Saturday, August 31, 2019

Fearless Thinking, Stress-Free Living Exercises: An Experiment

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review purposes.

I am currently reading the above book as a member of the Online Book Club review team and have decided to take part in some of the exercises and see if I find them helpful. I already like the book well enough that I feel confident in recommending that you preview it and see if you might benefit from it as well.

I have decided to participate in the first recommended exercise, which involves recording one's thoughts for a minute four times a day. I can't promise that I'll do this four times a day, but I can commit to doing it daily. I will sometimes share these thoughts.

This is not a writing exercise. It is not meant to be edited. It is a means of determining where the mind is currently focused. Here is my first entry.

Unedited thoughts, one minute
08/29/2019 16:12

The bandage on my finger is making me feel crazy.
Will this stupid wart dissolve?
My ankle hurts, my right foot hurts. 
It feels like there is something sticky on my fingers.
Will things be all right after we move?
Will we actually start eating better?
Why the hell can't I just finish packing? What's stopping me?
I'm worried about the move.

I'm not going to try to analyze this very much. Lots of worry and trepidation is the theme of the moment, and I can't say I'm surprised.


Wednesday, August 28, 2019

How Not to Write About Neurological or Psychological Differences

Definitely, don't include the above statement in your piece. However, the points I'm discussing are a bit more subtle.
I recently read a review of a book about a woman with bipolar disorder. I have not read the book myself at this juncture but am taking it on myself to do so for the reasons stated below. 

The reviewer made this statement:
"Individuals affected with this disorder, eventually take up the nature of a 'zombie' because of the effects of the drugs given to control it. They are also known to be suicidal."

I left this reply to the reviewer.

As a person with bipolar disorder, I would suggest doing further research on bipolar disorder before making blanket statements regarding how people who live with the disorder behave. There are several types of bipolar disorder: type one, type two, and cyclothymia. There are also a variety of medications used to treat it, and some of us who live with the condition do not take medication.
There is an increased likelihood of suicide ideation with bipolar disorder, however, this does not always manifest in the same way. Speaking for myself personally, I have frequent suicide ideation but it tends to be situational. I have learned coping techniques to deal with it. I never "become a zombie" because of medication because I refuse to take medications which allow me to become a zombie.
As I have Kindle Unlimited, I feel the need to take it upon myself to read this book because if this is the sort of picture it is painting of people with bipolar disorder, that is troubling indeed. We already face enough stigma. We do not need the world viewing a varied population in an extremely negatively stereotyped fashion. 
As this book appears to depict a single case and one person's manifestations of bipolar disorder, please do not stereotype all persons with bipolar disorder as behaving in the same way. We are as varied as any other population of individuals. Your review was concise, but the sentences stereotype an entire population of people. Instead of saying "people with bipolar disorder are known to...", personalize the review by saying "Geraldine experienced feelings of lethargy due to the side effects of her medication" or "Geraldine was suicidal."
I would also avoid using terms such as "suffering from" when referring to neurological differences such as autism or psychological aberrations such as bipolar disorder. Such a description can be offensive. Persons with these conditions often are not suffering due to the condition itself, we suffer because of the negative ways in which we are treated. I have told people that if I could have a cure for my diabetes, I would take it in a heartbeat, but I would not take a cure for my bipolar disorder. Having bipolar disorder disappear would change the way my mind perceives the world, and I would not know how to function in the world. I am not going to say that bipolar disorder is a "gift," but it is an oversimplification to say that bipolar disorder causes suffering, implying that eradication of bipolar disorder would eradicate suffering. Many things cause suffering. Bipolar disorder simply causes a shift in the way a person perceives the world, which may or may not cause suffering.


Tuesday, August 20, 2019


Image by John Hain from Pixabay

You think yourself genuine and virtuous
A beacon of light for all the good people
Good people like you, that is

You're a real shooting star
You pride yourself on being a straight shooter
Straight from your mouth into their heart

And if someone is hurt by your callous words
Well, whose fault is that?
These special snowflakes need to toughen up

Some people have everything they need
Right from the start, pretty in a certain way
Always knowing they're wanted

For some people, it's always the edge of summer
Always hoping that this year will be the year
When everything finally changes for the better

You, amazing, wonderful, virtuous you
Dismiss these wannabe losers
With a sniff and an offhand gesture

You congratulate yourself for your ability
To agitate, to debate, to concentrate your hate
Onto the tip of your poison tongue

I'd rather go blind
Than be anything like you
For even a micro-portion of a nanosecond

