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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: (tenebrous)
the last few weeks have been loss, more loss, and the opening of old wounds.
icon: "tenebrous (a shadowy orange-light photo of my face, looking down, with an achingly sad expression)"

Within the past two weeks so fucking goddamn much has happened.
Papaw (Topaz' grandparent, an incredibly sweet and gentle person) died and not only was I really sad for the loss and how intense it is for all who were close to him, but I was reminded of how kind he was to me and how little of that kindness I got to experience. I felt so glad to have known him and be loved by him, because he did make me feel loved. We couldn't have said more than a hundred words to each other -- fewer than 40 if you don't count greetings and farewells. But he was always genuinely happy to see me and I never felt like he wished I was different in some way. And I love Topaz like he loved Topaz' grandmother, and they are so alike. They would enthuse together and Papaw and I would glance at each other and smile, knowing we were feeling the same thing. In another life we would have sat on a porch and smoked cigars together. We just clicked, in a very intuitive way. At the funeral the first hymn they chose was The Old Rugged Cross which was my favorite hymn as a kid, and that made me feel so connected to him and I cried as I sang along. People got up and spoke about how many memories they had of him and how steadily loving, thoughtful, and creative he was.


And I was reminded that I have no memories of the grandmother who died before I was born or the grandfather who died when I was 5, and only three memories of the one who died when I was 18, and they're all bad.

In the strongest memory, I'm about six years old and he's shouting furiously at me for touching his chair (which his other grandkids were allowed to sit in, but I was not permitted to touch). That one I remember clearly because I didn't know I wasn't supposed to touch it and I was terrified to be attacked for something I didn't know was 'wrong' and no one defended me except my mother (who he treated like garbage), and her tentatively because she was scared too. My dad was silent, my grandmother was silent. I cried, and I hardly ever cried as a child. In another, he's yelling at my grandmother because the A/C isn't up high enough. That one only stuck in my mind because my grandmother sassed him about his 'hot air' as she obeyed: one of only two good memories I have of her. And the last isn't so much a memory as a muddle of impressions of him acting so pious it made me sick after his stroke, when he started to fear death. It was all so fake and guilt-driven. My grandmother was someone I didn't really know and who definitely never knew me, nor did she want to. Being around her was like being around a pastel, rose-outlined blinking light-up sign that reads "are you acceptable yet?" She died in December and everyone else at the funeral sobbed about how accepting and supportive she was and I felt like I was at the wrong person's service.


So standing there at Papaw's funeral, realizing that the one person who felt like an accepting, loving grandparent to me was gone forever, and that I didn't even have a history to reflect on, brought up all this repressed pain about my terrible biofamily. And also guilt because who am I to mourn when people who have loved him all their lives are there? And what a terrible support to Topaz, focusing on my own shit while they're hurting. Ugh. Lots of mixed-up guts.

The two days before the funeral I was in a wedding for one of my best friends which involved a really intense two-full-day project of interacting with strangers and once-removeds who have Very Specific Ideas of What Is Proper (fortunately I really liked the other brides-minions, as my sweet friend called us rather than misgender me). That was also a whirlbang of emotions because it made me think about my own wedding so many years ago.


Slight scroogy tangent: I'm generally of the opinion that it's better to not get married since the institution of marriage is both rooted in patriarchy and a very powerful force for role-enforcing which can wreck the noblest of egalitarian intentions, but

I think Allison and Jonathan do have the makings of a lifelong healthy, mutually nourishing connection and I think they will manage to maintain their selfhoods despite the influence of marriage, so I can support them in this choice.

Jonathan loves Allison in a way that I have rarely seen a person love another, and I so deeply appreciate for Allison. He doesn't want to change Allison at all, and he beams at her when she enthuses over things, when she's loud and silly and flails for longer than is socially acceptable. He never looks embarrassed or like he's trying to tone her down. Never. Which, as a loud, silly, flailing person myself, makes me feel respected by proxy and so relieved that I can trust Jonathan not to mistreat Allison.

The thing I really didn't expect and that hit me hard was that their families are treating this marriage as a merge and creation of a new shared family, which is so rare and so precious. The side effect of seeing how truly Allison is accepted and valued by family and friends and spouse and how the families are taking their metamour relationships seriously reminded me of how much my spouse and family tried to change and silence me and how they never even saw me, much less appreciated the parts of me that are not socially acceptable. It was tolerated at best if they couldn't manage to ignore it or snuff it out. And I know Allison's family is not perfect! But they really do try to understand her, and they keep on trying until they get it at least partly. Allison walked down the aisle to the Star Wars intro music, and Allison's mom thought that was terrible at first but came around to it. And I like that even with a knee-jerk negative reaction, she still tries to understand.

I wouldn't have missed it for the world though, family issues or no. Being able to witness and be part of Allison and Jonathan committing to each other was beautiful and sacred to me and I was so honored to be included.

This week my landlord told me I have to get out of my house by the end of the month, and then he took it back but I definitely am not safe here so I still have to get out as soon as possible.


Last week after allll the things, I ran out of energy and I realized that I don't have any to spare right now, and that it had been at least three weeks since Evelyn and I had an interaction that was nourishing to me. I've been feeling a lot of stress trying to maintain contact because they've been vague and brusque in responses which says to me that they don't want to be talking to me (because their natural cadence is verbose and specific). But then they tell me that it's not that they don't want to talk to me, and I have to discount my own senses and logic to believe them. I can only do this for so long before it starts to wear on my relationship with myself.

They're struggling to claim their own right to self-care, which I can very much empathize with but I find it really difficult to maintain my own self-care in such a situation because all I want to do is Be the Rescuer but that is so bad for everyone involved. So basically I need them to take care of themself at least SOME else I get filled with anxious urges I then have to spend a lot of energy fighting.

They had set a goal a couple of weeks ago to have at least one hour to themself every day, but they hadn't kept up with it. They spend literally every waking hour devoted to work or another person (not by request, but from their own impulse) and this wears them out to an extreme measure, by any standards. So I told them that until they manage to have a habit of at least a small daily amount of self-care, I need to be more cautious in my investment, which I will do by not initiating conversations or plans. I told them that I'm still open to seeing them and I'm happy to respond to whatever texts/emails they might send, but that essentially I wasn't going to devote initiatory energy to them right now. I tried to put it as gently and kindly as I could, but I think it might still have read to them as "you're not good enough and I hate you, get out" because they seem to see boundary-setting for self-care as a violent act, which is part of why it is so hard for them to do.

So, since they haven't responded at all, I don't know if they are angry, or sad, or just not bothering, or what. I texted once after sending the email to ask if they would at least send me two words to let me know if they had read it or not, but they either didn't get the text (their phone has been losing random chunks of my texts) or even that was too much. I don't want to break my intention by texting again so I'll just assume they read it and didn't feel able to respond.


Feeling the connection with Evelyn crumble slowly over the past few weeks was really disheartening because I thought things were changing, and I think I had good reason to think that. They made significant progress but they just slid back as far as they went forward. They didn't dig in and stay put. And I feel loss and I fear how long this will last -- is this another Aurilion? They show up in my life for a brief beautiful period and then vanish entirely for months or years? They told me they wouldn't leave, and I believed them. But so did Aurilion promise, every time they came back. So.

Oh also yesterday was the 7-year anniversary of my divorce.


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belenen: (overwhelmed)
overwhelmed, so overwhelmed. a wedding and a funeral, stress and sprained tailbone
icon: "overwhelmed (the character Keenan from "Playing By Heart," with hands over their face covering their eyes and head tilted back)"

I'm in a wedding on Sunday as part of the bridal party of my longest-term friend and going to the funeral of someone who was more of a grandparent to me than any of my biological grandparents on Sunday. There are way too many feelings with all this and the unstable housing situation and loads of empathy-stress from pretty much everyone I love. Also, my exercise ball (the one I was using at work) exploded and I was so focused on my work I didn't realize I was falling until I was on the floor and I bruised my butt and sprained my tailbone, which has been hurting ever since (though, nothing as bad as that first day, so I know it isn't broken). I'm overloaded on every level. Turned most of my feelings off until later. My ADD has been going absolutely haywire and I can barely manage to do the basics. Actually I can't really manage, I have forgotten to eat for most of this past week and then thrown some half-assed non-nutritious thing in my mouth to keep from falling apart. Just holding on.


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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: (overwhelmed)
hateful anonymous comments / shame over Mercury's death
icon: "overwhelmed (the character Keenan from "Playing By Heart," with hands over their face covering their eyes and head tilted back)"

So today was really shitty. Someone posted anonymously on two of my posts, on my hpv post calling me "promiscuous" (as if that's a thing) which wouldn't have bothered me if not for the other comment they left, saying that people shouldn't listen to me about cat food because I "poisoned and murdered" my betta fish. It was more than a year and a half ago that I wrote about Mercury's death.

That brought up all my guilt and regret over that... In the moment it felt so awful I felt like I was in a nightmare. My fish had gotten injured, its eye was swollen to 10 times normal size, seemed in pain, barely moved, wasn't eating. I felt bad for it and didn't want it to slowly starve to death in pain, and looked up ways to euthanize it. I watched a video where someone used clove to put their fish to sleep for a surgery (in a low dose you can use it as an anesthetic). It looked peaceful, painless, kind.

But when I tried it, I must have done something wrong, because my fish didn't peacefully drift off. It was clear that it was upset -- it had barely moved for three days and when I added the clove it started thrashing.
I felt so awful. I regret it so deeply. I hate myself for it. I feel like I should have not tried something like that, I should have waited longer to see if my fish would improve. If I could go back in time I would undo it. I worry that the fish wasn't in pain at all until I caused pain and suffering and death. Maybe I killed it because looking at it stressed me out and I projected my suffering. I hate that I did this. I feel deeply ashamed.

I'm mentioning it now because this is how I cope with being afraid people will learn something shameful about me and hate me: I confess. Now you can make your choice and avoid me if you need to.

A few weeks ago Pluto (my last betta, which I got when I got Mercury) died, and I couldn't bear to move the body for days because I was worried that maybe it wasn't really dead and maybe I'd take it out and it would suffer and die from shock (it was very old and had been lethargic for months). I just... I could hardly process the death. I couldn't have borne accidentally causing another of my fish to suffer so much that it died.

