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how every breath is hard-won

So…. I heard somewhere that this season’s allergen load was going to be the worst in many years, partly because of the climate change weather extremes. I heard that, because it was going to be so bad, many folks were going to experience seasonal allergies for the first time. As someone who has lived with seasonal/environmental allergies (and the asthma induced by them) for many years, I took this warning seriously. I’ve come to expect that I will generally have a week in the Spring and Fall where I am largely incapacitated — I just had come to think of that as par for the course of my life. But when I heard this warning, from the Farmer’s Almanac or somesuch, and the thought of more than a week of that being likely on the horizon, I decided not to chance it.

So I went to the allopathic doctor and said, “Drug me.” My doctor was funny and dry and laughed at my matter-of-fact way of describing my current baselines. “Basically, what I think we have to do is actually get your asthma under control.” I realized that I had always gone the other way — manage the allergies, and the asthma will take care of itself, or so I thought. But as I was gearing up to go see her, and becoming hyper-aware of my body so that I could faithfully report what I was going through, I also realized that I was basically living with a low-grade asthma attack most (okay — all) of the time. She prescribed three different inhalants in various forms, with various routines for me to follow. And I followed them.

And, like my doctor thought, once I’d stabilized the asthma, the more allergy-oriented inhaler became superfluous, and I stopped using it. (My body also seemed to reject it — but that’s another story.) The other thing that became clear is just how much I’ve fundamentally normalized my cycles of better and worse breathing. That’s just how I breathe. I didn’t even know what 100% relief felt like — turns out, to me, it kinda feels like nothing. As I know is common, it wasn’t until my primary maintenance inhaler ran out about a week ago that I took notice of how basic relief — full lung breathing without effort or constraint — had quietly become my new normal. Frankly, outside of certain measured activities like meditation and yoga, I don’t think about my breathing all that much. Even though it hurts a little pretty much all the time. I’ve actually had to find different cues to catch my attention so I’ll notice when I’m having an attack, and then maybe do something to relieve it, because slightly shallow, slightly pained breathing is… well, just how I breathe “normally,” right? But after roughly two months of feeling something else, I now know that asthmatic breathing isn’t categorically intrinsic to who I am.

Though I have to tell you — this feeling, this light pressure on my sternum, this ache in the middle of chest — it does *feel* intrinsic to who I am. I just thought it was something else: a kind of melancholy that never quite goes away, a tinge of brokenheartedness that is just always with me, how close tears (a closed throat, a gasp) often feel and how much that points towards the beauty of this world and how precious, how hard-won each breath is… As a fellow asthmatic and friend once said to me, having this kind of environmental and stress-induced asthma feels like a way our bodies keep us from diving in too deep too quickly towards the world, no matter how much we both dearly want to (and do, consequences be damned). I’m always a little skeptical of poetic meanings ascribed to bodies and ailments and abilities — if it’s useful to you, if it makes you kinder and more compassionate, then sure. But be careful — I think there is also use and meaning in the clarity and spaciousness of a full breath, even if I don’t quite know what it is for myself yet. My momma always said to be careful about how much you love your own misery. I’ve clearly found ways to love these aches of mine, but no matter how much it felt familiar to me, or how easy it felt to just slip back into a habit of half-breaths these last few days, or how much all of that poetically confirms something to me simultaneously about how tough and secretly tender I am… I still called the pharmacy tonight and refilled my prescription. Because I’d like to keep discovering, one day after another, all of what these lungs, this heart, the oxygen in my veins and the sound of my own voice can be.

