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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: (garrulous)
tweets & fb posts, November 2016
it is very long )


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belenen: (Ma'at)
constant caretaking without sufficient rest is damaging for caretaker, caretaken, & the relationship
icon: "Ma'at (a photo of one side of a brass balance scale, with a feather inside the bowl. The background is sky blue. On the bottom of the image, below the photo, is the word "Ma'at")"

If I could teach every empathetic person one relational/emotional skill, it would be making self-care a priority that comes first at LEAST half of the time.

Earlier this year I wrote about how loss of alone time, constant caretaking, and medication stigma almost killed me and that is one of the most important things I've ever written. This will be focusing on how constant caretaking without sufficient rest is damaging for the caretaker, the one who is being taken care of, and the relationship itself.

People who are generous and strong and good at managing emotion often end up in a caretaking habit by default. We know that even at the end of a terrible day, if someone comes to us with a need we can pull energy seemingly out of nothing in order to take care of them. The thing is, we're not pulling that energy out of nothing, we're pulling it from our cognitive/emotional reserves and our future. That's a great skill for an emergency but it is not sustainable; it cannot be a way of life.

When I was married, I spent a good half of my cognitive/emotional resources on my spouse ) All my caretaking and compromising my needs for their feelings did not help them to grow emotionally -- in fact I think it hindered their growth significantly.

Since I was able to be so intensely caretaking for someone for so long, I imagined I had no limits to the help I could give others. Then I ended up in three relationships which all took far more energy than they provided (mutually, I believe, as none of us had compatible needs & abilities at the time), which stripped me so far down that I could not get back out of the hole without medical, chemical help. Until I experienced being suicidal and reality-broken for months, I did not admit to myself that I could not give to everyone whatever they wanted and still be a healthy person. Until it almost killed me, I refused to value my needs above even the desires of others, much less over others' needs. But you know what? I'm no good to anyone if I am dead. And emotional death is real. I was absolutely useless to the world for at least six months if not a year after I ran out of energy and if I hadn't had access to free doctor visits and cheap meds through my university, it would have been a lot longer of a period. To a certain extent I am STILL recovering from that awful crash in late 2012.

And you'd think I'd have learned my lesson, but I got in a pattern of caretaking without paying attention to my needs again )

I have found that when I sacrifice my mental health for another person, eventually my survival instincts will kick in -- in ways that I really don't want them to. Either I stop being able to feel empathy for them and develop a dread for their presence or I start escaping constantly in my every spare moment and cease being an actual person, or both. These things are obviously not helpful for the other person and they can destroy a relationship. Kylei and I had no good connection for a year after we broke up because the pattern had gotten so deep that it was still there for many months afterward. Had we broken up earlier instead of staying in that sacrificing mode for each other, I am certain we would have healed much faster.

So my point in all this is that caretaking another person at the expense of your own needs is not sustainable. It will at least destroy the relationship if it continues too long and I think it can also destroy the person sacrificing, AND it is ultimately damaging for the person who is being taken care of. Coming to depend on someone for your needs and then having that ripped suddenly away when they run out of ability is profoundly destabilizing and terrifying, and it is inevitable because no one has infinite energy or the ability to give endlessly without being nourished enough to refill. If you love the person you're caretaking and you want to help them the most you can, you MUST take care of yourself. Otherwise you are setting them up for a really, really awful crash (and setting yourself up for the same).

As I said to a friend, you don't actually have the choice of caretaking someone without rest forever -- that's an illusion or maybe a delusion. The only choice you have is in what the end of the pattern looks like. It's literally impossible to continue giving while your needs are not met, while you are not taking in nourishment. I feel as sure about this as I am about the fact that you can't go endlessly without food.

The problem is that caretaking others at one's own expense is not always bad. It's only unhealthy when it is the norm, which usually happens gradually. This is why you need to know what your needs are and pay attention to whether or not they are being met. I am sure everyone's tells are different, but usually there are things people do when they are nourished that they don't do when they are drained. To know if you're nourished it's important to keep some kind of log of those things if your memory is not that great (like mine), or check in with yourself every so often.

what I need to be mentally healthy, and my tells of being drained )


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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: (honesty)
How Loss of Alone Time, Constant Caretaking, & Medication Stigma Almost Killed Me
icon: "honesty (me, outdoors, gazing straight at the camera with a solemn expression)"

I've told this story many times now, though never as one piece: How Loss of Alone Time, Constant Caretaking, & Medication Stigma Almost Killed Me. In the worst period of my life, when I was suicidal for months and felt in more pain every day, I learned several vital things:

1) relationships don't have to be abusive to be profoundly damaging.
2) self-awareness is as necessary for safety as anything else.
3) I literally cannot handle living in a place where anyone wants my attention randomly every day.
4) just because you can caretake someone does not mean that you should.
5) giving doesn't have to be in huge pieces to take a huge toll.
6) once you are situationally depressed for long enough, your brain can forget how to be non-depressed and need chemical help.

I love Kylei as one of my favorite people, but living with them when they didn't have someone else to have casual social interaction with (and thus talked to me randomly through the day whenever we were both at home) was one of the most depressing and draining things I have ever experienced. It was just as bad for me -- if not worse than -- living with an abusive person.

It wasn't good for them either because the best I could offer was not enough to be nourishing, so it drained them also. Let me emphasize here: I was not doing anything that felt generous; I was not doing anything that was significantly helpful. I was allowing them to come into my room 3-4 times a day and randomly engage me in conversation for 1-3 minutes. That's it. I didn't think to tell them not to for months because it was 'such a small thing' that I could 'easily afford to give.' But it was torture for me. They were small gifts but they took superhuman effort from me.

I felt just as much need to hide as I did when I lived with my abusive parents. I had to be just as hypervigilant and seeing them became a stress to the point where we couldn't have any good interactions. Yet I missed them and was sad to have none of the connection that I wanted because there was too much of the unwanted! this made it even worse than when I was living with someone abusive who I didn't want to be around: that at least I could withdraw from and feel better. Withdrawing from Kylei made me feel worse because I missed them! But I just cannot deal with unexpected real-time interaction. It only took about six months of that for me to be drained to the point where I could not recognize myself.

There was additional stuff going on at the time, but most of the reason I can't handle this is because with my ADD-PI, that breaks down my ability to process anything; it literally shatters my ability to think. My thinking becomes disjointed and even more forgetful, like the thinking of a person who hasn't slept in three days. I can't do any art or reading or anything that matters to me at all, which rapidly increases any latent depression and makes me feel worthless.

I learned that I mustn't allow people to randomly talk to me when I am at home, that I mustn't take on responsibility as a person's only source of comfort (nor be more than 70% of their comfort), and that I mustn't be the only one initiating connection with anyone for more than a few months. I was doing all three of these things and together it made me drained to the point where I could not even feel the most basic motivation of my life: empathy.

I could no longer care about any suffering, human or otherwise. Even when I realized the problem and stopped it happening, nothing got better. My brain ran completely out of the chemicals necessary to feel happiness, and stayed there for about four months. Every day I would have said it couldn't hurt more and then the next day it did.


--------CN/TW: suicidal ideation, deep depression, medication, stigma against mental health medication (the rest of this entry)--------

I would have committed suicide if not for the fact that Topaz had already experienced too much tragedy for me to be able to handle the guilt of causing more pain for them. I daydreamed about making them hate me so that I could feel free from that guilt and able to kill myself, but that would have required me breaking my ethical code to do things that would cause them to hate me. I didn't think about anyone else. I didn't feel like anyone else would really care, even though I knew logically that people would mourn. I felt unloved and unloveable and it was only through Topaz proving daily that they cared that I managed to believe that they did love me.

Eventually I felt desperate enough that I went to get medication. I was put on citalopram, and after a month of slowly stepping it up, I stopped feeling worse every day. Just that was such a relief I can't even describe. After a few months, I started to feel better each day rather than just the same. A few months after that I started to feel aware of being numb and it started making me feel worse, so I weaned myself off of the drug. This all totaled maybe 8 months. Mental health medication saved my life.

There are people who push their personal quackery on others who are depressed, telling them to "just" exercise, meditate, think happy thoughts, take herbs, change their diet, etc. That might work if you're just feeling a little bad one day. It does not fucking work when your brain has worn a rut in the negative emotion pathways and forgotten that the positive emotion pathways even exist! Also, while talk therapy is effective and important, it only works if the problem is that you need to process your experiences -- it doesn't work if the problem is chemical!

I suffered so much longer and so much worse than I had to, because of the stigma against depression medication. If not for the coincidental timing of Topaz, stigma against medication would have killed me. I did not try to get medication until after I was already suicidal enough to go through with it. I will not take any of that quackery lightly because it literally kills people.


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belenen: (interconnectedness)
my lj patterns / job stress / Ace visits, explosion of social w biofam & friends / Sense8 marathon
icon: "interconnectedness (two bald purple-skinned people in the ocean: from Joan Slonczewski's "Door Into Ocean")"

reflecting on LJ patterns )

job hunt stress ) Also I was super social for like a solid week and am just now feeling like I can handle voluntary interaction with human beings. My youngest sibling, Ace, came in town with almost no warning and hasn't visited in at least four years, so I hastily threw together some plans so that Ace could meet my people and vice versa.

discomfort with biofam due to them not putting in any effort to connect with me )

Anyway, other than that discomfort, it was an okay visit. Ace wanted to go to a lesbian bar, so we did, but it was Monday night so not much was happening. Cass, Katie, Katie's person Molly, and Topaz hung out with me and Ace and just talked, and afterward Topaz and Ace and I went to dinner and Ace laid out some heavy questions. First Ace tested Topaz with a point-blank "so what do you feel about [livejournal.com profile] belenen?" (or something very close to that) and Topaz reeled briefly and then answered honestly and openly while looking me in the eyes, and Ace judged them as truthful. Ace is extraordinarily observant and blunt and doesn't fuck around when they want to know something.