Anyway the fact that this person clearly has been reading my stuff for a long time, wanted to discredit me, and wanted to hurt me is really disturbing. I think it was someone who was angry about me criticizing intellectual elitism and use of the slur st*pid. I have had plenty of trolls over the years, but trolls don't know how to hurt me. This person did. I don't know who it was, but congratulations, you hurt me. I have no defense about this: it was wrong and I wish I hadn't done it.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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belenen: (healing)
processing through music: Florence + The Machine / heavy hearts
icon: "healing (a photo of me and Hannah curled up together, naked, with Hannah's head resting on my legs and my arms around/over them. it's colored in violet with a fractal overlay of purple, blue, and green.)"

My heart sings to me today through Florence + the Machine. It started with



"Heavy heavy i'm so heavy in your arms
(i'm so) Heavy heavy i'm so heavy in your arms
(i'm so) Heavy heavy i'm so heavy in your arms
(i'm so) Heavy heavy i'm so heavy in your arms

I was a heavy heart to carry
my beloved was weighed down
My arms around your neck
My fingers laced to crown

I was a heavy heart to carry
But you never let me down
When you had me in your arms
My feet never touched the ground

And is it worth the wait
All this killing time?
Are you strong enough to stand
Protecting both your heart and mine?"



Today I was feeling increasingly overwhelmed with sadness, with this longing ache, and I wasn't sure if it was mine, or the pain of someone I am connected to. It didn't feel poisonous or like it was damaging me, it just felt desperate, needing expression, needing LOUD needing SHOUTS, and I was grateful that today Serenity was away from the house because I went to the living room and put that song on (it had been repeating in my mind), put it loud, and sang and screamed along and wept and sobbed and danced in fury and meaning, flinging my roots down and my wings wide, thrashing wild. I kept on listening to more songs from Florence + the Machine's "Lungs" and "Ceremonials," singing and gesturing fiercely to the music.

I tell myself it will be worth the wait, I can make it through the slow death of time, I'll eventually be able to have joy that is not constantly strangled by they far-too-long sharply-thin unbreakable strings of my stress and have growth that doesn't wither every time I put out a new leaf. I try so hard to believe me, but part of me doesn't believe such a thing exists.

My heart is so heavy and I'm the only one strong enough to carry it. Why couldn't it be lighter? why couldn't I have people around me with light enough hearts and strong enough arms that they could help me with mine? But people with light hearts don't develop strong arms and people with heavy hearts always seem at their max. We don't know how to say no to carrying for others unless it will actually break us... so we allow gradually more and more to be added until we can't carry our own and end up dragging it behind on a leash, getting bruised and cut and bashed by every slightest bump in the road.



And every demon wants his pound of flesh
But I like to keep some things to myself
I like to keep my issues drawn

And it's hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off, oh whoa

And I am done with my graceless heart
So tonight I'm gonna cut it out and then restart
'Cause I like to keep my issues drawn
It's always darkest before the dawn

And I'm damned if I do and I'm damned if I don't
So here's to drinks in the dark at the end of my road
And I'm ready to suffer and I'm ready to hope
It's a shot in the dark aimed right at my throat
'Cause looking for heaven, found the devil in me
Looking for heaven, found the devil in me
Well what the hell
I'm gonna let it happen to me



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

topaz )

kylei )

heather )

allison )

cass )

serenity )

arizona and evelyn and etc )

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

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

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


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belenen: (powerful)
bioparent M thinks love is a desire for ownership / feeling worthlessness is a sign of bad patterns
icon: "powerful (Frazetta's "Sun Goddess": a person with large breasts and belly and thick muscular thighs, standing with arms out and head back, knife in one hand, sabertooth tiger snarling by their side)"

prompt from [livejournal.com profile] ragnarok_08: What was the most sobering thing your parents have said to you?

What comes to mind most strongly is my parent M telling me that no one would ever love me as much as M did. This bothered me at the time but it took me a while to fully understand why. For one thing, it felt like a threat; "I am your greatest source of love so you better value me because if you don't, you just won't get love." For another, M has almost never made me feel loved, so it felt like they were simply telling me I was unlovable and I should expect that people who claimed to love me would try to control my every action, disallow me to show negative feelings and demand that I placate their negative feelings, devalue the parts of me that I most loved, seek me out only to get me to do work for them, show no appreciation beyond a temporary cessation of criticism, and give to others what I crave while pretending to treat me the same. I think this is why when these patterns crop up (in far milder ways), they feel so normal that I do not realize them for a while. I simply get more and more convinced of my own worthlessness. I think I need to note feeling worthless as a sign that I'm falling into these expectations again.

Honestly when I look at my childhood I'm amazed that I managed to learn how to love at all. I always thought that I was relatively well-off as far as escaping abuse goes, but I didn't realize 1) that I was physically abused and 2) that I was almost entirely emotionally neglected and was emotionally abused. M would tell me that they loved me at least every other day and would give me a hug before bed. From at least the age of 8, I never wanted this hug and never felt any truth in those words; it was part of a ritual I had to perform to keep my parents from being mean to me in response to perceived rejection. I would feel angry that they were saying "I love you" when they never showed any care for my feelings at all and literally told me on several occasions "I don't care how you feel." For years, I refused to say the words "I love you" unless I was currently overwhelmed by a feeling of love (thus, never saying it in response) in order that I would be sure to never say it meaninglessly like M did.

M mistakes a desire to own as love. M wants to own me, to have me care about their opinion and want to please them, to build up the qualities that M values and erase the ones M does not, to behave in a way that makes M feel good about themselves, to enjoy and desire M's company. M in fact thinks that being my progenitor means that they have the right to these things. M was physically and emotionally abused by their parents, so I understand why they don't know what love is. However, I think they have a responsibility to learn in order to reduce the harm they cause others, and I consider it reprehensible that they choose to protect their pride at the cost of hurting everyone around them.


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

2015
abstract fractal entitled Shriek
"Shriek"

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

---



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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


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belenen: (tenebrous)
feeling undesirable/unimportant due to lack of friends (except odd squad) & lack of group connection
icon: "tenebrous (a shadowy orange-light photo of my face, looking down, with an achingly sad expression)"

a whole lot of the same old pain - and complaints despite my blessings )


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belenen: (disassociative)
prosopagnosia and memory as it relates to taking photos and believing in love
icon: "disassociative (a digital painting of a stylized person in profile with wide open screaming mouth and arms up with palms spread wide. Head and hands flow into strands like blood vessels)"

The other day I had a terrible depressive crash and I cried from 9am to 4pm, almost solid. The worst point was when I thought to myself that I could feel the truth that I am loved if I could picture someone looking at me lovingly. But I couldn't. I can't picture people's faces in my head, not even when I look at them and then close my eyes. I don't think it's just coincidence that the two people who have made me feel the most loved even when we're apart for a long time are the same as the two people who I have taken the most photos of. I can remember photos. And when I take the photo and then look at it, I can access that moment. So if I can take photos of people in moments where I feel loved, I can access that memory almost like other sighted people can in general. I feel like no one understands this as an access need. "You can't NEED to take a photo."

I remember someone talking about how taking photos requires consent and although I agree, it makes me uncomfortable because other sighted people can just look and remember, but I can't, so in not taking photos I am blocked off from remembering. I wish it was just a general habit that people took photos but never shared them without consent, so that it wouldn't be a problem for others. I understand that it is, and I respect that. But it means that my memory is a dark blurry mazelike gallery that I traverse with a flashlight. If I could take photos any time I was in a loved moment, I wouldn't have such a hard time believing that it's true. I can't just flip through memories- and my memory gets significantly worse when I am depressed or stressed.

If I had only one wish that applied only to my own self, I would wish for a perfect memory. Not money, not even love or the ability to find all the people who would be good connections for me. My lack of memory is the most painful part of my life. I can't even remember my own favorite things (music, books, etc), which is why I write them down. Otherwise I have to go actually look through what I own to know, and if I don't own it, it could be one of my very favorite books and I wouldn't remember it. I don't know if the bad memory and the prosopagnosia are related, but they make each other much worse.


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belenen: (tenebrous)
really fucking terrible week (anika gabe biofam etc) - depressive crash
icon: "tenebrous (a shadowy orange-light photo of my face, looking down, with an achingly sad expression)"

This has been an incredibly hard week. Anika attacked me and scorned my efforts and was cruel to me. I feel drained and devalued every time I think about it.

Gabe (my little brother, emotionally, who I love more than any blood kin except Ace) revealed that he doesn't see me as a person and that he is transphobic. He posted a 'joke' about Caitlyn Jenner and when I commented (which took a herculean effort), he edited the post to fill it up with the reasons he thinks transphobia is fine. That is so much worse than I thought. I was assuming that he was just ignorant, but apparently he knows and simply chooses to believe that being queer or trans is wrong. I couldn't even deal with that. I tried to post a response comment but it either got deleted or didn't go through and I just couldn't post again. This is a sharp pain every time I remember it. It means I have no chance of being loved by the first people who ever made me feel appreciated and valued. It's effectively formal notice that if I were to reach out to them, I would be rejected without possibility of them reconsidering.

And then there was that realization I had on Christmas eve that my bioparent M (who is rich) suggested that my aunt give my cousin a flight to Japan for a graduation present (this was in a group email).  M did not offer such a gift to me and it seems to not even have occurred as a thought. Not only that, but I asked M for help with money this month because my work is closed for three weeks and then the pay cycle is exactly off so that the next paycheck I will get is three weeks into January.  Rather than responding, M forwarded an email from the terrible HOA who constantly complain about my yard.  No, I'm not going to fucking rake the leaves because that serves NO PURPOSE and DAMAGES the plants and the insects who need those leaves for cocooning.  Seriously.  M claims to give a shit about me, but can't be moved to help me when I need it, while giving money to my siblings and cousins etc who don't actually need it, because M wants their good opinion.  Also, while making more than 300% what P is making -- PLUS full military retirement -- M is requiring P to pay half of the bills at their place. They're married.  M is a fucking awful person -- the financial evil is honestly one of their lesser faults. 

Then my pibling and cousins (who live very close) call me on Christmas to tell me merry christmas, leaving a voicemail??? when they didn't fucking invite me and haven't, literally ever.  I just felt like that was a slap in the face.  Just pretend that you forgot I existed, like all the other times.  Don't rub my face in it.

Topaz' family reminded me how I have (almost) never gotten a thoughtful gift from my parents (because they gave me and Topaz thoughtful presents) and also gave me smelly presents (body spray, lotion) that reminded me of just how bad M's 'gifts' were. Plus I'm really fucking stressed about money and about not having the truck dealt with and I have to get my tag renewed which means I have to go talk to Jeff who has been on hold with the truck in their lot for more than a month, thanks to M not keeping their promise. And Kylei was gone which would have been minor except I really needed another close person this week.

