Dive Tables may be the bane of my existence.

So for this trip I have been working very hard on getting dive certified. When I first thought about learning to Scuba Dive I thought it would be relatively easy to do and that it wasn’t that complicated. I was so wrong in so many ways.

Learning to dive is like taking a college class. The online course is divided up into 5 sections, each with 150+ pages of learning material. This does not include the controlled indoor and outdoor dives you have to do to practice all of the skills you read and learn about in the online portions. Dive tables are probably one of the most important things to learn because it can help prevent Decompression Sickness, also known as the Bends, as well as make sure you have an awesome diving experience with an adequate amount of time underwater.

When you dive your tank is 21% oxygen and the rest is Nitrogen, as you dive the air in the tank decreases in volume and increases in density causing more nitrogen to enter your body (i think I’m getting this right?) which means Nitrogen builds up in your body as you dive creating bubbles, which is why it’s so important to take safety stops every 5 meters/15 feet. So what is Decompression Sickness? Decompression sickness is a serious medical condition caused by nitrogen bubbles within your blood and body tissues. If the excess nitrogen in your body tissues is too high, when you ascend and surface, the nitrogen may come out of solution faster than your body can eliminate it, forming bubbles. These bubbles are usually in joints, fatty tissues and environmental factors can be huge game changers on how/when/where they form. How do we make sure this doesn’t happen? By taking safety stops to allow the nitrogen to work its way out safely but also by using dive tables to ensure you’re not diving out of a safe depth and time.

Least to say I’ve never been good at math and figuring the table out involves math. If it’s your first dive it’s easy, if you are doing a second dive in a close period to the first dive you have to account for the nitrogen that hasn’t worked its way out of the body yet. The residual Nitrogen is also why you’re not allowed to fly the same day you dive. So I’ve taken this test three times now and just feel like the biggest idiot on the planet for not getting something that seems relatively simple. So for tonight, I gave the test a break and headed over to a friend’s house where there were double chocolate s’mores, a bonfire, great people and a telescope to look at the stars.

Signing off!

-NG.

 

You Asked It! Moving, Women’s Rights and Rape Culture.

Trigger Warning: Discusses Rape, Harassment, Assault, Controversial Issues, and very intimate details about my life. If you are not comfortable reading this, then please continue to the next article. For kids under 16 parents should be advised.

“What first prompted you to move and why you’re so passionate about women’s rights and rape culture” 

So the person who asked me this is a personal friend of mine who I met while we were working at a less than reputable place in Louisville, KY. When we first met I had only been in Kentucky for a couple of weeks, we clicked instantly and she became one of my closest friends which is part of why this article is being posted. This post continues below the break.


I have always known that Vermont was not the place for me, when I was a little kid I attempted to run away several times but in child-like innocence I would pack too much and not be able to carry it, pack the wrong things or get about half a mile away before I would get hungry/tired/scared of the dark and would head home promptly to my nice warm bed. In that bed I would dream of far away places, magical and enchanting like New York City, and as we drove past open fields I would day dream about galloping full speed across the Scottish highlands. I was constantly reading books about every other culture that I could find, when I was five or six I was obsessed with Ancient Egyptians and read every single book I could get my little fingers on and understand. I had a high reading level to say the least.

School did not make me living in Vermont any easier, I was not in the ‘in crowd.’ A lot of people say that small towns are safer, better and more respectable than big cities and in my experience that is just not the case. Cabot is a beautiful town, but it wasn’t safe for me and getting out of Cabot became my goal in forth grade. What really sealed the deal was when I was 13.

