NaNoWriMo Again!

National Novel Writing Month begins at midnight tonight… November 1, 2019. I did NaNo last year and wrote around 30,000 words. Not the 50,000 word goal, but not bad.

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Yes, 50,000 words in a month. That’s the purpose of NaNo. That is 1667 words a day. If I am being prolific, I can do around 700 a day, sometimes up to 1000. But consistently? Not so much.

I have 4 Works in Progress… 3 Memoirs and 1 Psychological Thriller. The one I am working on for NaNo is (working title) In the Bushes: Gay Life before AIDS. I spent a lot of time in the gay community from 1978-1982 and have fabulous stories to share about those crazy times before my friends started to die around me. I’ve already begun, have just over 7000 words so far, and the book is unfolding beautifully. My goal for November is to write those 50,000 words.

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The NaNoWriMo community is amazingly supportive. Tons of forums… many serious, others completely frivolous. I closed my Facebook for the month, but must stay out of the NaNo forums until my daily numbers are met.

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And so I am off to write. Wish me well!

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Forgiveness

I have a Rubik’s Cube in my hand… the hand in my mind… working it working it working it, trying to figure out how to change things I have done in my life, how to correct them, make better decisions, hurt fewer people. If I can just figure out the right way to get the colors lined up, my life would not be filled with so many regrets.

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I have apologized to those around me, including my children, many, many times, yet I still feel horribly guilty for my transgressions. I’ve confessed my sins in therapy for 30 years now, yet continue enduring the weight of guilt, it often weighing me down into depression.

And then I heard, in a book* I am listening to, “How long is the sentence for these crimes you committed in your 20s, 30s and 40s? What is a fair sentence for your crime?”

I am 58 and believe my sentence is now over.

In this decision, I thought, “Does carrying others’ pain lessen their own misery?” It does not. I also do not believe my children want me to suffer anymore.

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I am here to answer the questions people in my life have. I am here to apologize for things I am responsible for, but I will not wear the yoke of guilt any longer. I release my Self from my shame, my pain, my sadness and my grief for the things not done or that I did wrong.

Therefore, I shall make amends… and forgive my Self.

* Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed

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Consensus

I have belonged to two groups of women… lesbians in the 1980’s and early 90’s… and midwives in the 2000’s… who swore by consensus, believing it was the way to run a group. A definition is important. Governing by Consensus is when everyone in the group has to agree with the topic at hand or the issue is not finished/closed/settled until everyone does agree. This means that in a group of 1000 people, if one person disagrees, then the solution offered does not pass muster.

Until that last person agrees.

If the last person never agrees, the subject is tabled for another time. Usually until the last person leaves the group or keels over.

I am not a fan of consensus. I’m just too skeptical to believe everyone in a given group is altruistic enough to really listen to the issue at hand and leave their own egos out of the equation in order to find a conclusion to a problem. That would be because I have been around enough people in these groups who get off on being contrary and don’t give one whit about the group as a whole or even the pieces parts (the others) in that group. Instead, they have a life goal of annoying people, seeking attention and wreaking havoc wherever they are.

I’m a majority rules kinda gal. The feminist separatists reading/listening to this are shrieking, “That is so patriarchal!” Whatever. Majority rules works whereas consensus does not.

 

For example, I was part of the San Diego Lesbian Press Collective in the late 80’s/early 90’s. A “collective,” pretty much by definition, is governed by consensus. The politics of the lesbian community during that time was extremely separatist… men were persona non grata to the lesbians. Now, I had 2 male children so was immediately suspect, but they let me into the collective because they needed writers and I can write some good controversial shit.

The Press was always needing money. Finding advertisers was a never-ending job for some of the womyn (spelled w-o-m-y-n) in the group. Thankfully, all I had to do was write.

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That was until a potential advertiser came along who happened to be a MAN, then I was required to attend the collective meetings.

This MAN was going to be a major advertiser, affording the Press to go for at least a year without begging others for money. But, his being a man… using money that a man made… was a serious breach of the way the Press worked.

