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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: (tenebrous)
recently: depressed, still job-hunting, home suddenly uncertain
icon: "tenebrous (a shadowy orange-light photo of my face, looking down, with an achingly sad expression)"

So, I guess I put off the depression as long as I could. About three weeks ago I stopped being able to fend it off. I've been completely overwhelmed.

illustrations from recent tweets )

I feel like there are blocks on every path but an increasing pressure pushing me forward against them. It seems like an endless succession of this-week-is-more-stressful-than-last, an endless series of needing to make efforts that I can't believe in. Every day that goes by with me not having a job feels like an additional punch of hopelessness and additional proof that I will never be valued by people in power enough to make even what I need to survive. I feel a need to protect myself from more punches so that I don't get too anxious/depressed to function or live, but I have no way to do so. So every day I feel more pressure to get a job immediately, which I have no real control over.

In five months of job hunting, I have applied to so many jobs, literally hundreds. I have gotten a response from no more than five. I have had one interview -- and not for one of the jobs that will actually pay a living wage, but from a cashiering job. Hopefully I will get that and it will tide me over until I can get something that will allow me to actually use my skills, live without excessive worry, and be able to help others. I suppose the good part of it is I have become much less afraid of applying in general. Constant rejection has burned out my sensitivity to it.

Most difficult is lacking something to look forward to. If there was something I could look forward to it would help, but literally every potential joy feels blocked off by one thing or another, and money is a large part of it of course. I can't imagine the future -- it is all greyed out and I feel completely helpless.

my parents might kick me out of the house I am in )

Apologies to new friends -- it's not a great time to be meeting me, but hopefully things will take a turn for the better soon.

No advice, please, but as always you are welcome to share stories from your life.


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belenen: (challenging)
local burners, let's build sustainable year-round community. 3-10 days per year doesn't work.
icon: "challenging (photo of me lifting one eyebrow and slightly squinting my eyes, wearing "Red Queen" makeup: searingly red lips, darkened pointed eyebrows, black eyeliner, deep red & black eyeshadow accented with gold & silver, and black-outlined silver hearts & diamonds with red shadows on my cheeks)"

At least three friends who I think of as burners (people who attend Alchemy or Euphoria or other Burning Man events) have expressed a similar dissatisfaction with the way that burns are less and less community and more and more conspicuous consumption. We want burners to put resources toward building sustainable year-round community rather than dumping so much money and effort into a few days a year. It's highly reminiscent of Christmas-and-Easter Christians who make a big damn deal twice a year but don't bring the principles they supposedly care about into their daily lives.


Even the poor burners I know usually end up spending at least $150 on tickets and food and water and supplies, and it is easily two or three times that for the more well-off burners. (that's just regional burns: don't get me started on Burning Man) Each year most burners seem to upgrade something they bring, with the result that long-time burners have invested hundreds of dollars over time and there is a significant difference in 'burner class' even among people who have similar income levels. This effect heightens the seniority effect, so that one has to invest for multiple years with increasingly luxurious accessories to be treated as if one belongs.

When I first started going to Georgia burns they were only five years old. Five years later, the landscape has changed radically. Instead of a bunch of little tents with a few shared spaces, lots of camps have infrastructure they bring. This has the effect of making camps very insular; instead of going from place to place enjoying various shared spaces, most spaces are fairly self-contained. Most of the resources seem to me to be going to making one's home camp more and more elaborate. I don't think there is anything wrong with that in theory, but in practice, it reduces community. If all giving was meant to happen in a shared space, how different would that look? how much more would people leave their own little bubble?

And at this point you look 'uncool' if all you have is a tiny tent. In the absence of vibrant shared spaces (not private 'shared' spaces that actually function as the living rooms of the camp that 'shares' them) being poor means being alone. I think all shared spaces should be separate from sleep spaces -- this would not only reduce the effects of class, but it would allow people to have quiet space away from partying when they slept.

If I was going to a Georgia burn for the first time this year, I would have felt like my class, my lack of money, made me unable to participate. I was able to borrow a tent, but if not, what then? Do people contribute to any kind of a shared sleeping space? Tents are expensive, especially ones that have enough space to breathe. People are constantly upgrading -- what happens to the old tents? Couldn't they be kept communally and lent on a by-need basis to people who don't have them? There are just so many ways that class cuts in.

There are some other large issues with burns but right now I'm just discussing the community aspects. I'm not ready to try to make the local burns better; I'm ready to take the principles outside of burns.


How much more nourishing would it be to have community in a continual way rather than periods of famine broken up by glut? How much more true to the principles of civic responsibility, participation, and communal effort to be building community at home, taking responsibility for taking care of each other, and doing actual work to build something lasting? How much more true to the principles of gifting, decommodification, and immediacy to invest in each other, here and now, rather than buying needs and luxuries for a three-day party once or twice a year?

We need accountable, accessible, growth-and-healing focused community. I am ready to build this. We need to find a gathering space that everyone can get to relatively easily, then bring together everyone who wants to build real community and have a brainstorming session. We need to decide what we want it to look like and what minimum things we need to keep momentum, and what people can contribute. We need to set shared goals and values, as well as safe space boundaries and how to handle violations of those.

I'm writing my set of wants and ideas now, but will post that separately because this is already long.


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belenen: (kanika kitty)
tips for poor cat caretakers on how to choose a cat food (most of the cat food sold is bad for cats)
icon: "kanika kitty (a photo of my black cat Kanika in profile, backlit, with their golden eyes staring forward)"

About 7 years ago, I learned that most cat food contains ingredients that are bad for cats. I've since picked up some additional knowledge that I want to share. I'm no expert, but it is almost impossible to find good information as the only "healthy cat" information out there seems aimed at rich people, so this is what I've pieced together. In general, cats are healthiest on an all-wet-food diet but if you're poor (like me) that ain't happenin. Here's what to look for when you're figuring out what to get:

Seek out:
1) meat as the first ingredient and preferably the first 2-3 ingredients (if it has 'meal' after it, it does not count as meat: that's including ground bone & skin).
2) food with the highest protein & fat percentages (as long as your cat is pretty active).

Avoid (if you can't avoid it entirely, choose the option that has them listed later on in the ingredients (they're ordered by proportion):
1) avoid anything that has meat by-products listed as an ingredient. Not only are these gross, but they can make your cat food go rancid and then your cat either won't eat it or will get sick.
2) avoid corn and grains. Corn and grains will make your cat eat more because they are not getting enough nutrition; eventually your cat may get diabetes because of this.
3) avoid vegetables in the first few ingredients, especially especially high-carbohydrate ones. Some high-fiber veggies like peas can actually be good, especially on an all-dry diet, but it should be a fairly low percent.

It is not necessarily the more expensive the better: Iams is just horrible and costs more than Maxximum, for instance. Also, when you buy the food with less filler, cats eat less, so the cost isn't as big of a difference as you might think.

Relatedly:
* When cats are kittens, feed them regular, recommended amounts, and don't give extra. Once they are very used to this, you can just fill the bowl and leave it and (usually) they will only eat what they need. As long as they are getting enough exercise they should be fine.
* Cats need daily exercise; if you play with them with toys while they are kittens they will continue to play when they are older, but if they don't get this early training they may not be active enough to be fully healthy as an adult.
* When cats are over 7 years old, they'll probably need wet food as well as dry or else they might end up with urinary tract blockages, because they don't have much of a thirst drive.
* Tuna fish is bad for cats due to high mercury content and can cause nerve problems as cats age.

I order my cat food via Amazon because it's significantly cheaper that way. For wet food, I get Natural Balance Platefulls and mix it with Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural (I don't recommend the Rachael Ray, but if I just give Kanika the healthy stuff they won't eat it more than once a week, and that's not enough to keep UTIs away) and for dry food I get Blue Buffalo Sensitive Stomach and mix it with Merrick Purrfect Bistro Healthy Kitten (because of good ingredients, relatively low price (it's usually about $15 for 7lbs), and good protein/fat/etc ratio). I give wet food every other day (because I can't afford every day) and leave dry food out at all times. If money wasn't an issue, I'd probably make other choices (no 'chicken meal' and no grains at all), but these are the ones I feel like I can manage.
connecting: , , ,


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belenen: (dammit)
what prevents me from making enough money to feel financially secure
icon: dammit (a gif of Zach Braff saying 'dammit' with an emphatic head motion)"

prompt from [livejournal.com profile] kehlen_crow: What stands in the way of you making enough money to feel relatively secure?

Someone recognizing my skills and hiring me for them. If all people cared about was skills I'd have a job already, but they care more about credentials. I'm hoping and praying for this one particular job that would use my skills, allow me to do good, AND help me go back to school for my master's, which I'd like to do in a few years. I would do better than most people who have more school than me - I am 100% certain that I would do better than most people with masters' and 95% certain that I would do better than 95% of people who would apply. No one could be better than me at passion and drive, very few would know anywhere near as much as I do, and very few would have more relevant life experience to inform the work.

I just wish that getting a job wasn't such a political dance that rewards owners of really expensive paper and punishes people who achieved excellence without having it spoon-fed to them. Ugh. Doesn't help that I'm read as a woman! The wage gap increases with each level of education. To make as much as a man with a bachelor's, I have to have a masters. And it gets worse from there.


