Tuesday, December 22, 2015

So useless it can't be an accident

So it's not actually their treatment of me that sparked this - it's their treatment of other people. I'm pretty fucking useless myself. My memory is pathetic, and is made worse by things that are causing me to be anxious, so I avoid the shit out of situations that are likely to cause me extra stress.

And dealing with Work and Income New Zealand is about the most horrifically stressful thing there is for someone in a first world country without developing a terminal illness. If you've ever really wanted to be treated like you have absolutely no value to the world, intimidated, mislead, and expected to be grateful and meek about it I can't recommend WINZ more highly. They are your go-to non-sexual dominatrix service. 

My current extreme annoyance with them at the moment is rent reviews. They have taken over providing this *service* for Housing New Zealand, under the Social Housing branch. And they are apparently fucking AWFUL at it. Rent reviews are a fucking stupid idea in the first place, as are a lot of the other hoops they make poor people jump through. They are an appalling waste of time and money. As are most other hoops they make poor people jump through. No repeating that wasn't an accident, get used to that line - so much of the social welfare system can be summed up as a useless waste of time and money. And so much of their procedures can be described as jumping through hoops. Pointless and draining, and potentially making your situation worse.

Anyway, rent reviews. Why the fuck aren't government welfare services all linked together with the IRD? It would actually make welfare fraud more awkward to commit AND negate the *need* for a lot of these useless hoops. If Rent Reviews were performed simply by an automated check of annual income of anyone living at that address then a whole wad of paper pushing just disappears in a poof of magical *I didn't want to fill this bullshit in in the first place*. Here's the thing, people are apparently concerned about some kind of intrusion of privacy... but wait the rent review relies on me giving them exactly the information that IRD would give them, why can't I just sign a document when I move into a government housing facility that says I'm OK with them receiving my information? They can't tell me that people might not be declaring their income properly to the IRD is an issue... because if they aren't declaring it to the IRD they aren't going to declare it to WINZ either. D'uh. The reverse however isn't true. I declare everything to the IRD, but it's easy to miss stuff when declaring to WINZ, and declaring stuff to WINZ when you're already desperately short of money - well lets just say sometimes that it can be easier to mislead WINZ - even knowing what a risk it is long term - than it is to lose some of your benefit. Or have to pay more rent. People avoid telling WINZ about changes in circumstance by and large not because they are happy to dupe the system but because losing even a tiny bit of income can be disasterous - and WINZ is not terrifically open to hearing about how your circumstances might actually not be what they appear on paper. Maybe they'd have more time for reality if they weren't so busy with all those fucking hoops.

So, while I am utterly useless at handing in paperwork on time, and completely hopeless at making appointments because I have to cancel due to illness so often, one would hope that a government whose soul purpose seems to be making people fill out more fucking paperwork would manage to be somewhat reliable at processing it. No. Besides their exciting habit of losing your documents (hint for young players, whenever you take anything in to the MAKE THEM TAKE A COPY AND DATE STAMP & SIGN BOTH OF THEM, trust me you will have less trouble with all sorts of things if you do this simple thing - the receptionist will scowl at you, but stand firm.) I handed in my rent review 1 month ago. Aware of their douchnozzlery I called them today to check on it. They don't know how much longer it would be. I explained why it was urgent (I like eating) and he said he's mark it as priority, but he still couldn't tell me how long it would be likely to take. This concerns me. Because The Girl's father is no longer paying child support, and she doesn't get a benefit (trying to deal with that, complicated by her anxiety hitting the roof if I can't go to WINZ meetings with her... there goes my illness fucking everybody's shit up again) And may not get a student allowance when she starts university because her fathers income is high. I have many impolite things to say about this. So I'm supporting both of us on one single persons *jobseekers* benefit - no, to be fair it isn't actually possible to do this. We are alive because of the kindness of family, friends and strangers. If we had to rely on the government we would have starved to death over winter. Back to the Rent Review... so I'm slightly concerned because last time (these things happen yearly) it took 3 months to complete. THREE MONTHS. THREE MONTHS, MULTIPLE COMPLAINTS, AND A LETTER TO THE MINISTRY. That letter got things moving really damn fast. I'm thinking I might just bypass the 4 more complaints over the next 2 months and just go straight to the head of Social Housing. Not Paula Bennett. I'm pretty sure she would just set fire to such a letter, on a moonless night during a satanic ritual. I feel like if I muck about any longer we may waste away while waiting. (I have lost quite a bit of weight thanks to not having sufficient money to feed us properly so that's a bonus, since my illness like to make me fat with all the lying down doing fuck all and such. 

I'm on a *jobseeker* benefit. I should be on a sickness benefit, it's stupid that I'm not. I have a permanent illness, and while it is POSSIBLE that I may be able to work under certain circumstances, I am not now, and there is no real way of knowing WHEN I will be. Especially since on top of my usual boring chronic illness I now have all these groovy new symptoms that they still haven't figured out what the fuck is going on. (That's a whole other whinge that I won't start - 18 months and they still haven't made any real headway on what's wrong. Because waiting lists, and other DHB fuckduggery). But the upshot is I'm in bed a lot, I feel like shit a lot, and I am in serious pain literally every single minute of the day. So fucking stupid hoops I have to jump through are literally making my life more fucking difficult. 

Part deux of what's pissing me off...

Recently they decided (apparently based on some survey they did in which we told them we wanted this - I don't fucking think so) that sick people would have their own kind of case manager (good) who (theoretically) know more about dealing with chronic illness (brilliant, if it wasn't just a theory) and would check in with these special case managers more often (terrible). OK it wouldn't necessarily be terrible, but they are going about it ALL WRONG. First each persons case should be looked at individually to see what's actually appropriate for them. I had to cancel an appointment I had today because I'm feeling like shit, and without my daughter here to make sure I don't fall down it wasn't a good plan for me to go. (This is also a problem for another day - I am increasingly unable to complete tasks by myself, and Kitty shouldn't be expected to be my caregiver, especially since she cannot claim a benefit herself (long story) and is planning to go to university in the coming year). That's likely to happen a lot. I could, potentially handle a monthly call - even a monthly skype - or I could handle an email catch up with the case manager, that would be ideal. All of these things would also be considerably less of a waste of a case managers time, as well as being far less of a stupid hassle for me. Until my medical certificates start saying, *can rehabilitate back into the workforce* rather than *totally FUBAR, forget it* these little catch ups are basically going to involve me saying, "yeah Hi, I'm still super fucked up - how are you?" and answering the question "what can we do to assist in your recovery?" with a series of things I know full well they are NEVER going to agree to fund. And "maybe we could help you find some training courses?" with "I can't afford them and also they are more or less the same as going to a job so why would you think I can do that?" And then summing up the situation with, "Find me a job I can do from bed, on my computer, that doesn't have an attached sense of urgency because there are days when even jabbing away at the keyboard is too much, and I am totally on board. Fund me in training for a higher grade of job I can do from my bed, on my computer, without harsh deadlines, and I am totally on board. Otherwise, see you next time, I'll let you know if I miraculously recover from this incurable permanent condition". Merry Fucking Christmas. 

So, under the pretence of *protecting the taxpayers investment* hundreds and thousands of hoops are jumped through by people who for a myriad of different reasons aren't very good and jumping through them. Money and time is wasted on things that could be down far more simply and with less looking down noses by bypassing all the dragging beneficiaries into pointless meetings, making them fill in pointless forms, making them look at EVERY job, whether it's actually even remotely suitable for them or not. The system could very easily and sensibly be streamlined to make it both more cost effective and less demeaning. 

The problem is I don't think the government sees that both those things are wins for them. i think the government WANTS beneficiaries feeling miserable about themselves, being forced into work they are unsuited for and always on the brink of losing their benefit. I think the government likes the air of futile panic that stinks up the average WINZ office. I think they think the money spent on pointlessly making things harder and driving beneficiaries into desperation is money well spentI'd be happy to believe that our government is the Evil Empire but JK does not have the cool to be Darth Vader.

Peace. Out.  

