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[12 Jul 2015|10:56pm]
Yesterday Ethan and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary. I never thought I would feel so comfortable and loved in a relationship before. It is so nice.

We are thinking of eloping in Rhode Island at the end of this summer, now that our marriage would be legally recognized anywhere we decide to move after I'm done with my PhD. We're even thinking of raising a kid. What the hell is this domestic Laura I've become?
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[12 Jan 2015|08:08pm]
Reminder to myself: it's okay to stop talking to people who are treating you badly.
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[07 Aug 2014|04:53pm]
This last stretch of summer research has been tough to get through. I have one more week of sampling ahead of me before heading back to classes & writing for the school year and I'm a bit frustrated with the lack of bat capture success, but I'm trying very hard not to get too upset about it - it is out of my hands. Things have been difficult for a variety of reasons, mostly being that I got fucked over by my rheumatologist and did not have access to my medications for 3 weeks, thus was in way more pain than usual. But I made it.

In happier news! I had a nice little summer crush fling.. he was a guy Ethan was working with this summer and he was just one of the nicest guys I've ever met and we quickly bonded over being anarchists & socially aware & having mental illness. It didn't like, go anywhere, but it was just kind of a nice thing to have a crush on someone. I shared the Mountain Goats with him and he told me that my perspectives on life were very important for him to hear. It was kind of the first crush I've had since dating Ethan -- we've had lots of discussions about being primary partners but poly & Ethan has had plenty of crushes throughout our relationship but I usually don't like people off the bat like that. So it was cool, and it was cute that Ethan was really excited for me to have a crush. He's going to grad school in Wyoming but I hope he does stay in touch.

I hope this next week goes by quickly so I can live with Ethan again and feel like I have a home base where I can relax. This next year of PhD is going to be extremely busy. I hope I'm prepared for it.
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[17 Jul 2014|05:16pm]
I read through my old entries sometimes and even though it brings up lots of terrible memories, I also am able to gaze upon how literally resilient & strong I am. There was a point in my life back in 2009 when I was escaping a truly abusive situation and being throttled full-on into a whirlwind of incurable illness diagnoses. Despite both of those things (which are difficult on their own, let alone comorbid) I came out with a Bachelor's degree, an acceptance letter to a full ride of graduate school, and I had met the person who would eventually become my lifelong partner. I am still haunted by a lot of things from my past, but with therapy and time they are slowly and surely fading away, replacing those old memories with new, happier ones. One day I may even be able to delete this old thing as I'll no longer need to wonder if my memories are real anymore, because they won't matter at all.

"to survive is to leave a legacy of hope." - john darnielle
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sappy feelings ahead [10 Jul 2014|04:27pm]
Tomorrow is Ethan and I's four year anniversary of being in a relationship. Ethan is my best friend, my life partner, the most important person in my life. He makes me laugh more than anybody else on the planet, he is the most genuinely nice person I've ever met, he is so smart and a critical thinker. He taught me so much about gender, he allowed me to be myself even when that meant a PTSD-stricken mentally ill mess. He is understanding and respectful of my chronic illness, he loves my cat child whom most would consider a Problem Cat, he doesn't mind that I hate driving and have panic attacks, and he even gave me an appreciation for those catchy shitty pop songs that come on the radio. Not to mention he is ridiculously attractive. I could go on - I love everything about him.

I am so happy we found each other and still enjoy each other's company as much as we did when we first met. I'm so happy he wanted to move to Indiana with me. I love that our families like each other, I love that we are so open with each other. I love that our friends get along with each other and enjoy each other. He just fits perfectly in my life and it's as if there was always a space for him there. There's never any question in my mind.