You believe your vicious declarations are a gift
Truth straight from a horse's ass
To the hurting hearts of the world's outcasts

So sanctimonious, so contentious
No matter how you beautify the outside
The inside is still corrupt as a decaying casualty
 Of your insidious verbal war

When your words cause people to hate themselves
To consider suicide rather than live one more day
Among monsters such as you

I submit that you, not they
Are the failure, the loser, the washout
The unwanted, the unneeded, the parasite

Turn your eyes inside
And judge the real ugliness
That you find in your dead, putrefying soul


Prompts Used:

These words are not directed at any specific individual. They paint a composite portrait, illustrating a certain type of personality: the kind of person who believes in being harshly judgmental and "brutally honest," which, in reality, translates to: "I want a license to behave cruelly. It gives me a sadistic kick to destroy others. I act as if I'm the picture of perfection. In reality, I am covering for my own inferiority complex at the expense of vulnerable people."

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Song Lyric Sunday: A Girl In Trouble is a Temporary Thing

Although Michael Jackson is not mentioned in the lyrics, vocalist Debora Iyall wrote the song as a response to Jackson's Billie Jean.
Debora Iyall is one of the most underrated pop vocalists of the late 20th century. She is a member of the Cowlitz tribe. She still performs although she has stepped back from the pop scene to be an art teacher in Desert Hot Springs.


She's got a face that shows that she knows she's heard every line
Tenderly she talks on the phone
There's a way to walk that says "stay away"
And a time to go around the long way

A girl in trouble is a temporary thing 
(temporary, temporary, temporary, temporary)
A girl in trouble is a temporary thing 
(temporary, temporary, temporary, temporary)

There's a time when every girl learns 
To use her head
Tears will be saved 
Till they're better spent
There's no time for her to be afraid
So instead 
She takes care of business 
Keeps a cool head

A girl in trouble is a temporary thing 
(temporary, temporary, temporary, temporary)
A girl in trouble is a temporary thing 
(temporary, temporary, temporary, temporary)

She's got a face that shows that she knows she's heard every line
Tenderly she talks on the phone
There's a way to walk that says "stay away"
And a time to go around the long way

A girl in trouble is a temporary thing 
(temporary, temporary, temporary, temporary)
A girl in trouble is a temporary thing 
(temporary, temporary, temporary, temporary)
A girl in trouble is a temporary thing


Photo copyright Tony Smith

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Sly Speaks: Them Damn Crooked Social Service Vultures: A Cautionary Tale