And then there's good, exciting, but nervousness-inducing stuff happening and people keep thinking that my upsetness is about that, which is also upsetting. (I'll explain in a locked post)

So I realized I'm in the midst of a depressive crash. I feel like a sodden lump of disgusting worthlessness. I keep flickering between desperately craving connection and wanting to avoid all people so that I don't inflict my irrational overemotional fearful upsetting energy on them. I'm dealing the best I can, putting my trust in my close ones to help me decide on the truth since I can't find it myself. I can't trust my memory or perceptions based on memory on a good day, and in depression it gets so much worse. The demons in my head jab at every sore spot, and I cannot rationalize them away because I can't remember facts that would counteract them.


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belenen: (overwhelmed)

icon: "overwhelmed (the character Keenan from "Playing By Heart," with hands over their face covering their eyes and head tilted back)"


My soul hurts.
connecting:


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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: (disassociative)
dream about familial exclusion / triggered about fam-by-love / craving touch
icon: "disassociative (a digital painting of a stylized person in profile with wide open screaming mouth and arms up with palms spread wide. Head and hands flow into strands like blood vessels)"

I dreamed last night that I happened to go to my ex-spouse's family's old house, and they were all there hanging out and playing, and my biofamily (aunts and cousins) were there too. And they were like "what are you doing here?" with surprise but not even embarrassed that they had left me out and I knew. If they had any emotions about it, it was slight annoyance that I was there. I hadn't consciously been thinking about family but apparently knowing that I was going to be hanging out with Topaz' family today was bringing stuff up already.

Then while we were there today there was a moment where I felt abandoned and it triggered old feelings (of being abandoned, ignored, and lied to) which apparently haven't lost their power? Must I go through this every time I am around someone's biofamily? I'm so tired of it. But I feel like I'm always on probation and always will be, because I can't be enough of myself to even tell if they would accept me if they actually knew me. So... forever uncertain, constantly on edge.

Sydney was there and they had some really good talks with Topaz and me. I wish they lived closer so that I could spend more time with them.

Today was just really hard. I'm craving touch but have a hard time asking for it because if I ask without being able to handle a 'no' that's pressurey and gross, but there are only so many 'no's I can handle per period of time. So if I ask and get a no, it takes a while before I can ask again. And I associate having to ask for touch with being unloved, so it's this tangled mess -- I feel the need for reassurance that I am loved if gifted touch doesn't just happen.

Because when I love someone I crave touching them, so even though I logically understand that that isn't true for everyone, I don't emotionally understand it. Lots of people feel a strong urge to pet a kitten or puppy when they are nearby - I feel this about humans I love. It can be physically difficult for me to hold back (if we are in public and they aren't comfortable with PDA for instance).


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

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

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


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belenen: (pensive)
Feel bad about not writing / utter failure at making friends / SDS
icon: "pensive (my face at a 3/4ths angle, looking down, with a pensive expression. I am wearing a dark purple glitter goatee, and behind me is a sunny forest.)"

October 2:
I feel alienated from myself due to not writing. There's just so much going on all the time and I crave rest and feel like I never get any time. I start writing something on my phone, get halfway or even 90% done and stall. Yet I have been so productive in some ways. I've been doing things that are hard and scary for me. I've been keeping up with my heavy reading load, plus reading some extra. I've made two chokers and a pair of earrings, completed a very involved spiritual tool, worked on my forest crown, and completed an artwork for Kylei (a wall scroll with adjectives for the qualities I love most about Kylei). I just feel like I have no time for writing because I'm always either busy or brain-fried.

October 8:
Dreamed that I met and fell in love with a tall gangly black transwoman and woke up sad that they don't exist.

Today:
I'm sure you're all sick of hearing about this but I'm crushed about how incapable I am of making friends in-person. I don't know if I got worse or if I just never felt a desire to try before. I literally feel incapable. I sit there and try to push myself to talk to someone and nothing comes out. Yet I can make easy conversation with strangers whom I don't feel a desire to befriend. Maybe I'm just burnt from all my fails at making in-person friends. I don't really understand why it feels like such a giant need. I have Topaz and Kylei and Heather -- all local, meaningful, mature, nourishing connections. It's maybe not that I need more people but just that I need to be able to talk to people and I feel cut off when I can't. It's hard when I can't talk to people because they're full of terrible ideas but it's actually worse when they're not terrible and I just can't get my brain or mouth or anything to go. I really do have to make cards or else I don't think I will get past this.

How's this: "I'm terrible at initiation with interesting strangers but I would like to have a conversation if you wanna answer one of these questions [3 interesting questions] - or ask me anything!"
Or
"I'm terribly awkward, hi! I would like to have a conversation...[same finish as previous]"

Godde I'm ridic.

It also hurts my feelings every single time that no one thinks I am interesting enough to initiate a conversation with me. They talk to each other so clearly some of them are curious enough about each other. What is wrong with me? Do I radiate some negative vibe or just seem unapproachable? I really wish I knew.

In better news, I did get the talk on spiritual appropriation done for Sex Down South and it inspired useful conversation though I don't think most people liked it. I think two or three people liked it, at least 3 disliked it, and the other 5 or 6 didn't say much. There was a white yoga teacher who spoke in a way I found confusing, so I'm not entirely sure what they were saying but as I was critiquing the whole idea of a white yoga teacher I can't imagine they liked it. I hope everyone at least went away considering how they consume if not how they practice. I'm gonna do some edits before TBC, definitely want to add more quotes and probably set up a slideshow to illustrate (which I will describe as each image comes up).

Also Topaz is going with me to TBC this year, which is exciting and hugely relieving. I have a project payment from work that should go to other things but it isn't, because skipping TBC is way worse than a broken fridge.


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belenen: (distance)
lonely in any crowd / spirit-to-spirit contact / conflict is a tool of intimacy
icon: "distance (two hands (from a brown person and a white person) just barely apart, facing each other palm to palm)"

I feel like no one talks about the loneliness of rejecting oppression. It's like being a creature that looks like its surrounding creatures but isn't, while the surrounding creatures just don't have the ability to connect with you the way you need. How there's this missing piece in most interactions. Their words, their kindnesses, their touch, their thoughts, just don't reach.

I can never tell by looking. I can't tell by touching. I can't tell by smell or taste or sound. I have to investigate their mind, and it takes such work, and the longer I go the more it stings when suddenly I fall into a poisoned thornbush of defensive privilege and refusal to empathize or learn. It takes so very much risk for me to connect. There are so few people who are safe. There are some who are safer than others, because I know where the thornbushes are and there are few enough that I can avoid them. But it still takes work because conversation changes the landscape and I can't predict when a thornbush will show up. I can never relax.

I marvel and shake my head at people who don't have this experience. Getting to know people, for them, is just about shared hobbies and lack of deliberate attacks, plus good intentions. Those are so easy to find, comparatively. So EASY!

Most humans need skin-to-skin contact. If they lack it, they feel a thing called "skin hunger." I spent my minor years in such a state of skin hunger that I would feel rage when people touched me accidentally, because I blocked it out and the slightest touch would open it up, which HURT. I think there is a similar thing for spirit-to-spirit contact.

I need spirit-to-spirit contact. But I can't have it with most people because if I run into a thornbush in that state, it will shut me down. It's shocking and painful: a sudden dehumanization while being in the most vulnerable state. And so many people don't even know how to make that contact to begin with. So there's already almost no safe people. And then there's even fewer who know how to make this kind of contact; yet fewer who aren't in such a state of spirit hunger that they won't devour you accidentally.

Sometimes I find someone who I can tell could share this spirit-to-spirit contact with me, but they're surrounded by thornbushes. That's the worst, but it also crushes me when they're mostly free of thornbushes but the world sucks so much from them that they don't have the energy to connect. That happens almost every time, because people don't usually clear their thornbushes unless they have endured the trauma of oppression, and that trauma drains your energy.

(I feel like I just realized why mixed-status relationships are more common than I would expect- the effort it takes to call someone out (if they are empathetic and growth-focused) may be less than the effort it takes to support someone else through their oppression while daily dealing with your own. I've never been genuinely close to someone who didn't have at least two axis of oppression, but I can imagine it's a relief to rarely be called on to comfort your close ones' suffering.)

Every person with whom I have felt that 'click' that should allow for easier, deeper connection but did not because of  thornbushes or trauma or lack of energy or space or time -- every one of those people I feel a gap in my life. Even if I think they are full of awful hateful ideas, I can still feel what SHOULD be and I still crave it.

I'm so passionately dedicated to creating intimacy wherever I can because I feel the holes where it should be. I know that some people probably see me quite negatively for for my furious and often rude resistance of evil. But human intimacy cannot exist without conflict because humans vary and that causes conflict. And in a world full of oppression, there's a shitton of trauma connected to that variation, which makes conflict way more common and way more difficult.

I used to avoid conflict because I wanted to be seen as a loving person. I wanted to be seen as loving more than I wanted to change this hateful world to one where love could flourish. I have given up being seen as loving. People who understand intimacy will understand that I am loving and that is enough.

I need more connection. I need to not have to fight endlessly through barriers to feel connection. I need it to exist for me in more than just two or three people in my 32 years of life! This is part of the reason I work to do whatever I can to create justice. It is only in a more just world that I have any chance of having my needs met. I don't just crave a world that doesn't damage people. I crave a world where I can meet a person, feel a click with them, and explore that with joy, knowing that there will not be evil dysempathetic ideas lurking or so much trauma and energy-drain that I cannot connect with them.

I have not killed off my naive former self who literally wanted to be intimate with every human. I fight against those who attack intimacy with oppression and denial, so that maybe someday another spirit like mine will have more of a chance of doing what my child self wished. I fight for all those who suffer and I fight for that little part of me that can't help hoping. I won't ever stop. I will not avoid conflict. It is not only a necessary tool for creating intimacy, but perhaps the greatest one.


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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: (hissing)
depression is not a cramp, it's a broken bone: a 'mild' situation has intense effects when depressed
icon: "hissing (a photo of a snow leopard hissing with mouth open, whiskers back and ears flattened)"


I don't have chronic depression, but I have spent enough years of my life depressed to know about various effects. One of them is that seemingly 'little' things become huge and horrendous. Someone says something and (probably accidentally) implies something negative about you, and it hurts incredibly deeply. People will then respond with "oh it's not that big a deal" or "don't let it bother you" which is fucking ridiculous. It's not just perception; when you are already injured, small further injuries will have greater impact than they would if you were fine!

