Where have I been?

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So, it’s been awhile since I last posted. And it’s not because I haven’t wanted to, it’s because I have been really unwell (like more than usual) and barely been able to use my phone at times, let alone the computer (I much prefer to make posts on WordPress here and not my phone as much).

So the situation is difficult and complicated.

It starts with Bear the Senior Chihuahua.

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Bear the Chihuahua. He’s 16yr 10mon.
He’s my love, my life, the light in the dark. He is
“my sunshine, my only sunshine, he makes me happy when skies are grey”.

So I don’t know if I’ve written about him yet, but he is getting old. He has a lump under his eye (pictured above) which blew up massively (swelled like crazy!) and the vet wasn’t sure what it is. It might be a random bizarre lump that is benign but got scratched and infected. Or it could be cancerous. The only way to find out is with an invasive biopsy and that requires sedation and no vet will put a dog of his age under such a procedure. The type of sedation might cause serious heart issues, and he already has heart issues.

They gave us some cream to settle the swelling down. It helped and the lump has gone down. But it’s not gone away. And the discussion then went down the path that I knew was coming, but was dreading nonetheless.

Bear has a collection of health issues. He IS about 80yrs old in dog years! And he didn’t start getting “ill” until he started getting older (past the double digits!). Anyway, he is not in any immediate danger or any pain nor is he suffering. He’s actually pretty happy! And still can be pretty annoying sometimes! Though, every day that he gets older, there is a increasing chance of something awful happening. And I don’t want to watch him suffer for any reason.

The vet was speaking of judging his “good days” versus the “bad days”. And he has majority of good days. The discussion then started down the “what if” path. What if? What if his (already leaking) heart valve ruptures and it dumps a ton of fluid into his lungs and he “dry drowns”? What if he has a heart attack? What if? What if? What if?

And the vet was speaking about the … “end options”. That some people wait until something bad does happen. And some people choose to, make the worst decision that any pet (or human) parent has to make, when the pet is having a “good day”. They said it can be as peaceful as possible, and that the last memories of your time together won’t be of pain and suffering. (Fuck, I cry just typing this).

I don’t want to see him suffer. I don’t want his last memories with me to be of pain. And I don’t want my last moments with him to be watching him suffer. (And I am crying)

I’m not making any rushed or impulsive decisions. But I need to start thinking about the future and making sure that I am putting his best interests first.

I need to stop talking about that, because I am getting really upset.


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Yes, that’s another Pinkie Pie stuffed toy.

So now on to the next part of the story.

Mr Hippo and I went to the coast and watched the sunrise on September 30th. It was so beautiful. And I know the exact date thanks to the magic of smartphones!


So we had a really early start and a beautiful morning. We got back home and it was really hot (going into the “hot season” where we are), I got hit with a migraine that afternoon and spent the rest of the day asleep. I thought that it was just the heat, because I do get migraines, have for as long as I can remember, and I take a preventative medication to help stop them (which of course you can’t stop completely, but you can reduce the severity and frequency). And then the following week after the sunrise, I had a migraine.

Since then it’s been an almost daily occurrence. I’ve been having migraines almost everyday: I have vertigo, nausea, light-hotheadedness (feeling like fainting), severe headaches, muscle weakness, fatigue (more than usual), raised temperature, light & noise sensitivity.

I’ve been having these “mini-graines”, whatever you want to call them, (as already stated) almost daily. I went to my GP on Tuesday and she took some bloods. She was testing my thyroid, a bunch of other things I have no idea what they mean. Anyway.

So yesterday she called with the results.

I am sick. I have a virus. But my doctor doesn’t know what it is, what it’s called, or really anything other than the test results:

– My C-Reactive Proteins (CRP, blood cells that react to inflammation) are really high. According to my doctor, the average person (when not sick) has a CRP count of >5. My usual CRP count is around 8 – due to my fibromyalgia. But the test results came back with my CRP count at 16.5

16.5

That’s stupidly high.

– My Neutrophils (type of white blood cell, appear in response to illness) are significantly raised.

So the test results are clear: I am sick. And it might sound weird, but it’s kind of nice when your doctor calls and says “yes, you are sick”. Validation when it comes to being sick, is actually really nice. Being told, by a professional, that what you’re experiencing IS real and not all in your head, is really helpful and really … satisfying? I mean being told “Congratulations! You’re not crazy!” is pretty nice.

So the pros are that, there’s proof that there is something going on. The cons are that, we don’t know what it is. Yes, I have a virus. But we don’t know what it is. And my doctor was honest when she said, that she probably won’t ever be able to figure out what it is. Which has some major cons.

The problem is that because we have no idea what this actually is, there is no way to determine how this is going to play out. We can’t tell how long this is going to last, and the fact my tests are so high and I’ve already been sick for nearly three weeks, isn’t a great sign. Also being a virus, you can’t treat it. All I can do is treat the symptoms with medication. And, wait it out. My doctor feels that this virus isn’t contagious and is “self limiting” (so it’ll burn itself out, basically) but otherwise, I just have to “wait and see”.

Because of this, I’ve been having trouble doing even the simplest of tasks, a shower makes me so dizzy I almost lose my balance. I can’t spend too much time looking at a computer (or phone) screen. I can’t really go anywhere on a bus or other public transport, due to the vertigo and dizziness.

So the virus is “self limiting”: it’s limiting me.

I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.

I swear I can’t seem to catch a break. Am I cursed or what? I just get my gallbladder situation sorted out, I get some improvement on my anxiety issues and agoraphobia issues, and then I get this fucked up mysterious illness.

I cry a lot too.

If I just had a name for this damn thing. Even if it was a name that had no Google hits, even if it was something that no one had ever heard of or knew anything about, at least if I could go “goddamn this Flibbertygibbit Virus!” having something to blame, you know? I mean I DO have something to blame, Mystery Virus, but for fuckssake! CAN’T I GET A BREAK PLEASE???????

If anyone knows of any way to break curses or ditch Mystery Viruses, or otherwise GIVE ME A BREAK!!

So, that’s all I have for now. I will hopefully be posting again soon. I am more active on Instagram, it’s easier to handle when I can barely look at screens. I have two accounts, my @hummingbirdpages account, and my personal @xlipstickqueenx.

