Daily Archives: June 4, 2013

In the Round (Oval? Rectangle?)

Good morning/afternoon/evening, as this finds you!

I’m writing to you today from the office, where sunshine is beaming through the window, and I actually have happily consumed a meal. There’s already work partially done, and more arranged to keep me busy for the remainder of the day (all um… two hours, hee hee. It took us a bit to get free from my in-law’s house!).

In short, I’m feeling nearly human again. I’ve bounced back well from yesterday’s early shock, and am almost to a point where I can handle a small task that I’ve been putting off for weeks (I need to write a rejection letter to someone. I always fret about such because I want to make very sure that I am polite and not over the top). I don’t know if my braining is really to ‘normal’ par, but it’s good enough to be celebrated. I’m still appropriately wary though — much like the stereotype about the frequency of sunny days here in England, I know my good days number significantly less than my bad (or at best, neutral).

Suffices to say, I will continue to do my best to not push myself too hard. I want to be able to enjoy feeling ‘good’, and continuing to break myself of doing for the sake of doing is a good step towards learning how to relax legitimately. I might still try to encourage myself to work on that poor NaNo story though — I got an email reminding me the reward of free copies of the story expires soon.

For now though, back to enjoying the relative serenity of our lovely basement space, and getting some work done. I hope everyone is doing well out there.

<3

The post In the Round (Oval? Rectangle?) appeared first on The Scarlet B.

The bipolar octopus

It just occurred to me that I feel pulled in so many different directions at all times that bipolar brain is a lot like an octopus in that it has so many tentacles that can do so many things at once, yet it still part of the same entity.

I feel better today. Cramps are fading out, resting in my back now. Not great, but it means it’s running its course. I couldn’t sleep last night, couldn’t get comfortable, at all. My mind kept spinning, this direction, that, should get up, do this, do that…And the more it span, the more stressed I got, which made me want to do anything even less. Some people thrive on stress and deadlines and pressure. I don’t. If anything, it has the opposite affect. So for about ninety minutes, I tossed and turned. Woke up three times during the night.

The last time it was 5 am and I couldn’t back to sleep. So I got up.

And the octopus started tentacle swinging again.

I said I’d make meatloaf today for shop lunch. Well, I have the hamburger and it’s gonna go to waste, so even if R doesn’t deserve the nice gesture, I need to do it…

Fuck, it’s trash day, I need to get the cat boxes cleaned and trash outside, then I need to get trash to the curb.

Shit, I smell, I need a damn shower.

Damn it, the cats are fighting again.

I am bored with all my music, I need to burn a new cd, but oh fuck, what songs do I want to put on it, I am so sick of everything…

What am I gonna wear today? It’s chilly but won’t be by afternoon, do I have anything clean…

FUCK FUCK FUCK, I don’t wanna go to the shop, damn it, he said I could come in a couple of days a week, whatever it would take to make me happy, and here we are right back to the way it was, with him expecting me there every goddamn day, clueless as to why I am pissy, and arranging outcalls, to use my car, so I can’t leave and have to be there, but no why would that piss me off?

GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

Tentacles.

Thoughts.

Same thing.

I’m flummoxed.

I have been thinking HARD about my appt with the shrink next week. And as much as it galls me, and fills me with dread and anxiety and sheer panic, I am leaning toward going back to Lithium. When I think about it, other than the weight issues, the sun/hydration thing, and having to take them with something on my stomach, it wasn’t so bad. Except for the dead inside feeling and the stupid trips to the hospital lab for bloodwork. Shit. But since I am seemingly unable to “regulate” my emotions, maybe dead inside is better. I know it makes those around me happy as clams if I am a robot.

The Donor said he liked me that way, then he didn’t, then he thought I was too emotional, then I was too dead and no fun.

With people sending messages like that, it’s hard to tell what the right thing to do is. I shouldn’t even remember the shit he said because he is well, he’s the donor, but it left a mark. The people around me want it both ways, they want me fun and manic, but also stable and human. With psych meds, whether it should be or not, it’s often a trade off. To get the stable and human thing, you have to sacrifice the manic happy fun ball.

But I think the lamictal has run its course. Tachyphylaxis. My meds work for a couple of years, then suddenly they don’t. Frustrates the fuck out of doctors, they seem to think I just like taking various pills with multiple side effects for shits and giggles. I would LOVE to find one med that just works and keeps working. About as likely as locating the magical mythical unicorn.

Though I am sure the optimists would glue a horn on a horse and say, “Look, you said it didn’t exist, you were wrong, now you can’t be so negative!”

R can’t comprehend why anyone would have a problem with optimism. Well, gag factor aside, since shiny happy people with their heads in the sand just simply piss me off since reality has nothing to do with their view of the world…

I listened to a man for three years telling me how we just had to hang on, work harder at the marriage, it would all work out fine, we were fine, everything was fine. Until one day he couldn’t spew rainbows anymore and he just split. Yeah, optimism worked there.

He left scars,but the oddest thing is, I am more affected by the shit that happens everyday concerning R than the donor, because when it came down to it, I didn’t invest a whole lot of emotion in the donor. I loved him, but not to any deep level, because my gut told me to keep my quills extended. And it’s good, otherwise the whole mess could have destroyed me. That it didn’t says it all.

But the way he has done his daughter…THAT makes him a jerk. She didn’t do any of this. But he abandoned her just the same, saving his own ass, as his pattern. I don’t want anything to do with that “man” but he is her father and for her sake, I would and will suck it up if the time comes. I wonder if he can say the same.

It does prey on my mind, how he could do that to her. But then, we watch a lot of Springer and shit at the shop, and men and women do it to their children everyday. It’s not an anomaly. The ability to reproduce does not make one a parent. Parenting is in the hard work and the tears and joy and fears and frustrations. If you can’t handle the whole of it all, then you’re not a parent, you are biological material donor.

Wow, I really got off track.

But then, isn’t that the point? The bipolar tentacles just take me all over the place. I truly believe my lack of focus is an attribute of the bipolar. I used to think I just didn’t finish stuff because I was flaky and lazy but I never started anything with the purpose of quitting. It just gets where I have too many balls in the air and I am not a juggler so a lot of them get dropped. It does not reflect well on me, but I do the best I can, even if it’s never good enough for others.

So..There’s something to discuss with the sunshine spewer tomorrow.

Why am I so preoccupied with what others think/say/do? I never have been in my life. Had I been, my life would have been so much easier. I still don’t care what people think about the way I look, what I like, what I listen to, what I watch…I don’t care being the crazy cat lady or the fact chick or the crazy chick.

But for whatever reason, I have something stuck in my craw that makes me feel guilty every single day I have to go to that shop. Guilty for being me, for being so complicated, for being so annoying, for being so…me.

WHY?????

Back to the tentacles.

Cleaned the cat boxes,  trash is outside,  meatloaf is in the oven.

Now I suppose I should work toward a shower, even though I don’t want to. What’s the fucking point of looking nice on the outside when I am apparently so ugly on the inside?

On a positive note…I am now up to 102 followers. That’s awesome. Especially because a few years ago when I first entertained the idea of a blog about my bipolar, the Donor told me I should have a fun blog, nobody wanted to read about my depressing shit.

