Carrie Fisher was valuable as Princess Leia


Rachael: Mom, why are you crying?

Me: Carrie Fisher, the woman who played Princess Leia, died. 

Zoë: No more Princess Leia?

Me: No more Princess Leia.

I’ve been reading posts and tributes to Carrie Fisher on social media, and I’ve noticed something that’s beginning to bother me. 
There seem to be 3 types of posts:

1) Remembering her as Princess Leia

2) Remembering Carrie Fisher as a whole person, including her writing and battle with mental illness

3) Posts which imply that, if Princess Leia is the only reason Carrie Fisher is important to you, then you are a shallow fan who doesn’t really understand how important she was 

Even when something this serious happens, it seems geeks feel the need to engage in one-upsmanship- to be the supreme, everlasting know-it-all. For those not in the know, it’s the way geeks establish social hierarchy and feel better about themselves after being put down and excluded from other social groups for so long.  While Carrie hated being relegated to sex symbol status, she had no problem with fans loving her for being a badass space princess. In fact, I have a feeling that if Carrie were to witness the dumbfuckery people are engaging in on her behalf, she’d tell them to fuck off and go suck on a bag of dicks in a corner. 

Look, I think the openness with which Carrie lived her life helped so many people. She made it okay to be honest and fucked up and mentally ill. She made it okay to laugh, both in spite of your pain and because of it. Anyone familiar with her work and life beyond Star Wars should absolutely share it and how it has been important to them, just so long as it is not at the expense of how Carrie Fisher was important to others. You don’t get to decide how someone impacts another person’s life. You also don’t get to assign value to that impact.

I don’t really remember the first time I saw Princess Leia Organa on screen and how her character affected me. I was around 8, and a lot of my memories are inaccessible to me because of repression. Thanks childhood abuse!  But I do remember the first time I had an incredibly strong reaction to Leia. Return of the Jedi, rescuing Han, and Leia is all alone in that “Gee, I wonder which man made that creepy costume decision” bikini, with space slug mobster, Jabba. Once stuff started going down at the sarlacc pit, bitch didn’t wait around for someone to come get her. She jumped up and strangled that slug to death with the very chain that made her captive. I remember thinking, “Holy shit!  That is so badass!”  

For a long time, until rather recently, that’s who Carrie Fisher was to me. She was the actress who didn’t wait for anyone to come save her and was every bit as important as the boys. I also feel fortunate to have seen Wishful Drinking and to hear her speak candidly, with all the acerbic wit she could muster, about living with Bipolar disorder. And of course her service dog, Gary, is a gift to the world.

Via radiotimes.com

My girls, 5 and 8, still only know Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia. At age 4, she was the first princess that Rachael really saw take matters into her own hands. She inspired for Rachael a love of independent, kickass women, which led to the radical notion that women are just as strong and valuable as men.  Just the other night as I read the introduction from her new Women in Science book, and how horribly and unequally they were treated, Rachael declared that when she grows up, she wants to do something to make sure that everyone knows men and women are equal and that women are able to enjoy equal rights. If that’s what comes of only knowing Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia, I’d say that’s pretty fucking valuable.

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Checking In

I realized my last post was a month ago, so I thought I had better check in so I didn’t lose your interest to a blog with a post this month about knitting your own clothes from dryer lint. (I know I can’t compete with blogs like Gwyneth Paltow’s Goop and learning to get in touch with your inner baby spirit guide by mixing your tears with organic, single-sourced kamboucha. That shit’s just on another level of realness.) 

Since I last posted, I’ve had what feels like a ton of meetings with special education for our county to get an IEP, (individualized education plan) for Zoë so she can begin kindergarten in the fall. First, we had the meeting to determine if she’s eligible to be evaluated if she’s eligible for services. Then they evaluated her to determine if she’s eligible to be evaluated. She was eligible, so they evaluated her. Then we had the meeting to go over their findings and under which criteria they would try to make a case for her to be eligible for services. Then we had the meeting saying, Congratulations! You’re eligible for services! And next week, we’ll have a meeting to make Zoë’s IEP and which services to include in it. Phew! I’m out of breath just typing that. In addition, we had Zoë tested privately. The results came back with ADHD, combined inattentive and hyperactive type, (to which we and anyone who knows Zoë said, Duh!) ODD- oppositional defiant disorder, which we weren’t totally surprised by, and the need to rule in/out an additional mood disorder. So that’s a lot to take in. It’s one thing to know it for yourself, but another to have it confirmed. And I swear to god, the first person to suggest that I just try and fix it by modifying her diet will be cunt punted into a locked room with Zoë for a week. 

