I was born in 1973, to a pair of messed up kids. My mom and dad were both addicts, my mom having been abused from a young age, and my dad getting hooked during Vietnam.
I was raised between LA and Phoenix, and the backside of racetracks when I was very young.
I was put in Special Education in the third grade. After that, I was thrown out of or conveniently transferred from several schools, including my high school, where I’d been raped and wouldn’t shut up about it. I was never admitted to a university, though I attended Orange Coast Community College for two and a half years — a real turning point in my life, and my first several jobs in tech. I also worked on safer sex/AIDS prevention awareness. I devoted my free time to PRIDE, the LGBTetc. club at my school and educating people about the internet, and devoted most of my work and class time to the Marine Science department and the library. But I had to leave, because I badly needed health insurance. I was chronically ill, with an early-onset digestive disease, a joint disease, migraines, and mental illness.
I didn’t manage to get insurance.
After floating around for a few years, I started doing stand-up comedy in Oregon, and then teaching at a charter school middle and high school-aged children. I left both of those to become a system administrator, and got my first insurance. That lasted a year. I got a lot of treatment, and learned what I could about controlling my conditions. (I am diagnosed with MDD and PTSD, both cognitively managed, after failing to get help from pharmaceuticals. I manage fairly well these days.)
I went to Europe the first time after that, and became involved with a Londoner, who introduced me to the man who became my first husband. Back in the US I’d gone to the Bay Area, and met another man, a sysadmin at Netscape, and moved in with him. Eventually the three of us moved together as a MFM triad, and lived together for 6 years. I became a blogger, burned out of tech a second time, and then two years later, became a mother.
I began writing again when my daughter was two, and transitioned into journalism. When she was three, my relationships ended. I started a new relationship, which was on an off for 3-4 years, but ended tragically. There’s been plenty of ink spilled about that already. During this time I still struggled with my health, and was diagnosed with a progressive and painful spinal condition that curtailed my ability to work and move easily, but I worked when I could. I have remained a freelance writer for twelve years, most of that time working for Wired and then Medium. I transitioned to Patreon in the last few years. In 2016, I moved to Luxembourg to be with my partner of five years as of 2018.
In 2018 so far, the New York Times hired and fired me, and I’ve been scheduled for extensive spinal surgery in three days with good odds of fixing the disabling condition I’ve lived with for more then 12 years. It’s been a complicated few weeks.
You’re caught up. I have no real formal education — I’m self-educated, both in journalism and technology. I spent a lot of time in libraries, and sometimes sneaking into lecture classes at UCs, before learning how to use the net to teach myself things. I’ve never made much money, but I’ve generally done what I wanted to, and felt was important, and that trade-off is good enough for me.
I intend to keep learning and writing and working, hopefully on helping the world understand its technology and nature, until I’m dead.
Right now, the thing that sticks out at me: you did stand-up? I would really love to see that. Does video of this exist?
sadly, or thankfully, not to my knowledge. it was back in the days of VHS tapes and ephemerality.
The New York Times lost a hell of a writer. Had they not, though, I would have never known you. I read about the Post, rather than read the thing.