Life Update: June

I feel like it’s been a while since I updated ya’ll on my personal life!

Overall things are going pretty well. Health wise I was feeling really good for a while, but now I’m just feeling okay. I’m having more headaches than I was, and my stomach is acting up, but overall I’m still doing better than normal. I had an appointment with an endocrinologist which was a waste of time, but other than that I haven’t seen any other doctors. I’m probably going to find a new gastroenterologist since that seems to be my main problem currently, and the one I was seeing said he couldn’t do anything more for me back in the fall of 2016. Ultimately I probably need to go to Mayo Clinic, but we haven’t started to try and apply since I’ve been out of a flare for a while. Having a few good months during spring/summer isn’t abnormal for me though, and it usually ends with intense pain and a hospitalization in the Fall. Yipee!

I got my GED in May and this past week I was admitted to my local community college. Yesterday I took the TSI, and luckily I don’t have to do any remedial courses, so that’s nice. I also visited with an academic advisor and started the process of getting disability services. Things are looking up as far as that goes!

The one major thing I need to do now is get my driver’s license. I have an appointment for June 28th, and I’m terrified. I took the driving test once and it didn’t go well. The woman who administered the test and angry when she got in my car and snapped at me repeatedly, then she failed me. Honestly I know I made some mistakes and shouldn’t have gotten a perfect score, but failing seemed a little ridiculous. That was almost a year and a half ago so it’s time to try again. She really got in my head and made me scared to drive, but I’m trying to be positive and confident because I know I can do it.

It may sound silly to some people who have gone through the process of getting a license, but it’s been incredibly stressful for me. I’m comfortable with driving now, the only problem is the dreaded parallel parking. Ironically that’s the part I passed the first time. I know some states don’t do the parallel parking, but my parents told me moving across the country wasn’t an option, so I guess for now I’ll just keep practicing. There’s a lot riding on this since I can’t to go college if I can’t drive, but I have faith that I’ll pass (or at least I’m trying to pretend I do :)).

I helped my sister move out of her college apartment, look for a new apartment by her new job, and then into her new apartment. She had her graduation ceremony mid-May and we threw her a family party at the air-bnb we rented. It was really nice, but I’m sad that she’s now living four hours away from us, and won’t be forced to see us for a month over Holiday break. She’s very family oriented so I know she’ll visit and we’ll visit her, but I also know it won’t be as often as it used to be.

That’s pretty much it as far as my life’s concerned. How are you doing? Do you have any fun Summer plans?

 

 

Texas Legislature Attack on LGBTQ+ Community

I’m really disappointed that I have to write this post.

Not surprised, but incredibly disappointed.

A while back I wrote a post on the proposed Anti-LGBTQ+  laws, unfortunately they are going into effect soon. It feels like any progress we’ve made has been set back. I’m tired of bring under the control of wealthy, cisgender, straight, bigoted white men. It took me a while to finish writing this because it’s hard to watch the place you live and love so much respond to you with hate. These laws are still pending approval of Greg Abbott, and he could veto them, but we all know he won’t make that decision.

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HB 3859- Foster Care/ Adoption agencies can now discriminate against potential parents for their gender, sexuality, religion, and marital status. These agencies get state funding. We will literally be paying them to discriminate against perfectly good parents. Most adoption/foster agencies have some sort of religious affiliation, almost always Christian. While I am a Christian, I do not support anyone who would discriminate against potential parents due to one aspect of their lives. There are currently an estimated 28,000 kids in foster care in Texas. 21.7% are ages 14-17 and in danger of aging out. I would like to see lawmakers look these children and the eye and tell them why they are taking potential families away from them. Texas foster care is incredibly underfunded even though they were just forced to up the budget by $509 million dollars after a judge deemed Texas Foster care, “incredibly broken.”

SB 2078- Students now must use the bathroom that matches their assigned gender at birth. If the kids “don’t want to use ” the bathroom corresponding with their gender assigned at birth then they can use a single stalled uni-sex bathroom (usually the nurses office). This is segregation at its finest. We should be protecting trans kids not setting them up for bullying and discrimination. Everyone just want to pee, it’s not that deep. Lawmakers who think boys will “pretend to be girl’s in order to go into their bathroom and rape them” and completely irrational. If someone is going to be a predator a sign on a wall isn’t going to stop them. Stop telling trans kids and trans people in general that they are inherently predatory.

Chuck Smith, the CEO of Equality Texas, called these laws “an attack on all LGBTQIA+ Texans,” and I have to agree. When you go after one section of the queer community you indirectly go after all of us. Not to mention pretty much all of the people in power in Texas are known for being incredibly homophobic, and do everything in their power to strip us of our rights. It’s exhausting to see our community continuously set back. People have been fighting their whole lives for right’s they still do not have. You can call on Greg Abbott to veto the bills. I have and will continue to do it even if it won’t make him change his mind.

