2016 – JUST END ALREADY

If you’ve followed me for a while, you’ll know that I thought 2015 was a bad year. How Naïve I was.

*SUSTAINED BITTER LAUGHTER*

ヾ( ・`⌓´・)ノ゙

2016, you didn’t need to take 2015 as a challenge to be shittier… But you got better.

Winter

winter

Highs, Lows and Silver Linings

  • I’m going to level with you. There wasn’t much that was good about the early winter this year…
    • I was dealing with a severe harassment issue at work with zero support from my immediate superiors, and I had to take on my then-boss and unravel how much damage he had caused to my entire career as he’d lied to HIS bosses about my performance in an effort to get me fired due to the fibromyalgia I was diagnosed with last year. That was fun.
      • Low: My symptoms came back with a vengeance due to the extreme anxiety of the situation. Also, I developed actual anxiety and felt paranoid about what was happening at work. Unfortunately all my fears were validated in the end as legitimate and that DID NOT HELP ease the feeling of paranoia, thanks brain.
      • Silver Lining: I am eternally grateful to my family for supporting me through everything. The situation reinforced how strongly they care and how they’ll be there for me when I really, really need it. ❤ I am so lucky to have them.
      • Spoiler alert: I won, but not until later in the year. My patronus is a T-Rex for a reason.

Open Paddock 9, Jurassic world, T-Rex

Expecto Patronum, ASSHOLE

    • There wasn’t room for much else in the middle of this shit storm. Work on my goals for 2016 stalled and fell apart because I literally had no room emotionally or energetically for anything else.
    • Near spring, I learned that two friends were facing a familiar situation: ‘weird’ cancer-not-cancer-what-the-hell.
      • When your doctor says they’re not sure what’s going on in your body but they Really Need To Cut Bits Out. I reached out when I had the energy to, because I know it’s hard. Not just the physical recovery but the psychological.
      • Cancer happens in a very specific way according to pop culture. You have chemo, you lose your hair, and then wear [insert colour of bracelet related to cancer].
      • When you don’t have something that meets those requirements, there’s a psychological disconnect of ‘well am I pretending?‘ or ‘yeah but this isn’t really cancer, because that isn’t what I’m going through’. Telling people you had it and watching their eyes flick up to your full head of hair doesn’t usually help either, btw.

Spring

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You deserve a kitten compilation after reading that.

Lows

  • My work situation got worse before it got better. See ‘Winter’ for the paranoia comment.
  • My in-laws lost someone incredibly important in their/our family with little notice. It was… hard. Unfair. Life’s not fair, but, shit, man. The world needs more Good People, and this was one of them.
  • At the same time my grandmother was in the hospital and we didn’t expect her to last the season.
    • surprising literally everyone, she recovered. But things have been rough off and on since.
  • Watching someone completely flip their shit at judges at Ottawa Comic Con because they ‘only’ got an Honourable mention shortly after I’d found out my in-laws had lost their person. I was … unimpressed to say the least, and I wrote about it.

Highs

  • But my work situation DID get better. In April I found and started a new job at the same company, far away from this asshole. Literally and figuratively.
    • The new job is better, the work is more in line with what I love to do (problem solve instead of code) and the people are… wonderful.
    • The jerk tried to block it by having his boss call my current one to tell them how big a risk I was, etc etc.
    • I had an exit interview with my boss’s-boss’s-boss. Where I cleared up lingering lies and showed my kept receipts. The Upmost boss I spoke to then said if I chose to pursue legal action the company wouldn’t defend the asshole’s actions.
    • Both my Union and my company unveiled more assertive anti-harassment policies and information on worker’s rights.
    • The person who was being harassed even as I was leaving got relocated and the asshole got into shit.
    • A+ to my T-Rex patronus. We did good.
  • The rest of Ottawa Comic Con was great. It was my first con since last year’s mess of Otakuthon.
    • I saw friends I hadn’t seen in a while, it was so nice to just sit in the cosplay lounge and hang out with them. Especially when one of those friends had just had surgery for her weird-cancer and we could talk about the oddness of recovery and stuff. #teamspoons

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photo and edit by Erik Parades photography. MUA by myself

    • I was invited to host the masquerade again, though it wasn’t without it’s very visible hiccups of sound checks and more.
  • Both friends who were diagnosed in Winter had their respective surgeries and made remarkable recoveries.
    • I was especially happy to hear that with the more extensive surgery, the hospital assigned a therapist to help navigate the psychological fallout. I could have used that when I’d had mine.
      • Protip: Solving post-surgery insomnia with ‘taking a harder major and working on homework all night’ is not recommended.

