Ashe Elton Parker

A Writer of LGBTQ+ Characters in Speculative Fiction

Tag: Utah Pride Center

9Oct18: Busy Busy Volunteer Shift

Tuesday got off to a bit of a rough start, but it went well afterward, with me attending my volunteer shift. I took my laptop and graph paper, but I didn’t get to do much work on anything because it was very busy last night. 7 groups in all, including a public safety persons meeting complete with fire trucks, food, and swag. I got a pic of myself with the firemen. Need to bug the public safety woman who took the pics to text or email them to me. Should had her use my camera.

When I got home, I did my languages and worked on UL. Finished off a scene. There’s more about that and other things on my Fool’s Errand site. Also scheduled a mini-painting session with Kit and rescheduled my mammogram. All in all, a good day!

Two Important Things

I had my volunteer shift, but I managed to get my writing done before midnight.

28Aug18: Long Tuesday Out

Safe sex is good sex!

Love Brand Condoms

Yesterday I had a long day out. Left my apartment around 11:30 to go to a psych doc appointment up at the VA. The appointment started a little late ’cause my doc was tangled in a phone call, but it was a good meeting. A few times in the past, we’ve discussed the possibility of adding a sleep aid to my medication regimen due to outside influences (like the 2016 presidential election cycle). Before, though, we decided to wait and see what would happen, and things always tapered off to the point where it was determined I didn’t necessarily need a sleep aid. This time was different. I’ve been having difficulty sleeping the past few months since I last saw my psych doc. Part of that is admittedly me sitting up with Daz, but that’s not every case, and I do try to sleep most nights. But for the past few months (even before meeting Daz), I’ve had difficulty sleeping two or three nights out of the week. I’ll either not get tired at all, or I’ll wake up after lying down. We’d discussed this the last time I saw my psych doc back in I think May, and we decided to wait and see how things would develop. So, the result was that things haven’t really changed, so my doc prescribed some Trazodone. I’ll be getting it n the mail within about 2 weeks.

After my appointment up at the VA, I went directly to the Pride Center. You know, I took my laptop, but I didn’t have its cord or peripherals. LOL It was another busy night there, with 5 or 6 groups meeting. Lots of people hung out in the lobby, and I chatted with them. I also did the condom bowl. LOL Because, really. Teens are going to have sex—maybe not all, but that’s not the point. My point is, denying things like condoms and to teens is just plain stupid. Preaching abstinence doesn’t work, people. It just doesn’t.

*steps down off of soapbox*

But have a picture of the pride center’s condom bowl anyway.

A Long Tuesday

There should be a pic here, but I forgot to take one of the setup I have for the D&D sessions I’m running, because that’s what intended to use for this post’s image. Oh, well, it’s not the end of the world.

Yesterday was an exhaustion day. I fully intended to go to bed, but I was too wired after game night and hanging out with Daz afterward, and didn’t get tired at all. So instead of putting myself to bed, I just sat up. Bad me.

I did do my full roster of activities though. Over the morning, I attempted to write, but no ideas were flowing. What ideas I did have, I couldn’t grasp well enough to type out. Frustrating, to say the least.

At around 11:00, I left for Oasis Games in the company of my friend Greg, who’d agreed to help me cart stuff to the store for the game. We got there with plenty of time for me to set up. The D&D session went pretty well, and my players’ characters are I think about 75 XP away from level 2. I ended the session at about 14:30 so we could do XP and I’d have enough time to pack up before our end-time—and in part because I didn’t want to stop the game in the middle of an encounter later on.

Greg helped me bring my things home and I went to my volunteer shift. That passed uneventfully, and Kevin brought me home around 21:00. I then spent some time trying to wrangle with UPS after hours because some VA place in Tucson, AZ has randomly sent me a package must go from UPS’s hands directly to mine, and they won’t deliver it to the local UPS store. Managed to reassign delivery to the UPS Customer Service Center or whatever in a location that’s difficult for me to reach even when I’m not on crutches, and arranged with my friend Katie to take me out there. Daz also thought up another solution, but since Katie was willing, I decided to go with her to save him the hassle. Will be doing that on Friday.

Daz and I hung out for a couple hours after that, and after he left, I went right to bed.

The Last Two Days of July

The last two days of July were pretty good.

On Monday, Mom came over briefly to drop some things off for me. After that, I was finally able to get together with Daz to discuss my Pathfinder character. Over the course of the afternoon, he also gave me access to his Netflix and Hulu accounts, which was nice of him. Trying to figure out what I’ll watch first. LOL

After that, he invited me to go with him to some friends’ for a game night, and I went. We arrived around 20:00, I think, and ended up spending the next 4 or so hours playing Cards Against Humanity, which was great fun. Afterward, we played Betrayal at House on the Hill.