Will (hopefully) be back soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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For Victoria Rose

I made this collage and jewellery for a very dear friend, Victoria Rose.

Front:

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“A Picture is a Poem Without Words”
– Horace.

Made from cut-outs of frankie magazine, with glitter washi tape accents. Page is A4 size.

Back:

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“Normality is a paved road. It is comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow.”
– Vincent Van Gogh.

A favoured quote by a favoured artist, glitter pens and floral paper from the scrapbooking/craft/stationary section of Big W.

~*~*~*~

Jewellery

Made from plastic coloured beads and stretchy jelly cord.

Necklace:

“After the rain, comes the rainbow”
– Unknown

Varied sized plastic heart beads in the colours of the rainbow.

Bracelet:

“You have unlimited potential”
– Unknown.

Yellow, blue and gold glitter star beads, stretchy jelly cord, little metal “made with love” heart charm.

~*~*~*~

These were a gift for my dear friend, but if you are interested in having a collage or piece of jewellery made for yourself, check out my art page and the jewellery page for more information.

10 Non-Illness Related Facts About Me!

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So! I was tagged on my personal Instagram account, @xlipstickqueenx, to do “10 Non-Illness Related Facts About Me”, and it was fun and I didn’t get to explain each “fact” as much as I would like soooooooo I thought I’d do it here! Feel free to do your own, and link me so I can check it out!
Enjoy 😀

* 10 Fun Facts About Me *

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grinning-face FACT #1: When I was a wee youngster, a teenager, I was in the “goth scene” in my city. We were an online forum for the goth scene here, which the forum no longer exists, and while we were all in the same city we spent most of our time interacting online. Now I was about 18 (?) and I was a lot more anxious and uncomfortable in my own self at the time. There were (maybe still are?) a couple goth clubs that would pop up every month or so, and a large number of the members would attend and drink and do other stupid things. Anyway, the legal age here is 18 so I was perfectly legally able to attend, but I didn’t want to. And as I also didn’t post many images of myself on the forum, (I only found this out much later though, like years later) a lot of the members started a rumor that I was a 40something man pretending to be an 18yo woman. Eventually I went to some meetups, coffee and picnics, that sort of thing.

I left the group when I was around 21. There were a lot of “rules”, at least my experience was that a lot of rules were put upon me. I wasn’t allowed to buy things from certain stores (I bought shoes from “Hot Topic” online, and I was called a “poseur” by some of the other members) and I had to be a fan of certain bands and musicians. I wasn’t allowed to wear certain colours (pink for example) unless it was “ironically” or in the “raver” fluro pink. And I wasn’t as confident in myself or as outspoken as I am now, during my time in the group. Plus the final proverbial nail in the metaphorical coffin of my burning my goth card, was an encounter with a former friend from the group. It was not a good encounter, lets leave it at that.

One positive thing though about the group and my time there, I met my Mr Hippo <3.

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This was me, “FiendLikeQueen” (a quote taken from Shakespeare’s “Macbeth”) or “Fiendy” as I was nicknamed.

grinning-face FACT #2: I am a big fan of music. Of all kinds. I am currently loving Kesha‘s new album “Rainbow”. And I actually really like Taylor Swift‘s new song, “Look What You Made Me Do”. I also met a local musician, Jessica Sarah who has a couple self-recorded songs on Spotify. I have a huge CD collection, numbering over 170+ last count. And I am a fan of a broad range of music, I don’t even know what falls under what “genre” and if I listed all the bands I love this post would be way too long. So if you want to follow me on Spotify and see my interests, xlipstickqueenx is my name.

grinning-face FACT #3: This one is short and needs no embellishment. I live with my favourite person ever, Mr Hippo. We have been together for 5yrs and known each other for 10yrs. He is my favourite person and I would not be where I am without him. Simple as that. I love him. And I, for a long time, didn’t understand how someone could love me and how I could love someone with the chronic mental illness that I suffer from. How could love and depression coexist? But it can, it does, it will. And the whole “you can’t love someone else until you love yourself” thing? It’s bullshit frankly. Because I do not love myself completely. But with the love of my dear Mr Hippo, I am learning to love myself.

grinning-face FACT #4: Mr Hippo & I are the proud parents of three furkids (they have their own Instagram account: @bltpetpics (Bear, Levi & Tiffy Pet Pics).

I originally wrote bios here for each little furkid. But that ended up taking up waaay too much space so go check out their Instagram and I’m doing posts on them as well on this blog.

grinning-face FACT #5: So this one isn’t “fun” but it’s still a fact. It may fall under the “illness facts” heading buuuut I think it still counts.

I am really good at talking to people, in person, on the phone, online etc, and really good at making friends. But, I’m not so great at keeping them. I don’t know why, maybe it’s my super special personality or maybe it’s because I am “unwell”, but I will make a friend and we will be good for awhile, and then things will fall apart. Sometimes it’s been ended by me and sometimes by the other person. Sometimes it’s a “go gentle into this goodnight”-ish and amicable, and other times it’s more traumatic. And then other times it’s a “ghosting” situation. I really love making new friends, I just don’t seem to be able to keep most relationships going.

grinning-face FACT #6: So I am not “religious” despite being born and baptised in the Catholic religion. I attended Catholic private schools for all of my primary education and some of my senior education. But I do not consider myself a part of that religion.

My beliefs are more “spiritual”. And there really is no “name” for the collection of beliefs I have. I have sort of, collected a bunch of elements from different places that make sense to me. And if that doesn’t mean it’s a “real” thing or a recognised belief system, than that’s totally cool.

I believe in reincarnation and the soul. But not that I’m human now and my next life I’m a bug. More that a soul is designated as a human soul or an animal and each life it learns something new that carries on to the next life. I believe that our soul has soulmates. I don’t mean A soulmate, I mean plural. And they aren’t always a “romantic soulmate”. But more, pieces of the soul. And they can be found in humans and animals. There is no limit to the number of pieces of your soul there are, each soul is different.