My late father was a Libertarian. While I do not agree with much of the Libertarian agenda, I have come to agree strongly with his Libertarian paranoia about government agencies.
Your county human services department does not care about helping you. In fact, the likelihood is that your social worker has been trained to try and trip you up so they can deny you services or worse, fine you and perhaps incarcerate you.
The websites for social services are not straightforward. 
Unless you are completely destitute and have absolutely no assets whatsoever, do everything in your power to avoid social services. They will come after your assets.
If you are absolutely destitute and have no other recourse, this is the only time it is safe to seek assistance from social services. 
Go to food banks rather than trying to get food stamps if at all possible. Foodbank employees may be underpaid dicks who will make you feel like a shitty human being for coming to the food bank, but they are nothing compared to what the SS (that's Social Services) Gestapo are capable of.
If you need Medicaid, it tends to operate differently than other human services. Also, Medicaid differs state by state. I can only speak for the Colorado Medicaid program. There may be some similarities in your state, but you would be best advised to check for yourself.
Overall, at this time, Colorado Medicaid is fairly straightforward and, despite its problems, has been pretty fair in its treatment of me and my family.
I very much need Medicaid. I have numerous health problems and can't work a steady job. 
I believe that everyone should receive Medicaid, regardless of income, and high-priced insurance should be abolished. But this post deals with current reality.
I am also not opposed to social services in principle. In principle, I believe that every person should be entitled to adequate housing and food, regardless of their ability to work. This is not a pro-social-Darwinism rant. This is a criticism of the current state of social services and why I have come to agree with my father that agencies such as social services should not be trusted and should be avoided as much as possible.
I have cognitive and psychological disabilities as well as physical ones. I have ADD, and I tend to be scatterbrained because of it. My family is in the process of moving, and I wanted to get a jump on things instead of forgetting to do them like I often do and then three months later remembering that, oh shit, I forgot to change our address with Colorado Peak. Thus, technically, at this point, my son and I have two addresses.
My son is high-functioning autistic and has ADHD. He does not do well with filling out forms such as the Colorado Peak form and tends to become overwhelmed by them. Thus, even though I am not much better, I assume responsibility for doing this.
I have felt bad because I quit my job delivering food at the end of May so I could concentrate on helping my son's dad purchase a property about 130 miles from where my son and I currently live. My son and I, and eventually his dad, will be living in this property. It is in my son's dad's name. He lives in another state, and my son has been acting as his agent in the purchase of this property and all necessary work to be done on it. 
As far as employment goes, I have been freelancing online, but the outcome doesn't add up too much. Feeling guilty about being a drain on the household, I decided I could help out by applying for food stamps in the county we are moving to.
Medicaid allows you to declare every adult in a home to be a "separate household." My son and I are separate households, even though we both live under the same roof.
I did not know until today that human services, which comprises food benefits and disability, does not. Everyone in the household must be declared.
I was naively under the impression that the caseworker wanted to help me, so I gave her my son's information when she asked for it. I should, at that point, have apologized for wasting her time and said that I only wanted to apply for benefits for myself and would have to talk things over with my son. But I stupidly revealed our situation to her.
She proceeded to have me sign a form saying that I was withdrawing my request for benefits, told me that she was sending the case back to the county where the townhome we are moving from is and that if the county decides to audit us, we will be facing 10 years in jail and a $250,000 fine. I told her that my son has nothing to do with this, it is all on me, I was only trying to help the household as I feel I have been a burden. She told me that because he is part of the same household, he is culpable too and we could both be found guilty of fraud.
These agencies will be more than happy to send innocent people to jail for misunderstanding how a fucked-up system works. The fact is, neither my son nor I would survive prison, and this move is our last hope. If things do not work out for us here, our only other options become homelessness or suicide.
This is why I, a democratic socialist, agree with my late Libertarian father regarding government agencies.
Do not trust them damn crooked vultures.
They will fuck you from the left, from the right, upside down, and sideways, and they will feel no remorse about destroying your life.
My father also did not trust mental health agencies and people such as psychologists and psychiatrists, who, very often, are as fucked up or more so than the people they are supposed to treat.
I wish I had listened to you, Dad. Because right now I'm afraid I've fucked everything up by trying to do the right thing. 
Please listen to my dad. There were a lot of things I disagreed with the old man on, but I agree wholeheartedly with him on this one. Don't trust government agencies. They do not have your best interests at heart by any stretch of the imagination.

~Sly Has Spoken~

Image copyright

Friday, August 16, 2019

Fat Friday #13: Dismissal of Fat Women's Health Concerns

"Health Professionals" be like

Excess exposure to cortisol can result in endocrine problems such as Cushing's syndrome. One of the presenting symptoms of Cushing's syndrome is weight gain and difficulty losing weight. Yet most doctors will scold larger women, admonishing them to "just lose weight", regardless of what the patient tells them is going on. 
I have issues with every endocrine system in my body. I have hypothyroidism and diabetes. I had PCOS, but being two years post-menopausal, my ovaries are now atrophied. I have been begging doctors for years to screen me for Cushing's syndrome, but they refuse to do so.
I don't care about being thin. With my endocrine system, I'll never be thin unless something catastrophic happens. What I do care about is the fact that excess cortisol exposure can lead to heart problems. Currently, my heart is fine. I would like to keep it that way for as long as possible.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Real Cie Reviews + FOAD Thursday: Harassment is Sexy and Fat People Aren't Even Human

Rating: Since there ain't no zeros, I'll give you a one

Nora Roberts' Nightshade is a trope-laden mess. Initially, I enjoyed the "hard-boiled detective narrative from a female perspective," but, fairly quickly, the cracks began to show.
I became tired of the male protagonist disrespecting the female protagonist's comfort zones and this being written as sexy rather than as harassment. She was not only supposed to endure it, but she was also supposed to enjoy it. Because nothing is hotter than a guy who won't take no for an answer.
The icing on the unpalatable cake was the "disgusting fat cat lady" who "had two chins and was working on a third," and the hero could see "at least two hundred pounds of bulk under her dress." This woman proceeds to "rub one of her chins."
I thought that Eleanor the cat lady was the most interesting character in the whole mess. I would have enjoyed reading Eleanor the Cat Lady's story. I would like a whole series of Eleanor the Cat Lady stories, where Eleanor is written as an interesting, eccentric, large human being, not a revolting, sub-human stereotype.
How hard would it have been to say that a large, elderly woman answered the door, and the hero could see several cats lying in the windows and on the furniture? The personable lady smiled and invited the hero in for cake and coffee. She was wearing a loudly colorful tunic which she may have made herself.
How easy it would have been to make the character both large and eccentric without being hateful.
Fuck Nora Roberts, and fuck every author who can't write a large character without insulting and dehumanizing them.
So done with this shit.

