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On Multiple Sclerosis and Dating, A Series

Photo by Quintin Gellar on Pexels.com

When do you tell someone you are excited about that your body could literally stop working both at any time and for any amount of time with nearly no warning? Haha! Never, I wish!

Dating with Multiple Sclerosis is not something that is often talked about. Perhaps because people with an official MS diagnosis tend to skew older, and already paired off, or perhaps because no one wants to talk or even think about people with disabilities having sex lives – ew, right? How does that even work?

I am not a sex educator and I am not a doctor or a nurse, but I am someone with MS who has sex and dates people. And I think its time to talk.

Stay Alive: Tips on Not Being in the News Tomorrow

I am a true crime addict. I struggle with it on a daily basis. Not because it is a real addiction. I struggle with it because I grow increasingly more and more uncomfortable with the exploitation of others’ pain, suffering, and d*ath for views and ad money. That said, and having only begun to say it, I have learned a lot over my years of watching, reading, and listening to true crime. Even if one of these tips helps one woman, I will have not wasted any time.

  1. When you get into your car, immediately lock the doors and start the car. So many women get distracted by their phones, their kids, their music, and forget that they are vulnerable. What a great time for someone looking to take advantage of you – with a mode of transportation built in. Side note here:
    • Never let them take you to a second location. Golden rule. Your chances of survival drop significantly if you are moved to a more rural location. Fight like hell.

2. Most women do this, but let your friend/s/family know when you are going on a date, especially and specifically if it is with a man. Send your friends his name, a photo, and where you are meeting. Tell them you will let them know how it goes. Dates are dangerous. Another tip…

3. Never go on a date to a private location. First and second dates need to be in a public spot. Don’t get into a car with a man before you know his last name. If you have his full name and can google him, and verify him, you are much safer. Still though, do not get into a car with him until at least the third date.

4. Sleep with a knife. And a bat. And pepper spray. And if you are someone who is ok with guns, have one of those by your bed too. Nighttime is a vulnerable time and you want to be ready. Don’t think that you are overdoing it, there is no such thing. Be prepared for the worst. Just like having fire extinguishers, have men extinguishers.

5. If you are getting the creeps, get out of there. Don’t be polite. I know this is SO HARD. Trust me. I am too friendly often and get myself into situations such as the Lyft driver thinking I am flirting and now I have to reject someone who has me trapped in his car. Don’t be like me. I have learned, and continue to learn, that I can say no and leave a situation even if it is hella awkward. Practice it. Don’t go along with things just for the sake of peace. Please.

6. Get the safety app for your phone. I have an Android because I am smart, but iPhones must have a similar feature. Search for “safety” under Settings, click “Safety and Emergency,” and then “Open Personal Safety.” Whenever I go for an evening walk or run, especially as it gets darker earlier, I set the app to notify a pre-chosen friend if I do not check in in whatever timeframe I choose, usually an hour. Remember to turn it off before you go on with your night!

Those are my tips for now – do I have more coming? Yes! There is an urgency I feel to make sure women are taking safety precautions. Please don’t wait. Don’t think, “I am fine. It won’t happen to me.” You know who said the same exact thing? People it has happened to. They all say that. Go forth, be safe, don’t be in the news tomorrow, I beg of you. Love ya.

10 Ways to Get Work Done When You Can Barely Function

To all my strugglers out there, here’s a little help in getting things done – even when you cannot leave your bed, as has been my M.O. several times in the past 2.5 years. Rolling from the desk to the bed, which is about 10 feet away, can be the extent of my exercise some days.

