Celebrating the 8th Anniversary of My Marriage

Taka and Jessica 2

This is a picture of me and my husband from our early days of courtship.  I had flown over to Japan to meet his family, who were incredibly sweet and welcoming.  I was a huge otaku at the time, so it had always been a dream of mine to visit Japan.  I might talk about it in a later post, or maybe I already did?  I’m blonde and six feet tall, so everyone stared at me like I was an alien XD  They would openly comment about me assuming I didn’t speak Japanese.  I didn’t, but my husband (boyfriend at the time) did.

I met him when I was 17 years old.  We were both going to the same college, and I saw him sitting at the lunch counter.  I was taking Japanese, so I put that book on top and sat next to him, hoping he would notice and it would start a conversation.  Well, it worked XD  I’m shy and socially awkward, so I’m glad he was the one to initiate a conversation.  We started dating shortly after that.  He was my first real boyfriend because I didn’t date in high school.  We broke up about three years after dating, and then got back together, and got married about a year after rekindling our relationship.

I was anorexic when we first met.  You’ll notice in the pic I am wearing a coat because I was always freezing.  We’ve been together for over 10 years and in that time period I’ve had two bouts of anorexia, depression, generalized anxiety disorder, hypothyroidism (now treated), three hip preservation surgeries, debilitating chronic pain from multiple joints, and an Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome diagnosis.  There have been some tough years.  Living with someone that has a physical and/or mental illness is exhausting.  He didn’t always believe me (no one but my sister and closest friends did), but now he does.  Our relationship is in a good place now 🙂

He came into my life when I hated myself so much I wanted to disappear.  I remember thinking God sent him to be my guardian angel because he helped me through so much.  I don’t know if I still believe that, but I feel lucky we were both in the cafeteria at the same time on that particular day.  We’ve both changed a lot since we first met, but we’ve grown closer together again 🙂  We’ve both become better people, at least in my opinion.  Growing up I used to think that I would marry someone who was a tortured soul like me, but he’s pretty much the opposite.  Sometimes you don’t know what you want until you are older, at least I didn’t.

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Cecil the Lion and Why God Cares

I don’t like talking about politics because it is going to upset some people regardless of one’s viewpoint.  I’m not into forcing my beliefs on others because I don’t want others to force their beliefs on me, so it’s generally a topic I don’t talk much about.  But I have to speak out on Cecil’s behalf as both a cat lover and a decent human being.

For those of you that haven’t heard, an American dentist, Walter Palmer, shot a sanctuary protected lion from Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park. As more details emerge, the story gets even darker.  Cecil was lured out of his sanctuary, wounded with a bow and arrow, and then killed 40 hours later with a gun.  Conservationists predict that the new lion that takes control of the Cecil’s pride is likely to kill most or all of Cecil’s 24 cubs.

This matters because Lions are a Vulnerable species (see chart below), which is one step about an Endangered species like tigers.  If we aren’t careful, wild lions will be nothing more than archived pictures on the internet.  According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, there has been a 42% decline in the world’s lion population in the last 20 years.  This isn’t like hunting deer where the hunter eats the meat.  After Cecil was killed he was skinned and his corpse was left to rot.  Lions are at the top of the food chain, so they are much more prone to disease and parasites than herbivores, so it’s not advised to eat them.  This man not only tortured a lion for fun, but effectively killed 25 of them because something is lacking in his own life that he has to kill a lion to feel powerful and important.

Conservation

“Status iucn3.1”. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Status_iucn3.1.svg#/media/File:Status_iucn3.1.svg

I found this great article that talks about the issue from a Christian perspective.  God gave us dominion over all of his creatures, but they are his property, and he expects us to treat them with respect.  Torturing a majestic beast from a Vulnerable species does not fit into God’s plan.  This man needs to answer to God for what he did.  America is looking into prosecution.  RIP Dear Cecil 😦  There is even a memorial to him outside of Dr. Palmer’s office.