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belenen: (honesty)
what mental issue is most difficult for me to talk about right now / how I morally contradict myself
icon: "honesty (me, outdoors, gazing straight at the camera with a solemn expression)"

What mental problem is the most difficult for you to speak about/work on right now? Why? (from here)

I'm not quite sure what is meant by mental problem but I will interpret it as emotional/psychological issue. Most difficult is probably feeling anxiety and stress. Talking about it does no good, so I really don't want to. I have already thought it all out and unless I am willing to take more medication, I don't see a relief for my anxiety or stress until I get a job with a living wage. I'm on the fence about medication because I don't want to add another drug and I am not ready to stop the bupropion. But I am planning on getting lemon balm supplement, which is supposed to help with general stress and anxiety (we'll see).

Have you ever morally contradicted yourself?

I think this refers to breaking my own moral code? and yes, absolutely. I break it every time I get starbux, because I consider them an evil company that I shouldn't be giving money to (bad labor practices, worse financial practices, and they put REAL coffeehouses out of business). But I do it anyway because I don't have a way to properly steam milk and so I don't feel like I can do the same ritual for myself, and starbuxes are everywhere. I try to always use my own mug, but when I forget it I often get a coffee anyway and create unnecessary waste including plastic waste which is the worst kind. I try to remember reusable bags but when I forget them I often get plastic bags. This breaks my core values of justice AND reverence.

Also, my value of reverence applies to all life, but I take antibiotics if I get sick and don't seem able to get better without them; I consider this a kind of genocide but I do it anyway. I also clean the toilet/sink/etc, which is the same thing. And I am not good at being open without invitation in face-to-face interactions, unless the other person gives me certain signals (not sure what those are exactly, but very few people do them).

A recent example of me breaking my moral code is that my mom gave me birthday money and I bought a set of mudra cards made by white people. This breaks my value of justice, because I am supporting the industry which is so filled with white people taking up space that there is literally less than 10% available literature on mudras made by people who actually inherited that wisdom. I think it is closer to 2%. I decided to get the cards anyway because I desperately want to learn them (I've been searching for some literature that was both affordable and ethical for about a year) and at least these cards aren't photos of white hands (they're drawings in the colors of the chakra that the mudra goes with). It's not a good enough reason -- I just did it because I wanted it more than I wanted justice. My reaction to this violation of my value is increased determination to find a way to give back. If any of you have ideas, please let me know.

There are a number of ways in which I do not live up to my own values, or don't live up to them consistently. I don't berate myself for it because that's useless and counterproductive; I just try to figure out a way to balance it or do better. Sometimes I do things that are wrong (usually regarding purchases) and I probably could stop myself... I just don't. I'm not really sure why. I suppose that's my selfishness coming out.


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belenen: (dancy)
skills I have always wanted but never learned / how I see luck & am I lucky?
icon: "dancy (a photo of me in profile, dancing with a purple/blue/red striped sheer fabric. The light is stark and highlights the curves of my belly and breasts.)"

What is a skill you've always wished to have, but don't? What had stopped you from pursuing it, or what stopped you from achieving it? (from here)

I always wanted to be able to do structured dance. First it was ballet, then modern dance, then bellydance that I wanted to learn. I took bellydance classes for a little while, but when my teacher (who gave me a discount) stopped teaching I couldn't find anyone who taught near enough and cheap enough. Eventually I stopped looking for a new teacher. I think I was also hindered by lack of someone to do it with - part of my success when I did take classes was that I had a friend taking them with me.

I've also always wanted to paint, blow glass, sculpt, and draw well. In these things also I have not learned due to lack of money, teacher, and classmate. I have self-taught some other skills, but with painting and sculpting, the cheap materials are so much harder to work with, and with glass there is a HUGE financial barrier, and with drawing... I think with drawing I just got discouraged and never found a thing that I needed to draw enough to work at it. I wanted to learn to make fractals from the first time I saw them, but it took me years to even try, and I began with a tutorial. After that I felt like I understood enough to start experimenting.

How would you define luck and would you consider yourself lucky relative to the society you live in?

I define luck as being on the good side of random chance. Most things have a lot of forces pushing them, but when those forces get balanced, it is random chance that decides which way they go. To be lucky is to have those chances fall in your favor. I think you can make this happen. In cases where only the tiniest bit of a push makes the choice, that tiny push can be something like your desire, your prayer, etc. I didn't believe in luck as a thing of itself until I saw a string of such ludicrously bad luck that I felt there must be such a thing, and I took some actions to try and break it and it seemed to help.

A lot of times people use 'lucky' instead of 'privileged' as in "I was lucky to be born white" but that is not luck, because being born white is not a factor of random chance - you had very little chance of having dark skin if both parents were white. Privilege is not luck because it is not random and it is not value-neutral (but privilege and luck can go hand-in-hand).

I consider myself fairly lucky in some respects; I have amazing thrifting luck, and I have had good luck finding amazing friends, and I have good luck with my car. I cultivate this luck by pushing into it with my will so that any time forces are balanced I push them over to my favor.


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belenen: (tenebrous)
dream (wait for food, get denied) / name change poverty waiver denied
icon: "tenebrous (a shadowy orange-light photo of my face, looking down, with an achingly sad expression)"

apparently my bad dreams are coming true. Last night I dreamed I was at the beach with Topaz, and we went to a food truck. Topaz went to do something else and I waited in line, patiently, even though there was no one ahead of me and they didn't call me to the front. I waited for half an hour. Then they announced that it was 6pm and they weren't serving any more, looking to the side of me as if I wasn't there. I started crying and woke myself up with it.

Then today I check the mail and I have received a response to my name change with pauper's affidavit attached. They denied it. No reason, just "no." The cost for a name change is more than a third of what I make in a month. I do not have even an extra $20 much less an extra $200+. I think they denied me because they knew they could get away with it and they don't want to help people who can't pay, just on principle.

I feel so fucking hopeless. I made two trips to court and two trips to the notary to get this done. It was one of the hardest things I have done in at least two years. I can't even explain how difficult it was to do. I have a huge amount of fear around filling out any paperwork that says 'make a mistake and we throw you in jail' even if I am being really careful and don't think logically that that would happen. Driving to places is hard because every time I drive I am hyper aware that my car could break down, and because gas costs money which I don't have enough of. Dealing with paperwork is hard because I fear trapping myself somehow. Talking to people who are involved in the legal system is hard because I hate it and being around them feels like wading through a pool of sleeping piranhas.

All that work, and stress, and pushing against overwhelming fear, for nothing.


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belenen: (overwhelmed)
Visiting parents, sibling, pibling, cousin, gparent: communication, priorities, name
icon: "overwhelmed (the character Keenan from "Playing By Heart," with hands over their face covering their eyes and head tilted back)"

This week I'm visiting my biofamily: parents M and P, sibling Ace, grandparent V, pibling (parents' sibling) L and cousin E. I don't have a laptop with me so I probably won't be able to read anything until September 2nd-ish, but I'm going to try to keep up with posting anyway.

Yesterday was the drive to meet my parents. Topaz brought me to my pibling's house and took me and Ace to coffee while we waited for everyone else to get ready. Parting with Topaz was difficult because we're both going to miss each other a lot, not least because we cuddle a LOT and they don't really cuddle with others and I am really particular about how I'm touched so negotiating cuddles with biofamily seems stressful and I fear I will just avoid touch (though, good job me, I asked for hugs this morning and got them). Wow run-on.

Before we left I was trying to convince Ace to consolidate their stuff into one bag to make space, and they got frustrated and told me that they were upset that I was bossing them around. I took that in and it took me like 30 seconds to respond, apologizing for being domineering. Usually when I see that my behavior is not ethical I immediately apologize without effort, but for some reason I had to really push myself to do it this time. I found that really weird. I know my biofamily tends to see that as 'losing' so maybe that made it harder. But once I did, Ace forgave me right away and it was done (and they were fine with consolidating stuff).

It took us forever to make the drive because we had to stop for a lot of different things. What we expected to take 4 hours took 8 and by the end my legs ached from being cramped up. But we had some good conversations while we were on the ride, about how to have a good partnership and lots of bits and pieces about memories.

I realized I get defensive when asked if I am hungry around my family, because I expect that they are asking because they think I eat a lot, as a fat person. (Actually part of the reason that I am fat is that I don't eat often enough and my body tries to store everything) But I think maybe they might be asking me for permission to eat. Especially my gparent, who is tinier than most 12 year olds and probably has the metabolism of a hummingbird. So I need to try to practice eating small snacks while I'm here, since I don't have to worry about running out of food.

Later P gave Ace a Canon DSLR. Ace was incredibly excited and I felt happy for them but at the same time I felt broken-hearted because it reminded me of being a kid, asking for a particular present, and being given a knock-off that did not even serve the same purpose, while my siblings got things that were more expensive and exactly what they asked for. I didn't handle it well, partly because I was already exhausted, and I went into my bedroom and cried. Ace came in and asked what was wrong and I explained, with a deliberate effort to be open. Then P came in and asked what was wrong and I explained that and that it reminded me of never being asked about my life as a child. P doesn't have the same memory, and I'm questioning my perceptions because I just don't remember shit. P told me that I won a science award for highest grade in my honors physics class which blew my mind.  Like, the way they told the story it sounded exactly like me (I didn't care about the award but wanted to win) and felt true, but I have literally no memory of it. I want to know who it was I was so invested in beating.

I also talked about how M spends money on stuff that isn't necessary while knowing that I am suffering and barely getting by. M just bought a new car, while telling me that they don't have the money to help me with stuff I need. If they're going to put their wants above my needs, they could at least do that across the board and not be more generous to my siblings than to me. I found out that I  get half of what my siblings do at christmas (each) and I just don't ask about birthdays. Mostly I put this stuff out of my mind. But when I can't, it really hurts. And it's why it is so fucking hard to even ask for the respect of being called by my name much less pronouns. If I ask and they refuse, they're not just being inconsiderate like now, they're telling me I don't matter every time they talk to or about me.

