Kiss5Tigers

The 5 Tigers represent the big things in life. This blog is about facing them.


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Crowdfunding

I make no secret of the fact that I am diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I don’t just tell random strangers on the bus, but I’m not embarrassed about having it.

I would like to help other people with this difficulty to navigate their recovery process. I don’t have the resources for a degree at this time but fortunately there is a certification program that takes only a week for becoming a certified peer counselor. I could do that.

What is a peer counselor? It’s an advocate that helps other diagnosed individuals figure out their recovery. It’s a mentor – coach kind of situation. It is not a therapist, and it is not a doctor. It’s sort of like an AA sponsor.

The training will be in Dallas in April and I would like to take it. However it is $650 and I am between deployments so cash flow is an issue. They don’t have any scholarships available so that’s not an option. I have to come up with this money.

I figured, it would be worth checking out crowdfunding. I have some part of the funds, just not the whole thing. I don’t like to ask family or borrow from friends. But crowdfunding, now, that seems possible. Surely I know several people who can give some money towards this endeavor.

I have posted in a group on Facebook that I trust looking for reviews of different sites I could use. Indiegogo has already come up, and there’s Kickstarter and GoFundMe. I just have to figure out which one of the several choices is the best fit for me.

So, hive mind and dear readers, if you have any experiences or knowledge about this to share, feel free.

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Wonderettes and Prime

Went to the Ennis Public Theater with my roommates. A friend of ours is in a musical called The Marvelous Wonderettes and we were privileged to watch the dress rehearsal. It was a fun night out and the actresses all seemed to enjoy themselves. I mean, it’s community theater, you don’t expect lavish productions and Broadway quality acting. It was as good as any high school play I’ve ever seen and the cast had fun. That’s what I go for. It was a good time.

When I got home, one of the dogs had chewed the padding off my headphones. These are not earbuds but the old fashioned kind of over-the-ear headphones. They keep me from getting too much outside noise when I’m listening, and my content doesn’t disturb the roommates. Because I usually work in the living room with the people around, that’s why. So I went to Amazon to replace them. Of course the same ones were out of stock with no information about when they’d be available again, so I had to order a different pair.

Then I started to think about free shipping. If I spend a certain amount of money, I get free shipping. So I ordered a book called The War of Art and some Dresden trim and Diamond Glaze for making collages. Then I added a data cord for a digital camera I was gifted. Totaled it all up and figured I’d better stop spending. Went to check out and was offered the free 2 day shipping option so I took it.

Well of course it wasn’t because I spent enough — I did, but with different vendors — so it comes with a free trial of Prime. I hope I like their video offerings because I don’t really order that much from Amazon. Of course I can always cancel later if it doesn’t work out.

My new book Ephemera arrived from Uppercase today. I love ephemera. I even love the word. And this book is actually about ephemera itself, not artists who work with it, so it makes my little heart happy.

I also got a batch of postcards that I had made from a picture I took. If you want one, contact me and we’ll figure it out. If you follow the link and email me, be sure to let me know you want a postcard so I don’t ignore you. I get a LOT of junk email, a wicked lot.

Tomorrow is breakfast with the roommates and a support group meeting. I really need those support groups, they give my day structure. I strongly recommend peer support groups as part of a wellness plan. And that’s for everybody! Mine happen to be mental health related, but even a Bible study group or a meet-up gathering provides support and community. Support comes from any number of places.


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Monday Monday

Back to the daily grind, such as it is.

I contacted the passport office today to see about setting up an appointment to get a passport. Turns out, since I am travelling in July, that I am not a priority so I don’t get to see someone in person. I have to apply the traditional way. So my plan for tomorrow is to go to Walgreens to get the photo and to the post office to get the application form. Then I will submit everything and see how long it takes. Book and card, please.

I ordered some assemblage pieces today. I have started a new book called Mixed Media Paint Box which has about 50 exercises in it. My original plan was to buy the supplies for this week’s exploration but I don’t need to acquire anything so instead I bought other supplies. The one I’m most excited about is a flaming heart shrine which should be about the size of my hand. Flaming heart / sacred heart imagery has become very important to me.

I went to my DBSA support group today. I met someone else who is a SARK fan so that was fun. I like the feeling of connecting with a new person. I used the phrase “airy fairy” to describe some of my religious leanings and it caught on in the group. It got used several times. I also found out I am not the only person who watches Ancient Aliens. I know, I know, but it’s still interesting to me.

I got 3 more magazines today. I really need to get on with my reading. But then I really need to get on with making art too. I keep waiting for inspiration to strike but I think I just need to start playing with the supplies.

