☺☺☺ (Three Happy Faces in a Row)

A digital painting wip

An update! I’ve been busy thanks to a move so I haven’t had time to work on WBJ. I also had a bit more low energy days than usual, but lots of time to think more about my projects, and just generally think about life. I’ve got a lot of goals I want to achieve, but I’m enjoying taking my time to create the art and projects I want to. I’ve also been able to finalise some things!

So here are my updates in no particular order .

  • Farm Lyfe

My story inspired by some of my favourite games finally has a medium I’ll write it in! Looking forward to sharing with you all my game. XD Farm Lyfe (title still in work) will be a Harvest Moon inspired game following a young adult protag who has inherited their family’s ancestral farmland from their recently passed grandparent. The story follows your character as they spend time back in their homeland and make the decision to remain and bring the old farm back to its former glory or return to the city their family now calls home and try to begin a new family tradition.

The game will have the usual things, different love interests, farm/other trades mechanics, timed relationship events and etc.. I also am really excited to work on the more fantastical aspects of the game/story. Something I love abt Harvest Moon is the magical aspect. The home region of the MC is a place with a rich history and vibrant culture that reflects the environment it’s named for. Trying not to spoil y’all, but I’m reallly hype for this!

I’m also going to be pairing with a friend to try and make a lil comic for it. Figured while I’m playing with mediums, I’ll try my hand at other forms of script. XD Look forward to it!

  • The Lemon Grove and Other Stories

I’ve spoken a bit on twitter about my series of short stories about Black women in love and being loved, and this is it. Working on Yaisha (Y&G) has taken a back burner for doing more research and such. I want to flesh out more of my world before I dive back in fully, though I’m still writing a bit as I go along. I haven’t written a short story in a good while, so I thought I’d work on this between other projects.

Each story of TLGaOS is centered around a Black women on the precipice of…something. XD First we go to a fantasy land on the rise again after war, and follow our heroine who is a burgeoning journalist in hopes of single-handedly bringing a new way to connect the diaspora displaced and now in need of a different way to keep up with family, friends, and their past communities. Our next story takes us from valley countryside, to the mountains. It is a different time and new place. The stories, while similar in theme, all take place in a world of their own. The second story’s heroine is an older women who’s been forced to return to her home town after an unlucky stint in the big city. Her dreams of making it big as a writer in an unsleeping city have fallen through, and she is forced to reassess what it is she wants her life to mean, and how she means to get it. The last story is about a young starlet shrouded in scandal. After her embarrassingly public divorce from her ain’t mess husband, our heroine must decide what her next steps in life will be. Having dedicated everything to her career and her relationship, not realising she’d left nothing over for herself, what now?

I’m really excited to be working on these!!! I love the characters and their worlds, and am excited to try working on something that the whole goal is just to tell a story and let it be. XD I have no interest in diving back into these worlds, though I do want to have fun building them up and following these protagonists as they come to another turn in their lives.

They’re all romances, the relationships will be m/f and f/f, with a lot of emphasis on community and family. I’ve had the story for these ideas in my head for a while now, but I think now would be a great time to get them down on paper (maybe literally…it’s been a while since I broke out my fountain pens XD). I can’t wait to share these stories with you all! If you just wanna see Black women get loved on and cared for, this will definitely be the collection for you.

  • Sentimental

So…I’ve been working on this poem collection for what??? Two years now? XD I can’t believe I thought it would be so easy to finish and get out, though I think I expected it would end up taking longer. XD Always good to think optimistically, I find the end results often are more encouraging than what I could have come up with before.

Sometimes last year (I think?) I decided I wanted to incorporate more art into Sentimental, so that’s what I’ve been working on this year. I’ve further finalised the poems, and now it is coming up with and deciding what art to pair them with. Words just seem so bare when they’re on their own, and I think over the span of creating this/working on it I’ve realised how much I really do love the many different art mediums and how much I want to be an artist that isn’t tied to just one form. Deciding the style of art, it’s form, how it will appear in the book, etc. has been really enlightening and entertaining.

It’s no secret that I’m really a novice when it comes to drawing and painting, and tbh I’m a bit of a novice when it comes to poetry too. I’ve always written, but I’ve always told stories or presented information and opinion. I haven’t really tried something like this before, something so rooted in formality, yet is both personal and dynamic. Poetry and art is weird. XD

I think I always go back to noveling and story writing because there is a solidness to it that is comfortable and grounding. Even when writing about fantastic things, I often go at writing as if I am writing down a history of events, what I’m writing is something rooted in reality. You can’t really be too metaphorical or haphazard when writing a book. How will readers know what you mean? How will they know what is and isn’t “real” as far as the story goes? What will they be able to visualise and understand if you only talk in maybes and feeling? What can they intuit from abstract? Poetry is difficult because it is a more abstract way of saying something. To be honest I don’t always get a lot of poetry, but writing poetry is fun, and making visual art is fun. Visual art, particularly for me, is more of a hobby than anything, but I like how it can add another level to anything you’re working on so I’ve been looking into incorporating more of it in my overall work.

Sentimental will definitely be interesting, that I can say. I’m looking forward to creating something a little different than what I originally set out to make. Working on this has been fun, and I’m already looking forward to working on my art medium hybrids. XD Definitely look forward to some new zines sometime in the future. Especially with the internet being what it is, and digital media being a thing, I’m really looking forward to creating something special later one incorporating all the mediums and styles of art I love!

