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belenen: (Default)
belenen

June 2017

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Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.

belenen: (Default)
2016 summary: some of the best weeks and worst months of my life.
icon: "confused (photo of a purple diamond-shaped sign with a line leading to four arrows all curving and pointing in different directions)"

I started 2016 with a lot of hope. In January I connected a lot with Kylei, Sande, and Hannah; I had two graduation parties and started making more plans to spend time with people, and I started meditating weekly-ish with Elizabeth. But by the end of January I ended up in a dark crash over how little I felt connected to people. The beginning of February was a little better -- I got to go to Big Trees with some of my favorite people, and Topaz hosted Heather's birthday which was also nourishing and fun. But then I went to a party at Kylei's and had a terrible anxiety crash which ended up leaking into the next day and causing a horrifically painful miscommunication with Topaz. Later that month I went to the activist meet-and-greet for the first time after meaning to go for ages, and met three awesome new people. But just introducing myself made my heart beat painfully hard. At the end of February I asked my psychiatrist to prescribe me anxiety meds and start being medicated for that for the first time.

In March I did a lot of social -- met with four friends as well as with my ex-mother-in-law. I also began a four-week break with Topaz, in an effort to re-set our relationship which had become too central for both of us. In April I had two tinder fails (one flaked and the other I could hardly talk with), made a new friend, hosted a crafty party and a cuddly communion, spent time with Roger and Serenity, and went to Euphoria where I gave a talk on intimacy and made a game with it. (yeah I'd say that the anxiety meds were helping!) In May I spent a lot of time with Serenity and Evelyn, hosted a cuddly communion, spent time with Katie, Allison, Serra, and Indie, and wrote a lot of important posts. In June I spent lots of time with Serenity, presented at APW and SFQP, hung out with Arizona, Sande, Allison, Kylei, Evelyn, and Cass, and had a truth-or-truth videochat with LJ friends, as well as writing a lot of important posts.

In July stuff started getting very stressful -- Topaz went through something really traumatic, Kanika had a medical emergency and I had to take her to the vet, my little sister came in town unexpectedly, and I ran out of money and had to start begging from my bioparents. But also I spent lots of good time with Serenity and had several gathers -- two with my lil sis, also Katie, Allison, Hannah, Kylei, Elliott, Evelyn, Sande, Cass, and even Adi, so that part was positive. But August brought a lot of painful stuff for Topaz, was when I ran out of ADD meds with no access to a doctor, and was the last time I saw Evelyn for months. Roger and Allison were supportive and helpful, and I went to a SONG membership meeting which gave me hope like nothing else except for TBC ever has.

September I got a job at Starbux and finally started getting call backs and interviews for a few of the hundreds of applications I had sent. My awful bioparents also invaded my house and stayed for a month, harassing me about money, rearranging my stuff and throwing some of it away without my permission, invading my bedroom, and being transphobic. October was mostly filled up with my awful bioparents and working at Starbux but at the very end I began doing LJ Idol again. In November things got still worse -- Evelyn officially broke things off with me and Kylei blew up at me and told me we can't be friends. Then later that month Evelyn invited me to a party at their house which ended up being an emotional disaster. I quit Starbux for my new job.

December was a very mixed bag. I started my new job, which was amazing; I got a new psychiatrist and finally got medicated for ADD again; I got to spend time with Arizona, Felix, Felix's people Blaire and Shay, Allison, Jonathan, Heather, Brian, Jessica, and my little sister. But also, my grandmother died and I had to spend time with my awful biofamily, and I was so emotionally drained that I couldn't really enjoy Solstice. It was also a sad reminder of my estrangement from Kylei and Evelyn, because I wanted them at Solstice so much.

detailed events )


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belenen: (disassociative)
relationships review: Topaz, Serenity, Allison, Evelyn, Sande, Heather, Kylei, Cass, Jackie, Roger
icon: "disassociative (a digital painting of a stylized person in profile with wide open screaming mouth and arms up with palms spread wide. Head and hands flow into strands like blood vessels)"

Haven't done this since July, which is pretty much the last time I felt mentally okay. Everything has been on hold for at least two months. I'm barely managing my current levels of anxiety. It was already at unprecedented levels due to not having a job yet and then my awful parents invaded my house. Them being in town and constantly in my fucking house makes me want to rip my own brain out. They've done more stressful shit since I last wrote but I just am so sick of talking about them. I want them gone, desperately want them GONE.

I haven't done anything social at all in September, and even my texting has dropped to near-nothing, and I still feel constantly overstimulated in the worst way. I'm going through all these fucking interviews AND working in a customer service job. TOO MUCH.

I'm sorry I haven't replied to comments for a while. I keep meaning to do it but for whatever reason that is the hardest part of LJ for me (I think due to fear of making someone feel slighted by missing their comment and responding to everyone but them) and I can't manage it at the moment. It is not a lack of care though -- I do very much appreciate the care and thoughtfulness you've all shown. It means a lot.

maintaining at good w Topaz )

slowly building w Serenity and Allison )

on hold w Evelyn, Sande, Heather, Kylei, Cass )

new buds w Jackie and Roger )


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belenen: (disconnected)
relationships review: Topaz, Kylei, Heather, Allison, Cass, Serenity, Arizona, Evelyn, Sande, etc
icon: "disconnected (a gif of the lovers from the tv show "Moonlight" standing on opposite sides of a door and both looking devastated. One leans their forehead on the door and the other leans their face on their hand on the doorsill. Underneath the repeating gif is the word 'pain' in a handwriting-font.)"

topaz )

kylei )

heather )

allison )

cass )

serenity )

arizona and evelyn and etc )

Last night was really wonderful. Topaz hosted a gather and Sande, Allison, Heather, Brian, Cass, and Jess came, and the 8 of us had alcohol and snacks and just hung out and talked. It was very relaxed. I got very drunk (first time in a long while, and more drunk than usual). I got sad at one point, thinking about Kylei and feeling abandoned, but people were kind to me and helped me feel better.

I loved watching everyone interact. I think this is the first time I felt like Allison was there for more than just me -- it's quite possible that happened before but this time I felt like Allison would still have attended if I didn't, and that made me happy. And I didn't catch much of what was being said, but Sande and Topaz seemed to have conversations with lots of resonance which pleased me lots. And I cuddled with Topaz and Sande and Cass and a little with Allison, all of which were sweet nourishing cuddles.

I'm realizing the more I think on it that I am really deeply sad about Kylei. I feel really lost and adrift. I feel a deep sadness in the loss of hope for being close with them anytime soon. I think it could still happen eventually but I no longer can trick myself into thinking it's just around the corner, next week maybe. It's not going to be soon. And I miss Kylei in particular, or rather, I miss the way we used to connect. I miss their magic. I miss doing magic together.


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belenen: (distance)
qualities from each of my friends I'd use to build my ideal friend / what I lack in friendships
icon: "distance (two hands (from a brown person and a white person) just barely apart, facing each other palm to palm)"

prompt from [livejournal.com profile] webgirluk: Imagine a new friend who was to become in your life and the person had one quality from each person in your core circle of friendships all rolled into one new person? What one quality would you choose from each person?

Topaz' self-awareness & cuddle skills/style
[livejournal.com profile] shioneh's skills at asking meaningful questions
[livejournal.com profile] hardigrin's ability to give me new perspectives
[livejournal.com profile] secret_keep's unedited openness
Allison's passionate, analytical love of art
Sydney's sincere connection with nature
[livejournal.com profile] kmiotutsie's outgoing yet take-no-shit attitude
[livejournal.com profile] sandracaprice's determined thoroughness
[livejournal.com profile] morwen_uial's perception of magic in everything
[livejournal.com profile] call_me_katya's critical, deliberate thinking
Cass' thoughtful generosity
[livejournal.com profile] volamonster's method of valuing people
[livejournal.com profile] chillychilly22's matter-of-fact assertiveness
[livejournal.com profile] tikva's habit of humorous phrasing

Prompt from [livejournal.com profile] webgirluk: Even though you seem to have a lot of rich friendships, is there one quality none can really bring you that makes you feel at times sad or something missing in connection needs, or can this be explained in a different way?

Not really any quality missing, but I am missing something in the sense that most of my friends have one situation or another that makes them mostly unavailable. Most of my friends have depression and/or anxiety and/or chronic pain and/or ADD, and/or they live far away, and/or they're busy with work and big life events like moving (4 people) or getting married (2 people, not to each other). I miiiight have one local friend whose life is not in a giant upheaval, but until a month ago it was, and it may be still. I don't lack in wonderful people in my life but I do lack the ability to actually have the company of wonderful people (with two exceptions, thankfully). I'd really love to be able to just make plans with friends and have them happen, but that hasn't been true in my life for years.


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belenen: (burn baby burn)
Euphoria 2016 / why I go to burns / new housemate feeds me, helps clean & tidy, & crafts with me!
icon: "burn baby burn (a photo of me silhouetted dancing in front of the effigy fire at my first burn)"

I went to Euphoria and camped with Topaz, Kylei, Heather, Brian, and Hope. It was a mix of pleasant and irritating, leaning a little to the irritating side. The best bits were sitting around the fire talking with people, smoking hookah with Topaz while petting Evelyn's hair, running an 'intimacy roulette' game, having people gift me and Topaz with exactly what we wanted, giving Rocky a meaningful hug when I came across them seeming in need of one, kissing Topaz, and kissing Evelyn.

The worst bits were our hugely inconsiderate dudebro neighbors who made loud noise and pointed floodlights at our tent all night, the unbelievably selfish shitsop who squeezed in front of me at the burn itself and blocked all my vision with their body which was a foot and a half taller than me, witnessing far too much waste and ableism, and getting sunburnt. I really was not expecting to get burnt because 1) I had been taking vitamin D religiously, and 2) I stayed in the shade the entire time. But I think that I didn't absorb what I had been taking, because I've been taking zinc and apparently it blocks magnesium sometimes, which is necessary for absorption of D (if I understood what I read on it). I started taking magnesium daily since then, and the purple-pink has turned tan far, FAR quicker than usual, so that's good at least. I ordered a calcium-magnesium supplement to balance out the zinc, and copper because the zinc I currently have doesn't contain copper and zinc can deplete copper. I recently started taking iron too, because I found a vegetarian source and I know that it is unlikely I get enough from my diet. Once all this stuff arrives I have to figure out what not to take with what, bleh. Never thought I'd be taking a bunch of supplements every day -- but I only take what I can actually feel an effect from, with the exception of these new minerals and curcumin, which I take because I've read that it helps with dementia, both prevention and cure.


I talked with Topaz after and realized that the reason I go to burns is purely to skill-share and/or for art. If I was not going to do that, I wouldn't be motivated enough to go, because I've never met a person at a burn who became important to me. Even though I have a lot of burner friends, I've met all of them in some other way. (technically I met Seth at a burn I think, but I met Seth through Abby so the burn was just a convenience) Other reasons to go to a burn are not relevant to me because they are already part of my daily life: self-expression, nudity, play, cuddles. For a lot of people burns are where they can really be themselves and feel accepted, but accepting me would require a lot of learning that people do not do, so I never feel accepted (it is nice that people try, but there's not much that can be done in the moment).

I go to burns because I like that people there are often willing to try new things, and so if I bring a skill I think will help make the world better and people are willing to practice, I can make change there in a way that is not possible elsewhere. This time I felt like I did kind of a bad job with planning, and that meant that the intimacy game I made did not reach many people, but it was still worthwhile. I think the few strangers that came and participated appreciated it.

In other news I have a temporary housemate, Serenity (also called Twilight) who has been WONDERFUL to have around. They were in need of a place to stay and I had a room which wasn't being used so I offered it to them. I didn't ask for anything, but they have cooked for me four times (delicious healthy vegetarian meals) since they got here 10 days ago, and have done dishes and swept! Also, having them around as a tidy person helps me to be better about tidying also, so the kitchen table is usable again for the first time in ages. And they wanted to craft which got me crafting too -- now I have a new project half-done that I think I will actually complete soon. They have a service dog who is INCREDIBLY sweet and Kanika is slowly adjusting to them. I am really enjoying having them stay with me. We've talked a lot and I feel a lot of resonance with them.


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belenen: (exuviate)
relationships: Topaz, Kylei, Heather, Hannah, Allison, Sande, Roger, Cass, Rocky, Arizona, Tinder
icon: "exuviate (photo of a dragonfly with shimmery green wings after its last metamorphosis, standing next to its previous exoskeleton)"

So I have a goal of examining all of my connections every 2-3 months, to help me stay aware and keep from getting into any ruts. I'm a bit late but I think that's because March was muddy for me with literally everyone, and I couldn't have explained much of anything.

My relationship with Topaz is still quite muddy. Today our break ends and we're going to see each other for the first time in three weeks. I'm quite nervous actually. I feel like I've realized ways I can change to make our connection more healthy for both of us. One of the main things is that I go a bit too far in trying not to pressure them; if I think they may want something and be afraid to ask for it, I offer it as if I have no preference one way or the other. Often this is upsetting for them because it makes them feel like I don't care about something that I do care about, which is confusing and sometimes hurtful. I talked about it vaguely with Heather last week, and then today I did it out of habit and it hurt Topaz' feelings, and we talked about this habit and I told Topaz I would work on being more frank with them and practice trusting them to assert their needs and desires. Last week I also told Topaz, "I want to be able to trust that if I say 'I have a need' you will react by reflecting on what you can possibly do to meet that need, and then telling me what steps you will try and what you think the likely outcome will be." They said they can do that. I think these two things will help me to not get stuck in a pattern of subverting my needs.