Cats have been affectionate lately. Striped Charli has napped with me more than once. She’s getting to be an old lady and napping is a huge activity for her. Momo, who is all black, has been looking for love. He usually isn’t like that, but he’s begun meowing to me for treatsies and climbing up on the sofa for pets. I love his little voice! I love Charli’s voice too but she is so often yelling at me, lol.

Roommate L is falling asleep on the sofa next to me, she should probably really go to bed. But wrestling is on so she won’t until the end of the show. Both my roommates really like wrestling and I totally don’t get it. I guess I don’t have to.

Swiss cheese is good. I prefer cheddar. This comes up because we are going keto as a household so cheese is suddenly an issue. I like stinky cheeses but of course the rest of the house doesn’t, lol. I miss rice and potatoes. I’ll get used to this new way of eating. Except at breakfast. I want cereal but it’s on the no-no list.

Speaking of bed, I should go to bed myself. I have group at 10 tomorrow so I need to be up by 9 at the latest. Up and ready to go, not simply eyes open. Why are mornings so hard? Probably because nights are so easy.


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On My Way

I’m deployed.

I’m halfway between excited and nervous.  I’ve been waiting for this so I’m excited to finally be called.  Yet I don’t know what I’m going to find, and that makes me nervous.

Roommates are concerned that I will be overwhelmed by the victims’ emotionality.  F took me aside tonight and told me to protect myself.  I know he means to build up a psychic shield, surround myself with white light kind of thing.  Mostly he kept saying for me to remember it’s not my fault, there’s only so much I can do, and take care of myself.

I have packed, unpacked and repacked.  I want to get down to one suitcase.  I figure, they’re going to give me equipment to manage as well as my suitcase and purse.  I don’t want a ton of stuff.  I mean, I do want a ton of stuff, but I can’t manage it all.  I’ll bring my computer, headphones and all.  And my sketch book.  And a glue stick.  I think I’ll throw a pair of scissors in my luggage, since I’ll be checking a bag.

Meds are in my purse.  Contacts and glasses will go in my purse too.  As did makeup.  I did look for another purse and couldn’t find one I liked.  Now I’m glad to have the extra room.

I got to see my daughter E today.  We ran some errands and I gave her my car to use.  I’m not sure about this.  I think, it’s not in good shape, what if something happens while she’s using it?  It gets towed and I can’t get it back.  Then I’m without a car.  I don’t know how long I’ll be deployed, so $25 a day for storage times who knows how many days.  I’d lose the stuff that’s in the car, some printed material, some knitting, all my stuffies.  It would make me very upset.  So I told her, no using the car.  She can use it to get her stuff from V.  But no joy rides.  And tonight she had K pick her up to go visit a friend, so she is trying to respect my wishes.

Charli the kitty is all over my suitcase and she yells at me every time I come into the bedroom.  She is upset that I’m leaving but I can’t take her with me.  F and L will look after Charli and Momo so that’s something I don’t have to worry about.

I made sure F, E, and my cousin all have each other’s phone numbers.  If anything happens, I want them to be able to contact each other.  Not that anything will happen.  It’s a precaution.  I should text them all from my work phone too so they have that number.

I think I’ve got it all covered.   One last load of laundry in process.  Extra suitcase packed in case I’m there more than a month.  I think, I really do think, I’m almost ready.


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Isms and Whiteness

I’ve been thinking a lot about isms in the past 24 hours.  Before I start, I want full disclosure that I am white cis het female over the age of 50.  I am a product of my environment in many ways.  I am trying to transcend that, but sometimes I get caught in verbiage I don’t understand or old ways of thinking.

I belong to several online support groups.  Two of them have a high overlap of people so there is an issue that started in one group that spilled over into the second group.  That issue was around perceived racism and observed name calling.

Now I will be honest that I didn’t see much of the original thread.  What I caught was a friend of mine trying to defend his position, and another person issuing personal attacks.  I understand a third party made a comment about ISIS that other people took to be islamophobic.  My friend took the position that it was basic human stupidity not racism, based on the third party being a Fox news enthusiast.  You may agree or disagree with Fox news, but they do have a particular perspective to their reporting.  Another person felt that my friend was being racist and supporting a racist.  At some point the thread disintegrated to such a degree that an admin pulled it down so I am unable to review it.  My friend got banned from the site.

My friend went to another site, and mentioned that he was banned.  Of course people wanted to know why and he told his story.  Obviously he told it from his perspective.  The other person almost immediately chimed in that he was wrong and became personally insulting.  The second group tried to get her to tone it down and stop being so rude, but she would not.  Someone moved to ban her from that site.

The other person went back to the first site and stated that a bunch of racist women were supporting my friend.  That of course got the people at the first site riled up.  So now we have two people having a disagreement that has escalated to involve two forums.