Karma and being kind to others is another strong belief of mine. Karma does not work the way most people think it does. Most people think that you do something “nice” for someone else and it will come back to you 10x bigger. And that it’s something like, winning the lottery or whatever. And that it’s completely obvious that it’s a karma “repayment”. That’s not how it works. And that shouldn’t be the motivation for being kind to someone else, the “rewards”. Doing something nice for someone else is just, well, nice. It makes me feel better when I do something nice for someone else, and it does come back to me but usually in small unexpected ways and I don’t realise until later. Like the time I got a free doughnut. But getting free doughnuts is not the reason I do nice things for other people, it’s because I like to do it.

grinning-face FACT #7: Speaking about souls and whatnot, you know how some people talk about others being “old souls”? They seem wise beyond their years? Well I feel like an “old soul” BUT at the same time I feel young at heart. I don’t mean I’m childish, I mean I like things that you wouldn’t normally associate with 28yo women, like My Little Pony figurines and sleeping with stuffed toys (and naming them weird names with special backstories). So I’m an “old soul who is a child at heart”. Make sense?

grinning-face FACT #8: Often people will comment on my skin. It’s very clear and pale and I rarely get blemishes. If I DO get a facial blemish, it’s a very painful cyst and not your ordinary cyst. My clear skin is simply genetics (Great-grandma was from England) and drinking lots and lots of water and I use coconut oil as moisturiser. Though the annoying thing is I have very bad skin everywhere else. By that I mean: most of my body is covered in scars. I’ve also been told I have a lovely speaking voice. And while I am “Aussie born & bred” I use “British English” spelling and pronunciations (it’s how I was taught!) so fairly frequently I am asked “where is your accent from?” by OTHER Australians! I don’t mind compliments like these, but I HATE when someone gives me the “compliment” that goes: “have you lost/gained weight?”. It seems that every person subconsciously thinks a comment about a person’s weight is an appropriate compliment. Well, I don’t like it. I prefer things like “nice dress!” or if it HAS to be about my appearance then my makeup or accessories. But I MUCH prefer compliments on things that are “me”, like about my art or something, not things I was born with (face, skin, body etc) and therefore had no choice in. I prefer being admired for my abilities and talents, than for things I had no choice about – my skin for example, I didn’t get to pick!

grinning-face FACT #9: I’m a HUUUUUGE Scifi fan. I was raised on Star Trek and Dr Who. My favourite Star Trek series is “Next Generation” with Captain Picard (oh Patrick Stewart! Swoon!) and “Voyager” comes very close second. My favourite Dr is the 9th, Christopher Eccleston and my favourite companion is Donna Noble. I also love the Star Gate series, SG1 and Atlantis, though I wasn’t a fan of the Universe series.

grinning-face FACT #10: Lipstick is life. Makeup is something that I really enjoy wearing and using. I used to only wear makeup as another way to cover up, but then I realised how much FUN it can be! I don’t wear foundation anymore because it can react with my skin. Clothing is another thing I really enjoy. The way I am dressed and the makeup/lack of makeup I have on at any given time can be a very good way to tell how I am feeling. I literally wear my heart on my sleeve. I used to be a very closed off, hid everything. But eventually I learnt to express myself more and not hide away so much. And that can be a downside sometimes but it’s just the way I am. And I much prefer being open than hiding.

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Woohoo! So that’s about it for now! Hope that this was interesting and maybe you will do your own 10 Things and link me to it!

My Tattoos & Their Stories.

At the time of this post, I have 9 tattoos. Four are on my left arm, two are on my right arm, two are on my right leg and one is on my left leg. I have another two that will be (hopefully) happening this year.

So, tattoos have become fairly common and popular. There are a lot of, I hate to say it – but it IS true, younger people with tattoos. And I’m about to say something I hate hearing when others talk to me about my tattoos: some of those young people are really going to regret their ink choices later in life. Not because they won’t “look good when you’re old”, but more because I’ve seen a lot of young people, I’m talking freshly legal people (it’s illegal to tattoo anyone under the age of 18 in Australia. It used to be – as far as I am aware – that 16 and over could be tattooed BUT a parent had to give written permission. Yeah, that’s not how it works anymore) who have tattoos all over the back of their hands and on their faces.

Honestly? I mostly don’t care what a person puts on their skin in the form of a tattoo. I do have a few exceptions, and this is strictly MY personal opinion, I don’t expect anyone else to feel the same way

*Also I am NOT a tattooist myself, so my opinions on the topic are purely from my personal experience, I could be wrong in some of my information and if I am I apologise! I’m still learning all this myself.*