It's like depression is having a hand with broken bones in it, when the worst hand damage most people have experienced is a paper cut. And someone is like "why can't you high-five me, it's not that hard!" and sure, it's not much effort to lift your arm and aim your hand at the other person's hand. But you KNOW that it is going to hurt, it is going to cause you damage, and so you say "I just can't do high fives right now." And they get miffed that you're not willing to suffer a little to bring them some joy, because they high-fived you when they had a paper cut. Or someone shakes your hand and you cry out, and people are like "psh, that doesn't hurt, I do it all the time!" Or they tell you "oh it's probably just a hand cramp, I had one before and just needed to massage it out" and they grab your broken hand and start rubbing it! It sounds really obvious in metaphor but people really will try to apply their own diagnoses and then give you their 'cure' when it is absolutely going to make everything far worse.

Depression doesn't just sit in one spot, like disappointment or sadness, because it is not a fucking emotion. It is an illness, and it gets in every single part of your being. It's not something you can compartmentalize. It's not something you can ignore. It's something that has to be managed, and anyone who has been depressed for a length of time is far more of an expert on how to manage it than you are, if you haven't lived it.


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belenen: (pensive)
Shoulder pain / Kanika's health and food
icon: "pensive (my face at a 3/4ths angle, looking down, with a pensive expression. I am wearing a dark purple glitter goatee, and behind me is a sunny forest.)"

My shoulder which has now been hurting for two weeks got so bad today that I took acetaminophen and ibuprofen and it is still just aching very badly. I don't understand it. I'm bringing my exercise ball to work tomorrow and hopefully that will help.

But in encouraging news Kanika seems to feel much better. I went googling trying to find the ideal diet for a cat who gets recurring UTIs and apparently dry food is just all around a bad choice health wise? That many cats are chronically dehydrated because they have a low thirst drive and need to eat their liquids? So I've started mixing Kanika's dry food with hot water and flaked up freeze-dried turkey, and they're eating it with seeming enjoyment (I was really worried they wouldn't). When I can afford it, I'm gonna try getting them a pet fountain. Tellingly, they're playing more - they brought me a toy to throw both yesterday and today. I am dreading ever having to go out of town now, because it is a lot harder to find someone to come over daily, but I feel like I have hit on a solution that will keep them happier and healthier.
connecting: ,


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belenen: (tenebrous)
failure w ex-partner / need to know true feelings esp negative
icon: "tenebrous (a dark, orangey photo of me in a heart-crushed moment, looking down, tear-streaked face.)"

I had a weird experience today where I was failing at words and logic, getting lost. Usually that kind of fail is ADD meds related and that had a little to do with it as I took my meds really early and forgot to break the pill in half and save the second half for the afternoon. But then I got disproportionately upset and suddenly realized I was projecting and trying to rescue my friend from my own fate, not theirs. My failure with my ex-partner in transitioning from monogamy to polyamory apparently still hurts. I really thought I was over it. I did everything I could and I really couldn't have tried harder, but it wasn't enough because when it came down to it my ex just didn't want to. We practiced poly for two years before we broke up, but they didn't actually try to change their thinking or understand me, they just avoided thinking about it and lived in denial - possible, because my relationships were all long-distance. They told me they were okay with it and even happy for my happiness but it wasn't true, as they told me later. Once they stopped being able to pretend, that was the end. They dumped me by starting to date someone else (while we were still supposedly together) and deciding to be monogamous with that person.

My greatest fear in relationships is that someone will pretend to be okay with something and not actually be okay with it. Pretend to love all of me and really just be tolerating parts of me or pretending them away. When I say greatest fear, I mean I'd rather someone get furious with me, be cruel to me, and dump me. I'd rather they express any possible negative feeling about any part of me rather than pretend like or indifference.

This is why it is so important to me that my close friends be willing and able to tell me when I upset them in any way, or when they don't like something about me, and be honest with me when they don't care one way or the other about an aspect of me or things that are important to me.


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belenen: (disconnected)
sad and alienated at Xenacon
icon: "disconnected (a gif of the two main characters from "Moonlight" on either side of a door, both looking distraught. underneath is the word "pain" in a handwriting font)"

I'm at Xenacon and should be happy, right? but I'm sad and I feel so adrift. Everyone keeps talking about how accepting people are here but I know how fuckin quickly that changes as soon as you point out a problem, or expose yourself to BE a problem by your very (non-binary) existence. I know this is being exaggerated by my exhaustion after an extremely stressful week, and my recent profound disappointment in realizing that what I had counted on in one of my friendships is just not there. I just feel so weary at the idea of investing even a little in new people - but at the same time I really want to. So, I end up in a state of frozen indecision, and feel sad about it. I am not being fully myself, because I just don't have the energy to be.

I'm so fuckin wiped out. About to go to sleep and hope this many hours bring me enough energy to be a little more outgoing. I'm not lookin for advice so please don't give me any.


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belenen: (tenebrous)
my ADD-PI is getting bad. close to the point of total breakdown / a good resource for ADD strategies
icon: "tenebrous (my face, looking down, deeply sad expression, shadowy and blurry)"

So my ADD-PI has gotten to the point where I cry every time I think about it. Just writing that sentence made my eyes well up. I talked about this at the most recent intimacy practice and cried. Heather offered to pick me up and drive me to the sliding-scale clinic and I got there and started filling out the paperwork - and in big letters it said that they don't prescribe adult ADD meds. I welled up but thought maybe they could offer me some other resources or maybe they had non-stimulant meds I hadn't tried, so I filled it out. Then the person checking me in called me over and pointed it out and I started crying, managed to choke out that I was hoping for resources or any kind of help, they sent me to finish the paperwork and before I did someone called me in back to talk to them. I was gasping and crying at this point, trying to get control of myself. I told them I can't remember things that happened three days ago, I can't do things I need to do to finish school, I feel like my brain is crumbling. They listened kindly but uselessly, and told me of some other places I could try. I now realize that before I try to go in, I need to check and see if they even prescribe these meds.

I loathe that the shitbrains in charge care so much more about punishing people who get high than they do about people who need meds to live. This isn't a problem for the rich fucks, a $500 test is all that stands in the way for them, or, y'know, choosing an independent psychiatrist who isn't paid by the government. It might as well be a million dollars: I can't see myself having $500 to spare within the next year.

I'm getting really desperate.

ETA: oh, *angry laugh* I remembered the other thing I was going to post. (ADD memory, so full of holes) Your Life Can Be Better, Using Strategies for Adult ADD/ADHD by Douglas A. Puryear MD is actually really useful, easy to take in, so sympathetic it made me cry many times. It's not a substitute for meds (you have to have SOME level of memory to even write things down) but I found it encouraging, mostly in that 90% of the suggestions it mentioned I had already been trying in one way or another and the last 10% were really great. It was the first time I felt validated in my diagnosis, reading this. And if you didn't have an undiagnosed ADD parent who passed down coping strategies, this will give you all those and more. It's written by a psychiatrist who has ADD: it's choppy but in a good way, most chapters are no more than 5 pages, so you can take it in in manageable chunks. It doesn't have unnecessary "this is what ADD is" crap, either, or medical bullshit that's only good if you're a social scientist seeking academic understanding. And the author makes the kindle version cheap on purpose so that it's more accessible, and keeps a blog where they share strategies. It's not perfect -- there's some fat-is-bad rhetoric, sexism, and classism, but it is MUCH less than I would expect from a default dude, especially one of that generation.
connecting: , ,


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belenen: (tenebrous)
unsent letter to Aurilion
icon: "tenebrous"

Aurilion,
You broke my heart. How could you, how could you? You lied to me, deceived me, for months and when I got upset about it you attacked me, and cut me off yet again instead of dealing with it (after declaring again and again that you wouldn't abandon me this time). I've realized that that was probably the first time I directly called you on anything. How can you live with this? How can you be so okay with treating me like shit?

I was okay for a while; after all, I don't want to be treated like shit, so being cut off from someone doing that is an improvement. But faced with reminders, I realize just how deep this goes. I trusted you so much. I thought you cared more about me than about being right. How could you do this? I have never ever been attacked deliberately by someone I was spiritually connected to, except you. I can't even imagine someone else I trust doing this. I really thought you would never do such a thing. You crushed me.

I feel my heart is wounded. If I had wounded you, nothing would have been more urgent to me than to do all I could to help you heal. It breaks my faith in heart connections that you don't seem to care at all.

I hope I can find a way to heal from this. I feel poisoned.

connecting: ,


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belenen: (disassociative)
trauma response to not 'getting it' quickly enough / worth in performance / assume I'm doing my best
The other day I had an argument with a friend in which they got upset with me for not understanding what they were trying to say after they tried to explain a few times, and unfriended me. I realize now this is a place of old trauma, because I started weeping, and when Topaz asked, I realized it was because I felt punished for not thinking right/fast enough, when I was trying my best. This felt like a flashback, but I have no memory of being punished for thinking too slowly or not understanding. Maybe it was watching others be punished for that which taught me this fear. Whatever the cause, when people get impatient and angry towards those who are trying to understand, it makes me feel like a helpless child, and when it is me they are upset with I get just incapable of functioning, desperate for forgiveness, and cry with fear and hopelessness. If I am engaging at all, I'm always trying to understand: I am never being lazy or deliberately obtuse, and never ever ignoring what someone is saying. Luckily I'm good at it and most of the time people don't punish me for not getting it, but when I fail, its terrifying. It feels the same as when I am trying my best to be kind and I make a mistake and the person gets angry with me. I literally had no way to avoid my mistake, and I feel trapped and hopelessly not good enough. This is where my patience comes from, I think: doing my best to never make someone who is trying their best feel as though they will be punished for it.

It feels very tied to my sense of worth. As a child I was only valued for my "smarts" and I knew that this was conditional. My greatest fear was brain injury because I felt completely sure that I would no longer be valued by anyone. Later I think this morphed into a kind of emotional/intuitional "smarts" where I felt people valued me because I was good at making them feel safe and supported and understood, and if I fucked up at that, I would no longer be valued. This was affirmed by being abandoned at my first failure (that I was made aware of) several times. I think it was also compounded by living for 8 months with someone who expected me to read their mind and do what they wanted without them telling me, and when I failed I was treated with hostility and ostracized from all human contact (they had this power because my only friend was hours away). And then I was in a relationship for many years with someone who would radiate their stress and anger at me unless I figured out the source and helped them feel better about it somehow.

