Decisions.

As much as Toby’s been helping — and she still is — there are some things she can’t help with.

My pain levels are increasing, and with them comes increased sleep. My cats are suffering for it because I’m not awake to feed them. No matter how much I love them, I can’t deny they deserve better than this, and yet I doubt someone else will be able to take care of them half as well.

I’ve decided they will be my last cats. Toby will be my only bird.

After being unable to sleep normally thanks to pain, drugging myself to sleep through it, then waking 16 hours later in even more pain, I sit here in tears at the prospect that this is all I have to look forward to for the rest of my life. Another 50 years of this? No.

No.

I’ve known for a long time that one of the souls I have comes from Japan. He was not a nice person — he was an exceptionally terrible excuse for a human, actually — and was put into a female body so he’d personally know what he inflicted upon the women of his time. He’s the primary reason I identify the way I do and experience so much body dysphoria.

I’ve decided I will take him home. In ten or so years, when I have no more animal companions to keep me here, I will go to Japan and let him go. He belongs at home with his people. He’s not happy here. He never has been. He will be happy again there.

The other soul I have is female and somewhat indeterminate. She’s prevalent mostly in dreams, where I tend to dream of being female and experience a nightmarish mishmash of the scarring things I’ve gone through, usually involving school and my abusive ex-husband. Now, I cry every time I watch Moana, and I’ve figured out why: the way the essences of life and death are represented in it are so pure and beautiful to me, and that’s what sets me off. The movie’s writers took great pains to ensure the people’s way of life was respectfully and accurately depicted, and it resonated so strongly with my female soul that I think that general area is where she’s from. I read this article about Polynesian death culture and kept saying, “Yes! Yes!” to each point I read because everything felt true.

I’ve decided I will take her there after I’ve brought the male soul home. I will reunite her with her ocean mother.

The third soul will go home to the star mother. Back to the beginning to start anew. Maybe this time it’ll get a pair that works. The shell will simply turn back into dirt: it borrowed a shape, and, when the souls are safely home, it’ll be time to give it back.

Now, there is a plan. Now, I must work to see it through. Now, I must make sure I leave nothing behind that will inconvenience others to dispose of.

Clinging.

Is it worth the trouble it takes trying to live life so that someday you get something worthwhile out of it, instead of it almost always taking worthwhile things out of you?

Carrie Fisher, The Princess Diarist 

I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to answer this question in the affirmative, to be quite brutally honest, and yet I keep scraping for reasons to. It all feels so futile.

Recently, I added a linnie to my shrinking list of reasons to persist: a bird breeder to whom I’d expressed interest contacted me a few days ago, asking if I wanted one of the two unspoken-for turquoise linnies she was hand raising. Fool that I am, I said yes, and, fool that I am, find myself looking forward to meeting this bird. I’ve already caught myself thinking about where to put the cage when I’m up, looking at linnie-specific training methods, wondering how I’m going to sleep with the cage on my dresser. I already know I’m going to the bird shop come next cheque to buy a cage and toys.

I’m about to make a commitment — not just to taking care of a new little life, but to outliving its span, which is at least another ten years.

What the hell am I doing?

Drifting towards oblivion.

Vaping ceaselessly, each inhaled breath taken from the mod, each exhaled breath a rolling cloud of vapour. Drinking one hard liquor after another, everything from fruit creams to amaretto to scotch. Eating heavily flavoured, rich foods, drowning my tongue in a wealth of tastes and textures. Scraping holes in my flesh with my fingernails, leaving patches and furrows of discoloured, seeping skin, yet the pain is distant through dissociation fog.

I try to oversaturate what senses still work in vain attempts to stay connected to the world, but passive suicide covers me in its gentle smother, and I find I just don’t care anymore. I know my life will be ending soon, and it will end in a quiet, dark, pathetic corner, remote enough that only I will know the true extent of my utter failure. I have no future. All the things I wanted to do were stolen by executive dysfunction and depression, with ravaged health hammering in the coffin’s final nails.

All that stops me is the tiny black and white face of my cat tucked with complete love and trust into the crook of my elbow. She doesn’t know. She can’t know. Nor do I know who would take care of her and her sister should they outlive me. For their sake, I attempt to endure, but I won’t lie: holding on is getting harder and harder. Finding things strong enough to stave off the void becomes an increasingly fruitless task. Everything becomes disposable.