I’m Not a Writer but Someone Who Loves To Write

My parents are moving to the other side of the country after living in the same house for about 15 years.  They asked me to come over and sort through my stuff, so I could take what I wanted.  I’m going through my old schoolwork and trapped underneath a mountain of the most vibrant shade of purple prose was a budding writer.  I was using metaphors at ten years old even though I didn’t know what a metaphor was until I was much older, and there were bits and pieces of insightful prose in my high school essays.  It means something to me because I feel like a fraud among other writers because I didn’t spend my whole life writing.  I’m not a writer, but instead someone who loves to write.  A distinction with a big difference.

Unlike a lot of other writers in the blogosphere, I didn’t spend my whole life writing fiction and/or fanfiction.  As a child I wrote lots of stories about ponies, unicorns, and princesses, but after age eight I didn’t write for fun anymore.  I’m not sure why I stopped, but I lost interest in it.  However, I’ve always had a voracious appetite for books.  Margaret Atwood touched my heart in 11th grade.  Her prose was so gorgeous, and I just fell in love with her as a writer.  There’s some neurochemistry beyond my ability to put into words that happens when I come across poetic prose.  It’s just ummmmf * -*

In 12th grade AP English I realized how much I enjoyed writing, but I wouldn’t branch out on my own and start writing fanfiction till I was in my mid-20s.  Last year I made the transition into original fiction, and that’s when I became aware of the fact that I was different from most other writers.  After going through all of my old schoolwork, I realized I always had the heart of a writer so maybe I’m not the black sheep of the writing community like I thought I was.

Here is my high school tribute to my 12th grade AP English Class.  Even then I had a penchant for angst and poetic prose though it would be years before I could write something decent.

I thought about writing a dedication to each individual, but I don’t think that’s necessary. In the big scheme of life names become a blur and memories fade. At the moment high school seems so significant, but in a while it will be just an indistinct memory worn away by time. I wish to address the larger picture. I would like everyone to know that in some way or another they had a positive influence on my life. There are a few of you who have become very close friends and intertwined your lives with mine. I need not mention who you are because I’m sure you already know. Then there are also some of you that have caused me pain, but it doesn’t matter now. . . I don’t wish to dwell on bitter memories because in the end I have benefited from each and every one of you. It was nice because I’ve been in class with so many of you for four or more years now. Since I have moved so much in my lifetime, I’ve never really had a chance to enjoy seeing my classmates mature. Although I had a really difficult time when I started school in this district five years ago, I now feel at ease around every one of you. Surprisingly, English is my favorite class, and at the heart of it is you Mrs. X [name removed for security purposes]. I never really got to know you personally, but in many ways I feel like we have a close relationship. You helped rekindle my love for writing and perhaps I have found a bond with you in that way. There will never be a time again in my life quite like this; a time of decay and a time of growth.  I thank all of you for being such a large part of my life. I will probably never see most of you again after graduation, and your distinct identities will most likely fade into obscurity, but as a group I will remember you. . .

The Start of a Breakdown

When I delved into the world of fanfic years ago I would become engrossed in a story only to see it end abruptly somewhere in the middle of the story.  Then I’d look at the last update, which was months, even years ago.  I remember the feeling of despair knowing that the story would never be finished.  Where did the author go?  How could they leave this totally awesome story?!  Then it happened to me.  At the beginning of 2013 I stopped writing my fanfic story because I didn’t have it in me at the time.  I was terrified after being bed-bound for years that my hip would never get fixed.  I self-medicated with sitcoms and make-up tutorials.  There was no emotional energy for anything else.  I did eventually come back to writing fanfic in 2014 before being cyberbullied and deleting everything off my profile XD   But I digress. . .

History has a way of repeating itself.  I can’t write if I have devoted all my energy to sheer emotional survival.  About two months ago I had an emotional and physical breakdown.  It felt like life was happening to me instead of me controlling my life.  I was given a final warning at work that if I didn’t improve I would be fired.  My problem with pharmacy is that I care too much about everything, and that slows me down.  I’ve started applying for other jobs and have yet to be fired, but it hangs over my head like a dark cloud everyday.  I’ve cried about this more than I’d like to admit.