A few things happened when I was 13 that really effected my life, there were some family issues on both sides that left me feeling very angry and very alone. The adults in my life were not how I needed them to be and it was a lot. Depression runs in my family pretty deep, I certainly wasn’t new to the concept at 13 and it got pretty destructive. I made some bad choices, burned some bridges and pushed as many people away as I possibly could. As the adults in my life were doing their thing I fell into a less than stellar crowd and made a less than stellar ‘friend’ who later raped me. Being 13 was absolute hell. He told the group of friends what happened as if I were into it and of course, small town, news travels, questions got asked and guys started to get a little more aggressive in their advances. After all I wasn’t a virgin anymore. Not only that but when I went to the Vice Principle of the school she did nothing. She didn’t report it. I disappeared from my head for three years and shut everything down. I had also caught on to cutting, something I hadn’t even thought about until the nurse had to come to each of our classes and talk to us about it because it was becoming an epidemic across the US.

In the time that I dissociated I made some really amazing friends that brought me back to being me, even when I was the biggest jerk to them sometimes. When I finally came back to my own head and actually started to be able to remember my day to day activity I was 16 years old… It had been three years of what? What do you even call the space that you are in when you’re dissociated? For those who don’t know the feeling of dissociation it’s like a vacuum pulling yourself out of your body and sometimes you watch “yourself” and sometimes you don’t. Imagine watching your body from the back seat of a car but it’s NOT you and you know it. That’s kind of what dissociation feels like.

I was unreasonably hard to deal with, especially because during all of this time I was still being sexually abused my my peers. I hated physical contact, when people would touch me it would make me nauseous to the point where I would get dizzy. The word sex turned my stomach and even putting in a tampon was too much, the thought of hands down there made me so incredibly sick to my stomach. It still does sometimes, I have never been able to have a healthy sexual relationship with myself because of this.

It took me a really long time to get out of these cycles of finding unhealthy or abusive relationships, at least that’s what it felt like. I always found myself in a dangerous or fucked up situation. I stopped trusting myself. I miscarried when I was 19, in my mind that was my fault, I hated myself. I destroyed friendships that mattered the world to me. I went back to the one person holding me back over and over again because it was all that I deserved and I was scared of something better. This mentality ended up with me in the hospital the first time for my anxiety, the second time was because I overdosed on my newly prescribed anti-depressants. It was really really brutal and I really really needed help.

There had been so many times in my life that things could have changed if someone had stepped in and stood up for me when I was a teen. If I had even let them step in. The things I went through left physical scars on my body, self inflicted and otherwise that will probably never fade. People accepted what I went through, accused me of lying, asked me what I did to provoke it, told me and reminded me it was my fault over and over and over again. And that was all in a small town in the USA. Where we don’t have gangs or massive drug violence. I wasn’t stood up for when I needed someone to stand up for me, partially because the adults in my life really did have really difficult things to deal with on their own. I understood that. I want to change that.

When I think back about all of these things I want to change all of that history and give my teen self the information of what was happening, what rape actually was and how to get help after it happens, how to deal with depression and anxiety. I wish I hadn’t felt so alone and I wish I had the resources on hand to be able to change it. Then I think about my future and if I ever have children of my own, the information they will need to survive and how I can provide the best life for them I can and I look at our current social situation and I get worried. Rape Culture is so prominent and Women’s Rights are getting punched at daily. I still am scared walking down the street alone at night and I am a well equipped 23-year-old woman, what about my future 17-year-old daughter when she sneaks out of the house one night to go hang out with what’s his face? Will she have everything she needs to feel and be safe? Will she be prepared if something happens?

I do not want this future for my daughters or anyone else’s daughters. I want them to love themselves fully and without regret and have the resources to do so even when things go wrong. I don’t want them to be embarrassed to wear bikinis, or feel in danger wearing a short skirt on a hot day. I want them to be able to dance and laugh fully and often. And if I want all of these things than I need to be the one to change how women and their rights are viewed every single day. I model with my scars because they are a part of me, just like my piercings and tattoos. I write on here about all of my adventures because I fought like hell and goddamn it I deserve it. I will be damned if I let them win. I fight for Women’s Rights because we deserve them, we are human. We deserve to love ourselves unconditionally and to have the ability to take care of our bodies. I fight against Rape Culture because I have an amazing little sister who I love who is 14 now and if something were to ever happen I would want  someone to stand up for her. I want her to have those resources she will hopefully never need.

