#7) The physical and tangible relationships I have built up with people around the world.
Having a blog and sending out postcards has had people take a chance, take effort and reach out to me, sometimes sending a postcard back, sending a card, sending a package, a gift, a drawing. There starts and builds a relationship becuase I have parts of them and they have parts of me, things we each made for each other. And I love getting mail as much as the next person. Why would I want to die, when I have to keep waiting for tomorrow, to find out what the post delivery person might bring?
Much, much more on that but first a little aside about me and my health, I thought I would take a picture to show you the “dark patches” I was talking about. Linda took the pictures and said, “Wow, this is great, these ones look TERRIBLE.” I decided not to use those, I mean, I know in real life I look emaciated and such but come-on, I do have some pride. Today I was going to wear a cream colored top when Linda gave me a dark one instead saying, “You look pasty and ill in the other one.” So, uh, goth isn’t just a fashion statement, it is what makes me look the most healthy? How is that for irony? So here is the BEST pic.
As you see, I have lost the hair in the back and top of my head and am using what is left in front to cover. Because I am leaning forward with my shoulders hunched forward you can’t really see the breastbone and the shoulder bones standing up in fine definition. But you can see how even straight on, there is a clear shadow under my cheekbone, from where the flesh has sunk in below it. Yup, just call me SKULL GIRL! (No seriously, please don’t!).
Now, because of my seizures (I worked too hard today as it was Chores Day, and had a big old Grand Mal earlier so I am a bit punked and will be more punk later), as well as that stroke I have what is called my BRAIN BOX. That is a box of all the post/mail I have received in the order I received it so that I have an idea when sending a postcard who has written and what they said, even if I have forgotten it a few times. Of course to MAKE this blog post, I had to scatter bits of MY BRAIN, I mean my brain box all over the table so now the chronological order is all mixed up. Still here are some of the postcards that I have received. The one thing that the postcard project does is that I get post from all over the world (Mexican Hello Kitty?). So the cards are from everywhere (see the Pippi one!). Which is kinda fun, because while I SEND cards all over the world, I actually only live in one town, so getting post from other continents and places is fun.
I want to make clear that this is a SELECTION of what I have received, I didn’t have the time or space to put up all the cards I have gotten. Also, the cards and other items are all anonymous. That means, if you didn’t send me a postcard, this is not a guilt trip, this is just an insight into some of the things which keep me going during the dark times, of which we have to admit there have been many over the last year. Here is another selection of cards (if you look carefully you can see someone noticed my closely guarded secret that I am a lesbian).
What it also means is that if I haven’t thanked you for your card or gift, I am sorry, so let me say, thank you, all the gifts and cards have made an individual, and a daily difference! The fact that I regularly get a mind wipe doesn’t change that! But the anonymous part means I am not going to name individuals behind the gifts, so I hope you understand. You are invited however to pester me by email after seeing you gift in a picture going, “You DID get it and I never heard from you!” and get a groveling email back about how I am truly a grateful person with exceedingly poor social skills like saying “thank you” right away. A few gifts are anonymous, so I would LIKE to know who they are from (gargoyle?) Here is another set of postcards I have received, including one sent from a place I lived for a time, North Battleford (shudder!), even spending minutes there you can feel the poison in the permafrost burning into you....uh, I mean "Thanks, great postcard!).
Also, there have been a few people who have taken it upon themselves to have a postcard project of their own, and I AM the project. They send postcards with a regular intensity that I can’t match. Though I have determined to try and get a few postcards back to them in this war! (When someone sends you a postcard, that’s nice; when someone sends you a postcard a day covered with puns like: “Do bakers with a sense of humor bake wry bread?”, “Hickory Dickory Dock, The elephant ran up the clock, The clock is being repaired.” And “Did you know that people tend to tell worse puns as they get older? That’s why they’re groan-ups!” – that’s war! And I going to get some shots in! What is odd is that Linda and I do call these jokes “groaners!”). So see, if you want more postcards, just keep sending them, I can’t get them out as fast as you, but I try!
Now, some people have gone to the extent of MAKING their own cards in order that I have some post. Which is so labor intensive that I am somewhat guilty receiving them (so pretty!), particularly when they put such craft and even do drawings. Here is a selection of some of the cards I have received, many are hand-made and as you see, feed my inner (and OUTER) goth!