I wonder if he ever gets tired of being wrong.

I’m no Shakespeare but I think this blog serves a purpose. Educating, commiserating, informing, occasionally eliciting a smirk or giggle. That’s all I set out to do.

This is my therapy.

And this is my journey.

Thanks to everyone along for the ride.

Now I have to go loofah my tentacles. :)

 

 


Workshop, Days 2 and 3

Day 2 was slightly better than Day 1, but started out like shit.  Linda and I woke up, and she told me I didn’t need to go downstairs to meet with Thor since I wasn’t involved in the data analysis.  Fine with me.  I knew the tasks I had to do with the workshop materials were relatively simple.  Time consuming, but simple.

This was clearly an error, however, because I got down stairs about 30 minutes after 10a and Thor was fucking pissed.  He gave me this whole big to-do about being on time.  I blinked, and said, that’s fine.  I was actually surprised at how well I kept my composure at this verbal attack so early in the morning, but clearly after the day before, my bullshit threshold had increased and I was unfazed.  Of course, I didn’t need his help *at all* to work on the materials, and it was really just annoying to be there because their conversation interrupted my train of thought.

Somewhere in there, Linda started saying that she wasn’t feeling well.  She had some kind of scab on her leg that looked to me like an ingrown hair.  Suddenly, she was convinced that she had a staph infection.  At one point, she said she was absolutely positive about it.  Although I was highly doubtful, she said she’d had it twice before so she knew 100% that it was.  Then, she started feeling sick and was convinced she had the flu.  She was freaking out.  Then, she was freaking out and saying she was going to fly home.  Then *I* was freaking out that my genius plan was all for nothing.  See, I knew my spanish was weak, so I reconciled all of the work and prep I did for the class with the fact that I would have Linda teach it in Spanish.  Therefore, I did not have to teach in Spanish, which would have been very stressful given my level of fluency.  Now, I had done all the work, and was looking at also having to teach the class.  In Spanish.  Dear god.

By the end of Day 2, Linda decided she was going straight to bed.  Moreover, she would be staying in bed all day the next day.  I would be teaching the class.  Still, having her stay in bed while I did the work was still a net gain over listening to her have a freaking panic attack and complaining all the time about how much Mexico sucked and she hated being there.  I was ready to stab myself in the eye with a fork at one point.

The morning of Day 3, I grabbed a notebook and began writing down key words.  It’s kind of difficult to anticipate all of the words you will need in an advanced statistics course being taught to graduate students and professors, but I did my best.  I was dizzy and shaking from fear.  I already have a tremendous fear of speaking, but add the stress of teaching in another language (in which you are decidedly NOT fluent) to other grads and faculty, and I was just doomed.  I spent the morning trying not to throw up.  I kept thinking of words last minute.  I assigned Thor the role of answering questions, because I just couldn’t envision myself being able to compute questions on the spot with all of my anxiety at peak levels.

I stood in front of the class, trembling.  My voice shook as I introduced myself and then the topic.  I got a question, which I had to direct to Thor because my mind was completely blank.

Then…something fucking magical happened.

The whole culmination of my preparation of materials and understanding the material and teaching experience and writing down key words had apparently percolated sufficiently and suddenly, I was teaching the course in Spanish.  With almost no help from Thor.  I felt like Forest Gump in that scene where he realizes he could run fast as shit.  That was me.  The chick version of Forest Gump and instead of running, I was teaching in Spanish.

I saw the change reflected in the attendees too.  Suddenly, they were looking at me with big round eyes and big smiles on their faces.  Marisa was in the back of the room, *beaming* at me.  We were all thinking the same thing.

This fucking gringa can speak Spanish.


Workshop, Days 2 and 3

Day 2 was slightly better than Day 1, but started out like shit.  Linda and I woke up, and she told me I didn’t need to go downstairs to meet with Thor since I wasn’t involved in the data analysis.  Fine with me.  I knew the tasks I had to do with the workshop materials were relatively simple.  Time consuming, but simple.

This was clearly an error, however, because I got down stairs about 30 minutes after 10a and Thor was fucking pissed.  He gave me this whole big to-do about being on time.  I blinked, and said, that’s fine.  I was actually surprised at how well I kept my composure at this verbal attack so early in the morning, but clearly after the day before, my bullshit threshold had increased and I was unfazed.  Of course, I didn’t need his help *at all* to work on the materials, and it was really just annoying to be there because their conversation interrupted my train of thought.

Somewhere in there, Linda started saying that she wasn’t feeling well.  She had some kind of scab on her leg that looked to me like an ingrown hair.  Suddenly, she was convinced that she had a staph infection.  At one point, she said she was absolutely positive about it.  Although I was highly doubtful, she said she’d had it twice before so she knew 100% that it was.  Then, she started feeling sick and was convinced she had the flu.  She was freaking out.  Then, she was freaking out and saying she was going to fly home.  Then *I* was freaking out that my genius plan was all for nothing.  See, I knew my spanish was weak, so I reconciled all of the work and prep I did for the class with the fact that I would have Linda teach it in Spanish.  Therefore, I did not have to teach in Spanish, which would have been very stressful given my level of fluency.  Now, I had done all the work, and was looking at also having to teach the class.  In Spanish.  Dear god.

By the end of Day 2, Linda decided she was going straight to bed.  Moreover, she would be staying in bed all day the next day.  I would be teaching the class.  Still, having her stay in bed while I did the work was still a net gain over listening to her have a freaking panic attack and complaining all the time about how much Mexico sucked and she hated being there.  I was ready to stab myself in the eye with a fork at one point.

The morning of Day 3, I grabbed a notebook and began writing down key words.  It’s kind of difficult to anticipate all of the words you will need in an advanced statistics course being taught to graduate students and professors, but I did my best.  I was dizzy and shaking from fear.  I already have a tremendous fear of speaking, but add the stress of teaching in another language (in which you are decidedly NOT fluent) to other grads and faculty, and I was just doomed.  I spent the morning trying not to throw up.  I kept thinking of words last minute.  I assigned Thor the role of answering questions, because I just couldn’t envision myself being able to compute questions on the spot with all of my anxiety at peak levels.

I stood in front of the class, trembling.  My voice shook as I introduced myself and then the topic.  I got a question, which I had to direct to Thor because my mind was completely blank.

Then…something fucking magical happened.

The whole culmination of my preparation of materials and understanding the material and teaching experience and writing down key words had apparently percolated sufficiently and suddenly, I was teaching the course in Spanish.  With almost no help from Thor.  I felt like Forest Gump in that scene where he realizes he could run fast as shit.  That was me.  The chick version of Forest Gump and instead of running, I was teaching in Spanish.

I saw the change reflected in the attendees too.  Suddenly, they were looking at me with big round eyes and big smiles on their faces.  Marisa was in the back of the room, *beaming* at me.  We were all thinking the same thing.

This fucking gringa can speak Spanish.


