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Update

So, as you may have noticed, I haven’t written in awhile. It’s not that I haven’t come up with a million awesome ideas for posts, including some awesome ones bragging about the cool people that I know and/or love, but I have been out doing things, doing people, doing work of all sorts. And clearly, not writing.

Depression hit. I struck back by starting light therapy in the mornings and getting more regular about taking Vitamin D. It seems to have died down quite a bit. My anxiety levels are still a bit higher than normal, but depression has mostly abated, giving me some more summer time to make connections and socialize before it gets bad. If it gets bad…. It feels fairly mild this year, honestly. We’ll see, come November through January.

Bit #1

Moss and I had a really tough conversation on this last Monday. I had hyped myself up to catastrophization levels and was sure we were done for. I even talked to my therapist about it pretty extensively – her two big remarks were to be ready to let go of the relationship if my boundaries couldn’t be met (I’m not sure I was, which is what I told him when he asked if I had been) and to talk about the difference between something being urgent and something being important. I talked to him briefly that weekend to nail down plans and asked if I had anything to worry about in regards to the conversation – no, no agenda.

We had a lovely picnic in the Arboretum by the water, first in the sun, then in the shade. We settled into our normal conversational cadence – smooth, easy, flowing, no pressure. Then we talked about the situation at hand, about what our needs were, what we wanted going forward. And my fears were eased – no, no break-up. In fact, I think we came out of the whole situation more solid than we’ve been for a month or so.

I had the overwhelming feeling I do sometimes, when I can’t hold a thought or a feeling back – that it is overwhelming my mouth and I can’t but speak its name and nature. And so I did – I told him that I loved him. In the five seconds that followed my brain did an amazing thing – Anxiety hyped me up “What if he doesn’t love me, what if that makes or breaks things, what if it is too big a feeling to handle?”, but Reason stepped in and said “So what? You’ll figure it out with him, you’ll communicate about it, everything will be fine”. And everything was fine. Everything was more than fine. And yes, not going to keep you in suspense – the feeling was very mutual.

So far things have been going well enough with Eve on his end, even after talking with her about the situation and what he and I had talked about together. It gives me great hope!

Bit #2

So, I’ve been trying the casual dating thing with a few people, each of which has been going very differently, but each has some continuing potential. In order of first dates:

#1: He’s super fun to talk about politics and the local poly community with. Decent kisser. Some sexual chemistry, but unsure where I want to go with that. Even if we just ended up as friends (maybe as friends who fuck? I don’t know where this is going, really), that would be a good thing.

#2: We knew each other through a local lunch group that I organized awhile back, so we’ve had opportunities to chat before. Quiet, but worth the listening to. He’s a bit hard for me to read, so I’m not 100% sure of the level of mutual interest, but he seems to keep wanting to see me and he spoke well of me to Lola at an event they both attended. Even if it only ends up being a friends who go out to things thing, it would be fun.

#3: We’ve known each other for a couple years, but yeah, life can be complicated, especially when it comes to poly. I always thought he was cute and enjoyed when I’d see him at events. He is actually one of the cutest poly stories I have – we were in the hot tub at a party together and we had been talking for a bit, flirting for a bit, and he leans over to whisper in my ear that he would really like to kiss me right then, but things were too complicated at the moment. A couple years later, let me tell you – that kiss was fabulous, if a bit delayed. Also, I was thinking about this later, but he’s the first person I’ve fucked on the first date (not counting people I fucked before the first date and people for whom there was never a date). So yeah… fun stuff. I will be glad to see where this goes.

Each of these has at least had second dates and has a third scheduled.

Bit #3

Inspired by my therapist I’ve been turning over in my head if I want to try to actually get a travelling notary public business off the ground. At my last session/my first session in awhile she had asked me about my work stuff and had suggested marketing my skills, as a paralegal and my notary public license, to GRSM (Gender, Relationship, and Sexual Minority) people, particularly the LGBTQ community, as having someone who is one of them around could be a big mark in my favor.

I would have to do a few things to even have a chance of getting it off the ground – stop procrastinating on getting my notary stamp/seal, look into getting a business license, get a phone number independent of my personal cell number, set up a separate email address and basic website, set up bank account stuff, and I am absolutely sure I am missing something – but I looked at the market in my area and it seems like there is space for more notaries before the saturation point is reached.

