Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Fat Tuesdays : Maternity

Oooh, boy! I have got to sit down and start writing about this, and I am one thousand percent certain that I am going to open the doors to a bajillion haters, but I gotta write!

I opened up last year about miscarrying, and I was afraid my unpopular opinion would not go over well. I was pleasantly surprised to find otherwise. Before writing that piece, I was really feeling like my thoughts weren't represented in the massive online catalogue of miscarriage posts. I just knew I needed to write it out, just in case I could reach even one person who felt similarly and needed to know she wasn't alone. I feel the same away about the things I've been experiencing with this pregnancy.

I'm not sure how I want to tackle all of what I've been experiencing. At first, I wasn't even gonna write about it at all. I just don't think my being pregnant is anyone's business, honestly. I feel like I share information with my close friends and that's enough. But I had been experiencing some really disgusting behavior from my prenatal care providers and then when I tried to talk to some of my friends (and eventually opened it up to Reddit and Instagram), I heard some even more ridiculous thoughts. (I also had a great outpouring of support from my IG friends, because I have a great group of feminist friends out there.) I think, for the sake of organization and for the sake of easing into this, I wanna write about it more trimester by trimester, I guess. I don't really think this'll be a weekly thing and it might not always be a Fat Tuesdays thing.

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I guess I just want to start by talking about my first trimester which was kind of a nightmare. I mean, I had some issues with "morning sickness" and the physical changes of pregnancy. My boobs outgrew my bras so fucking fast and my sports bras became incredibly uncomfortable. I needed to change my diet because health but also because the things I usually liked eating made me feel like crap. I was definitely tired a lot. I had digestive issues too...some of which affected my running. So yeah, there were the physical symptoms of early pregnancy, which many people experience. So that happened.

But for me, the anxiety and the waiting was the worst...oh, and the scare tactics which will become an even bigger issue later. Having had a miscarriage, I knew the risk of miscarriage was high. I chose not to see a doctor in my first trimester, because early prenatal care is all about having the right diet and confirming the pregnancy. I had a confirmation ultrasound at 12 weeks. I changed my eating habits drastically, ensuring that I was getting all the right nutrients. I altered my diet as well to make sure I would feel better...treating nausea with apples instead of crackers that totally lack nutrition. I continued training and knew my exercise habits would not suffer due to pregnancy, and that exercise is an important part of pregnancy. But I was just counting down every week to make sure the baby stuck. It was like watching an extremely tense movie and trying not to bite off my nails, but it just lasted and lasted. I was also stressed about finding a care provider. I have no pregnant friends and had no recommendations and the midwives I saw were not licensed or certified and could not deliver in a hospital. They were great women, but just not the right fit for me. So I really felt like I was behind the ball. I just felt like every decision I made was wrong...and I could find almost no literature to support my choices. (This is also something that would become a problem later on.)

I'm not particularly patient and I almost never get sick to any degree. (I mean, I've never had the flu, honestly.) So the first trimester was VERY challenging for me. Couple that with big changes in work and school and I was just very, very anxious and stressed. I started having panic attacks regularly and would take several hours to calm down. It was hard, and what I experienced at the beginning of my second trimester did not resolve this issue.

But I think I'll leave the rest of this until later. Writing this post was difficult and I need to think some more before I compose my next one. However, as of right now, everything is good. Doctors have been seen, everything is fine, I feel good. I'm still impatient, of course, but I'm feeling much calmer.

Monday, March 20, 2017

I think I can...

As I discussed last week, I've been struggling with depression, so it should come as no surprise that I found it difficult to complete last week's goals. But I'm not gonna let it bring me down. I'm just gonna keep trying, even if I finish one task per day. Just gotta keep my goals written every week and keep trying to knock one thing off that list each week. And maybe, just maybe, my gumption will return!

I've altered my exercise goals and am changing some of my eating habits (again). I'm trying to keep my diet extra awesome to avoid bullshit from baby doctors. I'm also trying to keep my exercise game strong so I am not lazing about, feeling like crap. It's not so much about whatever "benefits" that come from exercise and just about getting up and getting going...'cause right now, I just wanna lie in bed all day. Basically, I'm just trying to keep on keepin' on. That's my entire life plan right now.

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To Do This Week

01. Run/walk four times
02. Go swimming
03. Bank those travel blog posts (and others)
04. Sew two skirts
05. Organize final sewing projects (and start)
06. Go rock climbing
07. Drop off final roll of film
08. Start website
09. Finish your planner
10. Clean up all your disorganized messes

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Fat Tuesdays : It's time to change my goals.

