Tag Archives: random

How to Celebrate Hallowe’en with an Octopus

Have you come across Brian Kesinger’s Tea Girls on Facebook? No? It’s adorable. As well as drawings of Otto, there’s cartoons and other odd bits. Brian’s currently doing #inktober so there’s amusing extra cartoons most days!

If you like Otto and want the books, there’s guides on how to Walk Your Octopus, Travel With Your Octopus and Colour With Your Octopus. There’s also a guide to Dressing Your Octopus which is on Kickstarter at the moment, because of course that’s what everyone should have.

This is a pretty random PSA but I just think they’re adorable. Everyone needs a land octopus!

 

I am the one in four

Advanced warning: personal post, and TW for pregnancy/miscarriage

I was prompted to write a post on this by my friend Ellen’s blog. October is pregnancy and infant loss month, and this week (9th-15th) seems to have been designated Infant Loss Awareness Week. You may have seen posts on social media saying this, adding ‘I am the one in four’ (1 in 4 women will experience miscarriage/stillbirth in their lives).

This has taken a fuck-load of courage to write, and even more to post.

I am the one in four.

I have had three miscarriages, one just before Christmas 2015 (that made for a fun Christmas…) and two in Spring/Summer 2016.

I think for many people, the strongest pain of a miscarriage is the potential: this could have been a child, this could have changed everything. But for me, to be honest, it wasn’t as devastating as the loss some people experience. My mother had two miscarriages, and so I was in some ways expecting it; I knew there was a family history, and knew it could happen. I took what precautions I could, and didn’t dare treat the pregnancies as real until 12 weeks – it wasn’t a child, it was just a tiny potential bundle of cells. And none of my pregnancies reached 12 weeks (two miscarried at 7 weeks and one at 5), and so… it was just a thing that didn’t happen.

For me, the worst pain was the uncertainty. Had I done something? Not done something? Somehow caused it? Could I have prevented it? I have been told, repeatedly, that there is nothing I could have done to prevent it. I accept that for the ones I have lost – it wasn’t my fault. It wasn’t. Lifting things doesn’t cause it. Eating the wrong thing doesn’t cause it. Doing exercise doesn’t cause it. It wasn’t my fault.

But I can’t help take that burden of fear and guilt, and push it forward: if I try to get pregnant again at whatever future point, will I have another miscarriage? Another two? What’s wrong with me that means I can’t get past 7 weeks? Standard tests haven’t shown anything: there’s nothing immediately physically wrong, and blood levels etc were all standard. My body’s fine….it just couldn’t maintain any of the pregnancies. And I’m now past 30: what will that do to my chances?

The whole thing was compounded by a specialist at the local hospital, who quite bluntly (while trying not to offend me, she repeatedly insisted that she wasn’t trying to offend me) told me that essentially, I was lying. I had no medical proof that I had been pregnant, and therefore they weren’t miscarriages: I hadn’t got blood tests, scans, checks – this all prior to 12 weeks, on an already overburdened NHS, and when there’s nothing anyone can do to change a miscarriage at that stage if it did happen! I’m still deeply angry about her attitude and her accusations: I understand where she was coming from in that the best medical course was to assume that I wasn’t able to get pregnant and check that as well as the actual pregnancies, which is sensible, but she most certainly could have worded it a lot better, and been a lot less cruel and dismissive in her attitude to someone who was simply trying to get help and work out if there was anything wrong.

I did feel – and still do feel – incredibly alone and uncertain about it. It wasn’t something I could share at the time; I wasn’t going to tell anyone until at least 12 weeks anyway, and even the people I did tell couldn’t say anything that eased what is, at heart, a very personal pain. My partner at the time did his best to be supportive, but considering he wasn’t outwardly enthusiastic about children, it was hard for me to lean on him or share any of what I was feeling. And I didn’t want to try any of the resources or groups available – I struggle with interaction anyway, and I felt I had no place amongst people mourning for their child. I just carried on going with whatever the next step needed to be, be it doctor’s appointments or waiting or another try, and tried again and again until everything else broke around me.

Even putting this out now is hard. It isn’t the full story: I can’t process that yet, it’s too linked in with the divorce and emotions and all that. I don’t feel I have any right to support, and I don’t want sympathy. It’s something that happens: I don’t know why it happened, I did what I could, and I don’t have a medical explanation. It passed, it’s fine, and I want to try again someday. It’s all still a jumble, and I’m dealing with it all as it comes up.

But miscarriage happens, and it isn’t talked about. So – I’m talking about it.