Workshop, Day 1

We arrived in Hermosillo earlier than I had anticipated.  The sun was still out when we pulled into the parking lot.  The hotel’s glimmering glass doors parted, granting us entry to the marble-floored reception.  A spiral staircase wound up through the center of the room, and a sparkling pool waited outside.  We dropped off our things, and immediately changed into bathing suits.  Linda and I ordered pina coladas, which were brought to us poolside.  I swam laps, reveling in the cool water and letting the tension from the road dissipate.  I hit the treadmill for another 45 minutes, watching the sun’s reflection fade against a desert hill across from the hotel, and then got ready for dinner.

We met up with our group, and it was practically my first interaction with Spanish.  I kept quiet for the most part, and tried to follow along, pretty unsuccessfully.  I was familiar with this process, since it had happened in Chile a few years back.  I would simply suck at conversation for a short period of time until I got my bearings.  Fortunately, I’d been sitting in on Skype conference calls in Spanish for the past couple of months, so my comprehension had gone from almost nothing up to about 75%.  Really, the biggest issue was if people asked me a question.  Passively listening, no one could tell that I was delayed in understanding.  But when addressed directly, there was the delay, and the added anxiety of having to generate a response, so I was really just a hot mess in those situations.

We had a flight first thing in the morning to head over to Mexico City in the morning for our first four-day workshop.  The flight felt longer than I had expected, but I had a book with me.  We were picked up from the airport by “Marisa”, our contact in Iztapalapa.  Again, I was pretty quiet.  I still didn’t have my Spanish-speaking hat on yet.  Marisa looked a little nervous, so my advisor quickly reassured her that Linda would be teaching the class.  It made me feel useless, but I took a deep breath and gave myself permission to acclimate.  So I wouldn’t dazzle them at first.  Just wait.

The drive to the hotel was…startling.  For a while, it reminded me of my trip to Chile a few years ago.  There were tons of similarities, even at the airport.  Then, the city started to turn.  On a busy main road I saw a young woman dressed provocatively on the sidewalk.  It didn’t really hit me until we had passed 4, 5, maybe 6 women–within a city block.  Prostitutes!  Out in the open, just waiting.  Shit just got real.

We also got some other bad news.  The original plan was great.  We’d start the workshop at 4pm each day, M-Th.  That meant that the laboratory portion that Linda and I were responsible for would go from 6-7p.  In other words, we’d have all day to trip around, and I could get work done on my summer class that started two days after our return from Mexico.  Now, we found out that there was some problem with the scheduling…Not only would our schedule be changed, but it wouldn’t even be a regular schedule.  Now, we started at 12p on Monday and Thursday, and 2pm on Tuesday and Wednesday.  On top of that, our hotel was almost an hour away from the university, and my advisor wanted to attend talks in the morning.  In summary, our days were completely fucked.

We finally arrived at our hotel, and instructed not to leave under any circumstances by ourselves.  Hmm…

Once I got my hotel key, I was pleasantly surprised to walk in to a beautiful, spacious hotel room, with a flat screen TV and DVD player, where we could watch the first season of Game of Thrones, and large, private bathroom with an ample supply of travel sundries.  I was surprised because the website for this hotel was, let’s just say, sparse.  I was not looking forward to the stay there until I got to the room.  Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad after all.

Come morning, however, it was a different story.  My advisor…we’ll call him Thor…was in a terrible mood.  From the first minute, he was pissed off.  Pissed off that we weren’t down stairs earlier, pissed off about the food, pissed off about the service, the chairs, the room.  All of it.

In fairness, the breakfast was pretty awful and I saw his point about the chairs.  They were seriously made for really small people.  And Thor, let’s just say, is decidedly NOT a small person.  It pretty much sealed the deal when the waiter came back and told us we had to pay for our shitty food, even though we were told it was included.

We were supposed to arrive at the University early to be at some opening ceremony for the International Conference that was going on at the time, and Thor was so pissed off, he said fuck the ceremony, we’re packing our shit and going to a different hotel.  Linda and I looked at each other sideways, thinking the same thing: This is going to be a long day.

We had “30” minutes to pack everything and be back downstairs.  But really, it was only like 15 before Thor called up to the room and barked that we needed to get downstairs in 3 minutes. Clothes and toiletries were thrown haphazardly back into bags. Luggage in tow, made our way back to the lobby.  We were driven to the University, and ended up leaving our luggage in the car, which I don’t even do where I *live*, let alone in Mexico.

There was no time to argue, though, because Thor was on a rampage.  The poor student who picked us up was frantically trying to text Marisa to let her know about the hotel situation.  Then, we got to the site of the International Conference, and Thor’s face quickly morphed into an expression of clear dissatisfaction.

Stairs.  He couldn’t take stairs.

Now, it would be true to say that Thor was acting a bit like a primadonna that morning.  A Diva, even, as Linda had succinctly put it.  But the stairs were another issue entirely.  Thor is grossly overweight, and that’s even after losing enough weight to constitute an entire human being.  He can’t walk for long, and stairs are just out of the question.

We made it up those stairs exactly one time. After seeing what constituted this so called big conference, it now deserves quotation marks.  An “international conference”, where the first talk was seriously an argument for the divination of Hugo Chavez.  Seriously.  Thor, a staunch libertarian, left the room after 5 minutes.  I went outside myself after about 45 minutes of feeling like it was a complete waste of time, frustrated that I’d be spending my mornings attending this BS conference rather than working on my class.

A sliver of hope.  Thor told me that under no circumstances would he be attending this event after that day.  Thank god.

We had a short break before our workshop started, so we walked to a street just outside the university.  It was a small, narrow street, clogged with traffic and cyclists, and vendors selling cheap trinkets and pirated DVDs.  The “restaurant” was decidedly sketch.  I couldn’t understand the conversation.  I felt meek and ignorant.  Patience, I reminded myself.  Just keep trying.

Much to my dissatisfaction, I discovered that the current plan at the moment was to stay at Marisa’s house.  Now, just taking stock of everything, I quickly realized how awful that would be.  We were in a poor ass town, at a poor ass university.  Marisa was a professor at this poor ass university, which means she probably didn’t make shit, income-wise.  Which meant we would probably end up sleeping on couches and sharing a bathroom with Thor.  I was fucking livid but I did my best to keep my cool.  Still, the day’s stresses were becoming unbearable.

Soon, it was time for the workshop to start.  I had to use the restroom and discovered that there were absolutely no toilet seats, whatsoever, and you’d be lucky to have toilet paper.  Inevitably, I had left my portable toilet supplies at the hotel.  Big mistake.  Drip dry it was.

Fortunately, on the way back to the room, the conference organizer stopped me in the hall and told me that he’d found us another hotel.  Honestly, I only understood “other hotel”, so I thanked him and brought the news back to Thor and Linda.

Thor talked for over two hours, gouging into our laboratory session.  I was frantically making final revisions on the laboratory materials.  Linda didn’t offer to help, or even seem to think about whether the materials were ready.  Over the past week, though, I had learned that involving her was actually more work than doing it myself because she is technologically illiterate.  At times, it was maddening because there was SO. MUCH. TO. DO.  And she was virtually useless in that regard.  That was aggravating on its own, but it became even worse later.  Hold that thought.

