Proud Boys, Patriot Prayer, and Pissed off Portlanders
Today, my city was descended upon by fascists, for the second time this summer. This time, there were all kinds of panicky think pieces about how the rally was destined to turn violent, it was going to become another Charlottesville, and many on the left were encouraging each other to simply “sit this one out” in order to starve the Proud Boys and Patriot Prayer members of the attention they so desperately wanted. As any child who survived middle and high school knows, ignoring a bully until they go away is completely unhelpful advice, but as someone working on my history MA, it gets me grumbling about appeasement, Neville Chamberlain, and WWII.
Never one to sit by passively, I worked for a few days in advance with the other two adults in my home to prepare to head out today. I’m disabled and slower than I used to be, and we needed to make sure we had a plan if I needed assistance, and pack my meds so that could keep my hands free. This is all stuff that went into backpacks on top of the bandages, milk of magnesia, water, handkerchiefs, and everything else we, or other protesters, might need. After all, this wasn’t our first rodeo.
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The Essentials of Freelancing
I started my first business in 2009, and it meant I needed to get a smart-phone. Most of my freelance work for this job was coming out of the SLC area in Utah, and I lived in Portland, Oregon, and I was then writing grants/proposals/contracts in about a dozen other states, as well as the business I could pick up on my own. I had no real tech experience to speak of (a little html coding, from which I built my website, and an understanding of how to do video conferences and calls). That, with a functional working knowledge of Microsoft office (save Excel, which still gives me feelings of dread when I open it), was all I had when I started. I proceeded to track invoices, profits and losses, expenses, and learn how to politely excuse myself from social events to take a work call that was from a different time-zone. I lost money the first two years and barely broke even for the next two, but I gained both hard and soft skills that enabled me to find a few more stable gigs. This did mean moving into my car, something that many interpreters/entrepreneurs are familiar with.
I installed a clothing rack, where I hung a suit-jacket and skirt, in case they were necessary, and stored multiple pairs of socks and stockings, as well as dress pants. A few single-color button ups were also kept in there, as well as black undershirts (I learned that I required more than one complete outfit change after I had a child throw up on me at an assignment, and then a bird poop on me right after I changed). Baby wipes, a tide pen, clear nail polish, a sewing kit.all of these were locked in a plastic safe box that was chained into my car. Along with these was an extra bra and shoes, snacks, and blanket and pillow. I’m sure the undergarments and shoes make sense, but I’ve been met with some confusion when the blanket and pillow come up.
Read the rest at Copy Fox Pros
The Opioid Crisis is a PAIN Crisis: My Story is Not Unique
We all know the statistics. 8.3 out of every thousand people are addicted, according to CNN, and that number is climbing. Deaths continue to mount, police forces argue about the use of Narcan, Seattle is looking at opening its first safe injection site, and still, people are suffering and new addictions are popping up daily. It’s a terrifying proposition, especially as the population realizes that people it once thought were “just like them” are now living on the street, addicted to heroin.
So what happens?
Well, in large part, people like me happen. Ten days ago, now, I had surgery to remove a foreign body from my chest, just below my collarbone. As luck would have it, it wasn’t cancer, which is a giant mental weight I am no longer carrying. However, the muscle that was sliced through is, shall we say, load-bearing, and I’m having to be pretty creative to keep the simple act of sitting-up from pulling on the stitches.
Read the rest over at Medium
Exhausted Isn't Bad Enough, Is it?
The first time I really contemplated suicide, I was a teenager, and there were two feelings, and only two feelings.
The first was an inexorable exhaustion, one that had been dogging me for months, had finally grabbed hold of me, and I felt I couldn’t escape it. No amount of coffee, sleep, friendship, or excitement for the future could break into the sheer weight of tiredness I felt. My body ached; my brain processed like it was in a fog. I couldn’t imagine living the rest of my life moving the slowly, this lethargically.