I had a clash with Kylei that lasted way longer than usual (more than 2 weeks), because I kept trying to arrange time to talk about it and it kept not happening, which was the very thing I was upset about. We finally did talk about it -- I told them that usually when plans don't work out it is disappointing but not hurtful because it's true for everyone, but lately I have seen them prioritize other things but not me. And that it feels impossible to believe that I am important to them when with other things that are important to them, they find a way and make it happen but with me they don't. They agreed that they hadn't been prioritizing time with me and that they were sorry about it but didn't know why it was happening. We talked about making plans but this month is too full, so we have a maybe plan for the first week of May. I feel better, not angry or frustrated any more, but I still feel in limbo and I feel sad and a bit hopeless about the idea of ever being reliably close again. If there isn't a cause that can be found, there isn't a cure that can be found.

Heather and I have spent time together recently that was very nourishing for me (and hopefully for them). A few months ago at their birthday party I had the urge to kiss them, and asked -- they said yes and we kissed very briefly. Then about a week after that I asked to kiss them again and it was brief again and I felt some hesitation (at least this is how I remember it but my memory is not great) so I asked them if there was hesitation and why, and they said it was emotionally complicated and we should talk about it later. When we did get time to talk about it, they explained that they feel we are not compatible for a romantic relationship, because of what they see me wanting from a romantic connection. I talked with them a bit about it because I felt like they were going on outdated information, but the sum of it was that anything romantic is not desired for now, at least. I feel a little weird that there is this "off limits" bit just because I'm not used to it existing, but it doesn't reduce anything.

The next time we hung out we talked about how we process things, and Heather mentioned that the main thing they give is not a thing I value (validating people's feelings), but I don't consider that the main thing they offer me at all! I think the thing they give to me the most, which I value so intensely, is a new perspective on things. Almost every time (I don't have the memory to be able to say for sure every time) we have a significant conversation they tell me something that makes me go "oh wow I hadn't realized / didn't know that" and that is literally my favorite thing a person can do. Realizing or learning something new, especially about the way people work or the way I work, is the most nourishing thing for me. More than eye contact, more than cuddles, more than people showing curiosity about me. And this in itself is a new realization which I had because of this conversation with Heather. I feel very nourished by our friendship.

more - this is a long one )


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belenen: (pensive)
I usually prefer to process alone, in writing: Heather explains why this is odd
icon: "pensive (photo of me with a dark purple glitter goatee, looking down pensively with sunny woods in the background)"

When I have an issue and people ask if I want to talk about it, I feel like they're asking if I would like to do the dishes -- they're offering me a chore like it's meant to be a gift. I can feel that it is a gift for them and so I appreciate the intention, but I find it baffling that other people seem to want this. I prefer to process in writing, alone, unless the thing I am processing is a conflict with another person (then I prefer to do it with only them). I will process things with other people sometimes because I recognize it as a way of building intimacy and I value that, but it is always a sacrifice (because then I lose the motivation for a more nuanced exploration of it in writing). The only time I have actively wanted to process something with another person is if I feel like that person will have questions or ideas that open up deeper understanding for me, and that is extremely rare. Usually people only mention things I've already considered. I do find it validating for people to say "yeah that's shitty" but I find it an equal amount of frustrating, because I don't like to focus on things that can't be improved.

I talked about this with Heather and they said that that's not so rare for most people because most people haven't invested hundreds of hours in considering external perspectives. Which was a total perspective shift for me, haha, because I can't imagine that! It would certainly make processing with others a lot more useful! This is one of the things Heather is fantastic at: explaining to me the "normal people" stuff that I don't understand. I think Heather sees my oddities as oddities and therefore can compare me to normal people more easily than Kylei or Topaz can, even. I didn't even realize that I practice perspective-taking so regularly; it's as habitual as making faces (which is something I'm noted for among my in-person friends).


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belenen: (progressing)
important events in 2015 / learning and growing in the midst of spiraling anxiety and loneliness
icon: "progressing (a deeply, vividly green forest of thick vines and trees, with a tunnel running through where unused train tracks lay)"

2015
abstract fractal entitled Shriek
"Shriek"

An abstract fractal in christmas green, coral orange, and bright rose red with accents of fuchsia, peach, and capri blue on a black background. At the top in the center is what looks like a snarling cat or hissing cobra, in profile facing left. Just underneath is another could-be face, this one like a dog, facing right and sniffing the 'air' of colored light, which you can see swirling into the dog's nose. In front of the dog's face is a bowing-out bubble of swirling blurry colors. Above that bubble behind the cat/cobra's head is a fragmented reflection that could be of the cat/cobra or the dog or both. In front of the cat/cobra's face is a misshapen cone of green light, with some flecks of other colors: it looks as if the cat/cobra is exhaling this and it is pouring down over the back of the dog's head. Neither creature has a body.

---



January
1-4 -- visiting biofam: racism, discussing sexual abuse history, misgendering, prompting family to grow
2 -- visiting Anika: having deep talks w Anika & energy work
* Unethical behavior: loopholes out of agreements, poking people's sore spots *
4 -- ritual for Nuit and Renenutet, Topaz keeps me company
7 -- I make a friending meme
-- trying to develop closeness with Anika
11 -- have a somewhat-disastrous crafty party where a new attendee says things that are very problematic and hurtful to Allison
17 -- I decide to require require gender-neutral pronouns in reference to me
18 -- ritual with LilyWolf for connections
24 -- met up with Cass and had our first meaningful one-on-one conversation
* 5-step educate or eliminate / when I realize I'm wrong / reducing privilege effects *
-- hung out with Heather at least once a week

February
2 -- Kei-won-tia has a major crisis, I find out through Abby, try to get in touch w KWT but can't.
4 -- meet Jezza for one-on-one conversation
6 -- have a great birthday night with Topaz, Kylei, Sydney, Heather, and Lilywolf; Allison, Nick, and Hannah drop in. I set up a photo-booth of sorts with weird colorful lighting and take some photos of people.
7 -- went to Heritage Park with Sydney & Topaz
9 -- met Kayla for dinner and conversation
* forms of intimacy and societal assumptions made: there is no highest form of intimacy *
11 -- my grandmother is in the hospital; I see my aunt and cousins for the first time in years
12 -- have intense conversation w Anika and Kei-won-tia about openness and intimacy and assumptions
* overwhelmed and ineffectual / cowardly and shit at making friends *
14 -- I get up in front of a huge number of people and speak a short poem about trans erasure.
** the intersection of openness, intimacy, and privacy as it relates to me **
20-24 -- Topaz and I go to the last Xenacon, which is worth it but emotionally very difficult because I can't bring myself to talk to anyone and I'm allergic to the air.
27 -- Heather casts runes for me on my next romantic relationship: I get 'wait wait wait'
28 -- art swap at Jezza's: my sorta-kinda first show of my fractals.
-- conflict with Kei-won-tia continues throughout the month, ends in them telling me they need to be able to lie to their friends.

March
7 -- I experience my first kirtan, with Heather.
* helping people figure out their desires without taking responsibility for their self-awareness *
11 -- march for Anthony Hill (with Jaime & Lilywolf)
13 -- meet Lisa in person for the first time! we hang out for the day.
15 -- mostly-online crafty party with Topaz, Jaime, Paige, Heather, Leah, Anika, Jezza, and Lilywolf.
** what nourishes me in friendship: self-care/growth/awareness, shared passion/enthusiasm, creating together, spiritual working together, asking me meaningful specific questions, cuddles/focused touch, gifts of effort **
28 -- Anika visits, Topaz and I take them to the Cherry Blossom Festival
** PSA: use of ableist slurs will cause me to unfriend you **
31 -- I pick up Anika from KWT's and take them to Big Trees and to my favorite metaphysical shop

April
2 -- do magic ritual with Anika, Topaz picks us up after
3 -- drinking and playing red dragon inn w Anika, Heather, Topaz, Kylei.
4-5 -- KWT is supposed to spend time w Anika but doesn't... lots of complex shit between Anika and KWT. KWT is supposed to take them to the airport but I do it instead.
9 -- crafty party: Lily & Fey & Alisha in-person, Anika & Paige & Allison online
** slurs are still very harmful when they are aimed at a situation/action/thing instead of a person **
** emotional/artistic work is still work / types of cuddles: giving, receiving, sharing, passive **
** essential qualities to be a good cuddler: good at consent, emotionally present & aware, not in need **
-- school stress
-- made a set of reflection beads
-- applied to be a professional cuddler: they wanted to exploit their workers, no thanks.

May
-- exhausted
4 -- sweet nourishing time w Kylei
* my eating habits: what I don't eat at all, what I generally avoid, favorite meals & ingredients *
* realization: I need group intimacy as well as one-on-one *
13 -- meet Rachel in Atlanta for lunch
15 -- sleepover w Odd Squad and truth-or-truth w Nicky & Aubrey via ghangouts
17 -- first zikr w Kaleemi Khanqah Atlanta
20 -- start work at my uni
* 4 levels of friendship: fun, support, learning, mutual accountability *
26 -- truth-or-truth gchat w Aubrey, Vola, Elizabeth, Jaime
** on the 'rudeness' of canceling/lateness caused by chronic pain/fatigue/anxiety/depression and/or ADD **
** energy work: 1st efforts, shielding / a funnel not a source / avoiding manipulation **

June
-- stressssssss
1 -- TransParence gather at my house: Jaime, Jazz, Jude, Hope, Serah, Allison, Michelle
4-10 -- Elizabeth visits! we do alllllll the things
5 -- shopping & Kirtan at SEWA w Elizabeth
6 -- Etowah Mounds w Elizabeth & Jaime, then chill game night w Elizabeth, Heather, Jaime, Topaz, Allison, Jonathan
7 -- Big Trees w Elizabeth & Topaz, then Cracker Barrel for dinner & Breakfast on Pluto with dessert.
8 -- to Margaret Mitchell house and Marietta square with Elizabeth.
9 -- to carlos museum then revolution doughnuts with Elizabeth, then Topaz makes us dinner.
10 -- take Elizabeth to airport.
13 -- intense videochat w Anika about the lack of balanced investment in our relationship
-- scattered ???
** why I identify as demisexual / what makes sex worth the effort / sexual vs sensual touch / kissing **

July
-- very stressed, can't seem to do much
-- Heather is out of town the whole month
12 -- host cuddly communion #1 w Serah, Alison, Hope, Evelyn, Cass, Heather D, and Joey.
-- elsewise, nothing but work & rest & topaz & writing
** rant: friendships are important / my levels of relationship for everyone **
* what makes me fall in love & how it feels when I am in love *
*** on saving kids from 'broken hearts' & teaching kids about consent / red flags for bad-at-consent ***
* on changing the amount of fat on your body: cortisol, blood sugar, stress, food as fat/carb/protein *
** 4 elements needed for me to feel sexual attraction: consent, bodily respect, awareness, generosity **
* depression is not a cramp, it's a broken bone: a 'mild' situation has intense effects when depressed *

August
* Open letter to self-proclaimed reasonable white dudes *
13 -- see Arizona, we have very connected time
16 -- host an OPALS meeting which is just me and Johan, also have an amazing talk w Evelyn at Cool Beans
20 -- emotionally falling apart
* too many variations to out myself in a sentence / wordweaving & thought remodeling are central to me *
23-29 -- time at the beach w biofam
30 -- OPALS meeting w me, Saleena, Alison, and Serah

September
-- dealing with name change paperwork, lots of trips to courthouse and notary
-- exhausted and overwhelmed, lonely
-- topaz' family has health troubles
-- run out of hope for being close friends with Evelyn
* lonely in any crowd / spirit-to-spirit contact / conflict is a tool of intimacy *
23 -- feeling terribly unwanted
27 -- OPALS meeting w just me & Garnet
-- make chant booklet for my reflection beads

October
1 -- worst I felt in a year, unwanted, useless
15 -- present about appropriation at Sex Down South, no energy to go the other days
* how I manage my neuro-atypicality in relation to others *
31 -- walked Springer Mountain w Topaz, then had a bonfire at their place w Topaz, Heather, Brian, Cass, Kelsey, and Elliott
-- spending more time w Topaz' family
-- reading The History of White People

November
** an analogy to explain why the privileged are responsible for ending oppression: the racist babysitter **
*** after learning more about microbes, I no longer believe in an afterlife ***
** people demonize spanking because of classism / how corporeal punishment damaged me **
** trust: what builds it and what burns it, for me **
* the art of hugs *
** if you mourn only for the deaths of white people, your empathy is broken. and racist. **
16 -- cry for hours
17 -- see bell hooks & gloria stienem
19-22 TBC w Topaz
27 -- name change denied
-- investing more in getting to know Cass

December
-- loads of work on final papers, getting minors made official, getting my name sorted
* 5 qualities needed to practice polyamory: awareness, norm-breaking, security, energy, connection *
6 -- great connected time w Cass
15 -- graduation
** my ADD-PI: stimming and prosopagnosia (difficulty recognising faces) **
* creating your own moral code: a ritual for finding your core values & strengthening focus on them *
* ritual tool: reflection beads for my core values, desires, gratitudes, people, deities, & nature kin *
19 -- Solstice gather! Kat, Summer, Abby, Topaz, Kylei, Heather, Sydney, Jaime, Allison, & Jonathan came and Cass vidchatted in due to being sick
22 -- Arizona visited with me for a little while at my house
23 -- breakup w Anika
24 -- Gabe reveals their transphobia
25 -- Xmas at Topaz' family, exhausting, realize how much worse my family is
26 -- time w Abby in the morning, walking in nature and then cuddling at my house, then intense time w Abby & Topaz at Topaz'
27 -- breakfast, coffee, cuddles w Topaz & Abby
28 -- terrible crash of a morning, bad for Abby, bad for me, bad for Topaz. endless crying.
29 -- awful day, more endless crying. reach out to Allison for the first time, feel glad that that feels okay to do.
** prosopagnosia and memory as it relates to taking photos and believing in love **
30 -- recovering some
31 -- connected time w topaz



2015 started off in an intense but growthful way for me, as I had my first ever real conversation with my biosib S, visited Anika and had deep talks with them. I also did a ritual for deities (something I had never done before), and another ritual for connection, connected in new ways with Allison and Cass, and spent a lot of time with Heather. Then Kei-won-tia had a major crisis and I was very worried about them but didn't really get to talk to them until two weeks later. They got very upset with me for talking about my worries to Heather, and there was a whole huge mess which finally ended when they said that they need to be able to lie to their friends. During the same month as the KWT conflict, I had a bunch of other really intense experiences -- Xenacon, my first art show (sorta), speaking about trans erasure in front of loads of people, gma in hospital, interacting with family I hadn't seen in years.

