Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Forty-Two, with Infinite Majesty and Calm

Post-retirement, I have found myself adrift in the sea of self-identity. I was "Christine Wy, Student!" Or "Christine Wy, Archivist!" for many years, and now, having retired from health complications at the age of 37, I look at 42 and try to understand "the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything." And you know. Despite being 42. I can't find it. 

I've begun to live in a morass of reflected glory, specifically, via my highly accomplished husband. I revel in the twists and turns he reveals to me about his research and feel so enmeshed in the process that it has begun to feel as if it were me, as well, preparing his research.

And then he goes away. 

Then the article is written, the book published, and I forget to read it. The presentation at the conference is a success, and I'm so amped for him, I forget I really wasn't there participating at all. It's so much a part of me now, that if somehow what I "do" comes up, it turns into "Oh I'm disabled, but let me tell you about my husband!"

And it's become soul crushing. 

I do not want to be, "Christine Wy, Disabled!" How much does that suck? How unrelatable, how miserable, how small and insignificant? How -pathetic-??

In my brightest moments, I think of myself as "Christine Wy, Health Advocacy Trailblazer!" but it's not something I know how to relate to anyone who doesn't meet me on Facebook, who meets me "on the street," as it were (As if I ever leave the house!). 

I feel horrendous guilt that I don't volunteer with health or political organizations, even just online. Truly a magnificent weight is upon my shoulders on this one. 

But Facebook. On Facebook I'm a rockstar of health transparency advocacy. I talk about chronic pain, chronic illness, and especially mental health, a subject I've tried to skirt in this blog. Ok, all subjects I've tried to skirt, and admittedly, the reason I didn't talk about it on here is fear. 

A lot of people have found my blog since moving to Florida whom I have been very uncomfortable with reading my posts. It really gnawed at me. At one point I was looking for more gainful employment, and more than one interviewer told me, "By the way, your blog is hilarious!" 

Oh. Mah. Gawd. Exactly one of my greatest fears when I set out on this "fun" little adventure, future employers. But, I'm a librarian, and librarians find everything, so honestly I wasn't -too- surprised, more like a little miffed that I wasn't obscure enough. 

So yeah, health? Icksnay on the bipolarsnay!! 

I think I've reached a point where transparency is of utmost importance to me, because here's the thing.... The direct messages. 

I get direct messages from people I've met all over the globe who tell me, "I wish I could be brave like you and talk about my mental health!" 

You know what? I don't think I'm all that brave. I think I'm more defiant. I feel like mental health stigma is a battle that must be fought, and if it has to be me who leads the charge in my little corner of the Internet, then Viva la Revolucion! "Onward marching broken soldiers!" (You have to sing that.) 

But I can't hold onto the "defiant" in me, not in real life. I hold onto my husband, desperately, like a life raft connecting me to my former life, something tumultuously unstable but that I hope will hold me up in the passage from one continent to another. 

But where is this new continent? It must be online, because bluntly I don't fit in in Florida, and my number of local friends I can count on only a few fingers whom I'm physically able to hang out with. I was always popular as an adult. Until Florida. So I just don't understand. I'm really not sure why no one here seems to like me, or at best only admires me from afar, ironically via asking my husband about me versus getting my actual phone number.

I'm pausing now to say that I feel like I got off track, but that it felt good getting that out of my system. Talk about "Things that Still Make Me Stabby after Ten Years!" And I mean that, earnestly. It hurts to become unpopular when you're used to being in the soirée's inner circle.  

Back on track!

I guess all that's really left is to tie this menagerie of Fresh Back to Blogging spew of nonsense up, so here, let me attempt that....

I propose my own answer to the "ultimate question:" find my defiant. 

Somewhere in me is that bad mama jama who wants to break down the walls of silence surrounding mental health. I'm so open and free with anyone and everyone about my life's journey through chronic health conditions, and that's fuckin hella balls to the wall kickass to me, so why isn't that my identity? 

"Christine Wy, Bad Mama Jama," here to bust down your stereotypes of what cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs looks like, sounds like, and feels like. Stand back. It's on. 

Sunday, November 18, 2018

I Went to California and All I Got Was this Lousy Head Cold!

I could never be able to afford to do this normally, post-disability, but I had some airline flight credit I had to use before it expired, so I took off to see bestie C.S. (not Lewis).