Outside of my lil projects, I’ve just been having fun making things. Working on some private writing projects, doing stuff for fun with friends, jsut doodling and playing around with art apps. It’s been nice taking what moments I can to just have a good artsy time. XD I might share some of it later, might just keep it to myself. We’ll see.

Hope y’all having a good week and looking forward to your weekend. Hope y’all staying safe and doing what you can to find moments of rest and peace.

Ttyl (Talk to y’all later lmao)

NMHAM

So I’ve been threatening to write a post about my migraines ever since I found out that June is National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month. It’s also often been delayed…because of migraine. XD However, this June I am determined to give it another attempt. Hopefully this will be detailed and informative enough that others will read this and take some new knowledge and understanding away from it. You’ll learn a bit about me, a bit more about migraines and headache disorders, and you might even learn a bit about yourself. Do you experiences migraines or headaches? Did you know a migraine can be painless, or that they can even cause hallucinations? It’s a neurological disorder, so that means there’s all kinds of fun and interesting things that can happen. lmao

Before We Get Into It:

Migraine and Headaches are a neurological disorder. Despite being so prominent (it’s the 3rd most common illness in the world!), migraine is still a disorder with little understanding and sympathy, even within the medical world. It’s a disorder that can be absolutely debilitating, and is so much more than just “a bad headache” (though 👀👀👀, “any pain is too much pain”, as my PCP puts it).

Now, there are many intersections of prejudice/bias at work when it comes to people’s view on migraine. It is a disease that most often affects women, is a struggle to be diagnosed with if not being seen by a neurologist (specifically a headache specialist), and, like all illnesses and disorders, is more difficult to be diagnosed with if you are a person of colour. Ableism is also something to take into consideration when learning and hearing about migraine and headache disorders. As a neurological disorder, it is met with the same problems other neurological conditions are often met with. People only know and understand so much about the human brain, and because of how neurological disorders affect how we sound, how we speak, how we look, how we move, and how we think, people are often scared of these disorders and the people who have them.

Every year more is learned about the brain, and, in turn, migraine and headaches. There are many different types and possible symptom overlap between them and other disorders that affect the brain. You may even be diagnosed with one type, but later find out your headaches are caused by a different thing entirely.

About Migraine

Ok, so what exactly is migraine? The way I’ve found it easy to understand is thinking of migraine as the brain’s reactions to changes within or outside the body. Everything the body experiences is processed through the brain. What you see, what you smell, what you hear, even what you eat affects it. The brain is run on chemicals, but, migraineurs brains are very sensitive to the chemical changes that happen throughout our day to day lives.

Migraine frequency and intensity often changes as we age. Puberty, menstruation, and menopause are often cited as reasons for changes in migraine behaviour. Migraineurs also often lack certain vitamins and minerals that are important to hormone production and regulation. Magnesium and B vitamins are often toted as potential treatments, or additions to treatments as migraneurs often lack them. Metabolic disorders are often comorbid with migraine, which makes sense, seeing as the glands involved are often located in the areas of the brain that some parts of the migraine process takes place. Chemicals are key when it comes to migraines, and understanding their affect on the body, and how your environment and genetics determine your migraine experience.

As your brain attempts to process these chemical shifts, it responds to it in a variety of ways. While at one time it was thought that migraine attacks were caused by changes in blood vessels, this is no longer the thought. Since so little is known about the exact causes of migraine and how the changes the brain undergoes in the midst of an attack relate to the symptoms, we can really only make educated guesses based on what we do know. What we do know is that migraineurs are often more sensitive to pain than others. Migraine attacks happen as a result of being triggered by something. These triggers can be a number of different things, amount of sleep, diet, hormones, sensory experiences, stress, and more can be the cause. Migraineurs brains are also physically different in some ways than non migraineurs brains, and even the type of migraine depends on these differences. Migraine attacks also create changes in the brain over time.

When it comes to fully understanding migraine, the best thing to do is just listen to people’s experience with it. There are so many types, so many reasons for migraine or headache, and so many ways symptoms manifest that it is impossible to learn about migraine if you don’t listen to those that experience it. If you only go after what the researchers have to say, you won’t get even half of a full picture.

My Migraine Story

I was born a migraineur. It isn’t something I suddenly acquired over time. It’s likely I inherited it from my father, who also has migraine. As a kid I was prone to bouts of head pain and dizziness as well as some other, less memorable issues. I’ve since looked back on and realised these were migraine symptoms. Despite my occasional bouts with intense migraine episodes throughout my childhood, I hadn’t considered them to be disabling until my late teens.

My migraine began to more noticeably affect my life around the time I reached my third year of highschool. Leading up to this time, I became increasingly concerned about my mental health, but I did not know enough about migraine to realise how my neurological difficulties could possibly be related to my occasional headaches, strange aura, and brain fog. After the first semester of of 11th grade my family moved. At this time I’d already been having troubles sleeping and waking up, however sometime after going to my new school, I began to be completely incapable of waking up in the morning.

These episodes, which still occasionally happen, were very odd and unlike anything I’d ever known to even be remotely related to migraine. Nearly every other morning, I would have difficulty opening my eyes and controlling my limbs. It felt like I was having a seizure, though the seizing was not yet as intense as it would later become. While not visible to others yet, my muscles would spasm, mostly on my left, though my right would also be difficult to move and spasm to a lesser degree. This would last for up to an hour, eventually, usually around 10-11 am, my body would finally have calmed down enough that I could get up and go about my day. It was very taxing physically and mentally. Physically, because my body was flexing and unflexing uncontrollably, and mentally, because it was very upsetting. I couldn’t do anything, not even talk, and no one around me understood what was happening. Most of all, I myself didn’t understand what was happening either.