Then Ace asked me "why do you hate our parents?" and I replied calmly that I don't hate them, I'm just not that attached. Topaz later told me that they were amazed at the full blast of the questions (because they got more pointed from there) and at how I handled them, and then I realized that they were some hard questions, but I appreciate bluntness and while Ace did ask very leading questions, I'm pretty good at not being lead. However, I was also way too literal in answering them, because I think what Ace was looking for was some empathy for their suffering, but what they were asking about was my suffering, which they were then comparing to theirs. I didn't realize this until later, talking about it with Topaz, who realized it during the conversation. I felt shitty that I didn't realize and thus missed the opportunity to connect there.

The next day I had planned a small gather which Topaz hosted, with Topaz, me, Ace, Allison, Elliot, Serenity, Kylei, Jaime, and my cousin. It was a wonderful group of people and I really enjoyed everyone's company, though my ADD got way out of hand when we all played Dixit together. I'm gonna trust the box next time and agree that more than 7 people is too many, unless everyone is a fairly quiet person. We had four or five boisterous people and I just couldn't manage it after a while. Nobody got mad when I said I needed a break or when we didn't end up returning to the game, though, so it was okay.

I was hoping to have more time with Ace but since they were smoking a lot of the time and thus were outside while I was inside we didn't really interact directly very much. They said they liked all my friends (said this to me multiple times) and said to Topaz "I love you for my [sibling]," which I was very pleased by because they're usually very suspicious of anyone I am close to. This was also the first time I got to introduce several people to each other (which I love doing) and people volunteered their positive impressions of each other to me which made me VERY happy.

Then Wednesday I spent time with Ace, my cousin, and my grandparent, very casual, working on a long-term art project of Ace's. I was so so so wiped out after that though -- family Sunday, family AND new scary place (I'd never been to a lesbian bar and I get very anxious about not looking queer enough) Monday, big social thing including family Tuesday, more family Wednesday. I took Thursday to recover and then spent Friday vacuuming the dust/dander/fur out of the rugs and then spending time with Topaz.

Saturday was a day I had been planning for two months: a Sense8 marathon. Topaz, Sande, Evelyn, Serenity, and I watched it on the projector that I borrowed from Kylei. I don't remember how many episodes various people watched but it felt really wonderful to be with people that I feel such strong connections with, watching a show that feels like a part of me. And it was good that it was low-interaction because I certainly couldn't have handled more active social at the end of such a week!

It was really really wonderful to have Topaz in my house, after so long of them not being there due to allergies. I replaced the air filter very recently, dusted the week before, vacuumed the day before, and Serenity mopped the floors the day before too, and I turned the air conditioning high while Topaz was here (because cold helps). It all paid off -- Topaz didn't seem to have much of a reaction at all, and was able to stay for like five hours.


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belenen: (disassociative)
anxiety very high for days / Kanika injured, vet visit, healing now / meds issue / all the stresses
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)"

I have had really high anxiety for the past five days. Eating became really difficult; I've managed a food bar once a day and other than that it has been a struggle. I don't know if this is situational or because they gave me a different anxiety pill (same med, supposedly, but by a different manufacturer) but I have not been able to calm myself down like I should.


At like 3am on Friday I realized that my cat had an abscess on their butt, and after googling concluded that it was a ruptured anal sac which required antibiotics at the least. I frantically looked for options to take Kanika to the vet, and sent out emails, then went to sleep and when I woke up, called everyone who had responded and asked about payment plans or other options. No one would do payment plans for any cost less than $200, and the quote I got for the cost of Kanika's needs ranged between $85-150, when all I had was $30. One vet office gave me the number of a person who offers free vet care, and I called them and left a message despite thinking it wouldn't work. (that vet office is the one I will most definitely use next time I actually have money)

They called me back later that night and said they were offering care the next morning and could help Kanika. I was hugely relieved but also in disbelief, and couldn't really believe I was getting free care until I was actually in the RV which was set up as a mobile exam room. Kanika was fairly easy to put in the carrier, which scared me because they are never docile, and they were purring with distress when I was trying to put them in. I held Kanika's scruff as the vet examined their wound, and I think that the fact that I was able to stay and talk with Kanika the whole time made it much less traumatic. The vet said that the wound was open and draining so didn't need cleaning or lancing, then gave them a shot, shaved the area, and finally expressed the anal sacs, which was very painful and Kanika grabbed and bit me without thinking (not very hard, but enough to leave marks).

After Kanika was finished and back in the carrier, the vet gave me a prescription for antibiotics and told me I could get them free at Publix, then gave me a little speech and pamphlet about their love for God. I thanked them and told them that when I get my next job I will donate. I felt awkward because while I do worship the same deity, Jesus isn't my only one and while I felt a resonance with them living out their faith in this way, I felt like they'd be insulted if I told them that I'm similar. Maybe they wouldn't be, but *shrugs* So I just smiled and nodded at them and left.

I'm still worried about Kanika because the wound is so wide open and they lick it every day. I don't know how it will heal. I have to give them antibiotics every 12 hours, which sets a constant rolling deadline which I find very anxiety-inducing. I also just discovered they have worms again so I ordered medicine for that but I'm stressed at the delay before I can give them the meds.


Also I'm constantly running a background mourning about Kylei, and I'm worried about a friend who is going through an intense loss. I'm also deeply concerned about another friend who has a major event happening this week that decides their quality of life, essentially. I am part of this event as a support, and am empathetically so anxious for it to be done, and done in the best possible way. And also, at the end of this week the application for my dream job closes, and I plan to go in to the office with letters of recommendation and try to wrangle an interview or at least a good impression, and I am mega scared of doing that. Also I have only gotten one of the promised letters so far and I feel bad sending more than two reminders but I know I must.

So the fact that my anxiety has been so high for days could have nothing to do with the pills and be purely situational. But the pills also are a fucking stress because they only gave me a 15 day supply for almost as much as it costs to buy a 30 day supply by the other manufacturer, because my psychiatrist wrote the instructions down wrong (it's supposed to be 1.5 pills per day of 30mg, not 3 pills per day of 15mg). And I have to go fix this somehow and I'm so angry that they didn't listen to me when I was there and they made me think I was getting my normal pills, not this fucking inadequate pile of shit.

Ugh. The good news is it seems to finally be letting up a bit. Yesterday I could barely do anything but today I did manage to tidy my room (only a little bit, but still), work on my timeline, and make myself a real meal and actually finish eating it. And I wrote this. I hate how my thinking gets stuck now, and I can't just be like "okay brain, let's be logical. What is the worst possibility, and how would you handle it? See, life would still be worth living" and then move on. Even though I use the same coping skills, they just don't work if the anxiety is based on an upset system rather than the situation that it is pretending is the problem. My brain won't even drop it for a minute when it's in that state.


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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: (ADD-PI)
learning from dating Kylei, 5 years later: tools for managing my anxiety w terrible memory & ADD
icon: "ADD-PI (two electromicroscope photos of crystallized acetylcholine, overlaid & warped in several ways)"

As my ADD has gotten more unmanageable and my memory has gotten worse at the same time my anxiety has risen to disorder levels, I find that I am needing a lot of the same tools I helped Kylei create when we were together (or tools I thought of back then).

I started a reassurance book for the worries that crop up over and over: for instance, feeling like Topaz doesn't value being immersed in me-ness and therefore doesn't want come to my house. In reality they are allergic, but I forget all the ramifications of that when I'm in the grip of anxiety. I wrote down all the reasons in clear, bold phrases so that I could re-read them and reassure myself rather than asking Topaz to reassure me of the same thing again. I actually can't remember, so the same things will give me relief every time I am reminded.

I am keeping this little book in my purple bag that I carry everywhere. Anytime I have a conflict where I am feeling unvalued, I'm going to write down whatever reassurances the person gives me. Anytime I'm feeling unvalued, I will check my book before asking for reassurance, so that people don't have to do it over and over. I'm probably going to go through my love bank also and write down things that feel like proof people love me. My own handwriting is comfortingly concrete: when I read my handwriting saying "So-n-so values my time and energy" it feels more real even then when they say it to me.

I'm also going to offer people the option to use 'check' as a code word like I used to use with Kylei, where they can say that to me if they think I'm feeling anxious and blowing things up. If I am feeling anxious, I will respond by going away, taking a few minutes to think about the situation through the lens of best intentions, calming myself, and coming back when I am not all mixed up with worries. All people have my permission to use this, but it is unlikely I will talk to you while anxious unless we have a close connection, and I won't go away unless I'm actually having an anxiety overload, so it's not an easy out of an uncomfortable conversation.

