Taking Care of Myself

So, the Ick is early this year (Seasonal Affective Disorder, or seasonal depression – I like calling it the Ick better).  So, *sigh* I get to start the winter routine, with at least one addition – I have a SAD lamp for work and may have meds within the next few weeks.  We’ll see if those help.

I’m going to address the Ick more specifically in another post, because I think it’s a bit of a distraction from the point of this one.

I anticipate this year will be a return to the standard pattern (that being Ick minus generalized depression) that I saw before Minx died – the only aberrations in that pattern having been in the last few years since she died.  But I have learned in those years how better to take care of myself, what is soothing for me.

The Routine:

  • Making sure to get calories in me in the morning (makes it easier to keep energy levels stable) even if I’m not hungry.
  • Upping my Vitamin D dose (I run lower in the winter than summer)
  • Taking magnesium every day (cannot take it for 3 hours after my thyroid med doses, so this is tricky)
  • Getting my ass outside every day, even if only for about 15 minutes
  • Getting whatever exercise I can, even if I don’t want to.  Logical brain gets to remind emotional brain that exercise might not feel worth it in the short run, but in the long run it helps stabilize energy levels and moods.  Which is good.
  • Talking myself out of anxiety related decisions – everything is fine, everybody is fine with you (unless they actively say otherwise), your job is stable and they need you there, and you have a great chosen family and partners who care about you.
  • Reminding myself that it is okay to say “no” to the things I don’t have the energy to do

Self Care

What is self care for me?  What activities can I do to help myself?  In no particular order:

  • Baths or burying myself in blankets.  Warmth can be a hard thing for me to achieve, so it’s amazing when I can get it.
  • Eating things that go beyond my calorie allotment for the day or that may not be “healthy”.  I have the philosophy that if I’m craving something, that’s my body’s way of telling me that it needs me to consume more.  And I’m trying to get away from the socially ingrained idea that my body is the enemy (even though, with an auto-immune condition, it kinda literally is…).
  • Manicures and pedicures.  That kind of pampering can be amazing.
  • Dressing for comfort rather than appearance, if I need it.  Sometimes dressing up can be soothing.  Other times it triggers dysmorphia and that makes me feel like garbage.  So, sometimes this means having a change of clothing on hand, just in case.
  • Reading.  Having books on hand that may not be high-brow intellectual, but still make me feel good to read.  Preferably series, because I can go through books rapidly.
  • Writing.  Even if it’s just a tidbit in a journal or blog, this makes me feel wonderful.
  • Talking to those near and dear to me.  Especially by electronic means, as social gatherings can be super stressful if they’re too large or have people whose energies I’m not familiar with.
  • Consuming various altering substances (usually in moderation).  Caffeine when I need it at work.  Alcohol, in public, after work.  Pot (I live in a state where it’s legal) when I want all the distractions and constant thoughts to go away for a bit, or when I need it for pain purposes.
  • Comforting textures and sounds.  Music from my childhood, soft stuffed animals, smooth skin, cuddling etc.
  • Meditation or just mindful breathing/thinking.  Brings me into the moment, and moments are far easier to deal with than long chunks of time.



What I mean by “love”

So, I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a long time, even before I wrote the last one, but I’ve been refining it – pulling it out of its box, mulling it over, shoving it back in the box, over and over – and finally I think I may be ready to write it.  So here we go…



Every morning I wake up at my own house I tell Trydaen that I love him.  Usually before I leave for work in the morning.  Yes, it’s a routine, a very well worn one, but it’s a routine that has meaning for me.  I want him to know that, no matter what else happens, that I do love him.  And I know it’s reciprocated.  I know he won’t say it if he’s not feeling loving towards me and vice versa.

In those cases I usually mean something along the lines of: I’m glad for your continued presence in my life, for you being you, and I want you to know this in case anything goes wrong today.  In other moments it can mean: I desire you, I appreciate your willingness to cuddle with me even when you’re too warm, I am thankful that you are a steady presence in my life, I am thankful for your honesty, I am happy with the food you made…and so on, etc.

I’ve asked him a handful of times over the years why he loves and what it is about me that he loves and it seems, from what he says, that there is no solid answer, that it varies and is not always vocalizable.  And that’s fine.


Background: I always get really nervous for awhile when I’m desiring to tell someone I love them for the first time, even if we’ve been open about our emotions, doesn’t seem to matter.  My brain just goes into stress-out mode.

So, somehow in that mess, I figured it would probably be best to tell Diplomat in the moment that felt right, and stop trying to plan it.  I also resolved to be clear about my terms.

So I did – I said “I love you” (in one breath) and then followed it up with “…and by that I mean…” and out came a messy jumble of words that summed up what I was feeling for him at the moment.  And he reciprocated, without any hesitation.  This warmed my heart practically to the point of boiling.  So this is how we do it.  Saying “I love you” is just the first step in the journey – there’s so much more to go!

I’ve only said it a few times since – not because I’ve stopped having those feelings whatsoever, nor because I am less committed to that idea.  It’s simply that I realized that what we have takes on a different form than what I have with Trydaen.  I don’t need to say or hear it as often because I feel it in what we do and say with each other – saying/hearing it feels like an extra scoop of ice cream on top of an already delicious cone.

Right now, if I were to say it, I’d mean that: I really enjoyed yesterday, really loved cuddling with you this morning, am very thankful for your openness with me, I am looking forward to doing the fancy date thing with you next weekend, I am glad of all the things you do for your partners/my metas, and I hope you have fun this weekend.  Other times it might mean: I desire you, I am happy to be involved with you, I am brimming with joy to see all the lovely people in your life, I am thankful for your support, I really love talking with you, I am looking forward to where we go with our relationship…etc.