When I cannot understand, cannot show support in a way the person wants, or cannot give safe space, I feel that I am on the verge of true worthlessness, and my entire life depends on them forgiving me for fucking up and trusting my history of success enough to let me try again. It's not a logical thought progression but it feels unbearably real. When it happens with someone I like, it hurts for a little while: when it happens with someone I love, I can think of nothing else until I am forgiven or am certain that I have no chance of forgiveness.

With people I choose to have in my life, I always assume that they are doing their best, unless/until they tell me they do not want to try. I can't bear the idea of not affirming someone's best efforts. I can't bear the idea of someone offering up their best, and someone else not giving honor to that. I can't stand 'art critique' for this reason. The only person who can know if the artist didn't do their best is the artist themselves! And the only way for art to be bad is for the artist to not give full effort. It cannot be judged from the outside.

If I call you a friend, please always assume I am doing my best to offer understanding, support, and safety. If you doubt, ask if it is my best. If I could do better, tell me how. If you cannot start with the base assumption that I am doing my best with what I have, do not be friends with me. I need that assumption in all my friendships.


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belenen: (disassociative)
intense overwhelming suffocating feeling - anxiety?
Sometimes I get this overwhelming feeling of stuckness and it makes me want to be slapped, hit, or stabbed, it's like an intense frustration at being in a body, I can't escape. Maybe this is my kind of anxiety. It's like being in my body makes me feel bad and I want out, I want to escape the static and I feel a desperate need for extreme sensation. I want to cry, I want to scream, I want out! Being able to intensely focus helps, but if I am lonely (like I am right now) I have such a limited number of things I can focus on without getting sad, and feeling this and sadness at the same time is the worst. What the fuck happened, three weeks ago I was fine.


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belenen: (disassociative)
anxious
I'm sorry I've been absent here, and I have gotten too behind to truly catch up. I'm going to try as soon as possible. Right now I am feeling achingly anxious and am not sure why, I can't calm down. I was really thrown by that awful night and I need to be overwhelmed, washed out. I'm going to catch up a little bit and then go to nature somewhere -- it may be a hot, wet mess but if I breathe it in and take photos, hopefully I can ground this out. This is why I consider myself mostly calm -- I rarely get this feeling. It's like right before the end of a timed test, when I'm not finished yet. Those last frantic squiggles have been my breath and blood for the past hour.


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belenen: (overwhelmed)
old pain triggered, not new pain inflicted
While I appreciate the intentions of comments on the previous post, I feel like no one understood what I was saying. It wasn't about Topaz, ze was just the trigger for old pain. I really wanted some empathizing for the old suffering dredged up - each one of those events/situations hurt me so deeply, especially the one with my parents. Topaz is far and away the best person I've known for being there for me when I'm sad. Today I cried all over zir again and ze was completely supportive, which is the norm with us. It's really important to me that I make this clear - it was a few half-baked discussions that we didn't have the energy to finish and never went back to and hashed out. I've never been able to lay in anyone else's lap and cry and ask them endless questions for reassurance and have them give patient love. I am still scared that one of those situations will happen again, but it is not a rational fear, considering Topaz' behavior.

Please dont fret if you made a comment, i probably should have rearranged the paragraphs and put the conclusion first and then the spark that caused it.


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

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

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

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

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


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belenen: (pain)
TW: suicide, MH ableism - long conversation about suicide w Matt
In response to this post which I linked on facebook.


Allison Preach.
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Maureen And don't say it's "a permanent solution to a temporary problem." Some people's severe depression has lasted decades.
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Matt Wow, I've never disagreed with you so strongly on any issue before. It's also completely against public health standards for how to talk about suicide. http://www.washingtonpost.com/.../suicide-contagion-and.../
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Belenen This is not at all the same thing. I'm not implying suicide is good, I'm saying that scolding people is bad.
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Matt I read your LiveJournal post. There is never a point at which I would tell someone that if that's their decision, I'm just going to be okay with it and say goodbye. I don't believe that's right at all.
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Belenen Well, that's you. If I was suicidal, such an act of kindness and respect would be far better for me than anything else. If someone decided to tell me not to do it or pep-talk me out of it that would make me want to do it WAY more because they'd be proving that the world is a selfish place that does not care about my feelings.
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Matt I don't think it's in any way selfish to try to stop someone from ending their life.
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Matt And I don't see letting it happen as an act of kindness and respect at all.
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Belenen So, don't tell me not to do it unless you want to push me closer. And I'm pretty sure that is true for a lot of people. Empathy is ALWAYS a better choice than scolding, bossing, and using platitudes.
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Matt I wouldn't scold or boss you or use platitudes. But I'd use all the tools I know of that might actually WORK to get you to stop. I don't believe it's ever okay to just let it happen.
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Belenen I believe people have the right to their own bodies and deciding their own destiny. I will respect other people's choices even unto death, and I want that for me as well.
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Matt I think that suicide is rarely, if ever, a "decision" that one makes if their full mental faculties are available to them at the time. I basically see it as a consent issue. Can you really consent to end your own life? I have very serious doubts about that.
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Belenen I don't think people lose the rights to handle their own bodies because they might have impaired judgement. Yes, I absolutely can consent to end my life, because my consent is all that Matters! It's MY body, I decide whether or not I will continue to inhabit it.
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H. D. I view suicidal ideation as a kind of stockholm syndrome of your own brain. It's one of the very very few instances (maybe only) in which I do think that helping someone could very well be doing the things they don't want. I would always do it compassionately, but I can't let someone I love hurt themselves because their brain is tricking them into hating themselves and their existence. I hope you know I don't take that attitude lightly, because I really highly value respecting people's autonomy.
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Matt When I was 19 years old, I had a good friend try to commit suicide while she was on the phone long distance with me. She was in Colorado and I was in Vermont. It was about 2 am and I had to call her mother, who had never spoken to me (or probably even heard of me) before, to wake her up and get her out of bed to take my friend to the hospital to get her stomach pumped to get rid of whatever she tried to OD on. I will never regret that decision, especially since we're still friends seventeen years later, she's now happily married, and has three awesome children.
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Belenen The point I am making is that you are not "letting" them do anything because it is not your choice.
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Belenen Getting help for someone in crisis, if you have asked if it is okay to do so, is fine by me. Doing it against their will is a violation. It may be a violation you are okay with because you view the alternative as worse, but that doesn't make it right.
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Matt I wouldn't use the term "Stockholm Syndrome" like Heather did, but I basically don't think that people who are pondering suicide are in full control of their own decision making abilities anymore. Mental illness is a disease. Would you let someone with paranoid schizophrenia injure themselves because they think the government implanted them with a tracking device, for example? I hope not, and I doubt you would. This is essentially the same thing. You're not in control of yourself if you're seriously contemplating suicide. You aren't making that decision with full access to your own brain. Therefore you can't give informed consent.
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Matt If someone chooses to let me know they're thinking of suicide, they're giving me the option of getting them help, whether they claim to want it or not. I definitely do not see it as a violation, and even if it WAS one, it's a good one, because this is not a case of asserting your will, it's a case of a disease altering your will without your consent.
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Belenen No. NO. People can sometimes impulsively commit suicide, but they can also do it with complete awareness. I CAN give informed consent to do any damn thing I want to my body because it is MINE and it never becomes someone elses. YES people CAN use their self-aware will to commit suicide.
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Matt If someone is having suicidal thoughts and they let me know about it, they've given up some degree of control of the situation already. Once they do that, I'm going to make every effort to get them help, whether they think they want it or not.
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Belenen That makes me feel incredibly unsafe around you. At any point if I seem suicidal to you you can just take actions I don't want? Not okay!
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Matt I'm not setting up a dichotomy between impulsive or planned here because that's a false dichotomy. Most suicides are planned. It's rare for them to be a spur of the moment decision. I wonder how much actual knowledge you have of this issue. Whether or not you're committing suicide with "awareness," you're still not doing it with your full mental faculties intact, because depression or any mental illness alters your perception of life. It actually changes your brain in ways that can be viewed and studied.
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Matt Of course I can. And I will, if I'm aware of it. As would pretty much anyone and everyone you know. Whether you think it's okay or not, people with clinical experience on this issue would vehemently disagree with you. It is never okay to just accept it when someone says they want to commit suicide.
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Matt The ONE exception I can see in all this is when someone is terminally ill anyway and wants to end their life by physician assisted suicide. But that's a whole different kettle of worms that I'm not really prepared to go into right now.
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Belenen my knowledge is firsthand. And I do not fucking care what the brain looks like. An altered perception does not give someone else the right to make decisions for my body, ever, and I don't give a flaming shit if people with 'clinical experience' would disagree.
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Matt Should I have let my friend kill herself at 19 years old just because she wanted to and she made the decision to do it? I certainly will never be convinced that's the case.
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Matt James, I would never let a mental illness influence you to take your own life if I became aware you wanted to do so. And that's because I care about you. I make no apology for that. I do not believe you can give informed consent to end your own life if you are depressed because the depression is actually stealing your ability to make healthy, informed decisions for yourself if it comes to that point.
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Belenen Not your body, not your choice. This is so horrifying to me. I can't deal with you saying you would violate my consent because you thought you knew better than me how I should handle my life. I don't want you to know about my life anymore. I feel like I have to police myself so that I don't sound suicidal to you. Please unfollow me.
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Matt That is my position and I'm sticking to it. I think you'll find many of your friends will agree with me, or at least I hope so. James, I really like you, so I'm going to disengage from this conversation, but I hope you'll think about what I said, and maybe actually look into some academic/clinical research on clinical depression, its affects on the brain, and the treatment of suicidal ideation, because everything you're saying goes against established knowledge and practice on the issue.

The last thing I'll say is that it makes ME feel unsafe that you would apparently not try to help me if I said I was suicidal and managed to convince you that I meant it. Because sharing that kind of information with someone is basically always a cry for help, whether a person realizes it at the time or not. And apparently, you would be unwilling or unable to help me unless I was able to express in the moment that I needed it, which I would not likely be able to do at that point if was suicidal.
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Matt Oh, actually, one last thing, you've thus far refused to address whether or not I should have let my friend OD on prescription pills when she was on the phone with me when I was 19 years old. Please think about that.
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Belenen I have not refused to address it. UGH. I said you cannot "LET" them because it is not your authority! And I said that you might consider it a necessary evil but that doesn't make it less evil. If my friend had taken a shitton of pills and was ODing, I would ask, and beg, to fetch help, but if they said no, I would not do it. If I was overcome with emotion, I might do it, but I would consider that a terrible violation and I would be extremely remorseful.

