International Coming Out Day

It really shouldn’t need to be a thing – and coming straight after Bisexual Awareness Month/Week/Day it may feel superfluous to some – but the sad thing is that around the world people live in fear of not being accepted for simply being themselves and loving the people they love. I’m incredibly lucky and privileged to be who I am where and when I am – there are many who are not.

Is there a political side to this? Given the assaults on LGBTQIA+ rights where so much progression has been made in recent years in some places? Where there are whole swathes around the world where being who I am carries a death sentence? Where people are imprisoned and tortured? Where every week brings news of people assaulted in the streets? You’re damn right there is. This is why visibility and representation of the normality of my and others’ lives is so vital.

So as I’ve made no secret of being who I am (I mention it on all my social media profiles, for example) – today is just a matter of continuing to be visible. It may not be an urgency for me, but if it helps someone? Then that is a good thing.

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Inktober Nine and Ten

Everything hurts, my sinuses are convinced they’re on fire, and I’m officially fed up with whatever this bug is. But the artwork is a good distraction, so here we go…

Day Nine brings us Swing. I considered a child’s swing but went for something inspired by Poe instead – recalling The Pit and The Pendulum, which enthralled me when I was probably far too young to be raiding relatives’ bookcases while on holiday. Maybe it’s just being ill that makes the thought of ever-approaching death so appealing right now

Day Ten has the prompt of Pattern. My initial thought was something like a leopard or a tiger, but I didn’t have the energy to look for references. As a result you have a creepy alien/robot made up of repeating patterns instead. It looked a lot cooler in my head, but I was trying something different, so yay.

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World Mental Health Day

I am, to use the vernacular, not right in the head. I’ve wrestled, tickled, fought, embraced, and even tried to not acknowledge my mental health issues over the years with varying degrees of success and humour over the years.

I’m cyclothalmic, and clinically depressed, and have PTSD which adds a particularly nuanced variability in my ability to deal with crowds and unexpected loud noises at different times of the year.

Why am I telling you this? To be visible; and wave a flag to people that I may never meet that they are not alone. I hope that the thought that there’s someone else fighting to function through the day will help in some way. Our fights won’t be the same fight, because everyone deals with mental illness or its fallout in different ways; but there are points of congruence and similar experiences, even if it only manifests as a similarly dark and dry sense of humour that doesn’t just skim close to the knuckle but buries in there like a cleaver and has a good wriggle around.

Sometimes I have a constructive attitude towards it – that my brain works in a different way, and that my experiences give me insight and empathy towards other people and their circumstances. Sometimes I can’t do that because I don’t have the reserves to care for myself and my own existence, let alone anyone else. These are days of flat stares and silence, of not washing or taking care of my appearance. They’re days of retreat and being incapable of reaching out because I know with granite certainty that I’m not worth it, and people either have enough of their own things to deal with or that I’m just not their cup of tea and am a burden if I ask.

I take my medications, and I’m in long term counselling that is as useful during healthier times as unhealthy as a sounding box to unpick behaviours and reactions to work out what is fuelling the responses to what is around me.

All this is a very very roundabout way of saying: talk to people, listen to people, talk to GPs, use the talking therapies. Do whatever it takes to be heard and gather the support networks of friends and professionals so you can put in place your healthy coping mechanisms.

Paradoxically, even if I’m having a hard time, I can still listen and talk to other people in difficulties. In part I think it’s because *shock* someone wants to talk to me, or it’s a distraction from my own headspace. You may find the same works for you, or you may not.

I’m rambling now. It’s late and I’m not well. Mental Health Day, it’s important. You are important.

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Inktober Seven and Eight

Even being ill hasn’t stopped the drawing. Sorry, not sorry. Thought I’d better schedule this one up while my head is relatively clear.

Day seven’s theme is enchanted – and my mind went straight to a magic wand. This is both enchanted and a tool of enchantment, with a winding sinuous shape reminiscent of a snake. Depending on your iconology this can represent healing or knowledge or deception. The gems act as both focus and repository of power – as well as flashes of colour to make the image pop.

Day eight’s prompt is “Frail” so after some deliberation I went with a spider web. To you or I it is like gossamer, barely noticed, even as it acts as a deadly barrier and trap for small insects. I had in mind an allegory of how we can be both strong and frail depending on what comes at us – and how we reckon it scales in comparison to our strengths.

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Site Updates 9th October

Pretty sure this is what my body thinks of all this

Seeing as I’m home sick and my brain won’t switch off, I’m swapping a few things round on the site. I’ve added an artwork section, which currently compiles last year’s Inktober, and will soon have this year’s and some general artwork/doodles in a general gallery too.

I’m also rationalising and rejigging the fiction bits – especially the short fiction – to make it a bit simpler to navigate. Mostly its collapsing the 2017 fiction and the older fiction pieces into all-encompassing alphabetical lists, which should then make it easier for me to find things and add new pieces.

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Still Ill

I managed a couple of hours at work yesterday before the hot and cold running sweats and all the rest of the symptoms of this bug were too much to bear. I at least managed to cover the lunchbreaks of my staff and let colleagues know I was in no state to be working – so today I’m staying home and mostly wrapped up in blankets and comfortable clothing while I rest and keep hydrated.

So that’s why I’m currently wrapped up in what could charitably be described as a shroud of material, looking like the grim reaper or one of his clients. Its the long hoodie I bought for the next iteration of my Karnak cosplay, and its greener than it looks in the photo. Right, back to bed.

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A colleague told me I was looking weighed down on Friday – and I blamed it on work stress, tiredness, and all the usual good stuff that goes with managing a frontline role with the public. I didn’t mention the aching bones, faint sickness, or headache as that just feels like my normal background state.

And now, over the weekend, it has developed into… well lurgied is the best description. There’s no classic sniffling or running nose, but my heart is thrumming in my chest, my eyes feel hollowed out and heavy, every major joint in my body aches, I’m exhausted, I have a constant low headache, and my stomach feels borderline nauseous and knotted.

Thank you Lady M for passing this over, it’s such a thoughtful gift. Here’s hoping it passes quickly. I’m off for an early night. See you on the other side

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