Despite going to the hospital, no one could say what exactly was wrong. I was told it wasn’t a seizure or tumor because the tests done didn’t show that, given ibprofen (despite not having headaches at this time) and told with a shrug, “maybe migraines?” I was referred to a neurologist at another hospital, but never was able to make the appointment. It’s hard to do that when you’re not up during business hours and can’t speak because of a stutter. People aren’t very accommodating to those with slow or intterupted speech. Language became very difficult for me after these attacks (and during my regular migraine, on top of already being dyslexic and having other language issues) and at times I couldn’t even read, let alone think of words.

Around this time, since highschool was soon ending, I was focused on attending college. I started doing my own research on migraine, and begin doing better after treating my attacks like migraine and avoiding my triggers and taking medication like Excedrin. Did my migraine go away and continue to “get better” just because I traded highschool stressors and scheduling for college? Nope. lmao

While I was fine for a bit, I began to have trouble waking and spasming again. Eventually I left the program I was in and gave up on morning classes. They just weren’t doable and I wasn’t in a position to see a neurologist yet for answers. My migraine did get more manageable with less stress, however I remained very limited as far as what I was capable of doing every day. I took it very easy on myself and just did what I could, however my episodes continued, as did all my other migraine symptoms like, brain fog, language difficulties, sleep issues, memory problems, etc.. I wasn’t able to do school at this rate, so I decided to focus on my health and try again at a later date.

Even after leaving school behind, I wasn’t able to get a proper diagnosis for migraine until about two years ago (I left school in 2015). After school we moved again. I’d tried and failed a couple years to see a doctor, but finally in 2018 I was able to get new insurance and had a PCP who then promptly got me a referral for a neurologist and I was given an actual diagnosis! Migraine! Well, actually Cervicogenic Headache and Migraine with Aura! Suddenly everything made sense!

My weird “not siezures,” well…they aren’t seizures, but they are muscle spasms. I have cervicogenic headache caused by a pinched nerve. Basically, the base of my neck is extrememly tight, and because of this it is pinching on my nerves at the base of my skull. Yeah, not great.

This tightness also affects my whole body. Despite being a fairly active kid, I did notice that sometime between middle and highschool I did begin to have more difficulties stretching and moving. My neck and shoulders had been uncomfortably tight or felt pressured. We’re not entirely sure why exactly I developed a cervicogenic headache, it could have been anything from a shaky roller-coaster with bad neck support to having a long neck and trying to get my hair washed in the sink. XD What’s most important is I now have a name for what I’ve been experiencing all this time.

After I was diagnosed with cervicogenic headache I was put on the medicine I take now (noritriptyline as a preventative, I’m still trying to find an abortive/pain medication), did a few months of physical therapy (😭😭😭 I was so tight my shoulders felt like bone! Bone!), and now it’s down to keeping up a routine and being weary of my migraine triggers. I’m still working on trying to go back to school and getting a job (had to leave my last job because of how often I had episodes/attacks), but things are definitely looking brighter now than they did ten years ago.

The Stages of a Migraine (What is a Migraine?)

While I mention my cervicogenic headaches as a part of my “migraine story,” the truth is a headache is not the same as a migraine. This is a little easier to make sense of once you remember that migraine do not necessarily need to involve pain to be considered a migraine, and that pain usually happens on one side of the head. In fact, a migraine isn’t necessarily even a thing it’s more like a state of being. We know a migraineur’s brain is different from a non migraneurs brain. They look and act differently, though science doesn’t exactly know why exactly migraine disorder exists, we do know that a migraneur’s brain can be thought of as in a process of “having a migraine.”

A migraine attack, as they’re often called, actually consists of four stages. First is the prodromal stage, next is the aura stage, then the “attack“, and last is the postdromal stage, often called the “hangover” phase.

  1. Prodromal Stage

This is the first stage of the migraine and considered the warning stage. This is often the stage you might want to begin taking preventative measures in. For me, I tend to tie this stage into my aura, as I also think of aura as a warning (and another chance to prevent/medicate an attack). My symptoms that present depend on what triggered the migraine.

Like many people, my prodrome can lead to me being sluggish, or randomly energised . I often get irritated, and have food cravings. Some more common prodrome symptoms are yawning, feeling tired, and an increased need to pee.

There are some symptoms that are more difficult to tell if they are aura or prodrome related. These include difficulty swallowing, stomach problems (constipation, appetite loss), neck stiffness/pain, limb weakness, brain fog, and confusion/forgetfullness (difficulty thinking). For me, brain fog and confusion tends to be a constant throughout my entire process, so it’s appearance usually depends on what type of headache or migraine I am having and why it was triggered.

2. Aura

Not everyone experiences aura. Aura can be thought of as another way of “warning” of an impending attack. It can also be thought of as the “beginning” of the attack, before the pain comes.

Like with my prodrome, my aura depends on my migraine trigger, it also depends on whether or not I’m even having a migraine, as my headaches also often involve aura. Migraine with aura is a different type of migraine than migraine without. It comes with it’s own difficulties as far as trying to manage and medicate symptoms (an example of this is trying to medicate hormonal migraines as caused by menstruation). As every migraine type is different, this isn’t exactly that much of a surprise, but it is important to point out that not all migraineurs experience aura, and thus how you treat the migraine may be different. Not all migraine is the same and every experience is different! Even auras can very vastly.