P was really defensive and I wish I knew if I  was wrong. I can't trust their perceptions any more than I can trust mine, because they cannot handle making mistakes and they do not admit when they did something they're ashamed of, or failed to do something they feel they should have. Somehow the conversation turned, I stopped crying, and P left the room (in a neutral way). Shortly after, L and E came in and asked me what was wrong, then P came in. I pushed myself and told them, as briefly as I could with as little blame to P as I could. I didn't want P to feel bad about giving Ace a camera because I am genuinely happy that they made such a huge sacrifice for Ace. (P is poor - they make minimum wage and M doesn't share their giant salary) I also wanted to be frank about my sadness and I think I did okay because P didn't get angry with me. E said they could feel my sadness from the other room and we made eye contact and I felt their sincerity and L gave me pats and empathy. I felt like they all (Ace, P, E, L) cared about my feelings and that was a new experience with my biofamily (except for Ace).

Later P said that they were going to get me a camera too, when they could, and I said that I appreciate the thought but before making such a huge purchase, talk with me because if I can't fix the bug that is breaking my renders, then tools for that would be a much better gift to me than a DSLR. I have wanted one for a long time, but I can take photos that I am proud of on my little camera, and not being able to render my fractals is eating my soul. I want to be seen as a photographer, but I am at least as much a fractal artist as photographer, and I feel like my fractal art gives more to the world. There are many people who can take good photos of nature but not many who can make fractals and almost none who make them in my style.

When everyone went to bed I started reading a book I got as a review copy from BloggingForBooks, and I couldn't put it down until I finished. Partly because I desperately needed brain rest, partly because I missed my second ADD-PI meds and therefore had less control over my focus, and partly because it was a really good read. I'm gonna try to do a review for it soon. But I didn't go to sleep until like 5am and slept badly because the bed was awful and then people started being loud at like 11am. E and L came in and tickled my arms and I grumbled at them. Ace came in and rubbed my feet which was a pretty great way to wake up, after they gentled up (I have extremely sensitive feet).  I got up and ready, slowly and tiredly.

I'm nervous about going swimming because walking around in a wet bathing suit gives me thigh chafing most of the time, and I super don't wanna deal with that. But I do really wanna go be in the ocean! So I'm gonna try it and hope for the best.

Ace uses my real name most of the time and E and L are trying. But that's because they asked me if I wanted them to call me by my chosen name and I said yes. I still haven't confronted anyone about my name. Yesterday I had a strange moment when Ace was introducing me to their girlfriend on skype and the girlfriend called me by my name and P said something like "they got your name right!" which felt really confusing because P usually gets it wrong. Maybe they aren't aware when they deadname me. M hasn't ever tried. Last time I talked to M about it was years ago and they didn't listen to me at all. I dunno how they'll react now but if the rest of the family is doing it they are more likely to be respectful.


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belenen: (summer in Georgia)
bits from lately: Topaz' stress, friendship w Allison, healing reconnecting w Topaz, Topaz' family
icon: "summer in Georgia (photo of a line of trees curving along the highway, with the sun shining through)"


July 29: I've been keeping up with daily posting which is a BIG deal for me. And while I'm still very stressed, I have realized that a lot of my ambient stress is worry about Topaz, who has endured more crises in a quarter century than most people live through in 50 years, and a lot of it has been in the past year. Since realizing that I've started trying to be more careful about how "fixit" I get. Apparently I'm not actually any better at taking on responsibility for other people's happiness, I've just figured out some workarounds (like a minimum amount of alone time) and I lucked into a relationship with someone who actively desires for me to NOT take on their suffering. I'm feeling a little annoyed at myself for not having gotten better at resisting the urge to throw my entire self into caretaking for the entire time the person is in crisis, but at least I have workarounds. I need to keep this in mind and stay firm about my alone time and at-home time. I keep feeling guilty about not helping more and I'm not really sure what to do with that except try to ignore it.

Had a great conversation with Allison last week and I feel like our friendship is becoming solid. I have felt increasing closeness for a while but always felt like it was tentative and might disappear. I guess I wasn't sure if they were invested enough to maintain indefinitely, and I have old habits (from high school! Allison has known me the longest) that kept me from even thinking of asking about their intentions, like I would with people I'd met in the last decade. But yeah, thinking about it now I feel like we've moved to a new level. And they said that their person genuinely likes my tribe, which is awesome for lots of reasons. They'd said something like it before but I didn't take it seriously, I guess because I felt worried they were just trying to be nice. But when Allison explained the specific things they like, I could tell it was sincere and that made me feel really happy.

Aug 10: So disappointed that I broke my daily writing streak! I was so pleased with myself :-<

This weekend Topaz and I were supposed to go visit Kat and one of Topaz' friends but the money escaped us (well, escaped Topaz, and I don't have transportation that can handle more than a 2-hour trip nor would I have the money for gas - I was pretty much along for the ride). But it was good to have some days off for Topaz, as their job is frankly abusive. And it was happy for me to have some time with them where they were neither exhausted nor heavy with dread about going back. We didn't do a whole lot, overall, because it was mostly recovery time. But we had a lot of really good talks about stuff OTHER than stresses, which had gotten pretty rare lately because it takes a certain level of energy to have those talks.

We spent an evening with their family, where I was much more relaxed than usual because there were fewer people and none of them that would be bothered by me wearing something comfortable (which with my body, means that my boobs are going to be pretty noticeable). I think that was the first time I was around Topaz' mom where they seemed to genuinely relax around me. We all played a game that's like a spectrum from taboo to charades, and I enjoyed it -- the only games I like are ones where people are being expressive or are practicing reading each other in some way.

Yesterday Topaz and I went to a coffeeshop on a river and spent a few hours there. I hadn't realized how long it had been since we did something so relaxed (even when we have gone to nature it has been with a time limit that made it a little stressful). This felt really nourishing and I could feel their happiness and contentment at putting their feet in the river, which I'm just now realizing is the first time in months I've felt that coming from them, the poor creature. I had planned to meet someone else there earlier but they had to reschedule, so I asked Topaz if they would go with me, and I am so glad I did. It feels like a very serendipitous plan change, because setting that up and it getting changed at the last minute is the only way we would have ended up doing that.


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belenen: (progressing)
stress has lessened
icon: "progressing (a deeply, vividly green forest of thick vines and trees, with a tunnel running through where unused train tracks lay)"

Hosting gathers is good for me because it helps me motivate to get shit done. This week I did laundry, did dishes, took out recycling, finished setting up the cuddle room (except for the translucent fabric to soften the LEDs, that has to wait for money), tidied the entire house except for that one craft project (which I hope to get done Sunday night or Monday). I turned up the coldness in the refridgerator; hopefully that will help with the going-bad because I am sick of canned food. Kanika is being terribly picky but I have a plan to buy some mix-in treats that will hopefully solve that. My shoulder is still aching and I really can't understand why, it's been more than a week now. I may need to get an exercise ball for my office -- I think I slump too much in there because it is always cold and I subconsciously fold in (my boss has their own sitting ball so I know they won't mind).

Most of that stuff I did on Sunday before the gather, but yesterday I tidied my room which had been left undone for like two weeks which is WAY TOO LONG and I feel profound relief at having it tidy again. It is mind-boggling how much that affects me. It's not perfect but there's just one little pile of unsorted things instead of two big ones. I also brought in another lamp for more light with a daylight bulb and that seemed to make my eyes less tired and my general mood brighter. This room is actually much less sunny in the summer because all of the leaves are out. It's still bright but I don't get that same "almost as if I was outside" feeling.

The vacation with biofamily will cost me nothing except 3 days worth of pay -- which I can't afford but hopefully I can get my parents to give that to me in order to have me go with them. I want to go because my youngest sibling is going and I haven't seen them in literal years, much less spent good time with them, and they are important to me. I'm also hoping to have some good conversations with my aunt E. I have pretty much gotten over the idea that my grandmother is coming. I'm just going to bring some literature and maybe rehearse some bible verses in case of lecture.

By the way, I haven't responded yet but I appreciated all of your comments, as they made me realize that listing things is hugely helpful for me and I need a list that I keep hanging on the wall so that I can get obligations out of my head and also have the satisfaction of crossing them off. I think the stress is a lot worse when it is a big muddly mess than when it is an orderly list -- no matter how long or mostly-impossible the list.


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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: (nuzzle)
emotional/artistic work is still work / types of cuddles: giving, receiving, sharing, passive
icon: "nuzzle (a photo of two snow leopards, one facing the camera and the other in profile, nuzzling the first so much that the first one is leaning over)"


I've been thinking about cuddling for a living since I found out that there is a service near where I live that is hiring. I posted on facebook asking people if they'd be interested or knew others who would be. Some said yes and some said "yes I want cuddles but I wouldn't pay for them" and I found myself getting really offended and upset about it. Even after working it out logically (I do understand that reaction and don't need it explained) it's still upsetting. It feels like people are saying my skills aren't valuable or worth me being able to live on, which really is something I get constantly about everything I do (except stats).


People do this about every skill that is emotional or artistic in nature. Sure, it is rewarding to make art or teach people emotional skills, etc. But it takes energy! no one has an endless supply of that. Further, energy spent on emotional/artistic work means less energy for making money. Money is a thing that can get me food and shelter. If you don't think my emotional/artistic work is real enough work to earn me food and shelter then no, I don't want to give it to you. And when I have put hundreds of hours into building my skills, no, it's not the same as some random person who has never worked on it. It is really unlikely that any random person can give the cuddles I do. Affection or connection doesn't cut it; this is a skill. I have worked on these skills consciously for many years on many people. Cuddle skills are not common and even the sweetest and most loving people often have very low cuddle skills.

