My thoughts are stars I can't fathom into constellations — John Green

Yes!
Hi!
I know, it’s been far too long!

So, a few things which I will elaborate on hopefully after the list, maybe later.

1. My medicine is Good. When I manage to take it at the appropriate times.

2. I am currently sitting in the ballroom for Skepticon. There is a massive church group packing meals next door. That is a thing.

3. I’m FINALLY going to get to start my animal studies project and present some in the spring. (this is exciting, if you’re unsure)

Yeah, I’ve made a switch to two 10g doses one in the morning, one at lunch time. I’m, you know, handling things. It’s good. It’s something I hardly even know how to talk about because I’m just generally in shock. I can’t remember ever feeling like this. All of my memories of forcing myself to do things and the amount of energy it took to do everything. So, I’m getting used to it. Still. We’ll see.

Also! Skepticon! Yay!
So obviously I’ll have more to say when it’s over, but I’m super excited to be able to be here. I wasn’t sure I would be able to get here and I wasn’t sure where I was going to sleep, but we all figured it out.

Sciency things!
I’ll likely post about this after I’ve done some more, but I’m rather excited to finally get some stuff done!!

The AIM Program

This is a program my father enrolled our family in about 7 years ago. At that point, he basically told me the short version of what they “do”, said that he really wanted to join it, and asked if I was interested, since they could add me for free for the first year(I wasn’t old enough to pay for at that point).

The short story of what they do is you send in a picture(with your enrollment fee and form), they put it in a drawer in a large room full of other small drawers with people’s pictures, and shoot energy beams at thousands of different frequencies at them. Your body is supposed to subconsciously pick out which frequencies you need and use them. This is supposed to keep all kinds of bad things from happening. Disease, accidents, all manner of unwanted situations.

I said, yeah, it’s free, it can’t hurt me, why not. So dad enrolled me. What I didn’t know until recently was that he kept me enrolled for the next 5 years. He never told me he was going to stop, but I assumed he would ask again if I wanted to be kept on once it started costing money. I was wrong. He stopped paying for me when I would have aged into adulthood, which costs twice as much as children do, even though I hadn’t grown since I was 14. [I've always been annoyed by birthdays. Growth and maturity don't just happen overnight. Especially turning 18 and getting all sorts of things you didn't have the day before. I never feel any different.]

It turns out my father is still enrolled in the program. I signed up for their email list and it’s quite the gem. When I actually read it, instead of tossing it out with the usual junk, sometimes I laugh. Then I realize that quite a lot of people pay lots and lots of money (an adult membership is $1,000 per year) for it and I just get sad. I think about how my dad went into DROP last year, a program at his job that gives him a lump sum to tell the university he’s retiring in five years. I think about how my parents really want a new house. The floors in their kitchen are raised by the sink because of leaks. They redid the shingles for the third time this summer. I think about the fact that at one point this year, my savings account had more money in it than theirs did (this isn’t actually accurate because they have multiple accounts, but that’s the one they usually use). I think about how we didn’t really know where money for college was going to come from until I moved home(where I get half off tuition because my parents are employees). I think about how we want to take a trip to Europe and Dad wants to go to Disneyland. That money could go somewhere else. It could be used for a million different things. It sucks that he wants to spend it on something that really only makes him feel a little bit better.

 

I may do another post on his exploits in the unproven later. I’ve always had this idea that my parents were the best people in my life, that they had all the answers or at least as many as everyone else. That wasn’t fair to them, but it is quite disappointing when you realize that your actual hippie father doesn’t understand that legitimate rape isn’t a thing.* [He meant, "Well, what if everybody gets a little too drunk and she wakes up, regrets it, and cries rape?" Yes, he actually said that with his MIT/Indiana University/Berkeley educated mouth.]

 

* Please don’t get me wrong, my dad is a wonderful person. At the very least he only wants what’s best for me and those around him. He’s just not on the same wavelength I am about what the best is.

I’m not good at things.

It’s taken me two months to get to this last appointment.
I spent all last night trying to figure out what I would say to my doctor. Whether I would tell her that sometimes I am fine. Sometimes I’m not even just fine. Sometimes I’m great. Some days I get up and I do everything I need to do that day. And then there are days that feel like weeks.

At least, currently, I know why i’m still having such an unstable time. I have a confession. I haven’t been taking my medicine. Yes, I know. It’s a terrible idea and I am genuinely upset with myself. The only excuse I have is that I just keep forgetting. I’m good enough that I’m usually not thinking about the fact that I’m not quite up to par. So I don’t think about it and I don’t remember to take my meds and then I’ll have a day where I end up crying just because I’m so tired of thinking destructively.