March was more nourishing and less draining, with my first kirtan, my first protest march, and my first time taking Anika to Big Trees. April turned sour with a huge conflict between KWT and Anika, and otherwise intense school stress. In May I had some good connected time with friends and experienced my first zikr, but overall I was exhausted. Lilywolf moved out which was sad and relieving and stressful, and I started working at my university as a student assistant. June started out with a bang, a trans-connection party followed by a wonderful visit from Elizabeth (which included my first visit to a Sikh service), and then became scattered and lost under stress, mostly shared/reflected stress from how awful Topaz' job is, I think. In July I hosted a 'cuddly communion' which was wonderful but otherwise that entire month was empty of nourishment. In August I had some connected times with friends, and spent 6 days with my biofamily which is both good and exhausting; August marked the first of monthly breakdowns, though I don't notice this pattern until later. In September Topaz' family started having health troubles, and I dealt with the laborious process of applying to change my name.

October I felt the worst I have felt in a year, managed to present at Sex Down South but felt so socially anxious I couldn't talk to anyone and couldn't participate in the conference; I went home crying. I started spending more time with Topaz' family (which is nourishing in some ways but a lot of added stress) because they all seemed to be feeling the need for more company with each other due to the health worries. I started actively building a friendship with Cass around this time. In November I was massively stressed and overwhelmed, but seeing bell hooks and getting to attend TBC gave me enough energy that I was able to give three talks and speak on a panel, and handle some very difficult emotional conversations and realizations with Topaz. But November ended with me finding out that my name change was denied, which is massively crushing. December started with me finishing my 2 huge final papers and giving a presentation for school, doing a shitton of paperwork and hoop-jumping to get my minors made official and my name read correctly at the ceremony, then finally graduating (where my biofamily mostly flaked out and I realized that my dad was planning for a graduation present for my cousin but didn't even congratulate me). I only had three days to recover before Solstice, which was the best ever though hugely energy-consuming. Then I had an intense conflict with Cass, then Arizona visited me briefly which made me miss them a lot, then Anika broke up our friendship by attacking me, then Gabe (my emotionally-adopted little brother) revealed that they're transphobic by choice not by ignorance, then I spent Xmas with Topaz' family which made me realize how bad my biofamily is, then I spent an intense morning with Abby and an intense evening with Abby and Topaz, and finally I had a massive terrible crash that negatively affected both Abby and Topaz and lasted almost through the end of the year. Honestly, reading over December I'm amazed that I made it through without falling apart much more. That was so much, way too much.

Looking back over this, I feel like losing KWT set off a sharp increase in my social anxiety because when we initially became friends, it was built on mutually valuing intimacy and openness -- I actually felt that KWT was better at being open than I was, that they were more willing to take risks in sharing. To have them do such a complete turnaround and say that they value lies in friendship and they want to control who knows what about them was so shocking and confusing that it made me feel like I can't know people, I can't believe them, and I can't find ones that I can genuinely connect with. A similar thing happened with Anika -- I can’t explain because it would be a breach of their privacy but even though it wasn’t the same on the surface, it felt very VERY similar. That followed by the OPALS meetings falling by the wayside and getting very hopeful about a new friend only to have that vanish -- by the time I got through September I was feeling so deeply sad about friendships that despite my repressing, I was having at least one multi-hour crying jag a month about it.

So overall, 2015 brought me a huge increase in social anxiety although the relationships that I currently have are mostly at all-time highs and are overall very nourishing. I think I learned a lot through my black feminisms class in the spring, my internship, my whiteness class in the fall, and TBC, and I made a lot of progress in designing my spiritual practice, but I feel like my interpersonal life stalled out in most ways, and I lost myself as far as my social self goes. This year I will regain my social self.


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belenen: (aquarius)
dreams (fish made of glass, IP on a ship, Abby, tables/clock conflict w Pat, Kylei, Lexi, ableism)
icon: "aquarius (a painting of someone with pale skin and long dark hair laying on their back in the surf, head tipped back grinning toward something above their head, with waves crashing behind/beyond their knees. by Guillaume Seignac)"

dreams from this month! )


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belenen: (effervescent)
birthday w Kylei Heather Topaz Sydney Allison Hannah Sande Jacqueline / BTFP & truth-or-truth jenga
icon: "effervescent (a cartoony gif of neon multicolored bubbles bouncing chaotically and occasionally falling to the bottom)"

I had maybe the best birthday of my life! Kylei came over to Topaz' the night before (great because I didn't have to worry about them being late) and on the morning of my birthday Sydney and Heather came over and the five of us went to Big Trees together. The energy in the car was almost too much! Odd Squad is me, Topaz, Heather, and Kylei, while me, Topaz, Kylei, and Sydney are all violet spirits, so it was this complex pattern of two overlapping quads that almost makes a pentagram, and every single one of us is a silly, playful person. Loud! bouncy! I haven't felt that much playful energy probably since I was in high school, maybe ever.

Allison met us there, with a present of dragonfly-shaped mirrors (dragonflies and mirrors are both sacred to me), but couldn't stay long because they had to go to work. We walked in a little ways, enough that Allison got an introduction, and they said they want to do plein air painting there (which would be very fun for me if I could come along with a book or something). Then they left and the rest of us wandered through the forest, taking photos and playing. Sydney and Kylei had stick swordfights, and Topaz got Kylei to hold sticks for them so they could kick them in two. It was not at all my usual kind of forest visit, but it was cute and fun and I enjoyed all the glowy energy.

Then we stopped at Trader Joe's because Topaz begged (and while there Topaz got me blueberries and dark chocolate peanut butter cups, and Heather got me ginger chews). We made it through and out in less than 20 minutes! Then went to Sweet Tomatoes (probly my favorite restaurant: I make a mountainous salad) and back to Topaz' where everyone sort of lay around with full bellies and snoozy brains. Sande and Jacqueline arrived and Sydney left (they had homework & other obligations). Kylei left not long after Jacqueline arrived because they wanted to go to another party (which I would have been annoyed by if they hadn't already spent like 7 hours with me). Sande brought blood orange & mango & kiwi & other fruit, and sliced it up for us when they arrived. It was my first taste of blood orange and WOW is it unique! I love it.

We started playing truth-or-truth jenga* with the intention to do crafts after, but it took way longer for the stack to fall than we expected! I belatedly remembered that Abby and Hannah were supposed to vidchat in, so I set up the hangout, but Abby didn't show (I figured they had assumed it wasn't happening when more than half an hour passed w no invite). Hannah did, and played with us (I pulled the blocks for them). It was really fantastic! Sande and Jacqueline hadn't ever played before, but they answered thoughtfully and openly (at least that was my impression). And it was so, so, so great to have Hannah there! It was Heather's first time meeting Hannah and they had a strong positive reaction, which made me happy. Sande and I had a 'sloof' (saying the same thing at the same time) which also made me happy because I'm rarely that in-sync mentally with someone. And Hannah explained that the word (which came from Hannah and Nick) is 'fools' backwards.

Overall it was very sweet and included nearly all of my favorite people and two of my favorite activities (being in nature and deep personal sharing) so I think it was my favorite birthday so far (it is hard to tell because my memory is so bad I only have vague ideas to compare it to.

*this is jenga with 2 questions on each block. You pull a block, read the two questions, and pick one to answer yourself or ask of someone else.


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belenen: (shows -- Xena happiness)
characters in the story of my life: present and past
icon: "shows -- xena happiness (Xena and Gabrielle looking at each other and smiling as they walk)"


It had been 2 years so it was way past time for an update. I didn't include all of the people from before but those are still available via tags *smiles*
If you're wondering what spirit-kin, heart-kin, soul-kin or mind-kin mean (or -twin, the stronger version), read this post.

If there is anyone I've mentioned often who is not included here, please remind me.

all of the people! it's pretty long )


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belenen: (nascent)
work / sickness / snapchat / fb / bioparents / kylei / heather
icon: "nascent (a painting by Michael Whelan of a person with long flowing hair and large breasts sitting naked and cross-legged inside a green egg, which is being held against the sky by giant blue hands with pointy nails)"

Ugh I have my first ever sinus infection (so gross so gross sooo GROSSSSS) and it keeps making me want to puke. I hate it so much I bought a neti pot with my meagre funds to hopefully rinse out some of the oozing slime.

Work is odd, my boss keeps forgetting what I'm doing (???) but I am making some serious progress and I think I might actually be done by the end of the month. When I do finish (hopefully before), I have to get my name officially changed (I have a plan, send me luck pls). It has become a need because literally everything I have done in stats is in my real name, not my legal name. I've got the bones of my website ready and I think it looks really great. I designed it in html5 with lots of newer css tricks which was quite fun. It is as accessible as I could make it, and it should work very well on mobile when I finish. I'm proud of it. I wish I could design websites for money. I also have been working on my portfolio (basically the print version of my website) and I mostly need to figure out exactly what sort of fancy container I need, as I'm sure a 3-ring binder will not do. Then it's time to start applying to all the jobs. That's terrifying.

I have been not writing because first I was ridic busy and then Topaz was SO sick and needed tending and couldn't do more than watch netflix. I can't pay attention to other things when there is a show playing, especially one I like (we're watching Grey's Anatomy, my second time through and Topaz' first). So I did nothing but watch netflix and pet Topaz and fetch them things. But things should settle into a routine now that winter break is past and I hope to be able to meditate regularly and to write daily. I did manage to meditate last week! But I have a bunch of tabs open at home waiting for me to fully read, so I am not up-to-date on your lives yet (tomorrow I think).

Topaz introduced me to snapchat, which at first I hated because it sacrifices usability for streamlined esoteric bullshit which is VERY BAD DESIGN VERY BAD NO BISCUIT. But then Abby was all like 'yeah I do that because it's low stress and so I can actually keep in touch' so I thought I'd give it another shot. I had to google "how to use snapchat" - that's how terrible the design is. But I managed to reassure myself that I wasn't going to accidently break all the things, and also Hannah reinstalled it, and Sydney and Topaz use it regularly and Anita and Trevor and Kylei chat with me on it. Mostly it's Topaz and Hannah that snap with me, but I feel closer to everyone I listed and I actually feel more in touch with myself because I am more aware of what is going on in my life when I think of how to share it. So if you use snapchat as a little window into your daily life let me know your username *smiles*

Yesterday and today I got very stressed out over this argument on facebook that I really just don't want to engage with at all. It's just not worth it because it was my best guess, not an actual fact. I don't care if people disagree with my guess. But it was a bucket of discomfort and it stressed me out because I'm sick of being the voice of doom.

I think overall I am doing okay. My parent P has been helping me over the break (no work means no pay so it's not actually a relief at all) and we have been emailing back and forth with actual content. I think we might be able to connect this way, because with international calls being expensive, they're not going to try to push me to talk on the phone. It's a huge relief to have the help especially because M is being extra terrible and may have fucked up my relationship with my mechanic which is vital to my mobility (M is forcing my mechanic to house a vehicle that M had promised to gift me and then decided it was too much trouble to transfer the title). Such a selfish person. Anyway, P has been there for me, which is a new turn for our relationship, and we have had real conversations (that didn't revolve around M's abuse).

I had a wonderful weekend with Kylei last week. It was very low-key because I was wiped out and I think Kylei was too, but we had a few hours of focus time and a lot of mildly connecty shared-space time. Kylei said they really want to do this again (spend 32+ hours at my house w me) and I love that idea. Hopefully next time I won't be so wiped out and we can have more focus time.