I will walk down to the end with you, if you will come all the way down with me.
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[05 Jul 2014|12:36am]
Orange Is The New Black is soooo triggering but I can't stop watching it anyway, aauuughhhhh.
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[02 Jul 2014|07:39am]
I really should be asleep, but I am not. We got rained out from field work last night so I went to visit Ethan in Bloomington. We had dinner with our friend from Lafayette who was also in Bloomington doing a sexual assault awareness/violence prevention/bystander prevention workshop with the staff of a few queer bars in town that are having problems. She had met a member of the kinkster community there, so we ended up also going to a "slosh" which I suppose is a kink community word for their meet-ups. It was fun and everyone was really nice and open and accepting! I don't understand how I meet so many awesome queer people in Indiana but it's been the best.

I've been having soooo much fun in Bloomington on my days off this summer. Eating great food, going to awesome bars, dancing, farmer's markets, just... everything. It's been really nice. And two weekends ago Ethan and I went to Plan-it-X Fest and got to see a bunch of awesome bands (notably Nana Grizol, Defiance Ohio, Ramshackle Glory, & Erik Peterson!). I was nervous about attending because I was worried Adam and/or his friends would be there and it would become an unsafe space for me. But I did not see anyone there I knew, and everyone I interacted with was great. It was like, the most positive experience I've ever ever had in a punk community setting and it kind of rekindled my enjoyment of that kind of scene. So all in all it was really positive & I'm glad I went because I ENJOYED MYSELF. Take that, PTSD!

We also went to Spencer Pride as part of our community trans advocacy/support group, Trans* Lafayette and it was probably the funnest and most awesome time ever as well. We made lots of money for our org & I'm just really happy to be back in the activism realm because I missed it. And being around people who also have a nuanced understanding of disability in that context is really, really nice.

Speaking of, I'm also going to be a disability mentor to one or two undergrads this coming fall? I'm kind of excited to do that & I hope I get someone in my major because I really wish I had someone to look up to/ask for guidance who knew wtf was going on when I was navigating all this shit my senior year of college. I mean, it obviously worked out okay but I could have saved myself a lot of anxiety.

I'm happy & I love Ethan & my friends & family & my research. <3

Don't fucking read this blog, douchebag. :)
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Greetings from the Yew-Pee. [25 May 2014|12:30pm]
I'm blogging in my very old livejournal sitting in the office of a resort on the edge of a lake in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (Midwesterners call it the UP, or Yew-Pee). It's very pretty here and since I'm the only non-male in my lab at Purdue I get a 2 bedroom cabin completely to myself, paid entirely by the university. It's a pretty sweet dig - I get to teach undergraduate wildlife majors how to mist net for bats, identify bat calls to species, and how to use various bat field work-related equipment while simultaneously enjoying this lovely scenery high in northern Michigan.

I've just finished my first academic year of the PhD. I was awarded my first grant, and I am anticipating getting more funding for experimental research in the years to come. My work is extremely relevant and cutting-edge, so I'm super excited about it. Completely overwhelmed, but excited.

I was nervous about my field work this summer, but on the 8 hour drive up here we discussed things and he made it very clear this summer is a pilot study where I'm just trying to find roosts of bats and getting to know the sites I'll be working at. So I feel really good about this, it eases the pressure, it makes things seem... doable? Yes. Doable. Anyway, I'm feeling optimistic.
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[05 Apr 2014|02:50pm]
So it's been almost a full year since Adam's current girlfriend emailed me out of the blue, told me she had been internet stalking me, and then continued to internet stalk me periodically after I was very forward about the fact that I want nothing to do with anybody who interacts with him. I shouldn't have ever responded to her but stupid me thought maybe she was actually in trouble.

So, after finally getting fed up with it I messaged Adam and told him that he and/or her and/or both of them need to leave me the fuck alone. I shouldn't have been surprised to find out that she apparently told him I contacted her out of the blue and that she thought I was "dangerous" because I apparently was harassing her. Apparently telling her to stop reading my blog via public posting on my blog only constitutes harassment now. Good to know. They apparently deserve each other! Which honestly makes me happy, because I almost for a minute felt bad that yet another girl may be enduring abuse at his hands.

