Nov 15, 2016

Buttwipes of Portland: #2 (Sustain Post Play Wipes)

Alright, time to switch it up on here. It's another installment of Buttwipes of Portland! ::cheers, applause, someone coughing::

I gotta say, I've been thrown for a loop with this one. I thought I was buying just another bag of buttwipes -- they came from the buttwipe section alongside all the other buttwipes -- but apparently I purchased a revolutionary new tool for solving a universal problem! I didn't know this when I bought them, and I haven't known it for the past month while using them, but I found out today when I googled them! (Caution: Only google them if you want to read a lot of people talking about sex but replacing the word "sex" with "play." ::shudder, another cough::)

Seriously I've just been using these to wet my whistle if you will, as part of my daily routine, and I thought like the last ones (Swipes Lovin' Wipes) the company just added a layer of marketing to let you know hey, you can also use these for post-sex cleanup. But no, these are specifically for post-sex cleanup! I mean they say it pretty clearly on the packaging but with all the cutesy plays on words, I just didn't believe them. Are people straight up storing these next to their beds and not on the backs of their toilets? Because I would argue that the only difference between these "post-play wipes" and buttwipes is where you store them.

Therefore I will continue my review of these BUTTWIPES. First, I don't remember how much they cost but it was under $5 for 48. You can buy them directly from the Sustain website for $10.99 per package if there's no New Seasons or Whole Foods in your area and if you think eleven dollars is a reasonable amount of money to spend on BUTTWIPES. Up to you.

So cost, whatever -- normal. The scent is mild and pleasant, like opening a window. One nice feature is 10% of the profits go to women somehow! That's what this little symbol tells me.

They are also made out of cotton instead of paper pulp, making them more durable. Personally I've not had an issue with the durability of my paper pulp wipes, but then again I'm quite a delicate lady. They're also free of bad stuff and full of good stuff instead, but that's kind of a given in this series.

But by far the best thing going for these wipes is the texture. Remember how everyone was satisfied with pancakes until waffles came along?? Total game-changer, and on that front I will agree these wipes are revolutionizing the industry. Without spelling it out, there are reasons why waffles are better than pancakes, and these wipes are waffles for your butt.

Major, MAJOR con though: They're not flushable. Honestly I would not normally buy a non-flushable wipe, but this is journalism and I wanted to see if I could handle it. I mostly can! And a couple times I forgot they're not flushable and flushed them anyway. Guess what? They went down! Listen I know this is Not Okay™ and I'm trying hard to do better. (I have also heard it's a bad idea to flush any wipes, whether they say flushable or not. I also heard Taco Bell is bad for you???) But IF you're wondering if flushing these ones will cause your toilet to volcanically erupt in your face, it won't. I tested it so you don't have to.

In conclusion, I feel spoiled by these wipes. It's been so lovely, but I don't think they're my wipes. I need a flushable wipe, and I may be willing to give up texture for disposability. (Turns out I might be a pancake girl after all!) I'm also still giving these the side-eye for claiming they serve a very specific purpose... I'm here to tell you they do it all. Just ask my butt.

list of men who can STFU

  1. men who say "we've had bad presidents before and survived" -- WHY ARE YOU OK WITH HAVING SO MANY AWFUL PRESIDENTS? and with people just surviving? i have a theory, but i'll let you make that connection. and guess what: not everyone does survive under the rule of people like donald trump.

    note this is usually said in response to me "getting all worked up." apparently i need to get all worked up for the both of us, because you aren't going to, and i have higher standards for the people we put in charge of our country.

  2. men who explain things to women without first thinking "hey, maybe she already knows this!" this morning i got an important lesson in self-care from a man. i explained how i needed to use my time to care for people instead of spending it with him. but apparently, one cannot successfully care for others without first learning the art of physical, mental, and emotional balance. WHA-HUH???? wow what have i been doing these 35 years?! just getting up and walking around bumping into things and then going to bed at night i guess!

    and an extra helpful word of warning: "the last thing this world needs is a bunch of unbalanced individuals running around creating change." (this was in response to me saying i was tired and emotionally worn out after my self-defense class last night.) HEY, WHAT DO YOU THINK IS CURRENTLY HAPPENING? who do you think currently has the most power to change things? that's right, the LEAST BALANCED, most hate-filled creatures we've got (surprise: they're men!). i'm gonna take a goddamn bubble bath and get back out there. but thank you, oh wise man, for the advice.

    jog on.