But some wimmin (w-i-m-m-i-n), myself included, felt okay about accepting the dude’s money because it would mean the Press could stay operational for a long time and our (collective) lesbian voices would be spread further and wider. Many others, of course, did not agree.

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So, discussion ensued.

I committed to abstaining from the beginning, but was required to listen to the discussion lest I not understand what I was abstaining to. Therefore, I began the interminable task of listening to the back and forth of why we should take the man’s money or why we should not.

In the beginning, the arguments were typical and have already been mentioned… we could operate for another year without worry and we could have our message spread further and wider. But the “discussions” began to get heated.

“Talking about a man at all is polluting our environment!” So we moved outdoors so the Universe could absorb the negative energy of the masculine discussion.
(You think I am kidding. You would be wrong.)

MEN have so much ANGER wrapped into their money-making! I don’t want that energy anywhere near our paper.”

(Never mind the really loud, and not always polite, discussions occurring at that very moment.)

You also might be thinking this meeting would have been a couple of hours long. One would have hoped, yes. But, this topic was a couple of hours long, carried over, every week, for THREE MONTHS.

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It was worse than that tennis match feeling, watching ideas lobbed over a net only to be returned nearly identically a few moments later. I lost count how many times I said, “I abstain.”

It was clear the issue was becoming desperate when creative ways were developed for how to accept the money even though he was a man. My absolute favorite was that he give the money to his wife and she be the one to gives us the money out of her bank account. Seriously. This was a topic of discussion. FOR WEEKS.

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There never was consensus on what to do. The lesbian separatists refusing to give in to THE MAN and those with more mission-minded thoughts knowing that, in order to keep going, we needed that money. Because there was no consensus, the money was not taken and the San Diego Lesbian Press folded a mere two months after the end of the discussion.

See? It should have been majority rules… they might still be in operation today.

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Endearing vs. Invasive

I have had about enough of this discussion about former Vice-President Biden invading women’s space. I know I know… women need to be heard, believed, etc. etc. I know! I am a rape survivor… I got it.

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But that their SPACE is being invaded?!? Give me a fucking break. The man is amazingly endearing!

Seriously, my space is regularly invaded in the buffet line!

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I have had teachers in my face, friends nudging me over inside a booth, girlfriends smelling my hair, male and female friends touching my boobs (which, by the way, women do a whole lot more of than we talk about), and much of those made me “uncomfortable” (or more).

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Men… let’s talk about men, shall we?

Men catcalling, not giving one holy fuck if women hate it, want to cry, want to run but cannot… fear walking around construction sites because of… and that is just ONE example of men making women uncomfortable THAT WILL NEVER EVER EVER CHANGE. No apologies. No “Gee, I didn’t realize that made you uncomfortable,” NONE of that. The whole fucking goal of men yelling at women is to make us uncomfortable.

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And then that evil-soul person we have in the White House and HIS horrific behavior towards women. Sexual abuse, sexual assault… invading my space my ass. He is purposefully sexually attacking women. Where is THAT demand of apologies? Where is THAT caring about those women he has abused?

When someone “invades our space,” is this going to become new school rules? New office rules? “Do not stand behind me when I am working on my computer or I will turn you in to HR… I am uncomfortable with you there.”

Or “Stay 6 inches from me when we are in the receiving line at Sunday service,” (is this going to be a sign at the door of the church?!?).

I am not one to roll my eyes at women’s feelings, but this is so ridiculous I just cannot keep my fingers quiet anymore.

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Who knew I would agree with the political right and think that Political Correctness has finally gone too far.

Way, way, way too far.

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Surgery Done! Yay!

Surgery turned out to be a joyous experience. The team all laughed with me… I implored them all to have fun during surgery… to be mindful,  but have fun! They were all wonderful.

During pre-op, I asked the surgeon if he listened to music during surgeries and he said he did… any requests? I said questioningly, “Hamilton?” His eyes lit up and he said he had it on his phone, no problem at all. I was so happy to know I would fall asleep to Lin-Manuel Miranda singing to me.