I am really fucking good at cuddling. I imagine that most people who are uncomfortable with the idea of paying for cuddles have in their mind the idea that cuddles are automatically mutual. They aren't. There are four kinds of cuddles as I see it - giving, receiving, sharing, and passive.

  • Giving (one-way) - this is where you are actively giving touch, such as stroking someone's hair or rubbing their back, and they aren't actively touching you, nor is there any plan for them to.

  • Receiving (one-way) - this is where you are not actively touching the other person while they are giving you touch, and there is no plan for you to give them touch.

  • Sharing (mutual) - this is where you and another person are engaged in mutually active and emotionally-present touch, such as both stroking each other's backs while lying together, or mouth-kissing, or hugging, or holding hands. It is only sharing touch if you are both actively, presently, and deliberately giving: it is quite common for one person to give a hug and the other receive it - that may look like sharing but it isn't.

  • Passive (can be mutual or one-way) - this is where you are touching the other person, but in an absent-minded or inactive way. An example would be leaning against someone while you both watch a show, or hugging while neither of you are focused on it.

If you have never just received without giving, you can't imagine how rejuvenating it is*. Shared cuddles are energizing but just receiving is like three times that intense. And it takes at least three times as much energy to just give: it's a huge investment of energy to just give fully-present cuddles, which is why I don't often do it for long stretches of time. I often brush Topaz' hair for hours on end because that is a less-present kind of giving that doesn't take much of my energy yet energizes them a lot. It's kinda halfway between passive and giving, because I shift in and out of being fully present in what I am doing (we're usually watching a show during this).

With people who do not give in cuddles for whatever reason, I only give if I am in a place where I can handle that much drain, or if I feel confident enough in their honesty & ability of response to request something that will help refill me. Mostly people are willing to give back, they just don't know how, because this is a learned skill. Sometimes I will have only passive cuddles with a person because that is something I can usually do without drain.

I probably seem arrogant, and I'm afraid someone's gonna be like "actually your cuddles stink" but I think that's an illogical fear. Though I think maybe I suck at cuddling Heather partly because I have been lazy the last few times we've hung out and partly because I don't think I've ever made them sigh in contentment, and after braggin on myself I'm also looking at all my cuddles given and thinking about my flaws.

I came up with a list of essential qualities for being good at cuddling, but I'm going to post that friends-locked because I sent it to the two places I applied to and I want to keep it under wraps until I get responses. If you're reading and you don't have an LJ, message me and I'll email it to you.

*I am sure that not all of this is true for all people, especially those who are not nourished by touch (less common, but certainly existing). Please take this with a grain of salt - I phrased it boldly because I feel strongly, not because I really think it is true for all people.


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belenen: (satisfaction)
polyamory community on facebook / some questions and answers
Recently I've become active in a community on facebook (which I never thought would happen!) which is about polyamory and has rules regarding accessibility and anti-oppression that make my heart sing. It's such a huge community (20,000+) that I can't even imagine the effort of being a mod there. One of the rules I wouldn't have thought of or considered relevant (asking permission before looking through someone's public data on facebook) but if it is necessary for some people's safety then I am happy to abide. Part of me wants to offer to help mod but no, I do not have the energy by a long shot. There have been quite a few threads that made me think and realize new things about myself which makes me incredibly happy. I haven't been so nourished by thorough questions in a long time.

the questions and my answers )


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belenen: (overwhelmed)
Random: autumn winds bring SAD / psychiatry fail/ missing creation
Today I felt tired emotionally and physically, and also a bit down. I can tell that summer is leaving- it's 72 outside :( I stayed overnight at Topaz' and didn't bring any contacts so I'm wearing glasses, which makes me feel disconnected from the world and sleepy, and I don't have my sunlight lamp and Topaz keeps zir house cold (I dislike air conditioning when it makes temps below 75) so it's setting off my SAD. Also my car is low on oil so I didn't want to go out and get coffee and the coffee I had this morning was inexplicably bad, so I'm not caffeined enough. I did good self-care though, took a nap, reflected on what might help and realized that if Topaz took me out (so I don't have to drive Hedwig while ze's low on oil) to get coffee and oil that would make me feel way better. Topaz liked that idea so we're doing it soon. I have been very worried that I was lapsing into depression, so my not-getting-swept-under by this cluster of downness makes me feel hopeful.

I was supposed to be trying a new medication, but apparently my psychiatrist forgot that I don't have insurance or riches, and one month would cost $550, so I laughed ruefully and left without it. I guess it's buproprion for me until I can get an outside psychiatrist who can prescribe real ADD meds. It helps some, so I'm glad to have that at least.

This week has been very emotionally intense and I hope to write about it soon. I feel very irritated with my lack of creation lately.


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belenen: (overwhelmed)
mixing money w art is hell / act of kindness and trust from M / stress tanglebrain is the worst
I feel like I've been dull in my posts of late. For a little while this was because I was swamped by the amount of posts on my suddenly super-active friends page (that hasn't been a thing for at LEAST five years and I can't even EXPRESS how much better it makes my life). Also I got really discouraged by my recent attempts to attract people to my art, especially in a financially supportive way. I still have two important steps to do but the next one incurs fees and I feel so stressed about money (especially money that may be 'wasted') that I keep putting it off. And that blocks me from writing because I feel like I need to do this other thing first, and also because I feel like over the years SO MANY people (literally thousands) have said that my writing and art has helped them a lot yet no one seems to feel a desire to give back even a little, which makes me feel like the gift must have not been very worthwhile, that they must have been exaggerating. And when I feel like my art and writing isn't valued I don't want to make it. Which is why I try to avoid mixing money with anything because when I do it invariably makes me feel worthless and it ruins my motivation. [p.s. please do NOT give me advice about this, I've heard it all before and it's not helpful] But if I want to make it happen I have to try, and I have one idea that seems good that I haven't tried yet so I have to try it or my failure might be all on me.

I also tend to withdraw when I have no money, as it feels like any extravagance of expression or motion will take the last of my resources. This works in practical ways like driving less to save gas, and in emotional ways (that make no sense) like feeling less able to have conversations and make art and be expressive. But a weird and altogether welcome thing happened this week where my bioparent M put a little money in my account without me asking. That has never happened before, because not only is M a pinchpenny, but usually when ze knows I have a need, ze withholds until I do something ze wants. So the money was not only filling a really important need, it was kind of an act of trust (that I would talk to zir even if I didn't have a desperate need) and kindness (that I didn't have to do the horribly stressful act of asking for money and justifying why I needed it). It made me cry, I was so touched and grateful. And now I could afford to go get my medication but that would take all of it and so I don't feel safe doing that :-[ ugh my stressbrain is so counterproductive. Also a friend is moving next week and offered money in exchange for help, which is a relief. I'm not going to fret if the money doesn't happen though, because I want to be able to help without payment, but I do hope they follow through.

So to wrap back around: despite money stress I want to keep writing, so I'm aiming for a post-every-day this month. And I'm going to try to remember to write first and THEN read my flist, so that I don't run out of time or words.


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belenen: (overwhelmed)
I want too many different things to make anything successful / ADD-PI = hyperfocus or distraction
My biggest problem finding 'success' in anything is that I want to do everything. I don't think I fail due to mediocrity. I do everything to my best ability and I always strive to improve. If I only cared about one thing, I would invest all of my time and effort and resources and make it happen. But picking one is not only boring to me, it feels like a betrayal of all the other parts of me. I used to be more able to do that, when I had fewer passions and skills. I never had a taproot and my roots just get more fibrous with time.

This started when I was a kid and I wanted to be a fiction writer, a painter, a choreographer, and a singer (and until I was 12 I wanted to be president). Now I want to write, share my communication skills, educate people on social justice, counsel people, make jewelry, do oracle card readings, do spiritual healing, photograph nature and portraits, organize, facilitate intimacy practices, help people be creative, help people learn to love their bodies, make magical items, make fractals, model, create a consent culture, etc. All of these things are very important to me, so I have invested time and energy in all of them, and I am very skilled at almost all of them. Ideally I would do them all for free and magically be able to live without having to ask for payment. I started a patreon but I feel like it is waaaaayyy too all over the place and I feel pretty overwhelmed at how badly organized it is and I also feel like -- am I really contributing enough to the world to deserve funding? and then I think, but I am only asking to live, surely I give enough to deserve that.

I just want to be able to live while I do these things. I don't need much, but I haven't been able to turn any of these things into something that will allow me to live. The world certainly doesn't reward effort for its own sake. Instead I have to waste my life doing things that are intrinsically worthless (though I can add meaning to them), which not only takes the time that I spend at a job, but also recovery time after, during which I cannot create and give. And I know having had the time to even realize this or do any of those things to the extent which I have is a rare gift and I am grateful. I wouldn't wish away any of my passions. I just wish I could 'make it.' Every time I try and fail I feel like I'm being told that nobody wants what I have to give and I should stop pretending it's important. I usually just avoid thinking about the many failures in my past, and remind myself that I know there are people who feel nourished by my art, my words, what I give. And I have a safety net, which is rare and a huge privilege.

I think the multiplicity of passion is partly a function of my ADD-PI, the part of it that I like, where my brain craves variety and wants to delve into everything with total abandon. For periods of time I can turn on the most determined patient focus you ever saw, and that is how I develop skill in the things I care about. I will be almost crying with frustration sometimes and yet I won't quit, because I just have to find the right way. Today I spent hours trying to figure out how to make new variations work in Apophysis 7x, not because I really needed them or because it would do me a lot of good but because I had started it and I wanted/needed to finish it.