  3. men who randomly reach out for emotional support from me without having earned it, or offered anything in return. i guess i am a very nice person? so nice that if we met once 10 years ago and now you're having issues with your wife, you can turn to me for the attention you need. i mean, god, we must've had SEVERAL facebook conversations over the years! that's gotta mean something! or maybe we even dated back in college and oh look at that, you're also having issues with your wife and need someone to talk to. well heck, i was just sitting in my rocking chair, knitting sweaters for kittens, ready to help you through your issues, honey! because i care, i always care, my caring is an endless ocean of care and you can have it all. i certainly don't have a whole, full life of my own where all my energy is already devoted. hot tip, dudes: get a therapist.
you know, maybe none of these men individually deserve the anger and frustration i'm blasting their way right now. but collectively, y'all are exhausting. do your part to reduce the items on my list and the lists of all the women in your lives. 

it's easy: before you say stuff to a woman, ask yourself "how would this sound to a woman?" i'm telling you it's easy because we've been doing it for YOU our whole lives, sometimes out of self-protection but mostly because we were taught to put your needs above our own. i sure as hell was, anyway (thanks, christianity!). but it's fun to learn new things.

and shout out to my list of men who already know when to STFU. keep up the good work.

Nov 9, 2016

ok update

the shop only offers store credit for returns so i have to keep my new clothes.

the morning after

aw cute, my last post about wanting a boyfriend.

well, life's taken on a new focus today. i went to bed last night with the words "president trump" pounded into my head like an octagon-shaped block of wood where i only have circle-shaped holes. i truly never thought this would be possible, so it took awhile for the reality to settle in. like i was still laughing when everyone around me was freaking out. i've always been a little slow to react to bad news, though. maybe as a defense mechanism.

i am deeply hurt, and discouraged, and afraid. i thought we'd be celebrating a totally different symbolic moment in history today. most upsetting, though, i thought i knew who i shared a country with -- i grew up in wyoming and lived in central florida for christ's sake! i saw some shit. but i had no idea. to be utterly clear: there is no good reason to support a man whose entire campaign was based on appealing to white nationalist sentiments, on fear and intolerance. even people who voted for trump "just to shake things up" or "as a lesser of two evils" are in the wrong, and participating in deeply disturbing trend against human progress.

but there's no giving up now. what can we do but make choices and take actions that contribute to the type of society we want to live in? i've been lazy up until now. i relied on my faith in the goodness of people. i was a passive participant in our political system -- it's no longer enough to vote in elections and sign online petitions and add some hashtags to your social media posts. here's what i'm doing:

  • not wasting any more time on unproductive media. i've signed off facebook, twitter, and instagram; i'm not reading the news and blogs all day long -- i'll listen to NPR in the morning and on my way home from work some days if i can take it, and otherwise i'm protecting my mental health by knowing what i need to know to help out, and blocking all the extra noise. i used to consume news as a way to fill gaps in time, but it wasn't purposeful knowledge-seeking, and it often didn't help anything. i can let those gaps just be space and i bet it will be more productive. i've enlisted my friends to keep me informed about movements and groups i need to know about, and otherwise i'll find out about them by being out in the community. i'll replace that wasted time with volunteering to protect those most vulnerable, and writing meaningful words. instead of watching netflix tonight, i'll listen to the podcast my friend jenna recommended on the judicial system. instead of scrolling through tweets, i'll meditate. when i post silly jokes, it'll be because i believe in the power of humor to heal, and not as a way to get likes.
  • not wasting any more money on superficial things. first i need to feel more financially secure -- i don't know what a trump economy looks like. second my money can go toward the same things i invest my time in. today i'm returning $130 worth of new clothes i just bought for work and canceling a $40 salon appointment. i even canceled my $2.50/paycheck contribution to the political action committee that supports the industry i work in, because i haven't been paying enough attention to how that money's used, and found out it goes to fund the campaigns of politicians i do not agree with. this morning, in the shower, i even became the person who waters down their bodywash instead of buying a new bottle. AND I LOVE BUYING NEW BODYWASH.
  • not wasting any more time messing with my skin. unrelated, but i spend too much of my life on this, and have wanted to quit for almost 20 years now. throw it in the bag with the rest of them!
  • cultivating my relationships. i do a lot of this already, but i wonder how much more connected we could be with fewer distractions and a common purpose beneath us. already i'm finding such comfort and inspiration from the conversations i'm having with my sister and friends. i won't let those fires burn out.
  • empowering myself. i started a self-defense class monday and nothing's ever felt more timely. i also signed up for a car care class so i can finally learn how to change my oil and fix a flat. i'm reading all sorts of books you'd find in the self-help section, but not the ones that say you need to change anything about yourself -- the ones that say "be yourself, in a real big way." i momentarily considered cutting my gym and bouldering memberships as a way to save money, but realized how important it is for me to feel strong and capable and physically fit. 
hey thanks for reading. writing stuff out solidifies it for me, and honestly i'll miss interacting with people on social media -- maybe this will be a space to do that in its absence. and i know everyone's in different places right now, and i'm going through phases myself, but i'm committed to being the friend who believes in progress and light. you can always find that here.

