belenen: (Default)

June 2017


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

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

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

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

maintaining at good w Topaz )

slowly building w Serenity and Allison )

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

new buds w Jackie and Roger )

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

reflecting on LJ patterns )

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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belenen: (disassociative)
anxiety very high for days / Kanika injured, vet visit, healing now / meds issue / all the stresses
icon: "disassociative (a digital painting of a stylized person in profile with wide open screaming mouth and arms up with palms spread wide. Head and hands flow into strands like blood vessels)"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

topaz )

kylei )

heather )

allison )

cass )

serenity )

arizona and evelyn and etc )

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

more - this is a long one )

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belenen: (brewing)
reduced anxiety = increased sexual desire / recent experience with percussion play / need my claws!
icon: "brewing (a photo of a ceramic mug with sticks of cinnamon poking out and steam rising up)"

One of the effects of being on anxiety meds now is that my desire for sex is significantly increased. I now understand why most of the time when I get drunk, I want to have passionate kisses and maybe sex; drinking reduces my anxiety. This in combination with the circumstances in which I get drunk (celebrating with people I love, usually) means that I suddenly become aware of desire. I think that anxiety interrupts my sexual desire before it gets to the point of even being a conscious thought.

The unpleasant aspect of this is is that I am not currently in any sexual relationships. I think it is rather sad that when I had the people I did not have the skills to know and ask for what I wanted, and now that I am self-aware enough to know exactly what I want and be able to ask for it very clearly and without pressure or fear, I don't have anyone to ask. My previous lovers are unavailable in various ways (several live out of state now). I wish I was bold enough to invite someone to have sex with me outside of the context of a relationship but I'm not, partly because I have never done it and it's possible that without being in love I won't get much out of it? I'm so curious, but a complete unknown is not something I want to take such a risk for, at least not at this point.

My ideal lover is:
- anti-oppression & growth-focused & self-aware & good at self-care (so that we can be friends):
- good at using spiritual/emotional energy to create sensation and/or deepen connection
- good at negotiating expectations
- very communicative, especially about what they enjoy or dislike
- as good at initiating as they are at responding
- generous and skilled at adjusting touch based on reactions
- into planning a sexperience
- fond of being bitten, especially receiving marks
- into percussion play, giving and receiving

I had posted on fb about wanting to receive percussion, and a friend responded offering to give that to me. It took a long time to schedule it but we finally set a plan for last Sunday, and I went to their house (since I was already halfway there to meet another friend). The friend who offered lives with another friend of mine, and I ended up cuddling with them and then being flogged by one and paddled by the other. The flogger was long heavy slim strips of suede, mostly thuddy with some sting. The paddle was the size of a small ceiling fan blade but about an inch thick. I was intimidated at first but it didn't feel heavier than mine (which is the same thickness) and in fact was less intense because the impact was more spread out.. It was a very relaxing and enjoyable experience, very sensual without being sexual. It confirmed for me that the sensation of being flogged or thumped with heavy objects is magical for me. I had completely forgotten the sensation of the energy building up on my back until after I was flogged and then someone put a hand on my back and I felt it go through a layer of energy before touching me. I then asked that they let the energy sit for a while next time, and they of course obliged. The second time, the energy was even more palpable, and I felt exposed in a very unique way.

Later, one of them offered to let me try their steel finger claws and I did and HOLY FUCK I had the hardest time not digging in. I restrained myself pretty hard and still was giddy enough that one remarked to the other "was I this delighted when you gave them to me?" I felt like I finally could feel the physical manifestation of a spiritual part of me and it was a revelation. I need some for myself. Not need like I will suffer damage without them, but need as in to be my fullest self.

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belenen: (Hapi)
moment by the river / not used to unintentional friendship
icon: "Hapi (an image of the Egyptian intersex deity Hapi (blue watery skin, round belly, full breasts, beard, and kilt), overlaid onto a macro photo I took of trees and sky reflecting distortedly in water on a leaf)"

I'm sitting by the Chattahoochee listening to the thickly rushing water and swinging slightly on a green metal bench swing. The air feels a little wet, cool, and charged, probably from the rain last night. Geese are flying near and honking, and I can hear when trucks downshift on the highway. It's just cool enough that I need my jacket here in the shade, but not enough that my hands are cold. The sun is falling on me brightly through bare branches speckled with new leaves. There are people around but they are all far enough away that while I can feel them, they are not intruding on my sense of freedom.

I just had a great conversation with a new friend, about nature, racism, places, gentrification, religion, activism, careers, burns, privilege, organizing, and other stuff. We packed a lot into 2 hours. I felt awkward but not direly so, having taken my meds already today. I think I mostly felt awkward because I usually have a set of intentions with any connection, and that's how I make decisions about things. I think most people just either treat everyone in roles (friend, lover, family, etc) or they don't set intentions. For at least a decade I haven't really had any accidental relationships, because I don't have the opportunity for those. The people I spend time with unintentionally are not people with whom I click. So I'm very out of my comfort zone just building connection without a plan, and I think about connection so continuously that I notice when something as small as a smile forms a link. I feel a strong impulse to message them and ask what they want from a connection with me, but I don't think they have this same habit (I mean, it is a damn rare person who does) and so it wouldn't likely be helpful.