When we finished, one of the hosts drove us home since transit wasn’t running. Daz and I hung out for a few more hours after getting home. He came up with some food, used some of my food, and made us a yummy supper. At around 07:00, he went to bed, and I stayed up ’cause I don’t sleep well if I get to sleep after dawn, and it turns me into a temperamental bitch. Really, though, I’m glad I’ve got the irritable version of hypomania. I’ve heard how a lot of the “I can do ANYTHING” mania causes people to stop taking their meds, and I don’t want to do that.

I did some work on my Pathfinder character’s backstory, filling in a good deal more detail on the way. Went to my volunteer shift, too. Daz invited me to game with another friend of his because his role gaming group canceled due to a member or two not being able to make it, which was nice, but I had to decline.

Got home at about 21:30 and went right to bed after feeding my cat.

Two Days Here

I didn’t do much besides try to work on D&D prep stuff on Monday. Didn’t even do my languages. Went to bed pretty early by my standards, too. I think I hit the sack by 22:15.

Tuesday wasn’t much more active, though I did get out to my volunteer shift. I packed my D&D prep stuff and Kevin picked me up at my request. We stopped at the post office to pick up pride center snailmail, then we went to the pride center. While I was there, I reapplied as a volunteer at the request of the new volunteer coordinator, learned about the volunteer site we have to keep track of our hours and all, and assisted a bunch of people between working on D&D prep work. I took my computer so I was able to get online and my friends on Writing Groove helped me figure some things out (thanks, Zette, and Jam!).

Got home a little after nine and fed the cat, and I’ve been idling since then. Did download GIMP and play with it a little bit. Also put a couple books about GIMP on an Amazon wishlist to research later when I’m feeling more analytical. Oh, and before I went to my volunteer shift, I did both my languages! And I also left a message on the work voicemail for the lawyer Anita referred me to for my VA claims stuff.

No Aviary Visit

Hendrix with D&D books.

Imma read ur D&D books. Upside-down, even!

I pulled myself out of bed by 09:00 this morning so that I’d have enough time to prepare to go to the Tracy Aviary with my friend JJ. Sadly, he had not responded to any of my contacts since Tuesday, and I was already concerned about his silence after he messaged on MeWe that he was at a hospital on Tuesday. He didn’t respond to my texts or phone calls this morning either. I tried calling the hospital to see if he was an inpatient, and they said they had nobody by his last name there. Also notified Kit that I hadn’t heard from JJ for a couple days since that mysterious and troubling message he left on MeWe on Tuesday.

After I realized we wouldn’t be meeting today at all, and that he wasn’t going to respond, I went and laid down to get over the the stress of JJ’s lack of communication. I think I even managed to sleep a little. This was good, because I hadn’t slept well last night, and that probably wasn’t helping the stress factor.

Since there was nothing I could do to get a response from JJ at present, I packed up some D&D stuff to take to the Pride Center with me. I’d already gotten an agreement from Kevin on Wednesday that he’d drive me home if I came and hung out with him before the support group I wanted to go to. So that was what I did, while working on D&D stuff. Happily, I got all the must-do stuff done and have since been working on something purely fun for me (and hopefully my players).

When I got home, I fed my cat and then quickly called Mom, who’d left a message while I was at the Pride Center. I convinced her not to spend money she didn’t need to spend on something for me that I don’t really need. Tried contacting JJ again too, but no response to my message, so I emailed him. Did my languages on Duolingo, a teensy bit of work on one of my wips, had supper, and took some pics of Hendrix. I’ve posted the most amusing of them above. LOL

Not Much Done Today, but . . .

Pride Necklace

My Pride Necklace.

I didn’t get much done on Thursday. Not because I didn’t want to, but mostly because of lack of opportunity. I was so tired from my exhaustion day that I slept until pretty much noon. Finally pulled myself out of bed about ten ’til noon, not quite ready to meet the day, but willing enough to be out of bed that I didn’t dread the day any more.

Once I got settled at my desk, I called Mom. I try to call her a few times a week, and we hadn’t spoken for a few days. We were on the phone for about 45 minutes or so. Had a good chat.

After that, I had to get ready to go to my make-up volunteer shift. I wasn’t able to go on Tuesday because we were still trying to get together at Katie’s for D&D with Kit. By the time that fell through due to Katie getting ill, I’d already figured if it did fall through I’d go ahead and do something else that afternoon and just leave this week’s shift on Thursday.