We were brought over to the computer lab about 5 minutes before it was supposed to start, which is never a good thing.  The computers didn’t have the program we needed to run the statistics software.  Moreover, downloading it was going to take, for some stupid reason, 35 freaking minutes.  Linda had *no* idea what was going on.  Somehow, she also didn’t seem to notice how fucking unprofessional and retarded we looked.  We were 40 minutes into our hour-long slot and literally zero had happened.  I broke out into a sweat.

I was not about to have my professional reputation sullied by incompetence, so I stood up and told Thor that we were changing the format of today’s class, and then told Linda that we needed to introduce the program with the User Interface document I had created.  This document provided step by step instructions, with screen shots, for everything we would be doing in the program and more.

I was frustrated.  If I had spoken better Spanish, this snafu would have been minimized considerably.  I could have easily worked around it and minimized the effect on students.  Instead, we looked like freaking dodo birds.

Moreover, Linda had been substantially less involved in the preparation for the course.  She simply hadn’t been available for a number of meetings for various reasons.  A few times, for work.  Other times, not so valiant reasons.  I don’t remember if I mentioned this in my last post, but began working on this workshop the Saturday after finals ended, and one week exactly before leaving to Mexico.  We met around 11 or so in the morning, and Linda was hung over as fuck.  We wasted the first hour talking about personal crap, before I turned the conversation to the workshop.  I asked her two questions: 1) how much work was she willing to do, and 2) how much time did she have.  She seemed interested in producing high quality work, so I told her my ideas about creating PowerPoints, the User Interface with screen shots, Annotated Outputs, and so on.  About another hour or so in, we realized the restaurant was closing and would have to change locations to a coffee shop.  I arrived at the coffee shop, and she called me to ask if I was there already.

Yeeeeesssss…why, I asked.  And she said, I feel like shit I just want to take a nap.  A lightening bolt of disgust/annoyance/anger struck, but I took a deep breath and closed my eyes to recenter.  I asked her what other time she had to work.  Of course, I already knew she didn’t have any other time, but I clearly had to remind her about that, and to indicate that under no circumstances would I do all of this on my own.  Little did I know at the time…

Finally, she came to the coffee shop.  What followed was 6 hours of fucking AGONY.  I set her to the task of taking screen shots of the whole process we’d be going through in class.  Meanwhile, I’d work on the PowerPoints.  What actually happened was I did not have even ONE 5 minute span where I was not interrupted to solve a problem.  By 9:30pm, my head was pounding, and we had gotten almost nothing done.  I didn’t even have all day to work on this, because grades were due two days later and I still had a MOUNTAIN of shit to grade.  Finally I decided I’d get more done on my own and ended the “meeting”.  I had resolved myself to the fact that I simply did not have time to sleep.  I went home, popped a Nuvigil, and redid everything for the workshop.  I finished around 9am, took a small break, and then started grading.

Meanwhile, I’m getting texts from Linda about her out of town trip, which had suddenly morphed into a spontaneous trip to Vegas.  She’s texting about stopping to go shopping and two free nights in Vegas and drinking.  Originally, it was just a one night deal, and she said she would have time to help Monday night.  Clearly, that wasn’t happening anymore.  Meanwhile I’m at home, in physical agony from exhaustion and frustration from grading shitty papers.  It was absolutely fucking maddening, but it was slightly less maddening than trying to get her to accomplish any work, so it felt like a net win.  And that’s just sad.

Anyway, back to Mexico.  The point of that whole digression is that I was having meetings with my advisor to get clarification about the topic and have the materials approved and to make sure I understood what was being taught.  Linda, on the other hand, got none of this, which meant that a good 30% of the work I did was neglected entirely.  Which also meant that Mexican students were getting a worse deal than they should have, in terms of education and the value-added of paying to attend our class.  She blew through conceptual stuff, background stuff, and anything extra.  She did a black-and-white, step by step of the program, and then said, yep, well that’s it!  I had to use everything I had to keep my poker face on, because she was making our class sound fucking pointless.  There was literally zero pedagogical skill going on there, even though she had sat in on and observed me teach the workshop in the US, where I did go over those very topics.

Finally, the agony ended, and we were driven to our new hotel.  It was in an even more sketch area, and was decidedly shittier than the original hotel.  The rooms weren’t as nice, and there was like NO privacy for bathroom related activities.  The shower opened right out into the room.  Thankfully there was a door for the toilet.  It was disappointing to say the least, but Thor was happy, so I put my fucking game face on and said it was fine.

We all met down in the restaurant, where I immediately ordered a fucking cocktail that was glorious and wonderful.  We ate dinner, and made a plan to meet in the morning, because Linda was analyzing some data and I needed to make revisions to the User Interface, which had now, through some unspoken agreement by everyone but me, completely fallen on my shoulders.  Linda didn’t even ASK if she should help or indicate that she thought she should.  We’d be meeting at 10am the next day, 4 hours before the workshop started.  Then there was talk of going out to eat afterword.  In other words, the day was shot.

Finally, we made our way back up to the hotel room and zonked the fuck out.


Workshop, Day 1

We arrived in Hermosillo earlier than I had anticipated.  The sun was still out when we pulled into the parking lot.  The hotel’s glimmering glass doors parted, granting us entry to the marble-floored reception.  A spiral staircase wound up through the center of the room, and a sparkling pool waited outside.  We dropped off our things, and immediately changed into bathing suits.  Linda and I ordered pina coladas, which were brought to us poolside.  I swam laps, reveling in the cool water and letting the tension from the road dissipate.  I hit the treadmill for another 45 minutes, watching the sun’s reflection fade against a desert hill across from the hotel, and then got ready for dinner.

We met up with our group, and it was practically my first interaction with Spanish.  I kept quiet for the most part, and tried to follow along, pretty unsuccessfully.  I was familiar with this process, since it had happened in Chile a few years back.  I would simply suck at conversation for a short period of time until I got my bearings.  Fortunately, I’d been sitting in on Skype conference calls in Spanish for the past couple of months, so my comprehension had gone from almost nothing up to about 75%.  Really, the biggest issue was if people asked me a question.  Passively listening, no one could tell that I was delayed in understanding.  But when addressed directly, there was the delay, and the added anxiety of having to generate a response, so I was really just a hot mess in those situations.

We had a flight first thing in the morning to head over to Mexico City in the morning for our first four-day workshop.  The flight felt longer than I had expected, but I had a book with me.  We were picked up from the airport by “Marisa”, our contact in Iztapalapa.  Again, I was pretty quiet.  I still didn’t have my Spanish-speaking hat on yet.  Marisa looked a little nervous, so my advisor quickly reassured her that Linda would be teaching the class.  It made me feel useless, but I took a deep breath and gave myself permission to acclimate.  So I wouldn’t dazzle them at first.  Just wait.

The drive to the hotel was…startling.  For a while, it reminded me of my trip to Chile a few years ago.  There were tons of similarities, even at the airport.  Then, the city started to turn.  On a busy main road I saw a young woman dressed provocatively on the sidewalk.  It didn’t really hit me until we had passed 4, 5, maybe 6 women–within a city block.  Prostitutes!  Out in the open, just waiting.  Shit just got real.