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belenen: (confused)
pushing back on cis bigotry using... confusion
icon: "confused (photo of a purple diamond-shaped sign with a line leading to four arrows all curving and pointing in different directions)"

Earlier today I had a strange interaction with a cashier at a farmers' market. The Killers song with the line "you had a boyfriend who looked like a girlfriend" was playing and the cashier said, "that would freak me out, if I had a boyfriend who looked like a girlfriend haha." I stood there silently for a minute (while they repeated themselves in different words, seemingly wondering why I wasn't laughing), toyed with the idea of walking away without another word, and then decided to just say whatever came out of my mouth.

Me: "Well that's my favorite kind of person, so..." *shrug*
Them: "what? A boyfriend who looks like a girlfriend?" *surprised*
Me: "Yeah, or the other way around. I like to mix it up."
Them: "a girlfriend who looks like a boyfriend?" *half mumbling now* "but what would they even be? A boy or a girl? Now I'm totally confused about gender."
Me: "well, that's my ultimate goal in life, to make people completely confused about gender" *walks off*
Them: *still mumbling confusedly about their confusion*

Not sure if they thought I was joking, but confusion is better than confident ignorance! The main thing that keeps me from talking back when people say transphobic shit is not knowing what to say, not being able to think fast enough. I don't think I said anything very meaningful and certainly I didn't give a clear understanding of my perception of gender, but I pushed back. Maybe that weird little interaction will plant a seed. If I had been able to think faster I could have said something that might have actually taught something, but I couldn't, and that's just going to have to be okay. My instinct at being attacked (however accidentally) is to freeze, and I don't know a way around that.

Who knows, maybe random blathering is more effective.

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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)"

abstract fractal entitled 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.


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

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.

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

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.

-- 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 **

-- 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 **

-- 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 *

* 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

-- 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

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

** 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

dreams from this month! )

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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belenen: (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.

[ 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 [ 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, [ profile] rextrocular(Abby), [ profile] jaime_blue (Jaime), Allison, and Jonathan.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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belenen: (heart in my throat)
connecting w E (who is open, self-aware, present) - talking on facebook, in-person conversation
I met a new person at the cuddle communion I hosted last month, and about two weeks ago I messaged them saying that I liked their posts on fb and I liked their presence at the cuddle gather, and asked if they'd like to meet up. They said yes and expressed appreciation for the cuddle gather and the offer to meet up, and shared stuff about themselves in response, which made me feel welcome to know them. We made a plan, interspersed with sharing random but quite meaningful things. Every question I asked was given a thoughtful, self-aware answer. I talked with Topaz about our conversation and they said that E seems like someone they could enjoy getting to know (high praise!). The first plan got pushed back, and finally we met up yesterday.

It was really great! Though I got inexplicably super nervous as I was parking, I felt better once we sat and started talking at the coffee shop. Conversation flowed so easily and they asked questions to deepen their understanding of things I shared, and oh, it was so full of topics. I shared a lot more about my history than usual, which I'm just now realizing is because people don't usually ask. Also I realized through noticing my behavior in this conversation that I tend to tell one layer of a story and then stop - then, if the person expresses interest (sometimes with face sometimes with words), I'll tell the next layer, but usually they're ready to move on (or perhaps they don't realize there are more layers). I really like being asked new questions, or questions about which I haven't thought much. They asked if I had ever been in a monogamous relationship, which made me laugh. I volunteered some shares as well, because I got no signs of disinterest from them. So I told them about how I didn't consider my marriage a mistake because of how it gave me what I needed to work through childhood sexual abuse. Then we talked about how coping with trauma can form a kind of relationship that is very difficult to break free from even if it is not good for you. And I talked about how I am bad about losing myself when someone I love needs care and how I can't live with a lover (at least not one-on-one) for that reason. They shared with me too and were quite open to my questions. I felt totally in-tune with them by the end of the conversation, to the point where I felt their words before I heard them.

They had to leave after 3 hours to go give their partner a ride, and I really didn't want them to go! I felt like we had just started talking. But I didn't say that of course, because it would have been pressure-y and greedy and probably irrational. I told them that I really like talking to them (and realized how much more vulnerable present tense is than past!) and they said they did too and we should do it again. I asked if they wanted to plan now or later and they said later (and gave reasons) but that they didn't want me to think that there was a "gradient of interest" because they do genuinely want to meet again. They said they're starting to get over their worry that I won't like them and I emphatically told them they didn't need to worry, I definitely like them. They said something about me being smart and something else I don't remember. I don't like it when people call me smart because it usually means they feel intimidated and I don't like to intimidate people (unless they're being disrespectful). But they seemed to be mentioning it in a context of deconstructing the intimidation, at least that was the feeling I got. The end of our conversation was a little awkward and a lot cute. They seemed a little embarrassed and bit their lip.

Also! During the meaningful conversation on facebook (which is rare and weird for me) I recommended them the Elysium Cycle and when we met up they mentioned that they had started reading it!!!!!!! I mean, I'm pretty sure it was less than a week ago that I recommended it, so I feel super flattered and happy that they already got it and started it.

Today I asked how they were feeling after I noticed what may have been a change in their emotion when they were writing, and they confirmed the shift. I don't usually notice shifts in emotion via text only. Seems significant. I feel like they might be a violet spirit. I keep wanting to ask them a million questions, and it is hard to wait until they have a chance to answer the one I just asked. I haven't been this excited about connecting with a new person in years. It's so rare to feel that 'click' and I am worried I'm imagining it. I'm feeling a little too eager and a little too exposed to post this publicly yet!