Regardless, I demanded he pay me back the money he owes me plus $500 extra dollars for PTSD therapy I've had to pay for. And now I have digital confirmation that he owes me the money so that's cool. I may try to get some legal advice on this and take legal action because honestly, I deserve at least some form of reparation from him and his disgusting bullshit. I'm gonna talk to my therapist about it this week.

My favorite line from this most recent discussion was "I would much rather all this be behind us but it seems that's unlikely." Yes, I would much rather this be behind me too, but you know, trauma doesn't actually fucking work that way, bro. God, I can't wait until that fucking dickhead just dies. I'll frame the obituary and then dance on his grave. Until then, I'm just glad I am many hundreds of miles away.
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[17 Mar 2014|11:54pm]
It's late and I should be asleep but I just can't for some reason. I have therapy at 8 in the morning. I slept through my last therapy session and I really can't do that again. I'm in the spare bedroom because Ethan is sleeping and lights bother him. I don't know.

I came here to write an entry about being in a lot of physical and mental pain and how that has been affecting me lately, but meh. I feel like no one really wants to listen to that shit. So hi, here's a random update. I'm alive (barely) and it's 2014.
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[12 Dec 2013|10:11pm]
Today I handed in my last assignment of my first semester of PhD. I'm trying very hard lately to acknowledge my accomplishments, because they really are amazing feats and I wade through a lot of shit to get to where I am and should feel good about these victories. Purdue in just four months has offered me so many opportunities and experiences. In these four months I have:

- Presented a poster at a the national Wildlife Society meeting in Milwaukee, WI.
- Attended a conference in Chicago about the politics of hunting w/ regards to conservation where I learned how to shoot a shotgun (I learned I'm pretty awesome at shooting clay pigeons!).
- Developed an entire individual-based model of bats in NetLogo which required learning an entirely new programming language.
- Traveled to Boise, ID to meet with research collaborators on a modeling project for Golden Eagles, got to see Golden Eagles, got to hang out with awesome & inspiring woman ecologists.
- Served on a focus group to help the College of Ag be a better environment for those in the LGBTQ community.
- Made lots of new friends & moved closer to some old friends.
- Slowly made progress on my medical debt, I'm down to just one $400 bill, and I was approved for financial assistance through the IU Health clinic for future medical bills related to care of my disease.
- I have a really awesome therapist who validates a lot of my feelings & is in general very helpful and is willing to help me process my trauma/abuse history since I've never actually worked through it in a professional setting, so yay. Maybe one day I'll have better control over my PTSD.
- I started a lot of new medications that have in general reduced the amount of pain I experience, but also reduce my immune system to absolute nothingness. In fact, I've been hacking up bright green sludge for the past week via too much time spent with my perpetually sick advisor.

Anyway, I obviously still struggle a lot with depression & anxiety, but acknowledging that my life really is improving beyond what I could have possibly imagined is really awesome and I hope it continues. I have an amazing & supportive partner, two lovely cat-babies, a comfortable and warm apartment, enough money to survive on, and I'm getting paid to go to school & study what I love. And it's hard to realize sometimes but I definitely deserve it all, despite what my brain sometimes makes me feel.
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[05 Jul 2013|06:43pm]
Things have been quite intense around here lately.

On June 11, I went to Pittsburgh to see the Mountain Goats play live (I think this was around my 15th show at this point). It was a sit-down thing and I had 3rd row tickets which was amazing. It was only John and Peter on a largely acoustic set with piano, guitar, and some bass. He played a lot off of LOTWTC and Heretic Pride and even added in the fabled 'Alpha Chum Gatherer' in the encore, which was until this tour a mysterious fable that tMG megafans thought existed but had no real proof of. It's a really fucking good song. At the end of the show I got my Full Force Galesburg vinyl signed and got to talk with John Darnielle a bit about chronic illness stuff. He was so nice to me and even grabbed my hands at the end and introduced himself for real and I couldn't stop smiling.