So, that’s a pretty good reason to live right? But wait, that’s not all! “Cliff, show us what is behind door number two!” (sorry, I was channeling Bob Barker there for a moment).
What I want to add is that people, often people who have just been reading and I haven’t even sent a card to just up and send me a gift. Wow! Now, what you may not know is that when I was aged four I made a list of “How to be a good grown-up!” because I thought grown ups forgot what fun was. And I think number one or number two on that list was, “Give Random gifts!” Because there was nothing better than when my father would come home from work with a random gift, didn’t matter really what it was, just that tangible evidence that he had thought of me. So to be getting that with other people, that is a bond, and it is just plain cool!
Here are some of the gifts I have received. As you can see, several people have contributed toward the Postcard Project. One donated more Hello Kitty Stickers (good as I was running out!), another sent me some hand made stationary to use (love stationary, but who doesn’t!), and another send me a card….to show how to fence in high heels and a bra and panty set? Err…I mean, one sent a card combining my love of fencing and red headed women! Then we have the Anarchist Angel cards, and socks for my feet with Reynauds, but socks that have cool skulls on them (another person sent socks with skulls too but I didn’t photograph them because I was wearing them today!). The Butterflies in the center are from the Victoria and Albert, a Chinese art booklet of coloured papercuts Butterfly – wow! One person even sent origami in the post and it arrived perfect! While another sent Hello Kitty Red Hots, and one person sent some anime postcards, blank on the back in order to contribute to the project.
It is a bit like a possible Xmas/Birthday everyday, right, which is why, when I keep alluding to working on the “surprise”, I have been trying to give back by putting together little gift packs for some/most of my readers, at least the ones I know. The problem is that the postcards take time, but to put a gift pack together takes about three to five hours minimum (thats once I FIND and get the stuff shipped to me), so I am having a little problem getting a bunch out. I get some people to do wrapping (not with my hands sorry). And I started ordering things, or finding things on the net, months ago, I guess including the items back from Japan, since April and started my “Summer Surprise” sending about a month ago, but I still am like, half way through the list. Obviously I am not going to show you what I am mostly sending because where is the SURPRISE in that, but here is an example of some unique items, that will likely go out in the next week or two to different people in collective packs. I guess I also wanted you to know I am not sitting up here just sucking down the gifts, I do try to give back, it just works on Disability Time, which means it takes a while. So in this pic we have a reproduction Victorian “Sliding View” card, a Ghibli still brand new puzzle from the film Totoro (if you haven’t seen this, please do so, as it has a CATBUS for one thing). The puzzle has its own little handle. There is also some Japanese candy and a pack of Hello Kitty playing cards (in this case Hello Kitty Angels) and then some Angel Hello Kitty stickers (appearing on a postcard near you!). And in the top middle, all that pack of candy…it isn’t candy, they are erasers, they just look like candy, shipped in from Japan (cool huh?). Do not lick the erasers...they are erasers...not candy.
First off, I LIKE giving, I mean making up the packages, trying to figure out the right gift for the right person is fun, and then hoping they enjoy it when they open it. Plus, so many people have been so generous to me in both time and gifts themselves. For example here is a gift of a drawing I received from a reader from the Anime Chobits (this is Dark Chobit). This person spent the time to draw this for me! I guess that kind of attitude is catching because I want to give things too!
I admit, my gifts aren’t expensive, I get them from around the world, and it often takes a couple months to collect everything even for just one package, but that is also how I save up and afford it, patience and finding unique items or rare items or different items. So here is the Totoro Puzzle again with the velcro opened to put the pieces in, and it shows another scene from the film. Also I have pulled the tab on the Victorian Sliding View card – that is what it is, you pull the tab and it moves from on view to another (cool, sadly I only have ONE!). Here are some of the postcards I got in this week, a series of boys and girls with angel wings. So that will go out soon. And a Hello Kitty Angel Pencil with an attached figure (okay, this just happens to be an Angel themed Picture, I am NOT obsessed with Angels, so please no books on them quite yet!). I also finally found my Goth Lolita Packing Tape, took me over a month and half and a little too much money because the tape and the entire line was discontinued soon after production in 2006 after the creator was arrested for using the “wacky tabaccy” which in Japan is a no-no. So now I can start sending out packages where even the tape to close them will be rare and exotic (goth lolita Hello Kitty is rare and exotic, no?).