On the other hand, I also spent almost two hours yesterday rating my interest in genres/films on netflix, which I really didn't want to do after the first hour but I just couldn't stop. People tell me to break tasks into small chunks but this just makes me laugh. Maybe that works for people with different brains. But me? If I want it to be done well, it has to be done in a period of hyperfocus, which I cannot get out of, not even when someone is getting angry at me for not stopping (and usually anger at me is a HUGE trigger that overwhelms everything else). I don't have a choice for 'normal focus' -- I get hyperfocus or distracted-diluted-brain, and I pretty much refuse to do anything important with that second kind because I would be incredibly upset to put the worst part of me into something important. And it takes a whole lot of energy stored up to begin hyperfocus, it can never last more than 18 hours, and then the thing I focused on is 'worn-out' in my brain and I have no idea how long it will take for me to have the energy to hyperfocus on it again.

The worst fuckin part is that my meaningless retail jobs require hyperfocus because distracted-diluted won't cut it. So then all I have left for myself is distracted-diluted-brain and I can do nothing important for at least 16 hours after work. Usually for a grand total of less than $40 a day.


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belenen: (glass)
my attitude about money, sidenote: gifting things
Because of the reasons listed here, if you're going to give me anything, I will feel the most loved if it is something you bought secondhand or made, generally speaking. I prefer things bought secondhand because that means: 1) I don't have to fret that the company getting profit is one that does evil, that I have indirectly contributed to in this way, 2) you didn't spend unnecessary money, which I find upsetting because it is waste, and 3) the item has history (especially true for books). This isn't a rule by any means! It's just a preference. And there are some things I would love that are simply not sold used (like the gorgeous glass orb in my icon which [livejournal.com profile] kmiotutsie gave me, stones, artwork, etc). I don't get upset when people get me new things, I'm just extra happy if they're secondhand (if it's a thing that can be bought secondhand).

HOWEVER this also pertains to me GIVING gifts. If you would prefer a gift to be new and/or bought instead of made, please let me know. I don't give gifts of new things very often: if I do it's usually something consumable, fragile (thus doesn't make it intact to the thrift store) or not sold used. Regardless, it's almost always bought for a very low price. This is because I consider the 'finding' to be the center of the gift, not the spending. I am very very good at thrifting; I just have the intuition and thoroughness to go at the right times and spot the right things. I often make a desire for a thing and find it the next time I look, or I just keep a person in mind and I find something that suits them really well. It's not infallible but it is fairly reliable.
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belenen: (feminist)
no, it's not in another castle: my attitude about money
So many people sitting in what is a CASTLE of wealth ignore their privilege and point in another direction -- "oh but that person has a castle twice as large as mine! I'm not wealthy!" No. Other castles are irrelevant. Pay attention and notice that for every castle there are TONS of ramshackle shelters. The fact that yours has a drawbridge with a hole in it and hasn't had a new moat dug in 20 years doesn't make it any less a castle. The fact that you've had to eat food you didn't like or skip eating out doesn't make your safe supply of food any less a gigantic privilege in light of the vast numbers of people that live with food insecurity or flat-out starve (one in EIGHT humans are suffering from chronic undernourishment). I've had many arguments with people about money because I stoutly believe that money is to be used for the best of all, and it is wrong to hoard it.

Sitting on a pile of money so you feel secure (when you're a non-disabled white person) is NOT using it for the best of all. I am incensed by people who could easily support the life of someone they claim to love (who is contributing to the world through art or action), but they choose to keep their money in an account or 'invest it' or spend it on a new house, new car, expensive vacation, or other luxury. I've known several people with wealthy parents who think it is some kind of virtue to refrain from helping their offspring achieve some goal because the offspring 'should' do it the hard way. NO. That is fucking GROSS: exploitative work (which is the majority of jobs which might be available immediately) is NOT something everyone should experience! If it would be no effort to you to give someone the chance to escape (some level of) exploitation, how could you choose not to do it?

I think buying expensive things when a cheap one would do is gross because it is a waste. That extra money could have gone to feed someone, or get someone medication, etc. I am not saying all luxury is bad; some amount of luxury is self-kindness. However, I don't think there is ANY* excuse** for buying a piece of clothing that costs more than a minimum wage worker makes in a month, or half a month for that matter. That's some elitist classist revolting BULLSHIT. (*well, actually, I do think there are some instances where that is okay; if it is a sacred object to the person buying it, there is no price that I could say is too much. But in the vast majority of cases, FUCK THAT. **also sometimes it is necessary to use expensive objects to combat racism or other prejudice. I don't judge people who consciously use status symbols to level the playing field. If you're a white cisgender non-disabled neurotypical person, that ain't you.)

If I was wealthy enough (which I define as making 150% of what I need to survive, while living frugally) I would give the majority of my excess to everyone I knew who spent their time giving, or who needed healing time at home, etc (and if I was still more wealthy I would make it so that their necessities were all covered, and include people I didn't know). I would not be alive today if someone hadn't paid my necessities for the two years that I was agoraphobic while working through childhood sexual abuse. It is not okay that people have to labor for the basic necessities of life; food, shelter, water, health care, education, and internet should be available to everyone. (no, the internet one is not a joke: it is extremely important for access to so many resources) In my ideal world, everyone would get these things and then give to the community in whatever way they could. This is not likely to happen on a grand scale, but if I had the power to make it happen for some people I would, and I'd prioritize the least privileged.

I've recently realized (after expecting to be poor my whole life) that I may have a lucrative skill. I consider it my responsibility as a relatively privileged person to attempt to make money in this way so that I can support others. This may seem counterintuitive, but frankly I feel certain that taking action to help people who are being mangled by the system is better than opting out (which is something that only privileged people can do).

In the meantime, while not yet making 100% of what I need to survive, I give away 11% of everything I earn (not counting things borrowed or gifted) to social/ecological justice organizations and/or friends in need. This is vital to me, because there are so many people working for good, and I am not the best person to do direct action for a number of reasons (I will do it when I can but I can't be counted on). In many cases, me trying to 'help' directly would be a terrible idea: best to give to people who know what their community needs and let them handle it. I can afford this right now because if I were to run out of money and need help, I could count on people to give me food, shelter, etc. In this way I am incredibly privileged. Also, it is essential to me to remember that money is not mine and I cannot truly own anything but my own body and self: giving away from what I earn reminds me that 'earning' is an illusion because owning is an illusion.

In practical immediate terms, this translates to me being careful to communicate clearly and act with financial consideration in my relationships. If I want to go to some event with cost, I want my poorer friend to come, and I can afford to pay for both of us, I would consider it unethical to not sincerely offer to pay their way. Since I usually can't afford to do that, I just ask with up-front info about the cost and am careful to not push. I do not expect anyone to pay for me, but I do expect them to let me know the cost ahead of time and not try (at ALL, EVER) to push me to spend money. If I forget to tell someone about a cost for something and they get stuck in a situation where they feel pressured to pay, I consider it my responsibility to cover that or otherwise help them out of that situation (changing the plan, for instance).

inspired by [livejournal.com profile] kmiotutsie's prompt and lj idol's topic.


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belenen: (plant magic)
STRESS about bioparent visit and job and money / gardening happiness
My bioparent M is coming to visit and I've been pretty stressed about it, mainly because I feel like there are things I 'should' have done even though they are not my responsibility (cleaning up after the previous tenants), because I don't have a job yet, and because time with zir is inherently stressful as ze disapproves of pretty much everything I value about myself. Also I love the way I've set up the place and I feel sure ze won't like it and I don't want to feel compelled to change things. And I'm pretty sure I'll get a lecture on my body, on my lack of making money, and a vague lecture on my 'lifestyle.' Most of these stresses will disappear once ze gets here -- it's always the dread that is the worst, I can deal with the actuality. I dreamed that the whole damn family showed up instead of just M, and I had a crafty party planned, and I invited them, and it was super awkward but not horrible. whaaaat.

I'm also stressed about getting a job. I REALLY want to work at the coffeeshop I just interviewed for but I haven't heard back yet *crumbles from nerves* and I'm about out of money. I ordered four boxes of food bars (drugstore.com was having a 20% off sale, I pounce on those) and I'm hoping that M will buy me some groceries :-/ I am not gonna starve but I'd like to have some fresh things. The stress of these things has not been good for me, I've started having a harder time coping this week and I was worried that it was depression coming back but I think it's just the stress.

I have a garden and nothing has died!!! My spinach is doing some bizarre ivy-wannabe climbing thing and I transplanted it to hopefully give it more light, really hope it survives because I love eating leaves straight off the stem. My kale is doing well (but I think the ridiculously-bold deer have been EATING IT. #RUDE!) and my tomatoes are getting tall! I love love love love love having a garden. I can't wait to have tomatoes and peppers <3 I've been watering almost every day and taking vitamin D and I feel like my body is enjoying the regular sun. I feel like the worst shitlord ever when I weed though :-( I'm going to make little skirts out of thick black fabric for my plants so they don't have to compete and I don't have to rip pretty little living beings out of their home and kill them.
sounds: Dragonette - Easy | Powered by Last.fm
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belenen: (voltaic)
a note for self-care: grocery shopping.
I went grocery shopping today with a list (on my phone via colornote, it's awesome) and coupons loaded on my Kroger card, and WOW that was satisfying. And now I feel so good about life, so safe and so taken care of, just knowing that there is food in my kitchen. I've realized that to perform good self-care, I need to go grocery shopping once a week (when I can afford it), instead of waiting until I have nothing left in the house but crackers and condiments. It is hugely draining and depressing to me to know that I have very little food, and yet spending money stresses me out so much that I avoid going to get food even when I can actually afford it. This is so counterproductive, but it's almost a compulsion; it's like I think if I avoid going shopping, maybe I can make my food last longer. The only way I can think to make sure that doesn't happen is to go shopping once a week. That's the best way to find cheap stuff anyway; so, new goal for me.