On my drive home from the show I got the call that my nonna (grandmother) died. She had been admitted to the hospital 9 days earlier and nobody was expecting it to come that quickly. So, the next day on very little sleep I packed a bag and drove to Connecticut. The funeral was the following Friday and it was very, very hard. I cried a lot.

Then I had to go straight from the funeral to a train down to Philadelphia because I had to be at the American Society of Mammalogists meeting since I was presenting my research. Luckily there was a lot of free alcohol flowing my way, otherwise I probably wouldn't have been able to get through it.

I went back to Indiana, PA for a week and I'm actually back at my parent's house for the "holiday." We went to the beach today and I got to swim in the ocean and it was amazing. I'm going back to PA at the end of the weekend and then I will be packing all of our stuff for the move to Lafayette, IN at the end of the month. I can't believe it's coming up so quickly!

I miss Ethan a lot. I can't wait for him to come home and cuddle and cook me meals and make me laugh.
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[09 Jun 2013|02:41am]
How boring can your life be that you find it necessary to read my blogs, even go so far as to skirt the line of stalking me? You've never met me. You never will. We will never be friends. You don't need to keep tabs on me because I'm not a threat to you and I have no interest in you at all. Why is it that after almost 4 years of zero contact, the week after you contact me Adam's old livejournal username shows up as a "guest" on my livejournal? Why did a person from Waterbury, CT with javascript disabled visit my Tumblr from no reference point at all & go through 5 pages of it & only click on posts that mentioned our contact? This is sad. Just stop.
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[07 Jun 2013|08:28pm]
I'm going to see the Mountain Goats in Pittsburgh on Tuesday (acoustic set w/ John & Peter)! And again at the end of July for Newport Folk Fest (full band), right before we move to Indiana for my PhD. BEST SUMMER.
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[31 May 2013|07:04pm]
Ethan is so lovely and the best partner I've ever had. I edited a giant document he had to do for school for him and then he bought a pizza and had it delivered to me here at the apartment. <3 I am so satisfied. And I feel loved, lol.

I realized I haven't updated about all the things that have been going on (besides the fuckery in my last entry). First, my job laid me off after I told them I was leaving at the end of July. Jerks. I should be ok money wise and I applied for unemployment so hopefully that works out. The only real thing that truly sucks about it is my schedule is completely messed up, so I feel at a loss of what to do. Been cuddling with the cat and taking a lot of walks in addition to working on academia-related things.

Ethan and I traveled to Lafayette, Indiana in March to find an apartment to live in when I start at Purdue in August. We found an amazing two bedroom place in this gut-renovated old historic building in downtown Lafayette. It was apparently an old library, which makes me happy. It has all hardwood floors, the kitchen is fully updated, has central air & heat, and our cat Luci can stay there at no extra cost. It's only 3 miles from campus and right next to the bus route and is also a 5 minute walk from the local brewery. It's gonna be AMAZING. Also, the rent is only $20 more than what we pay for our one-bedroom right now. The building has a cute backyard that I hope we can garden in.

My health issues have been wonky. I had to go see a new rheumatologist because my other one decided to leave the county, forcing me to drive over an hour to find a doctor to renew my meds. I got a ton of bloodwork done and no one wants to give me a definitive diagnosis, just "something combining lupus, scleroderma, and rheumatoid arthritis" lol. So I'm probably going on methotrexate starting in the fall, when my better health insurance kicks in. The doctor gave me a 6mg methylprednisolone tablet pack to try out, and goddamn. I hadn't felt as amazing as I did on those things in literally 4 years. I can't believe how foreign the concept of feeling no pain felt to me, but it was awesome. I wish I could be on those forever, but if I was then my bones would deteriorate into dust. Sigh. So there was a week of relief, and now I am back to being in constant pain.

