Please Stand By

Popping on to update that I have cleared the follow-up visit with my breast surgeon, everything is healing appropriately, and I am continuing my recovery. My skin reacted badly to the antiseptic “wash” used before surgery, resulting in a rash that worsened in the following days, and became almost unbearably painful in combination with the surgical drain tubing in my chest. I could not sleep. Fortunately, the drains were removed about a week after my surgery.

I have been blogging in more detail about my progress over on Patreon; the drains can be seen in this post. My chest and upper arms are still tight and sore, though I have been able to drastically reduce pain medication. Radiating from my scar is a constant, unpleasant sensation of pinpricks and tingling that oscillates in intensity. I understand this is from the unavoidable nerve damage, and nerve regeneration if possible. The area above my scar has little to no feeling.

I already have a permanently numb area on my face from the removal of severely-impacted wisdom teeth about twenty years ago, and knew I would lose some feeling in my chest, so that does not bother me. I am doing daily exercises given to me by medical staff, and awaiting the start of physical therapy.

Mostly, I am extremely fatigued. I have been out to briefly run errands a few times this week, and found myself wiped out afterward. Aside from the physical trauma of surgery, I am also dealing the after-effects of two weeks of poor sleep due to the drains, compression tops/wraps, and general discomfort. From what I have researched, it will probably be another 4 – 6 weeks before I begin to feel “normalish” again. That is usually when most people return to work.

Please know I am not complaining: I am ridiculously happy and grateful.

For my birthday, I posted an open-shirted photo of myself, which resulted in a notable amount of unfriending and unfollowing from my social media accounts. I expected that, but it was an interesting process to watch play out. My Instagram lost about two-hundred followers within hours. It sparked good discussion.

Jin Wicked Double-Mastectomy Scar

I am still in a somewhat anti-social state of mind, continuing to give myself space to process everything that has happened over the past year. I am also engaging in some reevaluation, reprioritization, and adjustments to my long-term plans and strategies, to accommodate both internal and external changes.

Money is a concern at the moment. There have been expenses associated with my surgeries, including a few moderate insomnia- and oxycodone-fueled impulse purchases. (Mostly creative supplies, post-surgical aids/comfort items, and used clothes for FLAT CHEST.) The immediate goal is to get through physical recovery, and hold the line until my Kickstarter is ready to launch later this year.

Etsy store sales and other support are appreciated if you would like to help.

Below is a watercolour and ink illustration finished in December.

Cherry Lemonade by Jin Wicked title=

$5 Signed Prints are available in my Etsy shop.

» Cherry Lemonade @ Fine Art America
» Cherry Lemonade @ RedBubble
» Cherry Lemonade @ TeePublic
» Cherry Lemonade @ Society6
» Cherry Lemonade @ Spreadshirt

CATEGORY:

Freedom

Early in the morning on the 11th, I underwent my double-mastectomy surgery. My procedure was completed around 10:00 AM, and I was allowed to leave the hospital around 3:00 PM. Other than some nasty side effects from an anti-nausea medication (scopolamine patch) that was given to me in pre-op, I am recovering well. Discomfort has been primarily burning sensations in my chest area, along with minor pain where the surgical drains are inserted underneath my ACE bandages, and skin abrasion/irritation on my neck and jaw.

I managed to shower and wash my hair today with a special garment.

3 Days Post-Op

Though I have to be careful and limit activities for the next several weeks, I am optimistic that the drains can be removed within a few days. I have needed to sleep a lot while I heal from both this and my prior surgery, but I am looking forward to slowly getting back to work on my in-progress illustrations.

There are no words for how good it feels to see my flat chest in the mirror.

Such a heavy burden has been lifted, and I look like myself.

CATEGORY:

Not Dead Yet

Sharing a brief update on my health status: Monday of last week I had the second cyst removed from my scalp, followed by my hysterectomy early Friday morning. My surgery reportedly went very well, and I have been sleeping for most of the weekend while I recover. Pain and discomfort have been quite tolerable. My double-mastectomy is scheduled in about another month.

