The One About COVID

OK, look. I was locked out of my account for months. I don’t know why, but here we go…

It’s real. I don’t care what your weird ass pastor says. I give two shits about your opinion.

Sit your motherfucking ass at home.

Get stupid with your masks. Wear all of them at once. Just fucking WEAR them.

People are DYING. Are you resisting the death rate or contributing to it?

Am I bored? Am I stalking and researching anything and everything online? Am I trying to find the energy and motivation to work out? Am I gaining weight instead?

Damn straight.

You dicks that won’t follow CDC guidelines are keeping me at home. You’re contributing to my boredom and weight gain. This makes me rage. When I rage I bake. Fuckers, you’re going to kill me over here.

DO you want me to have to go to the VA? Fuck you then. If I can come home from the shit, then you assholes cannot kill me at home.

Also – trim your beard.

TLDR; Shut up and wear your mask. Anything else is a fucking stupid bullshit excuse for a selfish piece of shit. That ain’t a Rook Mistake

The One About Opening Up

So, I’m a fake extrovert. According to all the personality tests, I’m equal parts extro and intro. This month is a full on test of those results. I’ve co-paneled HORROR 101 and spoken on an actual stage in front of people I didn’t even know for PTSD: Triggers &Lies. Next weekend is reserved for Sirens packing and the utter meltdown I’ll have when I can’t fit my metaphorical banjo into the literal suitcase.

The PTSD talk gave me the feels. It wasn’t just me typing to an invisible audience who might or may not even exist. I could see them. They listened and asked questions. I felt “normal” while doing it.

After proving to myself that I can do this, I think I’d like to do it again and hit the character developing/writing angle a little harder.

If you have the chance to attend Writers in the Field next year, do it. It was a fantastic experience. If you were there, thanks for attending.

TL;DR: It’s a good day, but now I need endorphins and a nap. Opening up is part of the recovery process for me. Anything less would be a rook mistake.

The One About Civil Disobedience

I am having a problem with anger lately and I’m pretty sure it’s going to get me in trouble. But why so angry? Well, let’s see

AT THE BORDER

  • 11,000 children separated from their parents
  • 1,400 children “lost”
  • sexual abuse of children
  • 6 dead children

IN DC

  • Refusal to pass election security bills
  • Connections to actual child trafficking and sex rings
  • Open racism
  • Open hostility towards American cities
  • Federal death penalty reinstated
  • Being anti fascist = terrorist
  • President lying about 9/11

IN CALIFORNIA

  • 6 people dead
  • another white guy shooter
  • WHAT THE FUCK, people?

This is by no means the end of my list of why I’m angry, it’s just what’s on the top of my head at the moment.

TLDR: You should be mad if you’re paying attention. Share my rage. Anything less is just a rook mistake.

The One About Trying Again: VA 2 Electric Boogaloo

Still haven’t seen a therapist. Still having paranoia and the sleeping habits are getting weird again. I’m not even tired until about 2 or 3 and by that time I’m mentally strung out and having almost waking dreams. It sucks. It also leaves me little energy to do things around the house or to write or – you know – take a shower. Yeah, I know when my hair starts getting greasy I’ve got a problem. As vain as I am about the silver fox moniker, I cannot bring myself to wash it. Fuck, fuck, fuckity fuck. Maybe that’ll happen before I try out the VA again.

Yeah, you heard me right. I’m going to the VA on Thursday to see if I can take it. I’m not sure if I’m testing myself or I’m honestly seeking help. Maybe I’m testing them. Whatever.

It’s like I forget how to people. I don’t want to be around anyone. When the sig-oth comes home, I fake it til I make it. I don’t want his company. But then I enjoy being around him. But all I really want is to be alone.

I mean, what can the VA do? Give me more medication? Take this feeling of defeat and that I am a fucked up waste of resources away? Sure. That’s why we read about all their success stories, right?

TLDR: I need to seek help again. To continue to pretend it’s not happening would be a Rook Mistake

The One About Finding a Therapist

I have a psychiatrist who recommended I see a therapist. She even gave me some people to call. This means I’ve been making it on meds and the home-spun wisdom I created. Today I went to a therapist.

It took about 45 minutes for a 15 minute consultation to see if she was a good fit. I should have saved myself the time when I saw the rah-rah feel good decor in the lobby. Yeah, I know positive in creates positive output for lots of people. However, when it looks like someone’s grandma got a free shopping spree at Mardel’s – I’m out.

Let me saw that I am not opposed to God or church, but I’d like for that to stay in a religious environment. I am not looking to God to fix my anxiety. I don’t want to kumbaya the pain away. I’m looking for therapy and a therapist that doesn’t ask me to pray with her.

TLDR: Check out the therapist before you go. Anything less is a Rook mistake.

The One About home defense

Fuck all if it isn’t just the most complicated concept. Are you protecting yourself from armed robbers intent on stealing everything you have and murdering you in your sleep? Or are you playing Jigsaw with cameras and multi-phased detainment and elimination setups?

Or are you just afraid of the other. The other that doesn’t look like you – that doesn’t speak your language – that doesn’t worship as you do.