I'm still working on manuscripts to publish my thesis, but my first publication is out!!! So I'm finally a published scientist. I also wrote a proposal for funding for my PhD and got really great feedback from it, so that's cool. Oh! I also won the most prestigious fellowship at Purdue, which guarantees 4 full years of funding and tuition waivers. And I'm taking 3 statistics/modeling courses for my first semester, ahahaha. I'm so excited to become a quantitative ecologist.
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shit [29 May 2013|06:14pm]
Wow so, some fucked up shit has happened in the past couple of days and it makes me want to crawl into a hole and die, deleting all traces of myself from the internet forever. But I realized that I don't have to, and that my boundaries should be respected without having to delete things I want to keep, like this journal and my other online blog and my email address etc.

My abusive ex's current girlfriend decided to email me. I've never met her before and did not know of her at all, but boy did she sure know about me. She knew my full name, knew I have lupus, had read about my research, and told me all about how he calls me his "crazy ex." She asked me why I think my ex was abusive to me. Think! HA! There is no question about it, when you lunge at someone and try to choke them, it's not a fucking question of whether they were abusive to you or not. At first, I thought that maybe she was in trouble. Maybe he was abusing her too, and needed help. So I responded truthfully. Her responses back to me were... well, they were weird. She didn't really seem to care all that much about what I went through and even though I indicated very plainly that I do not associate with anyone who associates with him... said I could add her on Facebook? um, no. I'm not adding someone who is currently IN A RELATIONSHIP WITH my abuser so I can see his shitty name all over my newsfeed every day. Fuck no. WHY would anyone think that's an ok thing to say?

Anyway, I shut down the conversation and hope she doesn't try to contact me or violate my boundaries again. I understand if she was in trouble with him that she would feel the need to google someone if she needs validation or whatever, but it's obvious she has been cyber-stalking me and asked me about the abuse (triggering the fuck out of me, btw) just out of some sick curiosity.

It just really sucks because the email came right when Ethan left for his summer job so I was alone in my apartment and I couldn't even finish taking a shower because I was so paranoid and fearful of my life. I took some klonopin though and felt better... ughhhh.
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[22 May 2013|06:09pm]
"The thing about people with crazy ex girlfriends is that they make you feel special because they tell you all the ways that you’re superior to their crazy ex girlfriends. “She liked Taylor Swift,” they’ll say, and then they’ll say, “I’m so glad you’re not the kind of person who likes Taylor Swift,” and you’ll make a mental note not to even listen to any Taylor Swift songs.
The thing about people with crazy ex girlfriends is that you feel an obligation to be super generous and giving with them, because you feel like you have to make up for some cosmic wrong that has been done to them by them having been saddled with crazy ex girlfriends. They’re such a great person. You just can’t say no to them.

The thing about people with crazy ex girlfriends is that you feel bad when you notice things about the way they treat you or other people that you don’t like, because those specific things were always a source of drama with their crazy ex girlfriend, so you decide to just let it go, because maybe their crazy ex girlfriend might have had kind of a point about that but she ruined it for everyone by being crazy and now no one can broach the subject with them because it just brings back memories of their crazy ex girlfriend. If you ask them why they yelled at the waitress, their shoulders will hunch, their face will scrunch, and they’ll say, “you think I’m too aggressive, just like SHE did,” and then you’ll have to back down.

the thing about people with crazy ex girlfriends is that their crazy ex girlfriends are always out there somewhere, scheming against them, even if it’s not readily apparent. When you go out to a show and she’s there, they spend the whole night talking about it. “She just keeps STARING at us,” they’ll say, and then when you look over, they’ll say, “I mean, she’s not now, but she was.” You’ll find it hard to keep your righteous indignation in check. You’ll want to go over there and put the hurt on her, that crazy bitch who made their life so hard.