One day, I’m going to slip, and I may breathe my last with my two four-footed girls curled and sleeping in my arms, tucked against my face.

One day, sooner or later.

Impermanence.

A thought I’ve caught myself having quite often these days concerns Things.

I look at my shelves and see hundreds of items, the overwhelming majority of which are books: art, how to art, “art of,” language dictionaries, cultural explorations, memoirs, how to write, grammar guides, philosophy, religion (one’s mythology is another’s religion, I say), history, fiction, Japanese manga, graphic novels, comic book trade collections, science fiction, and fantasy. Oh, so much fantasy. Those were the worlds I escaped to when life became hell, and I escaped a lot. Still do. Would that I could actually escape to one of the worlds I read about, as in Seanan McGuire’s Every Heart A Doorway, the book I needed when I was younger.

But I digress. Sort of. The aforementioned thought has to do with the ultimate, permanent escape, the one we’re all guaranteed to have as a consequence of life.

I’m on a few mailing lists, a couple of which involve some really neat science, tech, and geeky items. Every time I see an item that appeals to one or more of my interests, my brain leaps at it with figurative grabby hands outstretched. Immediately afterwards, my gut quashes the desire with melancholy: not only can I usually not afford the item — living under the poverty line is a hundred kinds of ass — but I also know that, in the end, it’ll just be junk after I’m dead.

Junk. Trash. Garbage. Unwanted, unpleasant mementos of the one who owned them.

I realise that capitalism depends on the desire to have those cool Things, whether they signify long-lasting interests  or passing fads. Capitalism also depends on a person’s disposable income, which, of course, I largely lack. As a result, I’m extremely picky about what non-survival items I do spend money on, and being divorced from TV Land in general means that the neverending pied piper tune of BUY BUY BUY rings hollow and shallow in my ears. You can’t take it with you, as the saying goes.

Is it even worth acquiring anything at all if it’s just going to end up in the landfill?

No. No, it isn’t. Not to me and my already shortened lifespan, anyway.

Nothing lasts.

A conversation.

