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Goodbye, Facebook

Hiroshige cat
Utagawa Hiroshige (Ando) (Japanese, 1797-1858). Asakusa Ricefields and Torinomachi Festival, No. 101 from One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, 11th month of 1857. Woodblock print, Sheet: 14 3/16 x 9 1/4 in. (36 x 23.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum

For those of you who know me in real life, or who I have met in the various SCA Japanese communities on Facebook, I made the decision to delete my Facebook page today.

This decision has been a long time coming. I’ve taken a couple of “vacations” from FB in the past year, and I found my productivity goes way up during those times. I’ve never been comfortable about FB’s cavalier attitudes towards privacy, but lately, the atmosphere there has gotten toxic. I’m not talking about any one person or group of people–it’s all the ads, and the fact that I can’t control my newsfeed as I want. I kept telling myself that I stayed on Facebook to keep in contact with my family, but in the last couple of weeks, one of my cousins landed in the hospital and I had no idea until my mother mentioned it on the phone.

The whole Russian scandal is just icing on the cake. It bothered me that Facebook was getting rich on ads by selling my personal information, and it made me feel so helpless. Then I realized that there was something I could do: refuse to participate in their business model!

A lot of SCA things are coordinated on Facebook, and maybe I will miss out on some things by leaving FB. I’ll just have to learn to work around it. Time is a precious commodity, and I don’t want to waste it on something that I don’t like or believe in.

Ah, I feel so free!

At the Turning of the Tide

It always amazes me how small things can just turn life on its side. In this case, this Costochondritis or whatever–life has been reduced to managing the pain and trying to get simple things around the house accomplished. One day I’m all ambition, going to do ALL THE THINGS!, and the next, I’m just trying to make it to the next minute. Life suddenly shrinks to simple daily needs.

I was hospitalized last Tuesday with severe chest pain and breathing problems. There were further complications when I had an allergic reaction to some medicine they gave me. I was released after a day, with a tentative diagnosis (Costochonritis–the inflammation in the joints between the cartilages that join the ribs to the breastbone), some pain pills, and instructions to follow up with my primary doctor for further testing next week. The pain is still there, but tests ruled out cardiac issues, so I got sent back home.

I should be grateful that this isn’t a heart problem, but OTOH, people are more understanding about a heart attack than about some weird-ass chest joint inflammation virus which just feels like a heart attack.

I’m seeing the doctor on Wednesday, probably for more testing to make absolutely sure this isn’t a kidney issue. The nurse said that this is physical therapy that can help and since I have decent insurance, I might give that a shot. I’ve had other issues in the past (usually injuries) that physical therapy has improved.

NEW!! EDIT: Doctor’s diagnosis is Tietze syndrome, which is Costochonritis’ mean cousin. The two are quite similar and both involve chest inflamation, but Tietze’s has some localized swelling as well. Further testing determined that this is NOT a kidney issue, for which I am grateful, but dang, I still hurt. I’m scheduled for Physical Therapy until this thing runs its course. Life’s going to slow down for a bit while I recover.

What gets me is that this pain which reduces me to tears and foul language is called “benign.” Supposedly, Costochondritis is usually caused by injury (a fall, a car accident, overtraining at the gym), but none of that applies to me. I walk a bit and swim about three times a week, being very careful NOT to push things because it’s easy to get injured when obese.

However, the doctor said it could also be a virus, which might make more sense, as I get all the weird ones. And somehow this ties in with anxiety, which yes, that definitely has been a big factor in my life lately.

Extremely depressed about all this. I felt like I was starting to make friends around here, make some progress, but now? Who knows? My biggest concern is stupid: I don’t know what to do about my new tent. Should I try to sell it? Should I just wait and hope things even out in the next year or so? First I suppose I need more information from the doctor. Besides, it is tough making good decisions while writhing in pain.

Anyway, hobbies are being shifted into low gear for the time being. I was already starting to pull back from my SCA-stuff because I know I will be needed down in Texas more due to my father’s illness. I can still do local things (and since we’re central, local includes several nearby groups), and keep playing with my little projects, but I’ll be more of a background presence. I’ve had to do this before (which no doubt explains my lack of awards) but real life comes first.

Incidentally, these kind of regular life mishaps are one of the reasons why I encourage SCA newbies to NOT focus on awards, peerages, and other such things. Life happens. To Everyone. To some of us, it happens a bit more. If you are in this hobby for more than a few years, there WILL be times you have to step away. Marriage, moves, new jobs or your current job gets busy. Money troubles come up. People have kids. Parents get sick and require care. That’s just how life works. And the SCA is a HOBBY. A game. And when Life gets Real, you put the game aside and deal with what you need to deal with. The game will still be there when you get back.

Unfortunately, the way the SCA works, there can be set-backs for stepping away. People forget you, they forget what you have done, no matter how hard you may have worked over the years. It is what it is, and honestly, most social hobbies are like that. Which is why I tell people to find what makes them happy in this hobby and cherish that aspect. There is so much to love about what we do, and those things will still be there when you come back.

As for me, I’m not leaving, but just slowing down for awhile. And don’t worry, still writing my poems and doing research!

Admin Note

I beg pardon for any new people who got hammered with posts this week. My previous blog was on Livejournal, but because it was set up as a community, it would not import directly into WordPress, so I was manually cut-and-pasting my old entries. I am now caught up and so the pace will slow down!

At some point, when I have time or insomnia, I’ll go back and make note of the dates of the original LJ posts. Right now, though, I’m going to play with the layout and appearance–what I originally set up was very bare-bones.

I have noticed some likes and follows. Thank you, and I will take a look at your blogs as well.

Admin Note

For any new readers, please forgive all these posts. I am moving this information over from Livejournal, but since it was set up as a community and not a journal, WordPress will not import my entries. So I will be posting a lot over the next few days. ごめんなさい。