Oct 26, 2016

emo post written while sad, i don't give a crap

things i've done while single:

  • traveled abroad solo twice
  • got a new job when the old one wasn't working for me anymore
  • moved to a nice apartment
  • bought a new car
  • learned to climb and went to the gym regularly
  • took care of my cats
  • maintained my friendships
  • threw the baddest birthday ball
  • put on three friends talent shows
  • dated a bunch
  • paid all my bills on time
  • ate mostly healthy
  • got help when i was depressed
  • took improv classes and did some open mics
  • started contributing to my retirement
  • tweeted a bunch of jokes
  • learned how to make videos
  • read a lot of books and spent time with my book club
  • flossed consistently

i can do it alone. i can do the heck out of it alone. but i don't want to anymore. i want to be taken care of, and i want to take care of someone. i want life to be a little easier, and i want to share some of the moments that i've been spending alone.

i still want my own time and space and my own life -- i've grown very fond of those things -- but i want to let someone in a little closer. not yoked, just holding hands.

Sep 28, 2016

Amber's Lawn Soaps and Hedge Balm

You want the shiniest lawn and most luxurious hedges. Now you know.

And at $19.99 per bottle, you won't find a better deal anywhere else! You sit and think about that while you wait.

My pappy used to say I'd never make anything of myself. Well don't look now but my name is on several bottles.

You can look now.

I also know a guy who will do a "Brazilian Blowout" on your trees if you'll let him. I have some of his business cards and can get more at any time.

Amber's Lawn Soaps and Hedge Balm: Are you ready for it?

Sep 23, 2016

why i refuse to watch the debates

i cannot believe we're doing this as a country.

donald trump is a garbage troll, and hillary clinton is a qualified politician trying to be the first woman president of the united states, and we're putting them on the same stage like some kind of sick reality show.

how in the year 2016 are we handing a microphone and giving the national stage to a racist, sexist bigot who makes up lies when facts are so easy to google? how as a country are we saying, "yes, what you have to say is important, and worthy of our attention"?

like, imagine if you were interviewing for your dream job -- the one you've been working toward your whole life. and the people hiring you were like, "listen, we really like you for the job, but we're also considering this wet paper bag with some hair in it. does it have any qualifications or skills? no. is it even a sentient being? someone says they saw it move once. but the worst people in this company -- and there are plenty! -- really like the bag, so we have to be fair."

wouldn't ANYONE be like "ok, thank you for letting me know, because now never mind. i no longer wish to work for you." but hillary's actually going to get on that stage, and to me that says everything i need to know about her character and her commitment to the presidency and to the people of this country. all of them.

i wish this were like when god asked abraham to sacrifice his son isaac, and abraham was like "man, i don't get it, but i respect you, so ok." and he was about to do it and god swooped in like "omg i was just testing you! you passed, you're in you're in." i hope jon stewart swoops in and does the same thing to hillary the night of the debates, but since i'm pretty sure that's not going to happen, i will not participate.

plus i generally avoid things that make me vomit, which is why i will not spend one minute of my time listening to donald trump speak. or drink tequila.

Sep 15, 2016


sometimes i think texting is the worst thing that's ever happened to us, and other times i write emoji poetry.

Sep 9, 2016

i think: feminism

yes i had two cocktails and i walked home and boy do i feel like blogging!

just let me say: the best i ever feel is spending time with funny, powerful women. are they women who know exactly what they want? HELL NAW. they know things -- plenty of things -- and then they're like "omg i do not know some things." and that's what i love about women. they're comfortable uncomfortable. it's where we live. it's no big deal.

here's what i think: rich white men have been in power for EVER. ever ever. WHAT IF, just as an experiment, women were in power? like women of color. or gay or trans women. or women in poverty. or non-able-bodied women, or women with mental health challenges. like i'm a woman but i have no IDEA how bad it is for some other women. what if we let those women make all the decisions for just 100 years? just 100 years! it's nothing! grand scheme of things.