Aura I have experienced is:

  • visual aura (I see little white squiggly lines, sometimes black lines, and depending on their visual position depends on how intense the pain will be)
  • language problems (I have difficulties, reading, writing, speaking, and understanding language, it has on occasion become so bad that I literally can not read. I’m also dyslexic and have other learning disabilities/language processing issues so this symptom may just increase already existing issues)
  • weakness in arms (usually my left)
  • weakness in the face (often feels like I’m having a stroke, but as I can still do things and my strength returns it is not a stroke, just migraine)
  • spasms (those not seizure seizing attacks, as well as less intense body twitching/spasms)
  • hallucinations (visual and auditory, though auditory are more rare and a sign of a very intense migraine to come, I first started hallucinating about a few months before my spasms started)
  • brain fog
  • confusion
  • forgetfulness
  • sudden depressed mood
  • anxiety (often a general unease and nervousness)
  • nausea (sometimes part of the attack)
  • tingling (my newest aura, it comes and goes with the amount of pressure on my nerves)
  • shivering

3. Attack

The “attack” part of migraine is the one most people are familiar with. Most often (not always) this stage is known by its head pain. It can be said that those who experience “Silent Migraine” skip this part, as they don’t experience the head pain. Becausse this is just a theory however, I personally would say that silent migraine may still have the attack phase, as my prodrome, aura, and postdrome feel different when I’m having a silent migraine.

Along with head pain, people often experience light sensitivity, noise sensitivity, and sensitivity to smells. As I mentioned a bit while talking about aura and prodrome, sometimes symptoms can overlap/begin during this stage too. Nausea, vertigo, and even body temperature changes can happen during the attack part.

Over the years my migraine attacks have changed. As a little kid I used to have bouts of vertigo. At the time we hadn’t yet known much about migraine and these were just thought of as strange random episodes of no serious cause. I began having vertigo episodes a little bit before kindergarten, around four or five years old (from my memory, possibly earlier).

On top of vertigo episodes, I had the typical head pain and sensory sensitivity. I may have also been having abdominal migraine. I did a lot of sleeping as a kid. XD Sleeping a headache off was and still is my best medicine. I had a lot of growing pains, and headaches can often be had with growing pains. While it’s not entirely clear why children experience growing pains, they might be related to a child’s pain sensitivity. Allodynia is a common symptom of migraine. I was a very tenderheaded kid, so this checks out. Allodynia isn’t exactly related to the attack phase, it’s just a natural symptom of having a migraine brain, however, because of migranuers pain sensitivity, this may be why we have headaches.

Between my preteen and teen years, I didn’t actually have as many headaches as I did as a child, or I would have as an adult. However I was still having migraine, just “silent” ones. My attack staged looked a little more like this:

  • Brain fog
  • Confusion
  • Language difficulties
  • lethargy

and a strange feeling in my head I couldn’t really explain. The best way to put it is I felt like my brain was made of cotton. I also occasionally have nausea, though that is usually with particularly bad migraine, or related to weather/atmosphere shifts.

Lately I’ve had a bit of a mix of attack symptoms, but the usual symptoms are sensory sensitivity and head pain, with the added addition of neck tightness and shoulder and neck pain.

4. Postdromal Stage

The Postdromal Stage is the final and sometimes longest stage (though for everyone this varies). It is often called the “hangover” stage and is sometimes the most difficult to cope with. This stage is essentially your body dealing with the aftermath of your previous symptoms. If your attack includes pain, you may still feel some lingering aches. An action as simple as bending over to pick up something that fell may bring on a flare of pain. You may feel exhausted, after all, you’re body and brain was just under an intense sensory experience! That’s of course going to be tiring. You may still have some lingering confusion and difficulty thinking. You might not feel as “smart” as you usually do, struggling to accomplish or think about even “simple” tasks. This experience can last from a few hours, to a few days. If you ever wondered why a friend or family member doesn’t just “get back to it” after a migraine or headache, this is often why.

When I’m in my postdrome phase it often lasts 3-4 days. Depending on how close together my migraine/headache attacks are, it can feel as if I’m never really out of it. When in the postdrome stage I often feel exhausted, fuzzy brained, and physically weak. I also occasionally feel an up spike in mood, which happens for some. For others, a low mood can follow the end of a migraine.

What Does This All Mean?

While we often notice and understand the “attack” part of the migraine, it’s important to understand that migraine and headaches are more than just this one part. Migraine is a long drawn out experience that can last as long as a few years. It’s more than just a few hours of your life interrupted by “a bit of pain.” Because of migraine, like all disabilities, people have to alter their entire way of living.

People often say that, “we all experience pain,” and while that’s true, we don’t all experience the same pain in the same ways. Some are more sensitive than others, and that’s partially why people may be experiencing migraine and headaches in the first place. Besides, if someone you know is in pain, isn’t it better to treat that pain and make sure they feel better than to scold them for having a natural reaction to being hurt? Don’t you also owe it to the people you care about to learn more about what ails them and how best to support them?

It’s often hard for people to understand how neurological issues can be disabling. When something is “all in someone’s head” or “invisible,” that doesn’t negate their very real symptoms and experiences. Migraine is a legitimate neurological disorder. It’s lack of knowledge and understanding does not give permission to be dismissive, it just means you need to educate yourself and learn to empathize with others experiences.

As a Black woman, I’ve often struggled with getting any acknowledgement of my need for support and help with issues, whether health related or otherwise. Now more than ever, it is important to be aware of how our biases affect how we treat and look out for each other.