I’m grateful for organizations like the HRC, Equality Texas, and the Texas Freedom Network. The have and continue to fight for equality even in the wake of set backs and discrimination.

I’m here and I’m not going to let him or anyone else forget it.

I Never Used to Cry

I wrote this when I was really sad one day.

I’m currently not feeling like this, but I like how it turned out so here it is!

I never used to cry

Tears were for the weak

And I was strong

yes

This brick wall I’ve built has become increasingly more unstable

The cracks becoming more visible to the naked eye

The foundation in the beginning stages of crumbling

yes

Tears sting my eyes more often than I’d admit

My wails are silent and unseen

Yet unescapable for me

break

The smile I paint on everyday isn’t turning out as well as it used to

People are questioning it’s authenticity

and I’m too exhausted to lie

Giving vague explanations, leaving something more to be desired

break

I deflect any questions you have

Giving the answers I know you want to hear

It flows from my lips with false confidence

And you buy it

break

Living in a sea of clear eyes and smiling faces

I feel as if I do not belong

My smile isn’t as bright as hers

and my eyes try to tell the truth, resisting every effort I make to fit in

break

I’ve taught myself how to sob without sound

My heart wretched as I lay in the shower

Confusing tears with the shower stream

break

I turn off the water and stare at the ceiling

Looking for answers that are never there

Too tired to move

Hoping if I close my eyes it’ll all go away

break

But I can’t escape it even in my dreams

or nightmares rather

The sadness infiltrates every aspect of my life

My eyes ready to release the truth

Ready to tell everyone how broken I feel

How broken I am

break

I never used to cry

But I wasn’t strong

I just created a charade I can no longer keep up

Getting Back into Things

For the past 3 1/2 weeks i’ve been going to the gym.

I gained a ton of weight on Gabapentin, like a lot. It’s hard to gauge exactly how much it is since before the rapid weight gain, I had rapid weight loss. Pre-chronic illness I weighted between 120-125 lbs, then I gained weight from meds and went up to 138 lbs, then I lost weight because of Cymbalta and Topiramate, down to 112 lbs, and finally I gained on the Gabapentin and Amitriptyline weight all the way up to 170 lbs. If you count the weight gain from when I lost a lot of weight then i’ve gained nearly 60 pounds, if you count it from before chronic illness it’s 45-50 lbs. Either way it’s a lot and needs to change.

For reference i’m 4’11 and 3/4 so being 170 pounds makes me over weight. I can deal with the weight gain, because I know I can lose it, but the stretch marks are distressing. I don’t have the silvery-white stretch marks that are barely noticeable. Since mine are “new” they’re bright red and everywhere. They’re the worst on my arms, but they cover my thighs, have crept onto my calves, cover the side of my stomach, and have popped up on the front of my stomach. I feel like a hypocrite because i believe everyone is beautiful and shouldn’t love themselves no matter what, but I honestly hate the way my body looks right now.

Right now I’m on an upswing with my health. I’m out of a flare and feeling pretty well. The biggest thing to celebrate is that I’m actually sleeping, so I don’t feel like a zombie all day. There’s no way I could go to the gym 5-6 days a week if I was still feeling so poorly, so for now I’m getting in all the exercise I can. I’m definitely not someone who loves going to the gym, it’s kinda boring and I don’t like working out around other people. Once you start to go regularly though you start to notice things.

For one, everyone is in their own bubble and doesn’t care what you’re doing. Also you’re probably not going to be the most out of shape person there. Sometimes super thin girls will get on an elliptical next to be and look half dead ten minutes in and by fifteen minutes they’re done. This is just one of a million reasons why weight doesn’t always correspond with health.

So far I’ve lost 4 pounds, which isn’t much but it’s better than nothing. I’ve been out of town for part of the time so I couldn’t go the gym, but for the most part i’ve been sticking to it. To me working out isn’t the hardest part, it’s eating healthy. When you feel terrible you don’t want to make something to eat. It’s easy to grab whatever’s available and takes no preparation. The problem with that is the things that take no prep are often processed foods, with little nutritional value.

Finding a diet that’s sustainable has been difficult. I really don’t want to put a ton of work into this now for it all to come back in a year or two. I’ve watched everyone in my family yo-yo with their weight so I know this isn’t going to be easy. I’m also currently taking another medication that can cause rapid weight gain, so I’m hoping I can go off of it soon since it doesn’t seem to be helping the tachycardia issue.

I’m counting on this getting easier the longer I do it. If you’ve lost weight/ started trying to live a healthier lifestyle, how did you stay motivated?

Lots of Love,

Alyssa

 

 

The Truth About Texas

Texas is the butt of many jokes, specifically about how conservative it is.

While it may be a red state, Texas isn’t always the hell it’s been made out to be.

I’ve lived half my life in South Texas – San Antonio, and the other half in North Texas – Dallas. I’ve always lived in the suburbs so my experience stems from that. Cities like Dallas, Austin, and Houston are all incredibly progressive and you’ll find more democrats than republicans there. San Antonio is a little different. There’s a heavy catholic influence so people tend to lean more conservative, but there re still more progressive people in the city than other places in Texas.