Monday, November 23, 2015

Self Awareness; not overly useful in hindsight

I am aware that there is this thing I do: OVERSHARE. I'm sure many of you have been there. Sorry about that Chief.*

My social boundaries exist very far from my person. So far that even I'm not sure where they are. The upshot of this is sometimes information just kind of spews out of me, particularly if I'm shaken up about something - because if I'm upset I often forget to roll a sanity check before I open my mouth.

Interestingly this has in the past lead to two distinct and opposite effects. Sometimes I overshare and the person or persons on the receiving end are so freaked out they, fairly understandably RUN THE FUCK AWAY. But other times I gain a friend so solid I will never have to question their place in my life. Sometimes the first thing happens and then the person wanders back going, "wow that was pretty fucking intense" and then slots themselves into the second group. 

Basically there are very few things from my life that I am unwilling to share if either I think it will help the person on the other end of it better cope with their own situation or if unburdening myself is something I need to do right now. The second thing is why this comes up right now... because I really really really need to remember to not target mere acquaintances with that second thing. What was that phrase I used in another blog a million years ago? Verbal ejaculate! No one wants that all over them from a near stranger. 

I had a tough weekend, with several friends being in very bad headspaces at the same time, and I ended up sharing information about several terrible times in my own life as, well more or less as - "hey, I know where you're coming from; please understand me when I say it is super important that you deal with this immediately" examples. It's all very well to tell someone that you are concerned that they might hurt themselves, and please please please get professional help - but from experience I know that being in that place it's bloody hard to see that anyone even wants to help you and even harder to see that people around you really might totally understand what you're saying. I recognised some trigger phrases in what one of these people was saying, and recognised that she wasn't really taking in what any of us were saying to her. I could also read between the lines that she had been understating the situation to her medical professional. So I told her about the day that I went from feeling vaguely shit about the universe, to having a fully planned exit strategy in place in the time it took to end a phone call. And what I did next, that almost certainly saved my life. After which I went into a quiet spiral of *ohfuckohfuckohfuckohfuck*. Because those memories aren't particularly pleasant ones. It got her to call a suicide hotline, which she had been thinking about but not doing for ages, because she didn't trust the idea of them, she didn't imagine that they could say anything that might help or do anything to get her out of this dark place. Seeking help is so insanely hard to do when you've stopped believing you're worth anything. 

And SEE here I am telling you guys about it.... because I need it out of my system and you guys are the best. Also you can just the fuck not bother reading this (I probably should have mentioned that earlier ;) ). Sometimes I just need to spew it all out of my system, putting it here - it's somewhere. Not in me. 

Back to the point at hand. I have a tendency to make knee jerk reactions to new people in my life. Every now and then someone walks in that I just instinctively trust. Instinctively take into my heart. And then sometimes I completely forget that they haven't had the chance to form the same relationship (or run the hell away). Matt, you know what I'm talking about. Jesus you poor bastard, I threw you right off the fucking deep end. 

So I end up running off at the mouth to them, when I hit a wall. Like a total fucking womble. 

That one brilliant piece of tremendous LUCK in my life, finding KAOS before I lost myself entirely. Lead me to a bunch of people remarkably resilient to my special brand of douchebaggery. To people I can do that second part of the equation with - I can tell anyone **anything about myself more or less without distinction, but if I'm upset I can ONLY talk to someone I trust implicitly. So, I guess the upside of me going off at the mouth at you is that you can know that I totally trust you. Also if I am happy to put BOTH arms around you. I trust you. And that put's you in a pretty damn SMALL group. 

Peace. Out.

*It's time to play "name that reference"
** in so far as I am yet to find anything I WON'T talk about. 

Friday, November 13, 2015

We communicate, without any style

Human interactions, the stuff you might miss.

The layman’s guide to not fucking it up completely.

Today’s disclaimer of doom! Please be aware of your own behaviour, if you are going to take up watching body language as a hobby; be aware of subtlety. If you’re paying too much attention you are edging into creepy stalker territory. This is not attractive.

OH NO, she’s off on communication AGAIN.
Yes, she bloody is – this time however she isn’t going to just rant semi-coherently. She’s going to put a lot of time and effort into researching some basic patterns and try to communicate to you what you should be looking for. Hush, you asked for it.
Of course by research I mean I’m going to do a lot of surfing and compare it to what I already know or suspect. We all know I’m far too lazy to do it properly.

Signals make the world go round.

It’s unbelievably important to realise that ONE obvious seeming signal is not enough to make a judgement call off. I’ve fallen into this trap a few times myself. Someone makes the ‘laugh and touch’ manoeuvre (I’ll get to that one later) and I assume they meant more by it than they did, regardless of the following series of lesser signals. So, if you think maybe you’ve got one on the hook – for god sakes don’t jerk the line back and try and reel them in too quickly. Pay attention.

Communication falls into a number of subcategories, and sometimes you have to watch for inconsistencies. The prime example of this – and I do this one myself so pay attention! Is verbal flirting, while giving no body language signals. I watch people fall into this gaping hole a lot. OMG she’s flirting with me I AM SO IN!!! If there is no touching, if there is little or no body movement at all. Dude, sorry – you are not in at all. She’s just a tease, and not a bit interested. This sounds harsh. Sadly it is also TRUE, or at least usually true. She’s just not that into you. Or he, all this is meant to be fairly non gender-specific. Unfortunately I also know a number of people who are totally #EPICFAIL at the tease, in that they give ALL the signals with absolutely NONE of the intention. I apologise for these people, they are major DICKBAGS.

There are a lot of complications to the idea of a comprehensive guide to reading body language. The one I am finding most difficult to work around is the simple fact that people are DIFFERENT. Body signals are usually at least similar from one person to the next, however personality type can go a long way to changing the degree of the signal. A shy person for example tends to make smaller signals that are harder to pick up on but more accurate. An extroverted person tends to make larger signals but with a higher degree of misinterpretation. Then of course there are varying degrees of DICKBAGS.

Ok, ok – a fair number of DICKBAGS have no clue that they’re doing it wrong. And those ones are actually the ones I’m more interested in here. Because the ACTIVE DICKBAGS well they’re just not that interesting. You’ll bump into them from time to time; they’ll get you all over excited and then leave you hanging. You’ll be mad as hell for a few minutes and then you’ll shrug them off. Probably.  It’s the ones that have no idea that there’s any problem with their signalling that are going to give you trouble. Because if you’re anything like me, mixed signals lead to you spending a ridiculous amount of time trying to figure out what the other person actually wants. Let me give you a hint. THEY DON’T KNOW EITHER. Almost invariably the unconscious mixed signal sender is just as confused as their signals. And fair warning, it’s probably safe to assume they have baggage for Africa.

Speaking of Africa; another thing that may be relevant, depending on who you’re interacting with is cultural background. Most of my knowledge relates to the sorts of interactions I most commonly have or can observe. So I can’t vouch for its veracity in a different cultural setting.

There are a few differences between the genders, though these are less than you might imagine. Women tend to be more subtle about touching. And less subtle about eye contact and facial expression. We are also, sadly, less likely to take the lead. We tend to follow your signals rather than start making obvious ones of our own. (Take me out of this equation, I’m skewing the averages. Subtle is not a word that’s often used to describe me.) It is worth remembering that even if we’re not making obvious signals we are almost certainly making quiet little signals. This is probably a fair chunk of the reason why women get so very pissed off when their partners are not paying attention.

Stop carrying out your intentions and watch for my signals

So it’s really, really awesome that you want to learn to read those signals better – but it’s a really complicated game. It’s also really important to remember that no matter how much you know about reading peoples communications. IT IS STILL POSSIBLE TO GET IT UTTERLY WRONG. (Note to self: OMG It’s even possible for ME to get it wrong, who’da thunk it. Sulks in a corner.) Not to mention, that there are exceptions to each and every rule. So don’t get hung up on the idea that this is black and white stuff. It’s human psychology, there is no black and white.