I hope this answered your question, K ❤

-NerdyGypsy

NOTE: PLEASE if you ever feel like harming yourself call the National Suicide Hotline, open 24/7! There is help and you are not alone, we care and we are here for you! Phone calls are anonymous or personal as you want them to be:

National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

IF YOU HAVE BEEN SEXUALLY ABUSED: There is help a phone call away, 24/7 through the National Sexual Assault Hotline. Please talk to someone, you are not alone ❤ Just like the Suicide Hotline all phone calls are anonymous or as personal as you want them to be:

National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE

https://www.rainn.org/get-help/national-sexual-assault-hotline

NG Vs. The Dolphin

So in my adventures I generally come across very odd happenings with animals(see opossums and rattlesnakes for more info,) more often then not my travel buddies and I like to give wild animals plenty of comfortable personal space for some pretty obvious reasons. Of course there are always those couple of people in a group who decide the best thing for them to do is to hang out as close as possible to the wild animal, this is a terrible idea and here is a story of why:

When Brian and I were living in New Orleans we had some friends who lived on the North Shore. The place where they lived was right on the river (is that what you call it?) where a Dolphin liked to hang out by their docks. This dolphin also liked to follow them Jet Skiing and generally just like to play in the wake of the boats. D and L called it their guest because he loved to hang out at their docks more than anywhere else and gave him plenty of space to play with.

Now, as I said there are always one or two people in every group who decide they want to play with the wild animals and generally these are the same people also like to get OUT of the car with your CHILDREN to take a picture with the SUPER cute Bear cubs. Because that’s responsible, right? Anyway, the first Fourth of July I had in New Orleans we went to D&L’s house. I was so nervous about going I could barely talk on the way there and when we got to the house I was shocked at how HUGE it seamed to be, just sitting there on the water. We promptly parked the truck and walked into the party where things seemed to be a whole new level of relaxed. No one knows how to relax like people from the deep south. With in minutes of entering the party we had Watermelon-Jalapeno Mojitos in hand and we walked out onto the dock so we could jump into the water, anyone who knows the deep south understands how utterly hot and humidly miserable it can get in July. With in 20 minutes of swimming we finally had company.

Now, my first response was to get out of the water. I had no problem dangling my legs over the edge of the dock, after all what are the chances of the dolphin jumping out of the water to grab one of my legs when he has no previous history of violence? This thought process of course did not extend to me getting into the water with the dolphin and when I was invited to go swim with the dolphin I politely declined. The two guests of the party jumped in and swam out. As they were swimming we saw the fin dip in and out of the water and then disappear completely, that’s when we heard them get nervous.

“Where is it?”

“I don’t know!”

“OMG IT BUMPED ME!”

Quickly they started to panic, the guy who swam out gave out a yell and then started moving as quickly to shore as he could, leaving his lady-friend in the dust as they both got to the docks in shock. He held up his arm to reveal that the Dolphin had actually bit him and it looked nasty. Dolphin teeth are sharp, long and fairly needle like, least to say they can pack a punch even when used on accident. After all Sharks are incredibly curious and as they have no hands they rely on nibbles to figure out what certain things are, nibbles for them are a limb for us, fortunately for W the dolphin was kind enough to give a warning. As cute as they are Dolphins can be violent if they feel you are a threat to them or their pod.

In the end we got W bandaged up and the dolphin stuck around for about 15 minutes before getting bored and harassing some other boaters in the area, one little girl was sitting in front of her dad on a Jetski screamed with excitement at the sight of a dolphin following them.

Least to say the guy was okay, thank goodness, and the lesson was learned.

Roofies, let’s talk about them.