My hip is still sublaxaing (partially dislocating) anteriorly and not only does it hurt like hell, it means my last hip surgery may have failed.  I have been diligently strengthening my hip, but it’s hard because if my muscles get sore they can’t hold my hip together and it sublaxes.  On the next few days post-sublaxation I struggle to walk and have muscle spasms.  I haven’t talked to Dr. Sink (my last hip surgeon) because I didn’t want to admit that my surgery may have failed.  And if one of the best hip preservation surgeons in the world can’t fix me, who can?  I’ve decided I will contact Dr. Pun (my follow-up hip surgeon) but it’s not the best time to ask for a day off to go see a doctor.  I might be able to coordinate an appointment with her on a day when I have a late shift.  *sigh*

In the midst of the chaos, my husband and I are trying to have a baby.  I know, it sounds crazy right?  But there will never be a good time for me or my body.  I also have no idea how long this process will take.  I’ve been on hormonal birth control since I was 15 to regulate my periods.  Because I’m neurotic and obsessive I’ve been tracking everything XD  A pregnancy will make my body much worse, so it’s not such a bad thing if it takes a while :$  The fetus releases relaxin, which loosens your joints.  For a normal woman this is fine, but my joints are already unstable and loose, so I might end up bed-bound towards the end of pregnancy.

So I’m trying to come back to blogging, reading, and writing.  I think the longer you go without writing the harder it gets.  On the plus side I pulled out my suicide story, dusted it off, and it actually still sounded good.  Usually if I got 2-3 months without seeing my own work I’m horrified at how crappy it actually is XD  I got a new book by Annie Proulx, The Shipping News.  I’m more interested in the prose than the story.  And I’m simultaneously rereading, The Road.  I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read it now XD  Familiarity is comforting to me, and McCarthy continuously inspires me.  In some ways I’m a bit embarrassed about how little I have written in a year, but I’ve improved more in the past year than I did in the five years I wrote fanfiction.  It is what it is.  I’ve learned to let go of the anger and resentment directed at myself because it’s counterproductive.

I’m Still Alive, Well Kind of. . .

I underestimated how draining work would be.  I guess it’s safe enough to reveal my profession.  I’m a pharmacist, which requires a Bachelor’s Degree + Doctorate in Pharmacy, so I was in college for 9 years.  I was able to attain my license post-graduation, but I wasn’t able to work until now due to multiple hip surgeries.  I’m lucky to have a job that I enjoy, but to say it’s stressful would be an understatement XD

The first month was awful because I haven’t worked in 3 years, so I had 10 days of training to become as good as a seasoned pharmacist.  Needless to say I fell short.  I’m a perfectionist, so it was difficult for me to not be good.  I was almost fired because I wasn’t competent enough, so for the past two months I spent most of my free time studying or cleaning the house to work off my anxiety from work.  I’m not going to go into detail about my job for moral, ethical, and professional reasons, but retail pharmacy is much more difficult than it looks from the outside.

My chronic pain from multiple degenerating joints subsequently worsened my post-work exhaustion.  My right hip was fixed and six months post-op it’s about 50% better.  I heal slowly due to EDS, so it will take 2-3 years for a full recovery.  My spine is causing the most pain currently.   Right now I’m trying to get a cortisone shot into my lower back.  I got one in my neck in 2011 and it really helped.  I have spondylosis in both my neck and my lower back.  You have to space out the coritsone shots though.  It’s not bad enough for surgery yet, but in about 10 years it will be.  This has been going on for a while so I’m not upset about it anymore.  There’s no point because I have little control over my health issues.  I have defective collagen, and nothing I do will fix that.  I also recently developed Raynaud’s, another symptom of EDS.  Basically your fingers go numb and tingly because your blood vessels spasm.  It’s usually triggered by the cold, so I have to wear a sweater if it’s under 75 degrees.  I also have episodic bouts of hypoglycemia related to the dysautonomia caused by EDS, so I always carry sugary candy with me.  I’ve dealt with that for years, but it got much worse when I started working.