There is plenty of space for expanding services in different directions once I get stuff off the ground, but this seems like a possible and doable thing for me.

Bit #4

Things seem to have stabilized on the gender front, a bit – it tends to be fluid, but a lot of the time my gender ends up manifesting as, “Do I really have to pick a gender?” or as “Not today, thank you” or something ridiculous, like “fuck your binary gendered”. I am getting a bit more finicky about having people use my correct pronouns and am starting to go on mini-tirades in my head when I am in a situation where I am forced to pick one (bathrooms being my most common example). But yeah, I think this, like everything else about me, is going to remain fluid.

Bit #5

The woman who took care of me from basically birth to kindergarten and occasionally after, is dying of cancer. She probably doesn’t have much longer. The common impression seems to be that we’re talking maybe double digit weeks, if not a few months, but soon. On Sunday there was a party in her honor held at the home/complex she’s living at – a “celebration of life” thing. So I drove about an hour and a half to get to see her, probably for the last time. It amazed me how small and frail she looked, like I could almost break her, but her mind and sense of humor were still as sharp as a tack.

The whole event gave me some perspective on how far life has taken me away from my early days. Her son, who is somewhere around a decade older than me always seemed so tall to me when I was a kid (and looking at the old pictures). But he is actually around my height, probably an inch or so shorter (and I am 5′ 3.5″), It left me wondering how much of who I am is because of this woman, and losing that will be a blow.

I’m still doing a fair amount of processing on this and probably will be, off and on, for awhile. But that’s what I have for now.

So yeah. I will try to write more often, but because we’re heading into winter I can’t exactly promise that.

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For Whom Is the Sea?

For whom are we allowed to mourn,
To wet our faces and be forlorn?
Is it law alone to have that bond,
Or be also by extension fond?
Are friends and lovers to be set out,
Apart from the saddened devout?
We grasp some memory's last straw,
About one caught in death's true final awe.
Set adrift on some grey and forlorn sea,
Please recognize among the crying be,
Some people whom you cannot see.

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More Than Two 5.2

What needs do I have from my partners, in terms of time, emotional availability, commitment, communication and intimacy?

That depends on the nature of our relationship.

Note: One problem with the English language (and maybe others, but I’m only fluent in English, so that’s what I have to work with), is that there are no really great ways to describe relationships with certain traits without falling back on imperfect terms, some with meanings that are beyond what I intend.  So, I use them and try to make do.  Anyways, back to the main plot.

In general, if we are dating, that generally means that we want to spend time with each other on a regular or semi-regular basis.  So, about a once a month, at the barest minimum?  With my central core relationships (Trydaen, Diplomat, and Lola), once a week or so seems to work out fairly well.  With Moss, we’re still figuring stuff out, but we have gone from once a month to about once every couple weeks (depending on availability) and that’s working out well for me.  My needs/wants around time are one of the main reasons long distance relationships just don’t work well for me – I desire more time together than long distance allows for easily.

As for emotional availability, this is a tricky one.  I need to know that my partners (both central and satellite) will listen to and acknowledge my emotions when I express them, on a soonish basis (like within a day or two, barring extenuating circumstances).  I need them also to be aware that I need to internally process stuff before I know what to do with it, how to feel about it; my raw, stream of consciousness emotions tend to not actually reflect how or what I think about things, just what emotions are closer to the surface on that given day or in that moment.  I want my partners to understand that either I may need time to process things (which I am getting better at asking for) or that they will be getting feelings that may have little to do with my actually feelings and thought on the subject.  As for my availability – I try to be as available as possible (because that is important to me), but there can be circumstances which make me less able to help them process or to deal with deeper emotions, such as prolonged or extreme pain flares, lack of sleep, or general emotional overload.

I define commitment as dedication to sustaining and continuing the relationship (even if it needs to change nature or substance over time).  I need to know if someone is doubting their commitment to our relationship, and if so, if they think that there is I can do to help (if there is anything).