I made myself pretty. Then I made my bedroom walls pretty. For the third time. This week.


I finally bit the bullet and had a sleep study done so they can diagnose the sleep apnea I don’t have. 

It’s pretty amazing that I slept wonderfully well with all this equipment on. And if you believe that, I’ve got a bridge to sell ya. 

We also had our week at the beach. For some reason, it was kill Julie week. The sunscreen we brought didn’t work two days in a row on my shoulders, so I ended up with a super sexy second degree burn. 

I was also assaulted by our umbrella on the last day we sat down on the beach. It was incredibly windy and Mike was having a difficult time getting the umbrella to remain anchored. I didn’t even see it coming; I was futzing around with the camera when, all of a sudden, SMACK! Right in the forehead with the heavy wooden stake. Fortunately, a few guys rescued the umbrella while others checked on me and gave me ice for my head. 

I’ll end the post with the obligatory spamming of pictures of my children at the beach. The thing that had Mike and me in giggle fits, and what I’ll always remember about this trip, was the girls pretending to be ninjas, taking on the ocean. Little sister, always wanting to do what big sister does, followed Rachael’s lead. They twirled, kicked, jumped, and chopped with sisterly synchronicity. I’m pretty sure my favorite move was the funky chicken. 

I Feel the Heartburn

2016 has had the most bizarre and fucked up election cycle I’ve ever seen.  My fellow Americans and I have had an unusual amount of anxiety over this election, particularly over Donald Trump, to the point where therapists have seen an uptick in their appointments, specifically because of election-induced stress. I didn’t plan on voting Republican this year, but I at least like the other candidate to be a competent choice and not of complete moral turpitude.  So I’ve gone through the stages of grief as I’ve watched the Republican party self-immolate this primary season: Denial; Schadenfreude; Rage laughing; Anxiety; Stress wining; Depression; finally Acceptance.  So now a circus peanut with candy floss hair is the de facto Reoublican nominee, and I’m scared shitless.

 

Image via NPR

 
Picking my candidate
When I first heard the things Bernie Sanders had to say, it felt like such a relief!  Thank goodness, someone gets it!  He preached the gospel of family leave and equal pay for women.  He drove home the reality of our country’s economic inequality.  He wouldn’t let us forget how far behind other similarly developed countries we are on education and healthcare.  Unfortunately, the more I listened to him talk, the more I realized he wasn’t my guy.  His message was inspirational, but his policy initiatives weren’t exactly what I wanted and they didn’t seem very plausible, especially in the current political climate.  Even if I wanted a single payer healthcare system run by the government, (which I don’t. They can’t even run the VA well.  Why would I want them to administer my healthcare?) how would Sanders even get that passed in Congress?  Let’s even assume that the Dems take back the House and the Senate in 2016.  There are likely to be plenty of Blue Dog Democrats who wouldn’t fall in line on this.  It was hard enough getting Obamacare.  America’s not ready and willing to slog through another complete healthcare overhaul.  

I watched almost all of the primary debates, on both sides.  As I watched more of the Democratic debates, I kept yelling at the tv, “Super!  How do you plan on doing that?  What’s your plan B if you can’t close all the tax loopholes for the 1%?”  The two biggest red flags for me were as follows:

1) During the CNN debate, when asked about specifics in foreign policy, Sanders looked like a deer caught in headlights. It was aggravating to watch as Anderson Cooper asked straightforward questions, Sanders couldn’t answer them, and then pivoted back to the only foreign policy message he had- Hillary voted for Iraq.  War is bad.  

2) The interview Sanders had with the New York Daily News Editorial Board revealed that he didn’t actually know the legal process by which he could dismantle the big banks, something I feel like you should probably know if you’re going to promise to do that.