Secondly, there was guilt. See, I’d had friends both attempt and succeed at suicide, for various reasons: abuse, tween pregnancy, parental neglect, drug use. While I had a couple of issues with administrators at my school, and a relationship with my parents that wouldn’t heal for well over a decade, I knew I wasn’t suffering in comparison. As exhausted as I was, I could often dredge up the energy to self-flagellate about how I was considering ending it all, and I was being a wuss, since I didn’t have it nearly as bad as other people.
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When multiple diagnoses exist in the same person, and impact each other, they are known as co-morbid conditions. My bipolar diagnosis came when I was 19, but I'd struggled with the cycles of manic function and depressed inability since puberty. My PTSD diagnosis wasn't made until I was in my 30s, and I’ve never been able to pin down whether the trauma started with the ocular migraines I thought came as a punishment from God, or the fact that my nine-year-old brother took up an iron fire poker and tried to cave my skull in. I think the worst part was that my parents disbelieved or discounted both, actually.
All I knew was that sometimes I would be up all night and have all the energy in the world, and sometimes I couldn't open my eyes for anything. I also began to see that when situations became too overwhelming, I would get coldly detached, and then feel all of those repressed emotions at a later date. If I didn't vent the pressure and eventually feel all the scared, angry, fearful feelings, I would have utter breakdowns. Sometimes they presented as panic attacks that lasted for days until I wore myself out, while at other times I would be unable to move or speak until I'd finally cried or screamed my way through what had happened.
Employment Reform: For Adult, Able-bodied Males
As industrialization began to flourish in the United States, the way that Americans made a living shifted drastically. While people still worked in professions, and as artisans, many more began to work for employers for wages, in environments that were often unsafe, exploitative, or in other ways subjected them to unfair working practices. While many workers were helped by the advent of unionization beginning in the early 20th century, most of the legislation that came from these reforms looked at workers through the lens of men as the family breadwinners without taking into equal consideration workers who were children, women, and disabled people. Since many of the laws passed that greatly improved the lives of able-bodied adult male workers were signed decades ago, there is a resistance to further legal protections that would support these groups.
For much of human history, children worked alongside their parents on farms, in cottage industries, and as apprentices in trades. Since the founding of this country, the idea that children should work to earn their keep has been very popular and this notion, in conjunction with a fear of idleness spoiling or ruining young people, led to laws and statutes requiring parents to provide a certain amount of useful labor for their children, or to send them off to work as servants or apprentices elsewhere.” Indigent youth, those who were orphaned, or children of poor families were provided for by being taken into workhouses and taught trades, as far back as Jamestown and the Massachusetts Bay colony, to prevent them from becoming a drain on society. Indeed, until the end of the Civil War there were almost no functional child labor laws, and the first laws, like the one written in 1842 limiting a child’s work to only 10 hours a day, and another one in the same period requiring a minimal amount of schooling almost never being enforced.
Before I had kids, I knew everything. I knew how I would birth, when my kids would hit their milestones and how I'd nurture and guide them. They'd eat healthy food and would never, ever, watch terrible, repetitive cartoons. I'll wait for the experienced moms to stop laughing before I continue.
Like many slightly-crunchy Portland moms, I knew I'd have an uncomplicated, drug-free delivery, and that my children would sleep cuddled in my arms. My baby would sleep sweetly in a sling while I continued my classes and did my research to finish my degree, and they'd behave at the doula-owned baby store where I was employed. Then my midwife walked out of my labor, and I had to have an emergency C-section to deliver my daughter. She nursed just fine, but screamed twelve hours a day, and would only fall asleep in a cool, dark room. She came to school with me, but kept trying to take over the class, and once she was mobile, she tried as hard as she could to sneak out of the store and get hit by a car. She didn't talk until she was nearly two and a half, making do with sign and screaming. Still, aside from those few setbacks, a bout of flesh-eating staphylococcus bacteria when she was 18 months old, and some rather severe Obsessive/Compulsive tendencies, I thought we were mastering this whole parenting gig. I figured I'd learned from my mistakes. The next child, would be easy. This time, I was ready.