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belenen: (progressing)
a positive moment in dealing with the symptoms of rape culture
icon: "progressing (a deeply, vividly green forest of thick vines and trees, with a tunnel running through where unused train tracks lay)"

So yesterday someone posted an image on a friend's fb status that was a two-panel photo, as a joke.
---- TW: implied rape ----
The first panel was a photo of what looked like a person sexually penetrating another person who is looking at the camera with a blank expression. The second panel zooms in on that face and adds the caption, "you said netflix and chill." I commented that this was gross, and later went back to add an explanation, that the text turns the image into a story of violated consent.
---- end TW ----

I asked why they would post such a thing. They responded and said that they weren't trying to be an asshole but they were sorry that they ended up being, and deleted the original comment. I had composed a response and when I went to post it it didn't go because the thread was deleted, so I sent it to them in a message.
About the photo on [my friend]'s thread- I appreciate you responding seriously. Rape jokes are harmful in that they invalidate the experience of victims and they make perpetrators feel at home. People often react very defensively when it gets pointed out, because they almost never intend to do that, but it has that effect anyway. Thanks for your willingness to listen.

It's ok. I appreciate your saying something so that I could remove it and not bother anyone. Honestly I try not to take anything too seriously so I often find humor in things where there shouldn't really be any in actuality. Coping mechanisms, laughter is the best medicine, etc. I meant no harm and don't wish to hurt anyone, not for a laugh or any other reason.

I get that and I think it's fine with a chosen group of people that know your real attitudes about consent and people who you know won't be triggered, but in public there is almost always a victim or perpetrator around because it just happens so often. Anyway, thanks again for the compassionate response.

My pleasure. I am definitely all for enthusiastic consent. And I prefer DVD rentals to netflix [winky face]

I was all geared up for a long and fruitless discussion (mostly because it was on the status of a friend who I know is sometimes triggered by rape jokes, and they told me they felt lost on how to deal with it), and instead it was easy and effective! at least in the moment. It's such a relief to find someone reacting by caring more about avoiding causing harm than about defending their intentions.

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belenen: (dreamy)
dreams (kanika is in public w me / weird pregnant nun cult red strings / dream-met spiritkin)
icon: "dreamy (a painting by pupasoul of a human figure in a cage, holding a hand out from which radiates light and squiggly sparkly vines of energy)"

Last night i dreamed that i was working at a shop like wal-mart only i was moving slower than ever. At first it was partly in defiance but then i got frustrated and tried to go faster but couldn't. Then the boss called me outside to the middle of a huge group of dining tables where people were sitting and eating, to critique my performance. It was a deliberate attempt at humiliation and i wept in rage and embarrassment. Kanika came running out to comfort me and the audience was moved and was on my side. Later i was at a coffee shop and Kanika came in and sat on my hip/back (somehow this wasn't uncomfortable in the dream). Later I was in a tiny house or fresh-built cabin w my biofamily and some people came over, including someone i just met who i have a crush on. I talked with them and flirted in my awkward non-flirty way. Later we all played truth-or-truth and i got them to be involved by doing a round of political questions (which in waking life sounds terrible).

Then there was this weird bit where i was a nun in a weird cult and was taken to a house where i would live with other nuns, and as i went up the stairs i felt a strange pulling in my crotch, which turned out to be a network of red strings that had been attached to it coming loose. There was a woman lying on a bed covered in blood, with an open wound going up her abdomen. The people bringing me in said that she should have been moved already, this wasn't meant for me to see. Apparently she had given birth and the baby died, and she stopped her bleeding with an herbal remedy, and that was sacrilege as she was supposed to yield to chance (god). When i realized, i went up and asked why she did it, because now they were going to kill her and she traded .00001 chance for none at all. She said she had to do what she could, and handed me the vial she used. I started to take more out to apply to the wound but she said that if i didn't have the capacity to help her escape it would be wasted, to keep it and use it sneakily with feigned prayer instead. She gave me her other powders and i was frantic figuring out what to do with them. Then i was told to pack up her things, including the dress i was wearing (??) so i switched to another dress (from a short black and white one to an ankle-length dark brown one, very baggy, with pockets) and packed up her things as they took her from the room. The other nuns helped me, one in particular who poured their starbucks coffee into the bag so that i could put the herbs into the cup and hide them with the lid. I added absorbent things including rolls of toilet paper and hoped it wouldn't leak out. The soon-to-be-dead nun's bed was going to be mine. Later one of the people came back and put new strings on my crotch. I was worried that they'd go into my flesh but instead they wove around my legs and hips like a harness.

Dream: more real than waking. I hugged someone at a pagan discussion group and the hug felt so perfect we didn't want to let go. We felt very well matched and they told me they wanted to have deep and penetrating... didn't finish the sentence but in the dream it was clear that it wasn't sex they meant but that sex might be included (it sounds way more overt in waking life: in the dream sex was a hint, not the point). I felt perfect resonance w them. They were my height or maybe an inch taller and my size, maybe a little smaller. I think they had 3 young kids and were a single parent? or they were watching someone's kids? Our connection felt like apples which in later dream was explained as artichokes (???) I think their name was Kristy or something similar?

Also there was a part w traveling underground to a stone chamber w a square open to the sky. Felt elated at rain and thunder, danced, and sensed when we needed to move because of potential lightning strike and warned people successfully. Older male people were like, "Give way to us," and I laughed and ignored them, but shared the space rather than punishing them.