I also have been fighting my health insurance over my last hip surgery, and I recently won the appeal.  It only took six months, a pro bono attorney, seeing 12 hip surgeons, calling over 80 ortho surgeons within a 30 mile radius of my home, and hours and hours of research.  My final appeal was about 200 pages long XD  I exhausted the appeals process for Anthem Blue Cross, so I submitted it to my state’s department of managed health care, and it was overturned 8D

After work I was so mentally, physically, and emotionally spent  that I withdrew from friends, writing, and reading fiction.  I missed it, but at the same time I was too exhausted to care.  Things are improving now, and this week I recently started reading Cloud Atlas.  The prose is beautiful, so I’m enjoying it so far.  Not quite sure where the story is headed and how all six stories interlink.  *Must resist temptation to read the synopsis on Wikipedia*

I’m happy that I have a job though because I needed to start paying down my student loans.  Now we are financially sound enough to have a baby whereas when I was unemployed we weren’t.  I saw a high risk gynecologist to discuss various health issues that I have due to both EDS and my multiple hip surgeries.  I may write a post on it later.  But the gynecologist was really awesome and encouraging 🙂  It’s hard to explain, but I’ve wanted kids for a looooong time.  My hips are so much better now. My husband and I have discussed trying to get pregnant early next year.

Anyway, I missed writing, reading, blogging, reading other blogs, etc.  Looking forward to getting back into it again 🙂

New Trailer of Final Fantasy 15

A new trailer for Final Fantasy 15 was just released!  *flails*  Me and my friends are so excited.  I’m in love with Noctis ❤  Be still my heart * -*  The game has been in development for about six years.  It was dubbed “vapor ware,” at some point because the game didn’t progress for years.  Sometime last year they released a new trailer and stated that they were putting most of their efforts into this game now.  The story is supposed to be darker than previous installments, whatever that means.  Final Fantasy 7 was quite dark and depressing.  Hard to imagine a game more intense than that.

Is there anyone else out there that loves role playing video games?  I’ve played most of the Final Fantasy collection, and it’s definitely my favorite video game series.  My favorite video games are the Final Fantasy 7 series (which includes Crisis Core, Advent Children, Dirge of Cerebus, and Before Crisis) followed by Final Fantasy 9.    Final Fantasy 15 might be a close second or third.  I doubt any game could ever live up to Final Fantasy 7 because the characters were so memorable.  For those that are interested, here is the trailer ^^

I Got a Job :D

Actually, right now it’s a conditional offer of employment.  I don’t want to get into the logistics of it, and hopefully I’m not jinxing myself by posting this :$  But I spent about a week looking for a job, and I didn’t expect to find one so soon.  I’m in a healthcare profession that requires a graduate degree, but I don’t want to get into the specifics of my job.  Maybe I will someday.

Whenever I do something, I put my all into it.  After learning I got the job, I switched into “hermit mode.”  I’ve been using most of my energy to relearn the material I had forgotten in the interim between graduation and the present.  Working means I’ll have less time to write, which is okay.  I went through nine years of college for this career, and it’s something I enjoy and have a passion for.  Writing was a happy accident that I only discovered after I became disabled from chronic pain.  I still don’t consider myself a “writer.”  It’s more like a hobby at this point, which is fine.  Someday I might consider it as something more.

It feels like a huge turning point in my life to get here since I was bedbound for the past few years due to hip pain and multiple surgeries.  My husband and parents were probably more excited than I was XD  Anyway, that’s why I just dropped off the map.  In the future I will probably switch to part-time so I have more time for writing and family.  My husband and I want two kids, and that would be difficult to accomplish with two full-time working parents.

I’ll still be able to write while working.  I just have to be more focused.  In grad school I worked like 60-80 hour weeks during my internship and still managed to write.  That was also shortly after my first hip surgery and my spine was beginning to crumble so I had daily migraines, pain on swallowing, and shooting nerve pain down my arm that felt like an hot electric wire.  I remember the doctors trying to convince me that NOTHING WAS WRONG with my spine.  Well, there was something wrong, but that’s a story for another day.  Did I mention that I also beta read for friends during this time period?  No idea how I survived XD

In a few weeks I’ll be around more often.  There’s a lot of things going on right now.  I’m still battling Anthem Blue Cross with two appeals regarding my hip surgery.  The deadline is coming up on one of them.  They have been absolutely horrible during this whole process.  I had to get a pro bono attorney to help me fight it.