Thinking of other things I suggested for Kylei, I'm going to read back through old texts and emails when I am feeling disconnected or unloved (for Kylei I suggested they read my LJ, especially stuff tagged with their name). I was reading though old texts with Topaz to find other things they may have already reassured me on, and just skimming over the loving texts made me feel more connected, so I think that will be a good tool also. Hopefully I can remember it.


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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: (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: (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: (overwhelmed)
where has all my energy gone? / focus time / Kylei's wonderful conversations / stresses stressesssss
icon: "overwhelmed (the character Keenan from "Playing By Heart," with hands over their face covering their eyes and head tilted back)"

I've had a strange few weeks as I've been working at my new job and finding that I don't have the energy to do much besides work and maybe one outing a week. I got out and about more often than this when I was working at the awful job where I was harassed by my boss and that really perplexes me. Talking about it in Intimacy Practice last Sunday made me realize that even though I don't have a lot of actively or significantly negative things in my life, most of the things in my life are equaling out to neutral or slightly negative. Like hanging out with friends - if I go see someone, that takes effort and money stress, and then the interaction starts out already at a deficit. So I need the interaction to actively nourish me or else I spent too much energy. I talked with Topaz and realized it would be helpful if I figured out what would make me feel back in balance, energy-wise, and asked ahead of time if people would be willing to give that to me. I think eye contact and foot rubs (not at the same time) would do a lot. My friends are already good about trading off who drives to who, but that doesn't help in the moment. And probably I need to only meet halfway if we're not having focus time.

It was weird realizing that I needed to spend more time with Kylei that was in a house, because when we are in nature or in public there are so many distractions. We definitely can have focus time in those places but it is very difficult. And with Topaz it is the opposite -- we have gotten in a habit of watching netflix all the time and so being at home usually means we don't get focus time. We need to remember to set that time aside in the middle of the day, instead of waiting until we are exhausted and finally going to bed and then talking for an hour because we have hardly had a conversation all day. I don't think I have ever had deliberate focus time with any of my other local close friends. I want to change that.

Spending time with Kylei this week was so, so, so wonderful and nourishing. I went to their house, which was a VERY long drive, and I arrived frazzled and overheated. They gave me some orange juice and bread and sat with me while I took it in and settled, and then we went to their room and we had a short nap and then we hung out, just cuddling and talking and making lots of eye contact. Oh Godde, that was a relief. Lengthy eye contact that felt balanced in its flow, not interrupted or pushed or pulled. And talking with them I realized something I love so so so much about them -- that they reflect on things I say and take them further, and then share that with me. I can't think of an actual example, but what I mean is I'll say something like "I think you are happier now that XYZ is true" and they'll either ponder on that out loud with why they agree or disagree, or they'll reflect silently and then when I ask what they are thinking they'll tell me. I'd say most people are not responsive in that way. Most people will take in what I say, but not turn it over and play with it to see what new thing they could realize from it like Kylei does. It feels so good, it feels like a kind of affirmation that they value my thoughts and my sharing. And I love it the more because it's not for my sake, it's just how Kylei works.

I can't remember what it was I used to get out of going and spending time with people -- am I getting less or is there something wrong with me now? I feel like it's both. Like, I used to get more out of going to spend time with people because they gave more focused time because usually I was dating them. I hate that people just don't have a habit of doing that with those they aren't dating. Or really, with anyone. I mean, I don't even think of it myself except with people I already have that habit with.

Why on earth don't I have more energy?? I don't think I'm depressed. I worry that I'm developing or starting to exhibit some kind of anxiety issue because I never used to be so weighed down with the billion tiny stresses. I don't feel like I'm dealing with more than average, I'm just dealing badly with the average amount of stress. There are so many tiny stresses that are just bothering me SO MUCH. It my reaction is out of proportion, it's ridiculous. The refrigerator isn't working properly and is leaking and is making my food go bad quicker than it should (this just started and has ruined my smoothie streak) which makes me not want to buy anything that will go bad which means I eat stuff that isn't as healthy which means I feel worse. My upstairs bathroom is all wrecked and two of my indoor plants are dying despite my best efforts. My cat is being picky and I'm worried they're going to not eat the rest of the great big multi-pack of wet food I just got to help them not end up with bladder infections. So I'm worried I'll have to get more and then if they don't eat that then they might get seriously ill. The living room is covered in my last half-finished crafting project. I really want to finish that project but I really don't want to finish it and have it go nowhere just like all my other art. I have two giant piles of laundry in the hallway because I am putting off doing laundry because the dryer is not working properly and everything has to go through twice to get dry. There's a bunch of recycling I need to take out. I'm not finished setting up the cuddle room and I want to have it ready by this weekend because I'm having a gather in it. Also Topaz is dealing with a ton of actually bad shit and I can't do a damn thing about it and it makes me feel helpless and full of dread. Also my car needs to go to the shop but I don't have the money to take it. And I need to go to the dentist (I haven't been in 15 years) but I don't have the money. And I need to go to the dermatologist about what might be skin cancer but I don't have the money. And I need new bras (some are too small and some are too worn out) but I don't have the money. And I need new shoes (I only have one pair and they're over a year old now) but I don't have the money. And I realized that my camera takes blurry photos most of the time and I want to replace it with an older model that actually allows me to set things but that feels like a huge risk (I think I could trade it in for an older one for no extra cost but it would need to be old and unused as the inside parts die over even the most gentle use). Also my shoulder/neck has been hurting for like five days now, slowly getting a little better but ugh, it's awful. Also I'm planning to go on vacation in late August with my biofamily and just found out my grandmother is going -- I find it very hard to be relaxed around them because I feel so much judgement and just massive lack of understanding. I was looking forward to it before I found that out. Also I'm past due for an eye exam but have to put it off because I know I won't be able to pay a random hundred before my second job starts in September. I have several things I have promised to ship but I haven't had money and memory and time all at the same time and that makes me feel like the WORST PERSON. So fucking many of these stresses could be fixed with money. It makes me want to scream and cry.
sounds: Halou - Things Stay The Same | Powered by Last.fm
connecting: , , , , , ,


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belenen: (exuviate)
feeling urges for friend changes / intimacy practice planning / bad dreams / relationship updates
icon: "exuviate (photo of a dragonfly with shimmery green wings after its last metamorphosis, standing next to its previous exoskeleton)"

I haven't felt fully seen by someone other than Topaz in a long time and I yearn for that. I don't know if I'm just bad at sharing or if most people have to feel romantic to actually try to see someone or if people just plain don't do it. I keep running into people who don't reciprocate or who want me to rescue them or who are just flat-out unavailable. I'm feeling strong urges for a friends overhaul. Not ending any friendships, but re-sorting all my priorities and finding some new people. Not that there ever are new people when I look. I'm feeling pretty fatalistic about it.

And the amount of effort it takes with every person, ugh. Can't I just have ONE easy friend who initiates at least 50% of the time? I think things are better generally on that front, but if I stopped initiating (yes, recurring plans that I set up count as me initiating, especially if I have to remind and organize) I think most of my friendships would drop off. And it's all understandable and I'm not upset at anyone in particular, but I want to feel like I'm not the only one trying to build something. I think most people I am close with just don't have the time/energy/interest to do more than maintain. Why am I trying to build when the other is just trying to maintain? That's not balanced and I need to fuckin quit it, I'm only making myself unhappy.

I have gotten quite annoyed with everyone about planning intimacy practice lately because no one fucking helps. We have had to move the regular day two months in a row and it is like pulling teeth getting people to respond. Don't just say "nope that doesn't work" and not offer another option! UGH! This is at least as much for everyone else as it is for me but no one takes responsibility. I don't mind leading most of the time but I do mind having to do it or lose it. And I mind the collection of people being kept as-is, especially with the lack of shared effort (just realizing this now).

These feelings might be the cause of or partially because of my dreams lately. I had one dream where this local casual friend was just plain mean to me, and another where I had a birthday gather and all of my friends came, but they chose a table that was long and narrow and put me at one end of it and no one talked to me. I felt hurt at first that they chose a table that showed that they weren't thinking about what would nourish me, and then I felt way more hurt when they refused to change it (the restaurant we were at had circular tables too) and just started ignoring me to talk to each other. Normally a dream like this only comes when I have consciously felt ignored, which I haven't, so I feel confused and distressed by it. dream symbol meanings )

This is also true of some LJ friends. I usually don't mind when people rarely comment, but there are some people I was hoping to build with who just aren't showing any interest. Should I take them off? But that means there is no chance. Should I stop emotionally investing until I can tell if they're ever going to give back? That usually means that nothing will happen. I dunno.

On the positive side, Allison has been reaching out a lot more and I feel like we are really building on our friendship. Sadly they're also terribly busy so I feel like the pace kinda has to stay slow (like, 1-2x a month). Heather has been awesome but I also feel really weird about them? I don't understand why but I keep meaning to bring it up so here's a placeholder. Kylei I have been feeling really positively about lately and last time I hung out with them it was incredibly sweet and nourishing but our plans keep getting cancelled and I feel helpless about it, especially since I only feel nourished when we hang out at my place or theirs because we don't seem to be able to really be fully present otherwise. Jaime has incidentally hung out with me several times recently and I have really felt pleased about their company but I feel slightly weird about them too. I am just now realizing this. Elizabeth has invested lots in building with me and I feel happy and hopeful about that but also frustrated because they live so far away. Hannah actually has randomly messaged me several times in the past few weeks and I feel tentatively hopeful that we might be able to have a videochat. Anika I've been feeling weird about for a week or two. We had a talk but nothing got settled really and then I upset them the other night with some careless miscommunication and I apologized and explained but they didn't respond so that's in limbo too. Abby I never hear from. Anita came in town and didn't tell me ahead of time and I had plans and couldn't see them, which made me feel awfully forgotten and unimportant. I would have moved so many things around to spend time with them. I guess I'm feeling a vast majority of uneasy or disconnected. It doesn't help that last IP was more than a month ago because the mid-month one didn't get planned, and that one was a tiny one.