Because of my migraine I struggled in school and at work. I eventually had to leave school and quit my job because I was unable to get the support and have access to the resources I needed. I’m more knowledgeable of my disorder now, but it’s mostly because I was able to research on my own and kept pushing for better treatment. A common problem for those who are disabled, is that people don’t always have the energy, time, or resources to fight for their care and better treatment. It’s exhausting having to keep finding a new doctor, spending hours at a computer or in the library looking for more info on diseases that have similar symptoms to yours (and in my case, I couldn’t find much information on my more “extreme” symptoms and how they related to migraine/headache), and it’s also not always accessible when you do finally come across something.

I’m lucky in that my family has enough money that I can currently go without work and not have to worry about what I’ll eat or how I’ll sleep. My parents were very encouraging when it came to me trying to find out what was going on, and as we knew of a family history of migraine, following the migraine train of thought was very easy and made sense. I also started tracking my headaches with a migraine tracker and was introduced to the Migraine World Summit through the app. Through the MWS I was introduced to more migraine resources and information and I’ve only been learning more ever since.

Even with my relatively privileged living situation, I still had and have other struggles as I try to keep my health in check and stay well. Migraine and headache aren’t my only problems, but they’re the only thing I’ve been able to be seen for and properly diagnosed with, and even this was a struggle. My mental health, learning disabilities, and other issues are all things I know exist, but don’t always have the opportunity or resources to professionally handle. It’s also difficult to find work, as my options are very limited as someone who doesn’t have a degree and has to keep her triggers and ability in mind when applying for jobs or looking for other options. It’s often difficult not to not feel like a burden and, as I can’t drive and may never drive because of symptoms, my world is very limited in a country with such poor public transportation infrastructure.

Migraine is often comorbid with a number of other disorders and diseases and I’m no different in this regard. It’s hard to tell what began what, if there even was a beginning outside of just being born, but having to deal with migraine on top of other problems is difficult, especially when it comes to what to focus on and how to get treatment. There are so many issues that crop up just because of my perceived gender, Blackness, and ways people identify me. I’m a plus sized person and this means a lot of assumptions are made about my health and how I take care of myself. Never mind the fact that I’m 5’9 and was never going to be under 120 pounds lmao. Ableism comes in many different forms and people don’t treat folks kindly when they believe they’re not the most intelligent. My language difficulties mean I am often talked over, ignored, or misunderstood. This happens no matter what ways I try to talk to others, as it’s difficult to completely avoid using written or verbal language. I struggle to speak for a variety of reasons, but none of these difficulties endure me to those who aren’t patient and willing to endure the conversational interruptions or struggles to make myself clear. It is also difficult for people to understand the extent of my disability, as people have a hard time accepting disability they cannot “see” for themselves. If you could see my brain, we’d have issues! The brain shouldn’t be exposed to the outside lmao.

Having migraine is often most difficult because of how you are treated by others. You can be doing everything right, but when people aren’t treating you correctly in turn, this causes issues. While migraine and headaches themselves can cause mood disorders, your environment and relationships also play a factor in this.

Of course someone who is surrounded by positive, supportive, and understanding people would have an easier time dealing with the adverse symptoms of their disorder. People thrive in healthy environments. Healing is always difficult when you are unsafe and unable to focus on your well-being. I don’t regret leaving school or my job, but I do regret how I felt forced into a bad situation. Sometimes the problem is that those around you don’t understand, and sometimes you don’t have the words to ask for help either. That was my problem. I wasn’t sure what my rights were, how to get the help I needed, or what even to call my situation. Sometimes people are purposely offensive, they don’t want to learn and they don’t want to grow. Most of the time though, people are just ignorant, but because of this they are careless. Carelessness, however well intentioned, hurts people.

I often have to remind myself that my experiences matter. I’m not being extra when I make sure I’m being treated correctly. It isn’t wrong to call nonsense out when nonsense is happening. My disability is real, and I am allowed to be disabled. This doesn’t make me any less of a person, and it’s ok to be as careful with my body as any non-disabled person is with theirs. Just because others want me to put myself at risk just to fit their standards doesn’t mean I have to. That’s a personal problem. lmao It’s none my business.

It’s difficult being kind to yourself when so much around you refuses to accept it. Black women aren’t allowed space to take care of themselves and be vulnerable. Most of my struggles stemmed from others inability to accept that a little Black girl could be weak and need help. I wasn’t used to having my requests for help answered. How would I suddenly become good at asking for and receiving help just because I magically became an adult over night (as turning 18 often is treated like)? My struggles with my health, while physical, took a very heavy mental and emotional toll on me. My relationships suffered and still struggle because of how alone and unheard I felt. It wasn’t just a feeling, it simply was my reality.

So many others have stories like mine when it comes to their disability. It doesn’t matter what kind of illness or disorder you have, it’s often difficult for people to see past their biases and treat others with humanity. Whether it’s in a medical setting or just your casual day to day, it’s hard not to expect the worse because it happens so often. Ableism is such a deeply rooted problem that it affects every aspect of our lives. There is no part of society untouched by ableism. It’s so ingrained it’s even often left out of the conversation when talking about other issues that affect the world. Disability is often last on people’s list of things to address. That’s unsurprising, but still disappointing.

Having migraine means I often get to see many different sides of ableism. Sometimes people know I’m disabled, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes people know to what extent, sometimes not. When your disability isn’t always visible, people often forget to keep up the act of caring, or become careless and say or do hurtful things just because other habits are already so ingrained. It’s not always intentional or malicious, but it is hurtful nevertheless.

