Single-Malt Workohol

Despair is a heavy burden, and I bear its weight by working out.

I am not diagnosed with depression or anxiety, but there are days when I wonder whether I should be. Hints of how I deal with anxiety are scattered throughout my writing, but depression is a rarer visitor. I’ve avoided any real accounting of my depressive symptoms of episodes because of one peculiar fact: they’ve been incredibly useful to me.

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Single-Malt Workohol
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Lessons from a Failed Bodyform

As a result of all the different things going on with my body, not to mention our financial situation, finding clothes for me to wear can be really difficult. For some time now, I’ve been strongly considering starting to make my own clothes. In order to do a better job of this, I’ve been wanting to make a bodyform out of my own body shape.

I’ve been looking up different ways of creating one. There are tons of ideas out there, including ones using plaster, duct tape, insulation form, all sorts of ideas. I decided to combine all of these different ideas in the hopes of creating something fantastic.

At the same time as doing mine, I decided to also make one for Alyssa. For all that people give her lots of clothes, there are some pieces that she has always wanted but couldn’t afford. I thought it would be fun to also have a form of her shape, so that I could potentially make them for her.

I decided to start with hers, and while I suspected this might be the case for some time not, I finally had to admit defeat. Her bodyform was a disaster. First we ran out of tape. Then the foam wouldn’t set. Then the top foam sank into the foam that wouldn’t set. Then the whole thing ended up very tilted. Finally, the plaster would not stop crumbling and the whole thing finally fell apart today resulting in a dusty and crumbly mess.

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Lessons from a Failed Bodyform

How did it Feel Getting Diagnosed: ADHD

I was that strange kid who knew at a very young age that I wanted to go to university. I don’t know when exactly it started, but I was working towards that goal from an early age. I used to read a bunch of different books on how to get the best grades to get into university. Many of them recommended doing extra credit projects, which would show the teacher my enthusiasm for learning.

I started many different projects along these lines. I remember one in particular, about the St. Lawrence Seaway, where I spend hours reading up on the history of the canal. No matter how much research I did or how many hours I spent motivating myself, none of these projects ever got finished. Homework too often waited till the night before it was due to get done. On the few occasions that I did manage to start an essay early, I would get significantly worse grades than those I wrote at the last minute.

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How did it Feel Getting Diagnosed: ADHD

Understanding Ania’s Weird Body things

I write a lot about my disabilities and illnesses. I’ve discussed what trips to the hospital are like and what a regular day can look like. I’ve shared advice for new patients based on what I’ve discovered myself in the time I’ve lived with them. I have never, however, taken the time to just put together a list of definitions of what those various conditions and disabilities are.

So without further ado, I introduce a glossary of my weird body stuff.  

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Understanding Ania’s Weird Body things

Frost on the Sand

This is the only thing I can write today.

My Canadian residency is in doubt. My denial may soon be final, based on something so perverse and so trivial as my being a member of an ODSP-receiving household. My appeals may yet save me, as Ania and I exhaust every remaining option to secure my life here in Canada.

Because there is no life for me elsewhere.

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Frost on the Sand

What’s the Story

In my last storytelling post, I wrote about how a lot of my paintings come with stories of their own. I usually just let it stay in my head, but I thought I might have some fun and actually tell you, dearest readers, some of the stories.

MEDUSA

Medusa from behind with a butterfly tattoo

Medusa is considered a monster, she is assumed to be so ugly that just looking at her face turns you to stone. But before she was ugly, she was beautiful. She had long lustrous hair, which is why it was changed in order to punish her. Her gorgeous locks turned instead into hissing snakes. But in her metamorphosis she went from being a victim to being a being of fear. Sometimes it is in change that you find yourself. For Medusa, metamorphosis is the meaning of her life, her own change and the change she brings on others. She commemorates this with a tattoo of a flying butterfly on her shoulder.

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What’s the Story

Location, Location, Location

A friend of mine asked me recently whether I love writing and painting equally. It’s a questions I’ve thought a lot about. I spend a lot of time on both, and they take up a fair bit of my life. Ultimately however, I know the answer. I am a writer, more than that, I am a storyteller. Painting can and is a lot of fun. It is a great way to visually represent some of the things that happen in my head, and in the last few years I’ve let myself delve into it more fully than ever before.