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belenen: (healing)
cuddle communion #1! so nourishing! / consent agreements / cuddle list / leading to fill a need
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.)"

I had a really lovely nourishing evening last Sunday. I hosted a gather I called "Cuddle Communion" which was based loosely on cuddle parties I'd been to in the past. I went over a short list of consent agreements to begin with, and then we did structured cuddles, had a break for snacks and coffee, and then had unstructured cuddles and played truth-or-truth. I felt really connected with almost everyone there, and I definitely want to do it again. Next time I'm going to set the structured part into a flow from least to most intense, because I just did them randomly this time and that was okay, but could have been way better. Also, I want to finish the structured cuddles before the break, because after it is too hard to get back into that. And I looooove that truth-or-truth was the mental focus of the unstructured part this time, but others might want something less intense, so I want to try to set up something to listen to or watch, at least as an option.

consent agreements )

structured cuddle list )

After most people left, I was hanging out and talking with Serah and Alison about social change and leading things. Serah used to lead a spiritual gather but got burnt out, and I understand that feeling so well. I mentioned that that is why my ideal leadership is at least three volunteers who take turns and step down when they get tired. Usually what I see happen is one person leads and no one helps, and the leader gets so burnt out that they quit forever and the group disintegrates. I really think that any good leader doesn't lead because they want to lead, they lead because they see a need that no one else is filling.

Speaking of which, I felt so supported a few weeks ago when I was too exhausted to participate in intimacy practice, and the others took leadership and made it happen without me. I don't want to feel like it's mine, I want to feel shared ownership and care of IP, and that definitely made me feel that way.

I was talking with Saleena a few days ago about the same thing (good leaders just filling a need). Saleena and I are going to run a local community discussion/connection group together. The original idea was that it would be for trans people, but we want to expand it to all othered people and make it a safe space to talk or listen. I'm worried about creating a safe space where strangers can attend, because if an unsafe person attends that can be horrible, but there is no perfect solution. I think as long as Saleena and I are willing to call people on being problematic, we can make something good and safer than life in general while being imperfect.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

love memory bank )

Gonna try to get back in the habit!

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belenen: (progressing)
Gonna use daily template / truth-or-truth, planning w jaime, relaxing w topaz
icon: "progressing (a deeply, vividly green forest of thick vines and trees, with a tunnel running through where unused train tracks lay)"

I'm gonna attempt to write more often and to bolster this effort, I'm gonna try to write daily summaries if I don't already have something else written. I hope that this doesn't make my LJ boring or make people less likely to comment on more substantial posts - but even so, I'm gonna act out of desire rather than avoid out of fear. I'm gonna use this template: what happened, what it meant, overall emotional arc, & realizations (what I learned, realized, or remembered, if anything significant).

Early this morning Tasha came over to visit their cat Cupcake, who is staying in my basement room right now because Tasha can't keep them where they live and can't move yet. I stayed up way too late last night so after I unlocked the door for them I went back to bed. When I did get up I scurried out of the house to get groceries before truth-or-truth started (and made really good time running from one end of the store to the other). I felt bad about sleeping in but I felt really accomplished that I managed to get everything done in time.

At 3 I set up the truth-or-truth videochat and J and Aubrey and I started but neither of them had video so it was mostly like a call. Then Elizabeth came in (text only) and a little later Jaime joined in person. The experience was slightly awkward technologically but everyone was patient and so I didn't feel guilty. Whenever someone gets frustrated with technological difficulties I feel guilty for some reason I don't quite understand. But I didn't feel bad. Also everyone came up with such great questions and overall it was super nourishing and I am really happy everyone was able to come!

Afterward Jaime and I had a brief planning chat about the trans-centric gather we're having next week, and then they left. I feel really good about the fact that Jaime wanted to create this and is using my space to do it. I'd love to have all kinds of gathers at my house (as long as they weren't oppressive of course).

I made myself a smoothie for the first time in what seems like years. Topaz bought me a double-walled 30oz cup w straw and lid the other day and I think that made me feel able to make smoothies again, which is great because it's a way for me to consume more fresh fruits and veggies. I want to get chocolate whey protein and also start making smoothies with spinach or kale. In an odd way I feel like I was creatively blocked and am not any more.

Then I gathered my things and went to Topaz', where we watched netflix and made brownies. I put a SHITTON of Topaz' fresh mint in my corner of the pan and it turned out delicious! I brushed, combed, and played with Topaz' hair for a good while and then braided it.

Overall, I started the day with worry and rushing, then moved to happiness and nourishment, then rest and comfort. Soon, I'll get ready for bed and have some cuddles.

I remembered that when I was a kid I practiced expressions in the mirror, and was often read as hostile because my relaxed lip shape points down at the ends. I now get comments on how expressive my face is, but that was a thing I trained into myself as a means of communicating with others.

