Beauty is the Beast: Awakening the Theatre Animal through the Art of Pain

Bear is the anti – Prima Donna. Immensely talented, incredibly strong willed with skills and training which could easily have led to a more conventional life of professional opera, she chose to be a sideshow performer. The world is richer for her choice.

TW for some body horror, both descriptions and pictures.

F*cking Woman Up And Grow One

Capture Lon Chaney, Josephine Baker, Klaus Nomi, Charlie Chaplin, Michael Crawford, Puddles Pity Party, Theda Bara, Stefan Karl Stefansson, and Fanny Brice; as physical, visual performers go, these are biggest influences. Throw them in a blender, and you’ll arguably get what & how I present myself onstage. (But please don’t actually throw them in a blender.)

(CW:  Discussion & description, and pictures, of painful sideshow feats, including ones that pierce the skin. employ care & caution)

3 years ago this week, I found myself – 31, clumsy, and shy – behind the Stables Stage at Georgetown Carnival.  Still new to northwest, The Czar was the only person I then knew with any intimacy.   But there I was surrounded by tall, foreboding men with oddly cut and styled hair, kohl smudged eyes, skull-encrusted hats, spike-studded spray painted denim, and torn fishnet.  They were so cool.  And i was nobody

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Manufacturing Revival (Dirty Little Secret #1)

Very relevant to the present day.

StarrTrekking

Donald Trump’s Strangest Bedfellows: Part 15

Manufacturing Revival (Dirty Little Secret #1)

This is Part 15 of a blog series titled “Donald Trump’s Strangest Bedfellows.”
Although each entry in the series has some information and commentary
that can be of interest “standing alone,” each builds on
information, concepts, and commentary introduced in earlier entries in the series,
and thus it is most effective to read the material sequentially from the beginning.

Click here to go to the first entry in the series, Part 1

The previous entry in this blog series introduced the fact that there are several “dirty little secrets” behind what is now viewed with nostalgia by many Evangelical Christians as an amazingly “Christian” era of the US in the 1950s that they yearn to return to—even if they weren’t even born yet when that era ended. Many have put their hopes in Donald Trump’s administration…

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Hello world! (because I like WordPress’s default title)

One of my partners wrote a short piece showing plainly what it’s like to have your health betray you at a relatively young age. Please respect young people with disabilities, especially invisible ones. We have enough on our plates without your judgement.

mx flick

Hey. My name is Felix. I’m twenty-one years old and I made this blog a few months back in a moment of trying to force myself to do something productive. I used to be fairly active in the writing community. I did poetry. About three years ago, my bipolar disorder went into full-blown temper tantrum mode and threw non-stop episodes at me. I wouldn’t hesitate to say these were some of the worst in my life. Suffice to say, writing took a back seat during this time. Then, during a hospitalization in early January, I eventually managed to level myself out. My lithium had finally taken effect and reached a therapeutic dose, and the hospital I was at actually gave enough of a damn to try to teach us all some coping mechanisms.

During my last hospitalization, I started getting a nagging back pain. At first, I could deal with…

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On trigger warnings for medical content

This post explains in graphic detail why trigger warnings are so very essential for people with a traumatic medical history. TW medical triggers (yes, this is a TW for the content warning).
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MASSIVE content warning for medical triggers: blood, needles, hospitals, IVs, injections, surgery, blood draws, etc.
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My history with needles is not a good one. It started with me being a very sensitive kid (Autistic, and therefore vulnerable even compared to other children) and associating injections with authority figures forcing me to endure pain. When I was seven I fell and gashed my head; I was in a great deal of pain, stressed and crying. My mother rushed me to the emergency department of the local children’s hospital, and minutes after arriving they injected anesthetic directly into my forehead, then stitched me up with nothing but the local and maybe some nitrous. (I don’t remember the incident with great clarity, as your might imagine.)

When I was 18 my appendix sprung a leak. I spent four and a half days in recovery following an emergency appendectomy as they treated the sepsis. I woke up after surgery in indescribable pain, with a catheter, a plastic tube down one nostril (an NG tube to empty my stomach), and three IVs, two active, one spare. At some point one of the active IVs was removed and the spare activated due to irritation at the entry site.

In my early-mid twenties I developed a blood disorder called immune thrombocytopenia, or ITP. People with ITP lose the ability to clot at semi-random intervals, as our bodies go haywire and start confusing our platelets (the part of blood that makes clotting happen) with foreign bodies (infection). This necessitates semi-frequent blood draws to check platelet levels and the occasional hospital (emergency department) visit. I was diagnosed in the hospital after two or three days of tests, including five separate blood draws and talk of a bone marrow biopsy. This turned out to be unnecessary, but I knew it was a possibility and prepared myself emotionally to endure it.

Those are just the highlights. I associate needles with hospital visits, near death experiences, and incompetent IV techs. I have at least half a dozen scars from badly done IVs and botched blood draws. (You do NOT want to know what a blown vein looks like. You especially don’t want to find out in a high stress environment and knowing they’ll have to try again.) I have endured needles again and again and again, despite a panic reaction that makes my legs weak. When necessary I have gotten regular STI tests, even when I could easily have skipped them with no repercussions, because I value the health of my partners above my own comfort.

When I ask for a heads up before an image of a hypodermic or a graphic description of an injection, this is why. I am not weak. I am a chronic pain warrior. And I deserve your respect.

Death with dignity

CW suicide, eugenics. This might be difficult to read if you have a loved one with severe health issues.

Death with dignity is a movement which has created a great deal of controversy. Many in the disability community have come out against it in the justified fear that it could be used as a way for society to rid itself of people some see as a burden on society: disabled folks, the elderly, people with chronic illnesses or genetic disorders. It’s been likened to eugenics – the parallels are obvious. And of course, some people oppose it for selfish reasons: they don’t want to lose a loved one, so they force that loved one to suffer.

I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Current medical science can do very little for my condition, and its nature is such that that’s unlikely to change appreciably for decades. My disorder varies a great deal in severity; some people who have it are in wheelchairs before they’re 20, others 30, others never. Some have pain, others do not. It’s often comorbid with disorders of the autonomic nervous system (POTS) and autoimmune issues including severe food allergies and medication intolerance.

My case is pretty bad. My joints don’t dislocate terribly often, but they’re unstable enough to cause mobility problems and damaged enough to cause severe chronic pain. This is further exacerbated by scoliosis. I also have autonomic issues (postural orthostatic tachycardia), a clotting disorder called ITP, and a long list of adverse reactions to food and medication including severe allergies and migraine triggers. On top of all this, I’m bipolar.

Physical therapy will slow the progression of my disease, and pain medication makes it more tolerable, but eventually the extremely limited life I live will no longer be worth the extraordinary effort necessary for survival. A number of other diseases offer similar outcomes, especially those which feature progressively worsening function. If someone is suffering but they don’t want to die, I don’t want to kill them. I’m violently against anyone being pressured to take this option. And I only support this in concert with a campaign to dramatically improve community support for disabled members of society.

But when that day comes, I want to be able to die with dignity, surrounded by loved ones, not alone in the middle of the night. In my opinion, it should be safe, legal, easily available, and rare. It’s important that we beef up support systems (pain clinics and financial safety net programs especially), but we need this for people who can’t be helped and want to end their suffering.

Related reading: Suicide is not about you

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