So I went to that. Got there early ’cause I left early, though at this point I don’t think there’s really a set time for me to work the shift any more. Kevin doesn’t seem to mind as long as I show up at some point by 16:00-16:30 and he’s always happy if I stick around until he leaves. Tonight, he set me on the task of calling banks about debit cards lost at the Pride Festival held this past weekend. After that, we just hung out and chatted with people who came in. A new group, just for transmasculine people, started this week. I spoke with its facilitator before he left and learned the general Adult Trans group has a more balanced mix of people these days. When I left it a few years ago, it was mostly transwomen, and, to be honest, I got tired of that. Nothing against transwomen, really, I just felt like, with the lack of transpeople of other identities, my needs were no longer being served by the group. So I was pretty glad to hear there’s a more balanced membership and more non-binary-identifying members now. Decided to give it a try and wrote down the date and time of the next meeting.

Kevin was kind enough to drive me home even though it was still very light out. Intended to write after I settled in, but got into a conversation online with another transperson. Now it’s after midnight and I want to write a scene on a wip, so I won’t be going to bed for a while, but it was a good day.

Depression and Writer’s Block

In a way, I don’t know where the past few weeks have gone, though I can tell you what I was doing for most of them since my last post here. The essential thing is that I’ve been in a depressive funk and struggling to do pretty much everything from rising every day to writing on anything to indulging in hobby activities like crocheting. I’m not out of the pit yet either.

What I’ve been doing is getting out of the house a lot. Between Christmas and the beginning of last week (the 7th). Most of the time, I’ve either been going to the offices where the Utah Pride Center moved their therapy services, or, even more often, to Oasis Games, which bought the pride center’s old building and fixed up the first floor. I’ve been going there mainly to read Dungeons and Dragons books; I finished reading the Player’s Handbook and have been making slow progress on reading the Dungeon Masters Guide since about the first week of January.

I’ve also been continuing crocheting. My primary project is now complete, and I’ll be giving it to my friend who I decided to give it to soon if I get an opportunity. To be honest, I’ve done most of the work on it at the pride center’s therapy offices.

But even with those things, I’ve been in a depressive funk. The main reason is because I received a decision from the VA on my Compensation claim. I’m not sure if I mentioned it last year, but I started the claim in order to try and connect my bipolar disorder to my Naval service. Well, they didn’t even bother opening a case; they simply denied it without investigating. I’m fairly certain that is what threw me into this depressive funk.

It’s still with me. And, unfortunately, it’s not a state of mind I’ve been able to simply write through. I’ve tried. The first 4 days of this month, I wrote at least 500 words a day. Managed to complete, I think, 2 scenes on Unwritten Letters. But I didn’t feel like writing. Even with plot cards, I had trouble grasping the ideas. I felt no joy in getting the words down. Even though the quality was up to my standards, I hated what I’d written because I’d written the words when I felt bad. Gah, talking about it is dragging me down again. Enough.

Anyway, I haven’t touched my writing to do more than read stuff since then. Most days, I haven’t even been able to read my writing. I will not go into detail about how that makes me feel—it’s even more depressing than my description of writing, and I really don’t want to get as bad as I was last weekend over it all.

So, I foolishly thought writer’s block was a myth. That people who had it were undisciplined and lacked initiative in their writing. Well, since September or October, I’ve seen what it’s like to be undisciplined and lack initiative. And now I’ve been treated to my own grand case of writer’s block thanks to this depression.

Let me go over this again, to make it clear. Reading my writing depresses me, primarily because I see all its potential and am not actively capitalizing on it. Writing on anything depresses me any more because it’s not THERE—the ideas are vague, no matter how well-prepared I am for writing, and I hate the act of writing, and having done so makes me feel horrible because I didn’t enjoy doing so and I think I should. So it’s easier to just not write. I’ve gotten to the point where I dread writing, and I figure when it’s that bad, there’s no point in torturing myself.

Oh, I won’t be this way forever. I have faith in that. Maybe I’ll tuck myself into the inpatient mental ward at the VA, maybe I won’t. Either way, I’ll get by and this depression will pass. It’s already started to lift—a little—the past few days. I have a good long-distance friend I can chat about this with, and if that doesn’t help, I can always call the Veterans Crisis Line, and I’ve already notified my mental health care team about where I stand emotionally. All I need to do is stick it out long enough for the clouds to pass, and I’ve done that before and know I can do it again. In the meantime, I’m getting out, cuddling with my cat, and doing what I can to distract myself from my depression so I don’t do something stupid.

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