Medication Line

So my psychiatrist was going to take me off this one med that wasn’t working and put me on a different medication for anxiety and nervous system over-activation. At first I wanted it because I just wanted the damn struggle to die violently. We were all good, but then I asked her the little question of “can I drink alcohol” which apparently I couldn’t. We had this exchange where I was like, “but I want to party. I want to party and take psychedelics like a right delinquent!”  She’s all “well that doesn’t sound healthy, Anya. You should think about your future and prioritize your mental health”

I didn’t respond to her because I needed a nice long hard poop-think. As I sat upon the toilet, and for the next few days, I thought and I reflected.

I do have these issues: I have this high level of tension and startle-ability, I worry and worry, and frequently have self-esteem issues and am often so far in my own head that all I can see around me is depressing and hopeless gray.  I bite my nails and have a twitchy eyebrow (which actually is a new one for me), and it has been my dream to just be a relaxed person who lives life easily.

As I wandered and pondered and pooped and stared vacantly out of windows and wrote emotional poetry full of suffering, I began to come upon a truth in my soul-est of souls, in the aortas of my heart.

Medication, as all of gods conceptual creatures, is a blessing but also it carries its own implicit philosophy. Now, this doesn’t include those who have truly debilitating mental illnesses like OCD or bipolar, but for the rest of us here is the case. Medication can be incredibly helpful. It can vastly improve the quality of life for us who suffer from other mental struggles. When used well and within the confines of reasonability it can be a helpful temporary assuage-all to our sleepless nights, and other symptoms. It can be a little help on the side of life to help enhance the life and provide alleviation of suffering so that we can get our feet on the ground.

However, like all of gods conceptual creatures, it is also a double-edged sword and there is a fine line between when medications are supplements to life, and when life is dictated by medication. Although there is nothing morally wrong with medication, there are dangers when a medicated person begins to find themselves unawares in these deep, uncertain waters.

At some point medication can begin to take over the psyche, and a body can become consumed by the problematizing of their own mental selves. They have, unknowingly, fallen in love with the idea of a magic pill that solves their pain and suffering. A quick, instant fix that allows them to live the lives they dream of living. And then, along comes the insidious belief that that life is inaccessible to them without that medication, that the suffering can be alleviated in no other way. Maybe their hypochondriac tendencies work against them here in a majestic irony. Subtly, they have found themselves made victims in their own mind and their desperation for the instant fix. Although this is understandable given the magnitude and long tiresome road of their struggling, it begins to trump their faith in the slower, longer-term solutions. They may wonder if they could even make do in the short-term anymore. They feel very alone and very hopeless, overwhelmed by their struggles.

At this point of darkness, it is easy for things to become obscured, and the dream of the fairy godmothers wand appearing to make them glamorous for the ball, has left them sitting in that darkness, waiting. It takes some reminder, perhaps when the medication makes demands of its own that a person didn’t anticipate, or side effects that lead people to misspell words all the time, that undercut that beautiful dream.

At some point, it too, like all of gods conceptual creatures, falls short of human idealism. We wake up back to the REAL WORLD: where nothing is without its faults, shortcuts are bandaid solutions, learning is piecemeal, and big struggles take long struggling to overcome and heal from. Pills are neither a substitute for people, vulnerability, nor connection and it behoves us to not deny ourselves the little things and liberties that make us feel human. When we find ourselves slipping over this line, it may be time to reconsider and step back and embrace the hardships and joys and ups and downs and little victories and learnings of life.

In conclusion, medication is not “bad”, it can be a valuable tool, and no matter what people decide to do for themselves, they should be able to make their own decision without judgements. In fact I will continue to use the other medications that I am on, that don’t push me across that line. However, I don’t want to walk myself over into that space, and that is why I am drawing the line here.

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That Chinese Restaurant Lifestyle

This is a copy of a semi-legitimate essay-like piece that I wrote for an assignment

For my project I would like to look at the Chinese food and restaurant culture in San Francisco. As a young-looking, middle-class, American white woman, my race, gender and age will likely play a significant role in how I am perceived and treated. In addition, my lack of linguistic abilities will greatly limit how much I am able to participate and understand the culture; as well as how I am perceived and thus likely define and affect many of my relationships. Nonetheless I would make an effort to learn the language and study it as much as possible on my own in order to improve as fast as possible.

In China white Western people are considered desirable and rare, as well as other things that I am probably not aware of. Particularly, it is seen as an indicator of status if a Chinese man is with a white woman. Chinese people will often make a big deal about a white person speaking Chinese. In this way I highly expect to be treated with a high degree of privilege and also held at a certain distance from what is really going on.

My race/nationality may help with the restaurant’s staff’s eagerness to get to know me or include me. Although it is possible that some might resent me or think me silly or lazy or place judgments on me that I won’t be able to understand. There is also a high chance that I will be biased by my own sense of privilege entitlement and self-centeredness based on my race and nationality, and the fact that I will not be able to fully understand my surrounding due to my lack of fluency in the language. Therefore, my perception and interpretation may end up clouded by my being in my “own little world”, so to speak.

