borderline personality disorder, psych wards, & friendship

content note: suicide, self-injury, overdose, psych wards, ableism, transphobia, the usual

I’m writing a zine about suicide, borderline personality disorder, & friendship, but I’m struggling because, gosh, I’ve been writing about these things for such a long time & it feels almost impossible to offer any new insights or hope. I’m also trying write about the ableism & transphobia I experienced on the inpatient psych ward at CAMH (Centre for Addiction & Mental Health in Toronto, Ontario) in May, but I am so sick of writing about gender & ableism & madphobia! I’m so sick of feeling trapped with it all.

Anyway. I’m sharing an excerpt below. Maybe you’ll relate, maybe it’ll explain some of my weirdnesses, I don’t know.

“Lately, I’ve been examining the possibility that it’s my borderline tendencies destroying my friendships, making me feel disconnected, harmed, and scorned. The DSM-5 notes: ‘conflicted close relationships marked by mistrust, neediness, and anxious preoccupation with real or imagined abandonment; extremes of idealization and devaluation and alternating between over involvement and withdrawal.’

Each time I reread those words, I feel like Arthur in Velvet Goldmine jumping up and down, pointing at the TV, shouting, “That’s me! That’s me!”

While I still believe that many of the hurts and traumas I’ve experienced through friendships and communities over the years are very real and very painful, and have had serious negative consequences on my life and my psyche today, I also know that some of what’s going on is my crazy brain and its inability to understand humans, friends, as complicated, complex, contradictory, and magical beings – despite so often declaring myself as such.

This kind of simplistic, all-or-nothing black-and-white good-or bad (binaries!) thinking is a destructive force in my daily life, and it limits how close I can get with my friends, new or old; it limits my possibilities of loving and feeling loved, caring and feeling cared for, and of simply feeling good in each moment.”

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A page from I Hate You Don’t Leave Me: Understanding the Borderline Personality by Jerold J. Kreisman MD and Hal Straus

“The system is shit,” the last doctor I spoke to at CAMH told me. I’m glad I kept a diary; reading my messy handwriting, I’m reminded of how much I’ve forgotten so quickly, the daily minutiae of psych ward life, the tiny bits of magic I tried to find nonetheless.

I’ve been admitted to hospitals four times in the last month and a half (twice I went to the ER & was sent home, once I was brought unconscious by ambulance to the ER, and then I was transferred to the psych ward for about a week). In April, I went to the CAMH ER. When the intake nurse started filling out my forms without asking me questions, I interrupted to tell her not to check the ‘female’ box, but to scribble in ‘non-binary, “they” pronouns’ blah blah boring shit I’m sick of talking about.

She cheerfully said, “Non-binary! I’ve never heard that term before! What does it mean?”

“It means I’m not a girl and not a boy,” I mumbled. “With so many gender options on your forms, working in this kind of environment, this term really shouldn’t be new to you.”

“Hey, I’m here to learn, too!”

I took a deep breath.

“I know. But you’re the one getting paid for this, and I’m the one in a suicidal crisis. Your education is coming at the expense of my mental health and your lack of knowledge directly harms queers and trans* folks coming to the ER. I don’t have it in me to teach you right now.”

When I came back to the ER a month later, I pretended to be a girl because I didn’t want a repeat performance of the nurse who thought I’d be an excellent learning experience – but “Non-Binary” was already on my file now, and they confronted me when they brought me into a private room, so I explained myself, but it seemed pointless.

The psychiatrist at CAMH told me she might be able to send me down to the women’s unit, and refer me to women’s only group therapy sessions. I told her that I’m not a woman and wouldn’t be comfortable there; I reminded her that I’d already tried to explain that pretending to be a gender I am not is partly what’s killing me. But she told me the women’s unit would be the best place for me (thankfully, she didn’t actually send me there after all). She told me, “As long as you make it clear to everyone there that you’re female-assigned-at-birth and don’t have a penis, your presence shouldn’t trigger anybody.” I was too exhausted to tell her that it’s this kind of gender essentialism that makes me wanna die, this hopelessness of the mental health care system that makes me wanna die, that she was exhibiting such Transphobia 101 that I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry (I did neither, I was numb), and that being in such a space would in fact be triggering for me and damaging to my psyche and my recovery.