It's 13 minutes until midnight, so this can still count as a Fat Tuesdays, RIGHT?

I have a confession to make, that I have known for a while now, and it's time to write it down. Because honestly, I haven't been sleeping well, I find it hard to accomplish things I enjoy, my to do list seems never ending, and this blog has suffered. I'm currently going through a depressive episode. Major or minor is hard to say. I'm certainly not suicidal, but my struggles with anxiety have intensified and many of the things that bring me joy in life are difficult to accomplish. Also, there's another thing happening that is really altering my life in a variety of expected and unexpected ways : I'm pregnant.

(Everyone close to us already knows this, so if this announcement comes as a surprise, it's either because we're not friends yet or because you're not welcome in my life. What are you doing here lurker? Go away already.)

You may remember that I miscarried last year. Shortly thereafter, I tried to convince Adam to have a vasectomy, but he is six years younger than I, so he wasn't ready to put off becoming a parent. So I agreed we would continue not trying and just see what happens. I conceived very near November 26 and knew early in December what was happening, but I didn't take a test until after a tattoo appointment I had, so as not to cause ethical issues. (Or was not taking the test an ethical issue?) The day after, that test confirmed what I knew. But I waited for most of the first trimester because I knew the chance of miscarriage was high. I changed my eating habits and just waited patiently.

The waiting has been hard. The hardest part of this pregnancy is that everything is fine but everything feels weird and my anxiety levels are much higher than usual. I don't have a regular doctor yet, because the first doctors I saw bullied and threatened me and as I was calling to find a new doctor, I received unwarranted lectures. Shit has not been going well on the mental health end. But I have an appointment Thursday, so I have hope!

Anyway, the point of this post is that I ran a half marathon a few weeks ago (at 13 weeks pregnant) and I have a marathon scheduled in May. I just wrote out all of my training goals, and I'm slightly behind. Post half-marathon, Adam and I were on an epic road trip, and I didn't want to run after the marathon because vacation. Then it was a matter of trying to get back into, well, everything. Trying to get back into this blog. Trying to get back into my planner. Trying to sort out some sort of job situations since I'm currently not attending school. Trying to find doctors. Trying to accomplish items on my to do lists. I had about three days of awesome productivity and everything else has been a massive struggle.

Right now, it's cold and snowy in Ohio and the last thing I want to do is put on running gear and go out in this shit. Also, my boobs have grown so big that my sports bras are incredibly uncomfortable. Despite all of the awesome scare tactics about how being fat and pregnant guarantees complications that will probably nearly kill me, those threats don't really motivate me to run either.

I've had good runs, honestly. And the half marathon went well. I walked sooner than I wanted, but that's because it was 79 and humid as fuck! The weather, just like in my first marathon, greatly impacted my ability to keep up a pace...and honestly, heat exhaustion is just not worth it. So I walked, and I crossed the finish line feeling pretty good, and I got my medal, and I came home, and I told myself I would train for that marathon and I would not let growing a child stop me.

I have been reading all the posts about all the women who have completed half marathons and marathons throughout their pregnancies. And I have been telling myself that I can do it. I am capable and can train and I can do this. But if I'm being honest, I don't want to do it.

Maybe if my sports bras didn't hurt like hell right now, I'd be more into it. I really think that's a big factor. But also, as I've said before, running is not a cure-all. It's never really been backed by science that exercise helps with mental health, and there are studies to suggest that exercise doesn't really help depressed people. So it should come as no surprise that lying in bed tonight, trying to convince myself that any normal person would be ready to go to sleep by now, but feeling so much anxiety and total lack of gumption for my run tomorrow, that maybe this running shit is not actually helping my mental health.

I don't want to stop running. I just want to stop training.

So tomorrow, I'm going swimming. And maybe on Friday, I will go swimming again...or maybe I'll go for a run. It really depends on the weather. I am not feeling this shit right now. All I know is that I've got an e-mail to send about transferring my race admission to next year because I just don't want to train for a marathon right now.

Monday, March 13, 2017

DO IT!

I have been feeling alternately very productive and like a total slug. Because reasons. That I will probably write about soon, maybe even this week? But I also really want to get all my posts up about the awesome road trip. Whatevs. Another week, another list, and I really, really, really want to finish it, so I'm gonna be a little bit specific.