What ended up being the most exotic thing I did was going to a "sesh." I loathe that term, don't even know what it's shorthand for, and it just makes me feel like a poseur to say it since I'm not part of that culture.

In case you don't know what a "sesh" is, it's basically an only quasi-legal farmer's market for shit tons of weed.* Like Shit. Tons. Of. Weed.. I've never seen anything remotely like this. Nothing. Growers with the equivalent of multiple small garbage bags full of ounces and ounces of cannabis, in multiple strains, and as I observed, usually three strains per booth. It was pretty ridiculous.

To give you an idea of the scope of this scenario, I can't becount the number of tables set up by the growers. The two rows of growers snaked all over a large property, and was just crazy big to my virgin eyes. There had to have been 40-50 booths, I really don't know, but it was crazy I tell you, crazy.

I didn't buy anything, even though I had been on the lookout for a nice CBD infusion topical cream for my aching hands, but I was so overwhelmed, I had no idea from whom to buy! There is a guy I regret not buying from, actually, but, doubt I can do anything about that now!

The problem was that there was some family drama, and then to saddle up the dramallama,  C.S.'s child brought home a head cold.....

Oh Boy!! Omg I wanted to sterilize everythinggggg, but how could I? It wasn't my house, and how do you tell a child in their own home, "DON'T TOUCH THAT OR YOU'LL KILL ME!!"

And it's true. I am immunosuppressed, so my odds versus germs are basically bunk, but, I just had to strap in for the inevitable! And hoo-doggy, did that inevitable ever come!!

I was there from a Friday night to a Wednesday morning. I woke up in th middle of the night Sunday, and there, I felt it, the tickle in my nose and throat that made me say "HELLO ILLNESS MY OLD FRIEND!! Thanks for showing up on vacay!!" Monday morning brought me to full misery status.

C.S. had to work, so it gave me bonding time with his girlfriend, and plenty of time to rest in bed, rest that I desperately needed to accrue for that evil, high altitude journey home.... And boy-howdy did that suck! In the immortal words of Tod Flanders, "Ow! My freaking ears!"

I wish I were at leisure to talk about what happened there in toto, because it was deep, and it made me feel like I had purpose to be there at that moment, but it is too personal and not my journey to share. Suffice it to say I inserted myself into a lot of complicated storylines and gave plenty of unsolicited advice, but, that's pretty much standard for one of my vacations!

Despite the mayhem, I had a dreamscape of a time--and I hope to go back under less germy circumstances!

Love to C., J., and little petri dish A.,
Your Eternal Buttinsky,

*PLEASE don't forget California is a legal cannabis state!

Hi! I'm -trying- to come back!

You know, I just wrote this awesome blog post about my feeeeelings and stuff and the emotional journey I've been on to reach a point in my life I feel like I -might- be able to write again, only, shit happened, and it published in a wrong, dead, never even used blog instead of here because of Google taking ownership since I created this blog. I'm a little annoyed.....

Lemme try to recap:

I went away because I was so depressed about how shitty my health is, which it truly is, but as much as that's the reason, it's really the beginning of the avalanche of reasons.

I felt like I was stuck in a trap of CONSTANTLY whining about my health, and it only reinforced my depression, making me feel even worse mentally and physically. 

I'm pretty fucking open about being Bipolar 2, and I have a host of physical ailments that are boring (bipolar is wayyyy more interesting, believe me, just ask my long suffering husband! ;) ), so admitting I was clinically depressed for yearssssss is no big deal to me. I hope you can deal with it too, because I'm sure mental health stories will come up.

But here's the thing, here's why I feel like I might be able to write: I'm happy again. At least sort of, at least as happy as a Major Depressive Disorder Bipolar 2 chica can be! Between med changes and forcing myself to learn to live with my health and not be oppressed by it, I feel loads better, loads more in control of where my brain goes, and loads happier.

It's been amazing to recover this part of myself, I truly hope I can keep my blog running again. I miss you all and your hilarious feedback, so yeah, please stick around and we'll see what happens!

Thank You,
Christine Wy
Unkillable Cactus Killer

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Children's Kitchenette and the Cat

I grew up in a small, tight-knit neighborhood with a local Catholic school most kids went to. Through this connection, my brother joined a Boy Scouts Troop. I think they're called "Den Leaders" or "Pack Masters" or whatever code for guys who molest small boys.