Within two hours, I’d changed my mind from wanting to find a safe place to sleep, to wanting to give up entirely. I wrote my suicide note while the psychiatrist filled out my discharge forms. I walked home and overdosed about an hour later. I was brought by ambulance to another emergency room, fell into a coma for twenty hours, and don’t remember much. Later, I found myself on the inpatient psych ward. I actually didn’t know I’d been in a coma until a few days later, because none of the doctors or nurses told me what had happened, and my memory had been erased.

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When a nurse came to my room to bring me a bag with a change of clothes and my cane that my sweetheart had dropped off, she tried to confiscate my cane. Apparently, my sweetheart had tried to warn me via text that the nurse looked iffy about my cane, and to prepare for trouble, but my phone was locked up in the nurse’s station so I didn’t get the message.

She told me I couldn’t use my cane because I might use it as a weapon. I tried to remain calm and explain to her why I need to use my cane, and how confused I was that a hospital of all places would confiscate mobility aids, but she wasn’t listening, and I began yelling. Two more nurses came to my room to back her up. They stood too close to me, and I did begin to feel violent. My cane was folded when they gave it to me, and I unfolded it and used it immediately.

I remember them telling me to calm down and stop telling, that I was annoying the other patients who had just gone to bed. This made me feel the need to yell louder. “I DON’T CARE IF I’M KEEPING EVERYBODY AWAKE! I WANT THEM TO KNOW THAT THIS IS HAPPENING! IF SOMETHING SIMILAR HAPPENS TO THEM I WANT THEM TO KNOW THAT THEY AREN’T ALONE.” Eventually, my screaming became indecipherable; I mostly wasn’t screaming words anymore, just hopeless noise. I told the nurses that if I wanted to hurt them, I’d use my hands, not my cane. I became belligerent, noisy, triggered. The nurses left me alone to scream at the walls and the floor. They let me keep my cane. I thrashed my cane all over the room, breaking nothing, of course, just scuffing up the cheap black metal of it, watching it crumple and bloom again each time it hit my desk, my chair, my bed, the walls, the floor. I curled up in a ball on the floor and screamed until I slept.

Nobody mentioned it the next day, but whenever the nurse who tried to confiscate my cane was back on the ward, she’d refuse to make eye contact with me. I took names to file a report. I found out later that the staff are supposed to offer a walker to anyone who needs a mobility aid, because sometimes people do indeed use their canes as weapons (it sure is tempting!), but since I didn’t have my cane with me when I was admitted (because I was unconscious when I was admitted), they thought I was lying about my disability and didn’t really need it.

I spoke to yet another doctor the day I left and asked her how to get ahold of my file. “Of course!” she said. “You’re perpetually curious!”

Borderliningly Yours,
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P.S.: I have a new zine! Telegram #34 is about trauma. It’s not just about PTSD, but also about finding ways to exist in public with these messes and these stories, harm caused by one’s own communities, chronic pain, loss, getting sober and staying sober for three years, madphobia, in/accessibilities, and the im/possibilities of recovery and healing. Magic and Tarot, too, because they keep me going. It’s not gonna be the most fun read. You’ll probably feel uncomfortable. But maybe you’ll know what I’m talking about and maybe we can get through this together-ish.

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Ask Maranda: How can I have meaningful conversations?

Ask Maranda is an advice column focusing on mental health & creativity for self-identified weirdos, queerdos, fuck-ups and artists.