The high school I went to was predominately white, but also had a sizable asian population. While there was the occasional super republican kid who spit out all the bigoted phases they heard at home, most people were pretty chill. I came out to a few of my friends at the time, and while they were shocked, it wasn’t a big deal. There were LGBTQ+ kids who were out and dating and most people didn’t care or at least didn’t care enough to say anything.

You will see protesters outside planned parenthood or standing on an overpass with their open carried guns, but those kind of people are everywhere. Even in the most liberal areas in the US there are still conservative people. I think most people would be surprised how many progressive and moderate people live here.

My narrative may be different from someone who grew up in a small town. The small town conservative mentality reaches much farther than the South though. Being LGBTQ+ in Texas isn’t always the death sentence its made out to be. While I would never want to erase the struggles of people who have experienced abuse for being LGBT in Texas, I think it’s important for people to know that isn’t everyones narrative. There are happy LGBTQ+ people who live in the South and people who come from religious families who have positive coming out stories.

Do I daydream about living in San Fransisco where most people identify with being LGBTQIA+in some way or another? Yes of course, but for now i’m pretty happy right where I am. I want to see the Texas legislature be reformed and more sane people go into power. These past few weeks a lot of bigoted laws have been put into place, and that has to change. I don’t think running to leave Texas the first chance I get is going to help anyone, and for now I want to stick around and do my part to make Texas a place where everyone is respected and receives the equity they deserve.

Lots of Love,

Alyssa

Getting My GED

I finally bit the bullet and took all four of my GED tests!

I had studied off and on since January, but I knew I was stalling and needed to go ahead and get it done. Honestly I was just really afraid of failing.  When I was studying it wasn’t that hard, but I thought it would be really embarrassing to fail a test that’s supposed to be easy.

I took the social studies portion on May 2nd and passed with flying colors. Then I took the math test and the science test on May 9th, which were the ones I was most nervous about. Luckily I also did really well and overall it wasn’t very hard. Finally I took the English test yesterday. I’ve always done well in English and aced all of my state mandated English tests, so I wasn’t worried about this one at all. I could have done them all in one day, but with my chronic illnesses I didn’t think that would be a good idea. They allow you so much time to test, and I wasn’t sure how much I would actually take so splitting them up seemed like the best choice. I passed them all as college ready which was really exciting, and I was one point away from getting college credit on the science portion. 

I’m so so happy to be done with the high school portion of my life! I honestly can’t express enough how much this is a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. I’m done with high school… early. Yes a GED isn’t as good as an actual high school diploma, but back in the fall I wasn’t so sure I was going to be able to even get this done before the Summer began. Now all I need is my license and I can start taking college classes at my local community college in the fall! The situation may not be ideal, but I’m choosing to celebrate the win and look forward to getting my life back on track.

Lots of Love,

Alyssa

Daith Piercing Update

It’s been a little over nine weeks since I got my first daith piercing.

Overall the healing process has been really easy and pretty painless.

When preparing to get this piercing I watched a lot of videos on other people’s experiences getting this done and a lot of them said it hurt really bad to get the piercing and was sore for a week afterward. It’s interesting to me how everyone experiences pain differently and I guess some people are also just dramatic.

My piercer told me day four would be the worst and it was, although all I experienced was minor aching that  I honestly wouldn’t even consider pain. The only problem I’ve had with it is hypertrophic scarring. This happens to a ton of people especially with nose and cartilage piercings. Here’s a picture of it at its worst:

Gross Right?

I think I got hypertrophic scarring from sleeping on it too much and messing with it. I’ve been using salt water to clean it and it has helped. I waited a little while to do anything about the scarring so it may take a few weeks to completely go away. Right now it’s probably half the size of what’s shown in the picture.

As for the migraines it’s hard to tell if it’s helped. Before I got it I had been having less migraines than I normally did. Since getting my daith pierced I’ve had 2-3 migraines and daily dull headaches 3-5 days out of the week. Back in the fall of 2016 I was having daily migraines that would last 20+ days at a time. I know that going off Gabapentin helped me tremendously, but I can’t help to think that this may have helped some as well.

The only thing i find annoying about it is trying to use headphones. The headphones that come with iPhones will not work with this piercing. I normally don’t use those anyway but my skull candy ones broke and so I tried them out. Headphones that have a silicone ear plug on them work fine- all I have to do is rotate the piercing all the way up. The piercing does cause ear phones to come loose faster than normal, but I have relatively small ears so that may just be a “me problem.”

I still plan on getting my left ear done as well, hopefully in the next couple of weeks. I really like the look of them so even if it doesn’t help it would still be worth it to me. I definitely have the itch to get more piercings now – i’ve wanted my helix done for a few years and now I kinda want my tragus done as well. I’ll start with the second daith and see where it takes me from there lol.

-Alyssa