To add even further to the mixture of confusion and terror you are now feeling. It’s also quite possible for someone to be sending you all these signals unconsciously because they ARE INTERESTED but for whatever reason, have no conscious intention to do anything about it. She IS that into you, but she has a nice boyfriend at home. It’s unfortunate sometimes that we still unconsciously send these signals when we’re not actually ‘on the market’ (OH GOD HOW UNFORTUNATE!) but there you are.

Right. I think I’ve finished blathering on for now. Let’s get to the meat of this.

Communication is usually divided into two subcategories. Verbal and non-verbal communication. I hate these terms, they’re far too limiting. And they pretty much get used because people are too lazy to write OR read the much longer list of potential communication types. I’d prefer to think of them as vocal and non-vocal and even these labels are just group headings, because each one breaks down a bit more.

Here’s my list, I’m sure there are probably more.

Verbal communication: D’uh, talking. Which people do (properly) far too infrequently. This can also be broken down into Content and Tone. (What you say and how you say it).

Non-verbal vocalisations: Those cute little noises we stupidly let fall out, yes they quite often mean ‘stuff’.

Touches: I primarily mean hands, and to a lesser degree feet here. Reaching over to lay a hand on a knee or shoulder, playing footsies under the table.

Posture: How they’re standing in relation to you. How they’re holding their head, arms, legs.


Eye communication: Winking, eyebrow raising….

Closeness: How far into your personal space are they?

Facial Expression: D’uh

Fidgeting: Generally I mean playing with random objects.

So when trying to read someone’s signals you potentially have a hell of a lot to be looking out for. It’s worth noting here that really you don’t need to notice it all, and for the sake of deciding whether someone is ‘interested’ or not – the things you most need to pay attention to are eye contact, posture and touch. A lot of the other stuff will likely lead you astray at first anyway, since it gets all complicated by how nervous a person is.

So let’s cover those things.

Eye contact. How much eye contact a person will make is fairly dependent on how shy or nervous they are but in general someone who is interested in what you’re saying or interested in holding your attention will make regular and sustained eye contact with you. Widening of the eyes is a good indicator of a more than passing interest too (though more so with girls than boys). Some body language trainers talk about dilated pupils as a good indicator here too, but I actually think not so much. For a start a lot of the chasing game takes place with a certain amount of booze or drugs in the system, and these both cause pupil dilation too so who knows where you stand there. Also, I know that my eyes widen, but have never seen evidence of my pupils dilating (yes I have looked for it – I am that obsessed with psychology).
Someone who is looking away most of the time, or looking over your shoulder rather than at you, is probably just not very interested. You can try changing the topic but it probably won’t help. Even if you’re talking about the most interesting thing in the world to them, if they won’t look at you they aren’t interested. Sorry. It happens to all of us.

Posture. How someone is standing in relation to you can tell you an awful lot about how comfortable they are around you. If someone is angling themselves towards you, and/or leaning towards you they are both comfortable around you and interested (not necessarily interested IN YOU, but at the very least interested in what you are saying). You can test drive how interested by changing your posture a bit and seeing how they change in relation to you. 
Added to this is the concept of ‘mirroring’. Again, I’m not convinced of the efficacy of monitoring this but it can certainly be a good indicator of a person’s desire to keep things comfortable between you. Mirroring is quite simply the mimicking (usually unconsciously) of your body positioning. Change position a few times, if they follow suit, they at least want to keep things comfortable. Where I become unconvinced about this as a technique for spotting a potential partner is, I know I do this with friends.
Arm crossing is a defensive posture (unless they’re just cold! Ask! This could be the perfect opportunity to be a gentleman/lady) It may be that you are a touch too close and making them feel uncomfortable. Try backing off a little. It may be that you just are shit out of luck here.
Another one I’m not entirely convinced by is positioning of the feet. It’s one that psychologists talk about quite a bit but from what I have observed, a confident person may point their feet towards you regardless of their feelings, and equally a less confident person may point their feet away. It’s far more telling of how comfortable they are than their actual feelings towards you. I’ve also seen it in a dominance/submission sort of scenario – someone who is trying to take a position of dominance may very deliberately point their feet at you and lean towards you to try to get you to take a submissive stance. Don’t knock it, it works.

Touches. If someone slaps you on the back this means bugger all. However a slow deliberate hand on the wrist or knee, particularly accompanied by laughter and you are well in (This is the laugh and touch manoeuvre, it is very very common and totally worth keeping in mind). A more light slappy touch, like a gentle slap to the thigh when you said something silly… middle ground. Could be friendly, could be initiating more. I use it in both contexts so it really isn’t anything to judge by. Though again a reasonable indicator that they are at ease in your company. In short, a gentle touch is everything, a solid touch is nothing. In between and well they’re at least comfortable enough to touch you, I’d keep paying attention.
There are a myriad of ways someone might initiate a touch, touching can be a very intimate thing – and can be easily misinterpreted. There are certain touches for example that I take both seriously and intimately that you might feel very differently about. On the whole just be careful and watch responses. If you don’t like the way someone is touching you, withdraw from it. Anyone who takes offence at you removing yourself from something that makes you uncomfortable isn’t worth your time. And the other way around, if you’re reaching out to touch someone, watch their responses – now is a good time to be looking at their eyes; it’s very difficult to keep your true reaction out of your eyes.

And now, for some verbal indicators.
Short answers are bad. Not always, obviously, if you asked a yes/no question don’t go hoping for a thesis. But if you get a stream of short answers to probing questions, probably not going so great. Couple that with a lot of looking around randomly and it’s a safe bet that you are wasting your time.
Subject changes are not always a bad sign. If they’re changing the subject a bit but not actually leaving they’re probably looking for common ground. So you’re probably interesting enough for them to bother. Which is not to suggest that someone being uninterested in you is an indicator that there is something wrong with you. A lot of people find me dull I’m sure. And there’s nothing fucking wrong with me right?

If you’re hitting on Schmoo (WTF, why would you be doing that!) and he says ‘what a lovely story’ - walk away. This is his subtle subtle way of saying you are boring the tits (of which he has a fair set) off him and he doesn’t like you enough to bother being polite about it. I’m only bringing this up because I’m a bitch.

At the end of all of this I have this to say. Everyone should be themselves, especially when your playing the chasing game. The vast majority of failed relationships happen because the person you met in the first place isn’t real. We pretend to be more than we are, or we put on masks that we think make us more interesting or attractive. It may even be true sometimes, but unless you’re planning on keeping it up forever more, eventually the truth will out. And sometimes the truth, while not bad, is not what the other person was looking for or expecting. Anyway, wouldn’t you rather they were falling in love with you than with some crazy perception of you?

Useful links:

Thanks to Will Howard for the word Dickbag.
Thanks my special friend for being so utterly cocked up in the signal department that I have a fantastic point of reference to work from.
Thanks to my awesome, talented and massively shy lovely boy for being so massively shy that I’ve had to learn to read signals at an advanced level.

Thanks Cocknozzle, for being such a super cocknozzle that I feel an almost constant need to help other people not fall into the land of Nozzlecocktasia. A place in no way related to the Douchenozzlarium.  

Thursday, November 12, 2015

What it means to me


The subject of sexual assault is in the air at the moment, mainly because once again our Prime Minister has managed to surprise me with the levels he will sink to to make the chips fall in his direction.

It makes me angry as hell that he dares to talk about survivors of sexual assault as if he even begins to understand what we have been through, as if he hasn't proven over and over again that he's a misogynistic bastard who will side with the *lads* whenever it suits him. 

I am *lucky* and I use the term lucky very loosely, I've been attacked twice, but both times my attackers ended up getting more than they bargained for. Not because I'm particularly strong or skilled, maybe because Dad raised me to not take any bullshit from anyone, and at the same time taught me how to throw a punch and make it stick. 

But even those failed attempts have had their effect on me. I find it hard to let new people into my heart. It's taken me many years to learn to accept people at face value and not just half expect them to turn out to be raging douchebags. To be fair, I still pretty much fail at that, but it has more to do with my basic misanthropy that the attacks. I get the niggling feeling that people are following me, when they really totally aren't. I react VERY VERY badly to A-hats shouting obscenities at me on the street. And if you had any idea how much restraint I have to have to stop myself from violence when people shout those things at my daughter - you'd probably think I should be locked away. 