Becca Manner, age 26, asks: I have depression, anxiety and OCD. I recently dumped my boyfriend and for the same reason I’ve dumped a couple past boyfriends. These people don’t seem able to keep up with me intellectually. I don’t feel like this should be difficult. I’m smart, I’ve read a lot, but the only formal education I have is a GED and a yoga teacher training certificate. When a romantic partner can’t keep up with me intellectually I end up having to explain what I feel are very basic things. Then my anxiety skyrockets and my OCD goes into overdrive which causes me to be even more critical of their concepts, grammar, etc. I feel like I’m being overly picky, analytical, harsh or superior and I am often told that I am. I don’t want to be these things and I know there are other people out there with brains, but I’m constantly being made to feel that my expectations are too high, that if my partner is good to me, who cares if they’re not smart? But I do care. How can I have a meaningful conversation with someone if they don’t know anything of meaning and/or don’t understand what I’m talking about? So my question is: Am I completely off the mark here? If I’m not, how do I protect and nurture my desire for intelligent people in my life?

Dear Becca,

First things first, I’d like to talk about cultivating a healthy acceptance of alone-time, and a deep understanding that being alone need not mean feeling lonely. As someone with myriad mental illnesses, I often feel unable to connect with other humans. Even while having conversations that go beyond small talk, I still feel potentially misunderstood, especially if me and the person I’m talking with have different experiences or different grasps on language.

Sometimes I feel like my expectations are too high, too. I often find solace within books, creative projects, and friendships, rather than romantic relationships. It’s important to be comfortable being alone, and to always be learning more about yourself, so you can be confident in drawing the kinds of folks you want to be with closer to you. And, in getting to know yourself more, you might also become less critical of other people’s perceived levels of intelligence. It’s possible that the people you’ve been involved in relationships have their own fears and habits and social conditionings holding them back from deeper conversations, and they may feel just as frustrated as you.

While there’ve been times when I’ve felt “too smart” for someone, there’ve also been times when I’ve felt “too dumb” for someone, so I feel like I can speak from both sides. I dropped out of high school in when I was fourteen, and got (and am still getting!) my education through zines, books, pen pals, mental hospitals, recovery groups, and the Tarot.

It’s possible that the people you’ve been with who “can’t keep up intellectually” simply have different methods of understanding and communicating. For example, when I want to have a serious conversation with my partner, I often feel unable to say what I need to say face-to-face, so I write an email instead – and it’s not necessarily that what I want to say is complicated, or scary, or anything, it just feels easier for me when it’s written. When you’re communicating with a romantic partner, what things do you like to talk about? What do you mean by “having to explain basic things”? Are you referring to emotions, literature, spirituality, politics…? Have you told romantic partners about these feelings? If so, how have they responded?

When you meet new people, be upfront about skipping small talk! You’ll likely find that they feel it’s just as tedious as you do, and from there, you can move on to more meaningful conversations. Also, think about the kinds of questions you’re asking during conversations with new friends or potential partners; ask open-ended questions (“What did you think of that book?”) instead of yes-and-no questions (“Did you like that book?”), and be patient and open with their answers. Also, try writing a list of qualities you’d like to find in a potential partner (and a list of reasons you want to be in a relationship anyway)! Keep it with you, or keep it somewhere in your home where you’ll see it often and reflect.

Spend time in libraries, go to zine and lit readings, poetry slams, and workshops. Keep a diary. Go to free lectures and speaking events on all kinds of subjects. Write a ridiculously honest OkCupid profile!

Advicingly Yours,
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just another genderqueer femme with a cane

I got a cane today! I’m pretty excited about it because it’s already making walking a whole lot easier for me. My chronic pain condition has been progressing, and I knew this was inevitable, but I kept putting off buying a cane for all kinds of reasons. Despite having days where I literally cannot walk, I still thought maybe it’d fade and I’d go back to regular old wrist pain, instead of this spine-neck-hips-knees-tailbone mess, thought I’d just keep taking my painkillers and blot it out. But last night, coming home from the Heels on Wheels Glitter Roadshow Toronto tour stop, I had to use my umbrella as a cane, and I’m not sure how I would’ve gotten home without it. It was extremely difficult to walk from the nearest bus stop to my front door, and I kinda wished I had a friend with a wagon to pull me home. As I walked along the edge of Trinity Bellwoods, a racoon walked alongside me, and another racoon greeted me at my door. They’re good luck for broke fuck-ups, right? (They are to me.)