We also got some other bad news.  The original plan was great.  We’d start the workshop at 4pm each day, M-Th.  That meant that the laboratory portion that Linda and I were responsible for would go from 6-7p.  In other words, we’d have all day to trip around, and I could get work done on my summer class that started two days after our return from Mexico.  Now, we found out that there was some problem with the scheduling…Not only would our schedule be changed, but it wouldn’t even be a regular schedule.  Now, we started at 12p on Monday and Thursday, and 2pm on Tuesday and Wednesday.  On top of that, our hotel was almost an hour away from the university, and my advisor wanted to attend talks in the morning.  In summary, our days were completely fucked.

We finally arrived at our hotel, and instructed not to leave under any circumstances by ourselves.  Hmm…

Once I got my hotel key, I was pleasantly surprised to walk in to a beautiful, spacious hotel room, with a flat screen TV and DVD player, where we could watch the first season of Game of Thrones, and large, private bathroom with an ample supply of travel sundries.  I was surprised because the website for this hotel was, let’s just say, sparse.  I was not looking forward to the stay there until I got to the room.  Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad after all.

Come morning, however, it was a different story.  My advisor…we’ll call him Thor…was in a terrible mood.  From the first minute, he was pissed off.  Pissed off that we weren’t down stairs earlier, pissed off about the food, pissed off about the service, the chairs, the room.  All of it.

In fairness, the breakfast was pretty awful and I saw his point about the chairs.  They were seriously made for really small people.  And Thor, let’s just say, is decidedly NOT a small person.  It pretty much sealed the deal when the waiter came back and told us we had to pay for our shitty food, even though we were told it was included.

We were supposed to arrive at the University early to be at some opening ceremony for the International Conference that was going on at the time, and Thor was so pissed off, he said fuck the ceremony, we’re packing our shit and going to a different hotel.  Linda and I looked at each other sideways, thinking the same thing: This is going to be a long day.

We had “30” minutes to pack everything and be back downstairs.  But really, it was only like 15 before Thor called up to the room and barked that we needed to get downstairs in 3 minutes. Clothes and toiletries were thrown haphazardly back into bags. Luggage in tow, made our way back to the lobby.  We were driven to the University, and ended up leaving our luggage in the car, which I don’t even do where I *live*, let alone in Mexico.

There was no time to argue, though, because Thor was on a rampage.  The poor student who picked us up was frantically trying to text Marisa to let her know about the hotel situation.  Then, we got to the site of the International Conference, and Thor’s face quickly morphed into an expression of clear dissatisfaction.

Stairs.  He couldn’t take stairs.

Now, it would be true to say that Thor was acting a bit like a primadonna that morning.  A Diva, even, as Linda had succinctly put it.  But the stairs were another issue entirely.  Thor is grossly overweight, and that’s even after losing enough weight to constitute an entire human being.  He can’t walk for long, and stairs are just out of the question.

We made it up those stairs exactly one time. After seeing what constituted this so called big conference, it now deserves quotation marks.  An “international conference”, where the first talk was seriously an argument for the divination of Hugo Chavez.  Seriously.  Thor, a staunch libertarian, left the room after 5 minutes.  I went outside myself after about 45 minutes of feeling like it was a complete waste of time, frustrated that I’d be spending my mornings attending this BS conference rather than working on my class.

A sliver of hope.  Thor told me that under no circumstances would he be attending this event after that day.  Thank god.

We had a short break before our workshop started, so we walked to a street just outside the university.  It was a small, narrow street, clogged with traffic and cyclists, and vendors selling cheap trinkets and pirated DVDs.  The “restaurant” was decidedly sketch.  I couldn’t understand the conversation.  I felt meek and ignorant.  Patience, I reminded myself.  Just keep trying.

Much to my dissatisfaction, I discovered that the current plan at the moment was to stay at Marisa’s house.  Now, just taking stock of everything, I quickly realized how awful that would be.  We were in a poor ass town, at a poor ass university.  Marisa was a professor at this poor ass university, which means she probably didn’t make shit, income-wise.  Which meant we would probably end up sleeping on couches and sharing a bathroom with Thor.  I was fucking livid but I did my best to keep my cool.  Still, the day’s stresses were becoming unbearable.

Soon, it was time for the workshop to start.  I had to use the restroom and discovered that there were absolutely no toilet seats, whatsoever, and you’d be lucky to have toilet paper.  Inevitably, I had left my portable toilet supplies at the hotel.  Big mistake.  Drip dry it was.

Fortunately, on the way back to the room, the conference organizer stopped me in the hall and told me that he’d found us another hotel.  Honestly, I only understood “other hotel”, so I thanked him and brought the news back to Thor and Linda.

Thor talked for over two hours, gouging into our laboratory session.  I was frantically making final revisions on the laboratory materials.  Linda didn’t offer to help, or even seem to think about whether the materials were ready.  Over the past week, though, I had learned that involving her was actually more work than doing it myself because she is technologically illiterate.  At times, it was maddening because there was SO. MUCH. TO. DO.  And she was virtually useless in that regard.  That was aggravating on its own, but it became even worse later.  Hold that thought.

We were brought over to the computer lab about 5 minutes before it was supposed to start, which is never a good thing.  The computers didn’t have the program we needed to run the statistics software.  Moreover, downloading it was going to take, for some stupid reason, 35 freaking minutes.  Linda had *no* idea what was going on.  Somehow, she also didn’t seem to notice how fucking unprofessional and retarded we looked.  We were 40 minutes into our hour-long slot and literally zero had happened.  I broke out into a sweat.

I was not about to have my professional reputation sullied by incompetence, so I stood up and told Thor that we were changing the format of today’s class, and then told Linda that we needed to introduce the program with the User Interface document I had created.  This document provided step by step instructions, with screen shots, for everything we would be doing in the program and more.

I was frustrated.  If I had spoken better Spanish, this snafu would have been minimized considerably.  I could have easily worked around it and minimized the effect on students.  Instead, we looked like freaking dodo birds.

Moreover, Linda had been substantially less involved in the preparation for the course.  She simply hadn’t been available for a number of meetings for various reasons.  A few times, for work.  Other times, not so valiant reasons.  I don’t remember if I mentioned this in my last post, but began working on this workshop the Saturday after finals ended, and one week exactly before leaving to Mexico.  We met around 11 or so in the morning, and Linda was hung over as fuck.  We wasted the first hour talking about personal crap, before I turned the conversation to the workshop.  I asked her two questions: 1) how much work was she willing to do, and 2) how much time did she have.  She seemed interested in producing high quality work, so I told her my ideas about creating PowerPoints, the User Interface with screen shots, Annotated Outputs, and so on.  About another hour or so in, we realized the restaurant was closing and would have to change locations to a coffee shop.  I arrived at the coffee shop, and she called me to ask if I was there already.