Communication is the key to everything.  I want to know about my partners’ lives – the good, the bad, the ugly, what makes them tick, what drives their lives, what they need to stay the truest to themselves.  Sometimes what I ask for may seem like minutiae or unimportant, but staying in the loop is important to me because it helps me build my story of people.  I want to be kept in the loop about schedules (particularly anything I wouldn’t know to ask about or other out of the ordinary events, like trips or first dates or visitors), partially so I know when to bugger off for a bit or not to expect any sort of answer.  Because Words of Affirmation is so high on my Love Languages, I also need to hear that I am important to my partners and that they are thinking of me, even if it just means a quick text just to check in.

I am frankly not quite sure what the authors mean by intimacy.  Do they mean it in a euphemistic sense, as in to mean sex?  Or alone time together, or deep, personal connection?  I think this question may be a bit vague for me to actually answer it in any meaningful way.  But I do need all of those things on a semi-regular basis at the very least.

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Words of Affirmation

So I recently retook the 5 Love Languages test (I like to, semi-regularly) and got these as my results: 
9 Physical Touch
8 Words of Affirmation
7 Acts of Service
6 Quality Time
0 Receiving Gifts

None of which was a surprise. In previous years Words of Affirmation and Physical Touch have flip-flopped, but I think some of that does depend on what relationships I’m in at the time. Other than Receiving Gifts (is nice, but doesn’t really make me feel loved), they have always been tightly clustered. I think some of that is because they don’t differentiate between giving and receiving Love Languages and mine are somewhat different.

I give a lot of lip service to Physical Touch as one of my main love languages, but don’t really talk much about Words of Affirmation. Partially because the fact that that is up there on the list makes me feel needy and dependent on people – I need you to affirm me – with the hidden subtext being that I can’t affirm myself. Which, frankly, is bullshit.  I am a solid enough rock on my own – I built myself back up after I fell apart when Minx died and gathered a lot of tools to keep doing so along the way.  I can do me just fine.

The truth is, I need to hear it from others. I need to hear that the people I am with appreciate me, appreciate the work I put into our relationship (whatever its nature), find me worth spending time with, love me, and find me attractive (if that’s appropriate for the nature of our relationship). I can’t live with just assuming it – I need to hear the person say it.

I used to, and to a certain extent still do, have issues asking for these kinds of things, because it feels like I am putting words in their mouth and that’s the last thing I want – I want genuine expressions. The one way I’ve gotten around this is asking for affirmations in general – tell me I’m pretty, tell me what you like about me, tell me what you like about my brain, tell me why you love me – and most of the time that works.

I love words. I love the way words feel and sound in my mouth and to my ears, so hearing the good that people I care about think of me instead of having to assume it is very affirming and heart strengthening.

With Trydaen, I was very explicit in the beginning of things – if you love me, please tell me that you love me as often as you feel it – and that has worked really well. Sometimes it does feel rote, but I know that he will not lie to me (too much effort and no real reason to do so), and sometimes he will not say it when I tell him that I love him, and I’m ok with that. I trust him to be genuine.

The tricky part with this is that I am not always super great at giving Words of Affirmation as a love language. I think this is partially due to not knowing when an appropriate time to say these kind of things is and a fear of looking awkward if it is an inappropriate time or situation. Or saying something that seems rote, because I say it often.

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More Than Two 4.6

What makes me feel afraid in relationships? Why?

I feel afraid when I don’t have scheduled time, a plan to schedule time, or a definite continued interest in scheduling time together.  When this drops off, it tends to be the death toll for a relationship, so I get afraid when it happens in relationships that I am emotionally invested in.

I feel afraid when I realize what will break us up.  In the past, this has meant that the relationship has less than 6 months left.  And if I’m still emotionally invested in the relationship, then this is painful to my very core.  Now, I’m not sure whether this is an example of a self-fulfilling prophecy, or just something that happens to happen every time, but it hurts.  To clarify, this is not an “I think this may be the case” or “this may cause a split” because those are usually addressable or short term.  When I have this realization, it has been an ongoing issue that seems irresolvable.

I am afraid when people yell at me or corner me with their bodies, especially men and other folks with deeper voices, even if they have no history of raising a hand against me.  This reduces me to a gibberish mess of crying and defensiveness.  If I’m already feeling vulnerable, I will just curl into a ball and disappear (mentally and emotionally) to protect myself.