Cie does not recommend this book and she is unwilling to even share a link to this book even though she needs every cent she can get her broke-ass hands on.

Here is a link to my Goodreads review.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Carpe Diem Field of Flowers: Honeysuckle

I can remember
the smell of honeysuckle
New Mexico night


I recently completed and am about to submit my manuscript for the Insecure Writers' Support Group anthology contest. The genre is middle-grade historical fantasy/action.
I normally write for adults. I find writing for youth extremely challenging. I ended up opting to write a lightly fictionalized autobiography of myself between childhood and my pre-teen years which centered around my imagination and the fantastical fiction genres which inspired me. In writing about myself I ended up opening a lot of pockets of unresolved grief.
The place I lived between the ages of four and nine was a semi-rural pocket in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where people could have small farms and keep chickens and such. We had a very large yard, a half-acre. Unfortunately, the house was in rather a shoddy condition and cockroaches the size of school buses had a tendency to get inside. The bugs are huge in New Mexico, and I was not keen on that. But I did love the little skinks and horned toads and such. We also had many beautiful plants around such as the honeysuckle vines, and the cicadas would sing us to sleep.
I was a very shy child and did not have many friends. The characters I met in fantasy worlds were my friends, as were my pets and the animals in our yard.
Although I was born in the Western United States and raised in the Southwest for a number of years, my parents were both from New York. When certain relatives would visit, they would ridicule my accent. A New Mexico accent is a bit of an off-Texas drawl. To this day, I bristle whenever anyone askes the seemingly innocent question: "where are you from?" To me, that question is loaded.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Friday, August 9, 2019

Fat Friday #12: How to get Fat Acceptance Completely Wrong

Cie takes a step back and leaves today's Fat Friday post to her politically incorrect alter-ego, Sly Fawkes.

I recently read a rant by a young (thin) woman proclaiming that fat liberation shouldn't intersect with feminism because fat liberation is all about desperate fat women wanting to force men to think they are beautiful.
First, no.
Second, what the fuck?

This young lady has confused Ashley Graham curvysexalicious (yes, Ashley actually referred to herself that way) Fun Empowered Free the Nipple Liberal Feminism For Plus Size Babes with real fat liberation or fat acceptance. Sadly, I thought she had something on the ball before she wrote this steaming, hateful pile of nonsense.

Real fat acceptance has fuck all to do with wanting to force men to think fat women are beautiful.
Most of us fat women give this many fucks about having some contingent of pea-brained douchebros think we're beautiful.

Here is what fat acceptance is actually concerned with, and I think these issues are very much feminist concerns. While fat men suffer too in a thin-centric society, there is additional pressure placed on fat women for not conforming to misogynistic and unrealistic standards of hotness. Racism and classism also come into play in the thinness equates with beauty while fatness equates with slovenliness, commonness, and undesirability screed. The Slender White Woman is held up as the ideal by women's magazines. Men's magazines also hold up the Slender White Woman as the ideal, while insisting that she also have impossibly large yet perky breasts.

Fat acceptance is concerned with the fact that fat people tend to not receive adequate medical care. Doctors prescribe weight loss for every problem imaginable while not listening to the patient's actual concerns. Since women's concerns tend to be dismissed as it is, this goes doubly for fat women. The case of Ellen Maud Bennett may seem extreme but is sadly far more common than people realize. 

Ellen was a 64-year-old Canadian woman who died from ovarian cancer, which could have been treatable if it had been addressed in its early stages. She had been feeling ill for years, but doctors never did anything beyond telling her to lose weight. Shame on all of them. They should all be held accountable for her death.

In my own case, I did not have a pelvic exam for close to thirty years, in part due to past sexual trauma, in part due to fear that I would be shamed for my body. I only went to an OB/GYN within the past two years because of post-menopausal bleeding, which turned out to be due to simple endometrial hyperplasia with normal cells. As this only raises the risk of endometrial cancer to 1.6 percent greater than the risk for someone who has no hyperplasia, I have opted against a hysterectomy (the recommended procedure) at this time. If I had presented with complex hyperplasia or abnormal cells, which raise the risk of endometrial cancer to 36% greater than a woman with no hyperplasia, I would have had the hysterectomy.

The appalling treatment of larger people, particularly larger women, by the current size-shaming medical system should definitely be a feminist concern. I give no fucks if some dumb dudebro finds me attractive. I want my health concerns to be taken seriously when I seek medical treatment. I do not want medical professionals to dismiss me as either "hysterical" because I am a woman or a pariah because I am fat.