This Den Leader hosted his troop meetings in his fancy basement or something. It may come as a surprise, but I was a weird child--sorry to shock anyone. My mother was always trying to pawn me off on people (as most mothers do, no judgment), so she sent me to the Boy Scout pack troop because Den Leader also had a daughter a year or two older than me.

As a boy stuck in a girl's body at that age (I blame it on having an older brother for a role model), I desperately wanted to go to the Masonic-Temple-In-Training meeting. No, I was sent upstairs to the girl's bedroom to play with the kitchenette. She didn't like me, and she generally snubbed me at school--like pretty much everyone else anyway.

We played fried fake eggs, we made fake hamburgers, we had “lunch” together, but I spent most of the luncheon conversation begging her for us to sneak to the basement. They had her a lot more house-broken than me and she refused. “Boy Scouts is for the boys” she informed me sternly.

Their giantly overfed ginger tabby wandered in, and I was thrilled. My daddy didn't let us have pets, and boy I wanted to play with that tabby so bad. She said that he was mean and I shouldn't mess with him, but like that was going to stop me, it sounded like an invitation for mayhem of course.

Suddenly! I had a brilliant idea! "Let's put the tabby in the refrigerator!" Oh my god, I was SO overwhelmed at my genius! Cat + fiber-board fridge = Pure. Entertainment.

She begged me not to, and I begged her to help me catch the cat. Brainless girl refused.

I caught fat ginger tabby by leaning against the door so that it could not escape and grabbed it in a way that was probably hideously torturous. I shoved it in the top shelf of the fridge and closed the doors. "Ha-ha! the cat's in the fridge!" It howled and hissed and scrambled and made a ruckus, torture time over.

The doors to the fridge wouldn't open. At all. Despite both of us tugging and pulling and warping the flimsy fridge, that ginger was stuck for life.

The clearly upset the completely unadventurous and unimaginative crying girl ran wailing in tears to her mother.

I don't know what happened in the kitchen. My mom came to the bedroom red-faced with clenched teeth and grabbed me by the arm, pulling me down the steps to the front door. My brother, not grabbed, was also red-faced and maybe choking back tears of embarrassment, and we all hustled out the door. I was completely confused. I just stuck a cat in a fridge, seemed like fun. I knew about power tools, and I figured once that troop thingy was over, her dad would just come up with a drill and use a screw attachment to reverse screw off the hinges to the door. I mean, that seemed like what I would do, right?

 I always wondered why I was never invited back and my brother quit Boy Scouts.

Thursday, June 02, 2011


Ennui continues: "que est-ce que ce est."

Saturday, November 14, 2009

I'm still lurking about

This blog is not dead, I swear. I know I haven't posted anything of substance in forever, I am just totally uninspired by my life right now. I'll come back one day.

Lady C

Monday, September 07, 2009


I have never been able to resolve my feelings about Andy Warhol, and attending his museum in Pittsburgh only made my confusion worse. Eccentric genius whose very life was performance art? Arrogant prig, self-absorbed in his own belief he was genius? A phony? Maybe my confused perspective was his actual goal. (He even wore a gray-haired wig before he naturally grayed. Isn’t that pretty cooky?)

Here’s the source of my current angst: a banana necklace.

I traded a hula hoop from my Etsy store for a handmade lamp-worked glass pendant of a banana on a black background. The artist described it as reminding her of Andy Warhol’s banana art, which it kinda does, but more plants the seed in my mind that that’s what it is. I wear it with my ID necklace as kind of a totem. Life’s bananas, but it’s a performance art theater of the absurd participated in whether opting to or not.

When I feel on the verge of bananas, Andy Warhol reminds me to act my role in the theater of life. I can’t control bananas, but I can sculpt it to my own script, sans gray-haired wig.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

First, an explanation

I know I don't write as much anymore. It's for a couple of reasons.

Number one, real life is sort of more prominent in my day-to-day than it has been in the past. There's not as much space for writing.

Number two, I have found out that people where I work have found my blog. My blog started out as PG when I thought I was writing for my family. When they didn't read, I upped it to PG-13. When I realized just a handful of select friends were really reading, I pretty much took the blog to rated R.

Now that I'm more exposed, I feel compelled to be more careful, but the stories I really want to tell are still rated R. The diarist side of my brain hasn't found its way back to the simpler, less potty-mouth times. And it's not even that I swear, it's my questionable subject matter. Like writing about potties.