I have been continuing to finish more tasks from my ancient To Do list, including completing my Health Care Directive, Will, and a Durable Power of Attorney. I have also been preparing to get my 2020 taxes filed as soon as possible.

Between follow-up and pre-op visits, I will be back-and-forth to many medical appointments in the coming weeks. I am doing my best to continue work on the final few illustrations for my art book, to be released later this year.

Progress on the art book can be followed on my Patreon. I also launched my once-per-year birthday sale early, and extended it to a month, due to my medical situation. Much of my original drawings, comics, paintings, and sketch cards have been discounted 20%-40% off through the end of January.

Please allow extra time for shipping; I have lifting and mobility limits.

CATEGORY:

STATEMENT FOR THE PUBLIC RECORD

No member of my biological family shall have any authority or input regarding decisions about my medical or end-of-life care, and/or my body after death.

No member of my biological family shall have any financial claim or other claim to my estate, including but not limited to: my personal assets, my business assets, my intellectual property, my face/image/name, and my social media accounts.

All legal documents will reflect my wishes as stated above, in addition to a privately-recorded video of myself reading this statement, along with other key documents, to further authenticate them after my incapacitation or death.

All legal documents are being notarized with witnesses when applicable.

CATEGORY:

On Autism and Identity

While inking over the past few weeks, I have had much time to reflect on my recent autism spectrum diagnosis, my current health issues, and how both these things intersect with my identity and reframe the formative events of my past. I am interested in exploring this more deeply when I am ready to finally put pen-to-paper illustrating my early life. I hope my story can benefit others.

“Camouflaging” in autism refers to the process by which an autistic person develops strategies to hide and/or mask their autistic traits so they can interact more successfully with neurotypical people. For myself, this has felt like trying to learn a foreign language that everyone else seems to speak naturally. The inner disconnect caused by rejection of the authentic self, and acceptance by others of the “camouflaged” false self, lead me to the formation of secondary maladaptive coping mechanisms. Along with how I have been treated due to my previously-undiagnosed autism and ADHD, these have mostly manifested in the form of Cluster B Borderline traits that have lessened with age and awareness.

I believe that “Jin Wicked” began as elaborate camouflaging.

Without understanding why, exactly, the self-imposed process I have been engaged in since approximately the beginning of 2015 has been about undoing this camouflaging and its collateral damage. It is a difficult and rocky endeavour to untangle where the camouflaging ends and the authentic self begins.

I believe that camouflaging has been an element of my recurring depression.

Adding another layer to this is the introduction of gender, and gender roles. I have commented in the past that my femininity has often felt performative, and have less-publicly discussed feeling something best described as “agender.” For me, this means that I do not feel especially feminine or masculine, rather than identifying with one, the other, or both. This is not unheard of. As a child, I fantasized about being born a boy because I, at the time, believed it was unavoidable that I would be forced to bear biological children.

Frequently, these fantasies also included having no breasts or nipples, or my ovaries suddenly shriveling up and dying. It is important to note that I did not, and do not, identify as or want to be male. It was simply the only “other option” imaginable to me as a child. This is key to the outsized offense I have felt when facing obstacles as “a woman,” since I do not identify strongly that way in the first place. These days I prefer female pronouns mainly due to my interest in breaking down the barriers of how “being a woman” is defined.

Maybe relevant; there is some interesting research demonstrating that the brains of autistic females seem to resemble the brains of neurotypical males.

Last week I got my first mammogram, at nearly forty-one, which escalated quickly to an ultrasound and biopsy due to a small mass that was discovered. The mass was benign, but my overall breast cancer risk has been calculated at about 42%, compared to the general population at about 11%. I was deeply affected by being a caregiver for my mother, and witnessing her slow decline and gruesome death from metastatic breast cancer. I have a consultation with a surgeon shortly before Christmas to discuss my wished-for prophylactic double-mastectomy.

I hope that will happen in the spring, after healing from my hysterectomy.

It is a strange gift from the grave, indeed, that this illness and my mother are helping to give me the body that I have always wanted for myself.

