Faction Night the Third: Art, Knives, and Rock and Roll

I spent the few days before Thursday Night Faction this week, trying to decide whether or not I should even go. You see, last week after faction, the fact that my Remicade had been delayed made itself felt. Strongly.

Strongly enough in fact, that on Friday evening, I finally caved and begged my roommate to take me to the hospital. My pain was too high to manage on my own, and my constant trips to the bathroom made me start to worry that C.Diff might have decided to come back into my life… and guts.

The three days I spent in the ER were ridiculous. Due to a massive influx of flu cases, there were no beds available at the hospital. Despite deciding to admit me that same night, I never actually made it out of the Observation wing.

Because of the pain I was in, I decided to go to the closer hospital, rather than the usual one I was in. The GI staff on call at that time has their primary specialty be the liver, so they really weren’t sure what to do with me. Sadly, it showed. Had I known this at the time, I would have written out for them exactly what to do to get me better enough to send me home, but unfortunately, it wasn’t really till Sunday night, that I realized that I wasn’t really being treated… at all. They were just running tests but not actually taking care of what was going on.

Frustrated, and really not wanting to end up even sicker as I lay there with immunosuppressant medication seeping into my veins, while sleeping in between TWO people with an active flu infection. The only barrier between us a flowy sheet and overworked nurses with too many patients on their hands. Not the optimal situation.

To make a long story short, I got sent home without a taper dose, and without fully being treated. I spent Monday and Tuesday sleeping almost the entire day, barely able to move or function. On Wednesday, I started to feel the full combined effects of dilaudid withdrawal and full dose steroids, combined of course with my regular ADHD medication. In short… I was WIRED.

My heart, my body, my mind, everything was literally humming. I proceeded to completely fail to sleep for the next 54 hours!   Faction Night managed to coincide exactly with something like hour 32? I had been running around all day trying to get things done – for the art show, in terms of organizing, and so on.

Still, I thought that having something physical to do to top off the day might get rid of the last of that restless energy that had made it so hard to sleep until that moment.

I made a point to inform Edge about my medical situation. I promised to keep checking in about whether I was able to do something. He did his best to schedule my matches earlier in the evening, since I anticipated an eventual complete physical crash.

That whole day my heart had felt like it was vibrating. I don’t know if it was actually beating very fast and hard, but it felt like it was. I had picked up a dose of medical marijuana that was specifically meant to slow everything down. Throughout the night, my biggest struggle was in trying to keep the feel of my heart below what was making me feel like my blood was being pumped through a frother. It did work, but only for a few minutes. I was standing outside in the cold in my t-shirt and I didn’t feel it.

Although I was in a great mood, the physical feeling is also very similar to when I’m anxious, triggered, and feeling like I have to fight or flight. Learning to how to be able to throw something with accuracy during this kind of state is actually really interesting training. It also turned out to be really helpful medically.

I’ve mentioned before that one difficulty I have had in the past is that in order to be properly aware of what I was doing enough to be able to replicate the results, I have to become aware of my body in a way that is usually unpleasant for me. It makes me too aware of my symptoms.

I noticed that I tend to do better in practice than I do in matches. I suspect a lot of this is because when I become aware that other people are watching me with the intent of judging what I am doing, I start to get anxious and overthink everything. I become hyperaware of everything around me, which in turn triggers the feeling that something is wrong. It’s related to my trauma history where survival has meant learning that anything other than obviously expressed pleasure or happiness is actual a precursor to anger which is a precursor to being hurt.

I needed a way to become hyperfocused and aware of everything I am doing and around me, but outside myself and my head enough not to be anxious because of it. I needed to access into this one state where I knew everything that was going on around me, everything my body was doing, where time almost slows to a standstill even as it rushes past you, where you can anticipate everything that is about to happen, and how to control the situation to achieve your desired result. It’s not a state that lasts a long time, but it is such an amazing high.

It was the only way I was going to manage to get a shot in, because unless I managed to completely calm myself down, I was going to boil over somehow, I could feel it.