I’m the one in four.

‘Research’ vs ‘Doing Nothing On The Internet’

As I haven’t been feeling well this week, I’ve been aimlessly scrolling on the internet for a larger chunk of it than I normally would. I usually try to stop myself, because I don’t feel it’s productive…I mean, it’s not actual work, is it? It’s just consuming other people’s tantrums and dramas, seeing what someone ate for breakfast (why should I care?) and catching up on what the Kardashians are doing (although all I know about them is that Kim has a famous ass). Social media isn’t beneficial and definitely isn’t work, if you follow the cliches of society. I really should be doing something more productive and creative.

And then I actually thought about that line of reasoning.

My last two story ideas came from something I saw on Rejected Princesses, and a story on Twitter. I know I’m picking up bits and pieces of information as I scroll – archaeology, history, modern places, people’s reactions, photographs. Yes, there’s a lot that’s not immediately useful, and I think I do still need to limit the time I spend ‘doing nothing’.

But actually, this is research. This is stepping back, and letting the world come in – and it is the world! It’s the voices from outside my quiet streets, outside the slice of life I interact with every day. I need this to pop my bubble and remind me there are a multitude of ways of thinking, speaking, talking, living. Admittedly it’s often hard to read and there’s a lot of shit, but I’m lucky that I follow and know some enthusiastic, passionate and interesting people, and every day they teach me something new.

It’s not creation, but it is connection. It’s not doing the jigsaw but it’s collecting the tiles that will one day make one. It’s not talking to ‘real’ people – but it’s connecting to strangers on the far side of the world who become friends, and sharing passions across huge divides. It’s not getting out in the fresh air, but it is seeing pictures of places that I can never hope to visit – ancient, futuristic, or just on the far side of the world.

So I’m just scrolling through the pages, yes. But I’m also researching.

A brief hiatus

I broke.

I was hoping to get to the end of the next two weeks; finish at my current job, have a trip to Croatia for a couple of days, move house, then catch up on the stress from the last few months. Unfortunately there’s been a couple of additional stresses recently, and it’s all just got too much.  I’ve been trying to do one step at a time, and there’s too many steps, and I’ve run out of energy to keep fighting.

I’ll be able to start up again, I’m going to keep going – just I need some time to get up out of my hole first. I’m going to take a couple of days to just relax and let everything hit, and then I’ll start dealing with it.

I’m going to try to keep posting on here (because it’s a nice schedule, and I can write what I want, damnit!) but I might not be around on social media as much. I’m ok, I’m just Hermit’ing for a bit, as one of my friends says. Hopefully I’ll shortly be back to Human’ing. I can’t promise Adult’ing, because that’s just scary, but it’s something to aim towards!

Internet hugs to everyone as well – the season’s changing, the world’s shit and life is pretty stressful right now. Remember to take care of yourselves!

 

Interview + Portal

I did an interview with the lovely Isha Crowe for the Ink Pantry – mostly about writing and GreenSky, but also about games. And that got me thinking – have I raved about Portal? I don’t think I’ve raved about Portal. So I’m going to. Because IT’S AMAZING.

First, you need a computer that can cope with a computer game. Then you need Steam and an internet connection to download it. Then you need about two days and a brain.

You’ve got all those, I know you have.

Portal‘s a puzzle game, where you wake up in a facility with a gun that shoots portals – one blue, one orange – and anything you put through one comes out the other (including yourself). You’re in some sort of testing facility, and you have to solve the puzzles in each chamber to reach the next one – but they slowly get harder and harder, and there’s more puzzles, more dangers (although the Turrets – above – are weirdly adorable) and the AI’s voice slowly gets more and more sarcastic…

Ah, who am I kidding. She’s thoroughly sarcastic, and it’s one of the best parts of the game. Definitely play with the sound on!

I love it because there’s no creeping dangers; you know where the turrets are (even though getting shot isn’t great) and everything’s a really nice, solveable puzzle. It doesn’t get boring, either, despite the fact you’re using the same basic tools: there are a huge variety of ways to put the obstacles together which means each chamber requires a new approach. The game isn’t too long either, which is nice, but you can save and come back easily.

There’s a second one too, which has a different feel (but just as good!) so it doesn’t feel like a repeat of the first – and you get to see different areas of the facility, as well as meet different people. And potatoes. And robots. The co-op mode in Portal 2 is amazing, as well; Atlas and P-Body are great fun, and you can drop each other in gunk! Accidentally. Honest.

So if you haven’t come across it and you like puzzles and sarcastic humour, definitely play Portal!