These two instances confirmed for me what I had wondered about his campaign promises and whether he could actually make good on them.  To me, they revealed that, no, he doesn’t actually know.  He has no fucking idea.  

I’m with Her

 

Image via the Clinton campaign

 
Hillary Clinton isn’t a perfect human being.  I can even understand why people don’t like her.  She isn’t always consistent.  Sometimes she does bend the truth or lie, depending on her audience.  (Yes, I’ve seen the Anonymous video of her lying for 12 minutes.  I’ll accept it when it’s objective and not pure anti-Hillary garbage.)  Republicans do always seem to be investigating her, even though they can never seem to turn up anything legitimate with which to charge her.  And she doesn’t necessarily give people the warm fuzzy, hopey changey, glowy feeling that we all got in 2008.  Whether anyone realizes it or not, I’m sure a good deal of the animosity toward her stems from the Republican’s hatred of the Clintons in the 90s.  As much as people hated Bill for being unable to keep his cigars in their boxes, they couldn’t stand a First Lady who wouldn’t just sit down, shut up, and review the seating chart for the State Dinner for the British Prime Minister, like a good little First Lady should.  I’ve also heard plenty of people holding Hillary accountable for Bill’s personal and political mistakes.  Let’s not fault her for the things her husband did, nor, without investigation, the things he asked her to lobby for on behalf of the administration.  And for fuck sake, stop calling her evil.  She’s not evil.  Get your head out of your ass.  

Hillary has the experience in government and the competence to be President.  Even people who don’t like her will admit that.  I believe her policies and how she plans to implement them are more in line with what America can handle.  After all, she’ll be President of all Americans, not just the ones on the far right or left.  Hillary’s agenda is in line with my priorities: economic equality and opportunity; equality for women in pay, healthcare, and life in general; criminal justice reform; gun control; immigration; education; foreign policy/diplomacy first, but not afraid to use our military.  

Speak
I’ve generally kept my mouth shut up until now because most of my friends feel the Bern.  And that’s fine.  I don’t agree with everything, but I respect that choice.  I would occasionally ask questions or push back if I genuinely didn’t understand something someone said or posted, otherwise I felt it was best to stick to common ground and trash Drumpf.  But now that Trump is the Republican nominee, I can’t keep it in anymore.  I don’t understand the Bernie people who won’t vote for Hillary in the general election, just to keep Trump out of office.  If Bernie somehow ends up with the nomination, fair and square, I’d vote for him in the general.  In any other election, I could understand and respect the “voting my conscience” principle.  But not this time.  Trump isn’t just some jackass who would make things suck and laughable for awhile.  Trump would put our economy in danger, ($10 says markets around the world plummet the day he’s elected.)  He would put our safety and the safety of our allies at risk.  His election would tell the world that it’s just fine to denigrate women, other religions, other races, the disabled, and anyone else who gets in the way.  He has already fanned the flames of race wars and encouraged violence as a way to solve differences.  For fuck sake, he’s hired Paul Manfort as one of his key strategists.  Paul Manafort is the guy who genocidal dictators have hired to help improve their image.  Trump, who is supposedly so wonderful because he’s been self-financing, (which isn’t technically true) has hired Steven Mnuchin as his National Campaign Finance Chair.  You may better know this “gentleman” as one of the investors who bought Indymac Bank when it collapsed, paid virtually nothing for it, got the federal government to continue shouldering the responsibility for the bank’s losses, and then made billions in the following years from the restructured bank.  Oh, and did I mention that they still foreclosed on thousands of people’s homes?  Jesse Benton, the man who was running the Trump super PAC, Great America, was convicted yesterday on several counts of fraud from when he worked on the Ron Paul campaign in 2012.  Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, thinks it’s totally cool to physically assault female reporters.  So….these are the sort of people Trump surrounds himself with.  How does that not scare the shit out of you?   Not to mention all the insane, let’s call them policy proposals, for lack of a better term.  I’ve heard people say, “He doesn’t mean what he says.  When he says build a wall and make Mexico pay for it, he really means he just wants to implement some mild tax cuts and tweak portions of our trade agreement.”  Denial!  Denial with a massive amount of projection of their own policy ideas.  I guess it’s okay, though.  Denial is only the first stage.  I’d be happy to recommend some wines once you get to the stress wining stage.