10 Ways to Get Things Done When You Can Barely Function

  1. Go under the covers – there are many tasks that can be performed from under the covers! First of all, respond to all emails
  2. Don’t turn on that camera! That way you don’t have to shower regularly. Or, if you have to turn that darn thing on, put your hair up, put on a clean shirt and point that camera way up so the fact that you are in bed isn’t obvious
  3. Take mid-day naps. Block out an hour on your Google cal
  4. Zone the fuck out with YouTube or a good movie. Check your emails in between when you have the energy and make yourself look active on Slack by wiggling the mouse regularly
  5. Take phone calls from bed. They can’t see you
  6. Never put on pants
  7. Keep snacks by your bed to not hit those low sugar states and add that to your already blues- i always have granola bars and/or applesauce
  8. Have a comfort plan. This means to hit all of the senses with as much comfy as possible. Essential oils, chocolate, calming music like Sufjan Stevens if you are me, and pretty pictures to stare at
  9. Be your own parent. Take care of yourself like a baby right now. Keep her fed, warm, hydrated, and alive. That’s all we have to do right now. Stay alive!
  10. Get the worst task done first. I call this “Eating the Frog” and I always keep a sign by my desk that reminds me of this. It cuts down big time on stress and anxiety. If you hate phone calls but have one that needs doing – do it first. Trust me, it helps.

Those are my tips. If you have your own, please share! Bookmark this for when you need it. Take care of yourself, grrl! You got this.

Living with BPD and Heartbreak During a Pandemic

The past few months have been an utter nightmare for most humans on this planet, even moreso for Americans, with surging COVID numbers and people dying and becoming sick left and right.

Racial injustice, wildfires, hurricanes, recession, how are we all surviving? No one is doing alright at this point.

Those who are suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder are facing our own special hells right now. As a people that are constantly struggling and panicking to keep our relationships with others close to us, or to keep them at all, being forcibly kept away from others through quarantine has been incredibly difficult. Personally, having an important relationship end in the middle of this pandemic has led to a true fight for survival.

Nothing is more important to a Borderline than relationships with others. Most people do not understand this. BPD is seen as a crazy disorder. We are those that stalk, and self harm for attention, who lie to get what we want. So much of this is not true. Its exhausting to have a disorder that not only no one understands and constantly balks at, but also one that you cannot tell anyone about without risking losing them.

The pain of this disorder means constant mood swings and ups and downs, and yet, during this time of insanity in this country, the ups have been far fewer. This means, of course, more downs. Downs in BPD mean the potential of self-harm and suicide. That is the true reality of it all. Downs in BPD are the depths of despair and the ups are pure bliss. I miss the bliss.

Ending a relationship that I thought would last forever with a person that I loved to the end of the world, has been one of the most painful times of my life. To say this after a childhood of violence, homelessness, and poverty is no small statement. Not only did this relationship end, but it ended with communication being completely cut off. A goodbye and no closure. I can’t think of a more devastating thing for someone with severe abandonment issues. To literally be abandoned during a pandemic.

I don’t know how to survive this. We are at 7 months now of quarantine. We have been forced apart from friends and family and coworkers and strangers all the while full of fear of catching a deadly virus. We are expected to work and take care of children and function and smile. How? We are truly living through trauma. Life will never be the same.

Abandonment, self-harm, suicide, dissociation, and constant mood swings are leading to suffering. Personally, I am clawing my way to the top of a well, all the while knowing that the water is filling and that I could drown at any moment. I have removed the knives from the house. I have started DBT group therapy – something I have avoided for some time. I am forcing myself to exercise and text friends. Drink tea and read. Distract, distract, distract. I have considered going into a psych ward again. The last time was very restful, to be honest. I have texted the suicide hotline and thought about a will. Even in the depths of despair, my brain tries to think logically.

All I do, all day long, is fight. I take my meds, I try to keep going. I want others with BPD to read this and to know that we are struggling, and that is expected. Please keep going. I know it is hard, but I also know that those with BPD have so much to give to the world. We are so full of love that if we can just give ourselves more time, we can use that and harness it for good. Drink your water, kiss your cats or dogs, and maybe write a blog post. I would love to talk to you, my fellow hardcore lovers of life. Keep going, keep going.

How To Figure Out If You Are Gay

Photo by Brian Kyed on Unsplash

I once read that if you are googling how to figure out if you are gay…you probably already know, bb.