I BET, in 100 years we would see a more equitable and more peaceful world. (i bet we would see it in 20 years but let's really solidify it and give it 100. you'll be fine! don't worry!)

i mean why not try it? we've tried this ONE THING for so long and... i have to say... like it's OK but it's not super great. there are a lot of things i would change.

i bet, i bet you could replace all the wealthy white men in power -- from presidents to shift supervisors -- with underprivileged women -- even just a random sampling of underprivileged women with no political or leadership experience whatsoever -- and things would get better. i bet they would!! let's find out. why not!!? i love new things.

ideally, we'll all live in a world where opportunity is equally afforded to all, and individually we can make of it what we will. to get there, i wonder if we don't need to take away some of the privilege the most privileged have experienced in order to get them to understand. in order to get us to understand. like ideally we can skip that part, but realistically, i wonder if we don't need to swing a little further in the opposite direction in order for things to eventually balance out.

for example, white people be like "black people should not riot! that's so rude!" ok but we created a system in which black people have far less agency. so to ask them to protest within that system is like asking a person without arms to raise their hand to ask a question. i think disadvantaged people need to make a BIG F-ING DEAL in order to just get our attention -- even if it looks messy and makes us feel uncomfortable. that's good. let's start there, and then let's find a place that works for everyone. but if in the meantime i need to let go of my privilege... well ok. i've had it long enough. i can live without it for a bit just like some people have lived without it ever. like this is me talking about feminism where i should have every right to be like "MY TURN!" but already i'm like nah this is someone else's turn (which is what happens when you read about white feminism i think).

sidebar: white feminism

white feminism is when you march up and down the street chanting "77 cents on the dollar! 77 cents on the dollar!" while women of color stand behind you going "uh try 65 cents or less." it's demanding a list of things without ever turning to ask "hey does this list work for you? what are your priorities?" a good white feminist stands in spaces where women of color would be ignored and goes "LISTEN UP, you bozos!" and hands over the bullhorn, or continues to yell on their behalf if that's what'll get the point across best.

ANYWAY, this is all to say i love lora and brenna and christina and kenzie and jessie and charlotte and gabby and chiara and nicole and linzi and jess and stef and jenna and stacey and baby sara and megan and emily and marta and laura and elizabeth and tricia and mo and my mom and grandmas and my cousins and my cousins' wives and THAT IS JUST THE BEGINNING of women i love, don't even get me started on my book club or my coworkers. (there are a dozen other names but these are the people whom i've texted or had happy hour with most recently. sup brenna & christina... thanks for buying those nachos.)

i mean damn, do you guys even HAVE this?

did you guys even plan a costumed fun run with all your guy friends and name yourselves The Gynosaurs? alright.

my version of feminism is i love everyone, but i love women mostly. and i believe that brand of feminism needs to exist right now in order for things to even out someday. so deal.


*future generations, when you find this post hundreds of years from now, know that ;-* represented a winky kissy face, in like old hieroglyphic style. also i hope everyone's got the same opportunities.

Aug 8, 2016

Buttwipes of Portland: #1 (Swipes Lovin Wipes)

"What ever happened to Taco Bells of Portland??" people are always asking me in my mind. And while ok I didn't review every Taco Bell in town, I did answer the most pressing questions of our time: Are all Taco Bells created equal (no) and where can you, dear readers, find the best grilled stuft burrito in a 10-mile radius (NE MLK and Lombard and SE 50th and Powell).

I may be done with that phase of my investigative journalism career, but I'd like to bring it full-circle and present to you a new series: "Buttwipes of Portland." By "of Portland" I don't mean these buttwipes can only be found in Portland. I'm going to review buttwipes that have a Portland feel to them, so not your Rite Aid options, but your Whole Foods and your New Seasons buttwipes. Perhaps there's an artisinal personal hygiene pop-up shop in town. I'll find out.

Why buttwipes? Well, it's summer, it's hot out there, and sometimes you just want a fresh butt, alright? Listen either you understand me or you've never used buttwipes before.

I'll start by saying I normally buy the Target-brand buttwipes, because I'm at Target*, sometimes they're on sale for $3.33 for the double-pack, and they do the trick.

*chances are I'm at Target right now.

But the other day I decided to treat my butt to something new, and I picked up the cucumber-scented Swipes Lovin Wipes at Whole Foods.