I’m at the point now where I know logically that my kneejerk reactions are problematic and usually I can see that it’s silly and either shut it down or ignore it, but when I’m not doing a good job of taking my meds it just bogs me down so much because I can’t get past it. It’s always there. It won’t go away and sometimes I just break down because there is no logical reason for the way I think and I don’t want to fight myself every second of every day. I just want to sit down and not. think. about. it.

Even today, I drove to my apartment after my appointment with the express intention of getting my medicine, splitting it into some baggies and putting some in my car, my school bag, and taking some to my boyfriend’s house. But of course, I walked in and thought,”Oh, I’ll make a sandwich first!” and before I knew it it was noon and I had to leave for class and I didn’t even think about my medicine until I got in the car.

So, how do you remember to take your meds? Because obviously my tricks aren’t working.

I don’t even know how to begin this post. There is no silly story or funny quip or interesting factoid I can tell you about this situation.
We can start with some facts about me (and my situation):
  • I am of the female variety of person and while I don’t really care too much in any way (I just really don’t feel like gender has a terrible lot to do with who I am as a person; some people do feel particular. That is awesome and I appreciate their journey to figure out who they are), I am cisgendered.
  • Not first or foremost, I am also an atheist.
I’m also a student and a liberal and a heap of other qualifiers people use to identify themselves. I am all for labels. If you like them, use them. That’s fantastic and I am genuinely happy for you.
However, none of these things have ever felt like they defined me (except maybe student; learning is the only thing I can actually imagine doing forever).
So I’m worried about what others are pointing out about “The Movement”. There are quite a lot of people who first and foremost identify as atheists. I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with that, but it appears to allow some of them to ignore or diminish the privileges they hold.
I didn’t realize that a large portion of the atheist community just sort of brushes off many issues that are pretty important. Discrimination in terms of race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. I don’t think they think it was never an issue, but they seem to be part of the camp that says, “Yeah, that sucks that some people did some stupid stuff that one time, but why are we still talking about it?”
That’s not cool.
That’s not the skepticism I walked into. That is not a group of people that would make me say, “Oh! I like them! Let’s all be friends and work toward common goals!”
I don’t know how I missed them. It sounds like they’re everywhere. So, the short question is: can I ignore them?
They haven’t spoiled atheism for me so far. For now, I won’t let the bad apples spoil the fact that I’ve made some pretty damn good friends here and I don’t think we’re making the world a worse place by being here. If/until that changes, I will still work with those I feel comfortable.
And here’s my Big Question: If I completely missed them in the last year or so, can they really be winning? Crommunist Manifesto doesn’t think so. We all keep talking about the hullabaloo that surrounded all the sexual assault policies a while back and, yes, people were pretty crappy about it, but those policies are in place. That feels like…not exactly as victorious as I would like, but definitely not a loss either. It’s a step. It may not be a result I love, but it’s a step I can work with.
So, while I am disappointed in many of the people in this community, I am invested in this and I am not opposed to outsmarting the crazies in order to get the job done.

SSA Wrap Up

So, I just arrived home from SSACon 2012. I promise I will tell you how amazing it was momentarily, but first I have a small apology/explanation.
This is Why I May Have Been a Dick at SSACon. (and also my wrap up of the con itself) Read the rest of this entry »

I am The Happiest Camper right now!

One of the studies I’ve been working on this summer had this horrible lag in filling in data, as the software we use to collect all of our physical measures is meant for clinical use, not large data sets and has no simple way to export large amounts of information. Before this summer, we’d been entering it all by hand. That means we were about four semesters behind in data and when I went to start again, it turned out almost all of what had already been entered was incorrect.

So! Here’s the awesome part! My mom and I (yes, I’m twenty years old and my mom still helps with my school projects, I’m not even sorry) wrote a program to enter all the data for us. So I just entered ALL the data from like four years of testing in thirty minutes. Thirty. Minutes. Guys I am so, so, so relieved right now! I have no idea what I’m going to get paid for for the rest of the summer, but I’m so happy!

(Under the cut I will recount some more research exploits, this post is mostly for freaking out over how well things are going.)

Read the rest of this entry »

More Thoughts

After a couple days of Michael playing Bullshit and The Amazing Randi passive aggressively at me, I feel more sure of my answers. So instead of doing an edit you wouldn’t see unless you get past the cut, I decided I’d simply make a clarification post.

If it makes you feel better, I can’t tell you it’s bad for you. However, I will not allow you to call it medicine or, you know, take my money for it.

I still need to figure out how I feel about my family’s…feelings about it. The thing is, I know they don’t think it’s the same thing as medicine. I’m just not sure they understand the reasons that line needs to exist.

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