And that’s not 100% untrue. It was true for me. The several weeks of intense gay panic, “Could this be true??!” led to me meditating and yogaing and of course, googling for anything I could find. I took quizzes, I journaled, I even prayed once I think? That’s a little blurry, especially as an atheist. But in time, I realized that what I was doing was trying to reconcile in my brain everything that I knew about myself up until that point and realizing that I had it all wrong. Well, mostly wrong, I’ll give myself some credit, I identified as bi afterall.

You, though, are likely still on your journey of self discovery, and ya grrl is here to help. Here is the only quiz you will need to discover if you are gay. Take it and then do what you need to do to reflect. Go for a super long solo hike. Watch a shit-ton of gay marriage proposals on YouTube. Have a long talk with a therapist or a trusted friend – extra smart if this friend is also gay or queer.
Queer we go…

  1. Are you googling whether or not you are gay because you are afraid you are? Or are you looking for other folks’ stories? Why are you searching? Ask yourself that first. Got it? At least somewhat? Good. That’s all anyone ever has really, a somewhat grasp.
  2. Have you ever enjoyed sex with the opposite sex? Yes? Not really? Throw this into the mix but don’t put too much stock in it. You may have been having the wrong sex with the wrong person, or if you did enjoy it, you may enjoy sex with the other sex even more. Or equally – BI PEOPLE EXIST, CHRISTINA, AND/OR WHATEVER YOUR NAME IS.
  3. What does being gay mean to you? I ask you this, dear quiz taker, as you need to understand that being a lesbian does not mean just staying home all day with your cats, in your comfy pants. Ok, it does, but it’s most about the vaginas. Being a gay dude isn’t mostly about clubbing it up and dressing amazingly. I mean, it kinda is, ok stereotypes are weird. The point is, if you cannot imagine yourself having sex with the sex in question – it is unlikely you are gay.
    DISCLAIMER: You could be a top or a bottom or a switch. You might not like the idea of going down on a woman, but really like the idea of her going down on you. That’s ok. You still could be gay.
  4. Do you like cats? Are you currently wearing flannel and/or a beanie? Do you have a cat named Beanie? Stereotypes yet again, however, look at yourself for a moment. Mmmhmm. Yep. Factor it in!
  5. What do you feel when you imagine holding someone’s hand of the sex in question? If you think of a lady’s hand in yours and you get that sort of electric shock through your body? That’s pretty gay, man.
  6. Who is the celeb you would most like to bang? Remember that if you have not found a celebrity of the sex in question that you dig, keep searching. I did not realize my proclivity toward sporty brunettes until I looked back and remembered Sporty Spice SUPER fondly.
  7. Lastly, if your future could look any way, what would that be? Think, think, think. Picture it. Good. Now who is there with you? Be real.

Answer these questions. Tally them up. There are no points, no right or wrong answers. But if you are wearing a beanie and working on your laptop around your cat, on a Saturday afternoon, dreaming of Kate McKinnon, I mean. Lez be honest with ourselves. I love you. And it’s going to be okay, grrl.

When did you realize you were super gay? Or not gay? Or confirm what your sexuality is? Tell us below. Do it for the baby dykes! ❤

5 Things I Want to Accomplish Before This Decade Ends (In 4 Days!)

Photo by Cathryn Lavery on Unsplash

I love a good list. And crossing things off of lists. And planning. Ok, am I an old person now?

I always was. That’s the secret.

5 things I want to accomplish in the next 4 days –

  1. Make a running plan to get my 5k back on track for 2020!
  2. Finish my emergency animal training online so i can help animals in disaster zones – lifelong goal
  3. Text all of my friends how much I love them – if they didn’t already get a love card!
  4. Plan out my 2020 goals – vision board and vodka timeeee
  5. Finish my latest erotica and share it on Literotica (I write feminist erotica! It’s pretty kool. Unlike me. I spell kool with a k.)

Those are my goals. Please tell me what yours are. You write them. You post them. You are more likely to follow through and do them!

Love to you and yours in this holiday season and HAPPY NEW YEAR.

