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NaNoWriMo 9 – Therapy Breakthrough

My therapy schedule has not really been so much a schedule lately as a random assortment of dates scheduled somewhere between four and six weeks apart. And that really hasn’t been working for me, because the sessions I do have are at least a quarter catch-up. That’s a bit much for me.

This session we talked about what has happened with me over the last couple weeks – the death of my childhood caretaker, problems with partners, anxiety/anxiety-induced insomnia, my self-care kit, and what I’ve discovered and learned in the last couple weeks. We started it off special with a chai tea she has in her office that both of us love and that helped ease things in a bit.

When I was talking about setting boundaries and me figuring out what I need to do if I want to keep one of my relationships healthy and realistic for both of us, I mentioned that I finally actually grokked the idea of self as primary, that it finally resonated for me. I’ve done work in self-care and setting my own boundaries, but I’ve realized that I need to have a stronger base on which to grow my relationships and that some of the issues I’ve been running into have probably been as a result of not spending time on my base, on taking care of me. My therapist asked if this was the first time this had truly clicked with me. When I told her that it was, she stood up and gave me a standing ovation. She remarked that this is what progress looks like, and I am inclined to agree with her.

So I am scheduled on an every other week schedule, which I think will be better for me going into winter, when things get tough.

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NaNoWriMo 8 – New

So… I think it’s time. I’m adding my new guy (and his peeps) to my polycule chart. I’ve been hesitating for a while because I don’t know what to call him (there are a number of appropriate ones that I’ve come up with) and because we’re trying to keep things pretty casual (we’ll see how well that works down the line…). I started seeing him about 13 weeks ago and we’ve been going on dates every couple weeks, pretty regularly. I’ve known him for several years now – the kind of knowing that involves conversations at mutual friends’ parties and larger scale play/sex parties and some sexual tension. The timing had never been quite right before, but now, now I’ve been open to different kinds of connections for a bit and that opened up that possibility. And wow… yeah. The chemistry is awesome.

What I’ve decided on for now namewise, and I reserve the right to change my mind, is Ember.

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NaNoWriMo 2 – Coping

How do you choose to deal with the pain in your life? The sad things that happen, although maybe not unexpectedly, still happen not on a schedule? I prefer to address them in a couple of manners – the first time completely sober, so I know what I’m looking at. The second time, I’m not sure that (sobriety) matters as much – I think because some of the pain has been addressed before. The third time and on? I tend to address it on a case to case basis, giving it space to be something that just is, in whatever other mindset it exists in or alongside.

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NaNoWriMo 1 – Weight

Or should I call it NaBloWriMo?  That would be more accurate, really.  But thus starts my third(?) year of blogging every day of November, as somehow today is November 1st.

So, it has become a complicated thing to explain why I have lost weight and why I eat the way I do.  Not a lot of people can understand my ambivalence very well.  The situation is odd enough, so I can understand why:

Yes, I lost somewhere between 15-20 pounds in the space of the last year.

It was due to finally getting on ADHD meds, which, at least the stimulant ones that work best for me, have an appetite suppressant effect.

No, I didn’t mean to lose the weight.  It was not on purpose.

Not all weight loss is good weight loss, even for someone who wants to lose weight.  This was not good weight loss for me, despite it being at a slow pace.

I had to spend a lot of money, that I didn’t have, to buy new clothes, new bras, new pants, because nothing fit anymore.

It was not good for me – I wanted to have some control over it, and I felt like my body was not anywhere near under my control.

So, in February of this year, prompted by Diplomat’s keto period, I decided that I would try going low carb to see if I could bring the weight loss  to a halt.  I’d tried a couple other strategies, to no avail.

And it has.  I’ve maintained the same weight since about March, with a couple three or four pound fluctuations when I wasn’t watching things so closely.

This weight, this eating style, is maintainable for me.  It actually works.  Plus, I have actually managed to pick up a wardrobe in this size.