We live in a world full of differences, and when saying, “celebrate those differences” that means all differences. Migraine and headache disorders are steadily becoming more and more known, but people’s understanding and support towards those with these disorders won’t change until people start addressing their ableism. Sometimes this ableism is internalised, if you yourself experience headaches or strange neurological (or otherwise) symptoms, it’s ok to look for help. Sometimes the greatest hurdle we face is ourselves as we internalise messages of valuing profit over lives, breaking limits, and narrow definitions of what “real work” is.

At the end of the day, we’re the ones who have to live with our bodies. No one else does. Others assumptions about you and what you should do and how you should behave have nothing to do with what’s best for you, as you know it to be. Our understanding of our bodies and the nature of our bodies changes as we age. You may not be disabled now, but you may become disabled later as so many people do. With everything going on in the world, and the many daily dangers and stressors of life, it’s important to understand that your life has value. Whether you fit a neat box, or exist in a more liminal space of being, you matter. Your health matters. It’s ok to take the time to take care of yourself, and in looking out for your health, it can lead to others also being able to take care of themselves. You can’t always help people if you yourself aren’t ok. In understanding how we differ from others, we can better appreciate others differences and understand how to be there for each other. In better understanding ways others differ from us, we can better understand ourselves.

You might not have headache or migraine, but you might know someone who the things I’ve mentioned here remind you of. You might follow one of the above links and realise you want to talk to your doctor about a different diagnosis or issue to look further into. You might just be curious about headaches and migraine. I can’t imagine what it’s like to rarely ever get a headache, but I suppose if that’s your experience it’s probably strange to try and imagine the opposite. XD


This got a bit away from me. I didn’t mean for it to get long, but then again, for a disease so little known about, there’s a lot of ground to cover! This is only a little bit. I hope you follow some of those links and learn a little more for yourself. I hope those links are helpful in further understanding headache and migraine if you’ve never come across this info before!

If anything I’ve said is helpful, makes you feel a little less alone, or widened your understanding of anything I’ve mentioned today, let me know! I’d love to hear about your experiences, and if this resonated with you at all.

You can support my Black, broke, disabled artist self via Ko-Fi or Patreon. XD If you haven’t already seen my last post on this, this summer I’m doing World Building June. Ironically migraine has made it a little hard to consistently work on my storytelling, so I figured I’d have a World Building Summer this year. XD If getting a peep into the creative process interests you, check it out! I’m currently working on day 2 for Yaisha and day 1 for Moon Woman. 👀👀👀 Moon Woman’s been really interesting to me and tbh, as a story about a Black woman just falling in love and being loved it seems quite timely. I’ll probably be working on it more than Yaisha. The playlists for it are also bomb…I may be using them to write any and everything right now. XD

Anywho, hope y’all having a lovely day! I’m actually up for once to finish this up and share without needing to schedule it! Yay to fulfilling years long goals! XD

WBJ 👀

So in a wild turn of events, working on my story hasn’t actually been as easy as writing my migraine essay. XD Usually it’s been the opposite problem for me. This has been a strange month as far as migraine and having the spoons to write goes. I will eventually complete World Building June, as I did Blood and Ink, but I will take my time with it and finish and post it over the course of the summer. Besides, Yaisha is a story that’s undergone a lot of changes since starting it, and it seems it just refuses to be an easy write. XD Even the world building is going to take me a lot more time and energy than some other stories. I’ve also been considering working on my Mystic Falls story as well (the vampire/werewolf romance), and will probably work on this world for WBJ too. XD

As far as sharing things goes, I’ll post days individually on Patreon and share them in bulk after I’ve built up a weeks worth here. I like sharing bulk posts. XD It’s fun to see how the world comes together as you build it up. I also will be mote careful of keeping out spoilers on these posts, but as someone who doesn’t mind spoilers and likes seeing and sharing the full writing process, I don’t mind spoiling y’all a bit on Patreon. 😉

The daily posts will be free, but ones with spoilers (if any) I’ll add to the pay tiers. XD If you don’t mind waiting to see the edited version later, you can just see the full post later. Or, if you don’t mind potential spoilers, you can just become a patron. XD

I’m already done with D1. I think I posted it? If not, it’ll be up for free on Patreon soon. XD

Hope y’all having a blessed day wherever you’re reading this!

XOXO

WBJ Day 1

Q1. Tell us about your world.

This month I’m choosing my World of Three universe to focus on, the world Yaisha and The Champion (and possibly more, not sure yet) are based in.

TWoT (The World of Three), is a world consisting of 3 planes/realms.

  • The Divine Plane
  • The Mortal Plane
  • The Magic Plane

Divine Plane

The Plane of Divinity is a purely divine, four-dimensional plane that exists “above” the mortal one. It existed long before the other planes, however no one knows exactly when or why it came into existence, and the beings who live there are too old to remember (and have their own memories/lore about the world). This plane is home to the Deim, divine beings who exist outside of all natural and magic law, though they often can be found having talents in both magic, and natural things. Not much among mortals is known of its actual contents, or even where exactly it is, but it is generally accepted to exist (how mortals can understand it) above the Mortal Plane.

Mortal Plane (Earth)

The Mortal Plane exists between the Divine and Magic worlds. As the world between the two, it acts as a sort of intermediary. Here both the laws and rules of magic and divinity coexist as well as a new third law, the law of nature. Though all laws are powerful in their own right, when melded together you have truly unique and amazing potential. Things that people might consider miracles exist solely because of the unique interaction between these three laws.