Yeeeeesssss…why, I asked.  And she said, I feel like shit I just want to take a nap.  A lightening bolt of disgust/annoyance/anger struck, but I took a deep breath and closed my eyes to recenter.  I asked her what other time she had to work.  Of course, I already knew she didn’t have any other time, but I clearly had to remind her about that, and to indicate that under no circumstances would I do all of this on my own.  Little did I know at the time…

Finally, she came to the coffee shop.  What followed was 6 hours of fucking AGONY.  I set her to the task of taking screen shots of the whole process we’d be going through in class.  Meanwhile, I’d work on the PowerPoints.  What actually happened was I did not have even ONE 5 minute span where I was not interrupted to solve a problem.  By 9:30pm, my head was pounding, and we had gotten almost nothing done.  I didn’t even have all day to work on this, because grades were due two days later and I still had a MOUNTAIN of shit to grade.  Finally I decided I’d get more done on my own and ended the “meeting”.  I had resolved myself to the fact that I simply did not have time to sleep.  I went home, popped a Nuvigil, and redid everything for the workshop.  I finished around 9am, took a small break, and then started grading.

Meanwhile, I’m getting texts from Linda about her out of town trip, which had suddenly morphed into a spontaneous trip to Vegas.  She’s texting about stopping to go shopping and two free nights in Vegas and drinking.  Originally, it was just a one night deal, and she said she would have time to help Monday night.  Clearly, that wasn’t happening anymore.  Meanwhile I’m at home, in physical agony from exhaustion and frustration from grading shitty papers.  It was absolutely fucking maddening, but it was slightly less maddening than trying to get her to accomplish any work, so it felt like a net win.  And that’s just sad.

Anyway, back to Mexico.  The point of that whole digression is that I was having meetings with my advisor to get clarification about the topic and have the materials approved and to make sure I understood what was being taught.  Linda, on the other hand, got none of this, which meant that a good 30% of the work I did was neglected entirely.  Which also meant that Mexican students were getting a worse deal than they should have, in terms of education and the value-added of paying to attend our class.  She blew through conceptual stuff, background stuff, and anything extra.  She did a black-and-white, step by step of the program, and then said, yep, well that’s it!  I had to use everything I had to keep my poker face on, because she was making our class sound fucking pointless.  There was literally zero pedagogical skill going on there, even though she had sat in on and observed me teach the workshop in the US, where I did go over those very topics.

Finally, the agony ended, and we were driven to our new hotel.  It was in an even more sketch area, and was decidedly shittier than the original hotel.  The rooms weren’t as nice, and there was like NO privacy for bathroom related activities.  The shower opened right out into the room.  Thankfully there was a door for the toilet.  It was disappointing to say the least, but Thor was happy, so I put my fucking game face on and said it was fine.

We all met down in the restaurant, where I immediately ordered a fucking cocktail that was glorious and wonderful.  We ate dinner, and made a plan to meet in the morning, because Linda was analyzing some data and I needed to make revisions to the User Interface, which had now, through some unspoken agreement by everyone but me, completely fallen on my shoulders.  Linda didn’t even ASK if she should help or indicate that she thought she should.  We’d be meeting at 10am the next day, 4 hours before the workshop started.  Then there was talk of going out to eat afterword.  In other words, the day was shot.

Finally, we made our way back up to the hotel room and zonked the fuck out.


Workshop, Day 1

We arrived in Hermosillo earlier than I had anticipated.  The sun was still out when we pulled into the parking lot.  The hotel’s glimmering glass doors parted, granting us entry to the marble-floored reception.  A spiral staircase wound up through the center of the room, and a sparkling pool waited outside.  We dropped off our things, and immediately changed into bathing suits.  Linda and I ordered pina coladas, which were brought to us poolside.  I swam laps, reveling in the cool water and letting the tension from the road dissipate.  I hit the treadmill for another 45 minutes, watching the sun’s reflection fade against a desert hill across from the hotel, and then got ready for dinner.

We met up with our group, and it was practically my first interaction with Spanish.  I kept quiet for the most part, and tried to follow along, pretty unsuccessfully.  I was familiar with this process, since it had happened in Chile a few years back.  I would simply suck at conversation for a short period of time until I got my bearings.  Fortunately, I’d been sitting in on Skype conference calls in Spanish for the past couple of months, so my comprehension had gone from almost nothing up to about 75%.  Really, the biggest issue was if people asked me a question.  Passively listening, no one could tell that I was delayed in understanding.  But when addressed directly, there was the delay, and the added anxiety of having to generate a response, so I was really just a hot mess in those situations.

We had a flight first thing in the morning to head over to Mexico City in the morning for our first four-day workshop.  The flight felt longer than I had expected, but I had a book with me.  We were picked up from the airport by “Marisa”, our contact in Iztapalapa.  Again, I was pretty quiet.  I still didn’t have my Spanish-speaking hat on yet.  Marisa looked a little nervous, so my advisor quickly reassured her that Linda would be teaching the class.  It made me feel useless, but I took a deep breath and gave myself permission to acclimate.  So I wouldn’t dazzle them at first.  Just wait.

The drive to the hotel was…startling.  For a while, it reminded me of my trip to Chile a few years ago.  There were tons of similarities, even at the airport.  Then, the city started to turn.  On a busy main road I saw a young woman dressed provocatively on the sidewalk.  It didn’t really hit me until we had passed 4, 5, maybe 6 women–within a city block.  Prostitutes!  Out in the open, just waiting.  Shit just got real.

We also got some other bad news.  The original plan was great.  We’d start the workshop at 4pm each day, M-Th.  That meant that the laboratory portion that Linda and I were responsible for would go from 6-7p.  In other words, we’d have all day to trip around, and I could get work done on my summer class that started two days after our return from Mexico.  Now, we found out that there was some problem with the scheduling…Not only would our schedule be changed, but it wouldn’t even be a regular schedule.  Now, we started at 12p on Monday and Thursday, and 2pm on Tuesday and Wednesday.  On top of that, our hotel was almost an hour away from the university, and my advisor wanted to attend talks in the morning.  In summary, our days were completely fucked.

We finally arrived at our hotel, and instructed not to leave under any circumstances by ourselves.  Hmm…

Once I got my hotel key, I was pleasantly surprised to walk in to a beautiful, spacious hotel room, with a flat screen TV and DVD player, where we could watch the first season of Game of Thrones, and large, private bathroom with an ample supply of travel sundries.  I was surprised because the website for this hotel was, let’s just say, sparse.  I was not looking forward to the stay there until I got to the room.  Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad after all.

Come morning, however, it was a different story.  My advisor…we’ll call him Thor…was in a terrible mood.  From the first minute, he was pissed off.  Pissed off that we weren’t down stairs earlier, pissed off about the food, pissed off about the service, the chairs, the room.  All of it.

In fairness, the breakfast was pretty awful and I saw his point about the chairs.  They were seriously made for really small people.  And Thor, let’s just say, is decidedly NOT a small person.  It pretty much sealed the deal when the waiter came back and told us we had to pay for our shitty food, even though we were told it was included.

We were supposed to arrive at the University early to be at some opening ceremony for the International Conference that was going on at the time, and Thor was so pissed off, he said fuck the ceremony, we’re packing our shit and going to a different hotel.  Linda and I looked at each other sideways, thinking the same thing: This is going to be a long day.