Last weekend while drunk I messaged a casual friend about becoming closer friends and they didn't respond and now I feel painfully embarrassed about it (actual tears of embarrassment) but I'm trying to remind myself that it is something my truest self would absolutely have done so I should be proud of myself. That's just one of those things that either goes shockingly well or shockingly badly, usually. This is a weird not-really-either as far as I can tell.


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belenen: (strong)
on the 'rudeness' of canceling/lateness caused by chronic pain/fatigue/anxiety/depression and/or ADD
icon: "strong (a photo of me in warm light with my hair down around my face, staring intensely into the camera in a defiant mood)"


Note: if I say something problematic please mention it because I'm talking about some things I don't have personal experience with (chronic pain/fatigue/anxiety) so I may be off-base and have no idea.

Being late, cancelling plans, not being up for some activity; these things are called rude and that's fucking ableist. Why? because when people with chronic pain/fatigue/depression/anxiety/other disability can't make it on time or at all, that is not* because they don't care or aren't invested in you or don't respect you, it's because it would cause them damage to do it. When you value your own time so much that you would rather someone else be damaged than 'waste' your time, you are being incredibly selfish.

I get being an ignorant ableist poopsicle because I was one! )

So my basic, decent-human level of inclusion is to be prepared for something to interfere with plans, and not to take it personally. I communicate what I want (that you keep plans and let me know as far in advance as possible if you are cancelling), and believe you when you tell me you did your best. I ask for reassurance if I start to feel neglected or avoided or whatever, and I trust that when I do, you will tell me truthfully if you don't want to do the thing with me or if you didn't have the energy to do it. I will warn you if I need to keep to a particular schedule and if so, I will just continue without you, with no resentment. If I need someone to be there no matter what, I will tell you ahead of time and check in the day before to get a more accurate prediction of whether or not you will be up for it. If you are not up for it, I will find someone else to go with me or I'll postpone. I look at it like I would weather. It's just not something you can control and predicting it is notoriously unreliable. And I do this for nondisabled people as well because you can't have true consent if saying no at any point would result in punishment (pouting/passive-aggression is certainly punishment, btw).

For me, I forget things and run out of time despite trying my absolute hardest, and I need people to be understanding of that. My memory is so awful now that I often can't tie a person to a memory. So I will remember that someone I love deeply is allergic to that flower that starts with an H and is red, or that someone I love adores a particular band, but I often can't remember who. This is another thing that is often conflated with love, and I DEFINITELY used to do it. I used to express love by carefully memorizing things and mentioning them later when they were relevant. Now I worry people won't feel loved because I won't be able to remember the right things. I still try just as hard and care just as much, it just doesn't work. (I started keeping a list on my phone of things people especially love. Hopefully that will be helpful to my memory, since seeing things in print often helps me remember better than hearing them.) Unless it's in print or photo, I have ZERO control over what falls out of my sieve of a memory, and some of my most treasured experiences are gone. I may forget the best thing we ever did together if neither of us takes photos or writes it down (even then I'll forget until I read it or see the photos). That is unbearably tragic to me and I try not to reflect on it. Please, never assume that I love you less because I forgot something. It could literally be the best thing to ever happen in my life and I might still forget it. There are countless meaningful comments, emails, and messages that I have forgotten even though I appreciated them immensely. So many things I planned to do but forgot. And I put so many reminders on my calendar already, it's just not possible to do it for everything. And then, sometimes I fucking forget what I was doing when I pick up my phone and my intended reminder never gets made!!!

When I say run out of time, I mean that I planned enough time and then some, but then my brain wasn't up to the task, and it took an extra 10-30 minutes because I kept forgetting things and going back upstairs or back in the house, or I drove right past the exit, or I forgot that I was almost out of gas, or I got hyperfocused on something and lost the time (rare because I usually refuse to get deeply involved in anything before a plan, for this reason) or I forgot to eat and was feeling shaky and dizzy and unsafe to drive and had to sit down and eat a few bites to be able to go, or I forgot why I set my alarm for that time and snoozed it too much until I realized in a panic why it was going off! I have planned for an hour extra time and still been late (because I ended up hitting traffic or something). It is not lack of care or effort. If I say I care, I'm not fucking lying. And if I make a plan with you, it's because I love you enough to deal with the stress of trying to corral my brain and enough to accept the drain of energy it takes to go out (for so many reasons, not the least of which is my needs-repair car and the expense of gas) and/or give you my full focus. I am really fucking careful with how I plan my time.

*I mean, I'm sure there are some uncaring disabled people who like inconveniencing others and just don't value the time of others, but I've never met any. I haven't met many non-disabled people like that either. I think my pile of oddities scares off most of the people who are uncaring.


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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: (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
connecting: , , ,


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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
connecting: , , , , ,


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belenen: (exuviate)
fuck you perfection I'm taking action: sweeping, crafting, gardening, tidying / time w Kylei / jobs
icon: "exuviate (photo of a dragonfly with shimmery green wings after its last metamorphosis, standing next to its previous exoskeleton)"

frustrated with myself because I've been writing, but not posting because I get to the 99% done point and stall out. Gotta edit, reread, edit, reread, wait and see if I think of something else, ugh. And then I don't write little random posts like this one because I have such a better one and I want to post THAT instead. Whyyyyyy do I get so fixated on perfection? Why do I break my own ethic of taking imperfect action?

Though, I did a number of things today where I didn't let perfect be the murderer of actually-getting-shit-done. Instead of thoroughly sweeping the back porch & stairs and getting every little flake of leaf off, I just did a quick and dirty job -- first time in ages that that porch & stairs has been swept. The pile was more massive than me, no hyperbole. I also set up a rig (not fancy, but sturdy) so that I can hang fabric along the side where there aren't enough trees to block the neighbors, so that I can sit out there in nature without having to think about my terrible neighbors or ever suffer their gaze. I'm sure not all of them are awful, but at least some of them are. Last year someone(s) deliberately smashed my two glass globe solar lights that were my shimmering joy (I took a photo because it smacked of hate crime (my car makes it super obvious that I'm queer) and I wanted evidence in case something worse happened) and recently someone sent me a nasty note for not having a tidy yard (it's since been tidied, because that has been my intention for months but I haven't had the spare energy).

Also I planted my newest garden baby, a sweet orange pepper that Topaz gave me. I also have a sweet green pepper (poblano I think), a Mexican Sour Gherkin cucumber and another that I don't remember the name of, Ititarod Red Dwarf tomato and some kind of small green tomato, a purple tomatillo, and cinnamon basil. Topaz has some seedlings for me that I'll hopefully be able to add soon.

I swept more things and watered and did lots of tidying and dishes, went to lunch with Lily and Tasha (whose cat is living in my basement room right now because Tasha can't keep them where they live and can't move yet), and spent time with Kylei. They were exhausted like always after a burn so they came over, took a nap (I made them up a bed) and then a shower, and then we had dinner (on plates at a table because Kylei wanted a ritual dinner; I enjoyed it more than I thought I would). We lay on my bed and stared at my fairy lights, which I tried on a new setting, slow glow (they have 8 patterns for flashing/fading). It was utterly hypnotizing and beautiful; definitely my new favorite. I can't believe I hadn't tried it before. When it went to red especially I felt like I was being bathed in healing. (I'll try to remember to get a video though I have no idea how I'd describe it!) We cuddled a little and Kylei told me about their burn experience. We hung out for a few hours and then Kylei went to bed but couldn't sleep, so I gave them melatonin and silent hair pets for a little while until they seemed almost asleep. I haven't heard them up and about since so I think it worked but now I'm afraid to go pee because I don't wanna wake them up *awkwardface*

I have two prospective jobs, one where I am 99.99% sure I have the job (waiting on paperwork) and another with an interview scheduled for tomorrow. I reeeeeeally want the one I'm interviewing for. It's an absolute dream.


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belenen: (self-love)
smelling like a human is forbidden truth, non-verbal communication
icon: "self-love (me, sitting in the crook of the trunk of a large tree, hugging myself and leaning my head back in a relaxed way)"

I learned shame about my scent from my biofamily and my first lover (who I was with for 8 years). They complained about my smell, or told me about it in lowered embarrassed voices, and so I washed it off, chemically murdered it, covered it. I learned I had to choose between the happiness of smelling like myself or the respect/admiration of others. Smelling "bad" (which for people read as female means not smelling like flowers) is associated with all manner of things that people judge for, like uncleanness, laziness, irresponsibility, lack of self-awareness, lack of 'intelligence.'

