Weeknotes 03 (Jan 22, 2020)

When I don’t sleep, I doodle…

Without any warning or reason, my insomnia faded away. I’ve been sleeping at least 7 hours a night, all at once instead of broken up into separate naps, for the last week. By itself that’s wonderful and I’m glad. But I’m also dreaming a lot more — not just more than I did when I wasn’t sleeping, but more than I usually do when I sleep okay — as if my brain is trying to shove in an extra two months worth of dreams on top of my usual slate, to make up for what I missed. Maybe this will recharge my brain, get my creative writing back on track? Or maybe it’s only pretty pretty lights playing merry hob with my brain, and in a few weeks it’ll fade away.

When I’ve gotten some sleep, I can decide to draw something specific, and then actually do it. Amazing!

Feeling and Thinking:

I got a cane this week. I’ve needed one for a few years because of my knee injuries but put it off because I thought it would be embarrassing. I’m only 46. I’ve always been physical strong, agile. I danced, trained in muay thai, did yoga and boxing and years of swordfighting. I’m not supposed to be “broken”. I’m not supposed to be weak. Getting a cane is admitting that my genetic disease has no cure, and I’m only going to get worse from here.

At least, that’s what the bitchy voice in my head told me.

The truth is, autoinflammatory disease doesn’t have a cure, and the damage it does is cumulative. I ended up being in this shape — joint damage, hearing loss, bone spurs in my spine, inflammatory arthritis, malabsorption caused by damage to my digestive system — because I didn’t know I had the underlying condition, so I didn’t treat it. The last six months or so I’ve been treating the symptoms by treating the disease that causes them, but also by finally accepting what’s happening to me. It’s not a bunch of disconnected problems I somehow caused myself. It’s a bunch of different ways in which one disease has affected me, and with the right treatment and support, I can make a difference in my health.

The cane helps. I stand straighter when I use it. I walk more evenly, faster, more like the way I remember walking before. People are nicer to me, too, giving me a moment to get on and off the bus for example, instead of getting annoyed that I move slower for no reason they could see. Without the cane, I must be fat or lazy, right? Just in the way. With the cane, my disability is no longer invisible. That shouldn’t matter to people, but it does.

Watching:

Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Nov 1978

Don and I saw Knives Out in the theater over the weekend, and it was fucking delightful. He posted a mini review here, which I agree with. I also loved how there’s no wasted space, no throwaway lines. Everything matters. I watch a lot of crime and detective shows — they’ve always been a favorite, ever since I started reading my aunt’s subscription to Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine as a kid — and Knives Out felt as true to that genre as anything I’ve seen.

Treat yourself to a viewing if you haven’t already.

Reading:

My recommendations this week are a couple of articles that hurt my heart but I’m glad I found. TW for infanticide, prison, solitary confinement.

I read about Emile Weaver, a sorority girl who gave birth to a baby she tried to convince herself wasn’t coming, and how her baby’s death meant a life in prison. It’s about the spillover of collateral trauma, and the uneven way infanticide is prosecuted in our country. It’s a hard read, but well-written. I think it’s important.

Also important is this article about long-term solitary confinement. Prisons are using what’s supposed to a very-short-term, temporary holding cell, as a way to punish some inmates for decades. Huge parts of these people’s lives squished down into a tiny mostly-empty room, with no visitors, no daylight, very little human contact at all. Adding to the misery of that is the fact many of those held in solitary have mental health needs that aren’t getting met (no therapy, no medication, no help at all)… How is this anything but torture?

Extra Bits:

Did you know I used to write a bi-weekly column for SF Signal about indie comics? It’s been some years since then, and I’ve been thinking lately that I’d love to get back into comics journalism.

Oh, and one of the books I reviewed, Trese, by my friend Budjette Tan, is coming to Netflix as an animated series soon. I can’t wait.

References:

2 thoughts on “Weeknotes 03 (Jan 22, 2020)

  1. Congrats on getting some decent sleep! The doodling at night when you can’t sleep sounds like a good idea. At least I can feel productive during those periods. I also have just started using a cane regularly and (when I figured out how to use it correctly) it had the surprising plus of allowing me to walk much farther than I had previously, thus getting in more aerobic movement.

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