We had “30″ minutes to pack everything and be back downstairs.  But really, it was only like 15 before Thor called up to the room and barked that we needed to get downstairs in 3 minutes. Clothes and toiletries were thrown haphazardly back into bags. Luggage in tow, made our way back to the lobby.  We were driven to the University, and ended up leaving our luggage in the car, which I don’t even do where I *live*, let alone in Mexico.

There was no time to argue, though, because Thor was on a rampage.  The poor student who picked us up was frantically trying to text Marisa to let her know about the hotel situation.  Then, we got to the site of the International Conference, and Thor’s face quickly morphed into an expression of clear dissatisfaction.

Stairs.  He couldn’t take stairs.

Now, it would be true to say that Thor was acting a bit like a primadonna that morning.  A Diva, even, as Linda had succinctly put it.  But the stairs were another issue entirely.  Thor is grossly overweight, and that’s even after losing enough weight to constitute an entire human being.  He can’t walk for long, and stairs are just out of the question.

We made it up those stairs exactly one time. After seeing what constituted this so called big conference, it now deserves quotation marks.  An “international conference”, where the first talk was seriously an argument for the divination of Hugo Chavez.  Seriously.  Thor, a staunch libertarian, left the room after 5 minutes.  I went outside myself after about 45 minutes of feeling like it was a complete waste of time, frustrated that I’d be spending my mornings attending this BS conference rather than working on my class.

A sliver of hope.  Thor told me that under no circumstances would he be attending this event after that day.  Thank god.

We had a short break before our workshop started, so we walked to a street just outside the university.  It was a small, narrow street, clogged with traffic and cyclists, and vendors selling cheap trinkets and pirated DVDs.  The “restaurant” was decidedly sketch.  I couldn’t understand the conversation.  I felt meek and ignorant.  Patience, I reminded myself.  Just keep trying.

Much to my dissatisfaction, I discovered that the current plan at the moment was to stay at Marisa’s house.  Now, just taking stock of everything, I quickly realized how awful that would be.  We were in a poor ass town, at a poor ass university.  Marisa was a professor at this poor ass university, which means she probably didn’t make shit, income-wise.  Which meant we would probably end up sleeping on couches and sharing a bathroom with Thor.  I was fucking livid but I did my best to keep my cool.  Still, the day’s stresses were becoming unbearable.

Soon, it was time for the workshop to start.  I had to use the restroom and discovered that there were absolutely no toilet seats, whatsoever, and you’d be lucky to have toilet paper.  Inevitably, I had left my portable toilet supplies at the hotel.  Big mistake.  Drip dry it was.

Fortunately, on the way back to the room, the conference organizer stopped me in the hall and told me that he’d found us another hotel.  Honestly, I only understood “other hotel”, so I thanked him and brought the news back to Thor and Linda.

Thor talked for over two hours, gouging into our laboratory session.  I was frantically making final revisions on the laboratory materials.  Linda didn’t offer to help, or even seem to think about whether the materials were ready.  Over the past week, though, I had learned that involving her was actually more work than doing it myself because she is technologically illiterate.  At times, it was maddening because there was SO. MUCH. TO. DO.  And she was virtually useless in that regard.  That was aggravating on its own, but it became even worse later.  Hold that thought.

We were brought over to the computer lab about 5 minutes before it was supposed to start, which is never a good thing.  The computers didn’t have the program we needed to run the statistics software.  Moreover, downloading it was going to take, for some stupid reason, 35 freaking minutes.  Linda had *no* idea what was going on.  Somehow, she also didn’t seem to notice how fucking unprofessional and retarded we looked.  We were 40 minutes into our hour-long slot and literally zero had happened.  I broke out into a sweat.

I was not about to have my professional reputation sullied by incompetence, so I stood up and told Thor that we were changing the format of today’s class, and then told Linda that we needed to introduce the program with the User Interface document I had created.  This document provided step by step instructions, with screen shots, for everything we would be doing in the program and more.

I was frustrated.  If I had spoken better Spanish, this snafu would have been minimized considerably.  I could have easily worked around it and minimized the effect on students.  Instead, we looked like freaking dodo birds.

Moreover, Linda had been substantially less involved in the preparation for the course.  She simply hadn’t been available for a number of meetings for various reasons.  A few times, for work.  Other times, not so valiant reasons.  I don’t remember if I mentioned this in my last post, but began working on this workshop the Saturday after finals ended, and one week exactly before leaving to Mexico.  We met around 11 or so in the morning, and Linda was hung over as fuck.  We wasted the first hour talking about personal crap, before I turned the conversation to the workshop.  I asked her two questions: 1) how much work was she willing to do, and 2) how much time did she have.  She seemed interested in producing high quality work, so I told her my ideas about creating PowerPoints, the User Interface with screen shots, Annotated Outputs, and so on.  About another hour or so in, we realized the restaurant was closing and would have to change locations to a coffee shop.  I arrived at the coffee shop, and she called me to ask if I was there already.

Yeeeeesssss…why, I asked.  And she said, I feel like shit I just want to take a nap.  A lightening bolt of disgust/annoyance/anger struck, but I took a deep breath and closed my eyes to recenter.  I asked her what other time she had to work.  Of course, I already knew she didn’t have any other time, but I clearly had to remind her about that, and to indicate that under no circumstances would I do all of this on my own.  Little did I know at the time…

Finally, she came to the coffee shop.  What followed was 6 hours of fucking AGONY.  I set her to the task of taking screen shots of the whole process we’d be going through in class.  Meanwhile, I’d work on the PowerPoints.  What actually happened was I did not have even ONE 5 minute span where I was not interrupted to solve a problem.  By 9:30pm, my head was pounding, and we had gotten almost nothing done.  I didn’t even have all day to work on this, because grades were due two days later and I still had a MOUNTAIN of shit to grade.  Finally I decided I’d get more done on my own and ended the “meeting”.  I had resolved myself to the fact that I simply did not have time to sleep.  I went home, popped a Nuvigil, and redid everything for the workshop.  I finished around 9am, took a small break, and then started grading.

Meanwhile, I’m getting texts from Linda about her out of town trip, which had suddenly morphed into a spontaneous trip to Vegas.  She’s texting about stopping to go shopping and two free nights in Vegas and drinking.  Originally, it was just a one night deal, and she said she would have time to help Monday night.  Clearly, that wasn’t happening anymore.  Meanwhile I’m at home, in physical agony from exhaustion and frustration from grading shitty papers.  It was absolutely fucking maddening, but it was slightly less maddening than trying to get her to accomplish any work, so it felt like a net win.  And that’s just sad.

Anyway, back to Mexico.  The point of that whole digression is that I was having meetings with my advisor to get clarification about the topic and have the materials approved and to make sure I understood what was being taught.  Linda, on the other hand, got none of this, which meant that a good 30% of the work I did was neglected entirely.  Which also meant that Mexican students were getting a worse deal than they should have, in terms of education and the value-added of paying to attend our class.  She blew through conceptual stuff, background stuff, and anything extra.  She did a black-and-white, step by step of the program, and then said, yep, well that’s it!  I had to use everything I had to keep my poker face on, because she was making our class sound fucking pointless.  There was literally zero pedagogical skill going on there, even though she had sat in on and observed me teach the workshop in the US, where I did go over those very topics.