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belenen: (antagonistic)
discussing privilege with my bioparent / effects of pinnacle privilege / prebuilding social justice
Last week my bioparent M came in town and we spent an evening together. I don't remember how I got on the subject but I started talking about privilege, and trying to explain how it worked. At first M just straight up denied it, then moved sideways with the "but I don't discriminate" bit and then agreed that it existed and that ze benefited unfairly but said that ze didn't think there was anything wrong with it, that God gave people power and riches and those things were signs of God's favor. I then said, "well God is really bad at picking 'stewards' then." We went on for a while and eventually M asked why bother? I couldn't remember the start of the topic by that point so I said that I don't know why I started, but I continued because I can't just leave it be when someone is saying things that are wrong, that hurt people. We talked for probably about an hour and a half on this. M later commented that ze enjoyed talking with me. I didn't say anything because I did not enjoy chipping away at a mountain of privilege with a spoon. I already spend every day in critical thought -- it was not refreshing for me, it was the same old thing, with extra logic loops in that ze kept trying to use God to back up zir thought. Jesus wouldn't have stood for this bullshit. Things that pissed Jesus off: religious bullies, religious profiteers, and the selfish rich. People that Jesus enjoyed the company of: the poor, the socially-shunned (modern equivalents would be queers and convicts), the generous-spirited non-religious folk. If only so-called Christians would actually try to be like zir. I know WWJD is cliched at this point but that's pretty much the entire point. If you act like Jesus, you'll be a real Christian -- a pretty awesome person. If you act like the Pharisees, you're the average fundamentalist churchian.

Other things I mentioned were the wage gap (which ze disbelieved) the rape rate of women (ditto) false convictions of people of color proven false by DNA (ditto). I said that the US government admitted these things, asked if ze thought that they would have some reason to lie and ze said ze doesn't know, but it can't be true. That's one thing that infuriates me about privilege-pinnacle people: they feel that by sheer fact that they believe it, it's true. They don't hear a shocking statistic and think "well I should look into this" they think, "that contradicts my opinion therefore it cannot possibly be true (because I am The Authority)."

JUST ONCE I'd like to talk to a privilege-pinnacle person who actually responds with, "people MIGHT be hurting? I must look into this and see how I can help." Seriously, how hard is that? This massive, destructive selfishness is what happens when you train a group of people to equate adult behavior with a sociopathic (that's ableist) an inhuman (that's rude to animals!) a ??super-wrong??? lack of empathy. I don't even know. Many, many non-human animals show empathy and instinct to be helpful. This unlove training is horrific. Privilege-pinnacle people might not experience structural oppression but the kyriarchy wounds them psychologically -- having society train your empathy out is deeply abusive. Remembering that people are TRAINED to be this kind of evil is what keeps me trying, even with people like M.

Which reminds me, I was thinking of ways to pre-build social justice consciousness. You can't take most people from their ruts straight into the good stuff, so what are some rut-reducers? I think creativity is one, and genuinely serving people is another -- but they only work if you do them genuinely; if you get any kind of kickback (money, accolades) they are just as rutty as the rest of life. And being asked questions and pushed to think also works, but only if it's fairly constant and done by someone you respect.

Worlds Within Worlds
Worlds Within Worlds
(click to see larger pls!)


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belenen: (tenebrous)
hurting, scared
might be triggering... depression, suicidal thoughts, (mild) self-harm, financial stresses

Life has been REALLY fucking hard for me lately. I'm not sure if I just got completely wiped out during this semester or if there is something scarier at work but I felt like part-stressball part-robot from the move (in mid-march) until the end of the semester (at the beginning of may) and then I've been slowly trying to regain my connection to life. But I'm fragile, and things which would normally be only somewhat upsetting are devastating. Every single week this month something has happened to trigger me and I've cried for at least an hour afterward... yesterday I screamed and screamed and scratched myself all over, ate nothing all day. I felt so deeply apathetic that I wanted to die but couldn't muster the motivation to even think of a plan, I just wanted to stop living. I wanted to be beaten, not as some kind of kinky thing but because I wanted to be hurt enough that life would forgive me for whatever I did wrong and let me stop hurting for a while. (childhood trauma rearing its head again)

I feel scared that I'm broken again, like I was in 2004 when I was going through intensive therapy. I don't want to be there again. I hate that it is an intense struggle to feel joy and that anything can shatter it. I feel that if I could just get a rest I would be okay. But things like a hold on my registration (for a $5 fee that I already paid) and comcast lying to me and then demanding $250, and finding out that I have something in "collections" that is probably one of those things but I'm scared it might be even worse (and the site won't work for me to look at it), and not being able to find a job, and and and and, constantly piling on, makes me so fragile I am constantly shattering again and the glue never has time to set. I just need a rest but there is nowhere for me to go to get one because even if I escape some stress, the money worry is always in my mind.

It probably doesn't help my fragility that I keep spending my energy arguing with people about feminism, but that has led me to an awesome group of activists and in some cases has actually inspired self-education, and to let things go feels like a betrayal of self and world. I don't want to tolerate oppression and I won't, so do NOT suggest that I back down or take it easy. This is one of the few things in my life that I feel is going in a clearly positive direction. It might drain me but it's worth it.

I need I need I need I need. I need no new hurts for at least two weeks. I need to be cuddled without having to initiate or give back. I need to be in magical places and I need to make beautiful things. I need to be a woeful coddled kitten for just a little while.


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belenen: (garrulous)
random -- yay LJing! / school and money stress / body changes / Kanika is staying at Serendipity
blatherings about happiness over LJing again ) I'd forgotten just how RICH it is to write here, and how wonderful I feel when I look at my journal and see my thoughts painted out and framed. It's been bugging me for a long time that I haven't been writing but I just haven't had the pull because most of my LJ inspirations have also been posting less (or moved to dreamwidth, which I could just never get into because I couldn't take my custom style with me and I'm so attached to it). Now I've been talking to Hannah, which sort of puts me in the right mindspace for writing, and I've gotten back in contact with Aurilion, who is writing (♥ ♥ ♥!!!) in the style I do, which makes me feel all kinds of fingersmacky.

talk about stress )

talk about body changes )

Also Serendipity has adopted Kanika, or perhaps the other way around. I went to visit this weekend and 'Nika had pretty clearly decided that Arizona is zir new person (though ze was excited to see me and went back and forth, so I've not been forgotten), and as they were willing to keep zir, it seemed right. I'll miss zir a lot but I know ze will be happier in one place and I'll probably keep being a tumbleweed so it would just stress us both out.
sounds: Beats Antique - Spiderbite | Powered by Last.fm
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belenen: (garrulous)
random -- yay LJing! / school and money stress / body changes / Kanika is staying at Serendipity
blatherings about happiness over LJing again ) I'd forgotten just how RICH it is to write here, and how wonderful I feel when I look at my journal and see my thoughts painted out and framed. It's been bugging me for a long time that I haven't been writing but I just haven't had the pull because most of my LJ inspirations have also been posting less (or moved to dreamwidth, which I could just never get into because I couldn't take my custom style with me and I'm so attached to it). Now I've been talking to Hannah, which sort of puts me in the right mindspace for writing, and I've gotten back in contact with Aurilion, who is writing (♥ ♥ ♥!!!) in the style I do, which makes me feel all kinds of fingersmacky.

talk about stress )

talk about body changes )

Also Serendipity has adopted Kanika, or perhaps the other way around. I went to visit this weekend and 'Nika had pretty clearly decided that Arizona is zir new person (though ze was excited to see me and went back and forth, so I've not been forgotten), and as they were willing to keep zir, it seemed right. I'll miss zir a lot but I know ze will be happier in one place and I'll probably keep being a tumbleweed so it would just stress us both out.
sounds: Beats Antique - Spiderbite | Powered by Last.fm
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belenen: (ecstatic)
important events in 2010 / overwhelming change, desire, and passion wrapped in community
a drawing titled "Adolescence" by Norman Lindsay
& a fractal titled "Conception" by sideoutman:



2010 was such a huge year that I'm intimidated by the idea of trying to sum it up, but combining "Conception" and "Adolescence" is a good start. The fractal is expressive of a coiled, freshly-created energy and purpose, which I certainly conceived in 2010. The drawing (oh Norman Lindsay I love you <3) is full of exploration and communication and relating. I see myself in quite a few of the characters, and the harpies and sphinxes with their worshipful open faces speak to me of turning lack and mystery into love and knowledge. The horned characters make me especially happy, as the presence of Pan in my life this year has been quiet but oh-so-profound.

Last January I declared 2010 the year of passion, and oh GOD/DESS yes it was! both good and bad kinds. It started off with a BANG -- hate (which I hadn't felt in years) and fury (over the ex-partner), followed by a few months of stress and worry (mostly over finances), then a few days of delirious happiness (in an almost-triad with strong energetic exchange), then depression and anger (break-up pain and mistreatment), then an explosion of sheer joy (Arizona!) which increased (Serendipity!) and increased (Chip!) and increased (Kyle!) for two months, then contentment and productivity (living & working with Serendipity), then stress and shifting (school again! culture shock, not dating justben actively), then horrible pain (herpes AGH), then exploring/adventuring inspired by Kyle (meeting more people, going new places, having more sexperiences), then an emotional breakdown as I finally reach my coping limit (so much change! so much intensity!), then my first burn-type event!, then breaking up with Arizona, then lots of intoxication with dancing and kissing, and lots of friendship exploration (mostly in Kyle's social group).