If you are a friend of mine, and I happily hug you - you should pat yourself on the back. I'm actually very uptight about being touched, I have to have pretty high levels of trust in someone before I'm happy to hug them. KAOS, just think about this for a second - you guys probably think of me as being a pretty tactile person, but if you really question the idea for a minute you'll realise that there are a limited number of people that I will actually put both arms around - I'm OK if I can keep one arm free. And the number of people I will actually just snuggle with is quite tiny. I mingle in a club full of people who are for the most part pretty touchy-feely, but even tanked up I'm not overly grabby handsy myself. Unless I trust you. Then I will sexually harass the bejeezus out of you. And you know it! (No not really, I'm fairly uptight about the whole INFORMED MUTUAL CONSENT concept). 

The point here is, sex crimes leave a mark on people, an indelible mark that even in the best of situations can make us pretty jumpy people to be around. Watching our Prime Minister, sling a *dead cat* into Parliament by suggesting that anyone who was supporting our assisting the people who are currently "detained" by the Australian government on Christmas Island as "supporting rapists" is beyond offensive. Especially if he isn't going to back this up with ANY real information. Just the dead cat. 

Let's just pull the idea apart for a minute. Please correct any details I may have wrong if you can - there doesn't seem to be a hell of a lot of REAL information to be had, so I'm filling in the gaps with educated guesses.

There are estimated to be what, 40-ish New Zealanders being detained pending deportation on Christmas Island, since the change to legislation which allows for deporting anyone who has served 12 months or over in prison. Anyone with even half a clue should be able to figure out that out of those 40 there are not likely to be terrifically many actually sex offenders or murderers among them. Unless the government knows something we don't - which is frankly a situation I'm getting a little bit sick of hearing anyway. The media has suggested that many of them have been collared for far lesser crimes, like peddling weed. Or unpaid parking fines. Most if not all of these people have ALREADY SERVED THEIR TIME FOR THEIR CRIME - the general idea of the penal system being that you serve your time and then you get to have another go at being a normal member of society. Add on to this that many of these people have spent most of their adult lives in Australia, have families and lives in Australia and NOTHING in New Zealand, and the whole bloody pile of mess starts to look like 2 governments trying very hard to win some kind of "I'm the bigger ASSHOLE" competition. I'm pretty happy to let Australia win this one, if it mean that we pull finger and start acting like the leaders of humanitarian good that New Zealand used to be. 

John Key, I am offended by your assertion. I support the rights of the New Zealanders being detained on Christmas Island to be treated as they should be. Bring those that want to return to New Zealand home NOW and negotiate properly on behalf of the ones who do not want to leave Australia, because their lives are there. I am not "supporting rapists" when I suggest that you ask for citizens of New Zealand to be treated with humanitarian concern. You are the elected Prime Minister of all of New Zealand, not just the bits you like. 

Pull your finger out.

Peace. Out.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Lets talk about fear.

Fear is on my mind today.

Because something happened today, something entirely insignificant, but it made me think about the fear that has been quietly taking hold of me for the last couple of years (or if I want to be really honest about it, since I first started getting sick some 20 years ago).

You guys all know I'm going to Armageddon Expo in Auckland, and you know that my primary reason for going was to meet Paul Blackthorne, who I think is just fabulous. In the stupid hope that maybe I could perform whatever magic it is I've done on various other souls and make a friend of him. 
And now he's not going anymore, which has bummed me out a little, and not for the obvious reasons. Well for the obvious reasons AS WELL, I mean I'm bummed that I don't get the opportunity to meet this lovely person, but on a completely different level it is something else altogether that actually has me upset and it's taken me several hours of turning my head upside down to figure it out. Because I knew I was far more emotional than I had any reason to be. That I would normally have just shouted FUCK very loudly and moved on, instead I wangsted myself into a corner.

And here's why (at least here's the conclusion that lightbulbed me an hour or so ago). My STILL undiagnosed medical issues are STILL deteriorating. I'm SCARED that I'm not going to find an answer, I'm scared that even if they do find an answer there won't be anything they can do about it - it's quite possible that that is projection, the Fibromyalgia I've been living with most of my adult life resists treatment, it's more or less default that very little helps. But as I lose more and more function in the left side. Well. Lets just say I had a moment of thinking "what if this is my last shot at something cool?" And things went downhill from there.

Fear isn't real. I know there's actually a reasonable shot that the neurologist assigned to me will figure it out. And that once he does there's also a reasonable shot they will be able to at least improve things for me. It's just a matter of more tests, more poking and prodding, until they're looking at the right thing. But Fibromylagia makes a paranoid of you. I've had so many negative tests in my life that it's actually hard to see testing as a hopeful process anymore. 

I didn't start this to whine about my sad-arse situation. I started this to talk about fear, and what a bloody killer it is. Because no matter how stupid I know I'm being, it still sits at the back of my head nagging at me. And it still leaps up and tries to throttle me whenever there's some thing that I used to be able to do but now can't. And if I, with my unnatural ability to stop, remove myself from the black hole and analyse the shit out of my behaviour, can still manage to get so bloody wound up it, it does not bode well for the less prepared. Did I mention my ego? I have a really big ego too. 

But seriously. Fear is the mind killer*. And chronic illness is a big driver of fear. I'm usually in excellent control (or at least I WAS until all this new shit came up), usually very able to understand the difference between the imagined and the real and tell the imagined to just fuck off. But this stuff has been creeping up on me and today grabbed me all unawares. THE BASTARD. 

So all my fellow sufferers, and sadly I know far too many of you are. Feel the fear and tell it to FUCK OFF. Or to put that another way, if you're struggling for the love of ME talk to someone. Me if you like, though fair warning to those unused to unburdening themselves to me I'm quite harsh. The marshmallow is only on the outside**. But talk to someone. And never feel like no one cares, because I absolutely guarantee you I DO. 

Peace. Out.

* Recognising where this quote comes from earns you bonus points
** What marshmallow? I hear you say. Let's say that compared to the cast iron on the outside, my soul is dark star matter. My heart is another story. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

It's not about being the same, it's about equivalency

So I'm stuck in bed, I might as well write.

And since the topic of Gender Theory is in the air already, courtesy of Pope Francis, I'm going to go there. Heavily around the idea of parenting because that's where Mr. The Pope seems to have the biggest knot in his undies.

Gender Theory, about walking a line where people get to be what they want to be rather than fulfilling a role that outdated societal norms have established for them. It is not about being the same, it is about the expectation of being treated as equals REGARDLESS of differences. The expectation of having the same right to decide the course of our lives. We should all have this as a right, regardless of all the options to our humanity (whether those add-ons are chosen or thrust upon us).  

I'm not really cut out for being a traditional wife and mother type. Which is not to say that I'm not a pretty great mother, the evidence is in, my now adult daughter is an excellent addition to society. I have absolutely NOT raised her by normal standards and expectations. Part of this comes down to the non-standard way in which my father raised me, complete without gender stereotypes and with open communication (that may all come as rather a surprise to my siblings, who probably had a very different experience of our dad, but mum was still around for them.) 

But standardised gender roles are pretty much rubbish in my eyes anyway. Surely to be at our best we should all be trying to do the things we are GOOD at, and the things that we ENJOY, rather than being shoved into roles we are unsuited for? I mean obviously there has to be some leeway - because if we all WANT to be astronauts, that's totally not going to work out for society as a whole. But to some degree there has to be give and take over which roles we assume out of need.

Sometimes I see situations that beggar logic. Mum stays home to look after the kid(s) while dad works, when mum is actually better qualified to earn bigger money and is stifled at home. And dad hates his job. BUT if they reversed the situation, dad feels like less of a man... because being the stay at home parent is a) not what men do & b) not valued in the same way as a *real* job is. Fuck that. Raising a kid to be a productive member of society IS a real job, it's long past time we treated it as such. 

It SHOULD be a fulfilling job, for either and both parents. It shouldn't be a decision that isn't so much made as assumed, it should be the decision that is best for the child(ren) and the family unit as a whole. The family unit being whatever the family unit IS not the imposed ideals of others.

The Pope is worried about the traditional family. I'm not. I'm not anti-tradition as such, I am anti-tradition when it's only there for the sake of itself. The traditional family unit, with mum, dad and all the little kiddies a lack of reasonable precautions brings into the world is all very well and good - but it is not the be all and end all of the definition of a healthy family unit. Children are raised best in an environment of love and concern. With parent(s) who care about their continued well being. The simple act of being the biological parents does not guarantee for even a second that this will be the case.

My ex-husband and I were well on the way to creating a toxic environment for our daughter - because we were not actually very compatible. I'm far too much of a *free spirit* (or pain in the ass if you like) for his rather more rigid view of the universe. Staying together for the sake of our daughter would have been a terrible move. It was for the sake of our daughter that I ended it. And sometimes that is the best decision. Ours wasn't even a difficult situation, there was no physical abuse to muddy the waters. Our child was never in physical danger. But it was still a bad environment to raise her in because watching your parents grow to hate each other isn't good for anyone. And we would have, resentment was bubbling under the surface in me, I won't even begin to assume what was going on in his head. 

I'm not a traditional mum. I was never a traditional girl. I played rough sports. I excelled at technical subjects. I hated wearing skirts. They get in the way climbing trees. I expect to be treated equally. I will not shut my mouth and demure. Fuck that shit. I have opinions, damn you to hell if you think I shouldn't share them because my plumbing is on the inside. I have raised my daughter nearly single-handed, and she is AMAZING. To say that she is less because she was raised outside of the traditional family unit is just rubbish. She is more. Because the traditional family unit would have stifled her in our case. 

And this is the important bit. Each case is individual. We should do what is best, which is not always what is expected. The universe is a place of shades of all colours, black and white exist only as extremes. We should colour our lives accordingly. 

Traditional family, the concept excludes so many options for happy family while including many possibilities for extremely unhappy ones. The Pope is very anti the idea of children raised by homosexual couples. Because it breaks the traditional family *rule* again. But it's not outside of the loving family possibility - in fact from my perspective it's a better guarantee of a good environment for the child, because the hoops you have to jump through to have children as a gay couple cuts out the majority of people who are just hitting parenthood as a mistake. My child was happy accident, not all cases are so joy filled. 
The idea that same sex parents are somehow less able to raise a child *correctly* (whatever that means) is offensive to me, partially because by extension it also says that no single-parent family is acceptable either - and that negates my experience both as mother AND as child. My mother died when I was 10, the majority of my formative years were in the hands of only my father. Do I think this made me less of a person? NO. Am I sad about it? In so far as I miss my mother, yes absolutely, but I also got to know my father in a way that my siblings did not, which is a testament to the wrong-headedness of the traditional family concept to me. They missed out on knowing so much about their father. Of knowing him as a person rather than a nearly external force in their lives. Because until my mother died our family was a fairly *traditional* family unit. Dad was aloof to the day to day raising of the kids. because his role was provider. Mum also worked, she was a nurse in an old folks home for most of my young life. The upshot of this was that before she died I actually had LESS parent in my life than I had after she died. because with dad in the back seat, and mum working nights and hence in bed for much of the time I was home from school and then out the door soon after rising I just fended for myself a lot of the time. I developed a very close relationship with my dad after my mother was gone. I regret that she was gone, I do not regret that it allowed me a chance to know my father properly.

Dad's; don't make the mistake of being a back seat parent. Your children want to know you.

Mum's; don't feel like you have to stick to the role assigned you by outmoded thinking. Your children are not improved by your unhappiness, they never will be. 

Humanity do not cling to old ways without reason, change can be good for the soul. Humanity's soul could do with some good.

Peace. Out.

Friday, October 2, 2015

I'm getting really sick of this.

There wasn't a specific event that set this off, rather a series of events - a systematic degradation of the country I have lived in and loved my whole life. It's getting harder to keep loving it. 

There are many many good people in New Zealand. I would say the vast majority of Kiwis are likeable, amiable folk. We help strangers when we can, we pull together when times are hard. We fight for the underdog. 

But in this THIRD FUCKING TERM of bastard government, I cannot believe we haven't said enough is enough. What has happened to us New Zealand? I really want to know. We used to be a Nanny State (I know a lot of people say that with derision, but I think it was something to be very very proud of - we LOOKED AFTER our most vulnerable citizens). But more and more we are dropping that stance in favour of out and out douchebaggery. 

- slashing aid for the ill
- benefits failing to even attempt to keep up with the accelerating rise in the cost of living
- a public health service that spends too much of it's time faffing about failing to deliver - because it's been made next to impossible for it to deliver
- public education standards falling, and stupid shortsighted decisions on how to *fix* this
- The living wage & zero hour contracts
- Housing crisis in Auckland
- STARVING KIDS, for the love of all that's dear to you STARVING KIDS IN THE LAND OF MILK AND HONEY. W.T.A.F!!????!!
- failure to address the international refugee crisis
- failure to protect indigenous species
- beneficiaries being made a scapegoat while corporate tax evaders are ignored - just doing the math, it's completely obvious that someone needs to turn the binoculars around
- ridiculous pet projects - I like pandas, but fucking feed the kids FIRST. I still think the most appropriate flag for us right now is this:

I'm getting really fucking angry making this list, so I'm going to stop. Also I could probably go on forever, which is suboptimal for anyone reading this.

And so much of these nearly fascist level capitalist decisions are being so fundamentally piss poorly managed it's starting feel like some kind of whack job conspiracy. Or a really really bad joke. If the systematic dismantling of the fundamental decency of New Zealand was the aim, it's hard to see how they could have done a better job of it. And we still have years more of this bullshit to put up with. 


Look, I know I'm a hard core lefty, so I'm pretty much bound to disagree with a fair chunk of National policy - but usually I'm just a bit mad about it. In the last few years I've tended to feel more a sense of creeping nausea and real, deep ANGER about the direction our beautiful country is being driven in. 

F.F.S. people, where has our compassion gone? (I know it's still there in many people, but it's so hard to do anything with it). There was a time when we basically had no homeless people to speak of, now we have the beginnings of a crisis of people on the streets. In New Zealand. I never, ever thought I'd be saying that. I've given blankets to people I found sleeping in the reserve near my house, I've handed cash I really couldn't spare to people living in fucking tents on the street. In winter. With kids. I'm not trying to toot my own horn here, I just have real trouble juxtaposing this against the image of New Zealand that I have in my head. Godzone. F.F.S. 

On to my current pet peeve. Health services.

Hospital waiting lists are - I'm not even sure I have an appropriate term to describe them - FUCKED UP. In order to alleviate the problem of crazy waiting lists... wait for it because this is fucking epic... the decision was made that lists would be limited, if the wait was going to be longer than [insert time frame between 3 and 6 months] then tough shit, you aren't getting on it. If you aren't categorised as very urgent, in many cases you simply WON'T get the diagnostic service you need. Everytime I am put on a new waiting list I get the same depressing speech from my doctor - who is clearly sick of having to tell patients this - that there is a chance that I will not get an appointment, in which case private is the only option left to me (actually to be fair it isn't the only option, the only option is continuing to suffer without diagnosis because I can't fucking afford to go private) *fortunately* my file tends to make specialists go "we should totally take a look at her", so I am yet to be refused a waiting list position. Not everyone is so *lucky*. 
So to *fix* the problem of waiting lists being too long, rather than getting more specialists, or looking for better methods of processing people, the decision is DON'T PUT SO MANY PEOPLE ON THE WAITING LIST. Bugger the fact that these people are sick, and that their health professionals are recommending intervention. As long as it looks good on paper.

And that appears to be the fundamental flaw of this National government. As long as it looks good on paper, fuck the consequences. As long as the 1% still have their silk sheets, fuck the consequences. 

One day the consequences are going to creep up on the 1% and bite them in the nads. The trickle down effect may be complete rubbish, but there is a reverse system of creeping despair and poverty that will eventually impact EVERYBODY. 