(19:48:44) Friend: have you ever seen Lileks’ “Gallery of Regrettable Food”?
(19:49:28) Me: That rings a horrified bell covered in green aspic
(19:51:51) Friend: MEAT! MEAT! MEAT!
(19:52:00) Friend: my favourite is the 10 PM Cookbook
(19:52:54) Friend: http://www.lileks.com/institute/gallery/
(19:53:13) Friend: Son of Cooking With 7-Up
(19:55:20) Friend: this is my favourite out of all of them. white hetero men masculinity has always been this fragile http://www.lileks.com/institute/gallery/10PM%20/2.html
(19:55:37) Me: AHAHAHA OH GOD
(19:56:40) Friend: not only must you remind them that they’re MEN, but also that they’re still CHILDREN pretending to be grown-ups
(19:56:55) Friend: PHALLIC BEANIE WEENIES, the rutting stags demand
(19:57:43) Friend: nb, nothing wrong with beanie weenies. indulge your inner child all you want. just…. don’t pretend that isn’t what you’re doing
(19:58:05) Friend: and for gods sakes, don’t turn them into penises
(19:58:15) Me: Yes, it’s always been that fragile, as shown by antagonisticouture.com
(20:01:01) Friend: http://www.lileks.com/institute/gallery/10PM%20/1.html
(20:01:15) Friend: MMM YUMMY
(20:02:43) Friend: although i’ll caveat, one of my favourite winter appetisers is James Barber’s consomme
(20:03:33) Friend: you heat canned consomme, then put a bit of sherry or port into mugs, pour the soup in, and float a lemon slice. it’s much tastier than canned cream of chicken soup
(20:03:46) Friend: ah i see you’ve gone to throw up
(20:03:46) Me <AUTO-REPLY>: I’m not here right now
(20:04:46) Me: xD No, I went to get meds. I kind of haven’t been taking them.
(20:04:57) Friend: tsk tsk
(20:06:39) Me: I have a couple of wordpress blogs, one of which is written with a dreamlike quality, the other (which I started yesterday) is a very straightforward, no-punches-pulled chronicle of what it’s like to live with mental illness. Something about the latter gained it an immediate follower whom I didn’t already know.
(20:08:23) Me: It has only two posts on it and the second mostly addresses why I’ve been skipping my meds.
(20:09:59) Friend: *nod*
(20:10:15) Friend: i saw your new twitter nick, Mass Effexor. i thought it was priceless
(20:10:17) Me: https://justmentallyillthings.wordpress.com if you’re up for reading
(20:10:20) Me: Hehe
(20:10:23) Friend: and having been on Effexor, i understand
(20:11:09) Me: It’s what fucked my memory to begin with, or at least started the avalanche rolling a lot faster than it might otherwise have done
(20:13:57) Me: I purposely made the background hospital-scrub green, reminiscent of #hospitalglam.
(20:14:21) Friend: *nodnod* yeah it left me with fucked memory too
(20:14:34) Friend: after the damage already done by the sinequan
(20:15:00) Friend: but it did start to help a little, eventually. turns out that, at high dosages, it starts acting as a dopamine reuptake inhibitor
(20:15:25) Me: It made me feel like a human being again instead of a ball of suicidal misery
(20:15:37) Me: I discovered too late that it was linked to memory loss
(20:16:16) Friend: same
(20:16:39) Me: I’m wondering if I should get myself tested for Alzheimer’s
(20:16:55) Friend: it didn’t help me enough, i felt like a ball of suicidal misery with memory loss
(20:17:26) Friend: i still have memory damage and i compensate as best i can. welbutrin makes me feel human and able to be happy.
(20:18:13) Friend: i’m “okay” with the effexor damage, i did that to myself and it was done with good intentions on all parties parts. the sinequan damage is another story. that was my parents trying to drug me into submission to their abuse
(20:18:32) Me: Wellbutrin didn’t work for me. :/ Brand-name Cipralex does, but only marginally. The psych had me try a new class of drug, saying it’d kick in in about a week, but the next day I woke slightly deaf in my left ear.
(20:18:44) Me: Oh god >.<
(20:19:04) Friend: yikes! no not good
(20:19:46) Me: You know how things sound when you have a cold stuffing up your ears and sounds are a bit muffled? That’s what it felt like, except without the actual clogging.
(20:20:10) Friend: well, if you ever do decide to check out on your own, which i know you won’t do as long as you have kitties depending on you, i just want you to know i will miss you and i will grieve, but i will also understand why
(20:20:25) Friend: and i certainly won’t hold it against you or blame you. i’ve been there too many times myself
(20:20:38) Me: I just got teary-eyed and want to hug you
(20:21:55) Me: Thank you. It’s very likely that I will come visit you after the fact for a bit, or at least that’s my intent.
(20:24:17) Friend: i expect so
(20:24:31) Friend: but i know you won’t go while you have kitties depending on you
(20:24:42) Friend: you don’t trust anyone to care for them properly
(20:24:54) Me: You’re right about that.
(20:25:09) Friend: and the thought of them confused, wondering ‘what happened to our mom? where’d she go? why are we here?” is too hard on you, as it is on me
(20:25:20) Friend: “no empathy” my ass, we have PLENTY of empathy
(20:25:43) Me: Eowyn might adjust to someone else, but Immi wouldn’t
(20:27:04) Me: Though the idea of taking them with me has crossed my mind, it’s horrendously selfish and I could never bring myself to do it
(20:27:55) Friend: yeah no that’s wrong. that’s murder.
(20:28:11) Friend: suicide is one thing, murder is 100% another and then I WOULD judge you
(20:28:29) Me: And you’d have every right to
(20:30:19) Me: I love them too much to do such a godawful thing
(20:33:55) Friend: i know

Me, [20:52] In a strange way, I feel like I got permission
Friend, [20:52] Not before kitties
Me, [20:52] *nods* Not before kitties.
Friend, [20:53] I say things people don’t like to be said but sometimes some people need to hear
Me, [20:53] I will live as long as I have a cat
Friend, [20:53] And my religion doesn’t see it as a sin
Friend, [20:54] Unless your memory loss endangers the lives of the cats
Me, [20:54] Oh, definitely. Their lives come before mine.
Friend, [20:54] Then it’s a hard choice
Friend, [20:54] Hopefully it won’t ever come to that