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I am a really hard poke, but the 40-year experienced nurse got me on one stick. YAY! My BP was awesome, I was doing great.

My daughter Aimee hung out with me and was the epitome of great support.

Once in the OR, we all continued laughing and then the surgeon came over, masked as everyone else was, and said, “Now here is the most important question.”

I braced myself.

“Do you want the Soundtrack or the Mixtape?” I laughed loudly and said, “Play the fucking Mixtape!” So I went to sleep listening to Busta Rhymes belting out “My Shot.”

I woke up great and easy. My mom came to say hi, which was nice.

I guess the main tumor on my arm had some roots to it, so they had to dig 1.5 inches further than they expected. Oh, well. The place on my back was smaller and closed with Dermabond (Superglue) and does not hurt one tiny bit. Yay!

Yesterday was my 58th birthday. WOO HOO!

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My voice was somewhat hoarse after surgery, normal apparently. I’d never had that happen before, but whatever. Now, however, I am completely mute. A laugh sounds like a mouse squeak.

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I called the doc and they said that sometimes intubation can scratch the vocal cords. Yeah, it can take ONE to EIGHT WEEKS to be able to talk again. I asked for a referral to a whomever one sees for vocal cord injuries. For those that do not know, my JOB is talking. A LOT. I cannot NOT work for 8 weeks! Let’s all visualize my vocal cords bathed in healing juices. Oh, and happily, my throat does not hurt at all. So, there is that.

I am doing well, 2 days postop. Am glad it is done, looking forward to the Path Report.

Thanks for laughing along with me!

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Surgery Scheduled

Excision Surgery to remove the malignant melanoma and the dysplastic nevus is scheduled for next week, March 28th, 2019… the day before my 58th birthday. I keep thinking I am okay, not nervous or worried, but my behaviors say differently.

I was in pain a few days ago so bought a bottle of amaretto. In a 24-hour period, I drank the entire bottle. When I was done, I thought, “Hmmm, this is not a good way to cope,” so called my therapist and had an emergency session with her that night. She offered other ways of coping… distraction being the main one… playing more in Second Life, writing more and finding a good book to read.

(Please don’t tune out the next section!)

I considered calling the psychiatrist for some anti-anxiety meds, but thought that wasn’t a good strategy for a former addict either. Instead, I bought Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn.

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This is the basis for Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, the course I took in San Diego several years ago that helped me with a great deal of pain, depression, anxiety and then later, with getting clean from opiates.

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When I was in all that liver pain, I meditated a lot, but when the pain was pretty much gone, I stopped (like a goofball). Now, here I am again, needing to meditate and I am having to relearn the skills I knew so well not so long ago. I am not worried, but BE-ing in the moment (did you who meditate chuckle like I did?) and going with where I am and doing it. Talk about the Beginner’s Mind!

In anticipation of next week’s surgery and not using pain meds afterwards to help with pain management, I am going to stay “In the Moment” and meditate to work through the pain I will surely have. Although I am not trying to anticipate it. laughing I sound like an advertisement for MBSR.

Next week, here I come!

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Only Stage 2!

Woo hoo!

The major spot is only Stage 2 malignant melanoma. I feel such relief that I have longer than 6 months to live… something I read through tears on the Internet at 3am night before last.

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“DON’T READ DR. GOOGLE!”

How many times have I told people that?!? HUNDREDS! And there I was, tap tap tapping, Googling all the different survivor rates for my cancer. By the time I got to the doctor at 10am, I had lumps in my arm, felt the cancer in my bones, knew it was Stage 4, with one foot in the grave.

Then the doctor pulls out my results and says it is a Stage 2 and they only need to see me every 3 months after I have the excision in the two places. I explained my oncologist called and wants me to have a Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy so she explained I would have to see a general surgeon for that. No problem. I am waiting for a consult appointment from the general surgeon. Supposedly, I might have surgery this week.

There’s your update!

I was dancing on the clouds yesterday that I will have time to make book audios for my grandbabies as well as get my Flux book DONE!

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