How Quickly We Are Misrepresented

  • T-Shack: Hey it's 2013 in Seattle and we're having an awesome show!
  • Trans Organization: Since you're visiting our town you should know the local context that we've had a ton of recent community discussion about the use of the t-word and your show might stir up a lot of controversy you don't actually want to be dealing with.
  • T-Shack: Hey thanks, that's good to know. We'll do a different show with a different name and it'll be fine.
  • Performer: I'm super excited to be in the show, but I'm embarrassed to say the name out loud.
  • T-Shack: That's a really bad outcome, both financially and politically. We'll have to work on a solution.
  • T-Shack: We're back now that it's 2014 and we've renamed our show for while we're here, but still have the old name on the poster
  • Trans Organization: That's awesome, we really appreciate that. But you might want to reconsider the old name on posters. Because if they are going to be put up all around town it could still raise some problems. Also, did you realize you scheduled the show to be at the same time as Trans Pride?
  • T-Shack: Oops, give us a moment to confer.
  • Cis Gay Bystander: Oh my god you guys are terrible, stop being word police! Stop censoring everyone! I love the word 'tranny'. Tranny, tranny, tranny! Trannyshack folks, please don't give in to this pressure.
  • Trans Woman Bystander: Are you trying to upset folks on purpose, this was a productive conversation.
  • Cis Gay Bystander: I don't understand you trans women. You think that being a keyboard warrior will win you everything but you're just alienating your allies.
  • Trans Woman Bystander: Fuck you if you think you're my ally. With allies like you, who needs enemies!
  • Cis Gay Bystander #2: *Pulls out popcorn* I love to watch trans women freak out and get super emotional.
  • T-Shack: Hey guys, that's not helpful. Also, we've decided to permanently change our name and keep the t-word off our posters and we'd like to make this show a benefit for Trans Pride!
  • Trans Organization: That's awesome! You guys really are the best! We're going to promote your show and please stop by Trans Pride we want to give you an award for allyship!
  • Cis Gay News: Why do trans women hate drag queens? Yet again local trans women are creating drama. These radical activists are strong-arming our beloved Trannyshack into changing their name. They just whine and make a fuss until they get their way. They are giving our community a bad name. This is exactly they kind of infighting that we need to put an end to.
  • T-Shack: Hey that's not exactly what happened, here's my open statement about why we thought changing the name was a good idea and were appreciative of the help and feedback I got in that process.
  • Jack Halberstam: This story about over-emotional trans women throwing tantrums and claiming to be triggered by a single word is a great example for my work on the Neo-Liberal Rhetoric of Harm. They really should lighten up. We need to put an end to finger snapping moralism like that.
  • ...: ...
  • ...: ...
  • Note: The above is obviously all paraphrased since the actual account was 30-50 pages long. Actual wording or phrases were used when possible. Mainly I wanted to share this because it's super tiring to have everything you say framed within the box of "trans women are over-emotional, over-reactive, shrieking, and behavior policing" no matter how much what we're doing differs from that.

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I think my favorite part of the #godzillarose is that when it starts to make a new rose bud, the ENTIRE leaf stalk, and leaf edges and thorns ALSO go spiky and red. I actually wondered if a new rose was coming because the leaves did their spiky thing first… And now here it is!

I think my favorite part of the #godzillarose is that when it starts to make a new rose bud, the ENTIRE leaf stalk, and leaf edges and thorns ALSO go spiky and red. I actually wondered if a new rose was coming because the leaves did their spiky thing first… And now here it is!

Guys. It’s happening AGAIN. #isthisametaphor #godzillarosesriseagain #godzillarose

Guys. It’s happening AGAIN. #isthisametaphor #godzillarosesriseagain #godzillarose

the-real-goddamazon:

livingsingle-tv:

Requested by maxinefeliceshaw

I don’t think y’all understand how important this series was to me. And how important THIS ship is to me.

Can we bring this back?

Where can I download all the seasons? Shit.

Seriously. This show was amazing, along with A Different World. Is there anything even close to it on TV now?

(via blueklectic)

"GIRLS ARE NOT A THING YOU GET. They’re not a goody bag at the end of the frat party."

Memo to Seth Rogen.

You’re not a victim of the Santa Barbara killings

(via think-progress)

chubby-bunnies:

moon-medicine:

elige:

ranetree:

prarievarg:

tegansenpai:

timetravellingtimelord:

theparadoxymoron:

katiefab:

cutebabe:

shipcomingthrough:

Just watch it.

oh……my fucking

No, seriously. Watch the video.

but guys…can you imagine what would happen if someone hacked the highways? 

HERE’S THE LINK TO SOLAR FREAKIN’ ROADWAYS GUYS

image

SIGNAL BOOST THIS SHIT

GUYS THIS CAN SERIOUSLY HELP TURN THINGS AROUND FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AND THE ECONOMY GO GO GO GO GO GO

SOLAR FREAKIN ROADWAYS IS A-GO

woahhhhhhhh yooooo

Ahhh this is so exciting!!!

!!!!!!!!!!!!

Things like this make me feel like we’re not entirely doomed. 

(via daianotherday)

Guys, how will we hang pictures on the wall that we’ve forgotten about if they’re all locked up on long-dead social media platforms? #analogbackup #oldfriends #beautifullife

Guys, how will we hang pictures on the wall that we’ve forgotten about if they’re all locked up on long-dead social media platforms? #analogbackup #oldfriends #beautifullife

theatlantic:

How Local Governments Are Hacking Immigration Reform

Only the federal government can grant amnesty. But cities and counties can effectively opt to stop deportations—and increasingly, they are.
Read more. [Image: Jim Young/Reuters]

theatlantic:

How Local Governments Are Hacking Immigration Reform

Only the federal government can grant amnesty. But cities and counties can effectively opt to stop deportations—and increasingly, they are.

Read more. [Image: Jim Young/Reuters]

Who was that guitarist playing with Beyoncé at the Superbowl halftime show with the sparks shooting from her Jackson Randy Rhoads?

That’d be Bibi McGill, a hippie rock goddess who has spent the past six years as musical director of Beyoncé’s all-female backing band, the Suga Mamas.

When she’s not on tour, McGill teaches yoga and finds time to bake and sell her own line of organic kale chips. — Rolling Stone,May 2013, "Best of Rock 2013"

(Source: vampireweakend, via kddiamond)