Photo Jan 20, 3 36 13 PM

To Do This Week

01. Run four times
02. Go swimming
03. Bank those travel blog posts (and others)
04. Sew two skirts and sloth
05. Organize final sewing projects (and start)
06. Go rock climbing
07. Pick up photos from Dodd and drop off final roll
08. Start website

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

International Women's Day

In response to this incredibly annoying and pointless day, I took to Instagram to post three nude selfies of my backside. Alternately wishing you a Happy International GO FUCK YOURSELF Day and a Happy International HERE'S MY ASS Day! Where I mocked using social media posts to promote what is ultimately a pointless "holiday". And really, is this what we want? Take time to reflect on the history of Black History Month and that month's continued futility and possible encouraging of racism. Also, consider that there in fact is an International Men's Day. It's enough to make an educated, rational person, realize the futility of giving women JUST ONE DAY OUT OF THE YEAR!

Realizing that calling out a problem without providing a solution, I posted the final picture of my ass and a solution, which I will now write here, verbatim. (If you want to see the posts in all their glory, I'm "fennaramatron" on Instagram.)


One final shot of my ass (with a very deep desert road heading into the distance) to wish you a Happy TODAY IS MEANINGLESS BUT YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE Day. Never one to call out a problem without a solution, so here it goes :

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO ACTUALLY AFFECT CHANGE INSTEAD OF POINTLESS SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS.

1. DEMAND transparency of pay rates at work. This is the only proven way to effectively fight the wage gap. Don't skip work, instead GO TO WORK, march up to the boss's office, and demand published pay scales. Fight Human Resources excuses! Ask your coworkers to join you. It's legal and so is unionizing. This is good for everyone!

2. GET EDUCATED! If you think Trump is burning down the world, you have a poor understanding of the American government AND how the media works. Get better news and better answers and get off the street! Your march is not an impeachment trial! Go talk to your local congressman and get your friends and enemies involved!

3. GET INVOLVED! Women aren't in power and do you know why BECAUSE WOMEN AREN'T IN POWER! Go get a promotion. Go run a Bible Study and teach everyone about how Jesus loved women! (Christianity is in power in the U.S.) RUN FOR OFFICE!!! Your town, your state, OUR GOVERNMENT NEEDS MORE WOMEN IN POWER! The only way to get that is if you become an actual girl boss and run for office or become CEO of a Fortune 500 company and lobby for equality.

Literally, nothing else you do (besides maybe raising girl children to do this) will have any impact whatsoever. We don't need to march or to "stick together" or hold hands and be friends or post on social media or abandon our jobs for a day. WE NEED TO FIGHT THOSE IN POWER OF INEQUALITY WITH THE SAME TOOLS THEY USE. Nothing else matters. If you actually care, then do something.


I'd like to add to #3, that you can become a supervisor, look at everyone's pay, and then give raises to the women who deserve it.

I'd also like to add that I am currently not employed and am an anarchist who will never run for office (though I am educated). I am not personally invested in fighting against sexism in any life but my own, and I fight that with my own personally subversive behavior. (In much the same way I fight racism.) So in response to my own final paragraph, I don't actually care...but I am a nosy bitch who cares way too much about how you waste your time and also the annoying shit you post on social media. Oh how I would've LOVED to see a bunch of posts about women choosing to run for office or taking an active stand about the wage gap, instead of meaningless fucking quotes.

Finally, I fully understand the irony of using social media to mock people on social media. I know I don't have a large following and this may reach few people, but I hope that it reaches at least one person who stops futile behavior and affects actual change. At the end of the day, I do have a voice, and I am just trying to use it.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Sh*t

Ahhhhh...it's been a while since I did these weekly to do lists. I think it's to do with ditching college. It has now officially ended, I certainly have received my failing grades. I sent a message to my "academic advisor" (I use the term very loosely), letting her know I was never taking classes there again. I also told her not to reply, since I filter all her messages to delete. (I'm tempted to check my trash.) So, THAT SHIT IS DONE! I have no back-up plans. College will happen when it does or maybe I'll have a philosophical epiphany and never go back. I have no idea. But I sort of let everything go for a while when I let college go. My planner is woefully empty of even vacationy things and this blog has lacked a bit. I think I'm over my slump (maybe), at least enough to write a to do list for this week!

Photo Jan 20, 3 36 13 PM

To Do This Week

01. Get back into running
02. Bank those travel blog posts (and others)
03. Work out with Kendra
04. Unpack
05. Reorganize shit
06. Edit photos
07. Sew something

Monday, February 20, 2017

Let's talk weird.