I’ve been hiding my limps from my friends, and nobody but my sweetheart has seen my crooked hobble-crawl I use at home, or all the dirty dishes stacked up in my sink because I can’t stand pain-free, or at least pain-lower, long enough to do the dishes. One of the reasons I don’t go to shows anymore is because I can’t stand or dance, and seats are often not provided. Chronic pain affects every moment of my life, every decision, every mood. Sometimes my legs give out beneath me. Sometimes I can’t afford transit and I can’t walk so I stay home. As I write this, my spine has tingling needles & pins, and a soreness beats through the right side of my tailbone, hip, knee, and shin.

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I also worried (and still worry) about how folks on the street’ll treat me, or at events, or whatever. I’ve identified as disabled for a few years, and I’ve written extensively about my mental illnesses and chronic pain. And I still feel like I’m annoying buzzkill when I make accessibility requests. In fact, I’ve tabled at zinefests where I made an accessibility request due to my chronic pain condition, and arrived just to find that my requests hadn’t been fulfilled after all. I don’t go to those zinefests anymore.

Now that I use a cane, and sometimes use knee braces and wrist braces as well, I’ll be among the visibly disabled, and that’ll be a new experience for me. I’ve often felt like conversations about invisible illnesses have shuffled conversations about visible disabilities under the rug. Sometimes it feels like one group is given “visibility” over another. I want both of these conversations to continue, and I’m grateful to be a part of them. (Grateful for pain and illnesses? Yep!) It took me a long time to decide to identify as disabled, but now I do.

As my condition worsens, I’m becoming aware that some of the spaces that are physically accessible to me today aren’t going to be in the future. I’ve been mentally preparing for this, but haven’t talked to anybody about it much because I thought somehow I could sneak away from that part. But I can’t. It’s already happening.

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I want my cane to be my magical wand that grants me the ability to walk when I want to. I hope it’ll feel good by my side. My cane is foldable, so I can carry it in my backpack, and of course I’ve already got Hello Kitty and Lisa Frank stickers on it. I created a ritual to welcome my cane into my life, and to welcome myself into this part of my life.

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Caningly Yours,
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new zines & a Toronto reading!

Hello, friends! We’ve survived another Winter! I’ve been taking a break from blogging, but not from writing. I have a bunch of new zines to share with you!

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Telegram #32 contains notes from the Winter Survival Tour I went on with my pals in the Toronto Queer Zine Fair Collective, as well as a letter to my teenage self, finding good signs & magic, (mostly) living artists & activists & artivists who inspire me, vulnerability, Tarot, moving into yet another new home, queer languages, the reasons I write the word “trans/*” with a slash & an asterisk, more genderqueer & femme feelings, shyness, used bookstores, and the tale of a punk vest. There are some illustrations this time, too!

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Telegram #32 documents some of the bureaucratic bullshit I’ve been going through with the mental health care industry lately, tales from short-term therapy, waitlist stories, gender gender gender, seeking mental health treatment as a non-binary genderqueerdo trans/* femme who needs support but doesn’t wanna get cured and act sane, borderline personality disorder stuff, mad pride & seeking a crazy community, pronouns, conflicting feelings of gratitude & hopelessness, ideas on how to make (radical) spaces accessible physically, financially, & emotionally, unlearning language that is ablelist &/or anti-crazy &/or madphobic, things I’ve tried to stay alive, & of course, magic. Crazy people forever, sane people never!