Also, I was thinking about autism and how it's looked at as a dysfunction, but I could see how it could be an evolutionary adaptation to an environment that is unacceptably busy and fake. Perhaps our species is evolving to be less prone to / capable of this capitalist bullshit because it's terrible for everyone. Or maybe I'm just universalizing my own feeling of increased safety around people on the autism spectrum.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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belenen: (necklace)
exiting overwhelmedness at last / watchin shows / spiral cuffs & energy flow / fractal productivity
icon: "necklace (gif flipping through photos of me wearing necklaces I made over the years)"

I finally broke through! I finally feel like I am getting better after the heavy weight of stress in February with ALL the biofamily stuff and ALL the conflict and ALL the travel stress. Yesterday I just watched like... 6 hours of episodes of 4400 (which I deem a 4-star, worth watching twice but not worth owning) while making spiral cuff bracelets. Part of me still feels really frustrated at not getting enough done yesterday but overall, I have learned that watching a bunch of creative-but-not-informative media is really helpful for self-care. I kinda hate that that is the most effective thing, but oh well. I hope to do more crafting during it so I can feel more productive and good about it. My hands still are a little numb from 6 hours of crafting yesterday! I'm not sure if I should list the spiral cuffs on etsy or give them away. They look so simple and easy to make but they each took THREE HOURS. I hate that combination, especially with regards to pricing. The choice becomes, underpay myself or look like I'm being an overcharging shithead. I think I'll make them for donation sales (where I pay the fees for selling and then give all the rest to a non-profit). And if I make more I won't pattern the seed beads because GOOD GOD.

I can't remember if I have ever made bracelets before -- I can't wear most of them because I can't bear a closed circuit on my wrists. That has been true for probably... 7 years? and more recently I can't wear a closed circuit on my neck. (that hasn't always been true as you can see from the images of me wearing necklaces I made in this icon) I think it just fucks with my energy in some negative way, but it feels bad. I recently made a closed-circuit ritual necklace, thinking that if I made it really long it wouldn't have the same effect. I was right that it didn't feel bad, but it broke within two wearings and I took the hint and re-made it as one long strand, which I will wear by looping the ends together. So all this to say, I recently got memory wire (which is like a piece of slinky but thin round wire rather than thick flat wire) and tried working with it. I like the look of it, though the kind I got is too small for my wrists anyway. I'm going to try making one for myself when I get larger-coil memory wire. I like that the lack of closure means that it doesn't feel like it blocks or clogs my energy flow, and I think I could actually make spiral cuffs that felt energetically positive for me to wear.

Today I managed to follow up with my sole and beloved patreon donor, update my fractal gallery (forgive the ugly design: webs now forces me to use templates or pay), and follow up with someone who did a partial trade with me at the art swap. Speaking of which, my friend Jezza hosted an art swap last Saturday which I nervously attended with my freshly-framed prints. I didn't know anyone except Jezza and it was full of burners, so it felt like going to someone else's family gathering. I felt soooo awkward but in that peculiar way I do around burners, where I feel like an outsider but like I actually know the culture of interaction and can follow along (which is a fucking relief from most socializing and I just realized why Kylei loves burners so much despite the problematic stuff). I was really delighted that at least four people wanted to trade with me (and one person expressed strong desire to buy but then disappeared, I think they miiiight have been intoxicated), and especially excited that Jezza traded me one of their canvas-printed fractals for two of my smaller framed fractals! I really like their work but I would never have felt like I could justify the expense of buying one (much less on canvas), so this was just perfect, and I was so flattered that they were willing to trade for my work. I don't remember if I wrote about meeting Jezza -- they're a local person who friended me after finding me on OKC, and we met up for coffee once last month I think. I felt weirdly super awkward, I'm really not sure why, it may have been because it was so cold and we were outside, which feels both intimate and like we should be going somewhere. But despite feeling awkward we had a really cool conversation. I asked if they were okay with prying questions and they said yes and seemed to enjoy reflecting on the questions I asked (and I liked their answers, which tells me a lot). I like that kind of reaction. I feel like we could be good friends but I also feel this big culture gap that makes me nervous about making a mistake, extra-so because it is really fun to have a friend who also does fractal art! Still, so far it's just happy.

I got a used computer with a better CPU than mine to use as a dedicated fractal renderer, but it keeps crashing every time I try to use multithreading. I'm gonna delete and copy the programs and plugins directly from my main computer, and if that doesn't fix it I am going to try chaotica, a rendering program (which has a freeware version but for high-res I'd need to buy the full version). According to the internet, that computer should be able to run multithreading up to 4 (and my main can, so I can't imagine that the issue is the specs), so hopefully my free plan will be good enough.

ALSO! for a solid week in February I posted on my art fb page Vivid Magic Arts every day. And I'm getting better at writing image descriptions. Weird to know that there is an aspect of art and writing that I just had ZERO skill at, but the practice is helping. Hopefully I will improve rapidly until it is easy for me to write an evocative image description. Also, if you are a fiction writer or visual artist, I feel like this would be a really good exercise to do just to develop more skill in noticing -- and if you want to do that exercise as well as provide an important service, here's a good place to do it.

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

an exhausting intimacy practice )

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

intense happy one-on-one time w Heather )

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

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

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

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

talks w Abby and Firekat )

lots of time w Kei-Won-Tia )

meds, talking w Kylei about making time )

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belenen: (rainbowarrior)
Recently: amazing time w Topaz, Sydney, Kei-Won-Tia / energy healing / victory over self-doubt / job
recently (12th to now): this got long because I kept putting off posting. includes photos! )
sounds: Zoë Keating - Whistle [*] | Powered by
connecting: , , , , , , , , , , ,

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belenen: (shimmering)
Recently: talk w Ace / time w Topaz / Anika visits / Rant Jam / INTENSE Intimacy Practice / dreaming
Last Thursday I talked with my little sister for about 2 hours, which is the longest we've talked in ages. Ze seems to be in a healthy relationship, which is fantastic, but ze is surrounded by terrible people at zir work. I tried as per usual to convince zir to move and live with me, but I don't think that will happen. I hope ze will at least visit.