Or, most everything I expressed gratitude for at the beginning of the year. It was DEFINITELY "filled with all the love and sex and joy and passion and boldness" that I could handle -- and I was able to handle more than I thought possible. And I certainly met more people with whom I connect deeply, and learned more about sex and the role it is to play in my life. And for the first time, I've experienced being satisfied by the amount of loving touch I get, and for the first time since the Wynnes I've felt fully understood and appreciated and accepted and desired. And I've become more comfortable sharing my art (I did photoshoots! with people I didn't know well at the time!) and became healthier. The only thing that I feel didn't increase is my understanding of my spiritual connection with nature and having my lil sis live with/near me, so those move to my 2011 presumptuous thanks :D

important events in 2010 )


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belenen: (ecstatic)
important events in 2010 / overwhelming change, desire, and passion wrapped in community
a drawing titled "Adolescence" by Norman Lindsay
& a fractal titled "Conception" by sideoutman:



2010 was such a huge year that I'm intimidated by the idea of trying to sum it up, but combining "Conception" and "Adolescence" is a good start. The fractal is expressive of a coiled, freshly-created energy and purpose, which I certainly conceived in 2010. The drawing (oh Norman Lindsay I love you <3) is full of exploration and communication and relating. I see myself in quite a few of the characters, and the harpies and sphinxes with their worshipful open faces speak to me of turning lack and mystery into love and knowledge. The horned characters make me especially happy, as the presence of Pan in my life this year has been quiet but oh-so-profound.

Last January I declared 2010 the year of passion, and oh GOD/DESS yes it was! both good and bad kinds. It started off with a BANG -- hate (which I hadn't felt in years) and fury (over the ex-partner), followed by a few months of stress and worry (mostly over finances), then a few days of delirious happiness (in an almost-triad with strong energetic exchange), then depression and anger (break-up pain and mistreatment), then an explosion of sheer joy (Arizona!) which increased (Serendipity!) and increased (Chip!) and increased (Kyle!) for two months, then contentment and productivity (living & working with Serendipity), then stress and shifting (school again! culture shock, not dating justben actively), then horrible pain (herpes AGH), then exploring/adventuring inspired by Kyle (meeting more people, going new places, having more sexperiences), then an emotional breakdown as I finally reach my coping limit (so much change! so much intensity!), then my first burn-type event!, then breaking up with Arizona, then lots of intoxication with dancing and kissing, and lots of friendship exploration (mostly in Kyle's social group).

Or, most everything I expressed gratitude for at the beginning of the year. It was DEFINITELY "filled with all the love and sex and joy and passion and boldness" that I could handle -- and I was able to handle more than I thought possible. And I certainly met more people with whom I connect deeply, and learned more about sex and the role it is to play in my life. And for the first time, I've experienced being satisfied by the amount of loving touch I get, and for the first time since the Wynnes I've felt fully understood and appreciated and accepted and desired. And I've become more comfortable sharing my art (I did photoshoots! with people I didn't know well at the time!) and became healthier. The only thing that I feel didn't increase is my understanding of my spiritual connection with nature and having my lil sis live with/near me, so those move to my 2011 presumptuous thanks :D

important events in 2010 )


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belenen: (exuviate)
more memory-bank posting: meeting Koronah, time w Anita & Kyle & Chip & Christa & Ben / visiting Ace
more list form posting -- the 22nd through the 28th )
sounds: Nina Simone - Feeling Good | Powered by Last.fm
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belenen: (exuviate)
more memory-bank posting: meeting Koronah, time w Anita & Kyle & Chip & Christa & Ben / visiting Ace
more list form posting -- the 22nd through the 28th )
sounds: Nina Simone - Feeling Good | Powered by Last.fm
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belenen: (overwhelmed)
stress. and stress. and more stress.
worries, argh )
sounds: La Roux - I'm Not Your Toy | Powered by Last.fm
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belenen: (overwhelmed)
stress. and stress. and more stress.
worries, argh )
sounds: La Roux - I'm Not Your Toy | Powered by Last.fm
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belenen: (distance)
yearnings, missing you, maybes and ifs, I need Georgian summer
Kisses! how I long for more -- why can't I kiss everyone in the world? and oh God/dess, hands. Really, I'm such a hands person. Hands and mouths (because it's mostly the lips but it's also the whole structure, y'know?) but hands first. There've been moments when I've held hands with someone and it felt more intimate than kissing or fucking.

I'm a little baffled at what my mind returns to lately. I'd have expected to pine and mourn and suffer over the Ash & Rob thing but I haven't been. Parts of it just sort of evaporated (can't really explain that because it's not only my story and it's too near) and the bits that are still painful I'm just avoiding the fuck out of. So instead what fills my mind is other doomed attractions )

Also if I have to move out of state that means that Ben and I will be on hiatus because ze doesn't do long distance. So that's a little depressing. It already sucks that living this far means I only get time alone with zir once a week. I mean, I'm grateful for that, but I need more intimate-connection-time than that. Not necessarily with the same person, not even necessarily romantic, just more. I need mindful cuddles everyday. I need naked, open conversation at least every other day. And you know? now that I'm thinking on it, if I were to move with the biofamily, I would get cuddles and naked-open-conversation all the time from my lil sis. And right this minute I want that more than anything else. :-(

But but! if I can stay here I can be with Ben and mayyyyyyyybe one of those who have laid claim to my mindspace and who knows what other possibilities? I do have a few leads on jobs (nothing definite yet) and I feel pretty sure I can find a decent place to live if I can find work that would actually pay my bills. And I could go back to school for free. I want that so much. I want THIS. I want here, this is my home.

And the idea of not being in Georgia in summer makes me ache and weep. I love Georgia in summer more than I've ever loved a person and I think more than I ever will love any single person. It's the most unbearable beauty and it breathes and embraces me, I need it. NEED. Please God/dess, please don't make me leave before I've had at least a little of it. I beg you, All-That-Has-Compassion, let me taste true summer.
sounds: Florence & The Machine - Cosmic Love | Powered by Last.fm
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belenen: (distance)
yearnings, missing you, maybes and ifs, I need Georgian summer
Kisses! how I long for more -- why can't I kiss everyone in the world? and oh God/dess, hands. Really, I'm such a hands person. Hands and mouths (because it's mostly the lips but it's also the whole structure, y'know?) but hands first. There've been moments when I've held hands with someone and it felt more intimate than kissing or fucking.

I'm a little baffled at what my mind returns to lately. I'd have expected to pine and mourn and suffer over the Ash & Rob thing but I haven't been. Parts of it just sort of evaporated (can't really explain that because it's not only my story and it's too near) and the bits that are still painful I'm just avoiding the fuck out of. So instead what fills my mind is other doomed attractions )

Also if I have to move out of state that means that Ben and I will be on hiatus because ze doesn't do long distance. So that's a little depressing. It already sucks that living this far means I only get time alone with zir once a week. I mean, I'm grateful for that, but I need more intimate-connection-time than that. Not necessarily with the same person, not even necessarily romantic, just more. I need mindful cuddles everyday. I need naked, open conversation at least every other day. And you know? now that I'm thinking on it, if I were to move with the biofamily, I would get cuddles and naked-open-conversation all the time from my lil sis. And right this minute I want that more than anything else. :-(

But but! if I can stay here I can be with Ben and mayyyyyyyybe one of those who have laid claim to my mindspace and who knows what other possibilities? I do have a few leads on jobs (nothing definite yet) and I feel pretty sure I can find a decent place to live if I can find work that would actually pay my bills. And I could go back to school for free. I want that so much. I want THIS. I want here, this is my home.

And the idea of not being in Georgia in summer makes me ache and weep. I love Georgia in summer more than I've ever loved a person and I think more than I ever will love any single person. It's the most unbearable beauty and it breathes and embraces me, I need it. NEED. Please God/dess, please don't make me leave before I've had at least a little of it. I beg you, All-That-Has-Compassion, let me taste true summer.
sounds: Florence & The Machine - Cosmic Love | Powered by Last.fm
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belenen: (disassociative)
insane changes -- falling in love with Ash & Rob who turn out to be monogamous / moving soon
what is happen )
sounds: La Roux - Growing Pains | Powered by Last.fm
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belenen: (disassociative)
insane changes -- falling in love with Ash & Rob who turn out to be monogamous / moving soon
what is happen )
sounds: La Roux - Growing Pains | Powered by Last.fm
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belenen: (iconoclast)
tithing to my causes: equality and freedom (legal & spiritual), art, healing humans and the earth
I haven't made a post on this subject before (that I can remember anyway) because it feels awkward to talk about. But it's close to my heart so I'm going to try to put it into words.