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Edith is my fiction zine, & this is issue #3! I often use fiction to work through feelings of anxiety, trauma, and disconnectedness. Fictional characters appear wherever I go, and I write frantically to capture them before they run away. Each piece in this issue is a work-in-progress, a brief glimpse of larger stories. Most of my characters are trans/* because so am I. This issue contains six stories. I hope you won’t mistakenly conflate the author with the character. Stories happen at punk shows, bachelor apartments, basement court cells, juvenile detention centres, drugstores, abandoned buildings, rivers, small towns, cities, the principal’s office…

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How to Support the Writer/Artist in Your Life is a zine about art, money, feelings, identity, daydreams, visions, creativity, & survival. Like everything I write, it is incomplete, subject to change, and potentially controversial. Are you an artist? Are you curious about artists? Read, share, write your own… I wrote this zine because I wonder what it would be like if we were all able to support and value and care for artists & writers in many many ways while we’re/they’re alive instead of just spending $$$ on them/us & displaying them/us in galleries & museums when they/we are Dead.

All of my zines are available at schoolformaps.etsy.com.

If yr in Toronto, please come out to this reading I’m doing with byron and Richard Laviolette! byron is a folk punk musician living in Guelph, ON, and writes songs that question power, class, and gender. In 2013 he released “burn pile” with songs critical of Line 9 and other personal songs about saying just what you need. Richard is a folk musician living in Guelph, ON. He makes quilts and plays crokinole. He writes about dirt, death, and denial. In 2013 he released “Over the Roar of the Engine” with his rock band, the Glitter Bombs. The album covered topics of depression, queerness, and treaty responsibilities.

Ziningly Yours,
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Things I’ve Tried to Stay Alive

content warning: self-injury, suicide, overdoses, sexual assault

I’ve made myself extremely vulnerable over the years with the details & stories I’ve shared in my zines & on my blog. I feel like I’ve over-shared to an immense degree, but it felt crucial at the time; it’s kept me alive thus far, and it’s inspired friends & strangers to share their own stories, to practice vulnerability and embrace their own weirdnesses, and perhaps it’s inspired conversations, changes, actions, etc. But lately, it feels so dangerous. I’m not sure if all this over-sharing is helpful for me anymore, or harmful. All the encouragement & kind words from strangers have been amazing, but I’ve also been dealing with a lot of stuff that feels like it’s destroying my psyche.

When I started my blog, it was meant simply to encourage us to be weird, to share; it was just a simple act of encouragement. One of my favourite things to do is encourage others. That’s what I wanted. When I started this blog, I was living in a different city, I had different ideas & experiences than I have now, and fuck, I was living as a different gender. This blog actually brings me a lot of negativity, though; the comments are moderated because people write mean shit in them, and I don’t want them to be public, I don’t want them to harm anyone else. But they hurt me. I remember each and every one of them. I remember the people who told me I’m not allowed to be a feminist, the people who told me that I have contributed absolutely nothing tangible or intangible to the world, and folks who have told me that it’s not okay to ask for the help & support that I need; I know those words are untrue, but they stay with me.

I’ve been chronically depressed and chronically suicidal since I was 8. I started self-injuring when I was in Grade Four, and it hasn’t stopped. Writing about all of this publicly has been necessary, but it also means I’ve opened myself up to the opinions of folks with such a dangerous lack of compassion, such a lack of positivity, that I don’t want to do it anymore. I don’t know what my future writing is gonna look like, or how I’m gonna share it. I’ll find a way; writing is the only thing keeping me alive. I’m about to share a whole bunch of personal shit below, and then I’m gonna stop. I’m sharing it because I feel like I need to, and I’m sharing it in the hopes that maybe some of the more kinder, delicate, crazy people who’re reading my blog might have more ideas. I don’t want to to kill myself; I want such intense changes in my life that I do not know how to begin. But I can’t avoid it anymore.