The Mortal Plane is the youngest, but most influential plane of the three worlds in TWoT. It’s also where most the stories take place (though there is some dalliance into the other planes). The plane was created over 300 years ago, and continues to grow and spread. It is the result of a few Deim and Magin coming together to create a new world after a thousands year war nearly destroyed their own. In an effort to unify, this “middle” world was made.

Those from the Mortal Plane are generally just called Mortals, though their official name is Morim, as the life span of mortals ranges and not all born in the plane are purely creatures of the plane.

Magic Plane

The Magic Plane is a plane of pure magic. Often confusing and difficult to make sense of, even for Deim, it is sometimes referred to as the Chaos realm. While it exists in a set place and time within the world of three, appearing as if a distant planet, it’s appearance is deceiving.

Unlike the divine or mortal planes, the Magic Realm consists of many different planes in one. It’s planetary appearance is simply a hub with many “doorways” into the various existences that makes up the Magic Realm. The realms themselves are always changing and shifting, as magic is a thing in constant motion. Only the Magim, those of the Magic Plane, can truly exist and understand the realms, though many have tried. It is possible to reach the Magic Plane from either of the other two realms, however it is easiest to reach from the Divine Plane, and accessible from the Mortal Plane only with the help of a powerful magic user, or Magim.

It is said that those of the Mortal plane who achieve the highest level of understanding of the Unnatural Arts (as magic usage is refereed to), may transcend to the Magic Plane and become Magim themselves. Currently this is just an unproven theory.

Hah ha!

I finished Blood and Ink a bit late, but I finished it. XD I’m still not sure how I feel about sharing all the poems. Some of them were quite silly., others were just tapped out to give that day it’s words, some need edits, but I’m not quite sure how to fix them to my liking. Either way, it was a fun experiment!

One thing I learned while I was nearing the end of the days was that I tend to write by a theme even without prompts. If anything it was harder to fit the prompts because I had my own growing theme as the course of the month went on, than trying to even think of poems at all. Another thing I learned is that I really am a slow writer, and that my own personal slowness, combined with my occasional health issues flaring up, really means I should stop fighting myself so much and allow myself the room to be slow. It’s annoying. Very frustrating. But it must be done if I’m ever going to get any writing done. It becomes very easy to get weighed down by all the not writing I’m doing that I end up…not…writing.

I may have given myself a couple months rest between, but I completed the prompts and I’m happy. I’ll share some of the poems in a post later on, but I just felt like talking about the process a bit here. Or rather, a part of the process. I hadn’t realised I hadn’t shared any updates since that first week, though I did continue to share some on my Twitter. XD

While I get better at blogging, I hope if you’re interested in what I’m doing at you’ll check out my other social media in the mean time. I definitely mean to keep increasing my activity. It’s a bit slow goings, but we’ve established I’m not much of a sprinter. XD

As far as more poetry sharing goes, I’m looking forward to April! I want to try a daily poem for National poetry month as well! I might even do a poetry challenge. Are there already poetry writing challenges? If not I guess I’ll have to come up with something myself. XD While working on Blood and Ink I found myself gravitating towards my story about the monk and his prince rival (Yaisha). I might just keep following that direction, writing about my characters and the worlds they exist in.

Do you have any April writing plans? I think it might also be a Camp NaNoWriMo month. I’ve been focusing on short stories for the start of the year so I probably won’t be partaking in it this year. Currently working on one in the Neon Days universe and one inspired by a drama I’ve been watching but frustrated with. XD Technically…it’s not fanfiction if it’s all stuff you’ve made up yourself.

*Insert Here*tober

Doing a poem challenge this October while I do Inktober, Blocktober, and work on my story planning. XD I haven’t been able to do every day of Blocktober and Inktober, but doing pretty well on Blood and Ink so far. Here is the first week’s poems, featuring one about one of this WriMos OCs! If you want to see them day by day head over to my twitter and you’ll see the whole thread as the days go.

D1. Poison Apple

Emerald in your eyes
But I do not see the glint
Or smell the fragrance on your skin
Of apple pie and arsenic
After all we’ve done together
Of course I’d trust you friend
How could I accept you’d be the one
to usher in my end?

D2. Starlight

In space no one can hear you scream
Which is fine, they don’t hear you coming
No warning, as what they see is the echo of a millennia ago
When you arrive it is too late
How foolish they were to test the gods
Who designed you just for this
As you swallow them all whole
Crushed by the weight of your stomach
Burned in the glare of your eyes
Devouring charted vessels, moons, entire constellations gone in the blink of an eye
All as they stare in awe at the brilliance of the night
They don’t know what has happened
There is no radio to know that it is silent
Hopeful as they watch you burn brighter and brighter
Fearful joy as you arrive

D3. Incantation

Blue the words around the air
Crisp as they are sharp
Gold the colour of his hair
Sweeter his voice than a harp
Black the rage and his despair
When his love was lost
His grief impossible for him to bear
What more can his victory cost?

D4. Harvest Time

Dare not pucker your lips
You asked for this, remember?
However bitter, swallow it;
However large take it by the bite.
This tree is all your own.
Did you not till the soil, plant the seed,
water it with your own spring?
Who fertilised this land?
The sky, the ocean, the moon, or stars?
No, it was you.
You did this.
Enjoy.

D5. Cat Eyes

Following through the night
Round corners
Over bush
Creeping through the alley

Cutting through the mist so bright
Gone in a wink
And here again

With a yowl
Here it comes
A streak too fast to catch

Purring pleasant at your fright
This cheeky furry friend!