Here’s the thing, it brings up questions for me about how to talk about racism and other isms.  The big question for me is, who gets to decide when something is racist?  Is it the person on the receiving end?  Or is it the person who committed the faux pas?  Because it feels like if it’s the receiver, then there is no room to make a mistake while if it’s the committer then there’s no way to call out someone’s bad behavior.

But what if the person who committed the ism is a POC and the person who got offended was a white man?  And what if the POC rather quickly escalated to bullying behavior?  Is this prejudice?  Group one is very supportive of the POC to the point where it has been suggested my friend is gaslighting, and sealioning.  (Apparently sealioning is when you argue with someone who is trying to leave the situation, that is, arguing to argue, posturing.)  On forum number two, the dynamic is almost the opposite, with the most vociferous people defending my friend and even suggesting we ban the POC.  I don’t know her except for this interaction, and I’m not impressed with her.  She gets heated rather quickly and doesn’t seem to be able to defend her position beyond name calling and stating that certain things are obvious.  Oh, and that she doesn’t owe a random white man anything.  So she played the race card twice.

I am so frustrated by this whole situation.  My friend may well be racist, I don’t know him that well, but I think if he is it’s more institutional racism, not a personal bias.  He has been fair with me and I don’t see him being intentionally racist to other people.  Of course if we agree that the person on the receiving end gets to decide, then the POC would no doubt find him guilty of racism.  If we agree that it’s the person making the faux pas, then there’s no way to call out my friend on the part that he’s getting wrong.

He thinks I am not supportive because I don’t argue directly for him.  I will do that with the admin, not on the general website.  I don’t want to stir things up any more than they already are.  And I do support his right to stand up for someone else’s right to make a mistake.  I get that we want to be allies for POC, women, LGBTQ, and all the rest of what used to be called minorities.  I also get that my friend is being vilified for something that I can’t prove he did.  And he claims he did not do.  (I can’t prove he didn’t do it either.)

I’m so confused.

It’s not the responsibility of POC to educate white folk, but on the other hand if someone is having a problem, it’s incumbent upon them to speak up in a way that the issue can be addressed.  If I don’t know I’m being sexist, someone has to tell me, and probably that would best come from the offended party, even though in another way they don’t owe me anything.

What is the best way to handle situations like this?  Ignoring it only lets it escalate and hurts my friend.  Getting involved has only made me upset, although I don’t think I’ve come across as very upset because I am trying to be diplomatic.  Also I have mostly been asking questions, since I could be completely out of touch.  That happens as one gets older.  I don’t see engaging with the offended person since she was rather vitriolic with my friend.

It just makes me sad.

 


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What I’ve Been Doing

I was sitting here drinking the coffee that my roommate L has made for me and I realized that you don’t know what I actually do with my time while I’m demobilized.  I’ve done a fair amount of complaining about things and I’ve certainly shared my (mis)adventures, but really life is pretty good and I want to share some of that.

I sleep most days until 9 or 10 in the morning.  I usually wake up with my cats cuddled up to me, which makes me happy.  If you have pets, you understand this.  Or children, I suppose, though as a mother I dislike comparing pets and children.

I get up and check facebook and email and other online things I’m working on.  I take my morning meds and eat some peanut butter toast.  I like the way the hot toast melts the peanut butter.  Usually by then L is up so there is coffee.  Now you may ask why I don’t make my own coffee since I certainly know how.  The truth is, we use a French press and the thing is just a pain to clean.  I am lazy.  That’s my big secret.  If L makes the coffee, she cleans it up.  Yup, that’s it, silly as it is.

Most days I go to a support group.  I use a peer run support group cluster that is available through a local mental health facility.  It’s free.  Mondays is DBSA, the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance and we are working out of a book about managing life while struggling with a behavioral health concern.  Tuesday is Recovery International which has a very formal method.  It does however teach you to deal with daily life, something I don’t always do very well.  Wednesday is the PTSD group.  I don’t have PTSD but nobody is without trauma.  Thursday is a depression support group.  Friday is ATTA, which stands for Achievement Through the Arts.  It’s for artists with brain differences, so there is a mix of people with issues ranging from schizophrenia to injury.  Most of these groups meet for 2 hours, so that gives me a whole lotta free time.

I have been writing letters.  I have an extensive mailing list that I am trying to send everybody something and see who writes back.  Then I’ll keep up with the respondents.  I like getting mail and to get mail, one must send mail.

I also have been working on the 100 Hats project.  I want to sell them but I suspect most of them will wind up donated.  And that’s fine, for me the joy is in the making.  Speaking of making, I am working on some art pieces as well.  One of them is based on my friend K’s living room.