My Opinions on Tattoos

  • DON’T: Gang insignia – that includes extremist iconography such as a swastika (which is SUPER annoying because the symbol used as the “inspiration” for the swastika comes from a Buddhist symbol, at least as far as my research has shown me, I might be a bit out of date on that, soz). There are artists around the world, who are helping people who got a gang/extremist related tattoo at another time in their lives and who have grown and changed (like everyone will) since then and no longer want it. These artists are covering and otherwise altering the existing ink to reflect the changes the person has made in their life. (I’ll do some googling and at a later date I’ll see if I can find some links to available artists around the world).
  • DON’T: Neck tattoos. As a general rule, a lot of parlours here will not tattoo a person on the neck/head/face or hands UNLESS they have an adequate amount of ink already. The reason being, that tattoos on those areas of the body are pretty life altering and the person needs to be well aware of what they are getting themselves into. This of course is also at the discretion of the artist themselves, as to whether they tattoo those areas.
  • DON’T: Stick and Poke “tattoos”. Yeah NO. Those are 1) highly dangerous in that you can easily acquire blood poisoning/other blood transmitted diseases, because FREQUENTLY the person doing the stupid thing, has no idea of health and safety and you can end up with some biro ink and a dull sewing needle stabbed into you, leaving a horrible looking thing. This flows on to my next point:
  • DON’T: Homemade tattoos! NO. JUST DON’T. I don’t care if the person is a licensed tattoo artist, never ever have a tattoo done in a person’s home – even licensed artists don’t encourage this as it is not possible to make their home as sterile as it needs to be. And on the same note, do NOT get a tattoo done by someone who has no training as an artist, and even if they bought a “gun” online (which are always very bad quality – unless from a certified and reputable distributor) and aren’t using a biro + needle + electric toothbrush, they have no experience as to how to use the gun properly, how to maintain the right pressure, what number of needles to use… etc.
  • DON’T: Offensive tattoos: just no. I met a person not long ago, who had done his own tattoo (unsure what he used), it was on his upper arm and it read (in bad handwriting) “ART FAG”. There are just soo many things wrong in that, I don’t know where to start.
  • I Wouldn’t, But I Won’t Judge if Others Do: Tattoos that have no meaning to the person. All my tattoos have a meaning or a significance for me. And all the future tattoos I have planned are all for various other reasons. I have admired some artwork by a few tattooists I know that I love and would look amazing, but for me – at this point in my life at least – my tattoos have meanings and have reasons behind them.
  • DON’T: You’re young! You’re barely two decades old! DON’T GET THE BACK OF YOUR HANDS TATTOOED. Even if you got fluffy bunnies and kittens on your hands, it just is not a good idea when you are only just starting out in life. (I know I already wrote about this above.. but it bothers me!)
  • DON’T: It is illegal to get a tattoo while under the influence. That includes any substance that is not a prescription. So even “legal” drugs will get you turned away. And no, there is nothing you can take or use, that will make it less painful.
  • DON’T: Just get a tattoo because your best friend/romantic partner/favourite media personality (actor, musician, etc) has or is pressuring you into it.
  • DO: Only get a tattoo when YOU want one. If your friends and whatever are all “doing it”, well the same response applies to if they were all jumping off a bridge. A tattoo is a huge commitment, and while it can be “removed” later, the skin it was on will never be the same. So think hard before getting a tattoo, make sure it’s something you want.
  • DO: Research artists. Check out their portfolios, see if their style suits what you’re looking for. And if you have an idea for the design, go in and talk to them, meet them face to face, get to know each other. Not only will you get the best possible artwork, but you might even make a friend out of it! Sometimes, such as in my case, you may have a design idea and a place you’d like it put, but the place on your body and the design won’t work (for example, I am getting my inner forearm tattooed over. I have a large amount of healed scars on that part of my body. I wanted a mandala design, but my lovely friend and artist said that because the surface is not smooth and flat, the design wouldn’t work. It could be done but it wouldn’t look as good as either of us wanted) for a variety of reasons. In my case, I had to find an artist who had experience working with scarred skin. The artist I have ended up seeing for (90% of) all my tattoos isn’t the one I originally was thinking of seeing!
  • DO: Be aware of how the body reacts to pain. Everyone has a different pain threshold, different parts of the body range in the level of pain accompanied. Outlining will hurt differently compared to shading or colouring. If you ask one person what it feels like, it will be a completely different response than to someone else. Be aware that the human body reacts to pain by upping the adrenaline in your system. In my personal experience (I’ve heard it from others too), depending on the length of time you are being tattooed, your adrenaline levels with fluctuate. For example, the large Paper Crane and Roses tattoo I have on my left upper arm: that took roughly 2.5hrs. In that time my adrenaline and the endorphins (which are produced when the body is experiencing pain)  went WAY WAY UP and I could barely feel it! I was super chatty and even happy. Then not long after, my levels dropped and I got extremely tired and I could really feel it, a bit later the adrenaline/endorphins spiked again. Having said that, once you get going with the tattoo, and are aware you’re going to be there for however long, you sort of “get used to” the pain. I nearly fell asleep during one of mine.
  • DO: On that note, if/when your adrenaline/endorphins plummet, sugar has been helpful I’ve found. I don’t really know the science behind it, but I do know that with the “fight/flight” instinct that the body produces adrenaline in response to, uses up a fair amount of glucose (blood sugar), so when that wanes it needs a boost. I’ve found having something sweet to suck on (lollipop, lifesaver etc) helps a lot. *I am not a scientist so I many have a few things incorrect there. Please let me know if I missed something!*
  • DO: Okay as much as we ALL hate to hear it: you MAY one day regret a tattoo. And that is okay. Fuck, you think I don’t regret my self harm scars?? I’m not saying that tattoos and self harm are the same, BUT I do know a couple young people who stretched their earlobes to crazy sizes, and now they regret it. Anything we do to our bodies can leave a lasting impact, and sometimes those things left behind can be great at first, but further on in life it may not be as great. And that is TOTALLY OKAY! No one is going to hate you for going “hey that was fun and I really liked having it, but now I’m in a different stage of my life and I don’t like it anymore”.
  • DO: Some of the NICEST people I’ve met (even prior to getting my first tattoo!) at first look intimidating because of their body art. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.
  • DO: I may have already mentioned this, but I’m going to say it again. I have a lot of self harm scars, on most of my body. I am not “proud” of them. But neither am I ashamed. And I am going to get a lot of the worst ones on my arms, covered over with some beautiful art. In my case, I am making something beautiful out of something ugly. I am finding beauty in the pain. I am making my outsides match the inside. And I will say this now, and again: NEVER let anyone make you do something you don’t want to do.
  • DO: “You may regret getting that one day”, really? Well I believe the opposite as well “you may regret NOT getting that one day”.
  • DO: Be aware, if you are wanting to get scars covered with a tattoo (or more), make sure your artist has experience in coverings and also tattooing over scars hurts more than un-scarred skin. The reason for this is quite simple: any wound that heals and results in a scar (which most wounds do, unless it’s really minor) is made up of the same collagen the rest of our skin is made from. However, there is a misnomer that scars are “dead skin”. Scars are actually essentially “new skin” or “baby skin” and are much more sensitive than un-scarred skin. There are times when scars have no sensation whatsoever, but that happens when the wound has damaged nerves and results in scar tissue that has no feeling.
  • DO: I have this strange little belief. It’s not a “real” thing I believe, just a bit of an idea. I am a spiritual person, karma and all that. And as tattoos literally go into your body and under your skin, something physical is being put into your body. I feel that the relationship between an artist and the client is a special connection. You’re letting someone alter your body. And I kind of feel that if you don’t have a connection, if you don’t like the artist, then the tattoo won’t be quite “right”. In a way, the negativity between your artist and yourself, will go in with the ink and then into the tattoo. It’s just a weird thing I think.
  • MOST IMPORTANTLY: Listen to your gut. If something doesn’t seem “right”, be it the artist, the parlour, the design, whatever, then don’t do it.