Thanks for reading.

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My diary, with pressed flowers, August 2013

Things I’ve Tried to Stay Alive

- 15 different psych meds (ages 11-28, excluding ages 14-18) (including single-meds and multiple cocktail-meds)
- longer-term (2 months) & short-term (1-3 weeks) inpatient hospitalizations
- no meds, several times (cold turkey)
- alcohol (currently approx. 1,000 days sober)
- various therapies (CBT, DBT, group, individual, short-term, longer-term)
- psychiatry
- seeing a neurologist (who ended up sexually assaulting me)
- massage, reiki, physical/naturopathy treatments
- self-help books
- art & creativity books
- mental health workbooks
- on & off various birth controls (Alesse pills & Depo-Provera shots)
- on & off pain meds (Tylenol 3)
- anxiety meds as needed (Xanax)
- sleeping meds as needed (Zopiclone, Trazodone)
- multiple overdoses (Trazodone, Lithium, Seroquel)
- pot
- tea
- coffee
- walking, spending time outdoors
- learning about plants & herbs
- various vitamins & supplements (B12, D, valerian, Devil’s Claw)
- Rescue Remedy
- writing: zines, diaries, letters, fiction, blogs
- self-injury (cutting, mostly my arms & legs, sometimes my stomach, once my face)
- changes in appearance (shaved head, unshaved body, tattoos, femme, tomboy, goth, etc…)
- multiple emergency rooms
- crisis lines, crisis counselling
- weird, possibly traumatic therapies in my childhood
- too much time online & also quitting the internet (deleting accounts, discontinuing internet access, etc.)
- mindfulness
- meditation
- writing workshops
- radical / disability / self-care / etc. workshops
- stretching & exercising
- bike-riding
- painting
- starting mental illness discussion groups
- practicing vulnerability
- femme as self-care & magic
- changing my gender
- traveling, touring, reading my zines out loud, tabling at zinefests
- speaking on panels
- (self-)publishing two books
- making crafts (knitting, sewing, screenprinting, making bike streamers…)
- crafternoons
- fucking everybody & fucking nobody (being a slut & being celibate)
- being vegetarian, then being vegan, now eating everything ever
- living alone, living with roommates, living with partners
- moving a lot (31 places in 28 years, including detention centres, group homes, & psych wards)
- living with 2 cats, and living with no cats
- witchcraft, reading Tarot cards, prayer, etc.
- volunteering, working, being on disability
- organizing
- online dating
- Y membership (yoga, water aerobics)
- mad pride
- Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous

Things I Haven’t Tried (Yet)

- murder
- acupuncture
- traveling further away, traveling within Canada
- long-term therapy (preferably queer-friendly, trans/*-competent)
- staying in one Home for an extended period

Things I’m Currently Trying

At the moment, I’m in short-term therapy at Planned Parenthood. I’ve been given five free sessions. I have three sessions left. It is scary on so many levels. Mostly it hasn’t been helpful at all, but it has been radically better than every other mental health care treatment I’ve had access to thus far. I’m hoping they’ll be able to put me on a waitlist for long-term therapy. I’m taking a bunch of meds, a bunch of vitamins, I’m creating a new daily life in my new home, I’m attempting some really difficult changes. I feel so fucking desperate, angry, sad, hopeful, violent, scared. I feel completely unable to take care of myself, but I’m trying anyway. I want to be quiet, I want to take up less space in certain circles, I want to be by myself, I want…

Know Hope,
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Introvert Studio, know home

(content warning: self-injury, suicidal ideation, all the stuff i write about always)

Hello, hello, I went on tour and then I came back to Toronto and I had a mental health suicidal-feelings crisis, narrowly escaped the psych ward, and moved into a bachelorex (my genderqueer word for bachelor/ette) apartment that I’ve named Introvert Studio and now I am mostly being slow, quiet, self-reflective, casting spells & setting new-year-new-home intentions, and recovering from burnout and an almost nervous breakdown. I’d like to catch up for a bit, and then go back and hide in my little cozy corner again.