People will tell you to stop being a racist piece of shit, right? Does that suggestion ever work? Does it actually make a person rethink their ideas and do the work to see why what they’ve said/think is racist?

I don’t know.

What I do know is that if you speak to people, they become human to you and not an object to navigate around. Maybe you work with someone who isn’t like you and you’ve never really given them a thought. Try it. Talk. But think about what you say before it comes out of your mouth. Let’s not focus on color or race or religion in that conversation. Let’s just say hello and move on from there.

Try it. And maybe you’ll feel as though you have one less person to defend against. Maybe you’ll realize that no one is trying to steal your way of life.

TLDR: Know what you’re up against in yourself and find the solutions. Anything less would be a rook mistake.

The One About Yesterday

Yeah, it’s been awhile. Again, pretend I’m wearing a hairshirt and have mea culpa tattooed across my forehead. You know, like every other time I religiously skip blogging for long periods of time.

It’s who I am.

So, yesterday.

I missed the Leadership in Teaching meeting because I didn’t know they rescheduled. That meant I didn’t get my hour and a half of prep time before classes and I had a huge embarrassment issue with missing a LEADERSHIP meeting.

I drove home.

I didn’t go to work after staying home all weekend. I am now super attached to HOME.

Had a full on panic attack on my way HOME from the writing class last night. It was brought on by the anxiety of leaving HOME for work.

HOME is good. HOME is safe.

So here I am today.

Home. And I do not want to leave it.

The aftermath is that I know how ridiculous it sounds. That my body aches from being clenched up into a tight ball. That my throat is raw from crying.

Yes, I’m on medication.

Yes, I have support.

Yes, I have a weighted blanket.

Yes, it’s been months and months since this happened.

But it still happened.

And I’m still here.

 

images

 

TL;DR: You can be prepared for a panic attack, but they will still happen. To expect anything else is a Rook Mistake

 

The First One About SoonerCon

I am currently at the most amazingly inclusive and safe space con I’ve ever attended. (please note that this was my experience ymmv) Trans and fluid kids were SAFE to be themselves. Not everyone was a straight white dude over the age of 50. There were more people of color than I’ve ever seen at a con and they brought their KIDS! There was a great fresh vibe.

The hotel staff were friendly and got in on it. They all wore fan t-shirts instead of their normal button down uniforms and were fantastic. If you know me, I spent a lot of time in the bar and was fucking thrilled they had STRANAHANS!!!

The ConCom are ON IT. If there’s a problem, they’re solving almost before you can finish your sentence. Seriously, you must come to SoonerCon next year. It is fantastic.

SO – why the fuck did I have a panic attack during a panel I should have been moderating on overcoming false equivalency in the #metoo movement?

OH PTSD, let me count the ways:

  1. It’s doesn’t have to be any one thing, This shit accumulates.
  2. I’d been nervous about leading this particular topic because it is so important. I was worried I wouldn’t do it justice.
  3. A dude stated his opinion that he didn’t believe the women who came forward because there was no police report or evidence. (There was an educational process handled by Katie in the audience.)
  4. A gully-washer started. Thunder, lightning, and the future threat of navigating 35 in a tornado (no there wasn’t one in the forecast, but this is Oklahoma)
  5. Going to work tomorrow to finish up summer school.
  6. Because… #metoo

No worries, I’m fine.

I cannot thank David “Oak” Rice enough for keeping it going and doing my job while I was trying to keep myself together.

But let me tell you what the staff did for me.

As I was on the verge of a full on meltdown, my friend and I decided that we’d just stay another night which made it better. Aislinn, the Con Chair, wanted to make sure I was OK and somehow telepathically contacted Shai, president of Future Society of Central Oklahoma. By the time we’d walked from the connected convention space to the hotel, Shai had a room key for me. Seriously – less than 5 minutes.

Believe me that these folks take care of their guests and attendees.

So tonight, I’ll stay here in OKC with good friends and good people.

 

 

 

The Other, Other… Ad Nauseam About PTSD Depression

I’ve considered killing myself an uncountable number of times, but I remember the first and the last very well.

1st – I was sitting in the dirt, a rock cutting into my ass cheek, but I didn’t want to move. Feeling that bit of pain was somehow soothing. I was leaning on my ruck waiting to go home when new orders came through and we were diverted. And it came upon me quick that I could leave this shit one way or another.

 

Last – I’d moved back to my hometown after a business venture in Vancouver flopped. I was self-destructive, full of pity and self-hate. I felt like everything I’d done didn’t matter because I’d come back to the place I’d left to the same job. And I don’t know how my friend knew, but he did. Internally, I raged at myself for every moment I was awake. I hated everything and myself the most.  And my friend made an appointment for me with the VA in Dallas. I don’t know if he knows it or not, but he saved my life.

It’s a struggle, people. Some days are good and some aren’t. But it’s worth it because things change. Circumstances change. Improvise, adapt, overcome. Tomorrow will be different.

 

Depression
TL;DR: Depression is something you live with, that’s always there. Take your meds and live to piss someone off another day.

Rook Riley: writer, game enthusiast, and all around linguistic bad ass