This is not someone else's problem. If we want New Zealand to be the country it wants to be, and I think most of us want a country that is kind and caring (I choose to hope that I am right about that, despite some evidence to the contrary) that looks after all of its people. And its flora & fauna. That isn't judgemental. That holds its hands out to the world with compassion and love. We all need to be willing to speak up, or show up, or put our hands up. BE COUNTED. That's the New Zealand I want, and I'm prepared to swear my way to the fucking top to get my point across. 

Peace. Out. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

R E S P E C T find out what it means to me.

*disclaimer: which I stupidly failed to put in initially. I am not an expert, just a person who gives a damn. I'll get things wrong - I'll try not to, but I will.

I was determined to keep my huge mouth shut on this one. But I've already had to slap down far too many douchebags, so here I go - off the deep end. I'll keep this short.

Caitlyn Jenner - who yes, did used to be Bruce Jenner. But she isn't anymore. On the inside she was likely always Caitlyn, but life and the human body is not always a simple thing. And so on the outside she was Bruce Jenner for a long time. 

I don't really give a flying crap what your opinion of her change is. Hate her, think she's a freak, praise her, whatever floats your boat. But. If you have negative opinions, keep them to your fucking self. It's just manners. If you can't say something nice don't say anything at all. 

Equally have some bloody respect for her as a person. If she wants you to call her by feminine terms, just bloody do it. It isn't going to kill you, and again IT'S JUST FUCKING MANNERS. I'm sure you do stuff I want to smack you in the head over, I'll restrain myself I promise. And if you happen to be grand high poobah of some church I literally give no fucks at all about I will still address you appropriately as the head of your church. I call policepersons Officer as well. 

I am completely over people thinking their opinions give them the right to be just downright RUDE to others. FUCK YOU. How do you like it? 

So here's some things:

1) NO we fucking shouldn't take the medals Bruce earned away from Caitlyn, they are technically the same person, she just had a dick when she won them. 

2) She is she. For as long as she wants you to address her as such. Suck it up princess.

3) I don't care what your opinion of what she currently looks like is - and likely she doesn't either. The only opinion she has to give a fuck about is hers - and she seems pretty happy with the outcome.

4) Seriously, go pay attention to the contents of your own pants and stop worrying about everyone else's. 

5) No one, and I mean NO ONE is going to undergo a gender change for MEDIA ATTENTION. Fuck off with your stupid ideas. I'm over the ridiculous suggestion that gender misalignment is just attention seeking, or a choice issue. For fucks sake, has it EVER occurred to you to cut your genitals off and swap them out for a different set? I mean beyond vaguely wondering what having a dick/boobs is like people who DON'T have gender misalignment aren't keen on invasive surgery and opening themselves to physical and emotional abuse for shits and giggles. Apply a little logic. 

OK I've had my yell. Return to your regularly scheduled program.

Peace. Out.

Monday, June 1, 2015

And I have been silent too long

OK, so I was actually busy yelling about other stuff - and often found that I couldn't find the right words to express my anger on this subject. But today I find that the correct words were there all along and they are in fact:


The subject is mental health services in New Zealand. You might have guessed. And the target of my IRE is once again, and no surprise, the National led government of New Zealand. There are insufficient swearwords in my vocabulary to deal with how Muppet-riddled I believe our parliament to be. Say "cuts to mental health services" one more time motherfuckers. 

Mental Health Services in this country have been an endangered species for a lot of years. It was quite a long time ago now that I self-admitted to Hillmorton as I realised the bad situation I was in was leading to bad ideation in my head. They stuck me in a corner and basically let me look after myself. Fair enough, I was there for the safe environment and the knowledge that they probably wouldn't let me do anything really stupid. I didn't need a lot of input. More than I got for sure, but given that they had people trying to climb the fence on a more than daily basis and way too few staff able to deal with it I think they did pretty well. 

I even made myself useful by noticing the people trying to escape. To be clear, they weren't trying to escape because the hospital treated them badly or was a terrible place. They were trying to escape because they were batty. The terrifying thing is that only the very most unable to care for themselves people end up in full time care, or even part time care, because THERE SIMPLY ISN'T FUNDING FOR EVERYONE. You might have noticed people who are really crap at being people wandering the streets a lot. They haven't escaped. They have nowhere to go. The are the unwashed mentally ill. The not quite bad enough to make the top of the list. But certainly bad enough that the average punter will be a bit mortified and/or terrified to see them on the streets.

And now here's where I begin to worry... many of these people are just barely holding it together at the best of times. They already suck at society, because of their illness, and in the face of LESS HELP what will happen to them? In the face of CHEAPER help. Seriously, are we going to just take any old cowboys over the trusted professionals now? FUCK YOU NATIONAL. 

I was in hospital for several weeks, as I slowly got back to a place where I felt safe not to hurt myself. I was never a physical danger to other people, not for an instant. But I could have hurt myself. Terminally even. The moment I realised I actually needed real help was after a phone call from WINZ (Irony). The booked an appointment with me. When I rang off I thought to myself, ha I won't be around for that! BAM. What? I've gone from quite situationally stressed to has a plan to end it in a very short space... well no not really, I'd been HIDING the plan from my conscious mind. It's quite possible that if that simple little thought hadn't snuck out I might not be writing this now. I literally stood in the middle of the street, stunned, as the entire plan unfolded in front of me fully formed. My conscious mind apparently wasn't quite there yet, because I went straight home and called my doctor. Who's nurse gathered from the uncontrolled sobbing that is a VERY LONG WAY OUTSIDE MY PERSONA that something was drastically wrong. I was in care the same day. I could see that they were appallingly underfunded. It's quite clear from within that no one but the staff give a flying fuck about making anybody actually better. They want to get you on what they call a suitable level of drugs and get you back out the doors. I'd have left earlier, but my very 'kind' mother-in-law got me to have an angry breakdown the day I was supposed to go home. Give that girl a Valium. Also throw that nasty piece of work out of the hospital... that part was funsies. 

But there are people who are not only a serious danger to themselves, they are a danger to others too. Not necessarily because they are violent or aggressive but simply because they aren't very good at people. Trying to people in a world where all the other people are NOT LIKE YOU can be pretty fucking terrifying. And how do you react to terror. Fight or Flight. It's programmed into us. Sooner or later someone who is unable to react normally will be backed into a metaphorical corner and will FIGHT. We already live in a society that is a bit scared of mental illness. It will only get worse as long as we continue to not treat it properly. I'm not even slightly suggesting that all people with mental health issues need to be in care... that would be upwards of 20% of the population. I am saying that a small portion of those people need proper care. Respectful proper care. No Bedlam Asylum. http://deadlyeverafter.com/2013/03/13/the-horrors-of-the-bethlehem-royal-hospital-london/

Mental health issues need to come out of the closet. A huge number of people at one time or another in their life will suffer from a mental health problem. And many will suffer in silence rather than *own up* to it. Because it's ugly and embarrassing. BUT IT'S NOT. It's just illness like any other. It's a part of our body not doing quite what it's meant to. Sometimes temporarily, sometimes permanently. It just needs treatment and time. And maybe if we didn't keep it in the cupboard people wouldn't get treatment plans that don't really work for them. Patients are embarrassed to really discuss the direction of their treatment. Doctors are - bloody annoying actually - unwilling to discuss changes of medications and dosages. My doctor really doesn't like it that I stand up to him over anti-depressants. I don't like what they do to me, and increasing the dosage makes me actually sick but that is what he keeps falling back on, every time ANYTHING goes wrong with my illness. I have Fibromyalgia. It has SOME mental aspects. They think. But in fact they know fuck all so why they keep insisting that things are AS THEY SAY, when they patently aren't is.... well according to a specialist I spoke to _just covering up for their lack of specialised knowledge_ I think I love him. The one thing that has helped I can't get in this country. The other thing that might help I can get but not legally. Fucking super. Not actually interested in making people better. 

Two. TWO, major mental health providers have "lost their government contracts" (this is jargon for they found someone willing to pretend to do the job for way less money). People will suffer. More people will suffer. As if our government aren't already pretty expert at suffering. The constant ebb of taking money from the vulnerable and giving it to big business is making me tired of this country. This country that I once loved with all my heart. I loved her for her heart, and she has lost it. She will die without it.