But even my painting relates to my storytelling. Many of my paintings are of characters that I conceptualize and then decide to paint, or scenes from paintings I am trying to work out. Even when it doesn’t relate directly to something I write, my paintings are often about telling a story or at least suggesting a story on their own.

My writing is my most effective way of storytelling since it lets me take the time to fully work out the stories and put into it everything that I’ve wanted, but ultimately, it is the storytelling that drives me.

In another place, another time, I might have been a bard – telling stories, playing music. My social justice class is bard. I think that stories can teach, they can heal, they can move you, they can inflame you and entice you.

When I think about storytelling, however, this one anecdote comes to mind.

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Location, Location, Location

February Self-Challenge

I’m finding myself feeling increasingly overwhelmed with everything going on. Between the horror in the US, the increasing ableist microaggressions populating my world, the fear of my friends, and the never ending struggle to make ends meet, I’ve been finding myself struggling to write. Not because I have nothing to say but because sometimes it can feel like talking about anything other than the trash fire going on feels wrong.

I know it’s not. I know that no matter what happens, these issues still have to be talked about. That even if the worst should come to pass in the US, it is still important to talk about the issues that got us here so that we can fight it completely. Not let fascism and Nazism regrow like a cancer, but excise it fully. I know that self-care and happiness in times like these, in times where you realize that many people like you might die in the coming years because so much of the world just doesn’t think your life is worth saving. That self-care means making sure that you have the strength to keep fighting another day.

To this effect, I am going to take a challenge that I’ve seen Alex Gabriel recommend and other bloggers on this site try out. I am going to commit myself to posting at least 1 post per day this month. They won’t all be serious content . Some might be excerpts of stories I am working on, recipes, or links to videos I’ve been working on making. Either way, once a day I will post some content.

Want to help encourage me? Please post a comment, or consider becoming one of our patreon patrons.

ADDENDUM: I feel the need to add that since I do most of my writing in the middle of the night “DAY” might be a bit of a misnomer lol. For example, the post written for Feb 2 may well not get posted until after midnight.

February Self-Challenge

Energizer Bunny for Xmas (plus a thank you)

For the last week, week and a half really, I’ve been in a bit of energizer mode. Alyssa calls it my productive phase.  We’re celebrating the holidays at home this year. For the first time in a while, and I don’t want it to feel like we’re just too poor to go somewhere like some holidays seem to feel. The sad truth is, though, that we are broke. We haven’t really been able to afford to get each other gifts for some time.

Still, I’ve been diligently working on trying to make it feel like the holidays, while also putting together little somethings for the wonderful people in our lives. And that has meant – cooking. And baking. And some crafting.

It’s been serving two purposes. At the same time that I am making a whole host of Christmas food, I’m also making a bunch of frozen meals and whatnot for future low spoon days. So far I’ve managed to freeze some Kluski (Polish Potato Dumplings) as well as some fries that just need to be popped in the fryer. All at the same time as preparing the filling for a batch of pierogi: which I haven’t really made since that time years ago when I sold them for a while and ended up making over 744 pierogi by hand.

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Energizer Bunny for Xmas (plus a thank you)

A Very Alyssa Playlist

I often think that the earliest sign of how my gender would eventually unfold was my taste in music. From the earliest I gravitated to pop music performed by women, and even as I grew older and this fondness became tinged with new feelings about the singers’ exposed skin and shapely bodies, there was something there that my male peers didn’t share. My autism aimed me at euphonious, smooth sounds and clear vocals that ruled out the harsher forms many of my peers preferred, but that wasn’t it, either. Before I knew what that meant or why, I could tell, they spoke my language. It was more than titillation, sensory needs, or aesthetics that drew me. The songs were about love and relationships and feelings, and all of them were expressed in magnificently feminine terms, and that made them real in ways that the male-led songs I gravitated toward in adolescence never managed to be.

I learned to be ashamed of this fondness, keeping it hidden. I’d gotten enough odd looks and dismissive noises to know that this was, at best, a child’s fancy best discarded, and more likely, something that contributed to the tumultuous awfulness of my adolescence. I forced myself to appreciate music led by men. I succeeded, but I never gave up on my old favorite sounds.

The future vindicated me.

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A Very Alyssa Playlist