This is disappointing because frankly when I am alone I love the smell of my sweat and vulva. I can read my emotions in my smell and when my body is happy it is 'louder' and it sometimes smells like spices and sometimes smells like fresh donuts. I will draw it in deeply and feel the delight some people feel at smelling a flower. If everyone around me didn't care or liked my smell I would just wash my sweat off once a day so it was fresh and not wear anything to tone down my scent (which, if I do nothing after washing, emerges after about 3 hours). What I do now is wear deodorant that is 'natural' and doesn't mask my scent or add smell, but it tones it down a lot and keeps the spicy smell from happening. As for my vulva, I get embarrassed whenever someone might smell it unless I am in the process of having sex with them (and even then, most of the time I want to keep their face as far from my crotch as possible). The only person with whom this was not true was Kylei, because they were quite vocal in liking how I smell. Other people have commented positively on my smell, but that is just the toned-down version as I've only been willing to be "smelly" around Kylei.

I love the smell of other people's fresh happy sweat and will sometimes sniff the armpits of people I love, if they don't get weirded out by such things. I wish people weren't so violent in their rejection of this part of humanity. I think its a kind of 'privacy' in that body scent gives as much information as posture or tone of voice. People don't want to know or be known because the first brings too much responsibility (when you smell fear, loneliness, what then? you likely feel a responsibility to react) and the second takes too much risk (what if they don't like the real you?). If someone rejects their own human scent I feel sure that they will reject mine as well, or silently wish I would go erase it, so I just remove it before it has a chance to offend their sensibilities.
connecting: , , ,


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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: (self-love)
Self-awareness and other-awareness
icon: "self-love (me, sitting in the crook of the trunk of a large tree, hugging myself and leaning my head back in a relaxed way)"

Question from a friend: ...our culture actually encourages thoughtlessness and poor self-awareness and poor other- awareness. And yet, you have honed (and continue to grow) these skills better than anyone I've ever known. Did anything set you on that path? Was it just innate? A combination of things?

My self-awareness began with the church, I think. I went to a revival when I was 11 and promised God I wouldn't lie or steal any more (which I had done a lot before then). I stopped, and through monitoring my own actions I became aware of what led to them, slowly over time. But it also stalled out for a while because I shut down to everyone and everything to survive living with my parents and living in a city full of terrible painful energy. Later I started LJing and met Hannah, whose wonderful prying questions helped me open up to myself and others. When I started going to therapy for the sexual abuse I experienced as a child, I became self-aware more acutely and I became aware of others in a deep way.

I realized that every hurtful action came from a hurt person, and that people didn't hurt you because they were just nasty people but because their experiences led them to think that their behavior was an appropriate response. It wasn't until I was with Kylei that I realized that most of the time, people don't realize the pain they are causing. Kylei and I loved each other so deeply and yet often caused each other terrible pain, never intentionally. I came to understand that my reasoning is just my point of view and that another person could have a positive intention for an action even when it seems to me like there could only possibly be negative intentions.

The biggest help for me with learning other-awareness is asking questions instead of deciding for myself what someone's motives are. Nowadays forgetting to check is the outlier, but it still happens. The biggest help for me with self-awareness is writing often and having at least one chunk of alone time per week. Self-awareness is a privilege, because it takes free time (at least for me) and free time is a privilege. Another thing that helps HUGELY is people asking meaningful prying questions, which is part of why I take them as a gift.

And reading people's introspection helps a great deal with both self- and other- awareness, because I realize new perspectives that others have and I realize my own perspective, in contrast. It helps me to notice the air I'm breathing, so to speak, to notice my ways and thus be able to engage with them deliberately rather than through habit. This is a huge part of my love for LJ.

Also, I think there is a part of my awareness that comes from my neuro-type; I see things in pieces rather than as a whole, especially people. So I notice small shifts that signal meaning, more often than I would if I was considering the whole. And lastly, part of it is a reaction to trauma. As a kid I learned how to avoid pain by paying close attention to my parents' moods and reacting accordingly. This is some intense training in reading emotion, in being aware of others. The harder to learn has definitely been self-awareness, for me.


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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: (overwhelmed)
overwhelmed: too much everything, school, relationships, car, art, work, families...
icon: "overwhelmed (the character Keenan from "Playing By Heart," with hands over their face covering their eyes and head tilted back)"

Whew. I have been so massively overwhelmed for SO LONG. Not all the overwhelming things are bad but they're just such a lot.

Since the first week of November I've had at least one gigantic stats project due every week. One with a presentation, two that were exams, one that took me over 24 hours (as in, counting the hours spent over a week) to complete... ugh. I think the shortest one was 6 hours, most were at least 8. So fucking much work, and the kind of work that takes all of my brain and leaves me exhausted after.

My car threw a belt at the beginning of October - luckily it was the AC belt so I could keep driving but I held my breath every time because the others were just as worn and if they broke my car would be hopelessly shitted and I might die if it broke at the wrong moment. Finally got that fixed last week but my car's been making a horrible scraping noise and I'm so tired of broken shit I haven't taken it back to get that checked.

In addition, working on some weekends for Topaz' parents (who I feel on high alert around because I have to act normal) to make some food money, a conflict w Kylei that kept getting put off because I was trying to do it in real-time (finally got settled this week because I gave up and sent an email), going to Topaz' family thanksgiving, cleaning/organizing/planning in preparation for solstice, getting/making presents, working a lot on my various art shops and (with Topaz' help) setting up a central facebook page for it, being a support to a friend going through intense trauma, going to Ashe's birthday where there was one person who has an unresolved conflict with me and another who I'm pretty sure hates me, oh, and the loads of hoop jumping for getting meds. And a houseguest who is still a very new person to me (they needed a safe place) - it has turned out wonderfully but I was pretty nervous about it and put a lot of energy into setting it up. Plus I'm sure some other things I can't think of because my memory is shit.

And I'm bad about journaling when I'm actually on LJ because I'm always "well I wanna read first" and then I run out of time. So. This is on my phone.

*deeeeeeep sigh* really hoping that my professors next semester are better organized and don't drop everything on me at the end of the semester.

Also, there's a kind of spiritual shift happening with me, which I haven't had a chance to really explore yet. And my fractal art makes me so fuckin happy, I feel like I have talent with it and I'm building skill quite fast lately. My amazing friend [livejournal.com profile] chillychilly22 is supporting my art via patreon and that keeps me motivated, but I have had so little time and I've felt bad about rendering because my stats programs take up just as much effort for the computer and I don't want to cause it damage by running it full throttle all the time. Overall though, I've been making stuff I'm super proud of, and I've even had two strangers buy my art! Can't wait to make new things over my (very short and busy) break. School ended late and starts early, what is that. And I'm going to visit my bioparents (and Anika) over New Years, which is a stress hanging over me. It'll mean a thirteen hour bus ride each way, which (except for visiting Anika) will be the fun part.

Next week, I have 6 things to make to finish up my solstice gifts, and I've gotta help Topaz finish preparing for guests. Also Abby is visiting, then Kat and Anika! SO MUCH HAPPEN.


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belenen: (vivacious)
winter holidays - thanksgiving, christmas, Solstice, new years
icon: "vivacious (my face, tilted 3/4ths, with a playful smile. you can just barely tell that I'm hugging myself)"

I was intrigued by the fact that when I asked y'all about winter holidays, you mentioned thanksgiving. (many thanks for the answers, btw!) I hadn't thought of it as a winter holiday, but I suppose it is. I loathe thanksgiving; I didn't like it as a child because it meant eating food I didn't really like (the only thing I ever liked was the mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie) and doing a shitton of dishes, all for no particular reason, followed by people doing frenzied shopping. I didn't know then that it was based on a whitewashing racist lie, and when I found out the extent to which it was a lie I hated it more. It's fucking awful and shouldn't exist. But I go to Topaz's family gather because I want to show the family that I care about them and my presence at this food sharing day is a way that they can understand that.

I used to love christmas, but even though I was very christian as a child, I didn't associate it with Jesus (and I never believed in Santa as my parents didn't want to teach me a lie, and I never approved of any white american childhood myths except the tooth fairy). What I love is the fairy lights and giving spirit -- it is a capitalist holiday to be sure, but it is also a time when people do try harder than other times to be kind to each other, if they are given to kindness to begin with. I find light and color to be magical and seeing many people participate in sharing colorful light with each other is enchanting to me. I am glad that christmas exists because of this.

Christmas was important to me until I realized what Solstice was, and then all of my feeling for christmas transferred over to Solstice. The day the light begins to return -- there is really nothing more magical to me. Not only do I have SAD which is set off by dark days and cold, but I also worship light as the most tangible form of magic. I celebrate with lights, a decorated tree (living in a pot), presents, and connection with people I love. I love love love that so many of my favorite people have spent the past few solstices with me. I like that there is a nearby holiday that is NOT on my holiday because that means I don't have to work around people's familial obligations, but I still get to revel in all the reflected excitement from others at the same time.

In 2011 Kylei and I hosted Solstice, and it was amazing and cozy and magical and Adi made eggnog and there was a giant cuddle puddle. In 2012 Kylei and I hosted again and it was wonderful and there were fairy lights EVERYWHERE. Last year was my favorite so far -- I hosted and made a gigantic pot of spaghetti sauce (one of my 3 dishes that I am super good at making) and fed EVERYONE and people spent the night and had breakfast in the morning and it had the biggest cuddle puddle ever and a long game of truth-or-truth and I had such excellent presents for people. This year I think it will be even better, because I am closer to many of the people who are coming and they are closer to each other. Also, I won't have any newbies to babysit -- I liked that Aurilion came last year but it split my focus because I was so worried about them having no one but me that they knew, and also worried because they were not someone I could trust to know to ask people before touching, or value a different opinion as equal to their own. I didn't even realize this was a thing until the celebration had begun, which makes me realize how fucking lucky I am in my friendships: that's something I usually don't have to worry about. My house agreements are something I usually share with everyone before they come over but it just didn't occur to me that I might need to go over them with someone I already felt close to. Also I feel happy that Topaz will be able to more fully participate since it's at their house and they won't have to deal with terrible allergies or be sober due to a future drive.

