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belenen

June 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

detailed events )


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belenen: (garrulous)
more questions: spiritual/religious rituals/holidays
icon: "garrulous(a photo of my lips with the skin greyed out and the lips overlaid with a green and blue fractal pattern)"

(from here)
do you currently have any spiritual practices? are you developing any in particular at the moment? have you abandoned any recently?
Yes. Art, self-reflection, meditation, energy work, spell-writing, etc... I'm sort of developing a few: trying to get back into meditating at least weekly, and sending energy to Hannah daily. I haven't abandoned any recently.

what rituals in each phase did you connect with the most?
The ritual that was the most useful for me as a teen was reading the bible for 15 minutes every morning right when I woke up. It worked as a sort of psychic shield that blocked out the overwhelming, chaotic, negative energy of other teens around me.

the least?
Mostly I didn't participate in rituals that didn't mean anything to me. The only one I did was communion, and I think I mostly did that out of defiance (because people put rules on it and I felt God wouldn't). I never felt like there was any magic to the wafers and grape juice. Had we all torn off a piece of bread that was passed around, I would have felt that was magical (and still would, as microbe sharing is a sacred act to me).

have holidays ever held any spiritual meaning for you?
I never cared about any except Christmas, which meant lights, presents, and people making more effort to be kind to each other. I thought about Jesus all year long as a kid, so it wasn't a religious holiday to me. I did like that people treated me with more respect around christmas because they started feeling guilty about how devout I was and they weren't.

has that changed at all as you've grown?
yes. I learned what winter Solstice was and the lights, presents, and kindness transferred right over to a holiday that was far more suited to what I actually wanted to celebrate (the return of the sun). I will attend christmas celebrations with Topaz' family but it is Solstice that is my holiday, my sacred time.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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