  

Pain Mismanagement

Anyone who has listened to the news lately has heard there is a heroin epidemic, which has lead to many deaths. Heroin is a drug in the opioid family. As a result, there has been a massive crackdown on opioid prescription medication, especially for those of us who live with chronic pain. It was difficult to have chronic pain managed correctly before the crackdown, generally because many doctors don’t have proper training in managing chronic pain, including pain management doctors. Diseases like fibromyalgia were viewed with skepticism by the medical community, leading to under or non-medication of the pain.  Anyone who advocated for themselves and asked for proper pain management was treated like a drug seeker. And now, because lawmakers are panicking over heroin overdoses, proper pain management will become even more difficult to achieve, especially if states follow through with laws curtailing legal prescription opioid use.

A few statistics
The CDC states that there were over 8,200 heroin-related deaths in 2013.  Compare that with an estimated 100 million Americans who live with chronic pain, 10 millions of those with fibromyalgia alone.  For the sake of argument, let’s assume that every one of those heroin-related deaths came about because of an opioid pill addiction that let to heroin use.  That would mean that lawmakers would severely limit access to prescription opioids for chronic pain patients because 0.0082% formed an addiction and died.  Let’s compare that with an estimated 33,636 firearm-related deaths in 2014, 88,000 alcohol-related deaths each year from 2006-2010, (1 in 10 deaths each year) and more than 480,000 tobacco-related deaths each year.  Measuring for a period from 2005 – 2009, 163,700 cancer deaths were attributable to cigarette smoking.  These Merchants of Death continually get a free pass, even though they are responsible, directly or indirectly, for well over a half a million deaths each year.  Meanwhile, the chronic pain community is made to worry whether or not they will be able to walk this month because a doctor and/or a lawmaker decided that 2-3 Tramadol for the month was more than enough.

David versus Goliath

Advocacy
It doesn’t require too much critical thinking to understand why the Merchants of Death are able to peddle their wares without much governmental interference, while advocacy groups like the National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Association barely get any notice.  It all comes down to money and power.  A negative rating for a congressman from the NFMCPA means nothing.  Anything less than an A rating from the NRA, however, is political suicide for a Republican.  While President Jan Chambers of the NFMCPA lobbies tirelessly for the rights and needs of the chronic pain community, advocacy lies primarily with us, the patients.

Government
We are a nation of laws and beauracracy.  So what on earth are we supposed to do when lawmakers and governmental agencies institute policies designed to curb drug abuse, but lead to nothing but harm for those in the chronic pain community?  The DEA, CDC, and FDA are all trying to attack the problem of drug abuse by limiting the quantity of pills prescribed and increasing the frequency of office visits in order to obtain a new paper prescription.  No longer are doctors allowed to call in refills for drugs like Tramadol and hydrocodone.  For people like me, this is a minor annoyance.  But for people who live far from their doctor, rely on others for transportation or have no transportation, or cannot afford to pay the copay or co-insurance for an appointment just to get a prescription, this is a hardship.  The NFMCPA conducted a survey, (one in which I took part) to assess the impact of the new opioid prescribing regulations.  It only took 100 days before unintended consequences took hold for law-abiding chronic pain patients.

“People also cited higher expenses from more frequent doctor’s visits, changes to other prescription medications, higher medication co-pays, greater transportation expenses for extra doctor visit and lost work revenue related to unrelenting pain.”

And these aren’t even the worst problems caused by the new regulations.

“Shockingly, 27% (n=931) reported suicidal thoughts due to being denied their hydrocodone prescriptions.”