*** TRIGGER WARNING!!!!!*** This post talks about Abuse, Violence and Drug Use.

Least to say my first New Years in San Diego was a little interesting, as most of you know I work in the service industry as a host and lo-and-behold I was closing New Years. For most people in retail working New Years Eve isn’t the most terrible thing on the planet, generally you get to close early and really you can still go out for at least a little while even if you have to work early the next morning. In the restaurant when you work New Years you generally are gong to be at work until 3-5 in the morning depending on the laws regarding bar closing times in the area you are in. Also on how fucked up the Bar got because you gotta clean it.

So it’s was a pretty insured bet that I was going to see some shenanigans and sure enough they started creeping in slowly which more than quickly escalated into fully blown dance party. With in no time the DJ had the place bumping, people were REALLY getting into the dancing (if you can call some of it that *cough*TMI PDAs*cough*.) Mostly it was just a lot of “Yes you can order drinks at the bar or with a server”, “no you cannot bring your drink outside,” “No, I don’t mind working New Years Eve.” “Yes, I am being sarcastic.” But soon things started getting a little *too* exciting when a girl suddenly collapsed at the bar and became completely unresponsive. Then another girl dropped, also unresponsive. My mind of course automatically went into wonder wonder woman mode, getting someone to get water, bringing the second girl a puke bag (at least she was puking,) and taking every ounce of self control I had not to kick her boyfriend out of the bar for disorderly conduct. That self control got seriously tested when he started yelling at her and slapping her cheeks to try to wake her up, I completely lost it after I watched him pick her up from the chair and drop her on the floor. The police stepped in and dragged her away and then he had the nerve to tell me what was going to happen. I promptly told him off, and felt rather okay with the fact that he promptly got arrested for grabbing an officer and trying to rip her out of their arms.  Now as a few of you know when I was living in New Orleans I was roofied and it was terrifying, but it also gave me some insight into what roofies were and what they looked like but more importantly how to deal with them.

When I was roofied in New Orleans it was intense, but thankfully I am really in tune with my body and could tell within ten minutes that something was very, very, wrong. I took a sip of my Redbull and Vodka and cringed, it tasted salty which no alcoholic beverage should taste like unless salt or olive juice or something similar is used in the making. My first reaction was to ask Brian if it tasted funny to him, he took a super small taste and didn’t really notice anything unusual, I took another sip and put my drink on the bar. Within five minutes (now up to 15 minutes after the initial dose) of placing the drink on the bar it felt like my entire world was falling out from under me. There was absolutely no way one drink had gotten me that screwed up, I had only had two drinks at the previous bar. I immediately told Brian we had to leave, that something was wrong, and within two blocks of the bar we had been laughing in not 15 minutes ago my entire world dropped for three full days. It took me almost a week to fully physically recover, I have still not emotionally gotten past the experience.  Thankfully I had Brian there who fed me, forced me to drink more water than my body felt like it could handle and held me as I tried to get control of my body back.

These girls did not have the luxury of having themselves so in tune with their own bodies, or the understanding that this isn’t something that will never happen to you. It’s very real, very scary and shouldn’t ever happen but it does. You could turn away from your drink for just a few seconds and never know and you may not have friends near by to help you. Thankfully the first girl had her best friend with her who had no problem calling 911. The second girl was not so lucky and her boyfriend (abusive ass) was promptly arrested for his actions.  As far as I know all the people who were drugged are safe and were taken by ambulance to the ER. I really, genuinely, hope that these people are okay. I hope that girl 2 ditched the douche in red plaid, I hope that the BFF’s keep their buddy system just as strong as it was this NYE, I hope the third party got just as much help as the two girls did.

Now on the road safety is always a huge concern, after I was roofied I realized just how far I needed to take that. Since that night I have carried test strips with me to every bar I go regardless of who I know and who I am with. The thought of someone taking that kind of control from me again terrifies me, but not nearly as much as my concern that it will happen to someone else when there are ways to ensure your safety more so than if you had nothing at all. Below are a couple of links to items you can buy to test your drinks:

Color changing Straws and Cups

Color changing Test Strips

I hope everyone has a safe 2014!!!

Love always,

-Nerdy Gypsy