And I had a super lovely hang out with Heather yesterday. We just hung out and talked, but all the talking was very full and nourishing. They shared some difficult and some magical stories with me, and I shared some difficult stories and some wistful feelings with them. At one point I was talking about spaces for public sex or power exchange, and said that the reason I like that and want it is not because of an audience. I would not feel any less happy if no one noticed, and it actually surprises me and throws me for a loop when people do watch (I don't mind, but I also never expect it). The reason I want public intimacies like that is because it is explicitly not-hidden, and that is the thing I want. (I was realizing this as I was saying it, processing it out loud) Heather got very excited and said that they felt the same way and hadn't previously been able to articulate it. We also talked about other things we have strong resonance on, like the experience of being perceived as not-polyamorous or not-queer because of situations external to our choices. And we also finished each others' sentences in a helpful way (not the annoying kind where you have to keep correcting them) and I realized that I feel like Heather and I have a mind connection too. There is some particular thing that makes them very difficult for me to predict sometimes and I'm not sure what it is but I'm very curious about it.


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belenen: (vivacious)
Solstice 2015! cozy me, Topaz, Sydney, Kat, Summer, Heather, Kylei, Abby, Jaime, Allison, & Jonathan
icon: "vivacious (my face with bold cat-eye makeup, with my head tilted down and to the side, looking at the camera with a wide close-lipped smile, hugging myself)"

My tribe's Solstice celebration was this Saturday (since few could do a weekday) and it was amaaaaazing. Really, the best so far, so cozy and relaxed and lovely.

[livejournal.com profile] kmiotutsie (Kat) and their friend Summer arrived early, and even though they had just done a huge drive they offered to drive me as I ran a billion errands, and I got to catch up talking with them. I think Kat and I actually have a connection I hadn't realized before, a mind connection, because we finish each other's sentences and are rarely wrong. It's actually a relief to me because my ADD-PI often makes it hard to find the word.

We started by making a billion foods together - not a planned part of the gather but [livejournal.com profile] hardigrin (Heather) and I hadn't made our stuff yet oops. Kat and Sydney and Summer helped with all the chopping and washing and stuff - it was busy but surprisingly not stressful. We finished about the time that the rest of the people showed up - it was me, Topaz, Sydney, Kat, Summer, Heather, Kylei, [livejournal.com profile] rextrocular(Abby), [livejournal.com profile] jaime_blue (Jaime), Allison, and Jonathan.

Once we finished prep, we vidchatted Cass in (they were ill and couldn't attend) and then Topaz read us the story they wrote and illustrated about the Solstice Raccoon. It was unbelievably cute and everyone loved it and awwwwed at it! Then we had delicious food (Topaz made fruit cream tarts, Heather made roasted vegetables, Allison made rice & veggies & (separate) chicken, and I made my superfood dip) and opened presents!

I gave Heather a set of 3 cobalt blue stemmed glasses and a painting of a winter scene; Abby a large print of my "Gate to Tulgey Wood" framed and matted (I repurposed a frame & mat); Allison a mix CD of some of my favorite artists' songs that spoke to me about them; Topaz three pendants (a fox, a palm tree, and a microscope), a set of postcards that look like old fashioned flower seed packets, a tin with butterflies on it, tools for nail art, a tiny ceramic grey fox, and a hanayama metal puzzle (equa); Kylei four skirts (a twirly sleek pink one and three short colorful cotton ones) and a lamp with a base that looks like a country hill with buildings and plants and all; Jaime a canvas print of camellias with metal scroll work on top and bottom; and Sydney a sunflower light switch plate, a tiny metal teapot with butterflies on it, and a sun catcher made of meaningful stone beads and green glass. I also had a gift for Cass (a miniature Dali art print), but that had to wait of course.

Topaz gave me a plush Alice in Wonderland book (with the best quote on the back "I can't go back to yesterday because I was a different person then"), a cloudy-rainbow leopard print blanket, an 'adoption' of a snow leopard cub from the Snow Leopard Trust, a moisture-wicking pillowcase that they fabric-markered my favorite quotes on one side and drew my name and three favorite shapes (tree, teardrop, & 5-pointed star) on the other side, and (a few days ago) tickets to see Eddie Izzard! Heather gave me the softest spring green blanket (I cuddled it like a kitten), a bookmark of art from a social justice artist, and a dragonfly hook (which I am excited to use as my jacket-hanger). Allison gave me a 'rift' (part of an art project of theirs that represents portals into another world) which had inexplicably turned violet (which I found super magical) and the solstice card from last year which had the sweetest things written in it. Cass gave me a wire tree with jasper leaves and rocks in the bottom (that they had collected!) and a letter which was wonderfully thoughtful. Sydney painted me a little box and inside were mushrooms! made from acorns with the caps glued on the pointy end and painted with colors and spots -- so adorable. Abby gave me an incense burner that is a flat circle with a tree outline etched in it, four sticks of incense wood, and a roll of tie-dye duct tape. I felt very loved and understood by all these presents *heartglow* I also felt incredibly happy with several presents between other people. Topaz gave Abby a pillowcase which everyone wrote sweet love notes on so that they could have a physical object to be reminded of our love as they live far away. Heather gave Abby a shawl-loop (no idea what to call that) that was in just their colors. Topaz gave Allison an anti-migraine treat box full of safe candies with no dye or hfcs. Allison gave Topaz a tiny tin with 3D-looking space inside and a hand-painted Mars!

Over the course of the evening there were new cuddles that made me happy -- Topaz with Abby and Kylei with Sydney. I love getting to witness people growing closer. I played with Sydney's hair for a while and cuddled with Abby some but overall, the evening went by so very fast! I guess I was expecting it to start earlier or go later, but it was a lovely time anyhow. Abby got tired first and went off to bed and Jaime and Allison and Jonathan had to go home, and me, Kylei, Kat, Summer, Sydney, and Heather played a little truth-or-truth (Topaz was absorbed with their metal puzzle, which I wisely saved for the last present after previous years when the same thing happened). It didn't last very long because people got tired but it was good and connected.

This morning people got up much earlier than Topaz and I did, and shortly after we woke, Kat came and scratched and meowed at the door cutely and then a few minutes later Abby came and asked if they could come in. I left it up to Topaz as they are more timid than I am and they hemmed and hawed and muttered 'yesbutonlyoutside' and I translated that Abby could come cuddle with us but outside the covers, and so they did. I was in the middle and for most of the time they were laying on their sides facing me (Abby propped on an elbow) and I had my arms around each of them stroking their hair. It was so comfortable and happy and relaxed.

After we got up everyone gathered and wrote down what from the past year we wanted to get rid of. We gathered 'round my weird little metal vase outside and lit a fire in it and took turns burning our papers. Kylei wanted to go widdershins around the circle and have each person say something aloud, so we did. Kylei started it off with a poetic spell, and Topaz ended the circle with something like "fuck this!" It was perfect. At one point we started to hear a crackling noise and got pretty concerned, and it smelled bad -- Kat said the glaze was burning off. But it wasn't too bad and by the time everyone had put their paper in it had stopped. I'm gonna burn in it at least once before next time and I think after that there won't be anything terrible. I was worried that everyone would be bothered but I think I was the one most bothered (except maybe Topaz). I stayed out for a little bit after everyone went in, tossing in dead leaves and watching them burn, stirring to use up the rest of the coals.

Kat, Summer, Heather, and Abby left around noon and me and Sydney and Kylei and Topaz hung out. Topaz made us breakfast as they are wont to do, and we all just talked. We had some great cuddles -- Kylei, me, and Topaz sat on the couch and Sydney lounged across us and got hair pets from Kylei, back rubs from me, and calf massage from Topaz. After Sydney left, Topaz played Alice: Madness Returns while Kylei and I watched (so stressful, but so beautiful).

At one point I had a miscommunication with Heather and Cass via text that got me very upset, and Kylei and Topaz gave me pets and reassurance. I worked it out after that but at first I couldn't deal and just lay in bed and cried. I felt like my reaction was out of proportion, but I'm not sure why I had such a strong reaction. Usually I can figure it out... the closest I can get is maybe it hit that nerve of being left out of a family event? And I definitely have trauma around being left out of things that are important to me. I wasn't deliberately left out, but due to technical issues that was what I experienced.

Overall it was a beautiful evening but I think we need to start earlier next year and make sure that we do pre-Solstice introductions and meetings so that everyone at least knows four people who will be there. And figure out a way to speed up gift-giving because this year was too spread out -- I think maybe passing them all out at the beginning and then going in a rough circle with opening them would be better because the getting up and picking something and handing it to the person took up a lot of time (even though it was SO fun).

This year I did fortune cookies instead of the stone pull because I had not the money for stones *sadface* but that was pretty fun! They weren't as spot-on as the stones by a long shot but there was one or two that seemed very apropos.


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belenen: (disconnected)
emotion explosion - great intimacy practice but terrible stuff brought up, connection despair
icon: "disconnected (a gif of the lovers from the tv show "Moonlight" standing on opposite sides of a door and both looking devastated. One leans their forehead on the door and the other leans their face on their hand on the doorsill. Underneath the repeating gif is the word 'pain' in a handwriting-font.)"

Yesterday and today have been overwhelmingly emotional. Yesterday was emotional in general, but especially intimacy practice. We had two newbies and usually that means a somewhat low-key practice as newbies usually need at least one practice to get familiar enough to participate fully. But not this time! Everyone shared very openly and there was a lot of resonance around the circle. Everyone had intense topics and even truth-or-truth was intense, yet we finished in 3 hours and as far as I could tell everyone felt nourished. Topaz was actually energized! Afterward Topaz and Heather played "pump it up" (I graciously declined). It was the first time we'd had newbies in a long time, over a year I'm sure. I remembered/realized some things that I will explain when I do the intimacy practice talk at TBC.

But it brought up some stuff I had been repressing - my sense of failure at making new friends )


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belenen: (artistic)
Soothing social time?!? / the evolution of my relationship to art
icon: "artistic (a photo of a hand holding a glass heart, all of it colored in purple)"

This Saturday Topaz and I had a tiny bonfire with Heather, Brian, Cass, Kelsey, and Elliott. It was really relaxing and nourishing. I often feel worried in social situations if I think someone is uncomfortable or unhappy, but I didn't take responsibility for anyone's happiness this time, and I didn't try to facilitate connections. I think I was able to do this partially because Topaz seemed mostly at ease, and quite enjoyed some parts. (Heather and I grinned gleefully at each other while overhearing Topaz and Brian talk about being bros) I got to cuddle with Cass and Heather at different times. I think there was just a lot of similarity in communication styles and that made it really easy. I want more of this in my life. I want to feel an ease and a balance like that with a local group.

---

I've decided to try to finish the prompts given to me ages ago. This one was from Topaz.

Has your interest and preference for art changed over the years? What sort of art styles and genres were you interested in as a child, teen, in your 20s, vs now?
Yes, by a lot! When I was a child and teen, I liked realistic paintings of the ocean and dragons. Christian Reece Lassen and Michael Whelan were my favorite artists.  Lassen painted hyperreal epics with orcas, dolphins, and many kinds of fish, with waves that looked like glass.  More than anything else I loved the light and the water and the way they were magic together (I wouldn't have minded if the animals weren't there). When Whelan created a website where I could actually see all their art, I realized that more than the dragons, I loved their symbolic art. There is this one painting of a child sitting next to a tiny square of grass in an otherwise totally concrete space, with light coming through a slim crack in the wall. Another is a woman wearing only a hooded sand-colored cloak, holding their arm out straight with a red ribbon hanging from their hand, at the end of which which is a translucent red heart. The most powerful one for me is the one of a figure in flowing white from neck to ankle, running and dancing along a thin yet dense ridge of deep green brush that waves back and forth. I'm just now realizing that this stuff is very white. My only irritation at the time was that everyone was thin, but I felt that the women weren't sexualized, which I liked.

Then I discovered body positivity and with it, a yearning to see art of bodies that looked like mine. Anders Zorn and Tamara de Lempicka were my favorites; Zorn I loved for the nudes in nature, and the soft curve of bellies with deep navels, and Lempicka I loved for the luxuriant abandon of their subjects, who sprawled as though a self-conscious feeling had never touched them. I also really liked a lot of artists that I now understand to have reified white supremacy through the production of beauty norms. Sad and gross. And I liked a lot of terribly appropriative 'native' art.

I also discovered portrait photography and became enchanted with many artists on deviantart who shared their beings through their faces and bodies, often nude. Clothing is most often a distraction, I feel, and I don't like it in art. I see it as the same as having brand names or fast food in the art. Sure, sometimes that is part of the meaning, but in general it just takes the person from immediacy and places them into a time and culture. I don't think it should be included unless it is relevant to the meaning of the piece.

Deviantart also showed me that art didn't have to be photorealistic or even proportional to be meaningful. Pupasoul (real name unknown) painted many symbolic pieces with figures clearly intended to represent humans, but without faces or hands or feet, and never in any skin tone. I loved them, and finally stopped being snobbish about realism.

Through deviantart i also discovered fractals, though i did not think that I could ever make them. My favorite was sideoutman, mostly because they created asymmetrical fractals which spoke to me far more than others. This was the first time I had ever felt drawn to abstract art, which I previously thought very little of.  When I began making my own fractal art, it became very important to me. I love my own fractals and I love the fractals of others.