Giving gifts is very important to me. I want to get people things that will have personal meaning to them, that will show them I know them and value who they are. My ideal gift for someone is something that is meaningful to them AND me, that is tailored to them yet something I would also enjoy owning (this is hard to find!). There is a little bit of sacrifice in my best gifts. I like receiving gifts but I like giving them more. If I could give each person something that would make them feel known and loved, I would be happy getting no gifts (as long as people assured me that it wasn't because they didn't care, because being left out stinks). It used to be that if I couldn't find you the perfect gift, you got nothing -- now I tend to try to find some consumable that the person will like, because I like that better.

I don't care much about New Years for myself, but it is very important to Kylei and Abby and thus has significance by proxy -- I like to celebrate with Kylei and Abby in whatever way feels best for them.


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belenen: (waterstar)
weekly meditation / coming forth & Kanika / beginning work on my book of magic / Kylei & ritual
Taking time out of sleep for this, because it is important.

Lately I've been meditating weekly with some combination of Abby, Kei-Won-Tia, and Anika, and it's been surprisingly (to me) nourishing. I started doing it because I wanted more time with Abby and wanted to help motivate Abby to meditate since ze says it's really helpful to zir, but I've never really gotten much from meditation and I didn't expect it to build on itself. I think we've been doing it for about 6 weeks now and I do it a little differently each time. Sometimes I hold an object from my altar, sometimes I visualize, sometimes I look through an oracle deck and pull things that seem to have a message for me that day, sometimes I chant, sometimes I just reflect on my life. But every time, I set my blue pillow in front of my light box and absorb the light while I do this.

Today, I was reading through the Chapters of Coming-forth by Day, stopping when I got to spells that felt good and chanting them out loud. When I got to a spell about my heart and started reading it out loud, I almost cried, I don't know why, it just felt so strong, and Kanika, who was laying across the room, jumped up and RAN over and climbed in my lap and purred and purred. I put aside the book after a second chant of that verse and put both hands around zir and ze was content and happy about it! (ze usually does not like to be held in any surrounding way) Kanika is very energetically sensitive - I have seen zir interact with spirits (I checked carefully to be sure there were no tiny bugs for zir to be staring at), and when I do magic things ze likes to be in it, but I have never seen zir react so suddenly and strongly.

After that experience (my second time reading out loud from this) I realized I wanted to make a book of magic. I had wanted to for a while but didn't feel like I had enough to put in it. I want to put in the spells from the Chapters of Coming-forth by Day that resonate with me, and the bits of the Bible that resonate enough for recitation, and bits from my favorite other books that I could read out loud and feel nourished by, as well as any spells I make, any rituals I create, any affirmations I write. I started menstruating today, and I am going to use some of my blood as watercolor paint to bind the book to me. Allison made me a book years and years ago, for my 22nd birthday (auspicious number!) and I was always afraid of using it because it's so fucking beautiful, but this is perfect.

Kylei came over tonight and we talked about magic some, and ze participated in a cleansing ritual I did for the 70s suitcase I got to house either my journals or letters, not sure which yet. Ze also wrote some in a book ze has been using for sacred writing for many years, and shared this with me. I just barely began my work on my magic book, but it was enough, I have begun.


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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: (Ma'at)
conflict is a kind of intimacy: be it bratty, unresolved, or constructive, it's not enough by itself
All conflict is intimacy. It is a genuine, exposing kind of interaction. This is why people say that hate and love are two sides of the same coin, and the trope of falling in love with the antagonist exists. This is why if you're constantly in disagreements with someone (like a coworker or classmate), you may feel closer to them than to strangers, even though you might dislike them at the same time. And of course, it's why "hate sex" or "makeup sex" is considered hot. This is why little kids will annoy the shit out of you and laugh with glee. It's not that they want to make you unhappy, it's that they want to be close and conflict intimacy through poking or noises or whatever is the easiest and (as long as they trust you not to be abusive) lowest risk form of intimacy. If someone grimaces at your annoying behavior, it doesn't mean they dislike you, and you get to feel a little closer through that interaction. If someone grimaces at your attempt to hug them, or looks away from your smile at them, it's hard not to feel that they dislike you, so that is a higher risk. I feel tolerant of people who attempt to bond with me through annoying me, but I don't like it and I will usually try to push them to ask for what they really want. With little kids it's usually physical play or cuddling, with adults it's usually focused attention.

People who never learned non-conflict intimacy can grow up into people who constantly make sharp jokes and tease rudely. Sometimes they're actually mean-spirited but I think most of the time they don't know how to feel connected any other way. I think this is also part of the reason that people fall in love with mean, selfish people: they are a huge source of conflict, and if that is the only way you know to be intimate, a relationship without conflict would be one without intimacy as well, so it seems 'boring.' Really it's that the skills for non-conflict intimacy are so much more work and take more risk because you have to learn who you really are, and then share that, which means a potential blow doesn't glance off your shell, but hits home.

There's different varieties of conflict intimacy of course- the simple bratty kind that usually isn't consensual and can't mature, the unresolved kind (with anyone whom you can't or won't work it out with) that doesn't mature, and then the constructive kind, which matures through resolution into a deeper understanding of the other person. That last kind is obviously my favorite. Recently there was a conflict between Roger and Heather, and another between Kei-Won-Tia and Zawn, and all the people involved used it constructively and because they shared the process with me, not only are they (potentially) closer, I feel closer to each of them through empathizing with their feelings and learning about them through their reactions.

Constructive conflict intimacy takes a lot of energy though; if there isn't enough non-conflict intimacy then you'll get worn out and eventually not have enough energy to engage, and then your conflicts will be unresolved and your intimacy will stop being so nourishing. This happened with me and Kylei when we were both depressed and being crap at self-care, and neither of us realized it was happening because we had always had a lot of conflict, but we had also always had a lot of non-conflict intimacy through mindful touch and silliness/play. When our non-conflict intimacy stopped happening, we still felt intimate but it didn't feel good, and we didn't really understand why. Eventually we got to a point where we had endless unresolved conflict and even though we were still very much in love, it was terribly damaging for us to be together. Since then I've learned that conflict intimacy sometimes needs to be avoided for a little while and other intimacy needs to be used. So if Topaz and I are having lots of hard conversations, usually we'll have a little down time with casual cuddles while watching a show and then we'll have focused mindful touch while silent. I always want to get all the hard stuff over with so it can be very hard for me to put a conflict on pause but if I didn't learn to do that I'd be making energy deficits that were much harder to fill back up.
connecting: , , ,


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belenen: (adoring)
Who speaks to my soul w their existence? 1st impressions? How do they inspire?
Prompt from Kei-Won-Tia: Who are the people in your life who speak to your soul with their existence and what was your first impression of them? What qualities in them inspire you to better yourself?

There are a lot of people in that first answer! I'll go chronologicallyish, name then first impression then qualities. Remember these are not characterizations just first impressions!

Allison. first impression: small, bouncy, happy, clever, creative. Ze inspires me to get in touch with my more expressive self, and be unabashedly enthusiastic.

Hannah. first impression: brilliant, careful, compassionate, silly, generous, yearning. Ze inspires me to ask prying questions, to seek a more blunt truthfulness, to embrace my tenderness (used to be very difficult as I prided myself on toughness).

SabR. first impression: fierce, wild, bold about beliefs, generous, welcoming, easily angry, confidently creative. Ze inspires me to put more of myself on the line with my art, to be bolder about sharing vulnerable beliefs, to be wild (like a leopard not like a spring breaker).

Aurilion. first impression: too interested in being seen as more evolved than the next to be really honest about anything, loving, seeking (I didn't connect w zir much at all until we met in person). Ze inspires me to believe in my intuition and to be open to possibilities.

Ashe. first impression: sweet, affectionate, loyal to an extreme (I got annoyed with a girl who was deliberately flirting with our crushes but ze was infuriated/outraged and I'm pretty sure hated that person from then on). Ze inspires me to believe in myself - I think ze was the first person to believe in me, which is a huge damn deal.

Anika. first impression: angry, open, curious, creative, clever. Ze inspires me to share more, to yield less, to grow and learn and be unafraid.

Viv. first impression: anxious, eager to explore, cuddly. Ze inspired me to explore my transness, undo my partnership, reconsider my whole life, take emotional risks with no security.

Vola. first impression: quiet, intense, very thoughtful and thorough, determined. Ze inspires me to think (through zir thoughtful sharing) and to be true to the more analytical, ethereal parts of me. This is kinda rare because people tend to like my sensual, affectionate side more.

Nea. first impression: impossibly kind, compassionate, nonjudgemental. I think Nea is still the most nonjudgemental person I've ever known. Ze inspires me in that way and also by being a person who doesn't share many words and yet is as open-hearted as can be. It makes me see more possibilities in people.