Summer!

Highs

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Photo edit and Solas by ZombieKat89

  • YETI CON– OH. MY. GODDDDddd. Yeticon. It was the vacation I needed, with wonderful friends and a memorable road trip including watching a police sting involving 6 cruisers blocking both ways of a one lane highway. IT WAS SO GREAT OH MY GOD.
  • I finally got back into the swing of costuming, including working on some of my favourite costumes to date: Hannah Alexander’s Jane and my Inquisitor’s jacket.

Photo by HM Cosplay Photography

I also got to work with HM Photography (credit for image above)
for the first time and she was wonderful!

  • One of my friends that I’d been talking to about the surgery thing made a point to say that talking to me had really helped him deal with the psychological and mental strain of things.
    • ;-;  ….guys…I did a good.
      • it maybe meant a lot to me and I might have called my mom to tell her because it meant so much to know that I helped someone. I might have also told my roommate. And my cat.
  • Otakuthon was super chill and awesome. No WCS. No competition. Just relaxing and enjoying the con in a closet cosplay of Yennefer.

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Kudrel as Ciri, me as Yen. Photo by Shushuwafflez. ❤

Lows

  • Summer was pretty good, aside from dealing with lingering paranoia about work and the continued fight to get my record cleared of the lies the asshole had put onto it.
  • Literally all my computers became unuseable within two weeks. My phone followed. Whyyyyy technology? I love youuuu.

Fall

Highs

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  • CALGARY. BC. NEW FRIENDS. MOUNTAINS. DOGGOS. I really, really didn’t want to come back home, sorry parents. I also felt the best I had in years up there, despite the thin mountain air.
  • I had my first gig as a paid cosplayer at the Nature Nocturne in my Victreebelle costume.
    • The costume I’d drafted a while ago and after hiking up and down mountains for a week, I’d lost a bit of squish around my middle. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough time to fix all the bodice seams so it properly fits, so I’ll need to do that before I wear it again next spring.
  • Work paranoia finally resolved when I was offered the opportunity for a promotion. Due to the continued health stuff, I asked to postpone the training until the new year. This whole ‘I have time later for things later’ is new to me, but that’s a topic for a separate post.
  • My second sew along was linked to on Cosplay by McCall’s  website. OMG FANGIRLING.

sewalong

Lows

  • Fall had a slight decline in health again due to switching to generic fibro meds, but luckily my doctor was willing to put me back on the good (and expen$ive) ones.
  • Another casual friend developed a medical issue, and when I saw him I made a point to check in with how he was doing and let him know that if he needed to chat, I was familiar with dealing with shit.
    • Not that I have it all sorted out, just that I’ve had over a decade of experience. That makes me an industry pro, right?

Winter (again)

yen-in-progress

The current project: Yennefer’s regular outfit

Highs

  • Fall-medical-issues friend told me I’d really helped just letting him know it was okay to be upset and feel weird in your own skin.
    • I did another good. Oh god my feels were so strong. ;-;
  • I’ve learned to balance my life better between resting when I need to and doing things that I really want to.

In summary, 2016 started off kicking me in the teeth and spitting on everyone it could. But I took life’s lemons and ate them while maintaining eye contact to establish dominance.

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Picture by Lichon Photography at Takkakaw Falls.
I climbed literal mountains this year, they were easier than the metaphorical ones.

2016 has been a rough year for so many people, but it was this year that I came to terms with my body and my health. That took a long time, but knowing that being open about what I’ve lived through has helped others with what they are currently going through has helped me resolve my body-resentment.

Trial by fire might have been an understatement, but that’s what this year has felt like. I’m different than the person I was last December, and that’s not a bad thing.

Take care of yourself, and do good. ❤

xox Calamity