People compliment me and it is hard for me to say thanks.  Mostly because I don’t like the idea that I am more worthy of admiration as a human being for having lost weight, for becoming skinnier, for becoming closer to the societal ideal.  It’s super icky.

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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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Social Justice Activism

I read this article today and a lot of it really rang true to me (other than the second section): Kin Aesthetics – Excommunicate Me From the Church of Social Justice.

Two bits that stuck out:

There is an underlying current of fear in my activist communities, and it is separate from the daily fear of police brutality, eviction, discrimination, and street harassment. It is the fear of appearing impure. Social death follows when being labeled a “bad” activist or simply “problematic” enough times. I’ve had countless hushed conversations with friends about this anxiety and how it has led us to refrain from participation in activist events, conversations, and spaces because we feel inadequately radical….  I self-police what I say in activist spaces. I stopped commenting on social media with questions or pushback on leftist opinions for fear of being called out. I am always ready to apologize for anything I do that a community member deems wrong, oppressive, or inappropriate—no questions asked. The amount of energy I spend demonstrating purity in order to stay in the good graces of a fast-moving activist community is enormous.

And…

Scrolling through my news feed sometimes feels Iike sliding into a pew to be blasted by a fragmented, frenzied sermon. I know that much of the media posted there means to discipline me to be a better activist and community member. But when dictates aren’t followed, a common procedure of punishment ensues. Punishments for saying/doing/believing the wrong thing include shaming, scolding, calling out, isolating, or eviscerating someone’s social standing. Discipline and punishment have been used for all of history to control and destroy people. Why is it being used in movements meant to liberate all of us? We all have made serious mistakes and hurt other people, intentionally or not. We get a chance to learn from them when those around us respond with kindness and patience. Where is our humility when examining the mistakes of others? Why do we position ourselves as morally superior to the lowly un-woke? Who of us came into the world fully awake?

I understand the desire to dismantle the systems that have held down anyone not white, straight, male, upper class, cisgender, etc. for a long time. That is my goal as well. And I understand that people are angry about being oppressed and I will never tell them that their anger is not justified, because, as student of political science and history, I damn well know it is more than justified.  Hell, there are a number of things in our society I am very angry about.

I am really tired of the ideal of the perfect “woke” social justice activist.  Someone who spends all day and all night participating in marches, protests, calling their congresspeople, and preaching the word to the “un-woke”.  Someone who puts all their time and energy into fighting for all social justice causes.  I remember commenting the other day to someone (…don’t remember exactly who…) that that term seems to exist exclusively to other people, to split the community apart, into the “woke” and “un-woke”.  Anything that rips us into smaller and smaller groups makes it less likely that we’ll be able to accomplish anything.  The whole “house divided” thing.
I am (in a minor way, becoming more major day by day) disabled and neurodivergent.  I learn in different ways than other people.  I take in information differently than other people.  I am particularly sensitive to being rejected from communities and friend groups.  I cannot participate in all the protests, marches, and rallies that people put together for both physical and mental health reasons.  I despise the quiet implication that I am not as good an activist because I am not a loud activist.  Or because I can’t really afford to take time off work (ya know, the work that pays for my insurance and medical bills, so I can stay sorta healthy and sane enough) to attend events during the work week.  I go to what I can, I participate where I can, I spread the word where I can – but I can’t go everywhere or say everything, and sometimes I’m just exhausted and can’t do much of anything.  And I don’t think I’m in the minority here, in the slightest.  Expecting perfection sets you up for failure.
Yes, please feel free to call me in if I’ve said or done something offensive to you.  Hell, I encourage it.  Not going to learn any other way.  But if you try to shame me because I’ve erred, tell me that I should or should not do something – I am not a child, you are not my parent, and if you try to tell me that I “should” do something, then I am not likely to react well.  Suggest it, make it a condition of participating, fine.  That makes it my choice what I do, whether I choose to participate.

I am exhausted of staying silent for fear of being seen as lesser-than.  Un-woker-than, one might say.

I am afraid of posting this.