The kitten total

I know we all agree that this is not the totalitarian nightmare we signed up for. Personally, I’d hoped to live my whole life without going through… at least 80% of what’s happened in the last year or so.

However, I’ve also had enough therapy to know that we’re supposed to focus on smaller things; things that are within our control. I’m not very good at actually doing that, but I know it can be helpful for some people.

I do a lot of animal rescue work and one of the things I’m in charge of, is helping find intake placement for kittens. We only take orphaned neonatal kittens 6 weeks and under. You’d think that’s such a narrow spectrum that we wouldn’t take in many kittens, but it’s a rather alarming number. I field intake calls every day.

Here’s some good news. So far this month, I’ve helped arrange intake for 52 kittens. That’s so many! I’m so glad I’m able to do this. It helps me focus on something good. Kittens are pure joy and wonderful and better than people pretty much all the time. So yes. I am putting good into the universe in the form of tiny kittens who bring joy to everyone.

Meow

Post Surgical Thoughts

            Surgery was rough. There is no version of needing surgery on your spine where you really feel good about it going in. Or at least none that spring to mind. But there’s something utterly surreal about walking alone into surgery. It feels like walking to a sacrifice. Your own sacrifice.

            And it’s really hard to be okay with that.

            When I woke up from surgery, a lot of things were wrong. My pain was completely out of control, my bad leg was worse, too much time had passed, and they didn’t want me to go home. Nothing was going how I expected.

            I believe in science, in logic. I actually feel better when thinking about all the skilled, professional people who are working to help me. But there’s a special kind of fear when those we put our faith in, falter.

            I’m not okay.

            My body isn’t working right. From the looks of it, my body will never work as it should ever again. I like to think I can adjust to that. What’s bothering me now, is the dogged inkling that even if I were to lose my leg, the excruciating nerve pain boiling through it would remain.

UnderShare

I made some rather bold plans for this year. While it’s barely two months in to the year, I already feel like I’ve fallen woefully far behind.

I was medically cleared after my surgery in January. I was excited to start walking more and regaining my strength. I had things I wanted to try, things I was going to work on to try to earn money.

And then, after only a few days of trying to get back to my life… It all came back. The pain was unbearable. My leg barely worked.

Several phone calls, a trip to the ER, and an emergency MRI later… My disc re-herniated and I’m back to where I was 3 months ago.

I meant to write here more. I have at least a dozen blog posts written, I just never posted them. I’m not even sure why. What was I waiting for?

Like a lot of people, when I’m depressed, I tend to withdraw. And right now? I’m extremely withdrawn. I just wanted to have my life back. Not even “my” life, just “A” life would have been great.

I don’t want to be on my couch, in too much pain to do much more than nap all winter long. But that seems to be where I’m at. I know that I need to take it slow, be kind to myself, and let my body heal. I know it’s the most important thing. But having to “rest” for months on end is its own special kind of torment.

I don’t know what I’m doing here

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about ‘careers’ and identity. We’ve all been told for most of our lives that work and identity are essentially synonyms. It’s evident in how we talk about careers. We ask children, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Which is very different from, “What kind of work would you like to do?”

For most of my life, I didn’t think I attached much of my identity to my job. After all, it was just a job. I worked hard, did excellent work, and remained employed, but at the end of the day, it wasn’t who I was as a person, it was just what I did.

Now that I can’t do it anymore, I’ve realized how wrong I was.

I took pride in my work. The quality of it, the hours I would devote to getting things done right, I wanted respect and acknowledgement from my peers. As the industry changed, I changed along with it. I had to adjust to new metrics of success, and I worked at them until I achieved them.

I never got the things I really wanted. I think I became bogged down in being a productive drone. After all, that used to be a respectable quality. I thought service and devotion to an industry would get me there.

It didn’t.

Now I have to change my paradigm again, and find myself without any sort of map.

People ask professional athletes and others who aim high, about their backup plans. We need to start thinking about those things for everyone. No matter what kind of work you do, regardless of industry.

We’re presented with a narrative about automation replacing human workers in production jobs, but that’s not the only place that happens. As I was explaining to someone exactly what I used to do ten years ago, I realized I had been replaced by a combination of a machine, apathy, and transferring the burden of quality on to the customer. Over the years I’ve worked in the arts, several jobs I’ve had have been replaced by machines.

My body is failing me. I know, it happens to all of us. For me, it has happened at an intense speed, in ways I never could have imagined, and targeting things that are most important to me.

I don’t know what I ‘do’ anymore, which has left me questioning who I am. This isn’t another instance of technology or priorities changing how I approach the industry within which I work, it’s starting over. I don’t have a backup plan, I didn’t think I needed one.

Starlight Gestalt released!

A few years ago, I sold a short story to be part of a Halloween romance anthology. Days before the collection went to press, the publisher closed. Editing was finished, we had cover art, and promotions began.

Then it was gone.

We all got our right back from the publisher, but I wasn’t sure what to do with the story. It didn’t feel right to shop it around, and to be honest, I was in a pretty rough place and wasn’t capable of any emotional labor.

Late last year, I shared it as a part of a rewards tier for a group Patreon I participated with an amazing group of people, calling ourselves, Crystal Queer. It was a delightful experience and really pushed me to continue to create through a dark time. I will forever be grateful to them.

I was encouraged by a few friends to simply self publish the story for people to enjoy. I was informed by one friend that it hit them, “right in the gender feels” which is pretty high praise, I’d say!

Available now on Amazon!

What is Starlight Gestalt?
* non binary MC
* sexy German poetry
* a hermit witch
* Will O The Wisps
* the forest at night
* Bananagrams!

Thank you to everyone who made this possible, especially: CL, CM, DL, and LS

Starlight Gestalt book cover

-R/AC