I stay up with my roommates until around 1 in the morning, then I lay in bed on the phone until 2 then I sleep.  So 10 am is really 8 hours of sleep, which is good for me.

I do see friends and go out to eat and run errands.  It makes for a pretty full life, but I would like to be deployed again.  Not that I wish for bad things to happen, but when a disaster hits, I am ready.


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What I Did Today

Today has been a rather eventful day. Especially considering it was supposed to be a relatively slow day.

The plan was to start the day about 8:30 or 9:00, take a shower, go to Recovery International, and have lunch with a friend. I did actually wake up at 8:45 but it all went to hell after that.

It started with a text message from my daughter: “Dude the last 12 hours have been ridiculous and a waste of $100.”

I knew she was serious because she doesn’t usually call me dude. It took a few messages, and you need some back story to know what was going on.

Daughter is on a road trip with some friends. They went to Rainbow Gathering in Georgia, then spent a few days in Naples, FL and were headed to New Orleans. At 5 in the morning they hit Pensacola and decided to stop. They were going to sleep in the car under a bridge but they found out that someone else had tried the same thing about 10 hours earlier and got shot dead. Now we are talking about 3 girls in a car who don’t know anybody. That means some random person — and in my head it’s a homeless guy bumming a cigarette — told them this story that made them uncomfortable. They decided to rent a hotel room instead. This is the $100. Check out time was 11:00 so they didn’t even get showers.

Then before hitting the road again, they went to a dog park. One of the girls had brought her 2 dogs which seems like a lot but personally I’m glad they had the protection. One of the dogs got off the leash, and someone pulled a gun on the girls. I asked my daughter about this, because I thought the whole point of a dog park was to let the dogs off their leash. She replied, “THAT’S WHAT YOU WOULD THINK, HUH?” And followed it up with, “Fuck Pensacola!”

The problem of course was that they had no money and no food. Uh huh. I’m surprised I didn’t get this call sooner. I’m on unemployment right now and I hadn’t gotten paid for the last two weeks yet, so I said there was nothing I could do. My roommate F gave me $60 to send her. We spent an hour trying to figure it out, and finally I paypal’d it to her. She is in New Orleans now, no further incidents.

The girls lucked out in New Orleans, too. They got an Air BnB a couple blocks off the French Quarter for 3 days for under $150. I might be jealous!

All of this took the hour I had for getting to my meeting. I still had to take shower before I could go and get dressed. I made it to RI but I was an hour late.

What is RI? In this case, Recovery International. It’s a sort of rational recovery program for mental health issues. Dr. Low developed the method back in the 50’s, so that was early days for psychiatry in a lot of ways. He referred to his patients as “nervous” rather than ill. He believed that getting worked up was an expression of either fearful or angry temper. He defined fearful as internal and angry as direction outward. His method is basically to have people talk themselves down using sayings and adages that he calls tools. They might be as simple as “peace is our goal” or as complicated as “people do things that annoy us, not to annoy us,” or even as pithy as “Try not to take your own dear self too seriously”. We meet weekly as a group and talk about how to use these tools in our daily lives.

I was so late, I missed the reading for the day and about half the discussion. At least I got to check in with everyone.

Afterwards I caught up with my friend R. He is the president of the local chapter of DBSA ( Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance )and he was delivering flyers around town. He wanted company while he did it, and basically he bribed me with lunch. It was a good day. I met several people in the mental health field, ranging from EAP workers (employee assistance plan) to the folks at Prism Health (AIDS Arms) .  I really feel like, when I get done with the government, I can find a place in mental health, which is where I want to be.  Eventually.

Lunch was at a place called Henk’s which does German food and has a European bakery and chocolate shop in the restaurant. We got the lentil soup, which was amazing. I also got a salad. R got a side of sauerkraut and a beer with his. Turns out the bakery provides the treats to the Black Forest Cafe, a coffee shop that’s in my favorite bookstore, Half Price Books. Later we stopped for coffee. I had an iced cold brew which was very refreshing. R paid both times, which I thought was very kind of him. Basically, it took us all afternoon.

On the way home, I got a message from my roommate. His meds were ready at the pharmacy so would I pick them up? I ended up going to the pharmacy, the grocery store, and a local chicken joint. I stopped at the mailbox because I was hoping either my new headphones or my book had arrived but alas, no such luck. I finally got paid my unemployment, so I ordered some stamps online. I really like the current round of stamps, they are becoming very creative.

It is finally bed time. I have group tomorrow afternoon so I can sleep in a little. The cats are sitting on the bed waiting for me. All I need to do is take out my contacts. It’s been a busy day, but a good one.