Okay so now that I’ve been a big hypocrite and made comments that I hate being told myself, I’m going to show you photos of my tattoos and explain why I got them.

My First Tattoos: Anchor and Heart Wrist Tattoos


When:
I got these tattoos back in 2013.

What: They are my first tattoos. I have an anchor on my left wrist and a heart outline on my left wrist.

Meaning/Symbolism/Why Did I Get Them: So when I was really unwell in 2010 (mental illness, it was being treated incorrectly due to a very bad misdiagnosis, and I was very unwell), I would write in permanent marker, HOPE on my left wrist and LOVE on my right wrist. They of course would fade and I would have to keep touching them up. One night in 2012 I was out hanging with some friends, and a friend of my friend – so I had no connection to him whatsoever, I don’t even remember his name – saw my arm as I reached for my drink (I was wearing a shawl/kimono type thing and it was dark so I didn’t think anyone would see) and he (drunkenly) pointed to my arm and said VERY LOUDLY “WHAT ARE THOSE ON YOUR ARM?? THERE ARE SO MANY OF THEM!” (at least that is a paraphrase of his comments) and I got really upset. SO I made a decision that night, that I was going to get a tattoo to show to everyone that I was not ashamed and to have a permanent reminder to have HOPE for my future and to LOVE myself as I am.

I asked around, I had a couple workmates who had recently gotten tattoos, and I asked some advice and where a good place to go was. I was recommended Wild at Heart Tattoo and I checked out their website and the portfolio of the artists. I was originally going to see Danielle Chisholm, but when I rang to ask some questions I asked if any one had experience tattooing over scars. And that is how I met my tattooist, and friend, Victoria Rose*. I originally wanted a heart outline for the LOVE symbol, and a paper crane for the HOPE symbol. After consulting with the lovely Victoria, she advised that the paper crane would have to be much larger than I was wanting the tattoos to be. She suggested the anchor. I didn’t want the words “hope” and “love”, I just wanted them to be a bit different.

There are two main “meanings” behind the anchor symbol.

The first one I don’t agree with: The Anchor symbol is seen as a negative thing. It is considered that the Anchor weighs you down to the one spot, making it hard to progress forward in life.

The second meaning, the one that I choose to follow: To a sailor, in the midst of a raging storm, the one thing that will give you even the tiniest shred of hope for surviving, is the anchor.

Before getting these tattoos, I wore long sleeves, and a wrist full of bracelets. After getting them, I don’t! I really love these, there is a secret with the heart shape, I had it retouched, and as the needles went over a scar on the side of the heart, I jumped slightly, making the needle move. So now, if you look really really close, you can see a tiny little blip of black ink where I jumped. I think it’s cute, it’s my own special little secret (which I just told the whole internet, so not-so-secret now!).

Third Tattoo: Paper Crane and Roses (Upper Left Arm)

 

 

When: 2013

What: A Japanese Origami Crane supported by three red/dark pink cabbage roses and leaves.

Meaning/Symbolism/Why Did I Get It: The paper crane is a very well known image, especially anyone who knows about Hiroshima and Sadako Sasaki.

There is a Japanese legend that if you fold one thousand paper cranes, you will be granted a wish.

Paper cranes also represent peace and tranquility. I originally wanted to get the crane as the symbol for “hope” on my wrist, but the size wouldn’t have been right. So I decided to have it made into a larger piece, incorporating my favourite flower (roses, which is also my namesake) to represent my family.

I had this beautiful piece, designed by Victoria Rose (“the Other Rose”), placed on my upper left arm. It covers some of my more severe self harm scars, which really really HURT to be tattooed over!

I sadly faded the colour of this tattoo, I over-cared for it. But that’s not uncommon! Anyway, it was retouched no problem and it looks lovely. It’s kind of funny, a lot of people who see this tattoo close up first, have difficulty identifying the crane!

This tattoo is slowly being turned into a full sleeve.

Fourth Tattoo: Pink Lotus Blossom (Upper Right Arm)

The second of the only two (current) tattoos on my right arm. It is small and usually missed because it is covered by clothes easily.

When: Um … 2014?

What: A pink, with red fine details, lotus blossom with a small green leaf at the base.

Meaning/Symbolism/Why Did I Get It: The lotus blossom is a very important symbol to several cultures, most notably Buddhism and Hinduism. It is sacred in both these cultures, representing purity, peace, divine beauty and also rebirth.

The life cycle of a lotus is a part of why I chose this tattoo. Over the course of three days, the lotus blossom pushes through the mud and murky waters it resides in, it pushes forth into the sun and blossoms above the water. Moving through a dark and frightening path into the light, it symbolises freedom, for me personally.

Fifth Tattoo: Bird Cage (Upper Left Underarm)


When:
Um … 2014/15?

What: Black outline of a birdcage with the door open. It is on the underside of my left upper arm, so getting a good photo is a bit difficult. This tattoo goes with the hummingbird tattoo. They are a pair.

Meaning/Symbolism/Why Did I Get It: As with pretty much every tattoo I have, it represents freedom. It covers some of my self harm scars and those HURT to go over. It, along with my hummingbird (who is the bird that escaped the cage), represent my struggle with my mental illness and the effort of gaining my freedom from it.

Post Touch Up (May 2017)

So sometime after I got the original cage tattoo, I gained some weight (various reasons, whatevs) and being where it is, some of the lines of the cage had … the best term I have is “expanded”. There were only a couple places and they were only really noticeable to me and if I pointed them out to people. So I wanted to cover up the stretched out sections. But there was a second reason for the cage to be touched up, as it is a part of the ‘hummingbird tattoo set’, the hummingbird is beautiful and bright and colourful, the cage was just an outline. And while a very beautiful outline, it didn’t quite “match up”, if that makes sense? Anyway, some grey and purple shading were added to it and it looks AMAZING!

Sixth Tattoo: Hummingbird (Upper Left Arm)


When:
Um … 2014/15?

What: A bright green and red hummingbird. He goes with the birdcage tattoo and sits on my upper left arm, beneath my roses and crane. Occasionally he gets mistaken for a King Fisher bird, but he is fully and completely a hummingbird.

