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.

025. Graduation Season

Graduation season is upon us. Over the next couple of weeks many young adults will be closing one chapter of their lives to begin the next. Former high school seniors will spend the summer months fantasizing about what life will be like on the campuses of universities around the country. By mid-July they’ll begin the task of gathering their supplies for freshman year and preparing goodbyes for friendships that won’t last past that first semester. 

The thing about incoming freshman is that they’re so full of shiny-eyed hope. Their futures are bright. They have the next four years to figure out who they are and who they want to become as they venture out of adolescence and step into adulthood. It’s honestly a time to be cherished because it passes by in a blink of an eye. 

Freshmen, have fun with it. This time is rife with opportunities to grow and develop into people worth being. Because real talk, the world is full up on Garbage People™ at the moment. There’s no more room for hate, bigotry and xenophobia. We don’t need it. Your parents and grandparents haven’t quite yet exhausted it but have exhausted me with it. I want you to be the change the world needs. You can truly be the start of a new tomorrow. 

On the opposite end of graduation season are outgoing seniors. They’ve done their time. They’ve dealt with the hellscape known as the financial aid office and to be frank, they’re ready to get the fuck up outta there. They’re ready to go out into the world and put the lessons learned from $500 textbooks to use. They’ve figured out a lot about themselves over the last four years and now it’s time to pray that that time has equipped them enough for the “real world.”

For my seniors, The “real world” takes no prisoners. It’s hard. You’ll be put in the position to make tough decisions and hope they’re right (or right-ish. The world isn’t perfect). I’m not here to say that life is like a Jigsaw trap from the Saw movie franchise. It’s not going to toss you into a ditch of syringes because of some convoluted plot that didn’t quite work in the long run. 

I’m just saying it gets real out here. Really real. But the cool part about it– the cool part about life–is that you can make mistakes. You can fail spectacularly and get up and try again. You can use that $500 textbook knowledge and approach the problem from a different angle hopefully with better results. Don’t give up. Keep pushing and moving forward. You too, are they start of a new tomorrow. Don’t forget it. 

I started writing this with the intent of providing tips on how to survive as a New Adult in a world where there’s literally a level 8 crisis happening every other minute but my rambling somehow ended up here. I still think those posts will have value so keep an eye out for them in the future. For now, I think I’m satisfied with saying it’ll be all right, kiddo.