Life and Junk

027. Patrick Bateman

TW: Lots of dark humor, an American Psycho clip (featuring man butt), some swears and the term “man butt”

I’ve been thinking about American Psycho a lot lately. It may be my mind’s way of reminding me to re-watch it to see if it still holds up. While I have the entire movie memorized from constant viewings in my early-twenties, one scene keeps nagging at me. The opening.

If you’ve spent time on the internet, I’m sure you’ve probably seen it–either in a clip pulled from YouTube or in gif form– it’s Patrick Bateman’s morning routine. Christian Bale in tighty-whities doing stretches showing off all of the effort Patrick puts into maintaining appearances.  It’s narrated in great detail. Patrick telling us about his skincare routine and the products he uses to appear human, even though according to him, he’s not.

For some reason this scene has popped up in my mind a lot lately. Not because of the man butt that appears here and there as he gets ready for the day to go on about his life as a generic Wall Street dude, but because of his process of becoming human. I am not a monster. I have no desire to harm others or feed a stray cat to a hungry ATM. But I identify with Patrick Bateman’s long process to become human (this is a statement I never thought I’d say).

I suffer from migraines. I’ve talked about them on this blog before. I’ve had them since I was 13 (thanks puberty!) and have been dealing with them ever since. Things were really bad when I was first diagnosed with them–a lot of doctor’s visits and missed school days– but things tapered off into my teens and early-to-mid twenties. I’d get one whenever I’d accidentally stumble across a trigger and I knew how to deal with them (tons of water, pain meds and sleep).  

But something changed in my late twenties. After seeing a new neurologist in hopes of finding a different medication that didn’t make me drowsy so I could function at work, things spiraled out of control. The frequency and intensity of my migraines escalated and were accompanied with new symptoms like light sensitivity, sensitivity to different smells and vomiting.

At one point, I had some form of headache for nine months straight. Nine months of seemingly endless, unrelenting pain. I went to various doctors in hopes of trying to find something that would help. I was prescribed medications used to treat epilepsy*. As a result of the anticonvulsants, I developed a shiny new symptom! I have difficulty expressing myself verbally. Either I slur or stutter or have difficulty getting out my thoughts. As someone who loves to talk, it’s embarrassing. I have been dealing with this for nearly four years and bruh, I’m tired.

This brings me back to Patrick Bateman. Much like him, I put a lot of effort into appearing human. An enormous amount of effort is put into pretending I’m the thirty, flirty, and thriving woman I’m supposed to be instead of the thirty, flirty and (possibly) dying woman that I am. I take great care of my skin, my makeup is on point and I dress like the world’s oldest (and cutest) teenager. All of this is done to mask the physical pain I wake up with often. With migraines, you can never tell what kind of day you’re going to have. You can spend an entire day avoiding known triggers only to have a secret one spring up and have you spending the next two days in bed in a dark room. [INSERT APPLICABLE FORREST GUMP QUOTE HERE].

For a while things were getting better, I only had to deal with the speech issues but lately, my migraines are back and they’ve come to fuck shit up. They’re interfering with work to a point where I was asked if I had considered a “desk job” that  would lack the physical demands of the retail. This person meant no harm and asked the question out of genuine concern but I couldn’t help but to laugh sadly to myself at the irony. Once upon a time, I had a “desk job.” A desk job with benefits that could’ve become a career.

My migraines took it from me.

Why would a company keep an unhealthy person when you could just hire a healthy replacement? This recent exchange at my current job has me asking this question again. While I hope my health doesn’t cost me yet another position I enjoy doing, I know it may be a reality. I’ve been looking into work-from-home jobs just in case I begin to start having more bad days than good (which is honestly terrifying) only to realize, many may require customer service-esque tasks that I wouldn’t be able to complete if I’m having trouble speaking. I’m at a loss for what to do next but I know one thing that’s been a constant through all of this: writing.

I wrote the first draft of the Dia of the Dead sequel while practically bedridden back in summer 2014. I’m currently revising with hopes of publishing it in August or September. I’m also working on other projects that I hope turn out to be something good. If I can pretend to be a pain-free human, then I for-damn-sure can pretend to be a pain-free writer.

*Anticonvulsants can be used to treat migraines. It’s not uncommon.

024. New Year, New Me (again)

I’ve come to realize that I write a similar post pretty much every year with similar results. Nothing. 

Every January, I sit down and write a list of things I want to accomplish over the next twelve months and plan out how I will do so. I always start out strong then my drive begins to fizzle out around January 5th. By February, it’s dead. This year will be different.  

As a society, we’ve pretty much concluded that 2016 was a dumpster fire of a year that may be the impetus for a dystopian sci-fi premise future. 2016 took so much from us. 2016 took Prince (one of my favorite musicians of all time) among so many others. The past US Presidential Election took my hope in most of humanity and made it difficult for me as a Black woman to be optimistic about the future but I managed to hold onto a glimmer of something for 2017. This is an important year in my life because I will be celebrating a milestone birthday in February. I’ve heard rumor of 30 being the age where everything clicks and life finally makes sense (well, as much sense as life could ever make). 30 is suppose to CHANGE EVERYTHING! 

Change is welcome and desperately needed around these parts. I’ve realized that I’ve become stagnant in many aspects of my life including my writing. So here I am, vowing to become more productive by blogging at least once a week and ACTIVELY writing at least 500 words a day (gotta start somewhere). These are things that I’ve struggled with in the last few years and I need to get on track. There are a few other things I want to work on during the year and they’ll likely become fodder for posts here. 

So watch this space. Hold me accountable. I don’t want my next post to be dated January 1, 2018. 

023. I’ve Been Gone For a Minute….


So it seems like I’ve let an entire year pass since I’ve last updated my blog. For those of you who’ve read my handful of entries and were disappointed by the lack of updates… I’m sorry.

We’re just a few days into the new year and as they say, “new year, new me!” As we venture into 2016, I’ve made the decision to document my random thoughts on life, writing and my writing life a bit more often. I know I’ve said this pretty much every year for at least the last ten years but this time I mean it. Seriously. I want to grow as a writer and blogger and the only way to do that is to actually write something…right?

With that out of the way, let’s take a moment to recap 2015.

I made mention of my health issues in various posts made in 2014. I experienced migraines I wouldn’t wish on my enemies. I was in too much pain to do anything other than hang out in bed. Though my migraines (and subsequent focal seizures) impacted my ability to do many things I’d taken for granted prior to experiencing them, I was able to complete a first draft of the sequel to Dia of the Dead. It seemed my creativity flowed more freely while not being able to do much else.

Though 2014 was probably the worst year of my life, it was a “character building” year that made me appreciate 2015. I found a new job, made new friends, discovered new interests, and allowed myself to be more open to experience new things. I also finished another draft of Dia of the Dead 2 (that’s totally not the name of it). Things in 2015 definitely came up Milhouse for the most part.

2016 is a new year and I don’t want to think of it as “2015 the EP” but framing it that way may be helpful in my growth. I want to learn more. Write more. Be more. Those are my goals and maybe blogging more often will help me keep track of where I am, where I’ve been and where I’m going. As an author and as a person. I look forward to working on new projects, collaborating with others and most importantly, publishing the second Dia of the Dead novel.

And with all of that said, I’d like to thank everyone who has taken time to read Dia of the Dead. I hope you enjoyed it. I’d like to especially thank Dos Twinjas–Guinevere and Libertad– for all of their support. They’re awesome and you should check out their book Mark of Noba now available here.