it's so weird to be able to walk several feet away from my streaming device and not have to deal with wires.
BAT

and my worst old times look fine from here


seven objects portrait, no. 7, 4:04:2021
___________
my beloved collection of date stampers along with that butterfly notebook i'm going to stop being so intimidated to write in.... any day now. portrait composed early this month, on easter. easter has always been butterfly soup day, for me.

i got that marble in a little general store in south pass city, MT during our 2002 trip to yellowstone.
don't tell me i laced up

where the dogs of society howl

seven objects portrait, no. 6, 3:30:2021
___________
i'm not sure which special interest came first, dreams or snoopy. here they are together.

in one of the first dreams i remember, my aunt took me to an amusement park. when we got back to the car, i found snoopy's ear torn off. i woke myself up crying, something i found irresistibly mysterious: the dream wasn't real, but my reaction to it was. what's more, it helped me begin to process something fairly sophisticated about the cost of emotional investment: grief. because i love snoopy, the idea of his loss means something to me.

snoopy was alright, though. first thing i did was make sure of that and i followed up several times throughout the following day.

i already had a dream documentation practice by the time it occurred to me to keep a dedicated notebook. wish i'd thought of it sooner. i was fairly sporadic about it until midlife stuff really started kicking in, now i probably average at least one dream a week. i started notebook 5 four days before maryland went into lockdown and finished it yesterday. 6 has only been labeled, so far her pages are blank.