In order to make my way into the San Francisco Chinese food and restaurant culture, I will approach it qualitatively. I will focus on one particular restaurant, and attempt to understand its business organization, structure, and work culture. To accomplish this I would endeavor to get a job as a server in a non-commercial Chinese restaurant where the staff speaks mandarin primarily. I will try to work at least 20 hours a week there over the period of at least a year. The more time I spend there is probably the better, but it should be a minimum of 10-12 months.

Another barrier that comes along with this is that I will have a difficult time assessing the social atmosphere and dynamic of the particular restaurant and really getting to know the specific people when they don’t speak English at all. I won’t be able to pick up on important subtleties and nuances about people when we are relying purely on the communication medium of my very basic Chinese and their very basic English. Contrasting this with the interpretive fullness of when I am in a group of people who speak English, and I can build my image of them in my mind in a much more complex and reality-rooted way, than I could if I were with a group of people with whom I would be extrapolating many aspects of their personality based on their visible actions, body language and my own stereotypes of their visible identities.

On top of the unanticipatible particularities of the specific individual individuals and dynamic that make up the particular restaurant, there is also the issue of the Chinese cultural context — with the added complexity of the Chinese cultural context as taking place outside of China; in the container of San Francisco, in the USA. There is also the work culture of the employees, their background, their social status, their immigration status, their level of assimilation into US culture, their relationships with each other, their attitude toward management, and many others that I probably cannot anticipate.

Given my limited understanding of Chinese culture and the added factor of the surrounding context of my experience, I will need a lot of time and a multi-dimensional approach to understanding Chinese culture and its expression in my lived experience of the restaurant. This will include media and developing relationships with both the management and the employees inside and outside of work. Then there is the matter of the job itself and how well I perform.

However, despite all this preparation and cultivation of relationships, I suspect that most of the time I will be flailing about in a void of confusion, disillusionment, and embarrassment, as I careen wildly up and down on the roller coaster of joy and despair that is cultural immersion. Additionally I will probably commit endless cultural faux pas, and I might be fired eventually.

The triumph of the mundane

I just spent the past three days of my life writing this damn essay with my essay partner. You wouldnt think that humanities essays could or should be written by two people but here we are. The reason is also funny, its because our tutor woulnt have time to mark 20 essays by monday from now. We spent all yesterday and the day before the morning going throgh and writing writing writing and editing till I am so tired of editing that i am note going to edit this at all.

the process of writing an essay with a partner involves many emotions. There is excitement, argument, resentment when your partner makes weak intercoursing arguments becuase he hasnt read the intercoursing text closely or when he doesnt read that two page analysis you wrote when you were working for 9 intercoursing hours straight without him… frustration, disagreement, sadness, happiness, exhularation, commraderie, flow, argument and death. Then there is the final rebirth when you are sitting together and, like a stupendous pheonix, all of your scraps of conflicting ideas, sentence fragments, amorphus structure and verbal diarrhea, suddenly begin to be able to fit together. Finally you find a rhythm that works with both your strengths, and finally you build on each other work, compensating for their weaknesses. Its like the little creatures on sharks that eat the bacteria off them in a beautiful symbiotic flowing realitionship.

Then you finally get it in 2 minutes before the deadline and you are sure that you will get at least an 85 but hopefully a 90 on it because you damn well’d better.

So this is my life now. There was nothing but this. I didn’t even find the time to do my regular sit-ups and core exercises that I have to do here because I am sitting all the time and when I dont do them my back hurts. So now my back hurts as I sit at this library desk doing my work, aka paid sitting.

At least its better than the unpaid sitting.

 

 

ThrowbackPoem

Throwback to a poem I wrote in highschool:

Self-Pity

Once again I lament
on fine a day such as this
that I alone mope to myself
over one impossible wish

I wish once more i had a group
of friends dear and true
So we could laugh and spend the day
happily through and through

Girls and boys would fill the void
that I myself create
hoping that they will find me
while i just simply wait

No one ever fits the bill
i feel it wont come true
i sit single while near they mingle
and angst till my face is blue

Chasing the Dragon

I think so much of my poetry and music is just so melodramatic that I might as well not write anything because I don’t seem to be able to get to a level beyond Linkin Park middle-school emo band.

I have high aspirations, but low completions. My artistry is compromised by my laziness and the ineffable thing that keeps me in boring situations. Sitting like a lizard on a rock dreaming of ponds and hills and other things lizards are jealous of their friends on Facebook doing. Sitting like a lizard on a cloudy day, too cold to move my scaly little body. My walls are empty and not filled with expressionistic footprints of a life lived creatively. No art, no random cloths, no style. My mind races a minute a mile, but all I feel compelled to do is read addiction stories on erowid. The deeper the rabbit hole, the more I want to delve in and explore. I eat these stories up like cabbage.

Hours and hours of obsessive googling and re-reading the same drug forum threads about that drug that I’m taking or will take, or just took. Some fascination in that little black dot floater of my vision that I can’t blend out or can’t see or can’t nail down as it endlessly floats across my world, across the words on the page, and the faces of you while I’m talking to you.

