0

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.

0

August Post 20

Feeling: nervous…and nervous because I don’t know what I’m nervous about.

So, it’s my 10 year high school reunion tonight and I’m nervous.  I’m nervous about presenting properly.

Ack, that’s a complicated idea.  I want to present as myself – some elements of the feminine, some elements of the masculine.  Coding only subtly as queer – which is weird for me – because I’ll be with a group that I’m not used to coding as queer with.  Plus I’ll have Trydaen with me, which codes as straight.

I’ve come across this before when I was in college and I was just seeing a guy (not monogamous, just only seeing one person at that time).  Going out to queer spaces with just a guy – it made me uncomfortable.  Everyone would see me as straight, a straight person invading queer spaces (bi-erasure for the lose… 😦 ).  I tried to combat this by distancing myself from him, but that just feels awful, for both of us.

I’m not comfortable with either side of this.

I’m not straight.  I never have been.  I’m uncomfortable being seen as straight.  But, how can I break through the assumptions, while still dressing in a way that makes me comfortable?  I think there’s some bigger questions going on here.

0

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.

 

0

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.

0

Kids?

If you want a good example of how my brain works, especially with anxiety, let me show you a glimpse from a recent post I made in response to a subject on Facebook.  The original poster is worried about kids – whether she should keep trying to have them biologically, try adoption, what have you, especially with time running out and finances being an issue and is wondering about other people’s experiences with the subject.

I have added some to my original post because I have had more thoughts about it.  Added portions are italicized.

“I don’t know either.  I know my parents would love to be grandparents.  I think I might even be a good parent.  I know that if I needed a support system, mine is extensive and loving.  I think
that if I ever wanted to do it biologically I might even have a volunteer or two to father them. 
But I have doubts.

What if I pass on my mental and physical illness to biological children? Granted, they are not severe, nor super expensive, but I worry.  I worry that it is not responsible for me to be bringing
someone into the world with the extra burden of those illnesses.  But people do it all the time.

What if my mysterious fatigue issues get worse and I cannot properly care for a child? I am a spoonie, this is a huge concern for me.  I would have to learn how to manage those spoons better and figure out how to give in to the days that just don’t work without compromising my
ability to parent.  I feel like I cannot put that on anyone else.

What if I cannot find a better paying job?  I love the job I am at, but long term, I don’t know. Mine is enough for me to live paycheck to paycheck with my medical bills, but kids are
expensive.

What if my partners leave me?  I am not married to either of them legally and I would be supporting a kid on my own, at least financially.

If I decide that I want to do an adoption, what if I get turned down because of my relationship status, either because I’m legally single or because of my partner-status?  Or because I don’t make enough money?  Or the whole process just gets to be more than I can take and I just
throw in the towel?

But in spite of all that, my biological clock is poking at me, saying ‘maybe we can make it work, somehow?’.  Now, I can certainly think of ways that might work, or at least ways to make the
burden easier, but it is a balancing act.  How much compromise with my other life goals can I allow to make this possible?  What can I put on hold, perhaps indefinitely, to make this work? 
And that is a tangled mess.

I know I still have time to decide, as my mother had my sister and me in her mid-30s without any problems, short of ones that would have been problems ten years earlier anyways.

But yeah, it’s not easy.”

Afterwards I talked to Raven – I had remembered talking to him and Minx a long time ago about this, in fact the last time I had considered the idea in any seriousness.  I had been expressing my hesitations about the idea from a social perspective – I just didn’t know if it was something I would be any good at.  They had both expressed opinions to the contrary and, for some reason, I had never asked why.  Until now.  Obviously too late to ask Minx, but Raven I did.

He expressed a confidence in me and my abilities that I have no doubt was genuine, but it is amazing how much we don’t see the great things in ourselves, just the downers.

0

Being a GQ lady

Yeah, I still love the term lady and will continue to use it, despite no longer identifying as the gender that term traditionally belongs to.  Because I want to.  And that’s really what it comes down to.

I’ve halfway joked that my gender should be “Because I Want To”.  I dress in jeans almost every day because I want to.  I wear dresses on fancy occasions, because I want to.  I take naked pictures and share them with friends.   Naked pictures showing a body that looks traditionally female.   Because I want to.  I’ve got a number of piercings.   Because I wanted to.  I crave the day I have the money to get a tailored suit.  Because I want one.

I don’t have any issues with being read as female.  But that’s only because I am in little danger from being so.

I love my men.  I would hate to see them hurt.  But the world does not look kindly on men with feminine sides.  So I have privilege in this regard – I can express that without being dissed or looked down upon.  So booo…

Don’t know where else I was going with this, so I’ll stop there.

0

Body Love

Like many other female bodied/AFAB (remember – I identify as GQ) people I was taught to hate my body at a young age.  My body was the enemy, to be reduced, enhanced, made to look slim and perky, made to conform.  My mother was always trying to diet away the weight she gained after carrying my sister and I.  Never taught to appreciate what genetics gave me in the way of planes and curves.  The ones that were passed down from my mother, her mother, my dad’s mother, and all their mothers before then, many years back.  What a waste of love.  What a waste of words.

It wasn’t until I was an adult that I learned it was possible to love your body.  Even if I want to lose weight.  Even if I have insecurities about bits that stick out.  I saw women who were bigger than me, smaller than me completely naked like it was the most normal thing in the world.  And it is.

When I started fucking women I began to see and love in them the things I had learned to hate in myself.  Then I realized how silly that was.  Why was that scar, that curve of the hip, that rounded stomach so attractive on her, but I couldn’t see it on me?  The light bulb starts to blink on.

When I got my first tattoo, I had been designing it for years.  I saw how pretty it was, how much it enhanced my look.  Then I got two more on my wrists, little ones.  Then my lower back piece – so simple and colorful, a memorial piece.  One that reminds me of Minx and her delightful curved hips (rounded out from bearing and giving life to two children, which I always admired), long curved abdominal scar (from a tummy tuck after weight loss), sensitive breasts, and a cunt so full of life.  This one reminds me that love of all is not out of reach.

My partners, past and present, male, female, and everywhere in between have given me a wonderful gift in this regard.  They remind me of all the great pleasure my body can give to another, through sight, sound, smell, and touch.  Their imaginations bring me to life and lust in ways that I could have never thought.  They show me, through their enthusiasm for what my body looks like and what it can do and what it can take, how fantastic it is.

I am not still completely in love with my body.  But I have come to appreciate the curve and solidness of my thighs, the ones that help carry me to the tops of mountains, and wrap so sensually around the hips or waist or head of my lover.  The extra pudge on the outside of them that won’t go away – my mom and sister both have that, and it ties me to them.  And my breasts still get in the way in clothing, but are a source of great joy to me, and to others.  My waist, more trim now than before because I weight lifted and made it that way, is still my great source of bodily anxiety.

But all said, my body is what carries me through this life and gives form to my thoughts and ambitions.  For that I am thankful.