P.S. New Year’s is literally the best holiday of all – a time for new beginnings and to leave whatever shit isn’t working for you behind. BYE 2019. I’ll miss you, kinda. But like 2020 is here and she has a motorcycle and purple hair and looks like Megan Rapinoe, so it’s time for you to GO.

LET’S GO 2020, LET’S ROCK IT.

My Twenties are Officially Over. Here’s What I Would Tell My 20 year old Self.

The author getting a lovely vegan bday lunch at Bareburger in BK

Grrl, you are in for a wild fucking ride. First of all, you should probably know a few things. For one, you need to use face moisturizer. It will be life changing. Second, if your friends aren’t rooting for you, they aren’t your friends. And last, you’re as gay as a day at the DMV is long. Oh and you should really stop eating so much fat. Your brain doesn’t appreciate it. 

I love you. Most importantly, little 20 year old, alone in the world, having talked to your father for the last time last year and realizing that you will only see your precious baby brother that you helped raise a few times a year now, I love you. Stay as strong as you are. You are fucking hardcore. You will find people who love you – FOR YOU. The loud, weird, crazy person inside who will come out eventually. She has been there all along, but she has been forced to stay inside. You are gonna be ok grrl.

Breathe more, be as present as possible because years are gonna zoom by. Try new things all the time. Say YES and HELL YES. And know that it will all be ok, even if nothing is going to stay the same.

I don’t have regrets. At all. Not only because of that goddamn cliche that everything I have done before has led me to where i am now (true) but also because I have truly done over the past two years everything that I have had even a tiny inkling of wanting to do. i wanted to go and get brunch with my frand – I did. I wanted to tell a stranger that I liked her shoes (sparkly, rainbow, bomb-ass Converse) and I did. I told the girl I loved that she was the love of my life because it felt right. 

I like to think of myself as rational, logical, skeptical. And all of that is true, to a point. Humans cannot be 100% logical. We have our experiences, those treasure troves of memories that created neural pathways and led us to become who we are. For you, for instance, seeing a woman and a man on the street getting into a verbal fight might cause you to shake your head. For me, my PTSD tells me to get involved, stab that man. I calm it down, I wait and see what happens, I step in or the call the police if necessary. This is because I know what can happen when men are angry. I’ve seen what can happen when women are angry too – also not good. 

My emotions are a part of me. And yours, you. And that’s ok. Let’s work with them. The next time you have an instinct to do something – not stab an angry stranger, jeez – but if you want to ask that woman out, if you want to go back to school, if you want to dance but are hesitant because you are afraid – just do it. Your life is speeding by, it is up to you whether you live it while it’s here. 

It’s December of 2019. I have just turned 30. My twenties are over. I am free from so many things. So much expectation, so much concern of not being enough or doing enough. If my therapist is reading this – I know I need to work more on that, Karan! Also, see you on Wednesday. But the older I get, the more I become more of myself, my true self. I am letting myself have and do what I want and as long as it doesn’t infringe upon someone else’s well-being, I’m gonna do it. And you should too. And 20 year old me should too. She will, soon, realize that she has barely been actually living in the sense of doing what she wants and what makes her happy. Soon she will. She’ll look at herself and she’ll see what she wants to be and make a plan to get there, to become her. And now, 30 year old me sits here, on my yoga mat, smiling and sipping my tea and wishing her well. I look back at lil’ me and want her to calm down – but she has work to do to get there, here. She doesn’t even like tea yet. She cray. But not crazy.

Christina, I love you. You are who you are and you will find out who you are soon enough. And you will keep finding out as you grow. You will learn to like change as you grow. You will fall in love so many times and you will have your heart broken so many times. And you will bandage your scrappy self up and brush yourself off and try something else. Try again. Because you do not give up, girl. Just keep going. You’ll be better than ok and you will some day be happy. It make take a real decade, but you’ll get there, here. You have you. That’s all you really need. Trust her. She knows what she’s doing.

 

Expect Less of Yourself

*Not a picture of the writer*
Photo by BRUNO CERVERA on Unsplash

I am sitting here on my couch, trying to relax.