The Christian church has a doctrine of tithing: one is supposed to give 10% of everything one makes to Deity. My parents raised me to do this (the way they handled money is something I HAVE admired about them) but I didn't need their push; I liked the idea of giving to Jesus, whom I adored from the very beginning. As I got older the idea of tithing lost its appeal and started to feel like all the other doctrines: restrictive and meaningless. But I prayed/meditated on it and said to God/dess, "sure, tithing helps the people I give it to, but what do I get out of it?" (because I never believed that my purpose is just to serve others) and I got a two-fold answer which has made me excited about tithing ever since. The first reason is that it is protection against possessiveness. It reminds me that everything that comes into my hands is a gift, even if I have 'earned' it, because I earned it using the gifts I've been given, and that nothing is truly 'mine' -- it's all just passing through. The second is that tithing is an act that builds my faith. An important element of tithe is that it is is the FIRST money I spend (yes, before food & other necessities), and so when I give my tithe I am trusting that Deity/the Universe will provide anything else I might need. These truths haven't changed as my understanding of life, the universe, and everything has evolved.

my history with tithing )

BUT NOW! I can do whateverthefuck I want with the money I make!!! So I've been tithing again! (11% because I ♥ the number 11 ;-)) The causes I support and will (continue to) donate to are: Big Trees Forest Preserve, Legal Momentum, Georgia Equality, National Center for Transgender Equality, Soulforce (Stop Spiritual Violence), Snow Leopard Trust, Full Radius Dance, Oyate, Love146, Prevent Child Abuse Georgia, & CHRIS Kids. There are other causes I care about but I'm already spreading my meager support pretty widely, so right now these are the ones I will focus on. I chose them by how much they are part of my spiritual practice -- so, it's focused on equality and freedom (legal and spiritual), stories/art from those whose voice is often suppressed, healing people and protecting those who cannot protect themselves, caring for the earth/trees (I'll probably add a national environmental organization when I find a good one), and protecting snow leopards (because they are of great spiritual importance to me and they are endangered). I'm using facebook's Causes app because it's a fantastic way to keep up with all of them and let other people know about them as well.

There won't be enough time or energy in my life to devote to all of these causes in the way I'd love to, but I can help others who are doing the work. I feel pretty strongly about putting my money where my mouth is, and I very much believe that if I just give a little consistently, I can make a huge impact over the course of my lifetime. There seems to be this attitude among activists that giving money is less sincere than giving time, but I'm spending time earning that money, so my money IS my time. I do want to DO more but I feel that my small gifts are important too, and I believe that they will have positive impact.
sounds: Fuel - Million Miles | Powered by Last.fm
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belenen: (iconoclast)
tithing to my causes: equality and freedom (legal & spiritual), art, healing humans and the earth
I haven't made a post on this subject before (that I can remember anyway) because it feels awkward to talk about. But it's close to my heart so I'm going to try to put it into words.

The Christian church has a doctrine of tithing: one is supposed to give 10% of everything one makes to Deity. My parents raised me to do this (the way they handled money is something I HAVE admired about them) but I didn't need their push; I liked the idea of giving to Jesus, whom I adored from the very beginning. As I got older the idea of tithing lost its appeal and started to feel like all the other doctrines: restrictive and meaningless. But I prayed/meditated on it and said to God/dess, "sure, tithing helps the people I give it to, but what do I get out of it?" (because I never believed that my purpose is just to serve others) and I got a two-fold answer which has made me excited about tithing ever since. The first reason is that it is protection against possessiveness. It reminds me that everything that comes into my hands is a gift, even if I have 'earned' it, because I earned it using the gifts I've been given, and that nothing is truly 'mine' -- it's all just passing through. The second is that tithing is an act that builds my faith. An important element of tithe is that it is is the FIRST money I spend (yes, before food & other necessities), and so when I give my tithe I am trusting that Deity/the Universe will provide anything else I might need. These truths haven't changed as my understanding of life, the universe, and everything has evolved.

my history with tithing )

BUT NOW! I can do whateverthefuck I want with the money I make!!! So I've been tithing again! (11% because I ♥ the number 11 ;-)) The causes I support and will (continue to) donate to are: Big Trees Forest Preserve, Legal Momentum, Georgia Equality, National Center for Transgender Equality, Soulforce (Stop Spiritual Violence), Snow Leopard Trust, Full Radius Dance, Oyate, Love146, Prevent Child Abuse Georgia, & CHRIS Kids. There are other causes I care about but I'm already spreading my meager support pretty widely, so right now these are the ones I will focus on. I chose them by how much they are part of my spiritual practice -- so, it's focused on equality and freedom (legal and spiritual), stories/art from those whose voice is often suppressed, healing people and protecting those who cannot protect themselves, caring for the earth/trees (I'll probably add a national environmental organization when I find a good one), and protecting snow leopards (because they are of great spiritual importance to me and they are endangered). I'm using facebook's Causes app because it's a fantastic way to keep up with all of them and let other people know about them as well.

There won't be enough time or energy in my life to devote to all of these causes in the way I'd love to, but I can help others who are doing the work. I feel pretty strongly about putting my money where my mouth is, and I very much believe that if I just give a little consistently, I can make a huge impact over the course of my lifetime. There seems to be this attitude among activists that giving money is less sincere than giving time, but I'm spending time earning that money, so my money IS my time. I do want to DO more but I feel that my small gifts are important too, and I believe that they will have positive impact.
sounds: Fuel - Million Miles | Powered by Last.fm
connecting: , , ,


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belenen: (plant magic)
important events in 2009 / tangled joy and pain, vibrant growth
"Curl and Tangle, Color and Thorn" by me:



This is a photo I took on a trip with Ben to Big Trees in November. It expresses the entire year to me -- the sharp pains and vibrant joys, and most of all the crazy tangled unforseeability of it. And the focus too -- not seeing far behind or much ahead. Oh, what a wild ride.

I dedicated 2009 to risk-taking (since the focus of 2008 became faith-building instead) and I feel that I fully met that goal. I practiced living in the moment, doing things because they feel right without concern for how they might turn sour; being with Viv, going to San Francisco, deciding to end my partnership with [ex], beginning a relationship with Ben, moving in with Ash, hanging out with people I didn't know well and didn't feel miraculously connected to, couchsurfing, driving a rental car. Those are all things I wouldn't have done a year ago out of a habit of thinking "but what if bad stuff happens."

This year brought me the greatest disappointment and the greatest joy I've ever experienced. It's been such a blend, every joy right next to suffering (and vice versa). This is the first year I have had local friends since I was 20, and the first time in my life I've had a sense of community, an actual CIRCLE of people whom I love and feel that I belong with. It used to be so rare that I spent time with friends that every single time was intensely noteworthy and now it has become NORMAL to me! I feel immensely rich. I get hugs at least every single week -- after YEARS of feeling like a leper because no one touched me. I speak and people listen and care and respond -- after years of having no one to talk with in person (well, no one who cared about the same things or was very interested in my thoughts). I am so profoundly grateful. Thank you Deity, thank you universe, thank you localtribe, thank you everyone and everything!

important events in 2009 )


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belenen: (Default)
important events in 2009 / tangled joy and pain, vibrant growth
"Curl and Tangle, Color and Thorn" by me:



This is a photo I took on a trip with Ben to Big Trees in November. It expresses the entire year to me -- the sharp pains and vibrant joys, and most of all the crazy tangled unforseeability of it. And the focus too -- not seeing far behind or much ahead. Oh, what a wild ride.

I dedicated 2009 to risk-taking (since the focus of 2008 became faith-building instead) and I feel that I fully met that goal. I practiced living in the moment, doing things because they feel right without concern for how they might turn sour; being with Viv, going to San Francisco, deciding to end my partnership with [ex], beginning a relationship with Ben, moving in with Ash, hanging out with people I didn't know well and didn't feel miraculously connected to, couchsurfing, driving a rental car. Those are all things I wouldn't have done a year ago out of a habit of thinking "but what if bad stuff happens."

This year brought me the greatest disappointment and the greatest joy I've ever experienced. It's been such a blend, every joy right next to suffering (and vice versa). This is the first year I have had local friends since I was 20, and the first time in my life I've had a sense of community, an actual CIRCLE of people whom I love and feel that I belong with. It used to be so rare that I spent time with friends that every single time was intensely noteworthy and now it has become NORMAL to me! I feel immensely rich. I get hugs at least every single week -- after YEARS of feeling like a leper because no one touched me. I speak and people listen and care and respond -- after years of having no one to talk with in person (well, no one who cared about the same things or was very interested in my thoughts). I am so profoundly grateful. Thank you Deity, thank you universe, thank you localtribe, thank you everyone and everything!

important events in 2009 )


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belenen: (snarling)
I kept all of our vows, ze broke ALL of them! dishonorable and full of lies
and the ex loses the last shred of respect I had for zir )

heh, oh how appropriate the music I chose. Some part of me fucking knew and did it anyway. wow. I feel comforted by that. Me and my brave-or-masochistic heart.

Don't hold yourself like that
You'll hurt your knees
I kissed your mouth and back
that's all I need
Don't build your world around
volcanoes melt you down

What I am to you is not real
What I am to you, you do not need
What I am to you is not what you mean to me

You give me miles and miles of mountains
And I'll ask for the sea

This is nothing new
No no just another phase of finding what I really need
Is what makes me bleed
sounds: Damien Rice - Volcano | Powered by Last.fm
connecting: , , ,


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belenen: (Default)
I kept all of our vows, ze broke ALL of them! dishonorable and full of lies
and the ex loses the last shred of respect I had for zir )

heh, oh how appropriate the music I chose. Some part of me fucking knew and did it anyway. wow. I feel comforted by that. Me and my brave-or-masochistic heart.

Don't hold yourself like that
You'll hurt your knees
I kissed your mouth and back
that's all I need
Don't build your world around
volcanoes melt you down

What I am to you is not real
What I am to you, you do not need
What I am to you is not what you mean to me

You give me miles and miles of mountains
And I'll ask for the sea

This is nothing new
No no just another phase of finding what I really need
Is what makes me bleed
sounds: Damien Rice - Volcano | Powered by Last.fm
connecting: , , ,


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belenen: (snarling)
hate letter to my ex
there's nothing merry about this, so feel free to skip )


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belenen: (Default)
hate letter to my ex
there's nothing merry about this, so feel free to skip )


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