Finally, the agony ended, and we were driven to our new hotel.  It was in an even more sketch area, and was decidedly shittier than the original hotel.  The rooms weren’t as nice, and there was like NO privacy for bathroom related activities.  The shower opened right out into the room.  Thankfully there was a door for the toilet.  It was disappointing to say the least, but Thor was happy, so I put my fucking game face on and said it was fine.

We all met down in the restaurant, where I immediately ordered a fucking cocktail that was glorious and wonderful.  We ate dinner, and made a plan to meet in the morning, because Linda was analyzing some data and I needed to make revisions to the User Interface, which had now, through some unspoken agreement by everyone but me, completely fallen on my shoulders.  Linda didn’t even ASK if she should help or indicate that she thought she should.  We’d be meeting at 10am the next day, 4 hours before the workshop started.  Then there was talk of going out to eat afterword.  In other words, the day was shot.

Finally, we made our way back up to the hotel room and zonked the fuck out.


Bipolar+menstrual cycle= Toxicity

This is one of those topics people flinch at, because, well, yeah, a woman’s period is private and it’s not really a topic for public fodder. I get that. BUT since it makes an impact on my life every three weeks and combines with the bipolar to a toxic end- I feel the need to write about it. I apologize if it makes anyone uncomfortable but it is relevant to my situation.

I was awake all of 20 minutes this morning when I got a text from R telling me he was out of smokes. Since he had to return his rental car and hasn’t replaced his smashed car, I felt obligated to go fetch even though I was in a lot of pain from my period (my entire female line has painful periods, my grandmother used to be bedridden with hers) and I was feeling kind of pissy…But I felt obligated. Which is no way to start a day, especially not when everything is wonky.

I lied and said I didn’t have a sitter til 11, because I thought it would give me time to mellow out.

WRONG.

I went in at 11 and warned him right off the bat- I am in pain from cramps so if I am bitch, don’t take it personally. I knew I was in livewire mode. He was warned.

So when I got snippy and he said, “Why’d you get so snippy over a simple question?”

I was just like, are you fucking serious, dude?

I mean, I was direct, I was sitting there holding my sides and rubbing my lower back because it felt like the cramps were going to snap my spine…And he asks why I am snippy. Rather than ya know, remember what he was told two hours before, he acts shocked. I bit my tongue.

Which was a mistake because I was so pissed off by his insensitivity that I started snarking big time, taking cheap shots about his drinking. Which made me feel bad.

Then he said he didn’t know what would make me happy.

In true bitch fashion, I paused a few beats, then said, “I don’t know why I can’t make you happy.”

And he said, “It’s not your job to make me happy.”

The parallel was lost on him.

Which dragged my mood down, and when I tried to draw on all my pissy little bitch anger, well…Fucking hormones trumped it and my mood crashed and I started tearing up to the point I had to let my hair down to cover my tear streaked face. For about fifteen minutes, I was in “I am such a horrible person I should die” territory.

Then my mood lifted back to a sad, pissy space. I was quiet and apathetic to everything he said, mumbling, “Yep.”

Again, totally lost on him.

At one point, the cramps doubled me over and I cried out, and he looked at me but didn’t say a thing, just walked away.

Yeah, the sensitivity is overwhelming. THIS is why I get so pissed off. Because he has empathy and sympathy for every other human being on the planet but me. I’ve seen his other female friends come in crying about some romantic drama and he’d hug them and listen sympathetically. But I am in actual physical pain and I get nothing.

I am nothing.

That’s how he makes me feel.

He likely doesn’t mean to, and it’s all my weakness, but I can’t seem to stop being weak. I have always considered myself strong, have been told by many people that I am hella strong…And yet today, I wanted to slit my own throat for being so fucking emotional and wimpy. But try though I did to fight it, the hormones over ruled common sense, stubbornness, and anger. Which pissed me off even more.

I hate crying in front of people. Alone, it’s cathartic and healthy from time to time. But every fucking month for a couple of days I am this weak whiny stereotypical female and much like when I was pregnant, there is nothing I can do that makes it not that way. I try so very hard. Normally, the anger and hatred are enough to push all the weepy feelings back.

Throw in a period and hormones and I am pathetic.

At least R tries to seem sympathetic, even if he forgets sixty seconds later what he was being sympathetic ab0ut and can’t figure out why I am so snappy and slow moving and miserable company.

A lot of men have this mentality that women use their periods as an excuse to be a bitch.

Nothing could be further from the truth in my case. In some ways, it’s a lot like being possessed because nothing I do to combat the emotional swings works.

The bipolar is bad enough, never getting my feet under myself from a mental standpoint.

The monthly shark week thing amplifies it a hundred fold. Because even at my most depressed, most bipolar, I rarely cry.

The horror-mones, though, they make sure I remember my tear ducts work.

And I hate it. Because it’s one more thing for people to judge me on. I’m erratic enough to start with, it annoys people, then for one week every month, I am even more erratic, and it’s even worse, because I get the public tearing up going on. It’s mortifying. I seriously hit a low earlier, when R made me feel so shitty, I thought maybe I did deserve to die since I can’t get it right, ever.

Especially when he has a friend he calls “crazy amy” and he points out she has a boyfriend.

Wow, I am worse than a woman who is stark raving mad, not attractive, not very bright, and has the personality of bellybutton lint. That is awesome. Just fucking smashing.

It is so frustrating that no matter how many good qualities I have, they NEVER trump the bipolar instability.

I like to tell myself I am surrounded by assholes with no sensitivity. I like to tell myself I just have higher standards than other women. I like to say I just haven’t found “the one” yet…

But it all boils down to me just being too much of a train wreck for anyone to stand. The bipolar, the hormones, all the emotional baggage and the pain that manifests as negativity and anger…It’s all just too much for any man to ever handle, no matter how smashingly brilliant I may be in every other way.

And it sucks.

Because I never set out to be complicated or be a pain in anyone’s ass.

All I have ever wanted was to be loved, not in spite of my bipolar and my issues, but because of who I am under it all.

I keep telling myself I operate on a deeper  level than the people around me, they’re just shallow and I am more self aware…But at some point, I have to look in the mirror and realize…It’s me. I’m fucked up. No matter how hard I try not to be, I can’t change what I actually am. And let’s face it, no one goes on Match.com and puts “fucked up emotional train wreck” on their profile in hopes of getting a date. Because no one wants that, not even me.

Sad that I would even reject me at times.

But…what keeps me going is this:

If Marilyn Monroe can be quoted as saying, “If you can’t handle me at my worst, you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best…”

Then so can I.

I just wish I could say it with the conviction I feel when I’m not around other people.

Because once I am around others…The insecurity and insanity come out and it’s like a runaway train nothing can stop. Especially during hormonal shark week.

I hate me. I love me.

I want to have whatever part of me that is so defective surgically removed.

And I want to know why during my curse, I suddenly start feeling so fucking needy and caring if people like crazy amy have a boyfriend because I’m not really in relationship-or hooking up-space right now. Why do I suddenly care? Why does all my strength seem to abandon ship? And why can’t I fix it?

And why if all the people around me think they are fine as is, do I need to fix myself to suit them?

I wish I knew.