Peace. Out.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

An Open Letter to my Imaginary Friend....

I'm imagining a bunch of people who have no reason to give a crap about this reading it, and the one person I'd like to read it... not. Life is hilarious.

*Ahem: Addendum and disclaimer. I talk A LOT about communication. I am in fact a communication junkie. Not being able to communicate when I want to is tremendously frustrating to me. 

I just sent a tweet to my favourite celebrity:

Because I am basically incorrigible.

I call him my Imaginary Friend, to assuage my annoyance that this person who I have complicated reasons for enjoying interacting with knows next to nothing about me and is unlikely to ever reciprocate any platonic feelings I have. Bloody annoying. Especially since I really have no justification at all for being annoyed. Look, I also find him pretty sexy, but that's more or less irrelevant. A hell of a lot of why I find him sexy is his mind. It's humanity and intelligence that I find sexy. And a sense of humour. Oh yes, he's quite pretty too, but if he was a dick I wouldn't care about that.

Wil Wheaton. He's a pretty awesome guy.
We should all follow this instruction.

I like lots of actors for a myriad of reasons. I don't usually bother to get in the least perturbed by the non-relationship I have with them. I'm not actually a crazy stalker, though I may occasionally pretend to be one for comedic purpose. I am a terror for a cheap laugh. And sometimes an expensive one. Tony and I have a running joke over he and I not having, not having sex with our respective celebrity "crushes". (that doubled up sentence was not a mistake) - this running conversation goes along these lines:


The joys of liking a person you know it's ridiculous to even bother liking. Fandom really is a strange thing. Humanity develops connections with people it has no business developing connections with. And occasionally we hope for a fairytale ending that's actually pretty ridiculous, since the celebrities that we attach our affection to are seldom very much like the people we think they are. We think that social media gives us a window into their existence, but it only opens the window to what they want us to see - usually - we still know very little about them as complete people. That's what's making me frustrated in this instance. I find that I'd LIKE to know the whole person, because the window I've been allowed to see through intrigues me. 

Kitty and I went to Armageddon Expo this year, the first Con I've taken her to. I paid for celebrity photos and everything because, what the hell - YOLO*. There was no simple way to decide who I would fork over a frankly stupid amount of money for us to be photographed with (we wanted to do it together - as Mother and Daughter go, we like each others company far too much) Armageddon saved us the trouble by having a double team that made us BOTH happy. Sadly I look like CRAP in the photo - long day, illness playing up quite a bit... but I'd made Karl and Katee laugh just before the shot was taken so WE GOT A GREAT PICTURE...

OMG I have both Katee Sackhoff AND Karl Urban's arms around me. SQUEEE....

But I like these guys in the routine boring "OMG, STARBUCK" kind of way... Actually no, to be fair... Karl is a Kiwi and my relationship with Kiwi celebrities is complex because we Kiwis are a bit odd. He's family in an odd kind of way. I follow quite a few Kiwi *names* on twitter, and I chat to them as normally as I do to people I know personally. I tease David Farrier for the hilarious and adorable dweeb that he is. I openly show John Campbell all the love because he's been a good boy and deserves getting the cousin like friendly pat on the back. And Karl with his slight air of distance and smirk of a man who knows slightly too well how awesome he is...well I told his girlfriend about his early career in TV in New Zealand. Because family occasionally needs to embarrass you back into line. If I'd really been that fucking obsessed with either one of them I'd have made damn sure I was wearing an appropriate fandom shirt. Instead of my very favourite geeky tee. VOTE SAXON. People who have to ask what this is from will be frowned upon. John Simm... I might completely lose my ability to be *cool* about celebrity around him. After all, the geekiest tattoo in the world is on my shoulder, and it's about him. Well, about The Master. But *HIS* Master.

Sexy and he knows it.

But the point of this is about the inability to tell the ones that mean something to you, for whatever reason, that you care about them on some normal level WITHOUT SOUNDING LIKE A MAD AS SHIT BUNNY BOILING STALKER TYPE. So I find myself looking at a person that I genuinely want to try to turn into a friend, with no power whatsoever to even TRY to. Oh sure I can be witty, charming, amusingly crazy... all the things that are me. Also arrogant. But those are also all the things that offer zero evidence of my not being an insane fan with a bottle of ether behind my back. And I can't in the least fault any celebrity for not wanting to risk befriending a fan they've never even met, solely on the basis of them occasionally manage to raise a laugh. Funny people can still be insane people.

Insane people can still be friends...

But as I said to my Imaginary Friend, I hate writing fan letters. I've been talked into it twice. Once when I was a teenager and all my stupid friends wanted to write to some jackass and so I HAD TO (something, something best writer something blah blah blah.... little did they know that because I didn't give a crap my *fan* letter was actually pretty... not-fan-y) and then much more recently I was talked into it as a nice gesture to a celebrity who does a hell of a lot of good work.... but again I didn't overly care (I cared that he did good things, I just didn't care about writing to him. I'm not really the ego polishing kind). I like Twitter in a lot of respects, I can send short messages of approval, or derision or flirting or whatever to celebrities and I don't have to feel the vague sensation of nausea I get when I start writing an ego buffing piece.

I know this is how I'd react to fan mail.

The things that I look for in a friend are there in this one. Humanity, intelligence, humour. A great smile. OK the great smile doesn't matter a damn, but Paul's is in a league of it's own. I have no idea exactly what it is that makes me really want to get to know you Paul, but SOMETHING. Some combination of things that makes me see a like soul. M'anama-chara.

So, my sweet, one-sided penpal. Here's the thing. I'd love to meet you, but here I am at the bottom of the world - unlikely to any time soon. Those long conversations losing track of time seem unlikely to occur without an unnatural occurrence. I'd love the opportunity to become proper friends. One day. I'd love for you to follow me. But. I won't pay for it, I won't demand it, I won't even ask for it. I won't suck up to you. Because what would be the point in any of that? I like you, I'd like to try to be friends with you - what I manage to see around the edges of your quite good walls is a guy I think I'd get along with. But it's worth nothing to me to have you follow me for any reason other than because you want to. I hope that one day you'll decide that you like me enough to risk trying to get to know a fan. One can only do what one can do. One will not give in mind you *grin*.

Does this look like the sort of girl who quits?

Peace. Out.

* Bahahhahahaha I finally found a reason to use YOLO in a blog!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Operation Sex Change

For the record: I am a boring CIS white female. I was born female I will die female, and I will most likely spend my whole life only interested in men. The wrong men usually. But there is this thing called EMPATHY that Human Beings are supposed to be able to do; do give it a try.

*Disclaimer: I am very far from being an expert, and have only knowledge gained by giving a fuck. Remember, not all transgender folk are even seeking gender reassignment surgery, people come to their own decisions for their own reasons and having a bit of respect for that will make you a better person. I promise.

Gender reassignment has a had a little bit of air time in the last couple of days. Partially because a politician I normally have quite a bit of respect for said a couple of very insensitive and ill considered things. Andrew Little I'm looking at you. It's usually the Nats wearing my abuse but for today you can wear the douchebag crown. I expect better from you. He wasn't the only one, but as I said I expect Nats to be Twats. And a new slogan is born.

I've asked my readers before, to take a trip down Imagination Lane and try to picture what it must be like to wake up every day in the wrong body. To have most of the people around you treat you as if you are what you know you are not. We all need to understand that this is something that is wrong with a person, in exactly the same way that nerve damage is something that is wrong with me. It's possible that the damage is being caused by something that can be fixed surgically. If this is the case then I can have funded surgery to fix my problem, because it's a repairable medical problem that is impairing my quality of life. Sometimes the signals that go on inside our bodies are messed up and they tell us things that aren't true. I have damage on a nerve bundle telling me that my left arm is a screaming pile of agony, as if it is in the midst of a terrible injury all the time. The signals are false, my arm is mostly fine. Oh, except that on top of the pain signals my arm is getting steadily weaker and deader. Fun. The false signal is coming from another part of my body altogether. Somewhere between my brain and my left shoulder there is something messing up the pathway. People happily accept this as being a horrible thing that I shouldn't have to live with. But when the signal that's wrong is affecting our sexual identity, our GENDER, suddenly a lot of people get funny ideas about what it is. And about what taxpayers should be responsible for. We live in a country with a funded health service. Necessary surgery can be had under government health services, for anyone. But a lot of people are arguing the necessity of gender reassignment. Not many EXPERT people mind you. Mostly just busy-bodies who think that because they don't understand something and it squicks them a bit, that somehow makes that thing WRONG. 