It’s 8pm and I just worked 9 hours. I work from home a few days a week, and this was one of those days. If your work from home style is anything like mine, and it probably is based on anecdotal evidence from so many people I know, you work and work and then it’s 8, 9, 10 hours later and you are like, “Maybe with a little more caffeine, I could power through this one more spreadsheet.”

NO. Do not do it. Work will always be there. It’s true. It feels good to get things done, it really does. But it feels better when your body rests and gets enough sleep. You will be more revitalized for tomorrow. For your family, your loved ones, your love of your life, your hobby.

I am writing this partially to convince myself. You see, I am here on the couch, but I am also eyeing my desk. My multi-screen set-up. I could probably cross another thing off of my list tonight. But, I’m being good. I’m sitting here in an uncomfortable position, “relaxing.” Am I doing it right??

I decided something today as I took a 30 minute “break” where I answered emails on my way to, while waiting at, and on the way back from Starbucks to get my daily peppermint mocha (I’m addicted, pleez send help).

I am no longer going to expect much from myself.

No, this does not mean that I am giving up on me, or that I am giving in to my failure. I am siding with reality. I have never been able to cross everything off of my daily to-do list in one day. Have you? Has anyone? Every day, I sit down, I write it out. I think, I plan, I assume this can be done in one hour, this can be done in two. They can’t. There will be emails that need me, coworkers who need help finding something, a Slack message from a workfriend.

I have decided to admit something to myself: I’m human. Humans suck at estimating – check it. I always think I only need 20 minutes in the morning to get ready. Then I miss my train. I think I’ll read my book on the way to work and back home. I just kind of turn into a lump instead. We all do it. My girlfriend and I together are terrible at getting to parties. We think we can shower, put on makeup, feed the cats and even bake cookies in the like 30 seconds we give ourselves. We are genuinely shocked when we are an hour late. But being late to a party’s cool, so whatever.

I want to give myself a break. I have 4 federally recognized disabilities. Yep, 4. MS makes me so frickin tired, and I don’t want to admit that. I want to work 9 hours and then run a fucking marathon and then come home and clean the house. I am Superwoman. And I am, but Superwoman needs to rest too.

So now, I am going to expect less of myself. I am writing my to-do lists and then cutting them in half. I did it today and it felt great. I still over-budgeted my time. But I am going to work on it. I want to cross off my list. I don’t want to feel bad about not finishing my impossible lump of tasks. I want to be like, “Fuck yeah, grrl! We nailed it!” and then high five myself. High fiving yourself feels great, you should try it. That’s a side note, but an important one.

Expect less of yourself, dear reader. Shower before the party but buy store cookies. Or go disheveled, but still feed the cats first, you monster. As for me, tomorrow I’ll write my list as usual, but this time, I’m going to tear it in half.

You’re Not An Environmentalist Just Because You Use A Metal Straw, Karen

Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

The idea of reusable straws saving the world has irked me from the onset. Not just as a person with a disability that could potentially take away my ability to easily feed/hydrate myself, and not only after I read this article about a fellow disabled lesbian who died when a straw impaled her brain. Although, yeah, that article doesn’t exactly add to the other side’s argument. Are people harmed by literally everything in our environments? Yes. Could you die tripping over a young girl’s lego mansion or a boy’s barbie – yes, of course. That doesn’t mean that we should ban legos or barbies (although barbie does present questionable female body standards, but that’s for another post).

I’m not anti-reusable straw.

When I’m home, I only use glass or even, yes, metal straws. They aren’t the devil. They are the devil to clean though, that’s really a pain in the ass, but I do it (my girlfriend does it). It saves money and stops plastic from going into the landfill. Listen, I’m pro-environment, Karens of the world. Your grrl hasn’t used a reusable plastic bag since like 2012 (unless I’m super depressed and just can’t fight the cashier that day – shout out to those of you who get that). I’m a vegan – not supporting factory farming over here. I even use all-natural products when they don’t even work very well. I’m committed. And yet. The straw thing.

