Trigger Warning: Christmas

I got my period on Gregorian Christmas, thank Petka—the saint protector or small god of women.

Three days ago I woke up feeling fine, and then a bit after noon I suddenly felt scattered and jittery. I texted this exact thing to a friend, so I have the time stamp. The next day I found out there’d been an earthquake in Montenegro, of a magnitude and geographical proximity likely to have been felt by me and medium sized mammals.

When I’m in LA I know to look at Cal Tech’s SCEDC if that rattled feeling comes on suddenly. Especially if nobody else in whatever room I’m in felt it. My internal earthquake monitor has never been incorrect. In the Balkans, I didn’t think to check and wouldn’t have known where to look anyway. A friend’s neighbor told me about the Montenegrin quake the next day, and I was so relieved to know the cause of the previous day’s random malaise that I melted towards the floor on my knees.

She, the neighbor, had felt it too. She said we’re both sensitive, a little like cats. This feels true. Later she told me that many of her friends are Muslim. I told her the story of that one time I went to Istanbul and hundreds of Turkish men DM’d me pictures of their cats. It was a nice break from the poorly lit dick pics and the demands to “fukx me” sent by douchebags of all nations and faiths.

(I will never fukx you. I will also never fuck you. No, not even on camera. I prefer to work with professionals and to recreate with people I already know. Please do feel free to share more cat pictures though.)


Julian Christmas Eve day was spent with a few people from a semi-secret society (i.e. they don’t immediately pop up on google) that I will refer to as the BPC. We flew drones in a park. I entertained someone’s baby with various animal impressions. It was the kind of day I would like to have in my life regularly.

In the evening First, who is more like a brother at this point than anything else, took me to his parents’ home. His father, being an Orthodox priest, engages in fasting. Пост (post) is a bit like intermittent vegandom, without the lectures on meat being murder or the side-eye at my leather pants—which keep my ass warm and have lasted longer than three pairs of jeans combined. Пост food is also delicious when done reasonable well.

First’s father was full of jokes and hilarious stories, which I could catch a word or two of as he told them. Then I’d wait for First to translate the rest. His father doesn’t speak English, but he had a preternatural ability to understand what I was saying. Priests and pastors tend to be eerily perceptive, in my experience. I suspect it’s because they spend so much time studying and speaking with people.

I don’t know what the father was responding to, or if he was responding to any words at all, but he said that he has seen people change. This struck me—not because I doubt my own ability to change, but because I’ve been doubting whether I should have made more punitive choices in the past. What he said renews my hope.



[Edited to fix that thing where I mixed up which one was Julian and which one was Gregorian–big thanks to Igor for notifying me of my mistake.]

Also published on Medium.

3 Replies to “Trigger Warning: Christmas”

  1. When I was stationed in Alaska in my early twenties, I woke up about thirty seconds before an earthquake hit. It was odd perception to say the least, given that was the first time I ever experienced such an event first hand. Certainly makes one humble and you realize you’re just a guest on this rock when it decides to move ground under your feet and, if it felt like it, could swallow you up into a hole, never to be seen or heard from again.

  2. Hi Stoya,

    Trigger alert. Psychiatry and bad jokes.


    Since you famously answered the question, “Is there anything you cannot do?” with the one word response “Math”, I think this is not an equation. I think it is an old joke.

    A man is sent to a psychiatrist for an evaluation. The psychiatrist begins the exam by asking him what he sees in a series of pictures.

    The psychiatrist draws a 1 on a piece of paper. The man says “It’s a naked lady standing up.”

    He shows the man a picture of an X. The man responds, “Naked lady with her legs crossed.”

    He shows the man a picture of a 0. “The man responds, “Naked lady’s breat.”

    Then a picture of =, “Naked couple having sex.”

    Then a picture of *. “Naked lady bending over.”

    The psychiatrist concludes the man is seriously preoccupied with naked women and tells the man he is a sexual pervert.

    The man responds. “Me a pervert. You’re the one with all the dirty pictures.”

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