Meaning/Symbolism/Why Did I Get It: So, as is the general theme with most of my tattoos, the hummingbird has escaped the birdcage and is free. The most general meaning behind a hummingbird tattoo is “over coming difficult times”. Hummingbirds, the actual bird, are fierce little creatures, which is why I picked this bird instead of the more popular swallow birds. Hummingbirds must consume at least half their body weight in food to sustain their constant movement. They are one of the smallest bird species on the planet and must defend themselves from constant threats from predators. They fight to survive. So this to my symbolises perseverance, persistence and that even when times are tough, you can keep going.

Seventh Tattoo: The Cheshire Cat (Right Ankle)

 

When: Um … 2015?

What: The Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland. I got this design from one of my many copies of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. It was in the first few cover pages of this particular edition. The image was a maroon colour and I originally wanted it black, but as he has some very fine details my lovely Victoria Rose explained that as tattoos age, black ink “spreads”, becomes smudgy/blurry and it would ruin his fine details. Where as coloured ink just fades, giving the ability to retouch the tattoo.

Meaning/Symbolism/Why Did I Get It: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is my favourite book and somewhat of a “bible” to me. I will explain more in a separate post about why the book is so important and why I collect different copies and editions. Super quick: Alice gets lost in this twisty-turny upside-downy bizarre world where nothing makes sense. She sits down and cries a couple times yes, but she picks herself back up and keeps going. She finds her way home. She is my hero. She is my “WonderWoman”. The Cheshire Cat assists Alice in her way through Wonderland and on her way home. He is her guide. And as such, he is mine.

Poor Little Kitty Had an Accident

1. Severely infected (pre-second antibiotic). 2. Post infection healed. 3. Pre-retouch.

Soooo….. anyone who has had a tattoo, no matter how big or where, knows that for a few days after getting it, it stays raw and a bit painful.

Allow me to explain how I earnt the nickname “Lasagna Lady“:

So I got this lovely little cat, he was simply beautiful and everything I could have asked for. Two days after having him done, I was making lunch (microwaveable lasagna) and on the journey from the microwave to my plate, I dropped the food on the floor accidentally (it was hot!) and it splashed all over my BRAND NEW TATTOO. For some inexplicable reason, which I will probably never know why, the burning hot sauce (both the bechamel creamy sauce and the meat sauce) splashed all over my brand new tattoo and burnt the poor little kitty! *insert crying emoji* IT HURT LIKE A MOTHERFUCKER. I jumped into the shower to wash it off, and anyone who knows any minor basic first aid knows that any burn must be run under cold water. What I didn’t know at the time was that the minimum amount of time it should be kept under the tap is 20 minutes. I only had it under for maybe 5 minutes?

Anyway, long story short, the tattoo got infected (see first photo above) and I nearly ended up with a blood infection and had to take two different antibiotics before it would heal. I was put on bed rest for two weeks. In addition to the antibiotics I also used a “Colloidal Silver Spray” which helped heaps. I used it externally, sprayed on the infection site directly. I know there are a ton of people and online sites that will tell you that colloidal silver has no positive health benefits whatsoever, but silver – in a particular form – IS used as a remedy to assist healing of burns (I’ve had bandages with active silver in them more than once for burns, that were not only prescribed by a doctor but also applied by a registered nurse, and they do make a difference) and whether the colloidal silver is scientifically effective or not, I really do not care.

It finally healed (see second photo above) and it took a few more weeks before he was ready to be retouched (which the lovely Victoria Rose did for free! Which I felt I should have paid for as I had – unintentionally – damaged the tattoo) and I am so thankful and so happy that (see third photo, which is PRE-retouching) his little fine details (like his teeth specifically. Gotta have that Cheshire Cat smile!) were not damaged and the tattoo did not end up with any scars from the burn.

Below you can see the difference between before the touch up, and after!

*** IMPORTANT! The tattoo only became infected due to my negligence and an ACCIDENT. Even if I HAD run cold water over it for 20mins, being so new and raw, it still would have been burnt. The damage was PURELY ACCIDENTAL and the resulting infection was IN NO WAY CAUSED BY THE ARTIST. ***

Eighth Tattoo: My Little Pony, Pinkie Pie (right calf,)
*The only tattoo I have that is not by Victoria, but by Jamiee Butters at Noosa Junction QLD*


When: April 2017

What: Pinkie Pie from “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic”, wearing a party hat, with a party whistle, standing on a piece of cake.

Meaning/Symbolism/Why Did I Get It: Soo this is the only tattoo that was not done by the same artist. I won a $100 voucher on Jamiee’s Facebook page, towards an MLP tattoo of my choice. I was ecstatic! I never win anything! But anyway, moving on to why I have her and what the meaning is.

Since I have been really unwell with my anxiety/agoraphobia/social anxiety/whatevs you wanna call it, I have been stuck inside the house. I started watching MLP on daytime tv. Then I found the entire series on Netflix (the Australian Netflix). I became a huge fan. Pinkie Pie is my favourite (obviously). And it’s one of those kid’s shows that has adult jokes and things that only people over the age of 20 are going to understand (in one ep. they reference “Back to The Future”). I started collecting the small 8inch figures, I have quite a range. But they are getting harder to find! Anyway, in an effort to “self-soothe” without damaging myself, I started carrying around one of the ponies with me everywhere I go. I wear them like a “ring” sort of, and when I feel anxious I play with their hair. It’s actually been a very successful technique!

Pinkie Pie is my favourite character. And I would say she is “me”, but I think it’s more a case of, she is me and also the me I want to be. Pinkie Pie is a bright pink Earth Pony who loves parties and making people happy. She loves making friends, loves surprising her friends with parties or presents or balloons or … She has a “party cannon” that will turn any room into a completely decked out party. She is happy and enjoys life. She loves being herself and doesn’t want to change just so others will like her. She is happy being herself. She has a great sense of humour and can find happiness and something to make her laugh in even the scariest of situations. She loves to sing, and dance and is a “certified Party Pony”. She has a “Pinkie Promise” that goes: Cross my heart and hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye! And YOU NEVER BREAK A PINKIE PROMISE. She is weird, funny and unique and unapologetically so! She is confident and proud of who she is.