You see, if regulators had taken a half a second to pull themselves out of opioid hysteria, (it kind of reminds me of when there was panic in the 90s over marijuana) and think, they would have realized that less access to medications that allow chronic pain patients to function would lead to an increase in suicide and illegal drug-seeking.  And it’s not because we’re addicted.  It’s because, when you hurt because you simply exist, you’re going to become depressed.  It’s likely the reason depression is often comorbid with chronic pain.  When you can’t stay in bed because it hurts, but you can’t get out of bed to go to the bathroom because touching your feet to the floor hurts more; when you can’t play with your children and are constantly having to tell them no because it hurts too much to walk down the street to the playground and sit on horrible park benches; when you’re unable to stand and cook dinner for yourself and your family; when your house is so dirty and cluttered because it hurts too much to vacuum or pick things up off the floor; when you can’t spend time with friends the way you used to because it causes too much pain and fatigue to leave the house; when having stress in your life means that your body will respond with increased pain….that’s pretty goddamn depressing!  And now, on top of that, you’re going to deprive us of the medication that allows us the ability to do the few things we can do?  I will admit, even now, my thoughts have turned to suicide.  The idea of spending the next 40-50 years in debilitating pain, which is likely to get worse as I age, is pretty overwhelming. I don’t want to think about how I’ll feel if I can’t have my pain managed properly.

State and federal lawmakers have also joined the heroin abuse hysteria.  Some, like Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, have ignorant beliefs like, “You can’t convince me that we’ve got 250 million Americans in chronic pain.”   Once again, we see another instance of lawmakers taking medical decisions out of the hands of the doctors and patients, creating laws and policies from a myopic point of view.  I believe Dr. Steven Stack, President of the American Medical Association, explained it best when he said, “The complexity of the problem makes it difficult to create a successful one-size-fits-all approach.”

Fortunately, President Obama, Senator Mitch McConnell, and some state lawmakers and governors  are on our side when it comes to not limiting doctors and patients in their opioid prescriptions.  Not only did President Obama acknowledge the reality of our pain, he understood that simply taking away an avenue to pain relief is unrealistic.

“If we go to doctors right now and say ‘Don’t overprescribe’ without providing some mechanisms for people in these communities to deal with the pain that they have or the issues that they have, then we’re not going to solve the problem, because the pain is real…”

Alternatives
The American healthcare system has set us up to fail.  Insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies as bedfellows have created a corrupt system where medication is the only available option for treating chronic pain.  Functional medicine doctors, who employ an integrative approach of traditional and complementary medicine, often don’t accept insurance.  Physical therapy is often touted as a treatment option.  If it helps, insurance may not cover sessions or ration the number of sessions you’re allowed.  Aqua therapy is a wonderful method for building strength and getting the exercise that doctors are always badgering you to get.  I was lucky that my sessions were a part of physical therapy and were covered by insurance.  If you’re not that fortunate, good luck finding a class that’s at a reasonable time, location, and price…or at all.  Chiropractic care, if covered, isn’t always in network. Unless you have a Cadillac insurance plan, acupuncture, (which is very beneficial to chronic pain sufferers) isn’t covered. When I went to sessions, we were spending $320 per month.   The list goes on.  For many of us, our hands are tied.  Unless you’re well-to-do, your treatment options are severely limited to what insurance will pay for.  And what insurance will cover is medication.
Millions in our country are suffering silently because of chronic pain.  If state and local government has its way, they will suffer even more.  To interfere with the doctor-patient relationship, which determines the best treatment options for the patient, will create unintended consequences, many like the ones they’re trying to curtail now.  Desperate patients may turn to the black market, illegal drugs like heroin, or make the most desperate and hopeless decision of taking their lives so that the pain will stop.  Rather than pour as much focus, energy, and money into this so-called crisis, why not allocate it to research to understand and cure diseases like fibromyalgia.  I would give up my opioids and other medicinal cocktails in a heartbeat if it meant there was a cure for my pain.  Given the conversations I’ve had with dozens of other chronic pain patients, they’d be willing to do the same.  In fact, no one I have ever spoken with, (including myself) has ever been pleased to add more pills to their daily regimen.  Rather than treating us as criminals or potential criminals, lawmakers need to listen and believe us when we say our pain is real.  And until we find a cure for the pain that ravages our bodies, we need to be allowed access to what works.