Friday Topaz came over to help me with the grass but I was feeling ill so ze just did it for me <3 <3 <3 then we went to zir place, picking up fireworks on the way. We built a bonfire and Topaz made silver turtles and lit fireworks and smoke bombs and we drank barefoot bubbly and it was really relaxing and cozy. Then we made talismans together, where I lost track of time and Topaz was super patient. (I thought it took an hour but it took 3)

That night I slept badly (which has been happening almost every night I spend at Topaz' lately, not sure why) and thus slept in. I started freaking out a little about time but Ashe and Anika were running late so once I found that out I got to have cuddles and Topaz made us breakfast and coffee (ze makes the best breakfast sandwiches). Then I went home and whirlwinded through the house, tidying and cleaning, and didn't stop until about 20 minutes after they arrived (hyperfocus sometimes makes me the worst at greeting people). I got to hang out with them for a little while, but Ashe was exhausted and had to leave right as Kei-Won-Tia arrived. Topaz and Zawn and Jeff arrived a little later, and we had some pretty awesome conversation, ranting about evils in the world (which was the purpose of the gather). I got a little drunk and felt super happy about all the interactions, especially since Topaz seemed relaxed. Zawn and Jeff brought pizza, which was a fabulous gift. The gather wasn't what I had pictured but I liked it better than what I had pictured. After Zawn and Jeff left and Anika crashed out, Kei-Won-Tia and Topaz and I played Personalogies, which had some good questions but frankly I could make a deck 47201x better. When they left, I missed them a lot and texted with Topaz for like an hour, because my missing zir got so strong it hurt. I feel really extra deeply in love with zir. I'm also not used to spending time with Topaz that isn't one-on-one or followed by one-on-one, so there's this subconscious expectation of that time and I want it to hurry up and get here.

Sunday I went grocery shopping with Anika and Suzu in the morning and then Kei-Won-Tia, Abby, Heather, Kylei, and Roger arrived for cuddle puddle. I pulled Abby away and talked with zir about zir relationship with Roger because they'd been having a painful time, and I felt upset by it. I was sort of getting up my courage, and then we went back. I told Roger that I felt a need to talk about Abby and Roger's relationship, and asked if ze'd prefer to talk alone or with everyone - ze said no preference so I asked zir to tell me about how ze had experienced the recent troubles. After ze did, I expressed my feelings about it (vague because not sure how much they want private) and I felt that Roger took them in. Even though nothing was really resolved, I felt that I had expressed myself fully to them both and I didn't feel stressed out and divided any more. I don't think I've ever done that before - it felt incredibly awkward and I was quite worried as to how it would go, but I think it was good, and Roger expressed appreciation for being able to talk openly about it. I cuddled Abby during it because ze was vibrating with anxiety. Afterwards we all had early dinner, during which Topaz arrived, and we began intimacy practice. It was super intense and really long and really great, even though we didn't get to everyone (argh we have got to restructure the large ones!). I felt like we all moved a lot closer to each other through this one. I usually feel we are closer afterward but this one was especially bonding. Everyone was so sweet and wonderful and I loved spending the day with everyone! Suzu was really good, interacting with us some but for age 7, being remarkably low-maintenance. This kid is pretty amazing. I want to explore the world with zir to notice what ze observes. So cool.

Topaz stayed a little late for me to take the braids out that Heather spent hours putting in as we were doing IP. Ze lay in my lap and I finger-combed zir hair for a while, which was really, really good for me because the day was so intense and I desperately wanted Topaz cuddles. Next cuddle puddle I'm going to make a nest in my room because the living room made it too linear.

Monday I hung out w Anika and Suzu for a while (Suzu painted several pictures) and then took them to meet Ashe at a coffeehouse. Suzu played with the kids there, expressing upset at the one terrible kid who was mean to insects but otherwise seeming to have a blast. Ashe and Anika and I talked for a while, about what I am not even sure now because my memory is out. We stopped by Ashe's house and ze introduced us to trees and cats and zir spouse, and we got back to my house late. Anika and I had tea and ice cream (rather, the approximations I had on hand) and talked for a good while before going to bed.

Tuesday we just stayed home. We were planning on doing a ritual while Anika was in town, but when one thing after another fell apart, I felt it just wasn't meant to be and cancelled it. I was relieved to relax, because I was getting pretty desperate for down time.

Eeeeeearly Wednesday morning I took them to the airport, came home and tried to nap (which became 8 hours of sleep). Afterwards I went to Topaz', we had dinner and cuddles and went to sleep, where I slept for over 15 hours. Usually I feel guilty and annoyed if I sleep more than 8 hours, but this time I decided it was important and that I needed the processing (because dreams are really good for me in that way). When I got up I got shit done in quick succession, including writing an entry for LJ Idol (which I'm super nervous about). I had dinner with Topaz and helped zir tidy a little and then we cuddled and I went home.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There are many others, really.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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belenen: (strong)
on disrespect, winning people with politeness, and being a "real" activist.
Last week I embroiled myself in an argument about the use of slurs (which is normal for me) and was careless about my tone (which is quite out of character for me). The person responded by critiquing my tone and ignoring my argument, telling me that I was being disrespectful and I wasn't going to win any people to my cause with that attitude. What's implied here is "if you were a REAL activist you wouldn't be rude." As a real activist, I reject 100% of this argument.