I have plenty of friends who have been suicidal who feel the same way I do, so stop trying to bring my friends into it -- they're not on your side. I've been there for people who were suicidal, and they didn't choose to do it despite my not telling them what to do or calling in authorities -- and if they HAD chosen to do that it would have been THEIR choice alone. I do not give a SHIT about "established practice" for crying out loud we're barely past locking people up for mental illness. Just because it maintains social values doesn't make it good practice.
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Belenen I don't want to block you, because I would like to maintain incidental contact, but I do not feel safe with you watching what I have to say, so please unfollow me so that I don't feel the need to block you.
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Topaz It is possible for someone to tell another person "I am going to kill myself" for reasons other than to roundabout ask for your help. Some people have severe, incurable mental illness, that CAN NOT be treated. It's more rare than treatable or manageable mental illness, sure, but it definitely exists. I don't want anyone I know to kill themselves, ever. But I'd rather my friends be honest with me if they planned on it, so I'd have a chance to say goodbye, maybe ask why, and get closure, and tell them I loved them. Maybe, if they trusted me to not stop them, and they told me, and I responded by saying I loved them.. maybe that love and respect would be enough for them to not want to die. Unfortunately, most people don't trust others to respect them, so they don't tell, and they kill themselves without telling anyone before.

I'm sorry that one of your friends tried to commit suicide when you were 19, and I'm happy for you that you feel you made the right decision. I don't know if your friend gave you consent or not to help her, but I can image that if your friend died, you would feel a lot of guilt. So for your situation, you made the right choice for you. I've had 5 people in my life commit suicide in the past 7 years. The most recent was last week. A dear friend hung themselves with no warning to friends or family. I wish he had the strength to ask for help, I miss him.

The one before that, I had a dear friend move out of the state and put a gun in his mouth within weeks. And you know what? I think this friend's suicide was the most caring, brave thing he could've done. You see, for his entire life, he fought the most horrific depression I've ever seen. At 15 he sought help, and he continued for 10 years. He tried every single therapy, medicine, counseling and method to try and get better, For 10 years, he fought. He attempted suicide more than 5 times in those 10 years. He tried overdosing on heroin, but a cop found him and called 911. He tried cutting himself, but his mom found him. He tried everything to die, and someone always stopped him. Each time, he'd try to get help, sincerely. After going through all the medicines, he eventually was left with shock therapy as his final medical option. He tried it, and it had adverse effects, sending him spiraling into such a mad, horrible depression that he was in pain constantly. It was like watching an animal flail in pain after getting run over. All of his friends watched as he flailed in immense pain for ten years. Most people can find a drug or medicine or therapy that AT LEAST minimizes or helps manage their pain. My friend couldn't. When he killed himself, we all felt a sadness for our loss, and a sigh of relief for his peace. He finally stopped suffering.

None of my friends who successfully died have told someone when they planned to commit suicide. Maybe if people weren't scared to talk about it, out of fear they would be forced against their will to "get help," then people would actually talk about it, weigh options, and make informed choices. I will talk, and hug, and help to the extent someone gives me permission, and I may even be bad and try to talk them into (logically) getting help. But I will never go against the will of someone I love. In my PTSD and depression, if anyone had ever FORCED me to get help, I'd be worse off and maybe dead. Since I was respected, I've healed some and am doing fine. Offering is one thing, forcing without consent is another.

Finally, I've had quite a few other friends who confided in me that they wanted to kill themselves. I told them that, because I was selfish, I didn't want to lose them, but I also told them that if that was ever their sure choice, to please let me know so I could give them one last hug. All have agreed, none have killed themselves. I also have taken friends to mental hospitals for them to get help for their depression or suicidal thoughts, with their consent, and only at their request.

So, my firsthand knowledge dealing with 5 suicides and at least a dozen people who have been or are suicidal, doesn't fit with what you say experts believe. Trust me, I've heard what experts have to say.

I'd love to help my friends get help, if they want it or are willing.
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Matt If they confide in me that they're feeling that way, and I choose not to act, that is letting it happen. I consider that unethical and probably immoral. I'm really not interested in whether someone "wants" help when they're mentally ill. I'm going to get it for them whether they "want" it or not because they're not capable of making those decisions for themselves at that point. You CANNOT CONSENT when you are under the influence of mental illness. It's simply not possible.

I would imagine plenty of your friends are on "my side," as if there is really any such thing. I'm on the "side" of good mental health practice. We're talking about disease here, not making decisions when you're fully in possession of your faculties. It's two different things. We might be "barely past locking people up for mental illness," but we ARE past it, and if we have to wait a minimum amount of time before doing the right thing because we used to do the wrong thing, a lot of people are going to get hurt needlessly. It's got nothing to do with maintaining "social values." It has to do with treating people so they can overcome illness, which can't happen if they end their lives.

I'm not "following" you. We friended each other on here. I'm not interested in unfriending you, because I'm hoping we can continue to talk about this after we've both been able to take some time out to consider what's been said. But if you insist on not talking with anymore, go ahead and unfriend me. I won't "follow" you or bother you if you unfriend me, so you don't need to block me. But I would respectfully ask you to hold off on doing that, because I value your opinions on the issues we both care about. We disagree on this one, but I think we can still engage thoughtfully and constructively on it, or at least I hope so.
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Belenen I don't want to hear any more from you on this topic Matt, you're making me feel incredibly depressed and unsafe, please STOP
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Belenen by follow I mean the facebook follow where it shows you what I post
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Belenen if I unfriend you it doesn't make you unfollow me because all my stuff is public
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Matt I know what you meant. We're Facebook friends. I didn't just click "follow" on your profile. I said my position on unfriending you above. If you're determined not to interact with me, though, you can go ahead and unfriend me. But I hope you won't do that.
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Matt If you unfriend me, I would have to hit "follow" on your profile to continue seeing your posts, which I wouldn't do. I'm not interested in bothering you, James, but I'm not interested in taking the active role of unfriending you, either. You'll need to be the one to do that if you feel the need to do so. If you do unfriend me, and I do continue to see your posts, I'll go ahead and "unfollow," but I don't think it works like that. But again, I hope you'll hold off, because I do enjoy talking to you and I consider you a friend. I just don't think you have the greatest take on this particular issue.
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Anna What I find selfish is trying to make someone choose life when they don't want to. What one may think is a cry for help isn't always. I despise debating so I will not go back and forth on this.
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Lily You know how you like to be treated, you know what makes you feel loved. It sounds like consent is a higher value to you than it might be to some people (not to say they don't value consent but perhaps it's higher on the list for you compared to values such as, say, staying alive). Which is cool, that's your values. It sounds like you want people to honour your agency to make decisions about your own life, and death, to the end. And to have people hear this and know this about you and dishonour that when you were in a suicidal space would not feel like a loving act.

We all seem to have different needs around this. It's so hard not knowing anyone else's. It would be nice if we could make up some kind of suicide will about what we consent to and what we do not in that event. For example, despite the fact that it is common procedure, I do not give prior consent to be hospitalized or to have other people notified about my state. I know that would not be helpful to me and I want others to know that. And yet, this is what people assume is the proper thing to do but they cannot know my life and how unhelpful that could be... However, I do give prior consent to use loving coersion (not hospitalization or notification) if I am in a place where it looks like I may hurt myself, because I know from having been there that, for me, this is actually what I need in the moment and I do *not* have agency over myself when I am considering acting on such things. I think we both know ourselves here.

So how do we deal with the vast majority of circumstances where we just don't know? And then getting it wrong? Like, ideally ask all our friends for prior consent about how to handle these situations? I don't have an easy answer... when I was with someone who was acutely suicidal and had taken pills I didn't decide anything, I just went straight to my heart and completely let my intuition guide me. I let whatever came out of me that needed to come out of me in that moment. And... what needed to come out, actually, wasn't coercive, and she ended up throwing up the pills...
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Belenen If it is loving and respectful, it's not coercion. Talking people down is okay, as long as they consent to listen.

(Apparently Matt is not good at consent in general, because after I finally unfriended zir, ze followed me, and then stayed in the conversation 'liking' things. That is NOT what I asked for and not what ze said ze would do.)

Death is a basic human right. To live or not to live should ALWAYS be the choice of the person (unless they are taking up residence in someone else's body).



If you would feel okay calling some authority because I seemed suicidal, unfriend me, and leave me alone. I'm not okay with people taking control of my body and mind just because they think I'm 'disturbed.' Violating my consent is NOT the way to convince me that the world is worth living in. Thank Godde for Topaz in this conversation -- my hands were going cold and numb and I was shaking, and I read zir comment and it helped.


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belenen: (strong)
when I was suicidal, words did not help / especially not bossy, self-centered, platitude-ridden ones
The times I have felt suicidal, there is literally nothing that could be said to make me feel better. The only thing that helped was compassionate, focused presence and loving touch. And medication, the time that it dragged on for months and got worse. I thought once you hit rock bottom it stopped but no, it starts digging. Citalopram formed a protective dome over my wounded mind so that I could begin the process of healing. Without it, I would never have gotten better, even though at the time there was a lot that was good in my life and very little that was bad.

Don't tell suicidal people not to kill themselves, it's selfish and disrespectful. Offer tangible resources instead. DON'T SAY it gets better -- sometimes it doesn't. You can say you hope it gets better. DON'T SAY it's a permanent solution to a temporary problem -- sometimes it ISN'T, many people deal with depression their whole lives. DON'T act like you know how it feels. Everyone feels things differently. "I care and I am sorry you are suffering" is far better than anything that starts with "You" -- "you'll get better" "you should do _____" "you can't ____."

Show care, show patience, show respect. If you must have an expectation, expect the depression to last forever, and treat it as if it will. The "hurry up and stop being suicidal" attitude is SO FUCKING DEPRESSING.
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belenen: (pain)
this week has been hard/ I crave curiosity
This week I've had a terrible time self-motivating and felt a dreadful claustrophobic dilemma because I have to do time-sensitive things but I can't function until I rest but I can't rest because I need to get stuff done. I was so excited for time last week and made plans with people and had to cancel them all because it would have been too much and I wouldn't have been able to be present and connect.  I also felt sad because of last weekend's (that was just last weekend!?!!??) interaction with biofamily and the resulting crushing hopelessness (which has been mostly ameliorated as people I want to be tribe with have expressed their desire for that too) and also because Topaz and I hadn't had any focus time in probably a month, except for slight bits here and there.