Laura. first impression: honest, creative, loving toward everyone but zirself. Ze died last year but continues to inspire me with zir hope in all things. I want to believe. I miss zir so much, I hate that ze's gone.

Angie. first impression: sweetest, gentlest person I've ever met (that initial impression is still true). Ze inspires me to remember that there are still kind people in the world, even when surrounded by cruelty, not everyone becomes cruel. Ze makes me believe in love.

Lisa. first impression: honest, cheerful, directionless. Ze inspires me because I've seen zir take ownership of zir life and unflinchingly examine where ze can change to bring about the life ze wants, and then just fuckin do it. (Not directionless, obv)

Firekat. first impression: opposite of me, adventurous, risk-taking. Ze inspires me to take risks! I've followed in zir footsteps in a lot of ways (not intentionally, but partly given courage by seeing Kat) and been the better for it.

Ben. first impression: argumentative, stubborn, smart, affectionate. Ben inspires me with zir desire to grow and learn. I almost never see this in someone who passes as a privilege-pinnacle person, and it gives me a little hope for the world.

Arizona. first impression: sharp-minded, open to any new idea, enjoying life, stable and secure in zirself. Ze inspires me to believe in my ability to sense magic. Ze was the first to affirm me in that way (we got together because I dreamed we kissed and then I asked zir out as an act of trusting my intuition).

Kylei. first impression: extremely emotional, creative, impulsive, open, affectionate. Ze inspires me to be more open, honor my feelings, follow my heart.

Heather. first impression: friendliest person ever, totally free and kind. Ze inspires me to share (because ze read my ENTIRE journal even the early parts and still liked me) and to see myself as a relatable person even though I get socially overwhelmed sometimes (if it can be true of the friendliest person ever, I must be relatable too).

Abby. first impression: nervous, creative, generous. Ze inspires me to treat emotions as a shared unfolding of knowledge, a collaborative project, and ze inspires me by sharing new knowledge.

Adi. first impression: bold, honest, unafraid. Ze believed in my goodness at a time when I felt everyone would judge me and it made me feel hope that I could be myself without going way out of my way to explain and still have people see me truly.

Topaz. first impression: capable of listening intently and engagingly, caring about social justice, fierce, free, unavailable, sexy as fuck. Ze inspires me to continue learning and attempting to educate others (because ze also self-educates and agrees and supports me) and to go after what I want (because ze believes in zirself and prioritizes zir needs so I feel I can too).

Camellia. first impression: no idea because it was so long ago and ze was just a kid. Ze inspires me to be welcoming, because ze makes me feel like that part of me is appreciated.

Kei-Won-Tia. first impression: distant, loving, self-deprecating, a bit lost. Ze inspires me to practice gratitude, build intentional connections, trust in people, share what I learn.

There are many others, really.

Also all of the good parents I know: Anika, Jess, Clare and spouse, Christine, Issa and Joshua, Mandy, Brian and Sarah, Ksej, others- people raising their children with love and creativity and understanding and freedom, giving them the chance to flourish instead of squashing them into a mold like most progenitors. I feel this very deeply and personally, as if in doing so they are giving me what I never had. It moves me to tears.


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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: (tenebrous)
relationships after TBC 2014: Hannah, Kylei, Abby, Adi, Aurilion / community & alienation, isolation
So in February there was this flurry of activity of people coming back into my life, but it mostly stalled out. Now I'm reevaluating all of my connections because I opened the door on the question "what if this never changes?" I realized I'd been expecting some things to change eventually, mostly because people told me that the change was something they wanted. If I say a change is something I want, that is me setting an intention and whether or not the person checks in I'm going to work on it until I get there. I realized other people might be saying "if everything lines up on its own, I'd be happy to connect" rather than "I have a vision of how I want things to be between us and I'm going to work continuously to bring it to pass."

The first person I realized this about was Hannah. It has been literally years since we were close, and even longer since we were close in a continuous way. I feel the difficulty in overcoming depression and I've been waiting for Hannah to be in a place where depression & etc doesn't prevent closeness. I only just realized that that might not be a goal of Hannah's, or it might not be possible, or it might be lack of desire not presence of obstacles, etc, and holding the space just leaves a hole in my soul that hope flows out of, especially when there aren't any signs of change. I emailed zir something short, ze wrote back, and I wrote out my feelings more in depth. Ze said ze read it and wanted to consider before responding, and I haven't heard back. The idea that my friendship with Hannah might be really over is -- fuck, it's foundation-crumbling. There is such a gaping hole where communication is not.

Then I got that feeling about Kylei, because it seems to me like zir life is going in a completely different direction from mine and that made me realize, I've been waiting for zir to be centered and ready to reconnect without the old patterns, and ze might not even have that as a goal. So I messaged zir and we had a long email conversation about it and didn't really find resolution but we're meeting tomorrow to talk. Even though I have told zir over and over that I want to work towards closeness (and have been working on myself to make this more feasible), ze did not believe that I wanted it and had stopped trying. I find that really upsetting; if someone's going to give up I would at least like to know!

And I realized that I've only gotten to spend time with Abby without the presence of overwhelming stress maybe 3 or 4 times. That gave me the understanding of the frustrating draining feeling I get around Abby, even though there is nothing bad happening. It's that I keep trying to connect subconsciously and it keeps not working, but I can feel that there is a possibility for it. I finally brought this to my conscious the day before I left (I was staying with zir during TBC) and shared it and realized that now that it was conscious I could find ways to move into sync and feel connected. But ze lives in CT, so it's very hard to practice this.

And I realized that I have not felt fully connected to Adi in years also, and that as a friend I don't feel like I'm important. I messaged zir today about it. I could work on this consciously too, but ze lives in TX now. I hope there is some kind of long-distance connection we can make, because I miss zir. I didn't realize how much until TBC, when I saw zir for the first time in 6+ months and listened to zir talk in panels and felt such resonance and such longing.

Yesterday and this morning I've been talking with Aurilion about a bunch of stuff, it's all very in the air and pretty upsetting. I felt like we were going in one direction and I feel whiplash about realizing that that is not true.

So, good job me for being open and telling these people how I feel but fuck, everything seems to be going to shit. Also fucking hell why does everyone live so shitting far away. I need, need, need, need ACTUAL locals who prioritize friendship intimacy and spirit/soul/heart connection and aren't too busy to make it happen. I feel like this is never going to exist for me. I hate the divide between ITP and OTP (Atlanta city snobbery and/or lack of access to places outside the perimeter). I hate how it feels impossible to find people I connect with on a deep level. I don't know how to spot them. I don't know where to go. I don't want to look in Atlanta because it's not long distance but the effect is often the same. Everything in my city is so default, it's fuckin gross, but my rent is so cheap, I can't afford to give it up. I hate that my house is not accessible (the only bathroom is up a flight of stairs because the downstairs one was ripped up for renovation and then left that way). I'm so tired of losing everyone, I'm so tired of being far away from everyone, I'm so tired of waiting for change that never comes.

TBC always has the effect of making me reevaluate every relationship (3rd time's a pattern), maybe because it's the one place in the world where I feel like everyone I meet is a potential friend, that they're not going to cherish slurs, insults, and opinions over learning and compassion. (I'm weeping as I write this) I feel community, I feel kinship, I feel noticed, I feel valued, I feel accepted, I feel SAFE, and I feel like I can bring anyone with me and they would feel safe too -- all with mostly strangers!!! I can be queer and genderfree and wear skirts with a 'female' body and be feminist and be trans and be fat and have large unbound breasts and never have my identity questioned or assumed. I can "be that person" and know that other people are going to support me if I call out classism or racism or ableism etc, and sometimes someone else speaks up first (oh Godde how I need that :-(). That only happens for me in my house otherwise.

Someone said that TBC is the one place other than their house where they don't have to leave any part of themselves at the door, and I feel that so fucking hard. So TBC makes me realize how much I need this in my life and how much I don't have it. I'm so lonely and sad. I plan to draft an affirmation and try my best to bring this into reality for myself but right now I'm too mournful. I think the most intense othering I experience is about language: someone says 'bitch' or 'douche' or 'girly' or a racist or ableist slur etc, and I experience it as a slap to my face, spitting on me, saying "I want you and people like you to suffer, fuck you, stay down, I'd like a carpet of you and your kin." And it happens so constantly. People being outright prejudiced doesn't happen that often to me because I am relatively privileged but people revealing their subconscious prejudice with their language happens EVERY TIME I go out of my house. I know that I'm relatively privileged but I never feel community with these shitty white and/or male and/or cis and/or hetero and/or non-disabled people and they're EVERYWHERE, ALL THE TIME. CAN'T YOU JUST STOP PUNCHING FOR ONE DAY. But even if that happened, unless I knew ahead of time for sure that it was going to happen, it wouldn't be a relief because I'd still be tensing waiting for the blow in every interaction.

I should add that there are some good things happening in some of my friendships but this post is long enough so I'll write that later.


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belenen: photo of me with violet hair looking down, with a water-reflection overlay (ethereal)
prompt 30: how I do energy work / energy play
[livejournal.com profile] prosphoros prompted me to write about how I do energy work/play.