Has your interest range become more specific or has it widened, or both? Why?
I would say that both are true - I love many more styles now, but I specifically dislike art which uncritically reproduces white supremacy and unfortunately, that's most of the stuff that exists that includes white people as subjects. I used to love photorealistic art and disdain everything else. Now, I prefer abstract, surreal, and symbolic art, though I still enjoy photorealistic if it has an actually interesting subject, and I do love photography, especially self-portraits and nature.


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belenen: (overwhelmed)
overwhelmed exhausted / Topaz dealing w family / dear self, take down-time dammit! / links pls?
icon: "overwhelmed (the character Keenan from "Playing By Heart," with hands over their face covering their eyes and head tilted back)"


In case you couldn't tell from my sudden lack of presence here, I've been overwhelmed. I managed to post while visiting with my biofamily, which is a great accomplishment! but I never really got a rest, and I didn't get a chance to read my flist while I was there. It has been one thing after another. As soon as I got back, my car wouldn't start and my phone wasn't working and I was behind on bills so I was overwhelmed with money stress. At the same time, Topaz had two family members have serious health issues requiring hospitalization. Topaz was busy every day and on call when at home as both of their parents (who do all the caretaking in the family) were run ragged. So, I did my best to be supportive, but I didn't get the rest and healing time with Topaz that I was counting on after my family excursion.

We ended up having a fight near the end of the week, which only ever happens when we are both totally out of energy. Usually I can set aside any defensive or selfish reactions and empathize when Topaz tells me I upset them, but this time I didn't. I think I could have, but I was in the middle of the process when Topaz asked how I was feeling and the immature selfish part of me took that as an excuse to stop the process and talk about why I was feeling defensive instead of empathizing. And neither of us had the energy to do the self-calming necessary to pull it back to a calm discussion. We didn't do anything cruel like call names or attack character, but we had this whole unneccessary painful feedback loop where we both felt blamed and attacked. And really it was my fault, because I can look at the exact moment when I could have been more kind and I chose not to. I really hate that I reacted that way. And I know I wouldn't have if I had had more energy, because it's not what the majority of me would want to do, but getting defensive and focusing on my own feelings is SO much easier. We did get to a healing point and forgive each other, but I think we both felt upset at how much time was wasted on unneccessary pain.

Then Topaz went on their family vacation, and so I have been going back and forth from my house to theirs every day, taking care of my cat, the visiting cat, and Topaz' rat. I hadn't really seen Heather or Kylei for ages, so I made plans with them and spent time with Heather, Taz, and Hope on Saturday (at a book festival that was HUGE and full of people), then did Intimacy Practice with Heather and Anika on Sunday and met up with Kylei at a flow event (where people get together to hoop and spin fire and basically play with toys in a dancy way), spent time with a bunch of strangers, and spent the night with Kylei and hung out with them on Monday. Then Tuesday I got up early to go to the courthouse with Heather who accompanied me for moral support, picked up some paperwork, and then went to a thrift store that was having an outrageous sale and got some cool stuff for the free store I'm hosting next weekend.

Okay I'm feeling a little better about being so wiped out and drained, after I wrote all that out. I didn't realize I hadn't had a day free of intensity at all this week. It was too much. I must not plan anything else between now and Sunday, so that I can actually get the house in order (which I SOOO don't have the energy to do today).

I'm going to start back keeping up with LJ now, but please, if there is something that you wrote that 1) has great emotional significance to you, or 2) you think would be right up my alley, or 3) you want my input on, please do comment with links. I'm not going to be able to go back and catch up on everything.


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belenen: (kissy)
Love memory bank (jan and feb and then i forgot)
icon: "kissy (a photo of me outside in soft light, blowing a kiss)"


love memory bank )

Gonna try to get back in the habit!


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belenen: (overwhelmed)
new job / first Zikr / nervous about school stuff
icon: "overwhelmed (the character Keenan from "Playing By Heart," with hands over their face covering their eyes and head tilted back)"

starting a new job Wednesday (technically tomorrow) which I have been quite stressed about for several reasons -- I don't know what I'll actually be doing (they're gonna train me) and I had to set up an orientation which was very scary because I find bureaucracy, talking on the phone, and deadlines all terrifying and I had to deal with all of them. Also I ended up having to call five times because I kept getting dumped into dead-end transfers. Still have a ton of paperwork and hoops to jump through *scared frown*

And I went to a Sufi Zikr for the first time this Sunday. It wasn't what I expected (we met in someone's home and most of the attendees were white) but I enjoyed it and I felt hyper-aware of people's reactions to me. I couldn't get fully into it because the energy of the place was distracting. I felt like there was something behind me, possibly because it was a home and I may have felt presences who live there who were not introduced. But the chanting was really beautiful and I always appreciate being around people who feel genuine devotion, and I felt a connection to the source of life in that room. I felt included and very appreciative of that -- even the person I felt the most resistance from made an attempt to express understanding (talking about how their teenage kid taught them about trans people and using people's preferred pronouns). I think that unless I can find a person to carpool with I won't attend further except remotely, because it is just too much of a drive.

I want to attend a Sikh Kirtan service and hope to do that this Friday. It's been on my intentions list for months now but I just haven't had the extra energy.

I should have been asleep already... so nervous about orientation and dealing with making my minors official tomorrow. Heather is coming with me for the latter because I have found it so worrisome that I keep putting it off forever. I'm relieved that it's going to get done but SO stressed because one of the gatekeepers seems to have become massively uncomfortable with me and will no longer make eye contact or small talk with me. I fear having to talk to them.

I'm way too easily overwhelmed.
sounds: Noe Venable - Don't Stop Crying | Powered by Last.fm
connecting: , , , , ,


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belenen: (exuviate)
tired and excited
icon: "exuviate (photo of a dragonfly with shimmery green wings after its last metamorphosis, standing next to its previous exoskeleton)"

whew, I'm so late going to bed but I finally caught up on LJ. And earlier this week I re-wrote my profile for the first time in years. It's not complete- I need to update the list of important posts - but it is way more reflective of who I am and what I want.

I'm really excited about tomorrow (later today); I'm gonna have a truth-or-truth night with alcohol and so many of my favorite people. Kylei and Heather are spending the night with me and Topaz and I think I am the most excited but I have felt excitement from each of them about it too, which makes me feel so happy and close and loved.

and I have used up too much brain for a longer post, bleh.
sounds: Stateless - I Shall Not Complain | Powered by Last.fm
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belenen: (pensive)
realization: I need group intimacy as well as one-on-one
icon: "pensive (photo of me with a glitter goatee, looking down pensively with woods in the background)"

realized yesterday that I was craving intimate time with multiple people simultaneously in person. I'm not sure if it has actually been a while since I've had this? it feels like it. I've had casual time with multiple people and intimate time one-on-one, but last intimacy practice was like a month ago and I think that was the last time I had in-person group intimacy. But it could be because I'm finally appropriately medicated yet no longer spending all my energy on school, so I actually have time/energy to reflect on what is causing my feelings.

I didn't even realize I had a need for this but yeah, I do. I've been feeling a weird kind of lonely that doesn't go away from anything else. So I made a plan w Heather and Kylei and Topaz to have a sleepover and I can't wait. I think that I need specifically this for two reasons: 1) it is a broad kind of love (that many people associate with 'family' which I have nearly never experienced in biofamily situations) which brings its own nourishment, and 2) only by spending time with mutual intimates can I be deeply nourished by seeing one person's love for another. and I think maybe 3) flowing back and forth in my focus from person to person makes me feel a harmony and unity I can't feel otherwise.
sounds: Heather Nova - Wicked Game | Powered by Last.fm
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belenen: (osculant)
rune divination from Heather on finding romantic relationships, realizations & decisions
icon: "osculant (a photo of Hannah and I laying nude on dark fabric, facing each other with our bottom arms stretched toward the camera, hands overlapping, and our other arms entwined between us)"

A few weeks ago I was hanging out with Heather and they offered to do a rune reading for me. I was curious and agreed, and they told me to think of a question and then draw three runes. I did, and then they interpreted them for me. The first they said was about worth, perhaps material worth or self-worth. The second they said was about mysteries or magic, and that they associate it particularly with the vagina. The third was about success after a period of time (with nuances I have forgotten). They said that the first one is the source of the problem, the second is the solution, and the third is what will happen if you follow the solution. So then I told them that I had asked "how will I find my next romantic relationship?" and asked them to interpret again in light of that.

They then looked at the runes and laughed and said that the strongest impression they got was that I was asking the wrong question. I said that what I had sensed as they explained the first time was that my problem was in not having the resources as well as not believing in my worth, really. I felt the solution I was being told was to invest in my own magic, and that it would take time. Heather said that felt right. So I was like, HOW do I do that? And Heather told me to draw three more.

The first Heather interpreted as "you know what to do but you're resisting." They said I'm holding to a set of patterns that doesn't fit. Also, when this is near the next rune I pulled, it means ask for advice. The next one means prepare for harvest, implying a slow process. The third is firm indication that it is not time for new starts, that things are outside your control. Then I drew one more, don't remember why, and that one was "Isa" which means delay, wait for a better time.

This last set I felt was saying wait, wait, also wait some more, and let it come to you. And really, I feel I have learned that people who come to me end up being the ones who have strong positive impact, and when I chase people I just end up with wasted energy. Not everyone who comes to me is good for me, but everyone who is good for me has come to me. I know what actually works for me is to just focus on being as true to myself as possible, and staying open to people who reach out. I can't find them, I can only draw them.

Yet I was trying to find them because dammit, I thought I was ready. But also I was pushing myself because the longer I go dating just one person, the more I feel judged and rejected by poly people, and I wanted to escape that. I also just miss the kind of awareness that I only have when in multiple romantic relationships. But really, while I might be emotionally ready in one sense because I'm no longer dealing with squelching depression, I am overwhelmed with the multiplicity of things demanding my attention and adding another, no matter how lovely, would probably be a terrible idea. While I was disappointed, I was also relieved, and realized I had been putting a lot of pressure on myself and feeling bad because my efforts were failing and what if I never find anyone new who is awesome and why doesn't anyone want to date me etc.

Also, the fact that one of them suggested asking for advice made a lot of sense to me, because I am terrible at differentiating between potential and actuality and making decisions based on now. For instance, if a person is really amazing, but is so busy that we never see each other, I have a hard time deciding to not invest emotionally now. Or if a person really wants to build the skills I value, but isn't actually doing it or is doing it so slowly that it will be years before they have the skills that nourish me, I have a hard time moving on, or putting it on low priority. Heather and Topaz are both very good at evaluating those sorts of situations, and I think that if I had asked them for advice over recent years I would have saved myself a lot of unproductive energy drain.

This was definitely the most useful divination I've ever experienced. I felt a positive shift in myself after. I felt affirmed in the fact that I have been investing more in my own magic these past 3 months than I ever had in my life before. I feel comforted that I'm not lacking in new romance because there is something lacking in me. I feel inexplicably reassured that there are people who I could feel deep connection with who I have yet to meet. And I feel much better about the fact that I can't find people and have to wait for them to find me. I will still make small overtures when they feel right, but I'm not going to try to do "what everyone else does." And the energy that I was spending on trying to meet new people I am instead going to spend on my current friends.


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belenen: (mysterious)
experiencing kirtans at chantlanta, 'meeting' Shiva, considering appropriation, looking into Sikhism
icon: "mysterious (a photo of the snow leopard Shynghyz from the Tama Zoological park, staring straight at the camera)"

Two weeks ago I went with Heather to an event called Chantlanta and experienced kirtans for the first time. I had mixed feelings about the leaders of the chants and event (it felt like there were appropriation issues, especially in the vendor area), but the chants themselves were amazing. Heather explained that the chants are considered sacred in that just saying them brings more of that thing into the world, that the thing is contained in the word (this is a thing that I have always believed and I feel happy to know another belief system (besides Kemetic systems) that does too). As I was chanting I imagined the words leaving my mouth as orbs of energy.

Heather and I attended two of them, and at the first there were several that when we first chanted them they made me cry, and others that also hit me in a strongly emotional way. The second one wavered between really powerful and really jarring, because the leader kept shifting the rhythm and tone every time it started to get intense. Still, there was a point where this sensation of floatiness filled my head to the point that it shocked me and I stopped chanting, just feeling it until it faded. I kinda wish I had kept on chanting because I want to know what would have happened if I had just gone into it.

The chants about Shiva made me cry, each time, unexpectedly. I didn't know anything about them, yet I felt so intensely longing and sad-happy at their mention. I looked up their traditional titles to write verses of praise for them, and one of their honorifics refers to memory/concentration/focus, which resonated so strongly with me. I understand why it made me cry: thinking about memory often makes me cry because I feel great loss there. Shiva makes me feel hope for memory.

I want to figure out if there is a good way for me to participate in kirtans in the future. It makes me really uncomfortable to give support to white leaders of a ritual that was created by those who white people have oppressed and continue to oppress. I also just don't want to learn from people who might not understand the nuances of things. But it's not like there's a guide so I'm not sure how to check, besides looking up pictures of the leaders I guess.

I looked up some things and Sikhs (one of the religious groups that use the practice of chanting) seem to welcome others to join in their worship, but I don't know if that is just for 'potential devotees' or if they are okay with people who are definitely not going to convert still participating. I think I'll email the nearby temple and ask. I don't know if theirs would be ones I want to participate in though, because they are strongly monotheistic and there's a lot of gender in their conception of deity. And gender is the most alienating thing for me.