I fear being in the position that I have to borrow/take money from my partners.  It took me a lot of time and effort to separate myself from my parents financially and, to me, that marked my final step into adulthood, not being financially dependent on any other adult to make my way in the world.  So to put myself back into the position where I borrow or take money from my partners makes me feel like less of an adult – when I do, I have to set up strict schedules for repayment so I can control some part of the process.  

However, I realize that some of how I choose to live my life depends on other people financially – I live in a house where my rent is income-based, so I depend on people to pay their rent to still have a place to live, and I tend to be the person who pays less often when I go out with my partners because I make less money.  I feel better about these because I know that these are adult transactions and that we all entered into them in full knowledge of what they meant to our lives.  And they can change if they need to.

I am terrified of the idea of the people I love dying.  I already lost Minx and that was devastating to me – there were months where all I could do was just put one foot in front of the other and get through that day.  And the next day.  And so on.

I am scared when people stop talking to me.  I understand and can usually reassure myself if someone just needs some space, but if they just drop off the map or only talk to be about banal things, I feel like I am no longer interesting to them and why are they in a relationship with me if I am no longer interesting to them?  And…brain weasel circus!

I feel afraid when a partners’ other relationships are going poorly or they are having conflict, especially if they are relationships that preceded my relationship with them.  I don’t want to be the cause of any relationship splitting, even if it is really indirect.  And I do tend to personalize this kind of stuff, regardless of whether it makes any sense to do so or not.  Stability tends to be better for everyone’s emotional health and I hate seeing people hurt.

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More Than Two 4.5

What makes me feel cherished, loved and secure?

In no particular order:

Having regular scheduled get togethers with my partners (the more entangled/involved the relationship, the more likely I am to want this to actually be on a given day that is ours.  With my more casual partner, we just see each other when we can, with the understanding that we want to keep doing that, but we’re both fairly busy people.)

Random touch – reach for me when we’re out walking,  give me a hug, cuddle up next to me on the couch, put your head in my lap

Random communication – reach out to me when you’re thinking about me, even if it’s just to check in or share something that you think I would like.

Occasional gifts – whether it be a physical object, time, or service, just giving of yourself to me occasionally makes me feel really loved and cherished

Active/communicative listening – when I say something or share a story, a problem, or a bit of advice, acknowledging that (even if it isn’t anything you’re interested in).  I’m not asking for right away, just at some point.

Tiny celebrations – celebrating the little anniversaries, the little victories in life with me makes me feel like I am important to you

Integration – The one thing that makes me feel the most secure in my relationships is working towards integrating me and our relationship into your everyday life.  There are a number of forms this could take: introducing me to your other partners, introducing me to your friends, taking me to events that matter to you, introducing me to your partners, inviting me to events with my partners, including me in pictures that you keep around, you spending time in my living space and you spending time in mine, opening up lines of communication for me (if/when needed – not a matter of depending on that in the long-term, just mostly as an introductory measure), and spending time with our cule as a group, just as examples.

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More Than Two 4.4

What do I bring to the table for others?

Questions like this require me to promote myself a bit and I am not very good at that, but let me try.

Passion:  If something or someone strikes my fancy, I tend to get very into it/them. I will, at least for awhile, talk to the moon and stars about it/them.  I don’t do things half-heartedly.  This has resulted in a near encyclopedic knowledge of some weird subjects.

Cooking skills:  I am a pretty decent cook/baker.  Tell me your dietary preferences/restrictions and I can make something you’ll probably really enjoy.

Humor:  I have a dry, British sense of humor.  It can verge on dark and sometimes morbid, but I can laugh about it.

Research skills: Tell me what you want to know and I can find it for you.  I am really good at using the resources at my disposal and forming the right questions and keywords to find out basically whatever I want to know.

Emotional awareness: I have a decent understanding of how my emotions manifest in my head and in my body, so I can tell you how something makes me feel.

Loyalty: I am very loyal to my partners.  I will tell you if I think something is a bad idea.  I will support you and your endeavors, even if I disagree with them.  I will talk about your charms to the people I care about.

Openness: I don’t believe in hiding the people I date, from each other or from other people I care about.  The only places I’m closeted are at work (even so, I have a picture of me and my partners at my desk and would be honest if anyone ever asked me about it) and to my extended family (working on that in therapy right now – it is my plan to change that within the next year or so).

Gah, that’s all I can think of for now.  Maybe will edit to add some later.