Monday, September 24, 2018

Vinnie Paul Investigation Complete, Pantera Releases Statement | Rock Feed

Grief can be a significant stressor, and I don't think Vinnie Paul ever got over Dime's murder. Grief literally affects the heart. 

Thursday, September 20, 2018

NaHaiWriMo 2018 #8: Monkeying Around + The Fight Against Perfectionism

Click the image to enlarge.
"So then I artistically blurred my photo to give a sense of moving back through time."
Nah. I moved my hand while the photo was being taken.
"But why would you want to use a photo like that? Any photographer worth their salt would delete it forthwith!"
I don't really consider myself a photographer. I'm a person who takes pictures because I enjoy it. 
This blurry photo isn't without its merits. It inspired me to create this Haiga of questionable quality.
Nobody is ever going to consider this to be a high-fallutin' work of art to rival the classics. But it is fun, and it illustrates the idea that you can make your mistakes work for you.
I have been battling perfectionism all my life. Embracing my mistakes is helpful for me. Perfectionism is an extremely destructive quality. I would like to share the ways in which it has harmed me from various perspectives.
In this post, I would like to share how physical perfectionism has caused untold harm to me and many others. Some of what I share involves my own perfectionism, and some of it involves the unrealistic standards which society imposes upon people.

On a physical level, we live in a society which demands that Number Twelve Looks Just Like You. We are supposed to aspire to a certain standard of beauty and fitness, and, if we fail to achieve such, we are deemed failures not worthy of even basic decency in the way we are treated by others.
However, rather than inspiring everyone to become super duper supermen and women, this attitude has a tendency to backfire. You end up with people who do not trust doctors because doctors continually shame them for their physical appearance or failure to be compliant with regimens that it may be impossible or intolerable for them.
So, instead of engaging in a program of regular visits to the doctor for preventative care and maintenance of chronic health issues, people avoid going to the doctor until they experience a critical problem. This helps no-one.
When my current doctor addressed my slightly elevated triglycerides (a common issue for diabetics) with "have you been indulging in treats?" I snapped. I said "I make twelve thousand dollars a year and generally eat only one or two meals a day. I eat what I can afford to purchase. I do not 'indulge.'"
In spite of the fact that this doctor is by far the most effective doctor that I have ever seen, I am considering going back to the guy who was burned out and had no fucks to give, because my current doctor has given me ample reason to mistrust her. The 'indulging in treats' bit is mere sprinkles on the body-shaming cake.
This doctor presented herself as offering a 'safe space' for larger people, and, during my first visit, appeared to live up to her promise. Thereafter, she suggested weight loss surgery and blamed my abnormal endometrial thickening on "obesity."
If you want your larger patients to believe for a second that you have any respect for them, you need to ditch the "o" word. "Obesity" is "other." "Obesity" is a pariah. "Obesity" is shit. "Obesity" is always said with a sanctimonious sneer. If you use that word, I do not trust you.
Abnormal endometrial thickening is correlated with a larger body type, but correlation is not causation. It is also correlated with being over fifty (guess I need to step into an age-regression machine), white (guess I'd better start tanning), and diabetic.
A larger body type is also correlated with type 2 diabetes. Again, correlation is not causation. I am inclined to think that abnormal pancreatic function is a strong contributing factor in both the tendency to gain weight and the endometrial hyperplasia. There may be a third factor which causes all of my endocrine issues. A heavy body type is correlated with endocrine issues, but it did not cause these issues. In fact, the reverse is true. None of my endocrine system works properly. It would be highly unlikely for me to have a thin body unless I were to become deathly ill, regardless of how little I eat or how much I exercise.
So, having a bench in your waiting room rather than just chairs with arms does not constitute offering a "safe space" for people of all sizes. I don't trust you, and that makes for an ineffective doctor/patient relationship, regardless of your ability to diagnose and possibly treat health problems.
People are not inclined to take care of things they hate, and that includes their bodies. While cleaning out my storage unit, I found numerous artifacts from the many years I spent trying to hate myself thin. Looking over the awful things I wrote about myself, thinking about all the money I spent playing a game that almost nobody wins, realizing that I caused wear and tear to my body equivalent to the harm done to it by the many years I spent working long hours at physically punishing jobs, thinking back on the times when I was sometimes spending five hours at the gym when I should have been spending that time with my son, I became extremely depressed.
To top it all off, none of this shit brought me to the goal of Magical Thinness, which would have won me the Handsome Prince with the Exactly Correct Body Fat Percentage, a billion dollars for every pound I lost during my incredibly successful "weight loss journey," fame and adoration of the masses, or anything but a far thinner wallet and a soul filled with self-loathing.
Thinspo is crap. Fitspo is crap. Dieting is crap. It's all harmful. None of it will bring you happiness, and it won't even bring you health. It will bring you self-loathing and turn you into an awful person that nobody likes.

Dieting is not about health. It is about perfectionism. The pressure to be perfect is purely for profit. Stop paying into a system that doesn't give a damn about you and thrives on your failure.