----

I've been working on this post since then and reading about cultural appropriation with regards to this - most of the stuff I found was about yoga, but some of it referenced the chants. From what I gather, yoga is a practice that is meant to put one in the space for meditation, and to use it as mere exercise is profaning a sacred practice. Other issues are profiting from the severed pieces of yoga and Hinduism (for instance images of deities on objects sold for the purpose of fashion or decoration not worship), exoticizing, and sexualizing. I think for me there is also the money aspect that is a problem, but after looking into it, I think that there is a respectful way for me to participate in kirtans, so I feel encouraged to keep exploring. And I haven't yet asked anyone "what if I never convert" but I did ask a local temple about attending and they were very welcoming, so I may attend one and then ask about that.


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belenen: (overwhelmed)
relationships: Kylei / Abby / Anika / Heather / KWT / Lilywolf / Topaz / Allison / Jaime / Adi / Kat
icon: "overwhelmed (the character Keenan from "Playing By Heart," with hands over their face covering their eyes and head tilted back)"

Reflecting on my relationships this past week, I realized that I have been pouring a lot of energy out and not getting much back. This isn't a problem when I'm in a period of abundance, because I don't mind it in and of itself, but I'm still recovering from my 2012 suicidal depression, and last November/ December were hugely draining - so it's not something I can healthily do right now. So I have to figure out how to spend less energy and/or get more, hopefully without hurting feelings or sparking resentment. I feel a bit of a failure about this, because I was working so hard on reconnecting with people I love, and I feel sure that if I stop putting so much in, some of those connections will wither. But this is a pattern, and it's a bad one. I have to stop doing this. I need to be okay. I've been crying pretty much every day this week, and wanting to cut everyone out of my life. That's not a practical desire or something I would actually do, but it is an urge I get when I am not being nourished. It's a very bad sign.

relationship updates )


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belenen: (shows -- Xena happiness)
Love memory bank: April through November 2014
icon: "shows -- xena happiness (Xena and Gabrielle looking at each other and smiling as they walk)"

love memory bank entries  )


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belenen: (night -- atlanta)
recently: time w Abby, Anika, Kat visiting / Solstice celebration & ritual / Mercury died / xmas
icon: "night -- atlanta (a photo I took of Atlanta at sunset viewed from an airplane window)"


Kylei and I attempted to make a plan for the first time since our big clash about lack of interactions, it failed but I decided to go to the park we'd made plans at anyway and it's on my list of favorites now. It was very well-wooded and though it is hilly, the switchbacks are gradual enough that I don't hate it for the incline. There was one spot that made me feel a sense of holiness. I can't wait to go back after the trees have put out leaves again.

I picked Abby up from the airport when they came into town and after we had dinner at my favorite restaurant and I petted their hair a bit they crashed out. The next day they ran errands with me (including an AWFUL stop at the incredibly crowded post office) and helped me talk with the new coffeeshop owner about putting up fractals for commission there. I felt cozy going around with them, though they were still frazzled from the day before and we spent a good bit of time in silence, especially while crafting (both finishing solstice gifts). Then Topaz and Abby and I all went to the grocery store, came back and had dinner together while watching a Xena, and I spent the night. The next morning we had breakfast and coffee together and then I went home to do all the preparation things (partially so they could have one-on-one time). When I came back I tidied Topaz' basement with Abby's help -- poor Abby was just wiped out, so we didn't hang out much.

Solstice was a giant bustle of activity, with me, Topaz, Abby, Anika, Matt, Suzu, Kei-Won-Tia, Christo, Kat and their friend Sause, Heather, Brian, Kylei, Allison & their person Jonathan, and Jaime. More people brought food than Topaz and I were expecting (Topaz made adorable delicious tiny sandwiches and got fruits and veggies and I made my superfood dip), so we actually ended up with more food than we needed. After most everyone arrived, we had ritual: a shared damiana shot (with damiana tea for the little one), writing down things to let go of and then burning them, a spiral hug, and then drawing stones from a bowl of water and water beads. I had brought a number of stones and written all the meanings in my book of magic, so after everyone drew a stone (without looking) I then told them what their stone meant. I was a bit disappointed at mine -- snowflake obsidian -- but then when I looked at the meaning I laughed out loud because it was so perfect. Anika chose the stone that I had gotten specifically thinking of them, and Kei-Won-Tia chose the stone that I had gotten specifically thinking of them, and Topaz chose the stone I had gotten thinking of them! I was pretty blown away by that, and pleased. I remember thinking that all of them were appropriate but I don't remember what the others got.

After ritual we started opening presents and it was WAYYYY too chaotic for me, I got very overwhelmed and almost had to leave the room, I just couldn't deal with all the things happening at once. Overall I learned that I need present opening to be more structured for me to enjoy it at all. Last year it was so much calmer just because everyone had been laying around cuddling I think, and only one person was walking around at a time. Next year I want to do Topaz' suggestion of having each person take turns giving out their gifts. I really like seeing people open my gifts and also present compersion -- watching Kylei open a gift from Heather, for instance. I hope everyone is okay with that, I think they would be but no one thought of it. Later we all had food and alcohol and played a little bit of truth or truth. Allison arrived and I gave them my present -- a fractal I'd made for them, mounted on canvas with a painted border. They seemed to really love it which made me happy and relieved (I'd never done it before and was worried that it wouldn't appeal). As things wound down, eventually it was me, Kat, Jaime, Allison (and their person, who seems to appreciate Allison exactly as they are which makes me SUPER happy), and Topaz (maybe someone else too??). I got super great cuddles, playing with Allison's hair and getting a hand massage from Kat. It's very blurry (I was drunk and exhausted) but I remember feeling so loved that these people were not just spending time with me but investing in learning about each other. I have no idea what we talked about but the energy and cuddles were very nourishing for me.

Next morning I got up and helped make pancakes, did a billion and a half dishes, had breakfast, and said
goodbye to Kat and Sause (who I didn't get to really talk with, but seems really easygoing and open; I feel like it would be fairly easy to connect with them in a much smaller setting). Then I tidied more, hung out with Jaime until they had to leave for work, and talked with Anika and Abby while massaging Abby (who had neck/shoulder pain). After Anika and Matt and Suzu left to go to Sanctuary with Kei-Won-Tia, Abby and I took off for the nearest park under grey and horrid skies -- right after we arrived it started raining, so we climbed a baseball tower (no idea what it is actually called) and watched the rain and talked about solstice.

We went home and I saw Mercury (one of my bettas) looking dead and freaked the fuck out -- turns out they weren't dead just very lethargic and with a giant wound. After flailing a while I set up a quarantine bowl and put them in it, still incredibly rattled and upset. Abby and I sat around talking for a little while as I tried to calm down, and then I drove through rain and dark with wiper blades that won't work properly, terrified, and arrived at Topaz' even more shaky, with my hands literally shaking. Abby asked how to help me, I didn't know, they gave me a hug which helped some. Then Topaz arrived and comforted me too, and I just started crying, overwhelmed. Topaz put their hand over my heart and gave energy (I checked to make sure they were pulling from elsewhere because I am not at all comfortable with people draining themselves for my sake) which helped hugely. I wouldn't have thought to ask for it but I was very grateful. I decided to go lay down for a while as Abby and Topaz made dinner. Once it was ready we watched "Playing By Heart" because apparently Abby had still never seen it??!??

Later I realized I felt sad and told Abby about it -- that I felt sad about not intentionally connecting. We talked about it and I explained that I wasn't blaming them or asking for an apology, that I just wanted a fix for the future. Eventually we felt agreement and I asked them to sit with me holding hands and put our foreheads together (I initially suggested that we make eye contact but they felt that was too intense). When we did this I felt relief, and connection, like that missing bit finally clicked.

Then suddenly Abby and Topaz were full of playful energy and played hide and go seek, I 'found' Topaz who wanted a backpack ride but when Topaz jumped on, they were too close to the wall and smashed their knee (which hurt for days and I felt SO bad, forever after the jump-on part only happens in the middle of the room). Abby went to talk to Darryl and Topaz and I wrestled and made out (which made me happy partly because in the past Topaz wouldn't have done that in the common area if there was another person anywhere in the house). Topaz had suggested 3-person cuddles and I asked Abby, who liked the idea, so we cuddled with Abby in the middle and then Topaz in the middle. I gave Abby face pets and they liked them (yay!). But then Abby was falling asleep so we just left them to it.

Next day Abby and I went over to Sanctuary to hang out with Kei-Won-Tia, Anika, Waylon, Matt, and Suzu -- Christo was supposed to join also but was busy. We played a long game of Truth or Truth and I got to know Waylon a bit; they seem like the most humbly-hungry-for-understanding person I think I have ever met, which I love. When it got near time for me and Anika to leave, I was sitting next to Abby and feeling sad that this would be the last time we saw each other for a while, not really sure what to do with that feeling. Kei-Won-Tia suggested that Abby and I go cuddle to say goodbye, which was so perfectly the thing needed. We had really sweet cuddles, very connected -- possibly the most connected cuddles we've ever had, at least to me. I felt a validation of my hope the night before that the intentional connection would have a lasting effect. Then Anika rode with me to my house in terrible dark rain again, and lounged on my bed talking and occasionally cuddling for about seven hours. It was really good to have one-on-one time and while I can't remember what we talked about (arghhh) it was meaningful and nourishing and I felt we built more connection.

The next day when I woke up my fish still wouldn't eat -- three days of not eating when this fish is usually very excited about food -- and the wound looked worse, and they seemed so depressed that I felt bad about their suffering. I looked online to see if there was some painless way I could help them die, and everywhere said that clove oil would work to make them go to sleep (it's used for fish surgery) and then a much larger dose would kill them. I had clove oil on hand so I tried it -- and they freaked out and swam all around and I felt like the worst creature ever to live, but there was no going back, so I felt trapped and had no idea what to do, I looked online again and they said to wait 10 minutes for it to work, ugh, I went back and they were still so I poured the lethal dose in, ugh, ugh, I feel like the worst person, gasping and crying, saying "I'm so sorry I'm so sorry." After, I found someone else who said they had the experience I had and apparently I either added it too quickly or had them in too large of a container or both, fuck. Never ever again. Apparently you can buy a euthenasia powder online, I'm going to do that as soon as I have money, in case this happens again. I just can't trust a method that caused distress, even if it was because I did it wrong. The video I watched about it had the fish so peacefully drifting off... *deep sad frown* Later that night Topaz picked me up and I spent the night with them, doing nothing I can remember.

Next: Topaz' biofamily christmas. LOADS OF PEOPLE ALL DAY and I had to be all demure and shit. The highlights were Topaz' parents giving me good coffee and gel pens, and me giving people small fractal prints in envelopes with the title on them. I was hoping that people would at least count it as a gift but didn't think there would be a strong reaction -- but almost everyone I gave them to exclaimed over them and seemed really happy about them! I felt so happy and gratified that they seemed to mean something to people. And I loved when they would point out ways they interpreted it. Later one of Topaz' parents referred to me as an artist which was the first time I think anyone has ever called me that (at least, to my face).

That night I had weirdly intense dreams about moving and school and Firekat and visiting a church (like, testing out a christian church to see if they were non-poopfaces). I had to pack all my things into a truck bed and I had 7 huge shelves of spices and way too many books. According to the internet, spices mean a yearning for variety, books mean calm slow progress, and packing means change ahead, putting the past behind you. My first thought was that I couldn't possibly take all of the spices, then I thought of selling some of them, and then of bringing only the ones in plastic jars (so they wouldn't break), and finally deciding fuck it, I want all of them, others wouldn't appreciate them enough. With the books, I was intrigued to see ones I hadn't read, but I didn't feel attached to any in particular (I had already packed my favorites). This all took place in the basement (subconscious). So, I'm taking that to mean I'm getting to the end of a learning phase and my focus is going to be more varied. That in rejecting limiting my options, I get to actually have it all. Later I talked about this with Topaz and they said it sounded to them like it was about me being poly (which was the same feeling I had gotten). Topaz expressed that they don't want me to hold back for their sake and I said that while I do feel I am getting to the point where I actually have the energy for additional romance, I don't have anyone in particular whom I want to pursue that with, but I will let them know if/when that changes.


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belenen: (progressing)
a nourishing & emotionally exhausting 11 days! Kei-Won-Tia, Topaz, Sydney, Heather, Kylei, Abby, Kat
dealing with feeling disconnected and out of sync )

an exhausting intimacy practice )

8 - don't remember, didn't calendar it :-[ There was school stuff.

intense happy one-on-one time w Heather )

Kei-Won-Tia's birthday, meeting zir mom, playing truth-or-truth for four hours )

watching Alice In Wonderland w Kei-Won-Tia and zir mom, my feelings on Alice, run-in with neighbor, time w Topaz' parents )

12 - no idea, didn't calendar. My memory is the worst. School happened.