Perhaps this wouldn’t be so peeving if the liberal hive mind hadn’t decided to turn against anyone who uses or asks for straws. A swanky coffee shop I went to the other day in FiDi (shitty mocha, don’t recommend) literally had these weird ass lids that you were supposed to drink out of? I looked around for straws and there was no sign in sight with an explanation. You just get the weird ass lid with the shitty drink, and you suffer. For the environment! ❤

I want to make the case that it doesn’t really matter what we as individuals do for the environment.

Our small scale recycling and diligent denying of bags for our other bagged and boxed goods pales in comparison to what major corporations are doing every day. The changes we make, make us feel good. They make us feel better about ourselves and our world, and for a delusional few, our future on this planet. In that sense, go for it. That’s why I do it – I’d feel bad if I didn’t. Just don’t make other people feel bad for their straw-consuming choices. Go to your yoga class and breathe it out. Maybe pick up a nice smoothie on the way home. Just don’t be too hard on yourself if you reach into your yoga bag and realize you left that incredibly-hard-to-clean-straw dirty in the sink again, ok?

5 Things You Know To Be True If You Have Major Depression

I have had Depression (it’s a big deal, so I capitalize it) since I was about 14. It was at that age I started self-harming, started retreating into my own head, withdrew from family and everybody, and had several crises. Two years later, I was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder which, contrary to popular belief, is not just something that means I like my house to be clean. Take this perfect combination of sadness and madness, and throw in a little PTSD from a chaotic childhood, and it leads to me struggling more than I’d like to admit, which is not at all. But, since I do struggle, and am currently, I thought it best to share and relate to other folks who go through – or are going through – the same things. Here are 5 things you can relate to if you’ve been diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (aka Depression).

  1. You want to hang out and talk to your friends, but you just can’t gather the energy.

    This one really sucks, especially if you are like myself and get energy from being around people, but cannot find the energy to be around people. Yes, it’s a horrible conundrum. It often feels like you are watching life go by from behind a screen, and if only you had enough serotonin, you could join in. But, alas.

  2. Finding the right therapist fucking sucks.

    I had a therapist for a year and a half that referred to me as a “homosexual,” which, while technically true, is not really comforting. I kept seeing her because she was good enough and because FINDING A GOOD THERAPIST KILLS YOUR SOUL. You call and leave a message and no one returns it. You send email after email only to get therapists saying they are not accepting clients. It takes time and energy that we often do not have. If you are looking for one, however, check out psychologytoday.com and ask folks you know for recommendations. Even consider asking a trusted loved one to research therapists for you and send you a list of well-reviewed ones in your area.

  3. Showering two or three times a week is a win.

    When the organization I worked for mentioned something about my hair being “not done enough” and my shirt not being ironed, I knew it was time to drop them. Depression isn’t a joke. And sometimes you can’t take care of yourself. You do the best you can, bb.

  4. You sometimes feel you are doing better and ‘coming out of it’ and you don’t realize that you are about to crash again.

    I’ve found this to be true for a lot of folks I know: we see the sunset and think, “Wow, life is beautiful. Maybe I won’t jump off a building” and the next day we are in the fetal position on the couch questioning why we were born. You know what I say, though? Enjoy it while it lasts. If you are happy, even for a second, enjoy it to its fullest.

  5. Zombies aren’t always the undead, sometimes they are fully alive and walking among us.

    Finding the right anti-depressant can be a beach. Even if you do find one that helps you get out of bed, do some dishes, and go to your job the vast majority of the time, you might be on autopilot every waking moment. If you haven’t experienced this, you may not understand what I am saying at all, so here’s an analogy. Imagine you are a tiny robot that is controlling a body with buttons and pull strings from a human-like skull-ship. This is what disassociation is: a feeling of disconnect from your body, like you are viewing your life from the third person. It’s a common side effect of antidepressants, and to be honest, it sucks.

Depression is a difficult disease to live with and a difficult one to talk about. I’ve found in my (nearly!) 30 years that people who don’t have mental illness often cannot understand what those of us who do are going through. So let’s talk to each other.
What did I get so right? What did I forget? Send me a comment and let’s talk.