I look over, again and again, at the same stories and forums like a detective, scouring the scene. Maybe I’ll find something else this time. Maybe I’ll find that thing that I’m looking for, that my dear little life depends on so dearly.

Maybe if I sit here long enough and write and write and belabor the sun will come out again and I will feel that euphoric rush. What a beauty! What a wonder!

Look at it. Such majesty in its sensitive details and delicate intricacies and obnoxious color contrasts. Such inexplicable joy in the way the lights dance and in that feeling I get when I’m with you and we are together in our wonderful intimacy.

But these things are all just games to me, and no greater than those fantastical worlds in which I  dip my foot indefinitely. The etherial reflections they cast over the concrete waking world in which I am forever confined.

I try to cross over like a spirit. I strain my mind and look and see the water that floods the classroom, the great towers that rise, and castles and pristine cityscapes intertwined with the tall and short fantastic foliage of their purple, and green, and blue alien environments. The heartiness of the bread I eat there, and the sounds, and how even the air tastes so substantial and satisfying. But I look and I see and I look and I see, and the more I strain to see the dimmer it all becomes until there is nothing but the corners and walls and chairs and the messy hair of the twenty people around me looking at the whiteboard.

How flat and hopeless it feels in this world without my voice. This world, where I am chasing the dream like the junkie chases the dragon.

Hows it going at school?

There I sat on the turf of the soccer field. 200 first-year bodies were clumped together in a big donut around the few upperclass organizers. Sigh. Although I was practically cuddling up to all the people around me I felt like the space between myself and them was infinite. The feeling was painfully familiar, and I wondered if it would ever go away here or for good, or, if it would follow me around niggling at my heels for the rest of my life. As much as I was feeling pretty entertained by this event, my smiles could not fully reach my eyes, and I felt like I didn’t belong.

Suddenly, I saw the people to my front turn around and look directly at me, their faces frozen in various looks of alarm. Compelled by something beyond my conscious awareness I turned my gaze upwards to the sky, where I saw an orange moon directly above me slowly growing. It was beautiful up there against the dark blue sky and stars, the light of the stadium lights shone off it, creating crescent shadows. I wondered what it was or why it was up there. Instinctively my head leaned to the left and in an instant -bam!- the orange moon hit my shoulder like a missile and fell to the ground in half. Amidst the clamor and voices of “are you okay? did it hit your head? are you okay?” I looked down past my newly orange-scented shoulder to see that it wasn’t a orange moon, but an orange orange.
And it had chosen me.

Adjusting to a new place, new people, a new lifestyle is never easy. It may be even less easy for me, given my personality and predilection towards spiraling into numbness and loss of my sense of self in times of stress. But this time I like to think that things are shifting. The more I go through this process again and again I am beginning to find a little more sense of myself within it. I don’t think I feel the same level of pressure and desperate urgency that I have felt in the past in these types of situations. At the same time, though, to say that I’ve transcended that pressure and am free of it is definitely kidding myself. It is a daily struggle to remind myself of who I am, and to reference for myself the many life experiences that have weathered me and given me faith in the natural rhythm of things, in my own rhythms, and in my ability to play these situations out and be resourceful. Getting a grip on myself despite nervous tics and grotesque nightmares – racing heart, and stomach upset – headaches and fitful sleep – feelings of isolation and worries of low social standing- so that I am not helplessly immobilized, is not a new thing for me.

I am strong in these situations. I am strong despite the instability and endless struggling of my body. But, despite this, I am still strapped tight into this rollercoaster. There is a randomness in the sporadic way it lurches forward then crawls along, dives up, and plunges downward. It is important for me to remember that for as long as I am on this ride all of these states are passing- both the bad, and the good. Nightmare becomes dream becomes nightmare. When I am in darkness and pain that will pass, when I am in excitement and joy, that will pass. Until things settle and until the mechanism of the ride is healed and fixed, this is the way of things.

For now I will hold close those moments when I am alone, outside or away from my room- when I stand in a quiet empty classroom, or outside among the rich foliage, and look at the beauty of the world around me. In those moments, I feel myself like a lone star, a yellow dot in the etherial blackness of infinite, expanding space. I flash back through the images in my mind of all the environments, places and people that have ever surrounded my body. All of them have said different things about who I am. All of them have shown me different possibilities for myself, even if they feel distant. I remember that this place, and everything that surrounds my vessel, is in a state of constant movement and change. This place exists but someday it will not exist, and even within that timeframe the way its existence presents itself to me will change. This moment and situation does not have the final say. For in the flux, the living core of my physical body is the one thing that is always present and always true. Whatever happens here, I remember that the reality of this environment, the social dynamics, and the subconsciously ingrained methods of social control do not have a hold on my narrative.

I am free to wield perspective, and to forgive myself.

 

 

Comma Poem

I’ve been given a lot of shit for my use of commas over the years, so here is my response in the form of a poem.

 

I use commas where I would verbally pause

I don’t give a shit about your grammatical, clause

I own english just as much as the dictionary

At least I acknowledge that my rules are fictionary

So If you can depart from the elitist horse crap

Please join me in the real world where all the food’s at