Chronic pain support groups

 

Community

 
When I began my journey in the world of fibromyalgia, I had nobody.  True, I had my husband, family, and supportive friends, but I felt like I didn’t have many who knew exactly what I was going through.  I felt so alone in my pervasive pain and persistent exhaustion.  I began to search Twitter for people like me:

  • People who had spent several years trying to figure out what was wrong with their bodies
  • People who had been dismissed as crazy, a hypochondriac, attention-seeking, and dramatic by doctors, family, friends, and co-workers
  • People who had no idea what to do now that they did have a diagnosis because the medical community had little to no idea as well
  • People who knew what it was like to be consumed by grief, fear, and hopelessness because their disease was forever
  • People who decided that this was bullshit, and giving up was not an option 

And I found them.  I found people like Julie Ryan, who collects and shares medical information/research so that people in our community have avenues from which to tackle their illnesses.  I found people like Chris Dean, who made me snort with laughter in spite chronic pain.  I found people like Trisha Pearson, and identified with her everyday struggles.  I found Miss Treated, which gives women opportunities to share the misogyny they experience with doctors, and Dr. Ginevra Liptan, whose goal is to bridge the divide between fibromyalgia and the medical world.  

All of these finds were and are fantastic, (and there are so many more out there) but I needed something more.  I needed a community of people with whom I engaged on a more personal level.  I needed to be able to whine about not being able to stand long enough to do the dishes.  I needed to be able to ask about different medicines and procedures, how people reacted with them, and if my experiences with them were common.  I needed to feel like my brothers and sisters with pained arms cared about me and my whole life, not just the disease.  That’s when I found Elizabeth Christy, whose Parents with Pain Facebook group changed my life.  

In PWP, people follow up with one another, asking how their appointments went or if they’re feeling better after a flare.  We lift one another up, but keep it real at the same time.  No one is shamed into being more positive; quite the opposite, in fact.  Whenever someone apologizes for “whining” or venting, we quickly remind them that PWP is a safe space, intended precisely for catharsis.  No one is informed that their pain is for a reason and that god won’t give you more than you can handle.  No one is badgered into a specific medical or nutritional regimen. Plenty of people in PWP are gluten-free or paleo or juicing, and will share their experiences with those ways of life.  Rarely does sharing these medical and life choices/treatments result in a war of words.  (Seriously, I can count the number of times on one hand when there have been tense exchanges.  No one has ever cursed anyone out or flamed out calling someone Hitler.)  We’ve also seemed to avoid the fatal flaw of many support groups; there isn’t an echo chamber of learned helplessness and fatalism.  We rejoice with each other when something wonderful happens, like finding a doctor who takes you seriously. We empathize when members are feeling defeated and depressed.  We offer to cut a bitch when someone has been a dick toward one of our members.  Seriously, someone offered to phonebomb a receptionist who made fun of me today because I couldn’t find a word during a fibro fog moment. 

I feel extremely lucky to have such an extensive support network.  As the writer of the Christian creation poem wrote: It is not good for man to live alone. We with chronic pain and fatigue tend to be isolated from the world because of our condition.  And once we are in the world, we find that very few, as sympathetic as they may be, have no idea what we’re going through. I encourage you to join us or find a group for support. The load is lighter with many hands to carry it. 

The Not Blue Stabilizers

Doctor Who

I’m still here. My family and I have just been overwhelmed and struggling with a lot of difficult life events.  I paid my regularly scheduled visit to my psychiatrist today.  I brought a list.  I choked up and cried as I went through my list.  

As I blew my nose and tried not to mouth-breathe too much, my psychiatrist let me know that, just like the Force, my mood needed balance. (She didn’t say the thing about the Force, but if she had, I’d love her more than I already do.)  I’ve already been having trouble keeping it together, and she reminded me that my list was likely to get worse before it gets better. 

Tonight I began a low dose of a mood stabilizer. I had been hoping that they would be blue pills so I could say that they’re the blue stabilizers.  Alas, they are not blue. As I lay my woozy body down for sleep, I hope that my desire for medical geekiness will be the only thing that doesn’t work out. 

The Community that Jenny Built

Excited to have received “Furiously Happy”.

My introduction to Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, was this post a friend had shared on Facebook a few years ago.  It took me several attempts to get through it because I had to keep stopping to wipe tears from my eyes and calm down from convulsive laughter.  I shared it with Mike.  He was amused, but didn’t quite understand why I was shrieking like an angry chimpanzee.  (It’s because we share most of our DNA with them.  That’s just science.)

