Happy New Year: An Update

Good Morning, dear friends.  I hope this new year finds you well.  It’s been a while since we’ve updated.  Just a few things.  Last year was a rough one for me and Toby.  Things are going to be exciting for me this year, so the website might still be back burner material, but we will update as we have things for you.  I’ll let Toby update you on herself if she feels the need, but for me, Anxiety and depression took a running lead on my life for a while.  I got laid off from my job, got a new job and have been focused a lot on that.  It’s a bit more of a commute than my last job, but honestly, it’s worth it.  I love my job and my coworkers.

As I’ve gotten settled in, I’ve picked up my hook a bit more, but I’ve also discovered Podcasts.  I haven’t listened to music in months, as I binge-listened to My Favorite Murder and it consumed my brain.  About halfway through all of the episodes, I thought to my self, “Nyci and I could do this!”  So we are now in talks of creating a Podcast.  Not one based on True Crime, though.  That’s not her bag.  If you’re interested in updates on that, you can follow us on Facebook by clicking the link labeled “Yarn, Hooks, & Dirty Looks” in the sidebar or clicking here.

Another project I’ve taken on is as Production Manager for my Love’s new film.  It was a role I wasn’t planning on taking, I was just trying to relieve some stress from Al and Chris as they were in pre-production for this Giallo film that they are working on.  But as I helped and gave ideas on how to help, I was told that the role I’ve just volunteered for was that of Production Manager.  I’m very nervous but excited to feel like I have a purpose again.  One of the things I’ve been dealing with in my anxiety and depression has been a sense of worthlessness.  I will share more info on the Film as I can.

So, that’s it, I suppose.  The big New Year’s update.  I’m not one for resolutions because failing to keep them is not conducive to my anxiety, so I’ll just resolve to do the best I can and be the best me, I can be.  Thank you, everyone, for your support and your patience, since I’m really horrible with updating.  Love to you all.

~Lu~

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Pride Month Artist Focus – Audre Lorde

“Those of us who stand outside the circle of this society’s definition of acceptable women; those of us who have been forged in the crucibles of difference – those of us who are poor, who are lesbians, who are Black, who are older – know that survival is not an academic skill. It is learning how to take our differences and make them strengths. For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change. And this fact is only threatening to those women who still define the master’s house as their only source of support.”

Audre Lorde

Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet. These are the words Audre Lorde chose when describing herself, and they paint a broad picture of the incredible life that she led. A prolific writer, Audre was also a professor, an activist, a womanist, a feminist, a librarian, and a weaver of words so emotional and timeless that her work is as relevant to our times now as they were when she wrote them.

Born in New York in 1934, Audre showed a love of words and beauty at a young age. In fact, she dropped the “y” from the end of her first time so that her first and last name had a more perfect symmetry, both ending in an “e.” When she was still in high school she published her first poem in Seventeen magazine after her high school deemed it “too inappropriate” for publication in their student journal. Audre went on to graduate from Columbia, ultimately earning her Master’s Degree in library science.

Audre had a strained relationship with her parents, particularly her mother. Her mother’s family valued light skin and “passing,” and Audre had the dark skin of her father. She described her mother as cold and distant, and suspicious of anyone with dark skin. These feelings are reflected in her poem “From the House of Yemanja”:

My mother had two faces and a frying pot
where she cooked up her daughters
into girls
before she fixed our dinner.
My mother had two faces
and a broken pot
where she hid out a perfect daughter
who was not me
I am the sun and moon and forever hungry
for her eyes.
I bear two women upon my back
one dark and rich and hidden
in the ivory hungers of the other
mother
pale as a witch
yet steady and familiar
brings me bread and terror
in my sleep
her breasts are huge exciting anchors
in the midnight storm.
All this has been
before
in my mother’s bed
time has no sense
I have no brothers
and my sisters are cruel.
Mother I need
mother I need
mother I need your blackness now
as the august earth needs rain.
I am
the sun and moon and forever hungry
the sharpened edge
where day and night shall meet
and not be
one.

 

Audre lost her life in 1992, but she leaves a legacy of activism and art behind. The Audre Lorde Project describes it’s mission as such:

The Audre Lorde Project is a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Two Spirit, Trans and Gender Non Conforming People of Color center for community organizing, focusing on the New York City area. Through mobilization, education and capacity-building, we work for community wellness and progressive social and economic justice. Committed to struggling across differences, we seek to responsibly reflect, represent and serve our various communities.