I learned intuitively for the most part, by simply experimenting. The first time I experienced energy work in a deliberate, significant way (I'd tried little bits before), it was when Kylei had an interaction with a person who formed a negative energy connection. the background, and description of how the first experience felt )

So when I did this first energy cleansing, I had Kylei lay down, and I hovered my hands about an inch above zir and passed them over every spot to see what I felt. Then if I felt something negative, I used energy to pull it out. Sometimes it felt like a dust cloud and sometimes like an object. I would pull it out with my hands in what looks like pantomime, then fling it away and shake my hands clean. After I got all the things out that didn't belong, I ran my hands over zir again and where I felt an emptiness I poured energy in, breathing it in from the universe and letting it go out of my hands (instead of using my own energy, which I had done previously and knew was a Bad Idea). This is how I do energy work now, for the most part, but I haven't done a full cleansing in a long time, just little bits here and there. The most powerful things about this experience were that it worked and made us feel way better, and even more significant, we had the same physical sensations at the same time, for non-physical events.

I did a lot of energy work with Kylei over time, but almost exclusively on energetic/emotional things. The times I've used energy work for physical healing are few and far between. The first was accidental, when I was giving my mom a backrub and afterward ze asked if I was using a heat pack because of the energy that was coming out of my hands (this was when I first realized I could do this, but I was afraid it would never happen again so I didn't try for a long time). The first time I realized that it was more than just heat was when Abby felt a migraine coming and ze lay down while I ran my hands over zir head and felt what seemed like static, and I did a little bit of pulling but mostly I just ran cool soothing water energy over the static to calm it -- and it stopped the migraine from coming which Abby said had never happened to zir once it got to the point it had been (which was where vision was going out), even with powerful medications. I've since helped Topaz with zir migraines, though not quite as dramatically. I think my fear that it won't work again gets in the way, but when I'm first trying it I'm open to any possibility. I really need more practice so that I lose that fear.

Energy play is mostly a sexual thing for me, though that's just circumstantial because I haven't had local people who are motivated and able to do energy play that is nonsexual. Sexual energy play is just a part of how I have sex; I'd say at least half of the time I need for sex to contain energy play or I will feel a lack of nourishment and lose interest. This involves things like people touching my chakras, spinning them, connecting them with their own, entering them (or vice versa), pouring energy into them, etc. One of the most intense sexual experiences I've had involved me penetrating someone's heart chakra with my sacral chakra. I experience my chakras as being tubes that run through my body, with openings on both sides, and energy can flow out through them in a concentrated form. This makes about 80billion possible combinations which is fascinating because they all feel different.

Sexual energy play is also essential to me because of my identity as a trans person. I'm very sensitive about this so I don't want any doubting or playful comments on it )

Other kinds of energy work I do are the oneness blessing, card readings (which I do by shuffling while mentally asking the deck to give me "a card to tell [person] what they need to [whatever]" and then drawing, looking at the card to see what sticks out and tells me something intuitively), shielding (when I deliberately put a block to keep someone from harming me energetically), cleansing objects (same method as for people), calming animals (feeling-broadcasting 'calm, relax' emotion at them strongly), cleansing places (using a sistrum I made for this purpose, incense, and speaking positive words), and connecting (with plants, mostly, sometimes people: I close my eyes and try to match their breath, their energetic speed, so that I can put my energy next to theirs and feel them more fully).


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belenen: (openness)
Openness: reflecting on past lack of skill and future intentions.
I'm behind on the prompts and it's probably going to stay that way -- I'm gonna keep going through them but I'm not going to stress about it. It started making me not able to post because I felt like I had to do the prompt first so when I felt the urge to just write I resisted it. That's NOT good. It has to be okay for me to post anytime, about anything, or else I will slowly become more and more guilt-ridden and avoidant. So I'm gonna ramble about recent thoughts.

[livejournal.com profile] nosswhispers had told me at Solstice that as our romantic relationship ended the first time in 2009, ze was feeling that ze was giving tons to me in openness and I wasn't giving anything back. I had felt that I was giving tons in listening and not getting any questions back. In looking at that I realized that I hadn't been initiating much sharing, and while I still want questions, I also want to be better at sharing without getting confirmation of interest first. Then Ashe and [livejournal.com profile] justben both emailed me to work out the endings of those relationships in 2010, and working through those things made me realize more about how unskilled I was at in-person openness.

From a letter to Ashe: "in writing I was good at [openness]! I not only didn't know HOW to be open in-person without prompting, I didn't know I wasn't already doing it. No one had ever told me, no one had ever requested more openness from me. I'd never been in-person friends with someone who didn't 1) share very reluctantly or 2) just want to be heard. I just didn't have the skills, the extra energy to experiment, or even the knowledge that it would be better if I tried to share unprompted. In all of my life up to that point, no one I saw on a daily or weekly basis had EVER said, "I want you to share all the things inside you." Instead people had tuned out or had no response or a really shallow one that showed they weren't really listening, or had wanted me to share more but had not expressed that. I had no way of knowing that you wanted me to share with you. I know it probably seems like I should have. Part of it is that when I share in person, there are lots of pauses and stares into middle distance and wait-back-ups and I feel frustrated with it so I imagine that the other person will too (due to the previous seeming lack of interest). In writing nobody has to deal with that and something about the act of typing helps me to focus so that I don't get stuck on words as much. I feel the quality and accuracy of my sharing is a lot better in words I have typed, which is why I feel that people don't really know me if they don't read my journal... I didn't realize how important it was to me to 1) write and 2) have people share with me through writing. It's a kind of intimacy I need because it's the only kind of sharing that doesn't get trapped in my ADD and end up draining as much as it nourishes."

So I've been realizing that while I might be skilled at openness through writing, I am not skilled at it in person (I'm great at listening and encouraging others to express but poor at sharing unprompted). I can tell that this is still true because it feels naked when I do it, even with Topaz. But a key difference is now I have people who I know without any doubt that they are interested in what I have to share, because they have told me so. That is what intimacy practice has given me: confidence that my openness is valued. It's only a matter of learning the practice of actually volunteering the information.

I also realized that I used to have a very bad response to passive-aggressive behavior OR what I perceived as passive-aggressive behavior. If someone acted that way towards me once, I got defensive and started looking for more manipulative tactics in their behavior, put up walls and made assumptions. After being with Kylei and Topaz and having a habit of asking questions about everything, I no longer do that, but I'm pretty disturbed/grossed out/repulsed that it used to be normal for me. Nowadays I can just be like "hey, did you mean this thing when you said that thing?" and the answer is almost always no, I was misreading it.

It's very strange to me to be looking back four or five years and see that I wasn't very good at communication. It's been described as my super-power by more than one person in the past 3 years. I think it's due in equal parts to Kylei and Topaz. Kylei and I had conflicts (both calm and wild) so much we practiced communication for upwards of 1300 hours while we were together, no idea what the actual number was but it was a fuckton, so I got SKILLZ, especially at stripping things to their core issue. Topaz and I don't have many conflicts but I feel safe to share with zir because ze makes me feel heard and because I can talk to zir about stuff that's bugging me without it needing to be a painful discussion; I'm learning openness in person. I'm super grateful for these people helping me learn, and determined to get better at easy in-person/real-time openness. I've made it a goal to share at least one unprompted thing with a person other than Topaz (in addition to Topaz) every day.


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belenen: (tree elder)
prompt me 1: my sacred spaces and how I prefer to share them
Prompt from [livejournal.com profile] bunnika: What are your most sacred spaces? Do you enjoy sharing them, or do you prefer to enjoy them in solitude?

My sacred spaces are anywhere with trees, especially large trees, spreading trees, old growth, on flat ground, with water nearby. Locally, those places are Big Trees Forest Preserve, Heritage Park, the Etowah Mounds, the river next to Thousand Hills coffee, a few places in the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, a few places on Red Top Mountain, and others to a lesser extent (Olde Rope Mill was one before they destroyed it, as was Dupree Park), and some I haven't discovered (but can feel that they're there). Farther away, there's this place in Anstruther Scotland where I bonded with this wildly overgrown bush that was more like a tree, Hannah's mum's garden in Belgium, the Angel Oak in Charleston, and Muir Woods (despite it being overrun with tourists even) and the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park in CA, and these magnolias that were outside of the Botanical Gardens in DC when I was a kid. Those with old trees are automatic but there are others, little pockets of magic, found anywhere, like this one concrete retaining wall in Atlanta next to a parking lot with a few small trees and vines hanging down the wall in places, or the lot where Koronah built an altar and Kylei and I began to really build our connection, or the Marietta square (in which Kylei and I imbued and/or found a lot of magic), and I'm sure there are others that I can't readily bring to mind (not to anyone: if I've mentioned a sacred place to you and didn't write it here please remind me).

I enjoy sharing them, and usually prefer it to being alone there, because I like to be able to turn to someone and say, "do you feel/hear/see this?" and vice versa. But I only like sharing them with people who will be very intake-oriented, who will be there for the place, who will be very present and in-the-moment. And of course people who do not litter, break things, take things without asking, or take things that would damage the forest. I do like to talk, but I like it to be the kind of talking one might do in an art gallery, only occasional, thoughtful, and about what is being observed and felt. I also need them to expect that my attention is going to be 80-90% on the place and I will need to spend at least part of the time silent and will probably need to take pictures (that is a huge part of how I process important things); I had a terrible experience once with someone who expected otherwise so I've learned to communicate this beforehand! Occasionally I feel the need to reconnect with myself and then I might go to a sacred place alone, but it is the exception.


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