Fat people tend to be passed over for promotions, that is if they are hired at all. Discrimination against fat applicants means that fat people are more likely to live in poverty. Given that women already have strikes against us when seeking employment, fat women face even greater discrimination. I would say that is very definitely a feminist concern.

Just because a small number of plus-size models describe themselves using dumb terms like "curvysexalicious" and a few (understandably) angry big women make the regrettable error of posting "real women have curves" or "only dogs want bones" types of memes does not erase the real goals and real concerns of the fat acceptance/fat liberation movement. By the way, don't post those memes. They're ignorant. Nobody should be shamed for their body type. And you can refer to yourself as "curvysexalicious" if you want, but I'm gonna give you the side-eye if you do.

All fat people face stigmatization and discrimination. Fat women get an extra helping of discrimination for not adhering to arbitrary and unrealistic standards of beauty. These are absolutely issues which should be addressed by the feminist movement. Unless feminism is only for thin women, which is what some "feminists" seem to be implying.

Also, the assertion that fat liberation only concerns itself with forcing men to think fat women are beautiful makes me wonder if the individual making that (inane) statement is unaware that there are fat women of the non-straight persuasion. 

Guess there have never been any fat bisexual or lesbian feminists. Nope, can't think of a single one.

Radass Badass Andrea Dworkin (26 September 1946 - 9 April 2005)
Apparently a figment of fevered feminist imagination.

As Andrea Dworkin once said, "if an ignoramus you are, speak you should not."
Oh, wait. That was Yoda.

~Sly Has Spoken~

Image copyright juliahenze

Real Cie Reviews: Tarot Coloring Book

This is a beautifully designed little book with wonderfully intricate pictures to color. Meditate on the archetypal images while relaxing, relieving stress, and allowing your subconscious to strengthen and expand. Coloring is a wonderful and soothing activity for adults and can be helpful for those working through trauma. The designs are innovative and will please those who collect and enjoy Tarot cards.

Print the pages from the e-book or purchase the physical book with the pages ready to go!


Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Carpe Diem Field of Flowers: No Bougainvillea In My Dreams

my heart does not see
dreams dressed in romantic pink
my heart sees nightshade


Sunday, August 4, 2019

Carpe Diem Field of Flowers: Drooping Sunflower

Like a sunflower
Grown too heavy for its stalk
My weary head droops


Carpe Diem Little Ones: Sedoka: In the Mirror

Image by Michael Gaida from Pixabay

Face in the mirror
Painting its cheeks with color
While painting its heart with lies

Painted-on pretty
Never healed a single wound
I was lying to myself


It's been said that I have body dysmorphic disorder. In any case, I have always thought myself shockingly, astoundingly, hideously ugly. I used to wear a lot of make-up. I haven't worn make-up in about 15 years because it causes my eczema to flare.
I think this society places far too much value on a very narrow definition of physical "beauty." We live in a world where hotness is the most desired attribute and lust is the most coveted sensation. I don't think this is healthy for either individuals or society as a whole.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Fat Friday #11: A Big Fat Reminder from a Big Fat Broad

The facial puffiness is colloquially referred to as a "moon face." It is a hallmark of people who have certain kinds of endocrine problems. Flushed skin is another symptom of endocrine problems. I feel hot all the time and become fatigued extremely easily. I have very low endurance. 

I am fully aware that exactly nobody would find me attractive. I give exactly zero fucks about nobody finding me attractive. Why does my or anyone else's worth have to be tied to how fuckable the average schmoe perceives them to be? I think the fact that hotness is the most coveted attribute is the sign of an extremely shallow society.

Further, I don't want to fuck you. I have the libido of roadkill, and I wouldn't bother myself with anyone who has so little depth that they go around judging and belittling others based on their physical appearance.

I spent 33 years trying to hate myself thin. I developed bulimia at twelve. Fortunately, I discovered Health at Every Size and Size Acceptance at 45, or I'd still be trying to hate myself thin at 54.

I no longer put up with people telling me how my body should be. They do not live in my body. I have a myriad of endocrine problems which mean that I will probably never be thin unless I do what my great-grandmother did. She developed acute myelogenous leukemia, dropped from 300 pounds to 95 in the space of a year, and died. But, hey, at least she cut a svelte figure in her casket, amirite?

People who scrutinize and judge other people's bodies are not worth my time. I refuse to participate in diet culture and all of the promotion of eating disorders and self-hate that it gives rise to.