Today I felt horrifically sad and couldn't find my way out of it, cried for three hours straight. I felt like Topaz wasn't curious about me (which is my primary way of feeling loved) and felt hopeless about it because I always get sad that people I am in love with are not curious about me and I feel like maybe it is something wrong with me that I feel so needy of that. If literally no one I've ever known cries and mourns a lack of being pried at, maybe its my problem. Why can't I just be happy with kindness and care and pets and loving words??? Why do I always want this and cry so fuckin hard over it?  (Note: I do not want advice, these are rhetorical questions) Topaz pointed out that not only is curiosity pretty central to my being, but I have a lot of trauma over people not wanting to know me. My parents and my first partner (who I was with for 8 years and married to for 6 of those) did not want to know me. I would show them pieces of me and they would look away and act as though I hadn't shared (literally, in the case of showing my parents my art). So that's 5/6ths of my life, it does make sense that I would worry that people didn't want to know me.

Topaz reassured me that ze does want to know me and it took a long conversation but I was able to believe it (it is not usually so hard for me to believe when someone I trust tells me something). We talked a long time. I had been very worried about sharing my feelings because stress is a migraine trigger and Topaz has had to deal with so many of those in the past few weeks and I didn't want to maybe cause another. Topaz reassured me that ze was feeling up to a stressful talk, and ze's good at figuring out zir limits so we talked about it.  Later Topaz said ze was glad we had that conversation, it was important and productive. That made me feel re-aligned with Topaz and valued.
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belenen: (distance)
belonging: being part of a unit
A lot of the people I know consider their family a unit they are part of, even if they hate it. I don't think you can understand what it's like to not belong unless you haven't had that feeling (or haven't had it since before kindergarten). A dysfunctional unit is still a unit.

Since I was about 6, I didn't have a unit to belong to. Since I can't remember my childhood, it feels the same as never having felt that. I keep writing about this because I feel like people don't get it, like I can't find the words to express it. When people say stuff like, "sure, this person is terrible, but they're still my [dad/mom/(etc)]" they're expressing a feeling I cannot understand because I didn't feel like my bioparents were my parents. There was a point when I was very young where they gave me the impression that if I did not obey, they would take away the food and shelter they had been providing, and that I owed them my labor in exchange for these things. They were just my employers, and our relationship could end at any moment. From that point on (and I don't remember exactly when it was but it was before puberty) I felt myself as a nanny/housekeeper working for food and rent; they never gave me appreciation because I was just doing my job. This was why I was so much more obedient than my siblings. It certainly wasn't that I thought my parents had good ideas. My parents did not contradict this in word or deed until I was 26 and long out of their house. I was less a part of their unit than I was part of the Wynnes' family -- who I was actually a nanny/chauffeur for and worked for food and rent.

Belonging to a unit means that if one person stops contributing, the unit will still exist. It means that people aren't just committed to you, but to the unit as well. And there is something very different about being one of two or one of more than two. The latter is less fragile, it feels more safe, because if one person is lacking, there are two people who can fill the gap, cutting the burden in half. I had a unit with Hannah once, with Kylei once, with Topaz now, but it was/is not belonging because I feel it takes more than two to create that. I feel like belonging comes in with the sense that if one relationship in the unit is damaged, the rest of the unit can help it heal.

I have amazing people in my life and I deeply appreciate them and I know how fucking lucky I am to have so many people who are willing to interact with me in a meaningful way. Belonging isn't something I usually think about, but when I do it crushes me. I want to feel safe and kin in a circle that lives on its own because everyone in it maintains it. I want people to invest not just in me, not just in one-to-one connections, but as a unit. I just don't think that is going to happen for me. I'm processing it now and trying to let it go. Maybe I'll just have to be the many-armed creature holding people together if I want some imitation of this in my life.
sounds: Bartholomäus Traubeck - Quercus (Oak) | Powered by Last.fm
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belenen: (distance)
intimacy practice / more about lack of belonging / raising kids / exhausted, discouraged
Today was intimacy practice and it was really wonderful; hard topics, but deep sharing and very nourishing. We've been at max capacity (8 people) for the past two sessions and it takes significantly longer, right under 4 hours this time, but (for me at least) it's worth it. But I think it might be a bit much for some people, so I'm trying to think of good ways to balance that... but I don't want anyone to miss it, bleh, and I don't want to set a time limit on heart circle sharing but maybe we could go two rounds or something and people could choose to stay for one round or two.

I talked about my lack of belonging and I felt understood, but it still hurts. The biggest ache is the fact that I have these amazing people, but if I don't put in the very hard work of pulling them together, we'd all fall separate and some people would fall out of my life completely. We might be committed in small dyads that interconnect, but we aren't committed to a central unity. I think when I was sharing that, part of me hoped someone would say "I want long-term unity too! I will help you make it!" but I don't think people want that. Which makes me sad because if I want it, I have to find people to invest in who also want it. It's shitty to try to push for it with people who don't want it. But it was so fucking hard to find these people that the idea of trying to find others seems exhausting and impossible. Another thing that has been on my mind lately is the idea of raising kids -- I kinda want that, but only if I have at least two co-parents, and while I have a gaggle of aunts/uncles/auntcles, I don't have anyone in my life I could raise kids with. And I don't see how to go about making that. Most of the people I know with poly families started out as a dyad and then added people, but that's not how I would want to do it. So I just don't see it happening for me. So then what? I dunno. I guess I hope the right people just happen into my life. Right now wouldn't be the right time to form a kid-raising unit anyway so it's sort of moot.

I'm feeling kinda discouraged on most of my goals right now. Crafty parties have been fail the past few times and I feel like the biggest problem is distance, so I need to find locals, but I'm feeling a lack of hope and a lot of intimidation about it. Hopefully part of this is just sheer exhaustion from the stress of these past few weeks and after a few days of rest I'll be better.

I gotta get on finding another job soon. I've been sending out and dropping off resumes at places I'd actually like, and this week I'm going to apply places I can tolerate, but I'm not going to be 'available' for at least a week because I am so so so exhausted, just wiped out. I feel like my emotions have been running higher this week too, maybe due to stress, or maybe causing part of the stress. Can I just cry and be held please? can someone tell me I won't be yearning with no hope forever and mean it? Can't ever EVER someone want the same thing?

metanote: sorry I've only been posting the past few days, haven't had time to catch up on reading but hope to do that tomorrow (Monday). I feel like the quality of this writing is super crap but ugh. I dunno, I just need a break SO BADLY.
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belenen: (tenebrous)
my relationships are not treated as valid / biofamily doesn't want to know me/ I have never belonged
Last night I brought up the idea to Topaz of having our parents meet and ze seemed hesitant about it. This upset me because it brought up feelings of invalidation. If we were engaged and one of us was assigned male, our parents would want to meet and expect to build a relationship because of the assumption that the kin of kin is important. But the fact is that because we won't be getting married and our commitment is to long-term friendship not romance and cohabitation, zir parents probably just don't see me as family (not to the level of their other kids' partners). And because ze's not male, my parents probably don't want anything to do with us as a couple much less kin-once-removed. I hate this so much. My relationships are more meaningful than most, because they're based on honesty, openness, constant respect, learning, compassion, and growth, yet I don't get treated as if they're even valid.  I shouldn't have to do them the same way as everyone else. And I HATE that friendship is so devalued. Sure, most friendships are not committed and intense, but when they are they should be given the same treatment as if they were romantic. A best friend should be treated like a spouse. If you consider me kin, you should invest in MY kin.

And that also got me thinking about the fact that my biofamily does not want to know me: they just want to see the parts of me that conform to their desires. They never wanted to know me: even when I was a child, the only thing they wanted to know about my life was if I was obeying and if I was performing in 'successful' ways (grades, scores). Now they've stopped trying to make me obey but those two things are still all they care about. I haven't said this to them and I feel I need to, but I can't do it in person because I will just cry, so I have to write a letter.

I have only felt like I belonged in some moments when I lived with the Wynnes (and I feel sure they wouldn't want me now because I was so much more normative then), and when I go to TBC. I have never felt belonging with biofamily because they never cared about who I really was. I yearned so much to belong with my ex-in-laws but I was never more than an accessory, first to Rebecca and then to Ben, nonexistent after divorce. I wanted to belong with Serendipity but there were expectations I couldn't meet and values I couldn't resonate with. I wanted to feel at home with burners but there are so many privilege-denying people in that world that it's super hostile and alienating to me. Ditto to every organized spiritual group I've known. I wanted to feel at home with queers but they're so fuckin urban-cliquey.  I feel at home with the people I draw to me but it is not belonging because it is not a unit: if I stopped holding it together it would cease to exist. I still ache to belong. I want to feel safe and kin in a circle that lives on its own because everyone in it maintains it. I feel I will never experience that and it hurts worse than any breakup.
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belenen: (passionate)
I'm getting to the end of my coping ability w/ people's use of slurs / [edited to add explanations]
If there is someone I want to be open with and they want to use slurs, I have to choose between feeling like they occasionally and without warning slap my face hard and then pretend it didn't happen, or I have to put up a wall to them and not connect. I don't want to have to make this choice over something as simple as a single word. As my self-care, I put up a block to people who refuse to make such a sacrifice, because to put up a block to feeling hurt over the word would be to cut off a part of my own soul. I experience hearing slurs with every bit as much pain and disrespect as if someone physically attacked me (more, really, at least I'd feel able to punch someone back if they slapped me). Some days I want to just drop contact with every single person I come across who uses slurs, even if I love them. I just want this shit out of my life. Maybe one day I’ll actually do it and then when people ask why, I’ll say I just couldn’t take the constant punching and maybe then they’ll finally get it. Or maybe they’ll be like “why don’t you value me more than a word?” and I’ll be like “clearly you don’t value ME more than a word. why do you think I should invest in someone who cares more about slurs than about me?”

These words are often connected to violence and abuse, and because of that they have trigger-power: they can make people relive abuse with almost as much pain as the first time. If you have been physically, sexually, or emotionally attacked by someone while they called you a slur, that word may be a damaging one for you to come across, especially in an angry or attacking context. cut for slurs, trigger warning ) Note: when I say slur, I mean that an oppressive word is being used in an insulting or negative way -- I'm not referring to self-labels.

To extrapolate and summarize: "does this word get its insulting power from an association with an oppressed group?" if the answer is yes, don't fucking use it that way. If you don't know what to call a person if you can't call them a bitch or a douche, look up 'bad' in the thesaurus (scroll down past the usage notes to find a shitton more). Or consider actually saying what you mean. On that note, for more eloquent and less me-centered examination of slurs: on use of 'lame' 'gay' 'retarded' etc. as insults or negative expressions.