If THAT isn’t a good role model for kids of all ages, I dunno WHAT is!

Ninth Tattoo: Cheshire Cat (left ankle)

 

When: May 2017

What:
Dark purple coloured, segmented Cheshire Cat on inner, left ankle.

Meaning/Symbolism/Why Did I Get It: Another Cheshire cat to help me find my way home. He is my guide and my friend wherever I go. I don’t think I need to explain this one too much, because I have him for pretty much the same reason as the other Cheshire Cat. One can never have too many Cheshire Cats.


 

Soo that’s the tattoo round up as it stands now.

I have a design prepared for my first forearm cover up tattoo. It’s a … collage … of sorts. Roses and other flowers, with bees and butterflies. I am currently trying to save money for it, which I set up a “GoFundMe” for buuuuut it’s not had any interest (understandable with all the crappy weather hitting the US atm) so it may not be up for much longer.

If you’re curious, the link to that page is: Help Me Make “Hate” into “Love”.

And I also have a tattoo in the works for a tribute to my senior citizen Chihuahua, Bear. It’s his 17th birthday on December 12th. I hope to get the design on that day.

I have many many many other tattoos I would love to get, I hope to save enough for the forearm piece soon, it’s a cover-up for my self-harm scars.

So, that’s it for now! If you have any questions about tattoos in general or my tattoos, please leave a comment!

Review: Hypecheck Yoga Leggings (For Bodacious Babes)

**ATTENTION!**
**PICTURES OF A SUPER BODACIOUS BABE**
**WITH A BOOTYLICIOUS BEHIND, AHEAD!**
Please note: there is ZERO nudity!
Just a lovely lady and her lovely behind 🙂

unilegging10
—–

Now that you have all been properly “warned” (lol) we can continue!
Oh and I will be avoiding the words “plus size” where possible. I find them frustrating and I don’t feel they are really necessary as an identifier of a person.

I am a huge fan of leggings. And I’ve always admired the leggings from Black Milk Clothing, but being the bodacious bootylicious babe that I am, sadly their leggings do not fit my lovely behind. Which is sad. Plus they are crazy expensive which I can’t afford. Not to say anything against the brand, I’m sure the pricing is reasonable for the quality, I just can’t say from experience. And I am also mildly allergic to polyester, which almost all clothing is made from, at least the cool/quirky/interesting/inexpensive stuff are, which I would be looking at as an alternative.

So one day I was scrolling through my Facebook feed, and you know how those ads pop up advertising everything from colouring pens to makeup to clothes? And normally they aren’t … exactly always “reputable”? Well one day an add for Hypecheck, appeared on my feed with some really cool looking leggings. And out of curiosity, I clicked.

The testimonials got me intrigued, apparently they are “our new favourite leggings”, and well, just go click the link to the homepage to read up on them.

Anyway, they’re on sale, they ARE made from polyester and spandex and normally that would put me off as I mentioned, I’m allergic to polyester and a lot of “less expensive” clothing has low grade polyester materials that make me itch.

But Hypecheck were (at the time of this post, still) having a sale: 50% off the price, free shipping and if you enter the code “YOGA20” at the checkout, you get an extra 20% off! They have two ranges, one size fits most in both. The first range is “regular sizing” (your “average” range I think like 0-14? Or something. It’s not quite clear on their sizing charts but have a look for yourself :D) and then the “larger sizing” (the term “plus size” is used, and well I don’t like that word) which is also a “one size fits most” they say “L-XXXL” so in Australian sizing, that would be something like a 16-20ish?

Now unfortunately at the moment the “larger size” range is a bit more limited than the other range BUT they still have some super awesome designs! And apparently they are bringing in more designs soon! I got the “Unicorn Blue Ombre“:

Screen Shot 2017-09-11 at 1.42.01 pm
And at first I was skeptical. I ordered them on a whim, they are a blend of polyester and spandex and I thought that if they didn’t fit me then I know a few people who might be interested, and they were (are at the time of this post) on sale with free shipping, so what the hell! And they are shipped from China so it can take some weeks to get to Australia and so, didn’t have much to lose (I got them for about $17, after all the sale prices and free shipping)!

So I ordered a pair:


I thought that these were going to be awful, itchy from low quality fabric, badly sized and just plain bad. And I was wrong.


Not only are they a beautifully soft fabric, they stretch so far it’s incredible! I wore them out, in the heat of early Australian spring, and I did not get any thigh chafing/rash (that has happened from some other brands of leggings I’ve had) and not only that, but in addition the leggings must have some super power where they wick away any and all sweat/moisture! I got super sweaty while out and I got back to where I’m currently staying, the leggings were as dry as if they were fresh from the wardrobe.

And now…. SOME BOOTY SHOTS!

Yes, that is my real booty, no implants or strategic posing. Au naturel!

These leggings rest up high on your waist and gently help keep any bellies in place, without being restrictive like the “body shaping” things you can get (I have a belly and I am proud of it! I also had abdominal surgery recently so I need to make sure any clothing I wear over my abdomen – at least for a little while – is not too restrictive that it puts pressure on the incision sites. These don’t!).

There are only two teeny weeny issues I had with these leggings. The booty part can become quite sheer and thus making underwear, that is not “nude/beige” coloured, very visible.

The only other issue I had is the stitching on the inner waistband started to unravel:

Which is simply fixed with a snip of the scissors.

And these leggings cannot be tumble dried, and direct sun may effect the colour of the fabric, but they are pretty fast drying so it’s no big deal.

When pulling on these lovely things, it can be a bit of a tug-o-war as they are very “form fitting” and so when you first try them on you may panic that they aren’t going to fit, but fear not!

So my final scores:

Design: 10/10
Fit/sizing: 10/10
Durability: 8/10 (minus for the stitching and sheer booty, which would depend on design I know!)
Comfort: 10/10! (Even on my sensitive belly – post gallbladder surgery – they are super comfortable!)
Style: 10/10
Value for Money: 10/10

Overall Score: 10/10!

Would I Buy Again? DEFINITELY!!

unilegging4

Go forth and buy yourselves some kick-ass leggings!

I need you to know this: I am not okay.