And now, enjoy a doughnut with me.

Glory hole

I have a weakness for Krispy Kreme doughnuts that borders on pathological. When I was a kid, for evening entertainment my parents would load us in the station wagon and take us to Krispy Kreme. We’d watch as the raw doughnut dough circles came down the conveyor belt and slid into the deep fat frier. Then, like magic, that rotating arm would flip the doughnuts and fry the other side, leaving that thin white band of unfried dough around the edge of the confection.

Glory of glories, the fried dough made its way to the shower of icing. A curtain of pure liquid sugar joy glided dreamily over each doughnut. And the icing, that transcendental wonder of the icing, some of the curtain of sugar glaze never made it onto the doughnut and fell back into a recovery vat. Oh, heaven above, if I could just stick my face in that sugar rain and catch the extra in my mouth.

“Now frying,” the sign blinked, my favorite sign ever. “Now frying,” the still warm doughnuts were delicately pricked directly off the line with what looked like a bamboo chopstick and placed in perfectly gridded order in a dozen-sized box. Dad ordered one box plain glazed, one box chocolate glazed. We all ate one of each, sitting in front of the magic doughnut conveyor belt, watching with rapt childhood attention, high on sugared sweets.

Twenty-five years later, and I have become allergic to wheat. I discovered it one day after eating a waffle. I felt horrible afterward. The next day, I did not eat a waffle, and I was fine. Just in case, just to prove the scientificity of my experiment, I ate a waffle again. I was sick. Like anaphylactic sick. So, poof, the world of wheat disappeared. I’ve been off wheat for a while now, and although I miss it like I’d miss chocolate (mac n’ cheese! Where are you?), I’m safely healthier.

Today, however, someone brought my supreme weakness to work—Krispy Kreme. My co-workers can never remember that I’m allergic to wheat (not that it’s their job to remember), and more than one person said, “There’s Krispy Kreme in the breakroom.” Evil. Pure evil. I ignored the Krispy Kreme, I reminded myself it was poison, I fought my burning sweet tooth, but I succumbed.

I was sitting alone in the breakroom eating a snack of string cheese. Two open boxes of Krispy Kreme stared at me. “They’re not there,” I said. “You’ll die,” I said. But then the much, much louder voice said, “DIE IN A GLORY OF CONFECTIONER’S GLAZE!”

I picked up one doughnut, gently, not breaking the integrity of the glazing shell. “I’ll just take a bite and see what happens.” I chewed slowly, afraid and exhilarated. Swallowed first bite. “I’m OK.” Next bite, chewed deliberately and carefully. “I’ll finish this doughnut, and that will be all.” I felt fine. My throat didn’t squeeze, my nose didn’t run, I didn’t sneeze—I was fine. “OK, another doughnut.” Thoughtful bite, careful chew, swallow. Second doughnut, gone and no reaction. Then the glutton in me took over, my doughnut demon started screaming, “Third doughnut! Third doughnut!”

You know I listened to the doughnut demon.

I knew I was really pushing my limits with the third doughnut, but I told myself, “There’s always the emergency room.” Yes, that is actually how I justified the third doughnut, a trip to the emergency room for eating a third doughnut.

Bite, careful, slow, bite. I knew this was my last Krispy Kreme ever, and I knew it had to be perfect. Alone, in the breakroom, with two boxes of Krispy Kremes as my friends, I started doughnut three. I chewed deliberately. I chewed carefully. I chewed mindfully that this, this glorious confection was my last. I savored like I had never savored before.

I finished, still terrified I’d be in the emergency room in minutes, but reveling in the magnitude of my doughnut accomplishment. And then my throat got tight. Assessment: throat not emergency room tight, throat allergy medicine tight.

I rushed to my office and tore apart my purse looking for that lone Sudafed I knew I had floating around in the bottom. “Sudafed, Sudafed, must not die,” I chanted to myself. Finally, Sudafed, lots and lots of water.

My nose ran for a while and my throat burns, but I did it all for Krispy Kreme. It was stupid. Terribly, wretchedly stupid, but for Krispy Kreme I took the chance. Three doughnuts. My last three doughnuts, and god they were worth all the agony for the joy of those precious minutes of bliss. I don’t need meditation, my transcension is fried.