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belenen: (strong)
bad dreams, worries / happy hangouts w Topaz & Sydney / vandalism / cutting the cord to Aurilion
So today's been a ridiculous tumult of emotions. Last night Aurilion sent me an email full of things that were neither kind, true, or necessary and I think ze was actually trying to hurt me on purpose. Most of it was laughably projecting but one of them struck an insecurity I've been struggling with for the past few weeks which is the idea that it's my fault when people leave me. I've been waiting on a response from Hannah for a while, a response which will determine whether or not there is a future friendship for us, and Aurilion's deliberate cruelty made me feel worse. So I had a bad dream that I went to visit Hannah, and we met in the airport, and ze talked with me only because zir mom thought it was a good idea, and ze told me that ze would never visit again. I woke up because I was so upset. Later in the day Hannah messaged telling me that ze was still working on a response, and that made me feel both relieved and more stressed (because the tone wasn't a happy one).

Then I had a really positive and interesting conversation with Topaz and zir friend Sydney, who I felt a really strong resonance with. We had hung out before but always with other people around who I didn't know, so I didn't feel up for directly engaging at those times since I felt like I'd be interrupting. We talked about spiritual things and I felt like we just got each other and I really hope that the three of us can hang out more.

Then they went to some festival and I went to my local coffeehouse to read for a while. While I was there this couple who I interpreted as two guys were cuddling on the couch next to "my spot" (which is the comfy chair with a bright light above). One of them left for a minute and the other started talking to me about having fallen asleep while cuddling and I responded that they were cute, so ze started talking to me about some people fretting that they would "catch queerness" and I talked about how I don't experience anti-queer sentiment OTP despite the perception, and ze was like "oh, are you...?" and I giggled and said yes. We talked a little more and then I tried to politely get back to my book, and I gave them each one of my contact info cards when I left.

Then I came home to find that my two crackled glass solar light orbs had been deliberately smashed on the pavement in front of my house. One of them had fallen over a few days ago and so it would have had to be lifted up and carried over to smash, and the other still had the pole in the ground with just the glass bit smashed. I see two possibilities: one, some shitspewing pimples decided to destroy them because they were available and the zits felt destructive, or two, said pimples were motivated by having previously seen my exceedingly queer car and were sending me a message of hate. Either way, it made me feel unsafe because people who would destroy someone else's possession because it's breakable or out of hate are (in my opinion) quite likely to hurt animals and my black cat likes to go outside. I felt like I'd just been proven wrong in the thing I told the young queer couple (though, on later reflection, I think it was random violence, not targeted).

I went inside and tried to find ways to calm myself. I talked very very briefly to Kylei, I made dinner and ate and watched a show, I read LJ, I texted with Topaz (mostly monosyllabic responses to zir happy shares), I tried and tried to calm myself and it wasn't working. I cried and laid in bed and pet Kanika, and could not feel better. I wanted to write about so many things but I couldn't. I wanted to clean up and make some hot chocolate but I couldn't. I started wondering if this was caused by Aurilion (deliberately or not) and I cut the cord between us with a swipe of my hand. I immediately felt better and was able to get up. I picked up my yellow obsidian, pressed it between my breasts on my heart chakra to close the cut, and felt almost entirely better, so I sat down and wrote this. I don't know what the deal is with Aurilion but whatever it is I am NOT meant to be in contact with zir right now, not even energetically. I've never deliberately cut cords from people I love before; the only other times I did this it was to remove ties placed on me without my consent. So. This is very different from the other endings I've had with Aurilion.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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belenen: (gender abolitionist)
psychiatric appt: yep I have ADD but no help so far
Today's been a fuckshit of a day. Had a psychiatrist appointment where ze was like "yeah you've got ADD but the meds that would help are a controlled substance so you have to either pay hundreds of dollars for testing or go to a non-school psychiatrist (which is also expensive shit). Also there is a med I can prescribe you but I want to be sure you're at your wits end so go read these four books about coping with ADD and come back and we can discuss meds." Then I sighed and ze asked if I was sighing with relief or frustration and I tried to say frustration and started crying (ugh), and explained that I'd been saying "I can deal, I don't need meds" for ages and when I finally get to the point where I can't deal anymore, meds are out of reach. Ze seemed a little more sympathetic then but not any more helpful, and said stuff that implied that if my life was falling apart, like failing classes, then she'd suggest meds. I don't want to have to fail before I get help!  I fuckin know my limits and I'm pressing up against them. Ugh. The biggest problem is that when I can't focus enough to do things that make me want to live life, like art and conversation, then I get depressed. I can always make myself do the things I have to do, even when I'm depressed, but forcing myself to do stuff when I am depressed makes me dangerously low. Its a terrible cycle and I don't need a lot of help, just a little, to keep the cycle from starting.

Do not give me advice. I had enough of that today and I already know all this shit, I've been living with it for my whole life. Its just gotten worse, chemically, maybe because of that hormonal birth control, maybe just age, I dunno.

Anyway, later I was writing on something important to me, and I got interrupted, and I just started crying because I was terribly afraid I wouldn't be able to start again.  Some things I've wanted to write on for literally YEARS and I got started on one and it was such a huge accomplishment, and I felt relief yesterday. But then it was harder today and I was swamped with sorrow and fear because the threat of having to deal with my toddler of a brain with no help, just hoping I can get it to behave, is crushing.
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belenen: (snarling)
don't tell suicidal people not to kill themselves, it's selfish/disrespectful. offer comfort instead
It makes me profoundly upset when I see people react to someone expressing suicidal thoughts by telling them not to do it. That is shockingly selfish and disrespectful -- a person's life belongs to them, not to you, no matter how much it might hurt you to lose them. If life is torture for them, how dare you tell them to keep enduring it just to prevent YOU from feeling pain? Ugh! Way to make them (me) feel more depressed about how inescapably selfish people are.

I say this as a person who has been deeply suicidal and has loved people who felt deeply suicidal. One of the people I love most in the world has dealt with a lot of depression and painful suffering due to it. I told zir that if ze had to do it, I would understand and I would forgive zir, but that I wanted the chance to say goodbye so if it ever came down to it, to please contact me first. Had that happened I would have cried, I would have asked if there was anything I could do, and if not, I would have said goodbye, and thanked them for all the good they did me and all the time they shared with me. I would not have told them what to do with their own life or demanded that they consider my feelings above their own. (I would be angry and hurt if they didn't give me a chance to say goodbye, but I would understand that it might have been too much to do that and they get my forgiveness and love no matter what)

Also, it's not fucking helpful to tell someone not to do it! Instead of making orders, ask questions! see if there is anything you can do, try to think up things to offer. Sometimes you can't help, other times little things like bringing someone a coffee or giving someone a long hug would be miraculously helpful, and you won't know if you don't offer, and most of the time I don't think a suicidal person is going to be able to come up with something that would make them feel better so think it up your own damn self.
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belenen: (distance)
my experience with MM last fall / falling fast and crashing / guard-guide-"dominance" realizations
Lately I've been thinking a lot about a person I'll call MM (don't want it to be searchable), who I met at my first TBC in 2011, and followed zir on twitter for the next year, feeling a great deal of admiration for zir thoughts and passion. When I went to TBC in 2012, I ended up staying at a mutual friends house with MM, as my flight was delayed by hurricane Sandy. I'd been incredibly attracted to MM, and we spend most of a day cuddling and talking.

Our cuddling was really intense for me, and for MM too, I felt. I have been developing my consent skills for a few years and I am way better than your average person (though by no means perfect). MM responded to my questions (about what ze wanted and what was comfortable for zir) with what I felt was relief and deep appreciation, and said that ze'd never been asked those sorts of questions before (which made my heart ache). There was a lot of sexual tension and something else that I hadn't experienced before, and it felt exhilarating and a little scary.

Later that evening there was a comment made by someone (not MM, don't remember who) that triggered some really deep pain in me, and I started crying (silently). No one noticed -- and I was in a room with three people who I was close to, who were my lovers. That just hit me pretty hard and I went in another room and texted Topaz (this was like three days after love-confessions) about how I feel like I am sensitive to other people's emotions but people just never notice mine, and that makes me feel deeply unseen and unloved. Topaz was comforting, but I was still hurting a huge amount. MM came in the room to get something from zir bag, noticed me and asked if there was anything ze could do (not exactly, my memory is fuzzy), and I talked about my feelings and we had a REALLY intense conversation for hours, starting about people not noticing, and going into our feelings about each other. I rambled out loud about the way that MM made me feel, like I wanted to guard and guide zir, similar to feeling "dominant" but it feels so responsive that it doesn't make sense to call it dominant. Ze said ze felt submissive to me and that that was rare for zir, and talked about previous relationships. I held zir in my lap and I told zir I loved zir (I feel like ze said the same to me but I can't remember for sure now and feel lots of doubt about it). It was the most fucking intense first-real-interaction I've ever had with someone, and I was full of shock and confusion and curiosity, because it was the first time I've ever felt that feeling about someone (I'd felt flashes of it, but not like that, like the difference between a crush and being in love). I really wanted to talk about it a lot and come to understand it and I wanted to maintain connection with MM. But I had to leave, so we exchanged contact info.

I texted a few times over the next few days and I sent a long email: )

A few days later, maybe a week, MM tweeted that ze had deleted 300 emails. I responded and asked if one of those was mine, and ze said yes, with a smiley face that I didn't know how to interpret (trying to soften the blow? being snarky? I've asked what it means but ze did not answer). I was fucking crushed. I don't think I've ever felt so profoundly rejected. I told zir that I felt hurt and disrespected, and that I would still support zir work, but I didn't want to invest emotionally. Ze stopped following me on twitter, which I took as zir no longer being interested in getting to know me. I was still following for a bit but ze and one of zir lovers were tweeting back and forth and it was hurting me to see because I wanted to have that kind of communication with MM, so I stopped watching them both for months. My heart is hurting a lot as I write this, fuck, I'm crying again, how the hell does this still hurt so much. I got better as time passed and was able to follow them both again without being sad at their affection.

I needed to write this out because I haven't really gotten to process it. It was SO MUCH in so little time. Even though I'm still aching over it, I feel like I learned a lot about myself and I don't regret opening up to it. I still love zir, even though it makes no sense considering how little we've interacted and how much it hurt... I feel like I understand the response ze had, and it may have been the kindest ze could be, I don't know. I don't think it was the right time to start a relationship with MM (even if it was/would ever be right), so it was the right choice on zir part, just a really painful method.
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