My sexuality is not something I care to discuss in great detail. However, I have collected enough data, experience, and perspective to realize that the number of people I have been genuinely sexually attracted to over the course of my life can be counted on one hand. The life-long process of discovering this has resulted in many awkward, unfortunate, and sometimes traumatic sexual experiences.

I believe autistic women are uniquely vulnerable to sexual traumas, due to the dual pressures to “fit in” with a confusing, neurotypical world, and meet society’s expectations of women in general. Most of my sexual experiences have resulted from a desire to please or placate a partner, figure out what I am/was “missing” because I felt abnormal, and/or perform my role as a woman “correctly.” This includes situations where I feel my naivete and loneliness were exploited.

It also cannot be understated how addictive and insidious “approval” and positive-reinforcement are to someone that relies on internal scripts to get by; particularly to myself, suffering from alienation and chronic loneliness.

Enduring, and even provoking, unwanted attention and sexual advances from men because I thought that is what I was “supposed” to do took quite a heavy toll on both my self-image and psychological well-being over the years.

This has been compounded by unwanted sexual advances, comments, and inappropriate behaviour coming from customers, convention attendees, patrons, and others who financially supported me in some way — forcing me to regularly choose between my sense of safety and the ability to live. This is a systemic problem most women endure, but autism further complicates it.

I am grateful to the men who were able to recognize my vulnerability, on a conscious or subconscious level, and maintain appropriate sexual and/or non-sexual boundaries and relationships with me. I am grateful to all those who have been patient with me, as I have dug into the past, to understand who and what I am. And I am sorry for those I have unintentionally hurt by not being able to know myself; above all, my ex-husband, who never did anything “wrong.”

If you take only one thing away from this, let it be the importance of early intervention, and recognizing when children need extra help and guidance. Our world is increasingly constructed for a specific kind of brain that easily navigates a one-size-fits-all education system, society, and workplace. It is impossible to know how my life would have turned out differently if my parents’ response to my behaviour problems and struggling was attention and professional intervention, instead of anger, judgement, and violence. I do know that I am one of the fortunate ones — I could have easily been another suicide statistic.

Though I will be looking into if I qualify for SSDI, there are also not many services available to people who can almost, but not quite consistently support themselves. For environmental and interpersonal reasons, I have had significant trouble maintaining traditional employment for more than a year or two at a time. My fundraiser at the beginning of 2020, a dwindling emergency fund, and small business aid have helped me weather the pandemic. Going into 2021, and the long-term, I need to at least double my number of Patreon subscribers.

I will be off-camera for a while as I continue to focus on my upcoming art book, take time to process everything that has happened recently, and recover from medical procedures. I am still currently in a great deal of discomfort — and frequently — pain. More generally, I have been burnt-out and exhausted.

Please stay safe, and I hope you have the best holiday season possible.

CATEGORY:

Walking the Gauntlet, Vol 2

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to speak with a lawyer regarding the “defamation” case against me. I have also distributed the digital archive of 100+ documents, police reports, screenshots, video, and other evidence I collected to multiple trusted third-parties, in the event that something happens to me.

If you were involved with the JIN WICKED VERITAS page and you provide me with any additional evidence and/or testimony that I do not already have linking Stephanie Cofell, Cory Strode, or Joe Rider to either the Facebook page or the WordPress blog, I will refrain from identifying you or taking any future action(s) against you. Proceeding to a trial may mean you are exposed regardless.

Click for larger image. My “Priority Mail” copy never arrived.

On Wednesday I saw an OB/GYN. Barring any disruptions due to COVID-19, I have a hysterectomy scheduled for January to address the chronic pain and other issues I have been experiencing. It is my hope that once I have recovered fully from that surgery, I will be able to pursue having my breasts removed.

I have lost 3-4lbs in the last two weeks. I find it difficult to even enjoy food at this time, and I am forcing myself to eat the minimum amount of calories I know I need to remain healthy. I am alive almost solely to prove motherfuckers wrong. For the remainder of this year, I will be taking a step back from my social media, except Patreon, to focus on completing the remaining illustrations for my upcoming art book. I am also working on a wearable-art project.

Thank you to my customers, readers, and Patreon subscribers, as always.

CATEGORY: