Will this be forever?

Has stopped being at all funny, or even interesting.  My tongue is covered in one long blister where I can’t keep from chewing on it.  Can’t swallow thanks to throat swollen again; don’t know if it’s lymph nodes fighting infection or something as yet unknown.  Can’t close teeth without shooting pain.  It’s been like this since June.  I can handle my coursework, and I can handle my teaching load, and I can even handle keeping a part time job, but I can’t keep up unless my baseline is healthy.  Baseline has been “omnipresent low-level pain” for months. Tired of painkillers and antibiotics and nothing helping.

Have no idea where to go from here, short of just pulling the tooth.  Don’t even know if that would solve the problem.  Sick of being sick.

Life is standing right in my !@#$ing way.

So many awesome, ambitious plans for the summer, derailed by my mouth.  I keep trying to write, but the best I’ve been able to manage is reading.  I’m working a billion more hours than I’d hoped to pay for the mouth.  I’m in pretty much constant pain, even after the root canal.  Wisdom tooth extraction scheduled for this week, but I can’t get the crown put on until I go back to Chicago–the wisdom teeth are in the way of the crown, and it takes a month for the crown to be made before they can place it.  So it’s going to be another two months of this, with dental work overlapping the first weeks of school.  I’m so frustrated and angry I keep bursting into tears.  Thousands of dollars and so.  Much.  Time.  My insurance only covers a few doctors in the entire state of AZ (at least I’m sort’ve covered; I shouldn’t complain…I could be uninsured), so best of all, I get to drive an hour and a half each way to my extraction appointment.  And Rhin’s in town, and this was supposed to be our writing vacation for the novel, and now?  Now she’s driving me to the oral surgeon, because that’s what friends do, apparently.  I feel lame, and broke, and pretty well beaten down.  Nevermind that school starts in three weeks, and I somehow need to finish a book (the impossible Giza) and a magazine for my editing job before I leave town.  And revise my syllabus for composition.  And read for the lit class I’m TAing.  And my boyfriend is moving with me, and I was all set up to have money and emotional support saved up so I could be of some help to him, and…yeah.  Life got in the way.

Dental hell, part I’ve lost count.

This summer, I had a tooth filled.  The long story involves my childhood dentist versus my new dentist (the one covered by my insurance), an allergic reaction causing my face to swell up, new dentist threatening to pull my tooth entirely (“a wisdom tooth might grow in; you could get lucky”), and over a month now of serious nerve pain.  I’m having dreams of pulling out all my teeth, then leaping around joyfully as a gummy twenty-something.  My mouth aches so badly.

It also feels like a social class slide, moving from los padres’ decent insurance to my own (worse) AZ insurance, and now on to the (epically bad) limited insurance my current university provides.  I’m grateful to have anything at this point, but I do wish I could afford real health care, something better than the dental equivalent of a dude with a rusty pair of pliers.  It’s looking like, after already spending a small fortune on the original filling, even under insurance, I’m going to need to go back and spend a much larger fortune digging out the filling and replacing it with a root canal so that the exposed nerve ending giving me hell with STFU.  And, insult to injury, I’ll probably end up at the same awful dentist who effed up the tooth in the first place.

Whine, whine, owwwww.

No good, very bad month.

March is the month when people find out awards they didn’t get, colleges they didn’t get into, workshops and jobs that gave them a pass, internships given to someone else.  Everyone’s depressed and licking their wounds, Spring Break is in sight but too far away, no one’s gotten enough sleep in weeks.

Third try, and I didn’t get in to Clarion this year. I am disappointed and terribly frustrated, despite the knowledge that it’s a crapshoot, taste of the judges, etc. I got waitlisted in ’06, with a story I wrote in undergrad, but I’ve been flat-out rejected twice now (’07, ’10). Now, I KNOW my writing has improved over the past five years. I got into a PhD program, ferfuckssakes.  But the fact that speculative is inadmissible to graduate-level workshops doesn’t help–it’s hard to improve when all I can do is a self-crit.  I want to form a speculative fiction crit group something fierce.  A project for next fall, perhaps.

I woke up to an email from the summer subletter I thought was a sure thing saying that she had found another place, so once again I’m staring down the prospect of paying $1500 for an apartment I’m not living in.  And this morning I had perhaps the third most awful student interaction I’ve ever had, ever.  I’m going to be spending more time than I wish figuring out what to do about it, self-criticizing, replaying the incident in my head ad nauseum.  One more thing I don’t need.

The (few) bright spots: I survived the insane quantity of work I had to plow through this weekend. Nothing got done well, but everything got done, which I need to learn to live with.  And I got into a department reading with the shorter of my two Clarion pieces, so at least that story won’t be a wholly wasted exercise.  I finished a new essay for Urrea, too, something that I may be able to turn into a memoir chapter.  I like its form, even if the content is still all over the place.  I’m not proud of it, but…yeah.  Is done.

The mantra is basic: writing is hard.  One step forward, two steps back.

Creepy dude at the bar.

I’ve been meaning to write this post all weekend and have been unable to marshal my thoughts into an argument.  This will therefore be full of holes.

So after the neoliberalism conference on Sat., me and a large chunk of cohort went to our usual bar to grab drinks, kill time, procrastinate various large projects, the usual.  I walked, since the day was beautiful (you know, balmy Chicago and all), and ended up waiting outside the bar for the rest of my people.  A random drunk guy came up, shouted at me, and touched my hip, which was weird but dude, drunk guy, what do you expect?  Things went downhill from there.  This drunk guy really wanted a conversation, and Brianna and Chris, being nice people, were willing to humor him.  Me, being not a nice person, was not.  After he interrupted our conversation for the fourth time to hover over my shoulder, asking if I thought he was “stupid” (answer: yes), I turned to him and said “I just want to talk to my friends.  I don’t want to talk to you.  Sorry.”  This was apparently a bad move, as he started shouting at me, that I was a racist (dude was Asian), a snobby bitch, the usual drill.  (This is why I fear rejecting men who hit on me.  Feels like 50/50 odds it’ll turn ugly no matter how kind I try to be.)  He eventually got bounced, thank god, and the evening ended well, although I was jumping at shadows the whole way home.

So here’s the half-formulated argument.  This happens to me, and to other women I know, way more than it should.  Oh, it happens to guys too, but I wonder if the fear of physical safety is as loud.  The easy answer is “it’s just a drunk guy, man up and ignore him.”  Except that’s not a structural fix, and looks a whole lot like victim-blaming.  I wonder what else I could have done, other than not looking single in public.  Perhaps I should have left my asshole magnet at home?  I wanted to hurt this guy, scream back, do something other than quail like a giant girl.  And I hate that I’m afraid to go back to that bar now, and that my brain turns it into “well, it’ll all be easier when Matt’s here and you have an overt boyfriend,” which completely misses the point.  What’s the good feminist response to being cornered by a drunk asshole in a bar?