Kei-Won-Tia's birthday party and very-drunk me )

talks w Abby and Firekat )

lots of time w Kei-Won-Tia )

meds, talking w Kylei about making time )


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belenen: (tenebrous)
Terrible night
I had a terrible night last night. I had a minor upset in the morning, that sparked me thinking about how lately (3 times in as many weeks, so not a long-term pattern) I have felt I can't talk to Topaz about any feeling I have that isn't positive, because ze takes it on. And I know that zir life is ridiculously hard with stresses from every direction, but I need it to be okay for me to not be perfect. I can't stay in daily contact and share openly without sharing my negative feelings too, that would be a lie of omission. Topaz was busy and we couldn't talk about it, so I wrote about it in emails, and cried for four hours, certain that ze was going to be angry with me for sharing my negative feelings, and that ze wouldn't be willing to work with me and would break up with me. Ze wasn't angry, ze was sorry that ze made me feel that way today, but ze was also drunk by the time ze read the emails, and I was so confused by what seemed to be a complete change of thinking that I couldn't process. I finally went to zir house after ze said ze wanted to hold me, and I cried and cried, and ze was upset because ze didn't realize how bad I was feeling, but I thought I had communicated it, and I had felt hurt and shut out, it was just a terrible fucking awful night. I was also hurt by Kei-Won-Tia, for irrational reasons, and I knew Kylei had to get up early the next day, and I knew that Heather has been dealing with heavy shit, so I didn't feel like I could reach out to locals and I needed cuddles, I needed touch. I finally texted Heather just saying that I was having a really bad night and ze offered to come up, but I got the text after getting to Topaz' so I said no but I was very touched by the offer and cried a lot.

Today I'm still feeling hurt and fragile and very worried that I'm not going to feel better fast enough, and I'm desperate to feel close with Topaz but I feel terrified that the next thing I ask for us going to be the thing that makes me a bad person and a burden who should be punished for not being supportive when someone else is hurting more.

I think it hurt me so badly because this is how it goes. This is how I lose people. They find out that I can't be all they need but they don't work with me to balance our needs so I give until I have nothing left and finally, I say, I can't do this, I need help, I need a better system, and they can't or won't help, and I lose them.

When Topaz and I talked about it ze was completely supportive and held me and petted me while I cried, and didn't get upset with me at all, but I was so terrified that it only partially sunk in. I think my feelings on this came mostly from my past and only like 15% from our actual interactions.

This night hit practically every relationship trigger I have. From when Ashe and Aurilion (the two closest people in my life at the time) left me when I was crying my eyes out because they were more invested in their time together and didn't want me to ruin it with my sad (as I felt it at the time: turned out they thought I was faking it because they'd never seen me like that), to the end of my relationship with Abby when I made a mistake about how to caretake zir in crisis and ze thought I didn't care (which I experienced as me trying my best and it not being good enough and being punished with anger and distrust), to how my parents would get upset at me for getting upset and making them feel bad (literally threatened with physical punishment if I expressed upset when they wanted to enjoy themselves), to how my ex-spouse blamed me for any unhappiness ze felt (so I developed deep guilt and fear in response to my person's unhappiness), to how I couldn't reach out to Kylei for the last chunk of our romantic relationship because ze couldn't handle it, to how Hannah and I can't be close because our needs don't work together, to how furiously and vengefully Aurilion responded the last time I expressed upset with zir behavior, to how all my experiences have taught me that I should never never never express my pain if I think there is a chance that the other person will take it personally, feel blamed/judged and/or try to take responsibility for me feeling better (yet I must express these things, if I want to live up to my ethic of openness and honesty!). It was just one huge clusterfuck of all the worst feelings I've ever had. I still feel so unsure and scared and sad.


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belenen: (inspired)
recently: art, energy work class, time with lots of people, magic talismans, headache crash
I want to start doing a weekly summary on Mondays (if I can remember). I keep wanting to share things and then forgetting. If you are curious and I miss a Monday, please poke me about it.

Last week I did a shitton of art, editing photos and working with fractals. Last Monday's energy work class was great because we got to practice sensing energies with each other. I have learned some new techniques but so far the thing that has benefited me the most is the shared practice. It's hard to learn by yourself because you don't have anyone to tell you when you're off-base and you can't get a sense for what 'true' feels like as opposed to 'likely'. We practiced looking at energy during an impromptu healing that the instructor gave to someone who came in upset. We also practiced using our hands to sense the edge of people's energetic field.

Arizona was in town this week and I spent Sunday with zir, talking and cuddling and then having dinner with Arizona, Deb, and Jerry. Deb and Jerry are people I feel very very fond of but quite awkward about building a relationship now that I'm not so closely connected to their kids. They feel like family to me which also sets off my "not successful enough, not contributing enough" anxieties. I shared this with Arizona and ze invited me to dinner. The four of us had pretty great conversation and they invited me to visit - I want to get over my anxieties and actually do that. Next meteor shower I'm gonna ask to visit, at least.

Wednesday Arizona and zir partner Sulley came over to hang out with me for a while. It was kinda bittersweet because I miss them and now they live out of state, but it was good to catch up and great to see Sulley so happy: ze's at zir dream job and the contentment just radiates.

Thursday Kei-won-tia came over and we talked for a little while before I mentioned wanting to watch Adventure Time with zir and Kyle. Ze said we could do it now, and I decided to skip oneness blessing and we went to zir place. We had a great time and I felt so cozy there.

Friday the internet went out and I frustratedly tried everything but the modem had crapped out so nothing worked. The only productive thing I did that day was clean out my bettas' (3 gallon) vase.

Saturday I went to Hannahcohn's cat's funeral, which was sad but really perfect, as far as that kind of goodbye goes. There was a lot of love. I felt that my presence was comforting to Hannah, which was why I wanted to go. Hannah loves that cat more than many people love their children and the loss must be so immense. Afterward I realized I was only 15 minutes from Sanctuary (Kei-Won-Tia's house) so I went over and we watched Adventure Time interspersed with very meaningful conversation between me, Kei-Won-Tia, and Kyle. I drank a bit and was leaning towards staying the night, but then I sobered up and realized I didn't have a change of clothes and would wake up feeling super gross, so I went to Topaz's where I went to bed but couldn't sleep for ages (I think I lay in bed for 6 hours before sleep) and eventually got just 4 hours or so.

Sunday I woke up and scurried home, whirlwind cleaned my house for a bit, and then people started arriving for the crafty party. Ashe came over, which was interesting because it is the first time ze's been to my house for years. Ze played piano which I unexpectedly enjoyed (I usually find piano music bothersome because my parents made me play for 4 years). Ze also brought a new friend, Rayne, who is pagan and seems awesome. I felt so awkward but really happy, and I enjoyed both of their company. Then Heather and Heatherby and Taz and Olly showed up, and were surprised by the mellow feel. Kylei and Allison are my bouncy boisterous friends (I'm only like that if I'm drunk or extremely happy) so without them everything's pretty chill. I like for things to be bouncy but I am not invested enough to make it so myself. Bouncy is not a creative energy for me -- when I am creating I get very quiet and focused. Anyway it was a very successful crafty party! I really liked the things people made and I loved my craft. I made magic talismans for the people in my energy work class: I wrote blessings for them (intuiting what I felt to be their need) on tiny slips of paper which I rolled into spirals and placed in a painted plastic bottle cap along with scraps from calendars, glitter, glass, and resin. They turned out amazing and I cannot wait to do more.

Monday I had to be up early for the internet to get fixed but I couldn't sleep until late, so I got another short and interrupted sleep. I went to the last energy work class, which was intense -- we learned a technique that I feel is very good for removing doubt*. At one point we did an exercise where we thought of something unlikely (buying a dinner for two at $200 a plate) and removed doubt until we could see it as possible. When I got to the point where it felt possible, I started crying, not just tearing up but unable-to-speak-and-occasionally-sobbing. I hadn't realized it because it was so beyond my life experience, but being able to give others experiences that they would treasure is very, very important to me. I thought of this experimental restaurant that Topaz loves and how I would love to take zir there and it just hit me hard.

At the end of the class I gave out my talismans along with the blessings written out on post-its so they could have them, and they were welcomed so happily. Five of the people said that they were spot-on (the other did not comment), one person cried, one person thanked me profusedly. Also, as I was leaving one of the students told me that ze had practiced an energy work thing I had suggested and it had helped, which made me feel so happy. The thing I got out of this class more than anything else was coming to trust in my intuition, and to believe that the things that I feel as right often are. The doubt-removing exercise was also very useful and I will definitely be using that.

As I left, this headache that I'd been pushing away for 2 hours finally just crashed in -- it was awful, crushing pain. I started to drive home but the lights from other cars were stabbing me and I didn't feel fully there and I kept feeling like I was going to puke, so I called Topaz and asked if I could come there. Ze said yes and so I did, and by the time I got there all I could do was lay on the floor and whimper. I didn't know if it was lack of sleep or lack of food or dehydration or some terrible combination, but it hurt so much. Topaz pet me and gave me cold compresses and brought me water and saltines and made me soup. Once the nausea faded enough that I could eat, I ate and took ibuprofen and the headache went away over the next hour. We went to sleep early and I slept deeply, finally, though I had strange dreams about the trailer I lived in from ages 2-8.

*You think of a situation and rate its possibility for you on a scale from 1-100, using intuition for the rating and imagination to picture a sliding scale. Then you think of the things that make it not possible, and let them go -- all judgements and etc. Keep checking on the scale and don't stop until you get to a point of 90-95% possibility, when you can just push the slider up with your mind. Then you take a mental picture of the situation and send it outward from you in a ripple. It doesn't sound like much but when you do it, you realize a lot of subconscious things that you believe, that you might be better off if you didn't believe (like "everyone will dislike me if I...").


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belenen: (vivacious)
Playing By Heart screened w new people/ time at Sanctuary/ poly, mono, & friendship
This weekend was very busy with social things but I didn't get overwhelmed and crash! Saturday I got up very late and Topaz made us breakfast (sprouted grain bagels with goat cheese and fresh-picked spinach and grilled bell peppers and egg and chipotle sauce) and we drank coffee together. I had wanted zir to come to the Saturday events (watching my favorite movie followed by Kyle's birthday party) but ze was feeling exhausted and in need of down time so ze chose not to go.

I was disappointed but also happy to realize that I didn't feel like going out and being social on my own would drain me. This is the first time in a very long time that that has been true, and I think the reason for this change is that I feel super safe and cozy with Kei-Won-Tia and Heather, and affectionate toward Kyle, Christo, Kylei, and Brian, who were also coming. Coyote was also going which made me nervous because I feel sure ze dislikes me now that Kylei and I broke up, but I still felt safe.

So we watched Playing By Heart, and I didn't really get a chance to discuss it with anyone, but I got some initial senses about people's reactions. I felt that Kei-Won-Tia resonated with Joan (who is like 90% me) and several other characters. I wasn't sure which parts Kyle and Heather resonated with but I felt like they definitely connected with the core of it. I am unsure about Brian and Christo, but would like to know their thoughts too. Coyote hated Joan, to the point of wishing zir dead, which made me feel incapable of pointing out places where I especially resonated, or saying anything really. I felt disturbed that Kylei (the only one who had seen it before) seemed to be agreeing, because a lot of the things I love about Joan are also true about Kylei. Coyote also seemed to think that one of the love stories was ridiculous because the two didn't interact for much time, which made me see it in a new light. It still makes perfect sense to me though because when you're really looking, it is the easiest thing in the world to fall in love, and all it takes for me to tell if a deep connection is possible is a long hug or long eye contact.

After this we started playing Imaginiff (a board game that I actually like because it's all about asking questions and getting to know people) but Kyle (whose birthday we were celebrating) wasn't into it so we put it away after only a few turns. There was a clash between Kyle and Kei-Won-Tia after which Kei-Won-Tia started feeling ill and went to bed. I felt concerned but not yet comfy enough to barge in without invitation. But the rest of the evening was fun and I felt like Kyle and I connected a lot over the evening; we talked about Douglas Adams and ADD and other things, and I feel like we can be friends. I only interacted a little with Christo but I thought ze was pretty awesome for reacting with good humor to people poking at zir masculinity. I feel safer around people who don't guard their gender aggressively because I feel it means they are less likely to try to police other people in that way.

I went from there to Topaz' and hung out while ze cleaned for a while and then we went on the front porch to be near the rain, and talked about my experiences that evening and somehow moved into talking about poly. I occasionally get hit with a wave of worry that because ze's monogamous, when we break up ze won't be my soulfriend and cuddle buddy any more. Ze's assured me that ze wants that as much as I do, but I still get scared sometimes because I really don't understand rules in relationships and they make me uncomfortable. The idea of two people being in love but not being together for some external rule (a partner says no, or it would endanger their identity, stuff like that) is so horrifically sad to me; that's the entire reason I'm poly. I expressed this and added that with poly people, there's a pretty fine line between friend and lover so I don't feel worried I'll get shut out after a breakup. Ze said this fine line feels to zir like one category so it's either "friends and maybe lovers" or "acquaintances but no closer." I've definitely felt that myself before but I think that not valuing/prioritizing friendship is a problem with poly and mono people alike. (the only people I regularly feel a resonance with on the valuing of friendship are asexual people) Logically, I know Topaz and I will continue to be friends because we both do value friendship highly and we prefer to work shit out rather than avoid. But we haven't broken up before so I still feel the need for reassurance sometimes.

The main reason I'm not even casually looking for another romance is that right now, I have so many relationships that are just budding or in recovery, and I don't want to take time from building those connections to focus on a new romance. I feel like I'm finally recovered enough from depression that it would be possible for me to fall in love with a new person, but that's not what I want right now. I feel so excited and happy about spending more time with my friends and I feel so encouraged about long-term friendships. That's what I want to do with my relational energy.