Now, if you're a cucumber lover like me, you want that stuff everywhere. On your face, in your water, in between where the sun don't shine. And let me tell you -- it is a delight! The scent alone makes these worth the extra $0.08 per wipe. Actually now that I type that I realize it's not true. BUT, there are other benefits to the Swipes. Gather 'round.

First, they're eco-friendly. The package says things like "gentler on the environment" and "made with pure water." Plus it uses 70% less plastic than the traditional pop-top wipes! Is that not worth almost a dime a wipe? ...Eh!

Here's the real clincher (hehe) for me, though: Swipes Lovin Wipes are made in the good ol' U.S. of A., which means someday you or I could work in R&D at Swipes Inc.! I didn't even know I had a dream job til now.

Finally, I like how Swipes tells you what it's for. Most buttwipe packaging beats around the bush (hehe again! killin it). I thought the "Lovin" part of the name just meant Swipes would be good to my butt -- is that not the definition of love? But these ones are marketed as a cleansing product for pre- and post-lovin! I love that!

That and so much more.

In conclusion, Swipes Lovin Wipes are worth the $4.99 at Whole Foods. They'll replace my generic up & up wipes once I get through the six packs I bulk bought last time I was at Target. That is... unless a new contender emerges.

Stay tuned for more Buttwipes of Portland, and stay fresh, everyone.

Aug 5, 2016

a thing that happened that was uncool


this is something that happened this week that i'm embarrassed to write about because it shows how naive i can be, but i think it points to a bigger issue and that is some people's (primarily women's) need to please others at the expense of themselves.

i was home sick from work wednesday when someone knocked on my door. you have to be let into the building to get to my apartment so it's very unusual for me to get an unexpected knock.

i walked toward the door and asked "hello?" i heard a man saying something on the other side.

"yes?" i asked.

"hi, can you um open the door so i can ask you something?"

i would've preferred to know his identity first, but he asked, so i opened the door and saw a man i didn't recognize standing in the hallway. there was nothing alarming about the way he looked and dressed and carried himself. 

"hi, can you feed my cat saturday?" he asked.

what he should have said was, "hi, i'm so-and-so from apartment 106. i'm leaving town for the weekend and was wondering if you're around, if you could stop by and feed my cat."

i could tell the guy didn't have some very basic social skills, but i don't believe he was being rude or creepy. that's all i can really say for myself -- my gut told me he was awkward but not threatening. 

seeing he was struggling, i replied, "sure! ...i have cats too!"

then he asked if i could come over to see the food setup now. which is when i did the second thing i didn't really want to do, and followed him to his apartment.

"i'm amber, by the way," i said on the way, attempting to normalize the situation. "oh i'm joaquin," he said.

i followed him into his apartment and he shut the door behind me. he shouldn't have shut the door behind me. i'm assuming he did this to keep the cat inside, but i don't care if your cat escapes -- you can retrieve your cat from the hallway. you should never shut someone in your apartment.

he showed me where the food was and told me how much to feed the cat. "what's your cat's name?" i asked, trying desperately to be a regular human in a neutral space with another human. "yoshi," he said, and i bent down to pet the cat. "oh you probably don't want to approach him from above, he doesn't like that and can get weird."

"ok well i'll steer clear when i come by saturday to feed him."

joaquin handed me his spare key and asked if he could leave me some booze as a thank-you. "nope!" i said, "you can just feed my cats for me someday!" i flat-out lied.

i walked back to my apartment, locked the door, and called my friend to relay what just happened. (saturday i'm bringing a friend along to go feed yoshi.)

here's the problem: i so badly want to live in a world where neighbors take care of each other. i want it so badly that i set aside all my discomfort in this situation to make it happen. but this guy -- and again i don't believe he had any ill intentions, he just literally did not know how to have a conversation -- put me on the spot repeatedly. i should've said "can you identify yourself before i open the door?" and "how about i come by later with a friend to check out the food?" but he should've known his questions, coming from a strange man to a woman alone, were inappropriate.

but what i'm most upset about is that i worked so hard for those few minutes to make that situation ok, and to make this poor guy feel like he wasn't messing up every step along the way, even though he clearly was. why? to be nice. i got nothing out of that interaction and i straight-up risked my safety for it. i'm embarrassed i did that and i regret it. it was dumb and dangerous.

i don't know know how to get to a point where i always stand up for myself as a default. i don't know how to stop prioritizing being nice over being comfortable. is it because deep down, i still doubt my comfort is as important as someone else's -- is as important as a man's? even a strange man who didn't even give me his name until i asked?