D6. Ripen

Spoiled
The flesh you let sit too long
What once was sweet
Spoiled with fragrance
Cupped in your hand
Oh so divine
That first bite
Spoiled
Your eyes that lead you astray
Your mind that wandered
Your feet that turned
The back that fled
Spoiled
When they did not wait
Browned to mush in your absence
This love you did not savour

D7. Lullaby

Still as the night is dark
Close your eyes
Rest your heart
It’ll all be there in the morning

Tomorrow we’ll have another chance
To play our games
To sing and dance
But today is at it’s end

Hear the calls of twilight
Morning birds have gone to sleep
The evening comes with different trills
Of friends we don’t normally meet

Feel your body resting heavy
Settling warm against your bed
Snuggled tight beneath blankets
Your pillow soft beneath your head

Close your eyes as they are wanting
Let go the worries of the day
Let the matters be for tomorrow
With rest comes surer words to say

Enter a world of wonder
Let sweet dreams be your guide
To a brighter, lighter morning
All the better with rested eyes

Word?

Just went over my poem selection for Sentimental and realised??? I think I’ve got it. I’m really digging everything right now and after a couple more edits I think I’ll have finished the base of the book.

I knew it was a little ambitious to say I’d finish everything in a year, it’s been two now, but it’s something that’s meant a lot to me and working on it and reflecting on it has been a great experience. I have no experience with making and publishing chapbooks so this will be another interesting experience. Writing, I can do. Putting that writing together in a pretty book bundle? That’s a lot harder. XD Even when I’m working on my stories I tend to work on scenes and string them together rather than work on the entire story from point A to point B. I take a lot of diversions and work on a lot of other things instead of just sitting down and writing a story out straight.

Anywho, I can’t wait to finish prettying up Sentimental and sharing it with everyone. It was a hard thing to work on, but right now I’m pretty satisfied with it. I just hope it’s as much a blessing to others as it has been to me. ☺️☺️☺️

Maybe I DON’T Love All My Kids Equally 👀👀👀

Just finished a scene maybe for my book, mostly just to explore some characters and their dynamics/a new direction I’m taking with them for the story. ;_; When I finished writing I realised I always end up loving my side characters more than my MCs. I think “Emilio”, and technically “Moon Woman”, are the only stories where I’m like, yes!!! I love these MCs so much and can’t wait to write 59405074059742057240 words about them. XD

It’s not that I dislike my other characters, I just end up working on a story and loving the world so much and the characters outside the main plot that tend to add more insight into the outside world. It’s fun exploring worlds. I think I’ll just have to start writing a bunch of short story anthologies because I’m not sure just focuing on one character or even group of characters will ever be enough for me. XD

I also accidentally give other characters the sort of plots I like most. I want to write a certian kind of story for my central plot, but boy can’t I help it if a little angst and drama seeps out of me and into the story too. XD With Yaisha, I wanted to write something a little more light-hearted than what I’d been working on before. Emilio is quite serious, as it follows the life of a young man who was, essentially, a child-soldier growing up and thrust into the middle of a war he wanted no part in (who does?). Moon Woman is a Fantasy/Romance, but the central plot is about the two MCs trying to solve a crime and find out what happened to one of the MC’s relations after a civil war.

I really like serious stories. This isn’t to say that some of my other stories don’t also have serious elements, but I think the overall feel of the stories are just very different. Emilio is a tragedy. It would be odd to write it with the same almost childish hope and brightness of Yaisha. Yaisha has tragic moments, but the MC and his path is very different from Emilio. Their view of the world and the landscape they must traverse just don’t have the same mood.

In saying all this…I really like the antagonist I set up for Yaisha. XD I’m having a lot of fun writing his story and I think I’m not going to have him play a more central role. I’d always wanted him in the story…but is place wasn’t quite as fixed when it came to how to insert him, what his scenes would be, what direction he goes, etc.. I think I might turn Yaisha into a story with different PoVs.

When I initially came up with the idea of Yaisha it was supposed to just be a story about a young monk who gets caught up in this party of adventurers from all over and he ends up joining their party. It was a sort of tabletop rpg type story, something you could imagine a group of very diverse, but somehow they all came together for this game, friends to make. I had a very different cast of heroes and very different plot.

When I actually started writing Yaisha, I had lost my initial idea and only remembered the “monk roped into an adventure” part. Yaisha went from a fun story that was supposed to play with ideas of fantasy worlds and the cultures and creatures that make them up, and became a story about political intrigue, rivalling adventurers (and the many different types of groups that make up this kind of vague title), and a young man who just wants to explore a wide ever expanding and changing newly formed world.

I created Yaisha’s world and ended up going in a completely different direction. I gave it three dimensions, started working on actual governments, cultures, state lines, the works. I even gave the little monk an actual name and purpose. He went from just a sort of kind yet clutzy kid monk who’s life is full of kooky mishaps and adventure, to a young man who’s struggling with his purpose in life and yearns to find a place of belonging despite growing up in a monastery. He isn’t even an actual monk yet in Yaisha! Yaisha is just still in his training stage. XD

Writing Yaisha has been lots of fun! I don’t think I’ve changed a story up this much since Emilio, and even then, Emilio hasn’t actually gone through that many changes, I just have learned more things about the world and how to best work on this story. Yaisha now has, possibly, another main character? Or a character with greater prominence, and I’m really excited to keep working with him and seeing where else this story will now go. ☺️☺️☺️