Here is another picture of some of the gifts I have been fortunate enough to receive, which range from the Goth Lolita bible (Ahhh, swoon!), to a gargoyle (how well people know me!), to wine jelly and spa products (love the skin and the skin will love you!). There are carved skulls and in the lower right corner, a HELLO KITTY GRAVEYARD (Squeee! Oh to die for!). No, not a place to bury Hello Kitty head down you Hello Kitty haters, but Hello Kitty in her own graveyard dressed up as a vampire or a witch in a 3-D diorama card. Sweet!
And to finish off the selection of gift I have gotten here are these two, one is an original art piece of me (sort of ME channeling someone from the planet Wonder Woman came from I think, but interesting because I did MAKE myself a bow when I was like 10 or 11 – and have been good at archery!). And the other is feeding my anime Otaku side, a figurine from the Anime Read or Die OVA – a classic and called, “Better than James Bond” (Because it has lots of women with guns for one thing and it has my favorite character, a female obsessed with books who is a secret agent called, The PAPER! Hey, not a lot of times do women who spend way too much time and money on books get to be superheroes!)
So you can see now why this is a pretty strong reason to live. I mean I have this thing going on, I send out cards, people send me cards, I get gifts, I send out gifts. I am making friends. Real friends. Probably more friends than I have ever had in my life. People I feel very deeply about, think about. And just because that may be 30 or 40 different people doesn’t mean I don’t think about them, wonder how they are doing, see something and wonder if they might like that. I love the relationship I have with the people that have developed through this blog. And that is part of what keeps me writing. I want to talk to my friends.
Now here are some OTHER of the postcards I got this week. Hey, how come I never looked this good on the beach? Oh well, that is why anime land is a wonder land, they can wear clothes that never have your breast pop out of, and they have giant eyes. Believe me I have tried and tried in front of the mirror to get those anime eyes but NO GO. Darn it. But a lot of people seem to like the anime girls (ME! ME! ME!) and they are hard to get so I spend some time every week searching for more, as for example this weeks total of cards is 24. Whew, if only 50% of those are anime, that is still a lot to find.
And finally here are some Pencil Boards, and a folder. I wanted to finish with this because, well I think they are really pretty (okay, I used to have this ballet fantasy, except I wasn’t the right ‘build’ (tall, more than 79 lbs!) if you know what I mean – but now I want to go back in time and be a SHRINE MAIDEN!). Also, if you look at the pencil board on the left, you will notice the fan in her hand. A couple of you HAVE that fan (or one like it). See, the 'summer surprise' bringing the goodness of Japan right to your summer! Also those two girls are wearing Yukata’s and this week I have been asked by three people INCLUDING the gentleman from Japan who helped me with the information on disability access, on WHEN am I going to wear my purple and black Yukata? Summer is here and so time to break out the Yukata and Obi, right? Well, that will have to be one of my next projects.
I hoped you liked that tour, and thank you again for everyone who sent me a postcard, a card, a hand made card, a gift and an email or picture (which I didn’t show here). Those tangible expressions of one human being to another, those things which I can hold in my hand and know that someone out there actually cares and cared enough about me to spend the time making, writing, sending this. And that’s my number seven reason on why I want to live. Because those relationship are too precious to give up, and besides, I haven’t finished sending out all my gift packets yet (some of you are REALLY hard to shop for!).
As an aside, the reason I did a “Summer Surprise” was two fold; first, for people like me, often people with chronic conditions, summer is a time when everyone goes away (like a lot of people are away right now!), and those of us who are indoors, who are going still to doctor’s appointments or making it through the day of our chronic conditions…..it can get lonely. That is a good time for a package.
The second reason, to be honest, was I was getting a lot of bad news the last month or two, developing a lot of pain, a lot of things like seizures and passing out and not breathing. Plus there were a few times when it seemed that I would not make it (as in be alive), or was told later that some people thought I might not make it. So I felt the clock was ticking. I wasn’t going to wait for a traditional time for Xmas. Because for me, if I wanted to show someone how I felt, I needed to do it NOW, before it was too late. Xmas in summer.
But now that I am going to keep living regardless (yeah, even as zombie if that is what it takes!), what will I do when Xmas comes?
Anyway, that is reason number seven.