I cannot even begin to imagine how hard it is to wake up in a male body while KNOWING I am a female. (or the other way) My brain has no valid comparison to make - because I have all the right body parts despite the fact that a number of them don't work very well. But I can empathise. I know what it is to have an illness. I know what it is to have an illness that few people recognise. I know what it is to have people tell you that you are making it up. Making up the thing that causes me misery every minute of every day. It isn't the same, but it gives me a window to look through. And I'm telling everyone out there who doesn't understand to GET A GRIP. People don't choose to live miserable existences for your attention. That's another illness altogether - and it STILL isn't a choice. Look at your own life, oh lucky unaffected by hardship person... and tell me that you don't choose the path of least resistance more often than not? Tell me that the times when you chose the harder path in life were not ENTIRELY because the other choice went against your sense of being? 

Human Beings. We're very good at being stubborn motherfuckers. But only when the payoff is worth it. We'll only tolerate the intolerable when to do otherwise is WORSE. This above all else, to thine own self be true! (Thanks Shakespeare, you the man.) For many of us, being untrue to ourselves is intolerable. I can't keep my mouth shut in the face of douchebaggery for example. I really can't. It makes me feel bad about myself to ignore people being stupid cunts to each other. It makes me feel bad about humanity to just let it slide. (Obviously I can't respond to literally EVERY example of stupid cunt douchebaggery, but I make an effort.) This is part of who I am and it would be uncomfortable for me to have to pretend to be otherwise. And you, you douchebags in your glasshouses, you would be very uncomfortable if you were not being stupid cunts to people I suspect. But to be perfectly frank I don't give a rats arse how you feel about it, because you are being stupid cunts to other humans. When you learn not to be doucheholes about your opinions I'll listen.

Back to the transgender equation: because here in New Zealand we currently have a HUGE problem. Until last year we had ONE, yes just one, surgeon who could perform sex change operations. As part of a team of 3 surgeons they carried these out, to both paying customers - some from overseas, and also just 3 male to female government funded operations per year (1 female to male per year is carried out overseas under government funding). But then our ONE surgeon retired. Leaving us with NONE, for everyone who can do basic maths. And a debate over whether anyone should worry about this has begun. Should this be funded like so many other surgeries are in New Zealand? YES. A lot of people appear to be raising the 'it's a want, not a need flag' well let's talk about that a bit shall we? Why are you defining it as want rather than need and what goes on your need list? (Rhetorical)
Is my surgery to fix the nerves in my arm a need? The government thinks so, and so do the majority of people who know about my situation. I'm in pain all day every day. It seems obvious that to remove a source of constant pain is a need. Right? But is my physical pain any more demanding on me than constant emotional torment? I've been through a fair bit of emotional torment in my life too, and I can assure you that physical pain is considerably easier to live with. You get used to it, you learn to push it aside. It's annoying and intrusive, but it won't actually kill me. Emotional pain might. Because emotional pain eats away at your self image, eats away at your self worth, eats away at your trust in everyone around you. Until you think that you have no place in the world anymore. I have been there. It's a hell of a place to try to fight your way back up from. And if you cannot at least a little bit imagine the pain of your outside gender not matching the person you know yourself to be, then please, feel free to fuck off to the planet of the robots.
I think much of the issue hails back to the ongoing inability of so very many people to see that problems that live in the mind are REAL ACTUAL PROBLEMS. Perhaps I can shine a light down that rabbit hole. Mental illnesses, and all conditions of the mind STILL HAVE PHYSICAL CAUSES. There is still a basically mechanical fault at play even when appearances are that your brain is simply being a massive massive douche. Douglas Adams, author of that wildly popular series The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, drops the idea in one of those books that ... if someone thinks they're a hedgehog, presumably you just give them a mirror and a picture of a hedgehog and let them sort it out ... obviously it's nowhere near that simple or we wouldn't have hospitals full of people who think they are all kinds of strange things. Like worthless. The mind is an unbelievably complicated device, try figuring out the physics that goes into the act of catching a ball sometime. It'll do your head in - unless you're a science-y type obviously. But the comparison between how it feels to catch a ball (for most of us) and the actual math of catching a ball is a valid metaphor for trying to fix issues of the mind. It's like trying to make ice cubes by freezing your hands and trying to mold them out of water. Not aided by us still having only a fairly vague idea of HOW to fix it. It's becoming apparent to me that the current methodology of throw a lot of pills at it and hope for the best, interspersed with one size fits all therapy techniques is not really working. Mental health issues continue to plague our society at a hell of a rate of knots. For a start the more and more pervasive medical attitude that EVERYONE who has odd health issues is DEPRESSED is not helping. If you start from the assumption that someone is depressed you are a) unlikely to bother examining them further to look for other possibilities and b) potentially giving people utterly the wrong medication. Not to mention c) alienating a lot of patients who don't feel like they are being understood.
Is Gender Misalignment even a mental illness? We don't really know - perhaps it really is a straight forward as it sounds and you have been provided with an incorrect body type. Nature has all kinds of screw ups, is that really so far fetched? Is it more unusual than Conjoined Twins? More odd than Chimerism? Could it be a form of Chimerism? And in the short term, what the fuck difference does it make? If we can make a person's life better by operating then just the fuck DO IT.
What is the definition of need, where surgery is concerned? If we're only going to fund things in this country based on REAL ACTUAL NEED then my surgery (assuming that's what they decide) should probably be off the table. I've live. I'll be fucking miserable, pretty much useless and a burden. But I'll live. And a lot of other folk can come off the surgical roster too. That hip replacement? Fuck you, live with it. Reattaching the limb you just severed? Fuck off, your stupid fault for sticking your hand somewhere dumb. Reality is, the need you all mean is 'need that fits in with my view of the world' but I'm not interested in your opinion here, I'm interested in what medical science has to say. And medical science is more and more clear every day that people are suffering because they are not what they should be, and that we can and should fix this. In this country because of the way our medical service is set up this means funding surgeries sometimes. Get over it. Given that transgender is unlikely to be an issue that insurers are going to be keen to pick up without being shoved into it (not because it's unreasonable but because insurers are bastards and will wriggle out of anything) AND SHOULDN'T HAVE TO BE BECAUSE THIS IS NOT A COSMETIC PROCEDURE, we have to make the moral and scientific decision that we government fund these surgeries BECAUSE they will improve the lives of people who are suffering for MEDICAL REASONS. People don't want to change their gender on a fucking WHIM. Seriously what sort of ignorant dumbass even entertains that idea? The smallest bit of research into the hoops people have to jump through to just be APPROVED for gender reassignment should take that utterly facile idea right off the table. NO ONE is going to go through the lengthy, terrifying, and totally life altering process of going from one gender to another for LARKS. It's so patently obviously a NEED situation that I have to wonder if perhaps the people who think it isn't are in need of some form of help themselves.

We either need to get a new surgeon (or you know MORE THAN ONE) into New Zealand, or we need to accept the cost of sending our patients to reputable facilities overseas. We need to suck it up and do the right thing, for people who need our help. But I guess this is just another thing that we're going to let slide, as waiting lists get longer and longer (or get fake shorter by the exciting new technique of declaring that we can only have 4 months worth of people on the list at a time...and when those lists get overloaded what will the new number be...) as diagnosis becomes less about actually getting it right and more about not paying for extra testing, as your chances of seeing a specialist become more and more remote... BECAUSE FUCK YOU SICK AND POOR PERSON, if you can't afford to go private why don't you just die quietly?

Peace. Out.