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Pride Month Artist Focus – Freddie Mercury

“Those were the days of our lives, yeah
The bad things in life were so few
Those days are all gone now but one thing’s still true
When I look and I find, I still love you
I still love you”

Freddie Mercury from “These Are the Days of Our Lives”

Born Farrokh Bulsara in the Sultanate of Zanzibar, Freddie Mercury was an artist and performer of unparalleled skill. With his impressive vocal range and stagecraft, Freddie left us all spellbound. As the lead singer for Queen, Freddie wrote a lot of their music and lyrics, and also played guitar and piano.

His piano playing is featured prominently on their hit Somebody to Love:

Freddie was also a style chameleon, going seamlessly from Bohemian Rhapsody:

To Crazy Little Thing Called Love:

Freddie’s bisexuality is often erased when he is talked about these days, and that’s very distressing. His longest and closest relationship was with his partner Mary Austin, who he often described as the love of his life. He had other relationships with women, as well as men, but he’s only remembered as being gay because of his theatrical stage persona. This misunderstanding of Freddie’s sexuality is based on stereotypes about gay and femme men, and it is disappointing that bi erasure happens so often because of ignorance.

On November 24, 1991, just one day after confirming to fans that he had AIDS, Freddie passed due to complications from the illness. He died at home in the company of his partner Jim Hutton and close friends who had been keeping vigil.

There will never be another Freddie, and we are so lucky that he left such a prolific legacy. Forever really is our today:

 

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We Need To Talk

In light of the recent loss of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade, both of whom died by suicide, we need to talk about mental health.

 

I struggle with Generalized Anxiety and Depression.  I’ve dealt with it for as long as I can remember, but I don’t think it was until I was 14 that I got the depression diagnosis.  I managed both without medication for a while because at that time it was the height of the negative press about Prozac, and it wasn’t until I was 21 that I actually sought help.  My insurance at the time did not cover psychological care, but I had a good relationship with my family doctor. I remember being at work on third shift, feeling that something wasn’t right.  I talked to my boss and said, “Something’s not right, I need to go home.” He gave me a curt “no.” The feeling didn’t subside. It felt like I was having a heart attack. I couldn’t breathe, and I was terrified for no apparent reason. I sat down on the bench in front of my station to try to catch my breath. The next thing I know I was being carried out of the store by my ex-husband. Apparently, I had managed to make it to the bathroom, and the store Admin came in to find me in a catatonic state on the bathroom floor. I was awake but unresponsive. I went to my family doctor that day, and he decided to put me on Prozac. Back then, I didn’t have the choices in SSRIs that we have now.  I stayed on it for about a year and a half but had become a zombie; I had no emotions about anything, but I faked it as best I could. I stopped taking Prozac for a couple of reasons, the first of which was the way it made me feel, but most importantly I couldn’t afford the $10/mo for the prescription. I was only making $7/hr and most of my paycheck went to my insurance. What was left over went to bills. For 6 years I managed again without medication. There were a lot of struggles but I survived it, barely. I remember being so distraught on a night off that I was sitting with a bottle of vodka in front of me and the pain pills I had been prescribed because of a herniated disk. I called a friend who had been through it, and who had at one point, attempted to take his own life. I felt like I wanted to die, but knew ultimately that it wasn’t my time, so I reached out. I asked him for help. After the conversation, I dumped the bottle of vodka. That was the first time I battled suicidal thoughts, but it most certainly wouldn’t be the last.  

 

Ultimately, I ended up leaving my ex-husband because he was awful to me. I was told regularly that I was worthless. That I would never amount to anything. That no one but him could love me.  I believed him. When I was finally free, I took love where I could get it, even if it wasn’t the most healthy. After a few years of being single, I met someone and fell in love. I realized that I was still struggling with the depression, but my family doctor had retired. I saw another doctor in his old practice, and she agreed to put me on Wellbutrin. I took that for about 6 months, but the side effects were horrendous. I was angry. I was violent. It was not a good situation, so we discussed other options. We settled on Celexa, and it worked! I was functional again! I felt human again! But after a year or so, I found myself struggling financially once more as the rent in my apartment kept going up. I made $10/hr and rent was almost $700/mo for the apt, not including utilities. So I had to make a choice; I stopped taking my medication. Things spiralled downward again. My partner became possessive, and he started to not trust me, and be suspicious of everything I did. The final straw for me was when he started going through my things, including my instant messenger programs, reading my private messages. I ended the relationship and asked him to move out. This put me in even more of a financial hardship as I was now living in an apartment I couldn’t afford by myself. There were days that I would wake up to go to work, and I would drive down the road and think about how easy it would to just drive my car full speed into a telephone pole.