I’ve been telling folks that I write about “the illusion of community.” I have a hard time trusting that community can be real. I still wanna keep on trying to create my own little weirdo artist introvert community, but I’ve had a really hard time, especially over the last few months, with just feeling really exhausted with organizing, and punx, and feminists, and everybody, and I’ve been trying to figure out what/ where/ who my community is, trying to create a personal definition of what “community” is to me. There are a few communities in which I can participate but don’t actually feel like I belong: queer community, zine community, etc… But I don’t know if I want to, or to what extent I want to.

When I went back to my hometown after tour, the contrast hit me really hard and I broke down. In my doctor’s office, I burst into tears, told him that doctors & landlords have too much control in my life, I want to kill myself, blah blah. In my diary, I wrote, If I hate doctors and landlords and cops so much, but I also hate punks and anarchists and feminists, so much, what’s left? I started writing a list (of course) of which “communities” I could be a part of, & what made me not want to. On tour, I whined about all the mean shit riot grrrls have said to/about me, and felt better when folks came up to me after the reading to be, like, Yeah, I used to think they were cool, but now they just seem gross, and so on. I talked about nostalgia as violence. I talked about the feminists who called me misogynist and “denying-my-womanhood” and told me I wasn’t allowed to be a feminist anymore, and how I’m still bitter and angry about it, and how I lost A LOT of friends when I came out as genderqueer, and how tiring & disappointing it is. I didn’t know if I wanted to keep writing or quit everything.

I asked myself if I could consider myself part of a “Writer/Literary” community, but decided, no, because lotsa those folks lack the class analyses & gender analyses that I need in my daily life, and lotsa capital W-Writers have a big hate-on for self-publishing. I decided that Punk / Anarchist / Organizing / Activist communities are sooo extremely unwelcoming & inaccessible to folks with mental illnesses, and have been thinking a lot about how they are structured to prevent folks with mental illnesses from being able to participate.

I got really symptomatic over the last few months and felt unable to talk about it or do anything about it. I wanted to die. I felt like there was a ton of visibility for zines about “self-care” and “vulnerability” and “mental health,” & that’s nice, but when I am actually experiencing the symptoms of my mental illnesses (paranoia, especially, but other things, too, like all the destructive & self-destructive things), it wasn’t cool to talk about it, and when I actually tried to take care of myself and set boundaries, nobody actually wanted to give me time to take care of myself or respect my boundaries at all, and it was so very overwhelming. Every time I got a message on Etsy that a zine was taking longer time than expected to arrive via snail mail, I wanted to set all my zines on fire and just quit it all forever.

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Fun-A-Day 2014. The Daily Doily. Ten of Keys via The Collective Tarot.

Being on tour mostly made me feel really good, and I was very very very lucky to be with these new friends of mine who I really like and feel comfortable talking to and like I don’t have to hide so many parts of myself from. But coming home was so hard, I got so burned out. I forgot about post-tour depression. One day, I hid myself in the bathroom with a razorblade and cut up my arm 213 times. When the cuts started to heal, I went back to the bathroom and cut myself 119 times. It never feels like enough. I keep staining my favourite clothes with self-injury blood. And it feels like it’s not okay to tell that to anybody when all the “mental health zines” I’m finding seem to just be about, like, growing herbs and things-in-jars in your kitchen, and Mindfulness, and stuff that doesn’t help me anymore.

I got out all my books about Borderline Personality Disorder and Recovering From Self-Injury, and all that stuff just seemed like such impossible bullshit, and they felt like they were written to shame me; they had lists of reasons not to cut yourself that contained things like, “You might make people around you feel bad,” and “You’ll have to wear long sleeves on the beach.” I want you to know that I don’t care if I make people around me feel bad anymore, and I feel safer when I’m with people who have visible scars. I wish my friends didn’t have to wear long sleeves everyday to avoid dealing with the daily bullshit we get when we have visible scars.