The state I was in is also a weirdly inventive state where I make connections that I don’t always otherwise make, or perhaps I make them faster is closer to the truth. I realized that the one time I could almost always guarantee myself in that state… is when I sing.

Here’s the truth – it doesn’t really take much to get me to sing. I do it, ALL the time. In fact, sometimes I sing without realizing. Most of the time, in social situations I put on enough NT filters and masks and follow certain scripts to know that I’m not supposed to be too eager to sing because it’s supposed to be “embarrassing” and also it will be taken as showing off. I protest that no I shouldn’t, or feel like I have to act shy. The truth is, what I want to be able to do more than anything is to perform. To sing. All the time. So when I’m protesting, or acting like I feel that I shouldn’t, what I’m fighting against isn’t fear TO sing, but fear of navigating the confusing social script of wanting to sing and being good at it.

I think it has to do with the fact that it’s been something that I’ve consistently been praised at, so it’s one thing that I know that when I’m doing that, I’m not doing everything completely wrong. I don’t know. There are probably levels upon levels of intertwining issues related to all this, but ultimately, the important take away was that I needed to achieve a certain state of mind, and I had a cheat code for getting into that state of mind.

Or at least, that’s what I suspected might be the case.

I tried to create the set up whereby I could get social encouragement to do the thing, but although people seemed entertained at the prospect and perhaps even into it, the needed key phrases I needed to be able to clue into the appropriate social script never arrived.

Instead, what I did after my first disastrous match, whereby my faction mates found out the sheer extent to which I was… well not okay lol… well, I chose a song, and very softly, almost completely in my head, I focused on singing it. While throwing the knives.


To start with, my heartrate slowed down to the tempo of the song I was singing. And instead of overthinking everything I was doing, I devoted the majority of my mind to getting the lyrics, beat, and tone right, while my body adjusted itself into the best stance for what I was doing. A step or two adjustment, and the majority of my throws were sticking in the board.

When I got too excited and stopped singing, I would miss. But when I centered my whole world to the target and the song I was singing, I started actually hitting where I meant to hit.

I still lost my next match, but I was a lot less behind in points than I had been. People were teasing my competitor, a long time thrower, but the truth was that I was just doing BETTER!

My final match of the night was against a woman who had a great throw, a lot of power and accuracy, but I suspect was having the same issues with performance anxiety coupled with personal frustration that had been plaguing me.

Because she missed the first two weeks, she ended up having to do a half dozen matches that night, and I was her last one.

This was my third match of the night, and by now, I had an idea of how to use me singing to myself to do better.

Round 1. I won! I could feel my excitement rising in a way that I knew could backfire. I was so excited, but I also felt bad that from outward appearance, she was losing to someone who had previously been one of the worst.

Round 2 we trade targets. I force myself out of my own head, focusing on singing a song. This time I believe it was Blue Moon, having just spoken to someone special on the West Coast and wishing he was there to see me now.

And I did it! I won the match clean! Winning both rounds.

I wanted to jump up and down I was so excited!

Instead, I sat down, and put my head down on the table.

My one additional contribution to the night, related funnily to my singing, was actually cheering. I did my patented Wooooooo! Xena cheer scream that takes almost no effort, but could probably be heard outside.

It’s then that Gigantor asked me how the heck I was getting such volume, and I mentioned in passing “Oh… um I’m a classically trained Soprano…”

I’ve been writing this post now for several days. The delay has been related to another exciting In the Air Announcement!

As of that Thursday, my art is on display in their Art Lounge!

I have my paintings, my jewelry, and some of the printed items I produce on display, and will be showcasing them here for at least a week! (Some weirdness has come up, so specific date details are slightly in flux and I will keep people updated on the Splain you a Thing Facebook Page)

If you are in Ottawa, please please come out, and consider buying something.

All the money I make will be used to get me out of financial difficulty and be put towards making it possible for me possibly… to move to the West Coast.


Faction Night the Third: Art, Knives, and Rock and Roll

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