Sunday was disappointing because everyone cancelled on the crafty party, but like I told Topaz when ze exclaimed at my calm response, at least 90% of my friends have anxiety, depression, physical disability and/or ADD. I expect frequent cancellations because a lot of the time you can't predict what you're going to be up for. Topaz and I crafted and took turns reading "The Mer-Child" to each other, which was adorable and fun. Ze left to watch Cosmos but I was in the zone and kept crafting for another 3.5 hours. I've now finished the tedious part of my new project and the next step is fun ;-) Also, Kylei and Heather offered to come visit and craft with me this week, so I'm looking forward to that.


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belenen: (interconnectedness)
2 intimacy practices (Heather, Ariana, Anika, me, Abby, Kylei, Topaz, Camellia, Kei-Won-Tia, Roger)
We had two intimacy practices this week. Tuesday, Heather and Ariana and Anika and I had a small one (Topaz was there at the start but was feeling migrainey so had to go home). It was Ariana's first and Anika's 3rd, I think? Anyway the four of us talked about lots of things as per usual but the part that stuck out the most to me was the common thread of spirituality; during truth-or-truth I asked Heather and Ariana some questions and someone else asked Anika a question that also led to discussion of spirituality. I felt very resonant with Ariana when we talked about plants and the energy of the four of us was very... soft and mighty, like moss on a giant tree. I felt really connected to everyone and like I learned a lot about Ariana in a short time.

Then tonight we had another, with me and Abby, Anika, Kylei, Topaz, Camellia, Kei-Won-Tia, Roger, and of course me. This one felt so magical, partly because I got to cuddle with Topaz and Kei-Won-Tia and Camellia (really close cuddles that felt very open, which was new between me and Kei-Won-Tia and Camellia), and partly because I felt really in sync with Topaz and Kei-Won-Tia and Anika. The truth or truth was the best it has ever been, I think, with each question opening up the questionee and a really good balance of timing. At one point I was asked to reflect out loud on the new people in my life and I did, and then felt a burst of intensified connection, and at another point there was a resonance between Kei-Won-Tia and Topaz that I also felt (to a lesser extent) which made me feel so close, and loving, and appreciative of the sharing that allowed it. Sadly Kylei started feeling ill and had to go, which meant Roger did too as they were Kylei's ride, and Anika had to go to take care of the baby, and Topaz had to leave for Cosmos. That was sad to miss, but the second half was still great and people asked me questions that made me consider things I hadn't before, which is something I treasure.

Also, Kei-Won-Tia got confused about the date for another event and so showed up early, then kept me company as I cleaned lots. Since cleaning alone is hard for me this was a wondrous (if accidental) gift <3


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belenen: (connate)
relationships: Kylei, Kei-Won-Tia, Ashe, Aurilion, Ben, Hannah, Topaz, Heather, Anika
So when I was at TBC I had an intense discussion with Kylei about how I was upset that ze wasn't working toward a renewed connection with me. I told zir I wanted zir to be developing strong self care so we could be close without triggering my urge to fill all the need and that I have been working to strengthen my own boundaries and know myself better and learn more self-care so that I could meet zir too. Ze told me that ze didn't think I meant it when I said I wanted to be close again and had given up. We sort of opened all the things and made a plan to talk later, and a week after we met up to hang out for a morning.

That morning ended up being most of the day -- we talked about building closeness and we talked about values, forgave each other -- that happened in the first two hours or so. Then we went to Kylei's house and lay on zir bed and talked at a very slow pace. We made a lot of eye contact, and Kylei said ze was overwhelmed with feelings. I felt happy and resting and contemplative but also very strange. I realized as we shared silent overlapping energy that part of my broken-reality feeling last year was because the damage to our connection broke a part of my ability to sense things, so it's like when you're in shock and you look at a shard of glass stuck in you and you know it should hurt but it doesn't. But it's like that about a sense that is important for me to feel joy. And looking in Kylei's eyes I knew that that part of me is not as completely shattered as it was, but it is still broken. At the same time I felt safe with Kylei for the first time in more than a year and a half, and I feel like rebuilding our connection will help me to heal my magic-sense. And I felt vindicated. Once I love someone it is there always, just sometimes I can't feel it. I know this, but when I can't feel it I doubt it, yet it's really important to my sense of self. I decided to stay past the time I had planned to, and I waited while Kylei went to an appointment and when ze came back we cuddled and played -- I asked Kylei if ze wanted to be a pillow and ze said yes, so I lay my head on zir belly. Then ze said something and I said "pillows don't talk!" and ze laughed and I said "pillows don't laugh! bad pillow!" and bit zir, and ze giggled more and then I lay my head back down and we dozed a little. Play is an important part of our connection and it felt like an affirmation of rebuilding to play again.

Then this week we met up in between two classes to hang out near my school, and we ate lunch together and went park-hopping and found a really beautiful place (after two duds). We wandered together and apart, and I realized that part of the reason that it has been difficult for us to reconnect is that we've been meeting in places we can't really cuddle or feel magic (restaurants) and that it's important for us to share time in nature/ sacred space and cuddling alone. It was kind of rushed time we had and I had a lot of ambient stress about school work because this week has been a beast, but it was still good, and adventure, and promise.

Kei-Won-Tia is someone I'd known kinda peripherally for years but had never hung out with much until last month. After spending some one-on-one time with zir ze's become an important person in my life, very quickly. Ze's possibly the most empathetic person I've ever met, and so incredibly loving and generous. When we talk I often feel like ze's reading my mind and I like it. We have a lot in common with how we feel about the world at large and what our values are. I feel grateful for the chance to get to know zir and I hope we get to spend lots more time together.

I hung out with Ashe recently and we talked for three hours but it didn't feel like that long, which is a sign of great time spent. I feel like it's going to be a slow route to be close again because Ashe is dealing with some heavy shit and we're starting from scratch since we did more misunderstanding than understanding of each other before. But I like that we've begun and I feel like we're heading in a positive direction.

A few days before Aurilion sent me that email, ze found a ring that I had ordered made for zir (a blue topaz in a sterling butterfly setting) that ze had thought ze had thrown away years ago. The circumstances were very strange -- it showed up on a desk and zir parents said they didn't move it. Aurilion referred to it with awe and called it deep magic. I feel like it's significant that this happened three days before the email; I feel like it sent a message that Aurilion rejected. I imagine that ze has changed zir interpretation and probably discarded it again.

My emails with Hannah and Ben had gotten stalled out early this month but started up again this week. I don't know where the Ben interaction is going, but I feel good about it. I feel really hopeful about the interaction with Hannah. It's just so important to me to be connected with Hannah. I want to share the piece of an email from Hannah that made me cry with a mixture of joy, pain, and longing:

... I want to be able to spend time around trees and in the company of other special living things with you. I want to sit quietly with you and think and just be. I want to create art with you. I want to discuss art with you. I want to read poetry and books with you or discuss them with you at the least. I want to discuss colours and impressions of people and things in the way only you can. I want to one day be able to be outdoors, in the car, at night, again. I want to share music and other joys. I want to discover new things with you, that I don't know about yet and can't expect. I want to hear your feelings and for you to hear mine. I want to express my opinions and thoughts and hear yours. I want to cuddle. I really miss looking at your face and your eye-contact. I want to discuss many topics, social justice included, with you, analyse, deconstruct, build, express. I want to enjoy being a living thing and a friend with you. I feel those things honestly. I want to write letters, I want to share truths.

We both have anxiety around certain ways of communicating and they're opposite in several ways and long-distance is hard anyway, but I think we're finding a way that will work, I'm afraid to believe it will, I'm afraid to think that maybe the wait is over? Even typing that feels utterly terrifying. I'm so scared that Hannah will get overwhelmed by my feelings and run away.

Godde I was so lonely for so long :-( I'm writing this and I'm feeling overwhelmed with the idea that Kylei and Hannah might be part of my life in a deep way again, crying. My connections with them are the equivalence of spouse-connection, if you can imagine your spouse having to go on a trip that left them out of touch for years, and then them coming back, then you might get a feeling of it. And the time when neither of them were openly connected with me was terrible, even though I have the same depth of connection with Topaz -- I would never not feel the loss, there is no replacing.

Speaking of Topaz, we've been spending less time together, but it hasn't felt bad for me, which I credit to me having developed self-care in a way I haven't done for many years. We have both been overwhelmed lately, zir with work and me with school, so we both needed a lot of down time and our time together was turning into all slush time since we didn't have any space to decompress. So we stopped spending so much time together, which was hard because our shared touch is so perfect and we're both cuddly creatures, but it was good because the time that we have spent together has been more deliberate and we've had more focus time.

I've been communicating more with Heather and I just love zir so much. Ze started journaling and I feel like every post is so wonderful, I love being welcomed into zir brain-space. I would spend way more time with zir in person but we live pretty far apart and zir car is not reliable and I get sick of driving because I do so much of it, so it doesn't happen super often, but I still feel like we're getting closer quickly because of zir in-depth shares. Ze understands me really well, I feel, and I want to catch up.

Anika and I have been communicating regularly, mostly through LJ, and it makes me feel so happy to be able to be home here with zir again. I feel like we have a chance to build a connection that was almost there and then lost -- we've come together in a place where we have similar values and desires and it's so nourishing. I wish ze lived closer.


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belenen: (loving)
love memory bank 2 - Topaz, Heather, Kei-Won-Tia, J, Abby, Kylei, Roger, Hannah, Anika, Ben, etc
I haven't been keeping up but I just was reminded in a sort of roundabout way by [livejournal.com profile] kiwi of how important it is to remember the good, so here's the latest from my love memory bank (and I have set an alarm on my phone to check it daily)
love memory bank )


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belenen: (waterstar)
love memory bank 1 - Topaz, Camellia, Allison, Viv, Aurilion, Firekat, Heather, Anika, Adi, etc!
Something I've decided to start doing in keeping with LJ being my external memory is to keep a "love memory bank" on my phone to jot down when people make me feel extra-loved, and post that in increments here.

from my birthday to now )


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belenen: (openness)
I appear to trust more than I do / trusting intentions & trusting followthrough / 77x7 chances
I may seem trusting, perhaps even too trusting. Certainly people have thought that I trusted people because I brought them close to me. (I felt very bad about this after they ended up hurt thinking they could trust someone I trusted, not knowing that I didn't actually trust that person). Let me say this: I trust very few people all the way. I let lots of people know me and get close to me not because I trust them not to hurt me, but because I expect pain in life and I trust myself to be able to stop it before it gets too much. So if you see me spend a lot of time with someone or express affection for them, please don't take that as an endorsement of them as a safe person. Even if they are a safe person for me, they may not be a safe person for you; I tolerate a certain amount of shitheadedness depending on the circumstance. If you want to know if I think a person would be a good candidate for your trust, you will have to ask, because it is extremely unlikely that it will be apparent. I don't get more open around people because I trust them but because I want to know and be known; because I value connection over pain-avoidance. Trust takes time to build and once broken, takes extra time to rebuild.

Then there's different kinds of trust: I can trust someone's intentions differently than their followthrough. For instance, I have 100% trust of Kylei's intentions but only like 70% trust that those intentions will make it through to actions that are good for me on the average day. But I have 95% trust of Kylei's followthrough in emergencies. So overall Kylei is one of my most trusted people, but if I was the kind of person who needs people to be on time and not cancel plans, my trust would be much lower, even though I have no doubts at all of Kylei's intentions. I have 100% trust of Heather in intention but none in emergency or followthrough, because of lack of experience with those. I trust Topaz more than I've ever trusted anyone, at 100% intention, 100% emergency, 90% followthrough. Most people I know I trust at a 60% intention and 0% on the others because I have not experienced those.

This is part of why I have a 77x7 chances policy to anyone who has parted from me in the past. I don't say "never again" even if I've been shattered to the core by someone, because letting them back into my life is the first step in building trust with them again. It is not a statement that I already trust them. It is a willingness to risk being hurt again, with the knowledge that it will probably be a new kind of hurt as I have learned from last time. I am able to do this because I have built the resilience over time with the help of so many deeply loving people. I choose to do this because I have found the pain to be vastly worth the love and learning. I actually do value the pain for itself as well, because every time, it sparks a wealth of new growth in me like a burned forest.

This is building on "trustworthiness requires conflict-management skills."


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belenen: (gender abolitionist)
my sacred dreamscape / dream (heather and I find knives in water among roots)
There's this place I visit in dreams (only occasionally) that is so incredibly beautiful. It's old-growth forest with very little underbrush, lots of moss. Flat land with lots of cliffs, streams running through rocky gulleys, flat-banked rivers with trees reaching their roots into them and lots of soft grasses at the edges. Boardwalks going improbably far into the length of the river, which is sometimes almost too far to see across but not quite. Shady, quiet, full of anticipation, smelling of earth and fecundity.

Last night I was there with Heather, and we were walking along a stream when we saw something nestled in a crook of root in the water. We lifted a cover to find pretty mother-of-pearl weapons which were at first guns and then butterfly knives. I was excited because it was strange treasure, and Heather was excited because the knives themselves meant something important to zir. I took one and let zir have the rest.


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