Yes, we did date for awhile, but that’s not what this is about.  This is not about romantic love.  If that was ever a thing, it passed away a long time ago.

Right now, if I were to tell Butterfly that I love her, it would mean: I am glad for your presence in my life, I am thankful you chose to invite me to your house almost 7 years ago to meet your family and friends, I think you’re lovely inside and out, I wish you only the best and brightest.  At other times it might mean: I am thankful that you wanted to play that game with me, I appreciate your curiosity, I appreciate you sharing your tea collection with me, I am thankful that you still occasionally want to do things with me, I am thankful for your honesty, I love your work stories…etc.


And so many others, some with just simple reasons, simple meanings like: I enjoy your company, I look fondly on the past we had together, I am glad to see you happy with the person/people you’re with, I’m glad you’ve found peace, I am grateful for their honesty, I appreciate their support in my journey, that I am looking forward to sharing future journeys, that I am looking forward to getting closer to them, and I am glad that I have known them so long and that that hasn’t faded.

Polyamory taught me that all kinds of love are possible and how to open my heart to whatever kinds are out there.


Chosen Family

Today I have been thinking about what I want to write about.  Maybe consent or feminism?  I do have a lot to say about those, but there’s a lot I’ve already said, so I want something else, something a bit closer to home.

A lot of people have a chosen family because their biological family was shit or they’re physically distant.  This is not the case for me – my bio family mostly lives within a couple hours driving distance on the heaviest of traffic days and they’re mostly ok.  My parents raised my sister and I well.  There’s a few decisions that they made and a few pieces of their child-rearing philosophy I disagree with, but overall, they are/were sane and intelligent parents.

I have a chosen family because when I became an adult I grew apart and beyond what I grew up with.  I learned about identity politics and started identifying outside of what I knew was a possibility as a child – as a feminist, bisexual/queer, as non-monogamous (eventually polyamorous), and now as genderqueer/fluid – and with that came people who challenged me to grow beyond childhood, beyond a childhood understanding of the world.  I learned that love is not necessarily romantic and can take on so many forms.

My chosen family, on the basest level, are the people I choose to have in my life.  I remember reading once about the idea of love being a series of choices; waking up each morning and asking yourself, “Do I still want to be with this person/these people today, whatever that means today?”, and confronting what that means if the answer is hesitant or negative.  My chosen family is made up of the people that I keep saying yes to those question – maybe not every single day, maybe missing days, but a great majority of the days.

Seeing these families in action surrounds me with a sort of compersive love, like a safe hug.  And it isn’t even the big things.  Lately it has been smaller things – picking people up from the airport, spending time with them at the hospital, putting together a schedule to take care of someone who needs it, and with my LLC, building plans for a future home together by getting together for dinner, drinks, and nonsense with our business.

I love it when I feel safe enough with people to expand my chosen family – not just by taking on new partners, new lovers, but taking on the people near them, my metas, their metas, those they have chosen.  And I like it when I can help expand other people’s families as well.

This is not to say that this is the perfect family form.  We still have conflicts like any family, sometimes we drive each other up the wall, and sometimes we fall apart a bit, but that choice is what matters – I can choose not to have someone as part of my family if the relationship is too toxic, or distance myself a bit if I think that the relationship is not currently healthy, but may be salvageable in the long run (and is worth the effort to do so).

I love you all, in some way, and I hope to see that grow and change every day.



I saw this on my Facebook feed and I shared and wrote a little blurb to go with it, but I really want to expand further on that.

What I initially wrote:

I grew up with the ocean – it is a place that helps ground me and return me to inner peace.  It is a part of my soul and the further I get away, the more I feel like I’ve lost a bit of myself.  This is the reason I had my handfasting on the beach.

But it’s really more than that.  Being there often puts me in the same mindset I get when I do yoga – present and in touch with the universe.  The waves washing up on the shore is namaste to me.

I think this runs in my family – my maternal grandmother moved back here to the Pacific Northwest from her retirement in Arizona because she couldn’t stand to be so far away from the rolling ocean waves.  My mother and father took us kids to the ocean at least once a year when I was a kid.

One of these days I will go by myself for a weekend or so, but generally I prefer to bring someone I love and trust, who knows me and is open to what that entails.


Update: Letter to My Dad

So, I received a response letter from my dad, apparently a few days after I sent the letter (Delayed mail? Me not checking my mail often?), I thought it was worth retyping:

24 June 2016

Dear [my first name],

Thank you for the letter you sent me a couple days ago.

I appreciate it very much, and I’m flattered, that you care enough about my opinion to send it.

I’m a child of the sixties, and my cultural conditioning tells me that polyamoury leads to trouble.  That may or may not be true; but it still makes me a bit uneasy when you talk about your new boyfriend and it develops that he’s married.  I worry that your loving heart could lead you into heartbreak, unpleasant scenes, disaster.

However, your mother reminds me that you are an adult, a smart and well-educated adult, and undoubtedly more in touch with the cultural zeitgeist than I am.  And of course, I have to accept the truth of that.  So I wish you the best of luck in your romantic endeavors.  Keep your mother and me posted; when you’re happy we’ll be happy along with you, and of course we’ll always be ready to provide unconditional love and support if anything should go wrong.

Your loving father,


I think this shows hope – my dad can be a bit, well, behind in his thinking sometimes. But the thing is, I know his intentions are good.  There’s room for growth here – my thought is that the Dan Savage approach here is probably best – keep exposing them to it in a “this is part of my life, part of me” kind of way so that they can see how happy this makes me.  It becomes something they get used to over time.

What do you think?  Good approach?  Could use work?