Things I’m Exhausted With: exhaustion, bullshit white cis feminism, folks who don’t understand that my mental illnesses & chronic pain are real disabilities that make me incapable of doing a lot of things that they (you) do, organizing, capitalism, anarchism, white cis people who think art should be free or trade-only, folks on Etsy who think I can go to the post office every damned day, passive-aggressive criticism that seeks harming individuals over valid criticism that seeks to create positive changes, acting nice when I don’t want to, folks who don’t respect my boundaries when I make them very clear, call-out culture, unheated apartments…

Things I’m Excited About: my new home, meaningful friendships & one-on-one friend dates, alone-time, writing, JazzFM all day everyday, artists who are alive & making things, continuing to make zines but in different ways &/or forms, my lavender pea-coat, nail polish in every shade of purple, art art art, tea, context, fun-a-day, silence, solitude, friends who know that not all silences are awkward, creating a forever-home, cozy punx, winter survival…

I’m recovering now, again, and finding ways to deal with the messes I just wrote about. I’m changing my priorities. I’m really happy to be in my new home, and grateful for the queer community connections that made it possible for me to find a really dreamy place that I can actually afford. I want to get a lot of this negative stuff out, to write out my frustrations with various subcultures & communities and all their double standards and un/spoken rules and inaccessibility, etc. I do feel more hopeful today than I’ve felt for a while. I’m working on various projects, but doing so in a way that I’m not exhausting myself like I did throughout 2012 & 2013. I want this year to be different. My Etsy shop, schoolformaps.etsy.com, is open again, and I did this rad interview you might wanna read. I told my pals that my plans for 2014 are to make no plans. I want: silence, solitude, care, & art.

My goal is to be still long enough to let my nail polish dry.

Introvertedly Yours,
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Winter Survival Tour Begins Today!

I’m leaving in an hour, packing up my last-minute things, hoping not to forget anything. Listening to JazzFM, leaving mud puddles all over my apartment because I’ve been too antsy to take off my boots. Guess what I did this afternoon? Signed a lease on a bachelorex (bachelorex = genderqueer bachelor/ette apartment)! In the New Year, I’ll be living alone on Queen Street West at Trinity Bellwoods! Dreamy! Until then, I’m on the road.

Dates!

Monday December 16th – KITCHENER/WATERLOO

https://www.facebook.com/events/560246164050068/

Tuesday December 17th – HAMILTON

https://www.facebook.com/events/615636531816971

Wednesday December 18th – ST. CATHARINES

https://www.facebook.com/events/1417608768474219/

Thursday December 19th – OTTAWA

https://www.facebook.com/events/468212779964189

Friday December 20th – KINGSTON

https://www.facebook.com/events/584720294916960

Saturday December 21st – MONTREAL

https://www.facebook.com/events/538483069559555/

marandaelizabethamberdearesttwins
Me & my twin, 1990-ish. I’m in black, she’s in green.

marandaelizabethdesk
This is where I write! Map of Toronto, map of Seattle, postcards, candles, etc.

marandaelizabethwhattobringontour

What to Bring on Tour
- books & zines
- TQZF donation jar
- tablecloth
- change
- zine descriptions
- snacks, fruits, instant coffee
- water bottle
- coffee thermos
- pajamas
- diary
- books to read
(Anais Nin, Henry Miller, Vincent Van Gogh, zines)
- gluestick
- snail mail supplies
- Tarot cards
- tiny pharmacy, all meds & vitamins
- magic things
- phone, laptop, both chargers
- clothes & underwear & socks
- pens & pencilcase
- toiletries
- 2014 planner

I’m gonna tweet from the road! Follow me @MarandaTelegram.

Come hang out & talk about winter survival with me!

Roadfully Yours,
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