let’s not & say we did

tomorrow marks thirty days since jared & i moved out of our new apartment & turned in the keys. thirty days, & our former landlord has not yet returned our security deposit. we met with a lawyer this morning, to make sure we understood the process for taking our ex-landlord to small claims court if a check doesn’t magically appear in our mailbox by the end of the week. the lawyer explained that small claims court is about as close as you can get to appearing on “judge judy” without actually being on TV, & that judges don’t always make decisions according to the state statutes (which in kansas state that landlords must return a security deposit or an itemized list of withholdings within thirty days or be liable for returning one & a half the amount of the deposit). sometimes it comes down to who makes a better impression & appears more credible. “to this end,” he said, & nodded toward me, “you might want to make sure you cover up.”

he meant that, in the event that we go to court, i should wear an outfit that covers as many of my tattoos as possible. it was really hot today & i wore a scoopneck t-shirt to the meeting, which totally showed off the pterandons tattooed on my shoulders, & the big anarchy heart in the middle of my chest. i understood what he meant, but i couldn’t help laughing. i mean, i have knuckle tattoos. i guess i could go full-on jackie O & wear gloves. it’s funny that i have like twenty tattoos (maybe more?), & other than that, i am totally normal-looking. well, i don’t shave or wear make-up (except lipstick sometimes), but it’s been so long since i shaved or wore make-up that it doesn’t even occur to me to think that there is anything unusual about it. i am fabulous-looking without make-up (as is everyone–everyone is also fabulous with make-up if that is what they choose) & let’s face it–body hair is not that obvious unless you’re standing right next to someone &/or looking for it. so let’s stop talking about it.

it seems like we have a pretty strong case with a nice healthy paper trail slanted in our favor, & i know i can handle myself in court. if i have one gift, it is a talent for staying cool-headed when people are being total assholes. it sounds like we are unlikely to see a court date, let alone any money, until the end of the summer at the soonest, which means it’s going to be some lean times. in the last month, i have had to pay for moving expenses, various fees to have utilities transferred to the new house, various medical bills, a massage (maybe i didn’t “need” that one, but i’m glad i got it), an exterminator, round-trip plane tickets to boston, my driver’s test fees, beer & snacks for our housewarming party, a new dress for the party (i totally acknowledge that this list is definitely not a list of “needs” anymore), & new summer shoes, & somehow all that stuff took money. like, all my money. i was really hoping for the security deposit refund to come along sooner rather than later & bridge some gaps in my budget, but…i guess this is why god invented 49-cent turkey pot pies, right?

lately i have been dealing with a lot of pain. well…allow me to rephrase that, because lately i have also been rereading some of my old journals, which has made me realize (yet again) that huge, almost unbearable amounts of chronic pain are a constant repeating theme in my life. the other day, i actually wrote down all of my current physical health diagnoses for the first time in several years: osteoarthritis in almost all my joints. sciatica. bursitis in my hips, knees, ankles, & shoulders. scoliosis. congenital block vertebrae in my lumbar spine (which probably caused most of these other problems). spinal nerve damage causing a markedly limited range of motion in my right limbs. most people would probably have kind of a rough time getting along with even one of these conditions. thinking about it kind of bummed me out, & made me realize anew that i have a really difficult time getting along with all of these conditions.

lately it’s been difficult to sleep because my hips ache so much. there’s no position, laying or sitting down, that is comfortable. but the bursitis in my knees & sciatica has been really severe too, which has made standing & walking pretty excruciating. i had so much pain last week that my hands were shaking & i couldn’t stand up straight. wah wah wah, woe is me, right? i feel so weird talking about this stuff out loud, to anyone, even doctors. but especially people that are just, like, my friends. there’s nothing for anyone to say but, “sorry, that sucks.” yup, it does suck. & there is nothing to be done about it.

i guess “pain as a concept,” to get all high-minded about it, has been on my mind a little bit more lately because of remarks that have been made by former friends related to more or less resenting the free time i enjoy thanks to being on disability. it’s a tricky thing to talk about, because…yeah, i guess i have a fair amount of time on my hands because i don’t (can’t) have a job. i guess i can understand how it might seem like a pretty sweet deal to someone who doesn’t live in my body. pain is a weird thing. you can’t see it, you can’t quantify it…i live with pain every single day, but if jared says he has a headache, i’m like, “oh. too bad. maybe you should take some aspirin.” sometimes i wish there was a way for other people to magically understand the understandable, just for a minute. i have this naive belief that if some jealous hater spent 90 seconds in my body, they’d never say any asshole thing about people on disability again. but then i remember that the fascinating thing about asshole behavior is that no one ever thinks they’re being an asshole. alas.

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

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