The thing about people with crazy ex girlfriends is that the two of you are almost immediately a team, it’s you and them against the world, which is full of their crazy ex girlfriends. Other people just don’t understand what a rough hand your partner has been dealt. Sure, they might rush a commitment a bit more than you might otherwise be comfortable with, but they just want to be sure that you’re not going to get all crazy and run off, so it’s understandable. Other people might think they’re a little rough around the edges, or feel uncomfortable around them, but you know that those people just don’t know the whole story.

The thing about people with crazy ex girlfriends is that they invented concepts like “parental alienation syndrome”, because their crazy ex girlfriend must be responsible for the fact that their child doesn’t like them and freaks out and is a handful whenever they visit.
The thing about people with crazy ex girlfriends is that it’s always someone else’s fault.
The thing about people with crazy ex girlfriends is that they don’t believe in feminism because their crazy ex girlfriend was a feminist.

The thing about people with crazy ex girlfriends is that they engage in rape apologism because their crazy ex girlfriend totally falsely accused them of rape, so they KNOW first-hand that some women are just crazy people who falsely report rape out of spite.
The thing about people with crazy ex girlfriends is the category is already set up for you, so you’ll know exactly what you’ll be if you ever decide to leave.

-- Miss V
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[04 Apr 2013|11:42am]
life is really really really good.

despite the fact that i still have an incurable illness that ravages my body on the daily, that i take a low-dose of chemotherapy to not have it be worse, & i have to take 2 different controlled substances to not have panic attacks, everything else is really awesome! i feel positive about the future!

i am financially stable, ethan & i have enough money to move, i'm going to be working with bats doing a PhD at Purdue fucking University, i have awesome friends, i just. love everything.

and the best part is that i know i deserve it all.
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oh you know, just talkin 'bout abuse [04 Mar 2013|01:15pm]
"I hate to say this, because, I don't want to wish death on anybody, but.. it's wonderful when your abuser dies. It's wonderful. It's like nothing in the world. It's like, you are free. There's a feeling that you will never be free of what you were. You know, there's that. But there is this, you know, even though my stepfather was helpless at the end of his life, but to know that the person who used to hurt you no longer can. It's very, very, very deep. It's unbelievable." - John Darnielle

it's funny because i have, for the most part, escaped my abuser. he still pops up on facebook feed sometimes because i still have a few mutual friends w/ him (but i've deleted the majority of them). but i still get scared. i still feel this feeling. especially when i visit family or friends in connecticut, because he lives there. i'm glad john darnielle understands. i'm glad there will be relief... one day.

i've been very open in recent years about what happened and it has helped me heal so much. anybody who asks, gets the story. and all my close friends know. but i'll always be a survivor and it'll always be difficult. and i will always distrust anyone who has remained his friend despite knowing the truth.
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[11 Feb 2013|05:27pm]
I suppose I can do some sort of bulleted update on my life...

- Defended my Master's thesis, passed, received nothing but amazing feedback & praise, & received my OFFICIAL degree in the mail! I am a Master of Science.

- Currently working on 2 manuscripts to submit for publication within the upcoming months.

- I got on an SSRI to help with my anxiety and depression (mainly intense panic attacks and major depression) & they are actually helping a lot.

- For the first time in a long time I do not feel horribly financially unstable, thanks to my job upping me to full time until I move.

- Speaking of moving, I HAVE BEEN ACCEPTED TO PURDUE UNIVERSITY FOR MY PHD. I got a departmental fellowship, meaning I get over 20k a year in stipend payment, full tuition waiver, and access to the university's staff healthcare plan. FUCKING AMAZING. So, I am embarking on the next chapter of academia at a very prestigious school. :) Ethan is coming with me, and we are moving to West Lafayette, Indiana in August.

- I got my taxes done today? Lol, not a huge life moment but I'm glad I got it done instead of waiting forever.

- Ethan and I are going out for a Valentine's Day Dinner tonight. :)

- Aaaannd.. I'm flying to Purdue on Feb 17 to meet my new advisor in person for the first time, which is absolutely terrifying.
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