Being respectful is important to me. I wasn't being disrespectful, I was being rude. I said "Ugh," mocked this person's argument (which was in favor of using slurs) by paraphrasing and called it ridiculous; nothing about this denigrates someone's personhood. If I say to someone "your breath stinks, I wish you would brush your tongue" I'm not being disrespectful, I am being rude. If I said "You're gross because your breath stinks" that would be disrespectful. If I called this person a word which is regularly used to dehumanize, that would be extremely disrespectful. The problem is, when you are used to the privilege of being taken seriously, someone being dismissive of your argument feels very shocking and humiliating; you take it personally.

Secondly, the idea that "you catch more flies with honey than vinegar" is flat-out wrong. I have extensive experience with calling people out, and their reaction depends entirely on them (others who regularly engage in calling out also say this is true and I have yet to see a counterexample). I have been polite and had people react with fury, and I've been rude and had people react with concern and a desire to learn. Usually I am polite, but it is not my job to be polite in the face of someone else's disrespect. What usually happens when I argue with someone who is using a slur or otherwise supporting oppression is that that person doesn't change their mind, but others who witness the conversation do. The "catching flies" argument is invariably used by people who just want an excuse not to bother changing.

And oh, the "real activist" argument. There is no wrong way to resist oppression, and my goal is NOT to convert all the people to my way of thinking. My number one goal is to resist oppression in whatever way I can in my individual life. I hope that others are influenced along the way, but I am not an activist for their sake and if they want to be offended by my "PC policing" that's not my problem. I completely reject the idea that I must be an exemplary person for others to realize that oppression is wrong and decide to resist it. I do not need to live up to your standards for oppression to be harmful: that is an objective fact, and it is your job to realize it, not my job to teach you.

The reason I am usually polite is partly because I fear being judged. I have seen what happens with people who are perceived as "too strident" and I am afraid that my friends will judge me that way. I also don't enjoy being rude for its own sake: I am only tempted to do it when I am out of energy to calm myself down and be careful to phrase politely, and too upset to let it pass. I am not proud of being rude to this person, but I am not ashamed either. This was a new experience for me and in the future I intend to be more constructively rude when I am rude (because groaning and mocking is a waste of my time), but I don't intend to make sure I am polite to people using slurs or making oppressive jokes. My politeness is earned by respect and lost by disrespect.
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belenen: (connate)
relationships: Kylei, Kei-Won-Tia, Ashe, Aurilion, Ben, Hannah, Topaz, Heather, Anika
So when I was at TBC I had an intense discussion with Kylei about how I was upset that ze wasn't working toward a renewed connection with me. I told zir I wanted zir to be developing strong self care so we could be close without triggering my urge to fill all the need and that I have been working to strengthen my own boundaries and know myself better and learn more self-care so that I could meet zir too. Ze told me that ze didn't think I meant it when I said I wanted to be close again and had given up. We sort of opened all the things and made a plan to talk later, and a week after we met up to hang out for a morning.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

from my birthday to now )

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belenen: (artless)
surprisingly profound kisses / reality shifts from accidental tripping -- changed perception of fear
The other night I kissed someone and it blew me away. I've experienced kisses like that with people I was in love with, but never with someone I don't even really know. We kissed and I felt shifted out of time and when we stopped kissing I felt like I was re-entering this reality. And while we were kissing I felt zir feelings and they reflected in me and it built and got more intense and then I slowed it down and stopped because it was about to turn into sex for me and I was in the living room with other people around (who hadn't consented to sharing space with sex). But even though I'm usually nervous and super cautious about first sex, I think if other people hadn't been around I would not have even been connected enough to this reality to think that way. I don't think it would have turned actively stimulative (as in genital touch) but that's not necessary for my sex and I got the strong impression that it wasn't necessary for zirs either. I felt so perfectly in tune and unified. And before we kissed we had both talked about how we didn't want to start anything new, and while I still don't want to start a new romantic relationship right now, I'm incredibly fascinated and curious -- I want to know why it felt like that! I want to know how we connect, if it's just a body connection or if it's more than that. I am a little nervous about the idea of pursuing friendship because I'm concerned that I will start wanting more, but I can deal with that if it happens. And it's not like I have spare time!

Speaking of reality shifts, twice now I've accidentally tripped on stuff that does not cause reality shifts for other people. The experience I had was of a perception shift -- things were happening in dream reality, then as if I were watching a movie completely non-interactive, then as "real" reality, flipping rapidly like tree shadows as you drive by. I was existing in the space between all three, in the cracks of the universe. I could also feel all of my body but it felt alien and so I felt like my brain was lying to me about what was really happening; I felt actively disassociated. The first time was absolutely horrible because I didn't know if I would ever "get back" and I felt like no one could come with me and it was horribly lonely. The second time (I somehow thought the first time was a fluke -- nope!) I had a guide and there were people with me who were very connected with me and I could still feel their presence; it was still scary but I was much more equipped to handle the fear. The fear was about what is real; in dream reality it is okay to do things that in waking reality will hurt people and beings. I feared that I would cause harm to myself or others and I feared that my brain was making up a cover story to hide some horrible experience that "real" me was having. The first time, I happened to sit on a chocolate that then melted onto my leg and I was convinced that everyone was lying to me to make me feel okay about having shat myself. (that fear lasted days and three washes of my robe, which still smelled like chocolate afterward and finally convinced me that it was chocolate -- though I STILL have some doubt)

Those experiences have changed me in a profound way. My concept of reality was never very objective, and now is even more fluid. I have the ability to "shift out" and feel as if I am dreaming, which I think will serve me very well once I learn to use it to handle situations that cause me fear. I feel like I can use this to do serious work with fears I have. Because I think lots of the things I do in dreams I should be able to do in real life, like telling off sexists and racists. And I need to remember that it is okay to get in giant messes and I don't need to be living in constant avoidance of fucking up. I think my fear of physical harm is more than is rational; if my leg breaks I will probably be okay eventually, and if someone assaults me, I will probably live and recover. I cannot live as if one bruise will kill me. I need to take more risks if I want more miracles.