Since that day, I’ve been a loyal reader.  To this day I still say to myself, Knock knock, motherfucker! whenever I have to, ya know, knock.  But what made Jenny different from any other funny blogger who makes you pee your pants, was that she made herself vulnerable and let us into her world of physical and mental illness.  She showed us her view of the world from under a table or from inside a bathroom because her anxiety overcame her and she needed to feel safe.  She let us crawl under the blankets with her to watch Doctor Who for hours on end because deep depression was preventing her from doing anything else.  While reading her latest book, Furiously Happy, I walked with her out into the New York snow with my own cracked and bloody feet.  It felt safe to know I wasn’t the only one that happens to, that I didn’t have to feel like a freak whenever I have to clean up blood I’ve unknowingly tracked all over the floor because fibromyalgia has made my feet swell and remain constantly cracked open.  Jenny has built a community of “me toos”.  We know what it’s like to lay in bed, not able to get up, not able to reassure ourselves that it will be okay.  We know what it feels like to consider that everyone, including ourselves, may just be better off dead.  We know that having to interact in social situations, especially with people we don’t know, feels like The Doctor being dragged to the Pandorica.

Okay, so what? you’re saying to yourself if you’re a bad person who’s never read The Bloggess.  The thing is, Jenny goes a step beyond sharing her lows.  She reminds us all that depression lies, which is something I’ve repeated to myself again and again and have heard from Mike because I passed that mantra on to him.  She refuses to be defeated and finds the hysterical in the darkest and strangest of places.  And then she inspires us to do the same and helps us heal which, I just realized, basically makes her Jesus, (aside from the running around with 12 dudes.)

So I’m not entirely sure why I was surprised by the outpouring of love I received on Twitter last week.  I really wanted to go hear and meet Jenny at her book signing in DC, but will not go into DC by myself because I’m afraid I’ll crash in the fucked up DC traffic, or get raped on Metro like that one episode I saw on Law & Order: SVU that was on because I was at my friends’ parents’ house and I couldn’t escape it, or get lost and end up having to sit on the steps of the Capitol and wait for someone to come get me.  At least then I’d be able to mount a late night protest of the Republican push to defund Planned Parenthood or Ted Cruz’s stupid face in general while I killed time.  Ooo, or I could just try to scale the White House fence. Then I’d get arrested and would get to wait inside. I’d explain that I wasn’t a threat to the President, I just have bad anxiety. Then we’d all laugh about it. I’d get to meet President Obama and tell him that I really need him to have the HHS Secretary pencil a provision into Obamacare that would prevent insurance companies from refusing to cover a medication for the treatment of chronic illnesses. And then I’d be a Spoonie hero!  Fuck!  I should have gone by myself!
Aaaaaaanyway, I really wanted to go and just posted a throw away tweet about how I wanted to go, but was too afraid to go by myself.  I never, NEVER expected tweets from people in the area saying they were going and would I like a ride.  I received tweets of support and encouragement from others who were nervous about going alone or who weren’t going, but understood my anxiety.  It was like the community that Jenny built was reaching out and giving me a big hug.  Although, now I’m imagining a bunch of creepy, evil hands reaching through my phone and saying in a high-pitched, “sweet, little girl’s” possessed voice, “We just want to love you!  Come with us!”  But you get the idea.

I ended up not being able to go.  Mike hates joy and said he needed me to help him pick up the van from the mechanic, (although why he couldn’t just let Zoë drive the van home is beyond me) and wanted help with bedtime because it was a “school night”.  He was also concerned about me riding in a car with complete strangers somewhere.  Normally, I would have been, too, but I was like, They’re fans of Jenny.  It’s fine!  I was heartbroken that I didn’t get to go, especially since I didn’t get to meet this little guy and his owner,  

i maintain that he would totally lull you into a false sense of security with his cuteness and then launch an attack on your toes.

 and felt horribly that so many had rallied to get me there and I ended up having to shit all over their generosity.  But it was, and is, comforting to know that there is a safe and supportive community out there, on whom I can rely.  It gives me a warm feeling, right in my belly.  Or I could be digesting lunch.