"In the long term, dieting is a spectacular waste of time for everyone except statistical unicorns." --Louise Adams


Saturday, September 15, 2018

NaHaiWriMo 2018 #6: House of Cards

Text by The Real Cie. House of Cards and its characters are the creation and property of Netflix.
I was inspired to create this Haiga while binge-watching House of Cards instead of sleeping. I noticed the parallel between the over-the-top drama involving House of Cards' main character, Frank Underwood, and Kevin Spacey, the actor who plays the part. Frank Underwood describes his father as having been a violent alcoholic. Spacey has stated that his father was both physically and sexually abusive as well as a racist.
While I feel that the inner turmoil from his childhood abuse combined with shame over his sexual orientation may have prompted Kevin Spacey to behave in inappropriate and ill-advised ways with young men, and while I feel compassion for his struggles, I do not think that his behavior is acceptable. It is a shame that it resulted in his being terminated from House of Cards because he is a superlative actor. Of course, it is also unfortunate that the young men subjected to his behavior suffered psychological repercussions.
This piece falls into the categories of fan art, art imitating life, human failings, tragedy, and irony.

Friday, September 7, 2018

NaHaiWriMo 2018 #4: Picture of the Photographer

Images copyright Cara Hartley/The Real Cie. I allow the use of my photographs in other creative blogs with credit to me. 
The person in the photograph is my 28-year-old son, Michael, who is taking photographs of some specimens at the Denver Botanic Gardens. Michael has overcome a lot of challenges in his life, and I am very proud of him. He has worked hard to manage depression and anxiety without medication, as the medications don't work for him. Although he still deals with these issues, he has developed excellent coping skills.
Psych meds work well for some people, but they don't work for everyone. In Michael's case, they don't work at all. In my case, they make me manic and psychotic, which I am usually not. 
People tend to want to "fix" those who have neurological and psychological differences. Instead of trying to "fix" us, which tends to make us become defensive and shuts down conversations, try instead to understand our perspective, which opens the doors to understanding and possibility.


Sunday, September 2, 2018

30 Days of Haiga 2018 #1 and Shadow Shot Sunday

I loathe this laptop with the fiery passion of a thousand supernovas. I will be glad to have my desktop back in action this week.
Click the above photos to enlarge them.
It appears that Rick from 19 Planets ( is not doing Haiga prompts this year. It has become a tradition for me to do Haiga in September so I will continue that tradition. The Haiga may occasionally be mixed with other prompts. 
If I miss a day, I will try to double up on another day, but I'm not going to be a strict disciplinarian with this. I'm not in school and this isn't homework. It's supposed to be enjoyable. Life is far and away stressful enough without my adding to the stress by beating up on myself for not having my Haiga done on a strict schedule.
My Haiga this month will probably become Haibun more often than not, as this one has done. 
I will be using more of my own photos than I have in the past. The above photo, with and without the Haiga, is mine. You are welcome to use and share it, but please credit me back. You can link to this blog, but at least provide a copyright credit to Cara Hartley or The Real Cie. You are welcome to alter the original photo, i.e., to make your own Haiga or use for a photo prompt, but, again, credit me for the original photo. I'm pretty easygoing about the use of my work as long as I'm credited for it.
In other news, my financial situation is still awful, and my son suggested that I move in with him. I would never have asked him to let me do this, and I was surprised and grateful for the offer. He has grown up a lot, and it shows in the fact that he saw the way I was struggling and offered this solution. I think it shows that I have made a few positive changes as well.
One change that has come in the past year is my reaction to acknowledgment (or lack thereof) of my work. In the past, it has been very upsetting to me that I do not generally receive comments on my creations. This has tended to have a negative effect on my work. At this point, I seem to have taken enough Fukitol that I really don't give any fucks whether people comment on my work or not. 
I also don't care if people are offended by my liberal use of profanity. I'm assuming we're all adults here. I cannot possibly be the first person you've encountered who has a tendency to drop f-bombs. I used to post warnings all over the place and apologize any time that I typed a post full of swears. Fuck that shit. If you have a problem with profanity, this is your notice that I'm not someone whose work you want to read. Full stop.
I will not apologize for being politically liberal, being horrified by the reptilian aliens who have taken over the United States Government (I don't actually think they're reptilian aliens, this is an example of hyperbole), my tendency to be hyperbolic, my being agnostic with a tendency to metaphysical beliefs, my tattoos, my mental health issues, my physical issues, the size of my body, my dead libido, or my outrage at the state of the world.
I will not apologize for the fact that in spite of the financial upheaval my physical decline has wrought, I am greatly relieved to never have to work in healthcare again. Although there could be a sense of accomplishment, I realize that I was extremely stressed out and more often than not miserable doing this kind of work. The physically and emotionally difficult jobs I worked in the past took a toll on my body, and I'm not sorry to be done with them.
I will not apologize for working a low-paid job as a delivery driver for a restaurant. I should not have to apologize for that.
I will not apologize for needing to receive Medicaid. I will say that it's bullshit that I should have to make sure that I don't earn over $1100 a month because if I earn one cent more than that, I lose Medicaid. Everybody in the U.S. should have Medicaid. Full fucking stop, no fucking apologies.
I will not apologize for writing gloomy poetry.
I will not apologize for writing Haiku.
I will not apologize for being an outlier. I used to beat myself up for not being able to belong to any group, including so-called "writer support groups." These groups tend to only be supportive if you are a very select type of person. I am not a very select type of person. Whether accidentally or on purpose, the Universe broke the mold after it made me. I think the Deities probably said, "holy shit, we can't have another of those running around!"
So, here we are, my first Haibun of 2018. I think. I may have done another somewhere along the way, but, as far as I know, this is the first one.
I may make a virtual chapbook of this year's NaHaiWriMo. (I'm pretty sure I stole that term from the aforementioned Rick.) All proceeds will go to helping me pay my plethora of back bills. Stay tuned for more!