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belenen: (overwhelmed)
feeling gross / dreams
It's been a long time since I turned to my LJ because I couldn't talk to anyone else. But I didn't pay the phone bill yesterday (spaced on not having 30 days) and now the site is down for maintenance, so I can't call anyone and I feel SO GROSS. also lonely. This is not something that needs attending to, but it is something that needs expression.

The past three days have been a nonstop studying writing barely-sleeping blob. I pushed and pushed through because tonight was going to be so great but now I feel sickly and I'm lonely and it might last until tomorrow as everybody is busy (except maybe Abby, whose bedtime is in 15 minutes). I just really really want some cuddles :-(

Also I just napped and had two dreams -- one about this incredible computer game with plant people (that I would wish existed except that if it did I would have no external life), and one about my first date with Taz (which hasn't happened yet). In part of that one, I pooped in a toilet in the middle of a coffeehouse, got up and wiped, talking about how strange it was (but I couldn't figure out why it felt strange, it seemed like something I had done a million times) -- the wiping specifically. Taz was like, "what. I don't get why you're weirded out, but okay."


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belenen: (progressing)
important events in 2011 / becoming an effective catalyst for the change I want to see in the world

2011 was a whirlwind of growth and renewal; looking back, I cannot believe how much I've changed and how much my life has changed. I feel like I wouldn't even recognize my year-ago self. And yet so much has changed since the turn of the year... exponential change. I'm so much more fierce, nourished, confident, and aware than last year. I've created the sources for art, creativity, and intimacy that I want; I've found avenues for developing change; I've started stripping away the fear that blocked me from being a catalyst for equality.

In 2011 I gained a much deeper understanding of oppression, both historically and in its current manifestations; Kyle and I went through so many shifts, deepening our relationship and creating positive ways of managing conflict; Kyle became a feminist/equalist; I met lots of important new people; Kyle and I started doing energy work regularly on ourselves and each other; I was in continuous growth and needed rest which I didn't know how to take, so throughout the year I had several depressions and learned how to notice when I needed rest; I started hosting crafty parties! and now have a source of amazing creation in my life ♥; I met the Angel Oak, participated in a TreeSpirit shoot, and had so many incredible magical experiences with Kyle in Charleston; I realized my intersexedness in a profound way and began living it, though not sharing the details of meaning with folk (and it's still too scary to write about though I hope that will change soon); I experienced my first burn, Euphoria, and loved it -- then experienced my second, Alchemy, and did not like it; Aurilion and I had several bursts of intense connection; I fell in love with Abby and we started dating, quickly moving into a time-committed relationship; Arizona and I started dating again; Kyle and Adi started dating; I became part of the formation of a queer group on campus; I sortakinda dated Eanox for a short time; I had my first successful anti-oppression experience and felt thrilled with the possibilities of further action; I went to Transcending Boundaries with Kyle; I started forming tribe (a truly interconnected group of people all of whom were building connection with each other).

important events in 2011 )

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belenen: (progressing)
important events in 2011 / becoming an effective catalyst for the change I want to see in the world

2011 was a whirlwind of growth and renewal; looking back, I cannot believe how much I've changed and how much my life has changed. I feel like I wouldn't even recognize my year-ago self. And yet so much has changed since the turn of the year... exponential change. I'm so much more fierce, nourished, confident, and aware than last year. I've created the sources for art, creativity, and intimacy that I want; I've found avenues for developing change; I've started stripping away the fear that blocked me from being a catalyst for equality.

In 2011 I gained a much deeper understanding of oppression, both historically and in its current manifestations; Kyle and I went through so many shifts, deepening our relationship and creating positive ways of managing conflict; Kyle became a feminist/equalist; I met lots of important new people; Kyle and I started doing energy work regularly on ourselves and each other; I was in continuous growth and needed rest which I didn't know how to take, so throughout the year I had several depressions and learned how to notice when I needed rest; I started hosting crafty parties! and now have a source of amazing creation in my life ♥; I met the Angel Oak, participated in a TreeSpirit shoot, and had so many incredible magical experiences with Kyle in Charleston; I realized my intersexedness in a profound way and began living it, though not sharing the details of meaning with folk (and it's still too scary to write about though I hope that will change soon); I experienced my first burn, Euphoria, and loved it -- then experienced my second, Alchemy, and did not like it; Aurilion and I had several bursts of intense connection; I fell in love with Abby and we started dating, quickly moving into a time-committed relationship; Arizona and I started dating again; Kyle and Adi started dating; I became part of the formation of a queer group on campus; I sortakinda dated Eanox for a short time; I had my first successful anti-oppression experience and felt thrilled with the possibilities of further action; I went to Transcending Boundaries with Kyle; I started forming tribe (a truly interconnected group of people all of whom were building connection with each other).

important events in 2011 )

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