i'd like to think it's my inherent kindness that makes me naive sometimes, but i'm afraid it's deeper and more disturbing than that -- that i was raised in a society that teaches women to first and foremost be nice and take care of men, and despite years of educating myself otherwise, i still haven't broken free of that canon.

women, how do you stand up for yourselves? how do you learn to value your needs enough to request them every time, even if it makes someone else feel uncomfortable? that is the world we want to live in, right? it seems like it requires major brain rewiring, and i thought i'd made progress, but this interaction showed me otherwise. give a sister some help?

and men, realize every time you interact with a woman you don't know, she needs to gauge whether you're a threat to her or not. that is an unfortunate truth. so go the extra mile to assure her you're not, and don't be put off if she asks you to identify yourself through a closed door.

i'm hoping just writing this out is a step in the right direction, but if anyone has advice, please share it. i'm not looking for "carry pepper spray" -- i'm looking for advice on how to remember, in the moment, my needs are important.

Aug 3, 2016

i think: depression

today i heard an interesting piece on NPR about the genetic factors behind depression. the reporter suggested that maybe depression is an adaptation -- which sounds like a TERRIBLE thing for our biology to do to us -- but his theory was that back in the day, you might be struggling to find food to survive, and this helpful little reminder would kick in that the world's a rough place so don't get your hopes up, buddy. enjoy the taste of that stick. that's as good as it gets. and then you'd survive because you'd be like "alright, a stick!"

it was interesting to me because just last week i took my last dose of the antidepressants i'd been on since december.

i've been depressed a few times as an adult -- the first two times were tightly tied to situations i needed to get out of, but felt helpless to do so. the first time i didn't even recognize it as depression, because i'd never experienced it before and i'd always been such a happy kid, depression didn't even cross my mind. i just figured that phase of my life was over, and adulthood was dull and bleak and lacking. so first i needed help understanding that life could be better, and then i needed help getting there. both times i used a counselor to get there.

this last time, though... it was different. sure i was stressed about work, and it was winter in portland, but the feelings of sadness would come out of nowhere and utterly crush me. i remember describing to my new counselor, "it's like i'm going about my daily routine, not thinking about anything in particular, and then i'll notice this shadow creep over me. and i look up and there's a giant black anvil slowly descending from the sky, and i know i've got about 10 minutes to get home and get safe before it hits." like i'd have to leave the grocery store halfway through my shopping list so i could get in the car and hopefully back to my apartment in time. for a couple months there, you could often find me sobbing and unable to move from my driver's seat.

then there were mornings i'd wake up and without even having time to think a thought, i'd be crying. tears and snot and that pain that pinches your chest down to your stomach. i couldn't sit up, i couldn't get dressed -- at best i might be able to text a friend to ask for help not feeling so alone.

it was scary.

this time i couldn't identify the source of the feeling, and there certainly wasn't a problem worthy of its intensity. i didn't know what to fix so i could get to the other side of it. so my counselor suggested i go to the doctor to make sure nothing was physically wrong.

when my doctor found my physical health was in order, she made a suggestion: "why don't you try antidepressants for awhile and see if that helps?" now to a person who doesn't even take tylenol for a headache, the idea of antidepressants was hard to open up to, despite having educated myself about them and supposedly getting rid of my biases. i knew sometimes people's brains just chemically didn't work right, so treating them with chemicals made sense. but this was my brain.

this was also my very desperate brain, though, and my usual tools didn't seem to be working at all. so i started the antidepressants. i remember the day they kicked in (thursday, dec. 10, just two days before my birthday ball, which i'd been planning for months but had been secretly dreading). i felt... ok. i felt like myself. like i no longer had to fight against this powerful negative force to get through each day. i could just get up, put some pants on, and do life. (and my birthday ball was magic.)

most doctors will recommend staying on antidepressants for at least 6 to 9 months so your brain can get used to them. i had a really comfortable 8 months, with minimal side effects (except for all the wild dreams, which were actually kind of fun) and a general sense that i could handle things. more out of curiosity than anything, i recently decided to try to ease off them. that went fine too. the last couple days i've felt dizzy and tired, but those are just withdrawal symptoms as the drugs finally leave my system. i'm pretty sure once that's over, i'll be back to my old self.

i wish i didn't ever have to deal with depression -- it takes time away from my life. and i doubt that that was my last run-in with the old beast. but now i know not to wait, and to be open to treatments, and that even if depression is a biological adaptation, i don't have to be satisfied with just a stick.