 

I moved home with Mom and I lived with her for several years (which, by the way, when you’re in your 30s and can’t afford to live on your own just feeds feelings of worthlessness). I was promoted at work, but my boss was the devil incarnate. I was working 80 hour weeks some weeks, and the anxiety returned on a pretty constant basis. I was still having regular anxiety attacks, and there were many days that I fought even just getting out of bed. I would go days without a shower because I just didn’t have the energy.The anxiety and the awful hours made it difficult to go to the doctor. Then in 2014, an opportunity came up that I was able to leave my job for a less stressful position in a completely different company. It was a pay cut, but I was living with mom and was able to justify it.

 

Then I met Al, the love of my life. We were together 6 months when I moved an hour away to live with him. Things were great! I got promoted at my new job, was making more money, but the 2.5 hours I was on the road every day was starting to wear on me. I bought a new car to make it better, but it didn’t get better; it just continued to feed my anxiety.  And then the election of 2016 happened. I started getting weekly migraines and was starting to miss work because of it. I finally made an appointment with a therapist, and in conjunction with my family doctor, we decided to put me back on the Celexa and Ativan and we added in some Imitrex for the migraines. After about 2 months of therapy, the therapist decided that we would go to an as-needed basis. And this is why I don’t really like therapy. I’m very self-aware and I struggle with talking to people because I feel they will see me as too self-aware and decide I don’t need the therapy. I’ve been doing okay without seeing my therapist, but there are days where it’s very difficult to not have an objective person to talk to. This past week has been a string of difficult days, and this morning I woke up with that tell-tale lump in my throat. I knew that I was going to cry, I fought it off because I had to leave for work. On days/weeks like this, it is difficult to find the motivation to create. Even when I force myself, I just feel lost.  I feel like what I’ve created is not good enough, and my mind goes back to 21 year old me and I hear my ex’s voice in my head. “You’ll never amount do anything. You aren’t good enough.” I really struggle with this on a daily basis, and it makes it hard to get things going. It makes it hard to do the simplest of things. I have 3 laundry baskets full of clean clothes that need to be put away and I just can’t bring myself to do it. I have things that need to be organized and I don’t have the energy.

 

I don’t tell you this for sympathy. Rather, I tell you this so maybe, just maybe, someone will read it and understand what it’s like to live with this disease. It’s not just a “case of the blues.” It is a constant battle that I fight every single day. I’ve been struggling with even writing this for fear of judgment from people who don’t understand it. But here it is. Out in the open. Hi, my name is Luna and I live with mental illness.

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Pride Month Artist Focus – David Bowie

Though nothing will keep us together
We could steal time, just for one day
We can be Heroes, for ever and ever
What d’you say?

David Bowie, from Heroes

What can we say about David Bowie that hasn’t already been said? He was a beautiful, bisexual, super talented artist who had a major impact on music, art, and the LGBT community. At a time when it wasn’t safe to be so, he was gender non-conforming, openly bisexual, and gloriously androgynous.

Here is an excerpt from a 1973 interview:

And here is his video for Boys Keep Swinging, in which he dressed in drag as his own backup singers:

It’s important to remember that when Bowie was becoming famous, there will still laws against homosexuality in both the UK and United States. It may not seem bold or brave for us when artists are unapologetically themselves now, but at the time Bowie was taking a huge risk. And it paid off. He inspired many others to do the same and gave confidence to young LGBT people who thought they were alone.

Throughout his career, Bowie shifted between genres, styles, and looks. But he was always himself. Sadly, he lost his life in 2016 to cancer, just days after releasing his album Blackstar. His video for Lazarus is quite chilling in retrospect, as it was his way of saying goodbye to us all. How lucky we are that we lived at the same time as David Bowie:

 

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