I'm currently sitting in the guest bedroom of an AirBnB in Austin, the "weird" city. Adam and I have now had two and a half days in town, but more like one and a half, because I ran a half marathon and then napped for a good chunk of our first day. We have done the things that make Austin unique, excluding exceptionally huge and expensive music festivals. We were driving back to our AirBnB, and I was giving my classic #fuckaustin rant that y'all might've missed on Snapchat. It was beautiful, really. I was talking about how totally not weird Austin is and Adam said, "Is Portland weird or any other weird city for that matter?"

The answer is no.

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Portland, OR is not weird. San Francisco is not weird. New Orleans is not weird. Key West is not weird. Berkeley and Oberlin and a dozen other liberal arts college towns are marginally weirder than large cities because of all the idiotic college students, but they are not weird. All of these cities are generally boring with occasionally interesting things.

Portland has great beer and lots of outdoor space. San Francisco has some decent art, decent parks, that pretty bridge, and some good food. New Orleans has a bunch of drunks seasonally, and a smattering of unique culture. Key West had all the gays, but now so does everywhere else. And of course, "weird" college towns are just college towns with young people under the delusion that because they left home and don't agree with what their parents say, they are weird. But none of these cities is particularly unique. Portland is super, super white, and largely boring. San Francisco is overrated...and while it does have "culture" in terms of being a large city with various immigrant neighborhoods, it's really no different from any other large city.

That's the thing. Everywhere in the U.S. is really just like everywhere else in the U.S.

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Austin feels a lot like Tucson mixed with Omaha. It is oddly crowded while still being very sprawling. It has only a few highways and then some major city roads that are almost constantly crowded. It is perpetually under construction. It has a few bike lanes but very few cyclists and few pedestrians. Public transportation is awful, and traffic is just about the worst I've ever seen. (L.A. and D.C. still win.) The food is hipster fare, claiming to be unique, but then there are five other restaurants just like it. Any old school culture it once had, like The Broken Spoke, have long since been swallowed by the pavement wasteland of chains and condos. There isn't any real art to speak of. There aren't great museums. There is very little green space. There probably was a time when this lush, humid land that borders the desert was gorgeous and cool and livable...but now it's just a blight with too many humans draining all the resources. And while Barton Springs is cool, you can find spring fed pools in many places, especially in Florida. Supposedly there is a great music scene, but that's just bullshit. Name one famous band or musician from Austin. It doesn't count that Austin has a shit ton of life music venues and a bunch of local nobodies. Everywhere has that. Half the music I listen to on a regular basis is $5 cds bought at local shows of bands you've never heard of from towns that aren't on a map at venues that may not even operate anymore. And sure, there are some fucking huge festivals in Austin, but there are fucking huge festivals all over the world. Basically, Austin has literally nothing. Even the river that runs through it shares the name of a much larger and more important river.

Austin is a nice idea, but it's just not "weird".

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So it made me think about what cities are weird, and I've come up with two...but one of them isn't a city. Honolulu, Hawai'i and Put-in-Bay, OH. Honolulu is legitimately incredibly unique. It's culture dominates the city and is not white. From the names of parking garages to the names of the news anchors, the Hawai'ian language is a powerful influence that you cannot miss. The city streets are even in Hawai'ian. Honolulu has the best bus system in the nation, which you might not even need, since hitch hiking is still legal. Honolulu has more green space than any other city, and sits in the only state that is an island chain that has more green space than any other state, excluding Alaska. Honolulu has a royal palace because the original government was a monarchy, which no other place in the U.S. has. Honolulu has arts and culture that you cannot find anywhere else in the U.S., because it is the only city within Polynesia. Inside and out, from top to bottom, there is nothing that Honolulu has that you can compare to other cities. Honolulu is truly unique, and while no one calls it "weird," it certainly isn't like anywhere else in the U.S.

As for Put-in-Bay, it's a small village on a small island in Lake Erie. The year round population isn't the smallest, and the people aren't the most culturally diverse, but the tourist culture is the most unique in the U.S. While other cities boast a spring break that might last for a week or two, Put-in-Bay's entire tourism culture is based on the same attitude you find in any spring break. And because it is a remote island on Lake Erie, there isn't a winter culture or year-round population that really balances the summer tourism. (Unlike Key West, which has a large permanent population and year-round tourism.) So while the things you can find on Put-in-Bay happen elsewhere in the U.S., they don't happen on the same scale or to the same degree. Put-in-Bay is a strange place.

I can't wait to get the fuck out of Austin and on to other towns that I know don't suck. But I'm also here to tell you that the hype is just hype and there is nothing you can get in Austin that you can't get somewhere else.