The above photos were taken over the last two days. I’ve been crying, anxious, exhausted and in pain – both physical and emotional.

I’m tired of this existence. But I have to keep going. It’s all I’ve got. I can’t explain properly, I’m too overwhelmed.

I don’t even really know the point of this post. Other than I guess to say, I am not okay.

But I will be. Just takes time.

Now, to sleep.

I’m going to Saturn, I’m just over it.

So. I’m in the Nut House again. I’m going to bed now but I just read, a couple actually, comments on my social media that just make me want to tear my hair out and jump in that imaginary space ship and move to Saturn.

Sometimes I look at people and go: ‘wow. There really are some amazing people in this world. Such beautiful people’.

And THEN! BAM! WHACK! SMACK! [insert other onomatopoeia]!

People do what people do best: let the whole species down.

And I just want to hit my head against the wall repeatedly, because maybe that will help me understand some people.

But, I’m going with Kesha on this:

‘Don’t let the bastards get you down,
Don’t let the assholes wear you out,
Don’t let the mean girls take your crown,
Don’t let the scumbags screw you ’round,
Don’t let the bastards take you down!’

So yeah.

Btw: Kesha released her new album ‘Rainbow’ and it’s currently on Spotify. I’m in love with it tbh. It’s really been helping me while in hospital. I know she may not have been everyone’s cup of tea in the past, but give her new album a rotation and then make a decision.

Excuse me while I try and get this headache under control and I will be back.

X

On the Other Side of Gally

Friday 11th: After waking up from the surgery
Saturday 12th: Home after the event
Wednesday 16th: A few days into the week after the Eviction of Gally!

So it’s been quite the adventure! Last Friday 11th August it was Gally’s Eviction Day! I went to the public hospital reeeeeeeeeally early in the morning (6am Admission) and I was apparently a “priority case” and was the first person called up when the admin desk opened. I was ushered up to the 4th Floor and waited about 30secs (lol) and was whisked through the doors and into the changing rooms.

I got to put on that really attractive purple gown that opened at the back, and a super sexy pair of hospital underwear, then went through a huge amount of forms and got those great hospital stockings. I was the first one taken through the unit to the waiting beds where I was given a bright red hat (red for allergies. I’m allergic to Propofol, the most often used general anesthetic).

My bed was wheeled through countless doors, and because I was so anxious I was rabbiting on, just random stuff. And man, those hospital ceilings are so ugly.

Into the teeny pre-op room, where I had a Parisian and a New Zealand anesthetist team. They stuck an IV in my elbow, asked for something to help me CALM THE FUCK DOWN, surgeon came in, gave us the green light and I was wheeled into the operating room.

I was thinking “Um the sedative isn’t working!” but then realised they hadn’t given it to me yet. Boy, did I know when they did! And the rest I don’t really remember.

Woke up later, in the recovery room, in horrible horrible pain. I found out later on, that they gave me ketamine during the surgery. Apparently everything went well. I have four incisions on my abdomen, the biggest is below my belly button and that’s where they pulled Ol’ Gally out and apparently he put up a fight! He was larger than they expected and so was a bit more difficult to get out and there is some (a fair bit) of bruising below the incision.

They managed to get my pain levels to a lower level, more tolerable level. And I was sent to the 23hr Unit where I spent the night.

Pain was pretty consistent and I was on Oxycodone. My blood pressure dropped overnight, which I have low blood pressure normally but the hospital didn’t understand that so stuck me on IV fluids overnight. And after a horrible breakfast, the surgeon came around and spoke to me.

Now I don’t mean to speak ill of our public health system and the fine people who work there, BUT the surgeon I spoke to before leaving the hospital …. well she could have been nicer. She didn’t listen to my concerns and was very testy when I said that paracetomol doesn’t do anything for my pain – I have Fibromyalgia, pain is a part of my daily life – so she said she was only going to give me a script for 3 tablets of oxycodone. As in, 3 tablets.

Off topic one sec: EVERYTIME I go to the public system for pain, pain of any kind, they give me the skeptical look when I say that paracetomol does nothing. I get treated like a drug seeker, and it’s not an uncommon problem for people with chronic pain – being treated like drug seekers. Yeah, cause I went and had surgery just to get some oxy. YEAH SURE.

So I went home, and I felt like shit and now I’m tired and I am getting sleepy after taking my pain meds so I may have to make this a 2 part series and come back to it later.

Could I Start a Go Fund Me?

Today I looked at my budget and realised I won’t be able to afford the forearm tattoo cover up that I had planned on getting, to celebrate my freedom from self harm (today I am 480 days free!), and to reclaim my body.

And I got really disappointed. This was something I had been working towards, and looking forward to, excited about! And now it wasn’t going to happen.

The reason it won’t be happening is unexpected bills and expenses.

I did consider, and obviously the title and subject of this post, starting a fund raising campaign for the tattoo cost.

And I have contacted the GoFundMe people, and they said absolutely my ’cause’ could be supported.

But. I’ve never been a person who likes taking money from other people. I currently owe a few people money, personal loans from close people who voluntarily loaned me the money, and I feel like if I were to start a fundraising campaign it would be a kind of, slap in the face?, to those people that I owe money to.

The whole thing is confusing and upsetting.

Ps.

Happy birthday to you. I never forget your birthday. Happy 30th birthday. I’m sad I couldn’t share in it with you.

Not even semi functioning

I’m stuck. I can’t leave the house. The pets are driving me crazy. I don’t create anything. I don’t have any art being made. I can’t function. I can’t function at all. My brain is messy. The last few weeks are all a blur. I keep thinking it’s still the 11th July. I can’t focus. My relationships are disintegrating and falling apart. Everything is a blur. And I can’t stop moving. I can’t stay still. I have to keep busy. I’ve got the washing machine going, the dryer going, the Netflix on, I’m not creating anything or making any art, I’m just pulling apart magazines and being driven crazy by my head.

How do people sleep who don’t have insomnia? And how do people sleep, at all? If I don’t have my meds, the only way to get to sleep is being really really drunk. And that’s not helpful.

How do people live normal-ish lives? How do people wake up everyday and go ‘hey it’s okay that I’m alive’? How do people wake up and not hate that they have woken up? How?